Friday, October 28, 2016

7 Quick Takes, Hamilton, The Walking Dead, and a crying baby

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum   to give you this week's quick takes.  Are you ready?
I am starting my Quick Takes on Thursday... because I have SO much to tell you about.

I don't care how late to the party I am, I am going to talk about Hamilton as though opening night was yesterday.

So, maybe you don't follow pop culture at all, so you've never heard about Hamilton.
It's fine. I'll just tell you right now, it's the most popular musical in 2016.

I tried to listen to it maybe four months ago, and was like, 'meh' so I didn't listen again.
(and "tried to listen" means playing it downstairs while my kids run around and I can't really pay attention).

But then, Aaron recorded the PBS Special on it.  We watched it Tuesday night, and I have listened to nothing but the music from the Musical since.

I was a history major for a second.  Did you know that?  It was the drama of history I found so irresistible.  The drama of this musical is like nothing I have heard before.  I have never listened to a musical that drew me in so deeply and so emotionally, plus it's just really 'cool'.  The hip hop way of explaining historical events from a first person point of view... I can't say enough about how much this has captured me.

After one full day of listening to songs. I got to a song called, "It's Quiet Uptown".
Guys. I have NEVER listened to a song like this in my life.
The song is about a husband and wife moving through the grief of losing their son, and moving back to each other after distrust and pain.
I stole this from Wikipedia,  but it's the perfect explanation...

."Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times said "No contemporary musical has touched grief in a song as profoundly as 'It's Quiet Uptown,' which I'll confess is impossible for me to listen to without tearing up"

You need to listen to it now, but have tissue close at hand.

no, seriously, listen to it. It's worth it.

Wait, if you didn't listen, at least read these lyrics.

"There are moments that words don't reach
There is a grace too powerful too name
We push away what we don't understand
We push away the unimaginable"


Okay, here's the thing. I am going to NYC in 6 weeks, and somebody has got to know somebody who knows somebody who can get me tickets to this show right!?!?!  Like, I know it's an impossible request... but somebody! Please....

If not, I understand. But man, listen to this musical.  Seriously.

Wrote about this bad boy on "thefacebook" as well, but if you are not watching "This is Us" you should be.  It's so good.  So good.  What I love most, and hopefully this isn't a spoiler, but if you are sensitive to spoilers you shouldn't read...
What I love most is the way the show presents past events shaping our present selves.
And this week? With the painting?  I cried so hard I couldn't catch my breath at one point.

It's almost been a week, and I am still having a hard time framing the violence in The Walking Dead last Sunday.  There were good conversations about it on "thefacebook" and real life... but I'm only in for a couple more episodes and if the tides don't change, I think I'll stop watching.

I'm done talking about entertainment for a moment to talk about politics.
The stunning hypocrisy of our leadership continues to amaze me.
I read this week Jay Z was hosting a concert for HRC.
I thought of some Jay Z lyrics, and let's just say, many of his songs lack implied consent. Many of his songs are off the charts when it comes to the vulgarity and misogyny.
Gosh. The inconsistency of 2016 is AMAZING
And I'm still not voting for Trump, so don't get all riled up 
(unless Jesus tells me to last minute)

Ministry People 
We are at the point with BOLD Ministries where we speak at a lot of things.
I see ministry done in a bunch of ways.
On Tuesday night, at St. John Vianney Parish in Shelby Township, I saw the most profound Confirmation Rehearsal.
My good friend John is in charge.
His Confirmation class is huge.  He had candidates and sponsors attend the rehearsal (normal).
He began with announcements on the practicality of how the Sacrament was going to take place the following two days (normal).

Then the Script was flipped.

John explained the announcements were the least important part of the night.  After 20 minutes of announcements, the rehearsal became Spiritual Preparation for the Sacrament. 
1.5 hours of praise and worship, 10 (TEN!!!!) priests available for confession, and an unleashing of profound grace to prepare the candidates for the life-changing reality of the Sacrament.

If you run Confirmation Prep... you're gonna want to do something like what my friend John did.  The Spirit was so alive. The night was so different than anything I've ever seen.
I ran Confirmation for almost 10 years. I've never witnessed such an unleashing. 
An unleashing of the Gospel (good news) if you will ;)
(shout out to Synod 16) 

On Monday night little Aaron had another bad dream.  
He was crying in his bed and he woke me up.
"Mom, I had a dream I was mad at you"
he yelled from his room
"So I flushed you down the toilet, but then I wanted you to come back, and you couldn't"
funny. I know.
I did what I usually do, I told him to say some prayers for good dreams and go back to bed...
Then I fell back asleep.
About ten minutes later, I wake up to his tiny voice saying,
"Our...Father...who art in heaven"

he had been laying in bed saying his prayers quietly so bad dreams would go away.
Needless to say I told him to run into my bed to snuggle. 

Gosh. Sometimes the moments of adorable are hard to take.

Oh, I have to tell you this or Aaron will be mad at me because he is really proud of himself.
Last week, Aaron (husband) was making me SO.DARN.MAD.
The usual complaints...

Not doing enough around the house...
taking me for granted...
on his technology too much, etc...

One good thing about my husband, is when I need to vent, he understands, he doesn't get defensive if I call my sisters and explain the new reason I am annoyed with him ;)

I was on the phone with my sister downstairs complaining while folding clothes.  I MIGHT have been talking loudly so the ol' husband could hear.  I moved upstairs and continued.  Aaron was watching A Walking Dead special on tv.

As I was talking on the phone, a baby began to cry on TV. I figured it was from the show.
Aaron left the room and went in the bedroom.
My sister said, "Is that Malia, I hear a baby crying?"
I told her it was the television and kept complaining.

A few minutes later we heard a NEW baby crying. This time louder and more persistent.

I said.
I walked into the family room.  
Aaron had put on a youtube video on our big tv with a baby crying.

To indicate I was being a baby and whining.

He has since done this several times, whenever I begin my lists of grievances. 

He thinks he's funny.
I think he's annoying (and really funny).

Have a Great week friends...
(warning, there are some swear words)

The reading doesn't have to stop here, head on over to http://thisaintthelyceum.org/ to read more quick takes!

Friday, October 21, 2016

7 Quick Takes in which I wrote and erased all the political thoughts...

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum   to give you this week's quick takes.  Are you ready?
Joseph has been struggling a bit since school started.  He has a hard time listening in class.  He was getting a dreaded,"point off on the dojo" almost every day :(
This week, he has had only good days!
I'm so proud of him!
But, perhaps the cutest conversation was on Tuesday.
He crawled into my bed at 6:00 am and snuggled up next to me...
"Is today a school day mama?"
I told him it was...
"I prayed that Jesus would help me listen and be good"

le sigh...

You know how er'body like, "I can't wait till the election is over"
I'm like...
"This is the easy part, just wait till one of these two freaks are in office"

I'm so glad it's Friday.  It has been a WEEK.
Friday's for us, when we aren't busy, consist of pizza, a movie, the kids go to bed and then we watch Shark Tank.  I love our Friday tradition.
Tomorrow I get to hang out with my godson, and then we are headed out to St. Mary's Orchard Lake for a prayers service to commemorate St. John Paul's feast day :)  Wanna come?

Sunday is Children's Liturgy of the Word, Youth Group and then... wait for it...


I want you to know this 'take' I have written and erased six times, so I'm just not gonna write it.

But it was about partial birth abortion...

And HRC's maddness...

And the hypocrisy of the current administration criticizing Trump for his comments, while inviting Rick Ross to come hang out with them...

And Trump's scary comments about accepting the election results...

All that stuff.

So I'm just gonna say...

Hey, are you signed up to go to the  super awesome night for young married couples (10 years married or less, but there is flexibility on that). It's an evening of dinner, fellowship and comedy by the best darn comedian I know, my brother in law, 'Shawn Reynolds'.  

It's gonna be really fun, and we never get to hang out with people, but we will be there, so you should be too. 

I feel like I should probably figure out Halloween Costumes for the kids.
Here's the problem.
I want to do Starwars. Because it will be cute.
But Aaron wants to be an astronaut, and Joey wants to be a fireman, and John Paul wants to be spiderman (again) 
We have a Minnie mouse costume for Malia, I accidentally ordered it.

So, do I force them into a theme and disregard their wants, because I only have another year or two when I can do that?
Do I respect 'their' (Aaron's) want to dress up in their own costumes.?

Are you watching. "This is Us"?
I really like it.
a lot. a lot.
I hope I keep liking it. 


The reading doesn't have to stop here, head on over to http://thisaintthelyceum.org/ to read more quick takes!

Monday, October 10, 2016

No, Malia... You don't have to settle for guys who talk like that...

I know people are sick to death of everyone's opinions of politics and the cluster we have on our hands.  I know it. The majority of us feel like we are backed against the wall, forced to make the best choice between two really bad options for president.  It's enough to make us sick, it's enough to fill us with anxiety, and gosh, I can't even picture what our country is going to look like next year.

Just to get this out of the way. I think Trump is 'a lesser evil' than HRC. I really do.  But he is a bad enough choice, that he won't get my vote.

That's not what I want to write about though.

I want my daughter to know she doesn't have to settle for guys who talk in a way that is threatening, derogatory, or objectifies women to nothing more than things, for the purpose of use.

I've kind of always hung around good guys.  Partly, I am sure, because of luck.  Partly, I am sure, because I have a dad who instilled in his daughters the difference between a 'good guy' and a 'bad guy'.  Also, probably partly because of grace.    Regardless, it's kind of foreign for me to be around the type of guys who would say the vile things Trump and Billy Bush said 11 years ago.

10 years ago, I had an experience I will never forget.  I went to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch a Michigan game with some friends, and some men who were friends of friends.  As we sat there, these guys were disgusting.  They were commenting on the appearance of the waitress, the tightness of some girl's t-shirts, who was ugly/and who was 'hot'.  It was super gross. I left early, and I haven't been around those people, or really even the friend who brought them along, socially since.  I remember leaving and thinking to myself, 'oh, these are the kind of guys we are warned about'.

But I don't know those type of guys.

I know the guys who speak respectfully, for the most part, around women. I know the type of guys who open doors, pump gas, and respect the value women bring to the table.  The type of guys who challenge me intellectually, morally and spiritually. I know those type of guys. They are my brothers, they are my friends, they are the people I regularly associate with.

I married the type of guy who said, "I made you a promise I would ensure we waited until our wedding night to have sex, and I intend to keep that promise"

I married the type of guy who makes me feel beautiful, even after four kids and all the changes my body has gone through in the last six years.

I married the type of guy who understand fidelity to marriage doesn't just happen, it takes work and a conscience effort... an effort he is willing to put in.

I guess, I just want my daughter Malia to fully understand she doesn't have to settle for anything less than the good type of guy.  It's not normal to talk about a woman as objects meant for use.  It's not excusable to degrade women as objects just because other people have in the past.  And, though we always offer forgiveness, it's okay to judge the actions of person as dangerous enough that we shouldn't be around them.

I give a talk to high school teenage girls in the area.  The talk is meant to highlight the dignity we have as women and what that demands from us in terms of our treatment of self, and our treatment of others.  The final point in the talk is not to settle for less than we deserve.  We don't settle for less than we deserve because we have God who became man to show us His unending love for us.  That man, Jesus, told us to call God, Abba, or daddy.  Scripture tells us God is also referred to as King of Kings.

My daddy is a KING.  When your daddy is a KING you don't have to settle for anything less than the fullness of dignity owed to you by your very creation.

So I hope my Malia Paul always remembers, her heavenly daddy is a KING. That King wants her to be loved, cherished, respected and honored.   

I hope my Malia paul always remembers she does not EVER have to settle for less than that.

I pray Malia always understands there are many, many men who don't treat women poorly, and those are the men she should invest in.

And she never, ever has to settle for guys who 'talk like that'.

Friday, October 7, 2016


I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum   to give you this week's quick takes.  Are you ready?
I'm just gonna say it. I am not all about these 75-80 degree days. 
I'm just not
It's October 7th. and I love Fall. 
I don't want to go from Summer to Winter without my favorite season.
BRING ON THE low 60s

So, on Tuesday I was able to go talk to some Juniors at a local Catholic All Girl's School.
It went really awesome.
BOLD MINISTRIES is going really well, we are really busy and I think the Holy Spirit is blessing the Ministry we feel called to.
That said, as per always, it is super hard with crew to make it all work.
So, after this awesome talk on Tuesday, I told Jesus...

"Jesus, I love the ministry I am doing, I want to continue to do it and I think your blessing is upon that... but the logistics are really, really hard, so you're gonna have to figure out that piece"

After a shout out on facebook, I got SEVERAL solid leads of babysitters who can help me, which is definitely the most challenging part.  
To me, it was a confirmation.

Father Mario Amore (to know him is to love him) and I are working on an Advent Evening of Reflection. 
It would be 1.5-2 hours depending on the needs of the parish.  
Good for Women's groups
Or men's groups
Or catechists groups
Or young adult groups
Or youth groups
Or Parish Missions

Anyway, we don't have the flier for it yet.  But we are open to putting some dates on the calendar for December.  The theme will be Joy in a seemingly dark world... with the Baby Jesus as our witness.  The call to sometimes sit with the darkness, but be aware of the reality of Joy.  
hmu (does that mean 'hit me up'?) if you think your parish/group could use this presentation.

Every morning we haven't been busy this week, we've gone to the gym.
Don't get excited, I'm still eating terribly...
This morning, I made the call to just stay in pajamas for an extra hour.
I'm not bummed about that decision.

Aaron and I are going to be doing some fun ministry things together in the upcoming months. I am so pumped. Our marriage is the furthest thing from perfect, but we do try, and I think we sometimes do a good job.  Or, at the very least, we do a good job articulating the joy/struggle/ridiculousness of marriage.

We are emceeing and then presenting at an engaged persons retreat at Our Lady of Sorrows, in Farmington Hills.
We will be presenting on sex (!!!) and finances (!!!).
Those are two separate presentations.

Then, we will be emceeing a super awesome night for young married couples (10 years married or less, but there is flexibility on that). It's an evening of dinner, fellowship and comedy by the best darn comedian I know, my brother in law, 'Shawn Reynolds'.  

He has done a few different things for our diocese and he is always an incredible hit.  If you are around November 5th, and youngly married (or engaged), you need to attend this event.   

Ugh. you guys.
The husband just sent me a message reading
"Did you miss the memo on fun clothes today?"
It was a dress down day at the kid's school if you sold the proper amount of raffle tickets 
(which of course, I can't imagine people actually SELL, but we did write a check for).

And I  forgot. 

I HATE when I forget things like that.  But I am also trying to find a place of peace with it.  Because we had four kids in five years. I don't mean this to be an excuse (or maybe I do) but things like that are likely to get forgotten a lot.  Like, I am kind of expecting 14 years per kid of forgetting things like 'dress down days'.  Things like that become exponentially more difficult with the number of kids one has, and the closeness in ages of those kids.

So I'm gonna try not to beat myself up and remember there are lots of advantages to our crazy lives.  But one disadvantage is hearing my oldest say (which he is sure to say)
"mom, why didn't you let us dress in different clothes today like all my classmates"
when I pick him up from school.

I shared this blog on my facebook but it is REALLY REALLY GOOD.
An amazing point about marriage I'm not really sure I've ever prayed with.
The fact is, as Catholics, we meet at the Altar to being our marriage.
An an Altar has a lot to do with redeemed sacrifice.


The reading doesn't have to stop here, head on over to http://thisaintthelyceum.org/ to read more quick takes!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

My accidental devotion of St. Francis of Assisi

Today is the Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi... the great Saint.  Today, the Catholic Church takes a moment to let us know about a man who
lived a life of heroic virtue, and hey, it might behoove us to live a little bit like him in our life.

I have an accidental devotion to him.

Because, you see, if you aren't a practicing Catholic or a Catholic at all, the two things you might know about St. Francis is he played with animals and our current Pope is named after him.

And I don't really like animals, or bugs.  I certainly wouldn't let them crawl on my shoulder or anything to 'pose' for a statue (I understand that isn't how these things actually work).

The Pope development came later, I'll write about it in a second.

When I was an 18 year old kid, I somewhat accidentally ended up at Franciscan University and in the shadow of this great Saint.  At FUS, my faith was formed, my confidence grew, and I met people who would determine the outcome of the rest of my life.  At Franciscan University of Steubenville, I went on adventures most would only dream of. I climbed cliffs, I created and attended a Royal Ball in a building called the Kartausa, which was founded in the early 1300s. I took road trips to Niagara Falls overnight, and the Grand Canyon in a weekend. I traveled the world, did mission trips locally and mission trips internationally.  I took midnight drives with my best friends playing "Delilah" at the top volume, singing and sometimes crying out pain.  I went camping, went to many states, met the type of people who you only meet once in a life time, but I met them over and over again.

I did this all under the shadow of St. Francis.  St. Francis who was called to 'rebuild' the church, taking it literally, he began, to um, build a church. Until God was like, "No, our Church, I need you to rebuild our Church... I need to remind us what the Church is for...WHO the Church is for.  I need you to renounce your wealth and understand the stunning beauty that flows from serving OTHERS".

So he did.

And when we look at his life example, it challenges us to do better for our Church. It challenged a man from Argentina enough to take his name for his papacy and remind the world that it is Mercy Christ Seeks. It is a RELATIONSHIP, Christ desires.  It is a rebuilding, beginning first with our hearts so necessary today.

My mom is going on a 9 day pilgrimage next week with Father John Riccardo and Father Steve Mateja to Poland.  I was suppose to go with her, then the Lord reminded me I have four kids who are under the age of 6 and I can't leave anywhere for almost 10 days, probably for another two decades.  Anyway, she asked what my prayer intention would be and I begged her to pray my children will meet good friends. I have written about it before, but I believe the friends our children will meet, especially in 2016, will form them in a way I will never be able to. I pray all the time that my children meet good, holy and FUN friends.  The type of friends I met in the shadow of Franciscan University.

Friends like my girlfriends.  The five of us in college (Leah, Nona, Kellie, Amy and I) who had maybe a bit too much fun, but were always there to protect and love each other.

Or my girlfriend Bree, who I lived with post-college during a confusion, beautiful time.  She was Aaron and I's matchmaker.  She encouraged me to be confident and send him that text message saying. "Hey, I'm single"

Friends like my dear man friends.  Jay, the godfather of little Aaron.  Mike,  who is my ministry partner.  Eddie, who I don't see half as much as I should, or talk to barely ever, but reminded me that I was a beautiful women deserving of people in my life who would treat me as such.

Friends like Paul. Who has done more in the last two years for me interceding for my family in heaven, that I will ever be able to thank him for.  My friend Paul, who showed me what it is to be a saint as he took his last breath here on earth so unexpectedly.  My friend Paul, who I still cry out of missing on a weekly, if not daily basis, but of who I get to say ,'oh, my best friend is in heaven... and that's AWESOME'.

I know St. Francis watched us rebuild our little corner of the church through the friendships we have molded and the learning we have tried to continue to do.

I went with my Franciscan University girlfriends to visit Paul's grave last January.  It was hard, it was beautiful, we cried, we drank, we got annoyed with each other a couple times.  We drove in the car with all the windows down screaming early 2000 songs at the top of our lungs while the cold weather stung our skin.  And I was reminded of the gift St. Francis gave us.

Just this weekend, one of my dearest friends from college came through Michigan. Our family's got together.  GUYS! Our children played.  We met with my brother's family and saw the fun our children had together and the old spark of our university came though.
My Foze and I together again...

We fancy ourselves occasional bloggers

Three families... lots o' kids
I could go on and on.  The friendships I made from this school, my roommates, my radio dj partner, the people I would adventure with, the household that wasn't a household. Literally hundreds of people who have shaped me, under the watchful eye of Franciscan University and St. Francis.

My husband teases us about graduating from Franciscan.  He says he never hears about us doing anything radical like, 'Attending CLASS'.  He jokes that we all grew so much debt with a desire to go out into the world and 'hang out' (um, otherwise known as ministry).

He's wrong.

The intercession of St. Francis, a saint I have accidentally fallen in love with, has always been working overtime in my life, and has given me the type of gifts that I will never be able to repay and will only be able to pay forward.

St. Francis, Pray for us.  And pray for my children.

Saturday, October 1, 2016


About a month ago, an interracial couple was stabbed in Washington State.  They were just walking down the street, stopping to express affection when a mentally unstable racist ran at them stabbing them. When I heard the story, on the radio, I paused for a second.  What would we do?  What would we do if that was us?  My husband Aaron and I are out and about all the time. I am a person who likes to hold hands, grab the occasional kiss, stop for random hugs when I feel overwhelmed with gratefulness for my family.... what if that was us?  And I thought about blogging/making a status update/instagramming about that fear.  But then, I checked myself.

The thing is, there are jerks in the world.   And sure, we could end up being treated poorly at some point because we are two people of opposite races who happened to fall in love, got married, and had some adorable babies.  Perhaps we could run into jerks who call us names, throw things at us, threaten to harm us or our children... but the thing is, it's most likely not going to happen.  Because in real life?  Most people are awesome.

Most people smile when they see us.  I think  people of an older generation (parents age, not grandparents age) smile extra big, because they remember a time when mixed couples were rare, maybe even illegal .  We are treated kindly almost always, sometimes in an almost over the top way, especially when we are out in public. I know this happens to everyone with littles, but we are stopped, like a lot, to be told how cute our kids are, how well behaved they are, to be asked if any of them are twins (or triplets)...

Because in real life... most people are awesome.

Last year, about this time, we went to Mass at a church.  A woman treated us really poorly. Then a couple other people did too. I was mad.  I wrote a blog about how mad I was, and people commented about how mad they were that we were treated so poorly. I'm embarrassed to say, I don't think I ever followed up on that blog.  Followed up to tell you the pastor heard about the incident, and the next weekend wrote in his bulletin about what happened.  Wrote and told his parish that young families were welcome, he wrote he was embarrassed our family was treated poorly in his church.  That pastor didn't have to follow up, but he did, in a really big way.  And to be honest, a year later? I am kind of bummed I wrote the blog.  I'm bummed because even though I was upset about the experience, my personal reflection on it wasn't truthful.  I wasn't intentionally lying, it felt real at the time, but it wasn't painting the whole picture.

Because in real life... most people are awesome.

Most people when we go to church, smile at us.  Some giggle.  We see faces of older men/women who remember these days.  We see faces of other young families and share moments of solidarity.  My favorite part of Mass is when the boys do 'prayer hands' and we all walk up to receive Jesus.  One time, when Joey was 2 and had a full scale meltdown during a priest's homily, the priest joked that Joey would surely be a priest... because when the priest was 2, he used to have full scale meltdowns during Mass.  Last week, the main priest celebrant, while distributing the body of Christ, whispered to my boys how thankful he was we were there.

The thing is, seriously, in real life, most people are awesome.

I'm not trying to be Pollyanna about things. I know we have real, systematic problems. I know we have tensions, world issues, sin and hate in the world.  But I'm done pretending that most people aren't trying to be good, decent human beings.

This year, with all the racial tensions, flamed by leaders pandering to their constituents, for a hot second, I actually started to believe most people were pretty gross.  Our family had some events to go to, and as I'd watch the social media sound bytes of people we were suppose to be around, I would tell Aaron..."I don't think we should go to this thing, where this person will be, who said this about white people, or this about black people".  Aaron, thank God, would remind me how great these people are when we are around them.  Aaron, thank God, would remind me the things people say behind the protection of their computer, in a spur of emotion, doesn't reflect how they treat us/our family/and specifically our children in real life.  Of course, he was right.  The same people who sometimes say the most vile things, I can laugh with, joke with, smile with.  These same people smile at the smiles of my children, they are kind and good to me, even with my white skin, or Aaron, even with his dark skin.

Because, in real life, people are awesome.

I guess what I am saying, what I've been convicted of is we have to be so careful about the extremes we are using in social media (myself included).  We have to be intentional to not \participate in the problem.  We have to consider, "would I say this in real life, to the entirety of my social media circles?"- and if the answer is no, perhaps we shouldn't post it.

Lord knows I have a lot of work when it comes to this.  But when I look at the cluster we have on our hands in this election cycle, a cluster WE HAVE CHOSEN,it convicts me more than ever, we have to be responsible for our words.  We have to celebrate the amount of awesome in the world instead of pretend the majority of people operate in a way that creates division, hatred, fear, etc...

We have to say it over and over again...