So, I know it’s been a long time since I’ve written. It’s not that life has become monotonous with nothing to say, but rather that it’s become so full that there’s no time to process all the things that are going on. Right now, I just finished (literally, five minutes ago) my last “normal” women’s ministry night of the year (next week it will be PAR-TAY TIME!). Tomorrow, the women’s and men’s ministry groups at Butler will be coming over to the Manor for an overnight retreat. Then, Saturday, we have Cookies for Kids—cooking at local houses for kids in need. Next week is a big party for the Immaculate Conception and we will decorate the Blue House, then the following Sunday (the third in Advent) we will have a midnight mass and sing carols to celebrate Christmas (or, really, Gaudete Sunday) as a community before the students all go home. All this, plus I have a paper that was due over a week ago that needs to be finished. Life is so full!

Last week was Thanksgiving (it seems so long ago already) and I got to go home to my parents’ house. I was barely home for an hour when we got the phone call saying that Fr. Mike had a stroke. It was a scary moment and although he is going to be okay, he is in great need of prayers. After a lot of phone calls, my mother and I realized there was nothing we could do, so we continued on with our plans for the evening: going to see White Christmas at OAT with the Mugels. (Frankly, the first act sucked, but I thought the second act was pretty good.) It wasn’t the best OAT play I’ve seen, but some of it was absolutely wonderful. The Hamacher girls were adorable.

The rest of the week went by filled with insanity. I helped out at the office, Mom got sick, I spend two nights at Grandma’s working on Christmas stockings for my housemates (pictures below) with Grandma and Mom. I got to spend a wonderful day with my two families, got to meet my BEAUTIFUL cousin Westin, got to see all our other wonderful babies (Tanner is growing and getting cuter every day… I just love him, and all of them!). We invited one of mom’s friends from the parish to bring her daughter, so that was interesting to share our family.

All in all, it was a wonderful week that had some really tough, scary moments—rather like life. It was so exhausting that I was actually happy to arrive back in Indy. I made it back just in time for 7pm Mass at Butler and it was a great welcome home to enjoy the Mass with my students.

On Monday we decorated for Christmas at the Manor, which was also really exciting. It was nice to just be with my community and enjoy each other. I feel like we haven’t gotten to really enjoy each other in a long time. It was also fun decorating with the boys—I think Amy and I both agree that Pat and Joe make life a lot more fun in general. I lament that I didn’t grow up with brothers (lucky Amy—she has two!—David, I still love you, even if we didn’t grow up in the same house).

At any rate, the rest of the week has been a blur. All I know is that tonight was a wonderful night, and a good reminder of why I work in ministry—and love my job. I had the whole thing planned beautifully and nothing went like I planned it, and that’s the best part. The “community” that I have been working on forming all semester became alive today as each of the girls had something that they really needed to get off her chest or talk about or cry about and the rest of the community was completely there for her. We laughed, we cried, and we just enjoyed each other. It must certainly have been like a foretaste of heaven—or of the garden before the fall—for us all. I’m tired as I write this from my desk, knowing I have a 25 minute drive home and that it’s going to be a long weekend, but I’m filled with a joy and a hope for the future of the BCC and the world at large. I spent my evening with seven young women who I know will change the world, even if, as one of them said, it is only by raising her kids to see the world differently and to love others as Christ loves. I am just so grateful that I’ve been given the opportunity to know them and to serve them, to learn from them, and, most importantly, to love them. What a beautiful gift.

So, goodnight world. I give to you, my friends, these prayer requests: for Fr. Mike’s continued healing and strength, for the parish of St. Patrick’s Church and those who are leading them, for my students as we go on retreat this weekend and for Fr. Jeff and I that we are able to lead them and bring them closer to Christ, and for all families who struggle this Advent—in health, from unemployment or underemployment, from grief, sadness, or distress. May Christ find room in all our hearts this Christmas.

My gingerbread ornament broke. 

Patrick, the Ornament Doctor, decided he had to fix her. 

 Ginger, as Pat named her, goes under the knife.
 The surgery was long and difficult...
 But she got all better! Thanks, Pat!!
 Our tree... or, trees. Amy decided to put ornaments in our permanent tree as well!
 Pat's stocking-- he loves Bagels, he's from NY.
 Amy, the Disney Princess
 Joe's stocking with airplanes
 My stocking, of course, with Elvis!!

I also made stockings for Matt, Natalie, and Michelle but I don't have pictures of those right now.