I have come to fall in love with teaching in Catholic schools. What are YOU in love with?...

"Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything." - Pedro Arrupe

Friday, July 20, 2018

Love Lives On

"Life has to end. Love doesn't."
(The Five People You Meet in Heaven)

"Death ends a life, not a relationship." 
(Tuesdays with Morrie)

"When someone is in your heart, they're never truly gone." 
(Tuesdays with Morrie)

There tends to be a theme (and quite a bit of wisdom) in Mitch Albom's novels...perhaps that's why I find myself drawn to them so much.

It's been hard not to think of his books recently in light of a few things...

First, I literally just finished re-reading The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and I pre-ordered the sequel coming out this fall. Without giving too much away, the main character, Eddie, goes to heaven and meets five people who help him look back on his life and make sense of it. It is such a great reminder of how each life affects so many other lives. (In that sense, it's similar to "It's a Wonderful Life," but I digress...)

Second, with my sister's wedding coming up (and with my graduation from grad school having just passed), it's hard to celebrate such momentous occasions without any of our grandparents who played such meaningful roles in our lives growing up. I know they would be beaming with pride and joy.

Third, after I got back from my roadtrip out west, my dad called with the news that my great aunt (Marg, the Great) had passed away. I took the news harder than I expected, and when her birthday card was returned in the mail unopened and with the words "no longer lives at this address" scrawled on the envelope, I realized that in all of the times I had gone to see her, I had taken it for granted that there would always be one more time...but there wasn't.

No one seems to like to talk about death. It's scary to think about one's own mortality or the mortality of people you love. But without recognizing that, I think we leave a lot of things unsaid, a lot of phone calls unmade, a lot of visits made grudgingly. And it seems that every time we may learn this lesson, we put it to the side, and we have to learn it all over again the next time. (At least, that's been the case for me.)

The good thing in all of this, though, is that my family is pretty good at telling stories - "Remember that time when grandma..." or "Your grandfather always said..." And so, they live on.

Love lives on.

Sorry to seem like such a downer today - it's just something that's been on my mind. To end on a happier note, though...

My sister came to see my new school (and to help me lug some boxes of books and such up the stairs to my office)...and to make her first trip to The Original Rainbow Cone.

Later in the evening, we joined up with her fiance and some other friends to see "Waitress," which is playing downtown till Sunday. Funny and full of energy, I highly enjoyed it. (It was definitely a good call to watch the movie (non-musical) and jam out to the music (Sara Bareillis!) beforehand.)

Finally, since grad school is officially over, I have had time to stop and smell the flowers. It's good to get some breathing time before the final preparations for my sister's wedding...

Monday, July 16, 2018

I get by with a little help from my friends...

Back home (in my apartment with no air conditioning), I can finally breathe and let the past 25 months (or 3 years, same difference, right?) sink in. I won't shy away from the fact that it was challenging, but I wouldn't trade the experience for the world.

And, in addition to God, my classmates, professors, and family are the ones to thank for that...

PLC 1: Always remember to PLC like a champion today...and never follow Phil.

We just weren't complete the first week...

My prayer partner:

My roommate (3 summers running...):

My ACE housemate (now in the program one year behind me):

Our amazing Holy Cross priests:

annual t-shirt unveiling

My 29 classmates:

Room 210 for presentation day - love these guys!

ACE 15, now RLP 15 :) :)

all graduated!! :D

My family:

Now it is time to look forward to what the future holds...may God bless all of us as we continue our endeavors as Catholic school educators and leaders!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Week One - Over So Soon...?

So much to be grateful for after the first week of this, our very short 2-week summer. Graduation will shortly be upon us, and there is much to celebrate.

Here is a look back at week 1...

We opened with retreat last Saturday over at Moreau seminary. It's such a beautiful space, especially the chapel, where we gathered for prayer and Mass. I was blest with the opportunity to share a talk/reflection with my classmates, and it turns out that helped me process a lot of these last two years and the journey I've/we've taken.

At the end of retreat, we got our annual t-shirts - this year ours are Kelly Green and say "Remick Leaders."

me and my roommate

me and my prayer partner

Cohort 15 (minus two of us)

the whole crew - Cohorts 15, 16, and 17

PLC 1...minus Jess (who is at home with a newborn)

We ended the day with a progressive dinner. Here's a photo from our first course - the salad! Table 7 - woo hoo!!

When it comes down to it, the people are what make this place and program special...

Remick 15 Chicago

some of Cohort 15 celebrating after week 1

some of my favorite ladies celebrating the 4th of July

Did I mention how much I love sparklers?

And then, of course, there's the Grotto...which is absolutely beautiful and peaceful by day or by night...

And there are plenty of sunsets over the lake...

After so many years at Notre Dame in the summers, it's going to be hard to say goodbye. I have been blessed to know, work, and be in classes with so many incredible individuals. But we've reached the final countdown...and it's going to be time to be sent forth, filled with zeal and courage, love and hope. 

Love thee, Notre Dame. Love thee, Remick 15.