Monday, August 18, 2014

Country Roaddds! Take me Hoooome!


After a whole lot of prayer and a big leap of faith, I left an incredible job as the youth minister at St. Maria Goretti in Westfield to move back home to Lafayette and begin working as a campus minister at my old high school! For years I've stayed involved with retreats, substitute teaching, even lunch duty at Central Catholic and when they offered me this position, I just couldn't say no! Leaving St. Maria Goretti was hard, but I know it's God's plan and it has been an amazing transition! :) I have so much to rejoice about!


It's been so good to get back to Lafayette, with my family and friends, and to a work schedule that is a bit more balanced. I have the most beautiful apartment (pictures soon!) and it's been wonderful having friends over to visit! I'm teaching seniors in Theology: Church History. The teaching thing has been new, but I read an entire textbook in one night and it helped a lot! I totally recommend "The First Days of School" by Harry & Rosemary Wong. Woa! It was like teacher boot camp!


So that's what is new.. I hope, with the personal life I've just discovered, to be able to blog more often and make it a regular part of my life. I'll be sure to share things we're doing in class, stories & pictures from my life and the ever-popular Top 10 Lists that you know I love. :)

Good to be back!



Saturday, November 30, 2013

Christmas Shopping - This is how we do it!

I love to give Christmas presents. I spend days thinking about each person on my list and the perfect gift to bring a smile. I like to support local (and most especially Christian/Catholic) stores and find unconventional items. Unfortunately, my mind goes "Let's-Oprah's-Favorite-Things-This!" and my wallet goes "Bah-Humbug!" I just can't give what I'd like to. So I make my presents or find creative ways to give something meaningful (I'd tell you what I'm giving my brothers, but I'm afraid they'd see.. I'm excited -- Stay tuned.). But that doesn't stop me from shopping..

My Gift of the Season: Tiny Saints!
I found these at NCYC and I'm smitten! Dozens of different saints 
-- they're perfect to clip on your favorite rosary, a bookbag zipper 
or even your car rearview! Go to shoptinysaints.com to find them!

In the last few years I've been sending my mom a list of suggested gifts for everyone in the family.. I get to do the shopping and she gets to do the "From Mom and Dad"-ing. Truthfully, I don't even know if she looks at the whole list. But if it's the thought that counts, I'm scoring every time. :)

Here are a few of my favorite places to find great gifts! Etsy.com is a gift-giving vortex and I always cross-check with Amazon.com for the best prices, but these are some lesser-known ways to get great ideas! Please, let me give vicariously through you! 

Little tip: find the Bestsellers section first and watch those reviews!


This is just a hub site. Each gift sends you out to a linked spot where you can buy the item. But it's a great place to browse and it even offers sections like "for him", "for her" and personalized suggestions by someone's personality type.



I like to just browse this site for fun! These gifts are really creative and interesting -- albeit a little expensive. You probably could make some of these, so it might spark some good DIY ideas.



These are great for kids and adults alike! I like giving gifts that are different -- PerpetualKid has many practical gifts with a fun twist. Like a toned-down SkyMall.



We don't have a lot of geeks in our family -- mostly dorks. But there is still a lot on this site that would make fun gifts! If you have a Star Wars/Trek, Big Bang Theory or gaming lover in your family, head here!



If your style is more homey, try shopping at CrackerBarrel.com! Clothes, decor, books and more -- this is a great one-stop-shop. I personally think going into this store is better than shopping online in this case. Always cute, cozy and clever things to find in here.



Uhm, I'm going to have to ask you to not judge me here. I have become a huge QVC fan. I haven't bought anything yet, but the odds are if you turn my TV on at any time, Today's Special Value will pop on the screen. :) With great prices, easy pay and reviews, this is a good place to get quality gifts. Just be careful not to shop for yourself. I have a wishlist longer than I'd like to admit.

For Kids:
There are sooo many great sites for kids' toys.. Land of Nod, HearthSong, even Target! Kids aren't hard to buy for, so I'll let you on your own there. Truth be told, all of the sites above have great gifts for young people! Go to town, ye wisemen and women.

The End
So, there you have it! All my gift-giving secret sites! Good luck!

And if you're really having trouble, my fourth calling in life (besides youth ministry, wedding/part planning and hair-cutting) is professional gift buyer. Especially around this time of year, I kinda wish that vocation had panned out.. :) Happy to help if you need it!

Monday, November 11, 2013

My Sister: A Heavenly Veteran

First, I wanted to share something. One of my favorite sisters posted this picture awhile ago.. A guide on finding out if you're really wearing pants or not! Very helpful in this legging-loving age.


She's not a biological sister. She's like, a religious sister. From the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration -- one of my favorite orders of all time! And I desperately want to bring this chart out at my youth group meetings because leggings are the new jeans and it's not ok. Seriously, stop by on Sunday night and you'll wonder if you've just interrupted Cirque du Soleil practice. Lycra, anyone?

Speaking of sisters, I've been thinking a lot about one of mine lately.

A biological one this time. Mary Clare.

I'll set the scene for you.. It was 1998 and I had just started 8th grade. I was going through that pitifully awkward phase (which incidentally I've never come out of) and being the oldest of five with four brothers, I was ready for a girl in the fam damily.

She was born on a beautiful day in August, just a day after her due date. And, sadly, just a day after she'd passed away. I still have trouble talking about how mom and dad came home from the hospital in the middle of the night to tell us the sad news. Tommy had come into my room hours before with the friend he had sleeping over and woke me up, worried. "Mom and dad just went to the hospital.. Something's wrong with the baby." He'd said. I waved him off. "She's probably just going into labor. It will be okay." Later, when my dad came in to wake us up and bring us downstairs, Tommy's friend was still awake. "Is everything okay?" He asked. He was the first to find out, actually. Tommy and I found out in mom and dad's arms on the couch downstairs and I've always been thankful for that private moment -- even shared with that friend. Tommy and I were both in his wedding this past summer.


So our dear Mary Clare was a stillborn baby. I remember my friend Erin telling me that when our priest had made the announcement from the pulpit before Mass, asking for prayers, she'd been confused. "Okay, so the Beardmore baby is going to be still born.. What's the bad news?"

By the way, Erin is also the gal with whom I had my most embarrassing moment.. Although, I didn't realize I should have been embarrassed until years later. Can I share? Allow me to bring you back to 1995. I'm in 4th grade. Stirrup pants are in. Beanie babies are all the rage. As are goofy Jim Carey movies. Erin and I worked out this little comedy bit with an armadillo Beanie Baby and when her dad came to pick her up from school, we tried it out. "Go ahead, girls." He'd said. "Okay." I started. "Hey Erin! Is that an armadillo in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?" Erin's dad looked confused as his only daughter responded with a grin, "Nope, it's an armadillo in my pocket!"

Ta-da!!!

Obviously we had no idea what we were talking about, but I can't imagine what that poor man was thinking. When I remembered this as an adult I nearly puked. #mortified

If you have trouble, click here to go to the video's YouTube page. 

Anyway,  someone sent me this video above and memories of Mary Clare's funeral came flooding back. I totally boo-hoo'd at the pictures of this mourning family, remembering the tender loss of a sibling we never knew. I thought about all of the people who brought meals and cards and toilet paper and took me to the eye doctor (yeah, when someone asked if they could do anything I chirped, "Well.. I need a new pair of glasses." And off we went. #alwaysmortified). The Church was full of friends and family and I can still hear how my Aunt Cathy read, "Come now my love, my lovely one come." in her soothing, tempered voice. My dad carried the tiny white casket out of the Church and the final song, "Goodnight Sweet Jesus" still makes me cry.

Afterward my brother and I went bowling with friends. A totally 90's way to deal with grief. And, in the months ahead, I struggled with a lot of anger towards God. That, however, became a great source of spiritual growth for me. I know that sounds strange, but it showed me that I had a real relationship with Him! Why would I be upset with someone who I didn't consider to be a loving God to me? How could I try to run from someone who I didn't think existed?

The biggest thing that got me through was the 3-inch binder spiritual bouquet we got from the CC kids. Hundreds of page-long notes from high schoolers offering prayers and their own stories of grief.  I must have read that thing 100 times. It made me feel like I wasn't alone. And it also made me feel like a certain senior boy was probably trying to secretly profess his undying love for me when he misspelled sympathy. 

And condolences. 

Oh, and funeral. 

(Sigh) It was all for a baby we'd never even met. 

So, I can't help but wonder.. What if we mourned the loss of every baby like this? :( Each one, planned or unplanned, miscarried or aborted, in perfect health or with struggles, is as important as Mary Clare. Can you imagine if our lives stopped and we wept each time a little soul in our lives was lost before they even took a breath? Maybe one of the biggest tragedies of abortion is the fact that no one even notices the loss. :(

Today, on Veterans Day, I thank each person who sacrificed their life so that we could have the chance to live as we please and I think of all the souls who never got the chance to live because we wouldn't sacrifice our lives to allow it. 

See, Mary Clare may not have ever taken a step or said a word, but she made a difference in this world. She would have been 15 years old by now. And although I'm guessing they don't wear leggings in Heaven, I'm pretty sure she is workin' it when it comes to fighting for babies who just want the chance to live and breathe and embarrass themselves with awkward armadillo jokes.  

It's so worth it. 

Mary Clare, pray for us. :) 


Thursday, August 8, 2013

7 Quick Takes - School Dazes


A friend of mine went back to grad school recently and she was telling me about it this past week. It sounded so great! So fun! Relaxing even! And for a moment, just a moment, I forgot. I forgot that I hate school. You know there are people who love taking notes and tests and listening to someone else tell them how the world works? Yeap.. Not me. I'm not saying that I needed to figure out E=MC2 for myself, but I'm just not the classroom type! So this list is a few things to remind me to take a few more years before going back for my Master's: 

1. 
I'm glad my life doesn't include reports anymore.. I'm thinking back to when I did one on Marie Curie and I have to laugh. I found it so fascinating that she married a man with the same last name: Pierre Curie. I was an adult before I realized that Curie is her stupid married name! Yeah, I'm an idiot. 

2. 
I always got in trouble! Anyone who knows me would not be surprised by the fact that my progress reports were typically focused on my inability to shut.up. Mrs. Mentekidis, my 8th grade religion teacher said it best at parent/teacher conferences in 1999. She said (in her Long Island accent): "Mrs. Beadmo, I cannot put ha anywheas! I put ha next to da quieat kids, she makes da quieat kids twalk! I put ha next to da loud kids, she makes dem louda! I could put ha next to a brick waoll and she would make da brick waoll twalk!"

Hehehe.

3. 
How could I add more books to the stack I'm currently reading? Yes, I'm one of those who will put a book down, start another one, have a third in my car and a fourth at my desk. Here's the list I'm reading now: 
Wedding Night by Sophia Kinsella
Rebuilt by Michael White & Tom Corcoran
My Sisters, the Saints by Colleen Campbell
The Great Gatsby by FS Fitzgerald
How to Stop Starting Other Books by Neve Gonnahapan

4. 
This is off topic, but I just reached 100 stations on my Pandora and apparently that is the max! I'm going to have to delete a few, but here are my current favorite stations that aren't going anywhere:
Phil Collins (don't judge), Dolores Keane, Ellie Goulding, Des'ree (seriously, stop judging!), The Commitments, Four Voices, Sharon Shannon, Cher Lloyd & Declan O'Rourke. Amen. 

Oh,yeah. I have ADD. 

Which brings us back to the list. 

5. 
I make teachers mad so easily! For example, I had this Math teacher in high school named Mrs. Winslow, who we of course called "Harriett" after the mom on Family Matters. On the morning after Senior Night (where the seniors stay out all night and T.P. the school), I fell asleep in Math class. She set the clock an hour ahead, had the whole class leave and I woke up thinking I'd slept through two class periods! When I started to go to lunch I saw her yuckin' in up in the library with my class thinking she was so clever! *Eye roll*. So I went and hung out in the art room. She gave me a detention for skipping class! Even my mom said, "Uh, yeah. You're not serving that." So I skipped the detention and got five more!

Don't get me started on the campus minister who punished me for falling asleep during a retreat. We were outside and I had sunglasses on so she didn't realize for hours!

Actually, it sounds like the problem was a lack of sleep....

6. 
I doubt they take reports in poem form anymore.. My AP English teacher senior year allowed me to do my reports in poem form, which helped distract from the fact that I rarely actually read the books. You haven't seen anything until you've seen a report on the Color Purple in 62 stanza iambic pentameter. Yes, I really did that. 

7. 
I wish school was like this: 


Hope you all have a great week, whether you (or your kids) are headed back to school or not.
Go check out Jen at Conversion Diary! She had a great post this past week about back-to-school!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Why I Dont Believe Everything Happens For A Reason...

I don't believe everything happens for a reason.


I know.. It's a shame, huh? Because it's a seemingly perfect response to most undesirable outcomes!

"He broke up with you the day before your Birthday by text with a picture attached of his new girlfriend?! Aww! Well, everything happens for a reason."

"Someone beat up your kindergardener after school? Poor kid. Well, just tell him that everything happens for a reason!"

"Hey, I just heard about this thing.. The Holocaust? Whew! Sounds pretty bad! But.. You know what they say! Everything happens for a reason!"

The sub-text is: nothing is ever really wrong.. Just not yet right.

Nope. I just don't buy it.

Here's why: God never desires for us to suffer, to run away from Him, to hurt each other. The fact is, free will allows us to choose freedom and beauty and goodness, but it also allows us to submit to weakness and fear and destruction. God never, ever wants us to suffer. Unfortunately, we don't believe Him when He tells us how to avoid it and, since we live on this earth together, we cause each other much pain.


On a sidenote, I think it's good to really understand suffering, because it's not all negative. We can use it to gain things; virtues, a heart for others, even faith. God may allow suffering to help us gain the things we're not achieving on our own. Here's how I think about it:


I once heard that when a little lamb keeps running away from the flock, the Shepherd breaks the lambs legs and puts the little guy around his shoulders. (Shepherds reading this, can you verify?) The lambs legs heal and he learns to stay right next to the Shepherd, with his flock and living a happy little lamb life! While I don't believe God ever desires us to suffer, I think He knows that many times we cling to Him when we do. Suffering is not the worst thing. Being away from the flock and alone for eternity is. Can we ever believe that's all God is trying to avoid? Losing you?

So! Back to the topic. I don't believe everything happens for a reason, but I do believe that everything is in God's control. Because God is the Ultimate Garmin. The King of Correction! El Presidente of the United States of Revitilization!

I remember watching my mom write before I really knew how to. She would make mistakes and be able to fashion the mis-placed letter into the correct one so quickly! Make that "2" into a "5", or whatever. God is the best at this! With our hurt and sin and sadness, not only can He correct it, He'll take a royal mess and turn it into the most beautiful creation; even more stunning than had there been no wreckage at all!

Our God is such a gentleman! He doesn't come barrelling into our lives, demanding the honor He deserves! He allows us a place of honor ourselves! Think about it.. The God who created it all, from gravel to gravity, allows us to choose the good for ourselves! That's free will, baby!

And we can feel that we're abandoned sometimes, reaping the not-so-swell benefits of free will. But I don't think we'll ever understand the protective hands He guards us with. No one hurts more than God when we suffer. And the ones who usually get in the way of His love for us.. Is us. He loves us so much! How happy we would be if we let Him.


Consider putting away all the images that other people have drawn for you about God, His will for you and what this life is all abouts! :) From one extreme (it's all about rules!) to another (it's all about YOU!).. Perhaps a relationship with Him isn't about being perfect, but being His.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Lost Friendships.

Ever felt lonely in a crowd?

Ever thought you're missing the friend you've always wanted?

The harsh reality of abortion is that we all have missed out on the friends those people were never allowed to be. With 1/3 of our generation lost, there are some pretty big gaps in our circle of friends.




Yes, we may have murdered the person who would have cured cancer.

Yes, we may have disposed of the human who would have solved this financial crisis.

(Although, I think that had our country been filled with the 50+million people we've aborted, we wouldn't even BE in this financial crisis.)

But if you bring it a little closer to home, we're missing out on friends. On lovers. On roommates (good and bad).

There are a lot of inside jokes never to be had.

There are a lot of coffees never to have gotten cold from too much talking.

A lot of pieces of pizza that would not have been left over.

Oh, how sad.

How sad that we are so deprived and yet we snap at anyone who dares to point out the loss -- not the triumph -- that is abortion!

What petulant children we become when we fight for the right to be more alone in this world..

And then there's this:



In January, HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of people will head to Washington DC for the March for Life.   The media refuses to cover this (which is really kind of amazing.. the streets are all packed like this!), but who cares??! Consider planning your trip this year! And stand up for the friends you've lost to abortion.

Monday, June 24, 2013

WWPFD

My landlord wants to sell the house I currently rent, so I’ve been looking for a new apartment. To tell you the truth, I’ve been quite spoiled in my current house.. Two bedroom, two bathroom, HUGE laundry room, attached garage, screened patio, brand new everything, gorgeous master bath, walk in closets, pool, fitness center, snow removal, landscaping and all outside maintenance. I mean, it’s nearly ridiculous!

And as I’ve been looking, nothing comes close to this place in the price range I can afford.

I know what you’re thinking..

“What!? You’re a youth minister! You must be rolling in dough!”

Well, cookie dough, maybe.

But cash?

Eh. Not so much.

Now, I’m not complaining! I’m very blessed! And this apartment search has provided a great way to think about what is really necessary in my life! I’ve just been asking myself:

What would Pope Francis do?

See, I found this little one bedroom in a small collection of apartments near the tiny downtown that is Westfield. It’s a block away from the library and very modest. It’s not dirty and gross, but there definitely are no frills.

And I think I’m okay with it!

See, I live in a very blessed part of the country and my friends are kind of looking at me like I’m crazy..

“One bedroom!? Why don’t you just buy?” (I’m not ready to buy! I don’t even know how to mow a lawn – don’t judge.. I have 5 brothers)

“Or you could even rent a house!” (Yeah, but then I’d have to find at least one roommate and I wouldn’t mind havin’ my own digs for awhile)

“What about those apartments on ___? They look really nice!” (Those apartments on ___ are crazy expensive!)

So I think God’s asking me to scale back, live simply and look at the context of the whole world to determine what is a true luxury.

I’ll keep you posted. And God knows I’ll do a little before/after post when I move in and decorate – my favorite thing in the world!


Uh.. Besides living simply, of course!