Today, Pope Benedict XVI steps down from active ministry.  This is my response.  It is the longest and most honest blog post I have ever written.  Thank you for reading it.


On Monday, February 11, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would resign from his active ministry at the end of the month.

This news was met with waves of emotion from across the world.  I was woken at 6:00am by a text from an aunt announcing the news.  By the time I fully awoke for the day, I had heard from several others.  The first of the blog reactions were already posted.  I read messages of shock, confusion, sadness, abandonment and tremulous hope from the faithful.  The Church’s opponents were just as loud in their anger, glee and distrust.  The sheer weight of the world’s reaction caught me by complete surprise.

I myself felt only a profound relief.

It was a week to the day since I had resigned from my own position in ministry.

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Theme Thursday: Happiness/Joy

It’s been way too long since I published a real writing post up here, but rest assured I am working on a real doozy of one for soon.  It’s the most honest thing I have written for a while, and I need just a little breather for a moment (EDIT: It’s finished.  Please read it.).

Thanks to Cari for continuing to host this linkup over at Clan Donaldson!

When I saw this week’s theme, I knew that this was going to have to be the week I broke my streak of people-less pics.  Thank goodness that this was the weekend I was going to see my friend Craig, who is one of the first people I think of with the prompt “joy”.  I even got to see him at one of my favorite places!

So here is Craig, as taken this weekend.

February 020

And here is a photo I didn’t take of one of the happiest nights from my college career.  The half smile Craig is wearing in the above photo just doesn’t quite do him justice.  So, I present: Joy & Attitude.

It was a costumed event called the "Decade Dance".  These are portrayals of two very different experiences of the 70s.

It was a costumed event called the “Decade Dance”. Yes, that’s me in the middle.

7 Quick Takes: QUICK


I’m linking up with Conversion Diary again for 7 Quick Takes, and this week the emphasis is on quick.  Let’s see if I can get them all done before the pizza is out of the oven!


It’s been a lovely, music-filled week.  My favorite band, Carbon Leaf, released their new album on Tuesday, and I love it.  I have been playing it on repeat.  One song flows into another and before you know it, the album is halfway through.  It’s been the soundtrack to my running, and you really should go give it a listen.

Really, you should give anything Carbon Leaf a listen.  And, right now, they are giving away an 18 song sampler album at Noise Trade.  Go check it out!  It’s free music!  And then if you like them, you can go buy more.


I mentioned that I was running this week, yes?  Well, I’m going to be part of a marathon relay team in May.  This will merit its own post a bit later in the week, but for now, click this link and see a bit more about it.


It snowed today, significantly.  As a result, I am thankful about two aspects of apartment life: the indoor workout room with multiple treadmills, and whichever neighbor it was who cleared most of the snow off of my car.  Thank you!


While digging through some of my Pittsburgh albums for yesterday’s Theme Thursday post, I found one of my favorites.  This didn’t fit the architecture theme, but I wanted to share it anyway.  So here it is today.

PULSE Orientation 054

The three ladies are friends of mine.  The gentleman is the security guard we met about 30 seconds after this picture was taken.


I heard this song for the first time yesterday, and I have already determined that I’m going to be playing it out for all that it’s worth.


And now it’s time for pizza!  Happy Friday, everyone.

Theme Thursday: Architecture

It was a weird week, and a weird day, and so, here it is at 11:35, my contribution to the Theme Thursday linkup at Clan Donaldson.

I snapped this picture of the assorted architecture of Marquette’s campus after 11:30 Mass there this weekend, intending to go back up to the city and get something proper done later.

Marquette, from behind

Marquette, from behind

That never happened.  So I hope that you enjoy this one!  I think there is a little too much blue sky in the picture, but I’m still pretty okay with it.

But I’m going to throw in a few older pictures from my time in Pittsburgh, just because I find them to be way more interesting (and pretty).

PULSE O love


PULSE Orientation 041 Downtown Seminar 017 PULSE Orientation 137 Spring Break 039PULSE Orientation 052 PULSE Orientation 043

7 Quick Takes: Feast/Fast

Once again, I’m joining Jen.

(Rhyming make my life happier.  So do all of the 7 Quick Takes at Conversion Diary. So do readers who make it through my especially long quick takes.  Sorry for that.)


Does anyone else have whiplash from this week?  I take my Mardi Gras & Paczki Day celebrations seriously, so Tuesday saw me eating delicious, fatty, sugary fruit-filled pastries and juicy hamburgers.  Well… one of each.  I’m kind of a lightweight.  But there was definitely junk food and definitely meat.  Party!

And then there was Ash Wednesday, and there wasn’t very much food at all.  With the start of Lent, I say goodbye to meat until Easter.  I might not be totally abstaining from it this year, but I will not be seeing much of it.

But then it was Thursday, St. Valentine’s Day!  I love Valentine’s Day, because I love lots of people.  I think we as a human race can always use an excuse to tell the people in our lives how much we value them.  So, for me, Valentine’s Day is not just about romance, but about family & friendship & the strangers you meet on the street & yourself.  So I celebrated in a variety of ways all week.

Now, it’s a Friday in Lent.  Like I said… this week gives me whiplash.


I feel like that first take really works as two (you know, one take for feast & one for fast), so I’m skipping this one.


next step- the zipper! *cue dramatic music*

next step- the zipper! *cue dramatic music*

I had planned to finish my dress in time to wear to my Valentine’s activities on Thursday night.  Then I ran out of thread.

So here’s another picture of a partly finished dress.  All it’s missing now is a zipper and a hem.  I’m a little nervous about the zipper, because more than one person with way more sewing experience than I laughed nervously when I told them that my “very easy” pattern had a zipper.

I have been warned to follow the directions very exactly and not to take any shortcuts even if someone else or the pattern itself tells me that it’s an option.

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My boyfriend and I did spend some time yesterday devoted just to our relationship, and he did get me a real gift: an ironing board.

This sounds awful, in fact, so awful that he asked some of his female friends in advance if I would be legally obligated to beat him for getting me a household tool for Valentine’s Day.

What makes it actually delightful is the fact that the ironing board I have now is about 18 inches long, 3 inches high and barely padded.  It makes my sewing projects a literal pain as I hunch over it, ironing yards and yards of fabric, pressing seams & redoing it all 15 minutes later.  I had been complaining, and so my boyfriend got me a nicer one in order to help along my creative endeavors.

An ironing board to sew fun dresses is much nicer than an ironing board to do laundry.

Plus it has polka dots, which is just really cool.


Of course, my boyfriend also got me a bouquet of tulips, my favorite flower.

big red bow and all! <3

big red bow and all! ❤


Some friends of mine compete in a trivia competition every Thursday evening, and when I can, I join them.  Last night, the woman who runs the competition read a question that asked which “New England city” is known as “the city of brotherly love”.  Now, this is a really easy trivia question, but as we raced our answer in, I protested: Philadelphia is not in New England.

Some of my friends quibbled with my surety.  So I pitched the question on Facebook, especially asking the input of my Philly-area friends.

The comment thread in response to this post has evolved to discussing the names of regions across the whole US, with several friends & family members, none of whom know all of the others, chiming in.  It is making me so happy to read.  This kind of thing is why I love social media so much.


It goes without saying that I love all of those people in the above take, and indeed, all of my friends and family, but I’m going to say it anyway:

I love you all, my family, my friends, and you, my readers.  Thank you for reading, for responding, and for making my days so much cheerier and so less lonely.

Happy Valentine’s Day, and a Blessed Lent.


Theme Thursday: Trees/Leaves

For whatever reason, I really wanted to get pictures of books for this week’s Theme Thursday with Clan Donaldson.

I tried a few “creative” shots of my fancy edition of To Kill a Mockingbird, which has a very recognizable tree design on the cover.  None of them turned out well, due to difficulties arranging a large enough flat surface near a source of natural light.

I just love these floating bookshelves...

I just love these floating bookshelves…

So I meandered over to my boyfriend’s apartment, to get you this picture of Eats, Shoots & Leaves instead.  It’s a little out of focus, but it’s still the best of the bunch, and I think the books just sitting against the wall with nothing below makes for an interesting picture.

I also took these pictures of a plant on my own windowsill, which are perhaps more in keeping with the intentions of the theme.  I loved the way the purple and green just glowed in the sunlight!

artsy 012

This is my favorite of all the photos I took this week. I love the different textures!



artsy 009


Being Productive

I hope to soon write my own reaction to Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement, adding my voice to the veritable clamor of blogging noise.  However, the response I desire to give needs a little more time to percolate.  So, in the meantime, here is a chronicle of my new project:

I’m making a dress!

Vogue Pattern V8615

Vogue Pattern V8615- Click to see!

I don’t really know how to sew.  I am very new at this.  My mother, on the other hand, can sew wonderfully.  She made all of our Halloween costumes, she made our family Christmas stockings, she even made my prom dress.  Mom tried to teach me to sew when I was about twelve.  It didn’t go very well.  I lacked a certain motivation and focus.  The half-finished pair of denim shorts might still be tucked away somewhere in the tiny room that houses all of Mom’s sewing supplies.  I wouldn’t know– I abandoned them a looong time ago.

Now, however, I am more interested in sewing.  A lot of this is due to some increased maturity.  Some of it is due to a much larger interest in clothing and style.  I love acquiring new outfits.  I am also broke.  A significant portion of my new outfits come from thrift stores.  My budget likes this plan, but my creativity sometimes feels stifled.  Don’t get me wrong, I come up with some great style out of thrift shop finds.  When there’s something specific that I’m looking for, though, it’s sometimes harder to manage.

Beyond all of that, though, I have an urge to be creative, that is, to actively create.  I want to produce something.  I want to be involved in a process that ends in something beautiful.

So, I asked for a sewing machine for Christmas.  My parents gave me a sewing machine, fabric scissors, a seam ripper and a gift card to JoAnn’s.  I set to work on my first real, big girl sewing project– a dress from a Vogue pattern, labeled “Very Easy”.

And that seam ripper is my new best friend.

I understand this means there was a problem with thread tension.

I understand this means there was a problem with thread tension.

I am enjoying this sewing thing, but it’s challenging.  It is time-consuming.  Reading the pattern is like decoding secret messages from some very different sources.  The pattern comes with its own glossary, but it’s not a very thorough glossary.  I am Googling several words per step.  I am mulling over what exactly I am supposed to do and visualizing the process for about twenty minutes before I put needle to fabric.  I still end up ripping out more stitches than I keep.

But frustrating though this process is… it’s working!  I am actually putting together a very real piece of clothing that I will be able to physically wear.  There is no rush like that of the pride I feel when I actually sew a straight seam, or when a sleeve turns out to fit my arm somewhat smoothly.

See?  The darts correspond with actual body parts!

See? The darts correspond with actual body parts!

This will perhaps not be the best looking dress I ever wear.  It will, however, be the best looking dress I have ever made myself, and that will make it quite a Thing of Beauty.

Until I get better and make an even lovelier dress.