Almost as good as mine. Almost.

4660 4660_ () 4660 4660 My sister and brother-in-law also saw Pope Benedict up close once.

jo jord

Also, be sure and go read my friend Kelly’s beautiful reflection on children and “loving the children we’re given.” ┬áHer son Tim was the boy from my basketball story.

Behind that sentiment — a sentiment that is simple to type but very challenging to live out — is the knowledge that God is a loving, sovereign God. The physically challenged boy in the video, the brain-injured child in my atrium, the kid who tries but doesn’t make a shot, the top player — they are wholly loved by God and precious in His sight.

Thanks Kelly, for sharing! 4660″

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Crying Like a Baby in Atlanta Bread Company

4655 4655_ () 4655 4655 Thanks a lot, Pat. I’m sitting here trying to work and instead I’m wiping tears that are streaking down my cheeks.
A few weeks ago, we had our last home games for Junior Varsity. There were two boys on the team who hadn’t scored yet (they hadn’t gotten tons of playing time this season, which is only nice in that it means we had a lot of close games that we actually won!). So this, our last home game, Paul put them in the game.

You could tell the boys on the team were focused on getting the ball to those boys. A few minutes in, one of the point guards passed the ball to William. He shot that ball and…SCORED! I think it may have been a three. The gym went nuts. I looked across the court to see Paul (William’s dad) standing up with his arms raised in the air. I was standing next to my mom and we both had tears welling up in our eyes. His victory was his dad’s victory was the entire home team’s victory.

The other boy, Tim, came in after that. The boys fed him the ball and he probably took about six or seven shots. He didn’t end up scoring, but I don’t really feel like that diminished all the love that was just pouring out of the stands for that kid. I know that sounds hokey but I don’t care. Everyone was chanting “Tim! Tim! Tim!” and I was proud to be a part of a school that knew exactly who that kid was and how badly they wanted him to score.

Sports can be so awesome, y’all. 4655″> ,

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When I Met the Pope

4643 4643_ () 4643 4643 The historic event of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI seems like as good a time as any to share with you the most regret-filled moment on our trip to Italy this summer. I haven’t said anything about it because it was once of those moments that I lost sleep over, for consecutive nights, and weeks and weeks later, I could *almost* laugh about with Paul and Fr. Tim. Almost.

We were at dinner on the feast of Corpus Christi. June 7, 2012. Me, Paul, Fr. Tim. Paul and I had spent the day sightseeing in Rome and visiting numerous churches. We didn’t have good luck that day, however, because two of the “major” churches were not accessible to us because the Holy Father would be there that evening to celebrate Corpus Christi. He was doing Benediction at one church and celebrating Mass at another.

That evening, as we were finishing up dinner, we heard helicopters overhead. As Fr. Tim is now a seasoned veteran of The Eternal City, he knew that would be people tracking the pope. We were having dinner near the Vatican and walked over to the back gate.

We waited a while, and it was fascinating. The crowd got bigger, but it was nice because while it was exciting, there wasn’t that crush of humanity like the audience (which was also amazing).

We stood there, watching and taking it all in. It was just one of those wonderful spans of time where the three of us stood and chatted and laughed. We talked to a few people nearby, but mostly just passed the time being together.

Then the security started lining the street. Not too many, and the best part was there was this woman, probably in her early 50s, who (as it turns out) is head of security for the Holy Father when he is out and about. And she was awesome. I want to be her when I grow up. So do Paul and Tim.

Slowly, you got that feeling that he was about to arrive. You could hear the helicopters getting closer, you could sense the energy from everyone, those in charge and those wanting to see. I was standing on the curb, right on the street. And just like that, flashing lights rounded the corner. Security, motorcycles, official Mercedes’ with official flags. I recorded it all with my phone (which takes amazing pictures and video). I recorded about five solid minutes.

Then you started hearing the clapping, and the cars really slowed down. There a few hundred feet up to my right, the Pope’s big black sedan rounded the corner. People started clapping and cheering. And I…

switched my phone from video to camera.

And this was the shot I got:

pope benedict

I was so close to Pope Benedict I could practically count the white hairs on his sacred head. And I threw it all away for the hopes of a clear shot with a camera phone of a car moving past me at seven miles per hour.

The minute the motorcade passed, I switched the phone back to video and got a depressing three seconds of the tail end of the Mercedes pulling through the gates and out of sight. Just like that, I had missed my chance for a frameworthy picture.

It wasn’t until later that Fr. Tim told me how I could have used an “image grab” to basically take a picture from the video I shot. How amazing that would have been!

security
This is an example of a screen grab from the video I shot, Awesome Security Woman.

Thinking back now, I guess I can (kind of) laugh about it. But I think what’s funnier is just how depressed I was about my poor judgement at the time. Seriously, could not laugh about it. Not at all. 4643″> ,

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Thoughts on Decluttering

4636 4636_ () 4636 4636 I just finished an article for Catholic Digest about clearing out clutter from your home. It will appear in the May issue (I think!) so be on the lookout.

In the meantime, I’ve got purging on my brain! For the article, I talked to several really smart women, one who had to learn to get organized in her home, another who has clutter-free living come with little effort. So after talking to those ladies and thinking about how to encourage others to de-clutter, I’ve been feeling inspired.

Today I tackled the dreaded Junk Closet (I wish I could give it a better name). It’s that closet that keeps the vacuum, the mop, the tools we need at the ready, boxes of manuals and old cameras, cords and all my clippings. A cacophony!

There is also a shelf in there devoted to school supplies and arts and crafts, and another for stationary and paper. It has the potential to be a nightmare, Nightmare Central is maybe what I should call it.

So here are a few thoughts I had today as I was purging that area, and again as I moved on to a few random drawers in the kitchen. Some of these are ideas from talking to different experts, some are just thoughts I’ve had (so don’t give me credit for all of these).

1. Don’t give yourself too much time pondering items. Go with your gut. Don’t think about how much you paid for an item. If you know you don’t use it, toss it!

2. Having said that, it might make it easier to have a good and worthy cause. Goodwill and Catholic Social Services are excellent, but today I was really motivated by a big yardsale put on by the Senior Class at our school. It was funny how much easier it was to put things in a pile that I knew would directly benefit them. I found stacks of un-used thank you notes, for instance (I kinda have an issue with buying paper notes), and I was able to put those in the bag to donate. Because they were in great shape but also I’ve had them three years so I am guessing I won’t use them.

3. As you go, you have three options: Keep, Toss, Donate. (This is in the article, but if you are wanting to give this a try now…). I personally keep two brown paper bags (because they can stay upright), or a box for trash that I eventually dump into a bigger bag. Then I can move faster than having to open the large black trash bag over and over. It’s important that whatever you are moving OUT of the house is in a shielded container. My boys have a way of sniffing out my purging efforts and getting really “attached” to All of the Things.

4. Keep it Simple, Sistah (K.I.S.S.). Don’t start by declutting your entire home. Start with that one drawer in the kitchen.

5. Stay tuned in to how areas in your home make you feel. Is this post getting weird? Kinda. Seriously, though, I know that when I open a certain drawer or closet door and the feeling is deflating, it’s time to purge. I don’t necessarily have time right there and then (honestly, it’s been at least a year since I’ve done anything significant downstairs, I just did upstairs during the big room swap). But at least you know what you need to do.

6. Really pay attention to what you’re doing. How many times have I sorted through a closet shelf only to basically leave everything as is. Today I noticed that in the box of manuals (I keep wanting to type Manuels, which would be awkward to have a box of), there was info for computers we had not had in years. Also, my Masters Thesis on a square plastic disc. I had to really think if I should throw that away until I realized a) I don’t have a computer that reads squares and b) it’s been published! So no need to keep.

7. Any other questions? Maybe a few could ask so I don’t feel like a dork. And if you ask if I have OCD, NO SOUP FOR YOU. 4636″>

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