Monthly Archives: February 2015

Anything special?

Tomorrow, I leave to visit two of my daughters, Katie and Brigid, who are studying, post-grad and undergrad, at Seattle University.

A friend asked, “Are you going for anything special or just for the weekend?”

“Oh, I’m going to rub Katie’s belly.” That’s all – to see my oldest daughter bursting with pregnancy  in her seventh-month fullness of motherhood, round, beautiful, and brimming with dreams.  To see Katie’s husband Bobby beam with joy over becoming a father. To see Brigid marvel at being the key babysitter for our beautiful new granddaughter.

Tim had business in Seattle last week, and when he hugged Katie good-bye, he felt the baby kick. I’m going to Seattle to feel that, to squat down and let the baby hear my voice, and to tell her that I love her .



As a runner, I love the preparation, the training, the process of being out there in the wind, rain, and cold.  When I recall marathons, images of twenty-milers, water breaks, blisters, weather, and soul searching conversations come to mind.  Life-long friendships began during long runs with the sharing of goals and dreams.

A few years ago, Father Kevin McCarthy asked me to give a talk to parents in St. Teresa’s GIFT (Growing in Faith Together) program about either Lent or Resurrection. It is no surprise that I chose Lent, and I was terrified. Who talks about Lent?

Memories from elementary school of giving up gum, candy, or pop – except on Sundays – came to mind. In high school, I gave up sweets and chocolate, with the hidden agenda of weight loss. But  Lent is more than giving up sugar or Starbucks, it is making a sacrificial commitment to change, so we can better serve the Lord.

A few years ago, Tim and I began a Lenten ritual of daily donating. There’s a box ready for tomorrow, and for each of the forty days, we will “give” something. We’ve discovered the morning joy of thinking, “What am I going to give today?” along with wondering, “Where did all this stuff come from?”

Miraculously, this custom has enabled me to move beyond the concrete – a sweater, jacket, scarf. Instead, I pray, “How am I going to give of myself today? What am I going to offer a struggling student? How am I going to help a co-worker feel validated and valuable? What can I really give today?” It’s amazing – I discovered that I can share the Light of Christ and His everlasting love. Because He has given it to me.

The Wand.

Last week, while at conference in Orlando, I observed families joyfully journeying to the land of magic – where dreams come true.  In 1993, Tim and I took Katie, Bethy, and Brendan to Disney World.  I was seven months pregnant with Brigid, and we opted to go because the children were at such easy ages.  At age six, Katie was a trooper, walking all day along side the strollers where Bethy, age five, and Brendan, nearly three, relaxed and wondrously took in the sights. Echoes of “It’s a Small World” and sensations of swooping through the Peter Pan ride permeate my thoughts when I recall that trip. In each shop, Katie marveled at the long,  translucent tubes of the Tinker Bell wands as they sparkled on the displays. She’d finger the purple, pink and silver ribbons, smile, and quietly ask if she could have a wand. Ever practical, often overly frugal  and envisioning a crushed $25.00 trinket in the suitcase, I repeatedly said, “No.”

Ten years later, we returned to Disney World with all five kids, and I remembered Katie’s request. I asked her about it, and at sixteen, she tilted her head, smiled and sweetly replied, “I just thought you didn’t want me to fly.”

I did buy Katie one of Tinker Bell’s magical treasures that day, but when I gave it to her, I realized it was too late. The magic was gone.

Now I know why grandparents are so grateful. They get another chance.


I look at my cell, see it’s a call from Brendan in LA, and immediately smile, inside and out.

“What’s new, Mom?” He asks with genuine interest making me feel like my life is filled with wonder and excitement.

“Well, Brendan, you won’t believe it. This morning, I did a headstand in yoga. I’ve always been afraid I would fall on my head.”

“Mom, I think it’s really admirable that you would pick up a new hobby at your age.”

True Tenacity.

Watson doesn’t care that we can’t get out of our driveway. He doesn’t care that piercing winds threaten to toss the deck furniture. He doesn’t care that today’s snow accumulation may break records. He doesn’t care that we want to relax, sit by the fire, and read our books. He doesn’t care that Thomas Merton is changing my life. He waits patiently on high alert – ready to leap, explore, and discover –  faithful that his orange sphere will soar out the sliding doors and into the woods. I suddenly glean the etymology of “doggedness” – persistence, resolve, commitment. Some students need to take lessons from this energetic bundle of curiosity. I might just see if some want to take him out to play.


Find your wilderness.

According to Susan Cain in her TED Talk: The Power of Introverts, we must take time to remove ourselves from the chaos of our lives and make time for creativity and reflection. She argues that like great philosophers, we need to “find our wilderness.” Today in Valparaiso, IN, it’s very easy to do: step outside.