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

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Many Faces of PLC 1...

We are #1 for a reason...

These are the many faces of PLC 1:

having dinner with our fearless leader/executive coach

sporting our red hats while working on our group project

finishing Day 1 of Deep Practice

repping RLP 15 (and leading with zeal)

successfully completing our grant proposal presentation

celebrating at the bar

being silly at the bar

enjoying the company of the ladies of PLC 1

hugging it out

Most of my Facebook posts would lead anyone to notice how special these four people are in my life, especially on my journey through grad school. They keep me grounded, they push me to be my best, and they realize the value of our team. From crying in frustration to laughing uncontrollably from the boys' NY accents, we had quite a time this summer. We're looking forward to the school year ahead...

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Be the light...or be the mirror that reflects it

"There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it."

The lights in our classroom were turned off as we stood in a semi circle around our desks and chairs on Thursday morning. It had already started out as a beautiful day (despite the rain) because we were given a gift of starting class at 9 instead of 8, which meant sleeping in and, perhaps more importantly, getting real (as opposed to the dining hall's) coffee. So, there we were in our semicircle, each one of us holding a small candle on which we had written words to describe what fuels us and gives us joy and peace.

Kaitlyn, that day's prayer leader, turned to the person next to her and shared out to the whole group about how that person brings light in our RLP community. Then, around the whole circle, one at a time, we followed suit - first receiving the light from the person passing it to us and then passing it on to the next person. We were more than likely breaking a fire code - don't tell any higher ups at ND! - but it was absolutely beautiful. It reminded us that even in darkness and hard times, there are "candles" all around us to give us light and, in turn, for us to reach out to and provide light as well.

So, what has lit my fire this summer? Well, the beautiful sights around campus surely have given me joy and peace: the lakes, the Grotto, the quads...

My RLP classmates, especially my PLC (professional learning community) have helped me overcome feelings of inadequacy and doubt this summer as well as brought me countless smiles and laughter. And I've also been fortunate to visit with some friends who visited ND throughout the summer...

PLC 1 rocking our red hats - we were inducted into the red hat brigade!

I have found inspiration through the prayers my classmates have shared each day to start our classes, as well as songs at Mass (especially Gospel Mass!)...

It's hard to believe this summer's classes are coming to a close on Thursday. We will all go our separate ways, carrying our candles to our school communities. We have a great task ahead (and more coursework!), but we are not alone. Amen to that.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Ripple Effect

Tucked below the Basilica is a replica of the Grotto in Lourdes, France. Visitors and students alike frequent this spot to pray under the gaze of Mary, the Immaculate Conception, and to offer up intentions by lighting a candle. And facing away from the Grotto, if you walk up the flower-lined path, are two small lakes, each surrounded by a shaded running/walking path and brimming with wildlife (mostly geese, ducks, and rabbits).

One day, after having dinner off-campus with a friend, I (stupidly) decided to go for a run. (I say stupidly because I was extremely full from the delicious Mediterranean food I had just scarfed down less than an hour prior.) But run -well, it was more of an uncomfortable jog - I did. After covering ground around the perimeter of the campus, I found myself by St. Joseph's Lake. At this point, I decided it would be in my best interest if I slowed to a walk. I came up to a break in the bushes and trees, where I was facing the Holy Cross seminary. I stepped off the path towards the water. Right at the edge, instead of grass or dirt, were pebbles. Without thinking I picked up a pebble and lobbed it into the lake. When it hit, it did what we often visualize pebbles doing: it made a ring of ripples.

I am not sure why this struck me, as I have seen ripples in a pond before, but I think it was because I've had some doubts this summer. With so many things to remember and so much content to pack into our brains, it becomes overwhelming in the sense that, in the face of it all, it makes me feel like I'll never be able to balance everything as a school leader. It's easy to feel like I'm not cut out for this after all.

But then, I saw the ripples from one small pebble. I saw how far they reached, and I thought about all of the people I am able to touch in this program alone. And I know it makes a difference. When we collaborate and learn from one another in class, we all become better at what we do, even if we don't realize any one person's contributions aside from the group as a whole. I thought also about my students and my colleagues - we're all pebbles sending out ripples, affecting the lives (hopefully for the better!) of all we meet and with whom we interact.

As I walked over to the Grotto after my pebble enlightenment, I said a prayer of gratitude to Mary, thanking her for the opportunity to physically remind myself of our roles as Catholic leaders and educators. We don't always realize it, but the ripples are there...

Sunday, July 9, 2017

ACE Phoenix (partial) reunion!

One (4 day) week down for grad school this summer.

With a 3 day weekend, it did leave some time for relaxation today (after working pretty diligently on Friday and Saturday).

What did I do?

I'm so glad you asked! It turned out to be an amazing day - one of my ACE housemates from Phoenix is in the leadership cohort below me, so he and I went to the dunes to meet up with two other ACE housemates from Phoenix who were on their way back from a family vacation in Michigan with their two kids. REUNION!

(Yes, I definitely repped the ACE shirt.)

Such fun. Laughs and updates, sunshine and splashes in the lake. Feeling rejuvenated. Here we go for week 2...

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Unwrapping a Gift

Every day is a gift.

When we get out of bed (and throughout the entire day), we have a choice - do we unwrap it and smile, thinking 'How can I best make use of this today?',


do we unwrap it and toss it to the side, thinking 'This is NOT what I wanted!'...?

I don't know about you, but I want to be the former. God has given us this beautiful world, and even in tough circumstances - because we know everyone is fighting his/her own battles and demons - He wants us to enjoy it and share His love with everyone with whom we interact.

Happy (daily) unwrapping...