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A New Attitude

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As any of my friends can tell you, I have not been a lover of the Lenten Season – I kind of felt like the above picture of one of our students – …do I really have to do this?…is this really fun and good for me? I love Advent, I rejoice in Easter, and I relax in the rhythm of Ordinary Time, but Lent just never really did it for me. I did not like that I felt this way, but I did not put any effort into changing this attitude and I was very good at coming up with excuses about why I did not have to “do” Lent.

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In February I decided this was going to change – I felt this inner nudge that I needed Lent (maybe it was really me who decided?) Tired, weary, and feeling a little disconnected from my faith, I found myself craving this season that gently invites me to return in a very intentional way. However, I was feeling stress over what to “do” for fasting, almsgiving and prayer. I decided to tell God that if He wanted me to “do”something, he better give me some hints, direction, suggestions.

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Guess what? He responded in a very clear message! His response: take a specific time each day for quiet, prayer, and reflection. To help me with this, I am listening to Matthew Kelly’s “The Best Lent Ever”and writing in my journal. Another part of the message was to fast from television and aimless scrolling through my devices – so I have decided to do that on Wednesday’s. Finally, and what I am most excited to do, is to walk around my neighborhood and pick up trash that is laying around from all the windy days we have had this winter. – ask and you shall receive!!

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This Lent I am trying to stand still and be astonished by the beauty of creation, the gifts I receive each day, and the blessings that are endless and make me smile. May we all learn to see and may we move towards that which brings us true life and happiness. Go Warriors!

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The Junk Drawer

Although I consider myself to be pretty neat and organized and believe that everything has a place – some close to me would say crazy obsessed with neatness and organization – I do admit to having a drawer that I throw in all the stuff I am not sure how to organize or do not know where the correct place is for that “stuff”. Over time, this drawer can get full and packed with mementos, pictures, cards, opened packs of gum, chip clips,phone chargers, rubber bands – you get the idea.


When I can’t take it anymore – usually when I can’t open and close the drawer – I sift through the drawer and usually end up getting rid of most of the contents – only to begin a new cycle of filling it up. One recent drawer purge caused me to stop and reflect. As I was looking through all my drawer treasures, I found, from previous drawer purges, a few notes from a few very good friends – notes that I just can’t get rid of – notes that I don’t look at every day, but when I do, they make me smile, inspire me, and encourage me to be a better person.


What treasures are in your junk drawer/s? Do you have something in there that you just can’t get rid of – a family heirloom, an old key to your first car or house, something that inspires you, makes you know you are loved, helps you to grow, challenges you, lets you take a walk down memory lane? Give yourself some time to rummage through your drawer and see what you find! Happy hunting and remembering. Go Warriors!

Saying Good-bye


I just returned from Deacon Larry’s funeral – a man who served St. Patrick Parish for almost 30 years. He touched many, many people through celebrating baptisms and weddings, visiting the sick, and praying with families.

This morning I looked around the full church and noticed how many present students and their families, as well as alums and their families, were in attendance. The sight of the strong Warrior community and nation brought me to tears – not that bringing me to tears is hard to do – I cry at every episode of This Is Us and will cry at a great interview after a big Notre Dame win – but seeing the love, the loyalty, and the strong faith connection of our school community was moving.


As I reflected on this show of love and support, I felt proud to be a part of this wonderful, prayerful, and faith-filled community. It is at times like these that we need each other – that we count on the witness of others – to find strength and to feel support in our grieving.

We do not, however, end is sorrow and sadness. We implore our faith community to help us focus upon the words of Jesus:  I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Fr. Redcay told us in the homily that when Deacon Larry was ordained, the Cardinal handed him the Book of the Gospels and said: “Believe what you read, Teach what you believe, and Practice what you teach.” We ask Deacon Larry to help us follow his example and do the same  – to Believe, Teach, and Practice – to visit the sick, care for each other, and continue to pray as a faith community.

Deacon Larry, pray for us and help us to be strong messengers of the Gospel by our words and actions.


3 Words


For the past 3 years, a good friend of mine – shout out to Kay – challenged me to think of 3 words to focus on during the year instead of making New Year’s resolutions. My 3 words for this year are Prayer, Pace, and Party. 


Pace – This is a carry over from my Advent focus. I really tried to be mindful about slowing down my pace (not my running pace because that is slow enough!) – especially my inner pace – so that I could enjoy and be present to the moment. While I have been working on this since Advent, I am nowhere near close to being good at it – it is hard work to slow down my mind and feet in order to be able to appreciate and drink in the moment.


Prayer – I want/need to give more time to be present, to reflect, to listen, to read the Gospels and learn more about the message of Jesus Christ. Hopefully this will allow me to share and be The Message to all those with whom I come in contact.


Party – I love to have fun, laugh, joke around, tell stories, and have a great time. I want to make sure I take time enjoy my friends, family, co-workers, students – to know that these moments are a gift – to be able to treasure them and not take them for granted. Part of this party theme to continuing to work on my bucket list – the more I cross off, the more I add to the list – adventure – fun – party!

What are your three words?





A Baby Changed Everything


The presents have been opened and put away, stockings have been emptied, trees and decorations have been taken down, and we have eaten more cookies and treats than we care to admit. So, I find myself asking, “what am I going to do for the rest of this year about this Baby Jesus who came into the world – who came to save us – who came to change our lives and our hearts?” How am I going to use his messages of joy, peace, forgiveness, presence, and healing in my daily life? How am I going to bring this message to all with whom I meet? And, how am I going to remember these messages when life gets tough, when I am sad, when pain and suffering come into my life?


I think part of the answer is reminding myself that this Baby Jesus came to save me – he came to comfort and guide me, he came to listen and be part of my life, and he came to call me to be in a closer and deeper relationship with him.


This baby Jesus is challenging us to be nice – to share his love – to treat others the way we want to be treated – to be a good friend – to take time to pray, to be quiet and listen – to be present to the Presence.


Let us allow this Baby Jesus to come into our lives each day – let us pray to be aware of his presence, because, a Baby Can Change Everything.





Slowing the Pace


Before this Advent Season began, I tried to make a plan – I wanted to be more aware, calmer and focused on the Season and the preparation for Jesus – I wanted to have a much slower pace – this has been happening in my running without me planning it! – but I wanted this slower pace in my spiritual life during this Advent Season.

This is one of my favorite times of the year – not the Christmas part, but the preparing part – the being alert to the Christmas story – to imagining what Mary was feeling – to wonder how John the Baptist made it as far as he did when he lived such an austere and crazy life. I often wonder what was going through Joseph’s mind and heart – what were the neighbors saying? – and why did Mary feel compelled to make that long trip to be with Elizabeth, a woman of wisdom and support for her. What did they talk about during the 3 months they were together? This Season gives me time to pray and reflect on these questions and more – if I slow down my pace and take the time to be quiet and listen.


I love this Advent Season as we prepare for Christmas love. I can’t help but get a smile on my face as I think about the sights, the smells, the sounds, and the songs of preparation. And I know exactly what I want out of Christmas. Very simply, I want to feel joy and peace with the people that I love – to enjoy their laughs, their stories, and their smiles.

It really is not that complicated, but still I manage to over complicate this every single year. I get caught up on when are we going to do the cookies, decorate the house, buy the tree? When am I going to write my cards? When am I going to wrap my presents?

This year I am consciously trying to take a deep breath because when I slow down, I realize that this wonderful Season of Advent is speaking to me – telling me to prepare, to listen – to relive the stories of Joseph, Mary, Elizabeth, and John the Baptist – to make ready my heart for the coming of Jesus. Happy Advent!



Ending Long Distance

img_2035How do you know when it is time to stop? As I move deeper into my 50’s, I wonder how/when I will know when it is time to move on, to cut back, to change up my running program?

Running has been a part of my life for a long time. I am a morning runner – most of the time during the early morning dark hours. Running helps me stay healthy, process different situations, sweat out anxiety and worry, and solve problems. I have seen countless gorgeous sunrises as well as millions of bright stars and stunning full moons descending to the other side of the world.

I recently trained for and completed my 15th half marathon, the Trenton Half Marathon. I have also completed 2 full marathons – The Shamrock in Virginia Beach and the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC. While I was training fort his recent half, I realized that it was harder, that it took much longer for my body to heal, that I was sorer and stiffer and that I was taking more Advil than I ever have. I decided that it was going to be my last long distance run.


The fun part of the training and what kept me motivated was that I was going to do this run with one of my sisters, Sue, and two of my nieces, Grace Ann and Ellie. Another niece, Coleen, was running a half marathon in Greenville, SC on the same day. Also, this run was taking place in my home state of New Jersey, although it did cross over the Delaware River into Pennsylvania.


I am not retiring from running – I am not ready to give up all the benefits that it gives to me – especially a good sweat, but I am going to dial it down. I am really happy running 4-7 miles and so are my knees and the rest of my joints and muscles. So, I pass on the long distance running torch to my much younger nieces and nephews – have at it – enjoy nature, enjoy the healthy feeling, enjoy having some time to yourself, enjoy challenging yourselves, and mostly, enjoy a really good sweat!

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