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

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Grateful Heart

Only on a ND-sponsored trip do you stay in an Irish inn and pub...

I want to hang a sign like this up in my classroom...

The past few days in Milwaukee were truly wonderful. We spent time visiting a handful of high-performing schools that have truly created cultures of joy.

what I tell my students - minus the Aaron Rodgers part

Lots of focus on college...couldn't find USF though...

This reminded me I'm so torn for the upcoming football game...

The trip was a life-giving in terms of all of the amazing things and people we saw, and it was life-giving for another reason too - I spent quality time with some of my Remick classmates, and I also ran into some other familiar faces (from the ol' ACE days) who I wasn't expecting. It was a lovely surprise!

Lakefront Brewery tour - Remick leaders & instructors

the first ones to the inn!

selfie with Fr. Nate

PLC 1 excitement - can't stop this

ACE 15 :)

When I count my blessings, I count ACE twice...no, make that more like two hundred times. It's the program that keeps on giving, and I get to keep learning. I don't know exactly what the future will hold for Catholic education (or my life in general, let's be real), but I am excited to play my part here in Chicago.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

We're back...

When you're sitting in class for grad school and thinking about all of the amazing ACE grads (and supporters of Catholic education) in Chicago, you can't help but realize you need to do something.

At least, that's what I thought.

And now we are officially kicking off our ACE Advocates Chicago group (after a hiatus). We've only met as a leadership team so far, but with the energy and ideas, I have faith we'll accomplish a lot this year in terms of building (intentional) community and helping out the local ACErs.

There's something to be said for energy and faith behind a group or cause - what I've experienced so far just from our first meeting is tangible...and its infectious. (I think we can attribute some of this to the Holy Spirit.) We're a great group, if I do say so myself, ranging in representation from ACE 15 to ACE 20, and we also have Remick 14 & 15s. Woo hoo!

Some people think we're crazy, adding another "thing to do" onto an ever-growing "to do" list, but this is truly something different. Yes, it's going to take time and effort, but I believe our efforts will bear much fruit. I honestly cannot wait to see where this year leads.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Irish eyes are smiling...even though we lost

Beautiful weather, dear friends and classmates, and a close game made for a picture-perfect game day in South Bend on Saturday. It was truly the luck of the Irish that my friend had an extra ticket so that I could take a break from the daily Chicago grind and enjoy some football...

There were some changes to the stadium (and to the ticket itself) - it was fun to see the updates!

And some views never change - we could see "Touchdown Jesus" from our seats one row from the top of the North end zone!

Hungry? Ben's Pretzels is the ONLY way to go. At least, that's our humble opinion...

And what would the game be without the band?? They sounded and looked as good as ever...

In fact, during halftime, they played "Wagonwheel," where they formed into a horse and carriage. They moved across the field, wheels spinning and everything!

It was a late night to make the drive back after the game, but it was good to sleep in my own bed. I didn't get a chance to do much this morning before getting ready for my sister's school's opening Mass and celebration, which is always a good time.

Needless to say, right now I am operating on nearly empty so I think I'll be hitting the hay momentarily. Lots going on this week, especially on the volleyball court for my 8th grade girls team. Busy as always...but that's the way I operate...

Monday, September 4, 2017

And all that jazz

Come on, babe, why don't we paint the town,
and all that jazz?...

Can't you just hear the chorus of "Chicago" in your head?

Well, it wasn't quite that jazz scene this weekend at Millennium Park, but we did hear some good tunes on Sunday at the Chicago Jazz Festival, and we took delight in watching the small corner of the room with people swing dancing and having a good old time... It was a nice break and a good excuse to get out of my apartment for awhile.

What do you mean, you don't like jazz? (La La Land)

I see what you did there...

This Labor Day weekend hasn't been anything extraordinary; in fact, it's actually been filled with both school work AND grad school work for me. But it'll be nice to go into this school week prepared (and maybe just a little ahead of the game) with only four days of school till Friday at 3:30pm. (Plus, there is plenty to look forward to for next weekend - a fun race AND the ND - GA game in South Bend - woo hoo!)

Hello September! It's full speed ahead...

Monday, August 28, 2017

From middle school to...middle school?

Some photos are just always awkward... 

Photos like ones before a middle school Girl Scout father daughter dance when your mom must have insisted on a prom-like stance...or your annual yearbook photo. (Yes, even as a teacher I still have to get one done each year - crazy...)

Case in point - though, thankfully, this time my yearbook photo isn't as awkward as years gone by:

It makes me laugh to think about how I got to where I am because, let's face it, teaching middle school was never on my radar as far as I can recall. (Who wants to teach hormonal teenagers and preteens?) I fall flat on my face (metaphorically speaking) every single day. I sometimes feel like I can never get things done because chances are someone will get a bloody nose, or fall out of a chair, or feel the need to comment on everything anyone else says, or make faces to get a classmate to laugh. (Yes, all of these happen more frequently than you might expect.)

And yet, they get my corny humor. They have real and deep conversations about their faith (even though there are often 50 superficial ones in between). They ask amazing questions. And, for the most part, they work really hard.

I love them - every. single. one. of. them, quirks and all. Middle school is an awkward time, let's face it, embrace it, and shoot for the best year yet!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Wedding Bells

Wedding bells rang for two of the most wonderful people this weekend...so glad we had a chance to be a part of it!

Love, love, love!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Year 10 - At it Again (A Poem)

Wouldn't you know it,
I'm at it again.
It doesn't seem easier
even though it's year 10.

Butterflies in my stomach
a lump in my throat;
teachers running between meetings -
we're in the same boat.

Class lists to analyze,
supplies to unpack,
new names to memorize,
routines to bring back.

It's all get to know you
and procedures, week one.
Then the year's off and running -
The work never seems done.

The grading, the planning,
and the stress never end.
But it's not just a job -
it's a vocation, my friend.

It's a joy and a challenge
all rolled up in one.
And each day is different,
Just breathe, have some fun.

Bonus! ;) 
Preliminary Photos: