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

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Best Nine 2016

Apparently there is something called "Best Nine 2016" for Instagram users going on right now. As I do not have Instagram, I figured I'd give a nod on this blog by posting my "Best Nine" blog posts of 2016.

 Note, these are not in a particular order, nor were they chosen based on views/popularity/etc. I chose them because I think they best reflect my 2016 calendar year.

1. It Only Took a Moment (January 25, 2016)
2. You Never Know (February 7, 2016)
3. Growing in God's Mercy (February 28, 2016)
4. What's With the Paper Clips? (April 28, 2016)
5. Calling All Catholic School Teachers and Youth Ministers (May 8, 2016)
6. Let Them Go (June 5, 2016)
7. Five Lessons from Summer Studies (July 25, 2016)
8. A Simple Poem for My Ninth Year (August 18, 2016)
9. The Art of Pumpkin Carving (October 22, 2016)

And there you have it. (The fact that I had a significantly small total of blog posts this year did help me narrow down my "top" ones quite nicely. What can I say? Maybe I just don't have that much to say these days...or maybe I'm saying it in other ways.)

Happy New Year - Cheers to 2017!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

You can call it wonderful...

Those who know me well (or even somewhat well) know that "It's a Wonderful Life" is my favorite movie (and definitely favorite Christmas movie) of all-time. It gets me every time Harry Bailey says, "A toast to my big brother, George, the richest man in town" and everyone bursts into "Auld Lang Syne." Pass the tissues, please.

I'll admit that as I learned more about the Catholic faith, the whole idea of Clarence being an angel did irk me (considering that after we die we believe in becoming Saints, not angels who are separately created beings), but I don't hold that against this movie because I think the message it sends is so very important...and, I mean, who doesn't think of Zuzu's classic line about the ringing bell meaning an angel just made it (wing-wise)?...

"You see, George, you've really had a wonderful life. Don't you see what a mistake it would be to throw it away?"

Wabam! You tell him, Clarence.

This whole idea of being able to realize, first, that each person's life affects others and, second, that each life affects others to both small and large extents that we may never fully realize or understand. It's quite incredible and humbling, all at the same time.

"Comparison is the thief of joy." Ever heard that one? In the age of instant gratification and social media, it's easy to get caught up in what appears to be important and popular when, instead, we should be focusing on that which can't be measured by likes or swipes. Each person's life is, in fact, wonderful, not by comparison to anyone else (for in that it loses its wonderfulness - the grass is always greener, you know?), but just on its own, this "one wild and precious life" (Mary Oliver).

So, thank you George Bailey and Clarence for the reminder that comes (at least to my house) every Christmas - mine (and yours) truly is a wonderful life.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Magic of Some Good Old Christmas Fun

24 Christmas carols
15 young adults from church
a couple dozen nursing home residents
1 piano player
hundreds of homemade/store-bought cookies
loads of smiles and laughter

I love the holidays - snow or no snow (although, we are currently getting hit pretty hard), it's a magical time of year.

This morning I had the privilege to drive out to a Catholic nursing home in the city for a delightful visit, which was centered around the singing of Christmas carols. While we were not always in tune, we did keep smiles on our faces and twinkles in our eyes. The residents were so welcoming and grateful - it was really neat to meet them and sing for/with them. (We even got a special request for "Feliz Navidad.")

O Little Town of Bethlehem...Little Drummer Boy...Jingle Bell Rock...Silent Night...We Wish You a Merry Christmas... all the classics.

I cannot think of a better way to have spent the morning. And soon it's off to my sister's holiday party. I'm book-ending my day with incredible friends and fun.

So grateful. So joy-filled. So hopeful. All things Advent should be...