Don’t Have the Second Cigarette

It’s been a long couple of weeks here in Syracuse. Lots of visiting friends and family and potential teachers for next year. It’s been a whirlwind of no sleep and upset schedules. We only have 7 weeks of school left and that simply isn’t enough time.

I recently received a packing list from the novitiate and have quite the set of things to acquire. I don’t know where I’ll find the time and money for that. God will provide. In a few months, (2) I’ll be heading to Virginia for the priestly ordinations at Saint Thomas Aquinas Seminary and then continuing on to Florida to stay with family until I leave for Switzerland. This weekend, I said goodbye to three family members and in two weeks, I will be saying adios to two more: my brothers. That might kill me. Sometimes I think it would be easier to not see family and not say goodbye, but then they’d kill me, so I’d still be dead. [Insert pic of rock and hard place]

I got home from a long road trip last night and found that my housemates were having a dinner with loads of people over. I retreated to my room to complete lesson plans and pass out, but at some point I decided to descend for a cigarette. I made the mistake of lighting up a second one and half way through it, I knew I was going to be in pretty bad shape. I ended up throwing up my dinner and passing out, trying not to move and further upset my body. My stomach had already been churning since a conversation that happened earlier in the day. The morals of these stories are to keep your mouth shut and don’t have that second cigarette.

God is being merciful and give us a snow-induced two hour school delay. Deo gratias.

Here, read a book: First Steps in the Religious Life, Bernard J Kelly

My sister is pregnant and I’ll be leaving two weeks before she’s due. That’s weighing on me. I’ll really miss her family too.

Flights are expensive.. That’s an issue.

Diets are also expensive, and draining. #sigh

Okay, that’s enough complaining. Lent is still here for a little while longer and I’m going to give all that I can.


O Mater Dei, Memento Mei

Are you ready? Am I?

First of all, look up Ave Virgo Serena by Josquin, it might change your life.



This past Wednesday, I received the word I have been hoping, and praying, and awaiting for what seems an eternity. Since I was as young as I could remember, I wanted to be a nun. This as a child was fueled by an obsession with The Sound of Music. I never actually saw a nun with my own eyes till I was 18. What began as an attraction to the religious habit, the singing of hymns, and the mystery behind the doors of a convent grew over the many years of my seemingly long and tumultuous life into something completely different. I began in full at the age of 19 to pursue my vocation after I was given hope by a priest that a young lady could be accepted to a congregation, even if her parents had been separated most of her life…Something I had always been told was not possible. With this new heading, I dropped out of college and began to work to pay off what student debt I had, always frustrated that it was never enough money and that it would take so long to repay. I was so young and so naive. I worked for three years as a teacher and a year as a chef and still had not paid them off. During these years I was in touch with different congregations and was turned away due to my upbringing and problematic parenting. Whenever I walked away from it, I came back. I couldn’t get it out of my head or out of my heart. I knew I had to keep trying, so I did. Two years ago I was given a spark of hope when a bishop gave me permission to visit a novitiate in Switzerland. This I did before meeting my sister and her husband in France and walking the Camino. That week…what a week. It was difficult and beautiful, and difficult. What change isn’t difficult?

I went back to the States and got a job cooking for a year, I paid off some more of my loans and finally contacted the Sisters again asking for admission. After a good deal of time in which I moved across the country and began teaching again, I received the application and began the adventure of tracking down my birth, baptismal, and confirmation certificates, as well as my parents marriage certificate and sent all of that (along with a letter from myself asking admission and a character reference from a priest) to the novitiate. Then I waited…and waited…and waited. Okay, so it was only two months, but it felt like a lifetime!!! For some perspective, I’m turning 25 in a few months here, so it’s been a long road. On Wednesday while I was teaching math class to 13 7-8 year olds, I saw that I had finally received an email from the Sisters. You can imagine my heart. It almost didn’t make it! Once I was alone, I dared to open the email to discover my fate. What a moment in time that was. The only words that caught my eye at first glance were “positive” and “accepted”. I think it took several tries to read through the whole email and even more effort to use english words to convey what had happened to the perplexed fellows around. I could swear that I floated around for the rest of the day. I tried calling my family to tell them but no one answered. I ran to the priest’s office who had helped me in the beginning and throughout to tell him and I think he jumped up and down as much as I did. That was a beautiful moment too. He’s seen me through everything and has gambled a lot on me. I hope to make him proud one day. I digress. I finally know my future! My whole life I’ve waited to know what to do and now I know. I also know that I needed to wait until that moment. Any sooner would have been detrimental and I wouldn’t be who I am–that hopefully being a soul that will persevere.

I will miss my family. That looks so ridiculous written there because it doesn’t mean anything to you. You couldn’t know the depth of love and pain in those words. The love of 25 years- of a lifetime of joy and agony, or the pain of willful separation. Not for any other reason could I leave them, but God trumps my little heart and I know I will be with them again in the end, and sooner too. I’m just emo and the wine is helping that along as well as the Shire music playing beside me. My siblings are my home because home is where the heart is…and mine is with them. Dominic, Tess, Phil, Charles, Irene, Mary, Antigone, and my little Margaret. I love you. 


And you too, Cas.




Three Goonies in the Boonies


And you too, Jefferson.073

And you too, Ian.









It is the strangest thing, to no longer have absolute independence. (absolute is of course subjective in life)

I no longer have my escape, my freedom: my car. R2, or Truck as she was more recently called has been returned after my 3 year lease ended. I am SO conflicted about how to feel. On the one hand, Ia m relieved that I won’t have such a gaping hole in my wallet…on the other…Blue was my first car and has taken me all over the US. I feel like I’ve been put behind bars, just a little.




This is my first step towards true freedom, towards the convent. I have one less thing keeping me here and that is remarkable. It has been a long three years. In that time I have lived in NH, Long Island, Idaho, and am now back in Central NY. My car has seen me through more states than I ever thought I’d venture through. Last summer, it brought me back from Idaho to NY with a small pitstop in Florida. hehe

Two summers ago, It drove from Long Island to Idaho, then down to Cali and was the support car for a pilgrimage for 2 weeks. What an eventful two weeks that was. So many memories.

Time to make tracks…without the 4 tires. Just with my feet.


The Road goes ever on and on

Out from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

Let others follow it who can!

Let them a journey new begin,

But I at last with weary feet

Will turn towards the lighted inn,

My evening-rest and sleep to meet.

Me and Mrs. Jones

My best friends and fellow Camino pilgrims got married this past friday and I could not be a happier gal. After walking across Spain together, I truly got to know both Baberson and my sister, Tess. They are the best people I know, and the hardest people to leave.

My sister asked me, not once, but three times, to be her maid of honor. The first time she asked me was our last day in spain. It was a whole emo thing…there were tears and hugs and all that mushy stuff. I guess she was just making sure the other two times she asked me after that. Nearly a year after we began our pilgrimage, they have begun their ultimate pilgrimage together towards God in their vocation. I have no doubt that they will persevere with grace and charity. That being said, when you have the privilege of being around such incredible people with their calibrated compasses pointing true north, it’s almost impossible to extricate yourself. After a beautiful week in Florida preparing for her wedding, and a joyous few days afterwards, it was time to leave them once again for the inland pacific northwest.

Coming home has been difficult for several reasons. For one, I miss my family a great deal and that was the least eventful week they’ve ever spent together (with the exception of my mothers arrest for speeding while driving across the country for said wedding.) I also found out the day after arriving there that the job I had worked for the past 9 months was gone because the restaurant had closed. I know that if I hadn’t gone on vacation for a week, it wouldn’t have closed. Pretty bummed to come home to no job, but at the same time, it’s dangerously liberating… Also, all I want to do is move back East and this is the perfect time to do it, but I have ONE thing keeping me here. argggg

While I was in FL, I had the grace of seeing my niece become a child of God, and one of my best friends became my brother. (As my younger siblings would say…#bless)

I so look forward to the future and to watching them grow into the people they were born to be.


Where Are We Now?

It is coming up on a year now since I have left my beloved New York and my group of friends. Despite the 457,920 minutes that have passed, it still feels like yesterday.

A great many things have happened during these minutes. When I left Long Island, I drove to Michigan and dropped off my sister at home and left for the Toronto airport. Many hours later found me in Switzerland, on a train to Martingy. (Should you ever feel the urge to travel and see mountains, the Valais is the place to go.) I spent a week in Switzerland at a convent and what a peaceful week it was! I look forward to my return. After my stay was up, I traveled to Bordeaux, France, where I met my sister and her (now) fiance on a train headed towards St. Jean Pied de Port. I hadn’t seen her for months and I didn’t know her fella at all, and here we were planning to walk from southern France to western Spain…in the space of a month…camping in a children’s tent. For about 38 days, we carried all of our belongings on our backs as we walked the Camino de Santiago. If you think your feet know pain, and you haven’t hiked 500 miles before, then you don’t actually know pain. That pain is forgotten now. I have wonderful memories of stealth camping in the rain, drinking wine and eating bread and chorizo, and having meaningful conversations with my fellow pilgrims, and with God. Walking into Santiago de Compostella was an overwhelming experience, not only because you have actually succeeded in walking across a country, but also because your journey has come to an end, and the loved ones you have grown to know and respect more intimately than ever are going to leave you.

Such is life. At least we have the memories to cherish and hold us up while we are down.

Upon my return to Toronto, I drove to Buffalo NY to pick up my little brother, then to Port Huron to get two of my sisters, then on to Idaho for a night, and down to Santa Barbara California where I cooked for 25 people for 12 days while they walked 300 some miles to Carmel-By-the-Sea. After that (long and harrowing journey) I drove back up to Idaho where I proceeded to get a job at an Italian joint and have been working ever since.

Easter week, my best friend’s father died of cancer back east and I wasn’t able to be there. It was the first time since leaving that I had to look at (eew) my feelings. I miss my people tremendously. All seven of them. I told myself I’d do anything to be near them again because I’m not about all this loneliness.  And then I went and turned down a job offer 15 minutes from them. (wth?! Gab) I must be crazy.

I guess we’ll see what the summer brings! There’s a wedding in a month….holy cow.

Be Divine

On Sunday I went to confession and I received life changing advice from the very wise priest. At the end when I was about to leave he said almost as an afterthought,”Be divine.” Those words changed my life, but I don’t know why exactly. I know that you have to do x,y, and z to get to the pearly gates, but I have never thought of myself as what I am: A daughter of God. I don’t know why I haven’t ever seen it that way.. I guess I just never looked.

Be divine.  It’s a call to greatness, but not in the eyes of the world…in the eyes of The Divine.

The Road Goes Ever On and On

What a year it has been. Every few months I consider putting it to paper, but there is too much to say, and too much has been felt, and I’m the only one who cares anyway. That’s not angst, it just reality.  Things feel more dramatic when they happen to you, but in hindsight you wouldn’t bat an eye.

This year has been a living hell. It resulted in success though. I shouldn’t complain. All’s well that ends well is what they say. Who are ‘They’ anyway?

In under a month, I will complete my third year of teaching. In under a month, I will have my car packed and drive away from Long Island, from Mission Impossible, forever. I will leave the closest friends I’ve ever had, and a place that holds most of the fond memories of my adulthood. People keep telling me that life will get better with the next adventure, and I know that once I am off this island I will be okay, but in the moment, in these final moments, I don’t believe it for a second. My heart aches like you wouldn’t believe. There are two reasons why:

My students have begun to hug me everyday, cry, give me little kisses, and say how much they’ll miss me. They ask if I’ll come back after I’m a nun. I have grown far too attached to them and I can’t actually imagine saying goodbye to these souls I have helped to fill. *throat closes*

Despite my better judgement, my will, and years of planning my life,  I have thrown a wrench into my own plans. I fell in love this year. I was speaking to my spiritual director on Easter over the phone after Solemn High vigil mass and I got up the courage to tell him so. He said to me that a religious vocation doesn’t preclude attractions and that I had to decide what I wanted. He said I would make a wonderful mother and that it wasn’t too late for any other plans. I already know what I want, what I have been working for for YEARS. Only this year did that come to fruition when the Superior General emailed me to give me a shot with the SSPX Oblates. (You couldn’t have imagined my joy.) I will not throw away what I have fought tooth and nail for, and yet to now know truly what I am giving up…it is bitter sweet. I guess it is better to make a fully informed decision.

Here’s the kicker: My roommate just told me she likes the same guy and I third wheel it ALL the BLOODY TIME. Kicker two: She knows I like him. Kicker three: He told me at the bar two nights ago that he likes her. Kicker four: I put him back together this year and I’ve been around to fall in love for months and said roomie has been here for two. She’s just beautiful, intelligent, smart, witty AF, and is just the right amount of bashful–things I’m not…except for the witty part.  I’ve never dealt with jealousy before now, and it’s only a small jelly, but it freaks me out. In this respect I would kill to be off the island yesterday. BUT. My heart hurts. I tried to avoid him but he wouldn’t let me, and I have God to thank that he’s too blind to see how much I feel. I have to tape my mouth so I don’t blurt it out before I leave.

Before I leave. So much to do, so little time. 29 days.

I’m moving to Idaho! With my little God-sister!!!!!! I am thrilled beyond belief, I just have to get off the island to feel it…need the wind in my hair, iced coffee in hand, and music playing.

While I am moving off the Island in June, I won’t reach ID till August. I am flying to Switzerland to visit the Sisters, and then to France to begin El Camino de Santiago with my best babe-Tess! That’ll take a while and may do the trick and kill me. Once I get stateside again, I’ll drive from Toronto to ID, then down to Cali for ANOTHER pilgrimage that I set up with a good friend, then back up to ID to get a job and work my butt off for a year…Then head to the Novitiate.

It’s been the longest year of my life, and while so many parts of it were terrible, I needed it. I just don’t know if I’m ready to close this book.

The Road goes ever on and on,
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say

My/not my guy: JellyFish

Kung Fu and Chinese Takeaway

I have successfully made a tradition that is including more and more of my friends. This is thrilling to me, because 1)I have friends, 2) I have friends who like to do the weird things I like to do. This tradition is that every wednesday, we get fairly cheap chinese takeaway and watch awfully gruesome (and cool) kung fu movies. Donnie Yen is our favorite. Think Ip Man, Kung Fu Killer etc.

These dates started just by myself, then included my little sister, but now include my friend Joe who ALWAYS has good movie suggestions, and now another  friend, Thomas. He is a card magician and has promised to teach me some of his tricks! I reminded him that he isn’t supposed to share his tricks but he said I’m an exception. I won’t argue because some of his tricks are EPIC! He does a disappearing dime trick that I can’t figure out.

I digress.

This will be the fourth week of Kung Fu and we’re all hooked!

In other news, my sister is coming to visit me in 15 days, and my best non-family friend is coming too in 13 days! I’m floating around teaching everyday… It’s GREAT!! AH!

Wise Men Say Only Fools Rush In


I’ve been living in a time warp for over a month now. I got in my first major car accident with my friend, who was driving, and with my youngest sister who is my charge for a year. I can attribute our (still beating) hearts only to God’s grace, and the driver’s calm and composure. I never dreamed I would get up close and personal with a guard rail, but I did twice, and the car thrice. That was a little over three weeks ago and I still can’t sleep through the night. I might perish from that..

Since my friend’s car was totaled, I leant him mine. He is paying for my sister’s tuition at the private school where I hold a position. (Shh, he’s a silent benefactor.) He used my car for three weeks, and only yesterday bought a new (old) one for himself which we dubbed Shining Armor, making him…yeah. His idea, not mine- though a title I would readily take up to address him. The same day he shelled out for a car ($5K…I’d never seen so many Franklins…I giggled the whole time they were being counted…) and after he has paid $4K for my sister, he returns late that night to give us a gift. This gift was composed of wine, anisette liqueur, a $200 card to stop and shop, and a $100 debit visa…to say thank you to me. ME! I am the party that owes so much.

My mind is blown! No single human has been as generous to me in my life as he has been in the past two months. Every once in a while my heart skips a beat and I’m worried I won’t be able to shut that down. (shoot, he just sent me an email and my heart leapt out of my chest.)

In the eloquent words of Henry Higgins…damn, damn, damn.



Children notice everything.

Today during a quiet moment in class (The students were thoroughly engaged in a writing activity-brows furrowed and all.) I was answering a private email from this guy friend of mine. I heard a quiet voice speak up, “Miss Smith, you’re keeping back a secret smile.” I was shocked to say the least.Sometimes I forget that I am constantly being watched and evaluated by 4 and 5 year olds. It’s a little daunting.

The other strange thing is that their comments bring to light my own subconscious inclinations. That is just terrifying.