01 February 2016

Me & Food - It's Complicated

Hey guys! I know it's been a while. I've been good. Busy, but it's all been good busy (well, for the most part... my life isn't perfect! haha). A new struggle has reared it's ugly head. This post is partially venting, but (hopefully also) partially informative for you.

Ever since my teenage years, I've had a severe allergy to all soy products. It's a cumulative allergy, so the more I'm exposed to it, the more sensitive I become to it and the reaction gets worse. For almost 10 years now, I've been conscientiously avoiding all soy products: soybeans, soy protein, soy lecithin, soy flour, soybean oil, etc. College was, by far, the worst food experience. The kitchen at TAC couldn't seem to manage to feed me consistently, so I developed a very unhealthy relationship with food. Because I was hungry much of the time, without a way to eat, whenever food was made for me, I ate excessively. Flipping between eating raw fruits & veggies and hardboiled eggs to eating piles of noodles was terrible for my metabolism. I was terrified of eating, too hungry to jump through the necessary hoops to ensure that I wouldn't be poisoned, felt sick about 99% of the time, angry that I couldn't eat like a normal person, and fed up that my supposedly safe meals poisoned me at least once per week. I cannot tell you how many evening seminar classes I spent with migraines, blurry vision, no sense of up and down, tingling fingers and toes, and a fever over 102 degrees Fahrenheit because my specially prepared meal wasn't actually specially prepared. (If you think I'm exaggerating, here's an example of the struggle: there was a day when I went back into the kitchen and asked if they had something I could eat. He asked what I was allergic to so I told him and his response was to serve me tofu. So yeah. Not confidence inspiring.)

By the time I graduated and moved home, I was a mess. I didn't know how to shop for regular meals, I didn't know how to eat regular meals. I just ate anything that was Bridget-safe (being very grateful for ingredient labels that 1) I could read myself and 2) actually listed every ingredient). If anyone else ate the last of some Bridget-safe food, I flipped out. I would cry, I would panic... I was a mess.

It's been almost four years since graduation. In the last year or two, I've figured out how to eat right. I've figured out what portions I need and have learned to recognize when I'm acting out of a fear of starvation (which is entirely unfounded. Mum and Trader Joe's are the best). I've learned to make some tasty meals and some delicious sweet treats so I don't feel deprived. But then in the last month or so, I've started feeling constantly sick again. Not any severe reactions, but enough to make me cranky and not-so-nice with people. I had a constant migraine, nausea, dizziness, the shakes... all soy reaction symptoms, but 1) they were minor so I didn't connect the dots and 2) I hadn't changed what I was eating.

When I started having neurological symptoms that were, basically, like paralysis (I could feel everything, but I could not move an inch. Mum has to spoon feed me dinner at one point), I decided that a little research was necessary. After a little time on the internet, scouring blogs written by frustrated moms with severely allergic children, I discovered a disheartening fact: many of the things I was eating were soy derivatives.

Did you know that when a label lists natural or artificial flavors, they're most likely soy derivatives? So unsalted butter? Yeah, that has soy-based flavoring. Many oils advertised as 100% olive oil or canola oil? Cut with soybean oil. Flour? Cut with soy products to keep it fresh. (except for most organic flours and King Arthur flour... for now). Any type of gum (guar, xantham, etc) or added vitamins? Derived from soy.

So I feel like I'm back to square one. And I'm terrified. I'm panicking and I'm desperate, and I'm afraid of being hungry constantly. I need to make everything from scratch... not only that, but I have to make it from organic ingredients. No more Starbucks (not nutritionally necessary, but it was a nice treat!), no more ice cream, no yogurt, no pre-cooked chicken, no crackers, nothing with added flavor. No restaurant food. Nothing with added vitamins. Nothing that contains anything else. It must be a pure and simple ingredient that is grown organically and untouched by a preservative process, even natural processes. I need to go back to the drawing board about how to shop and cook and feed myself. It's overwhelming. There. I said it. I'm overwhelmed. I'll get the hang of it, but in the meantime, I'm not coping well. So yeah.

But I said this was applicable to you in some way, and it is. There are a lot of people who find themselves sensitive to additives in food, which doctors dismiss as nonsense. There are a lot of people who are self-diagnosed gluten-intolerant, but they pass allergy tests just fine. To all of these people - if you're one of them or know someone who is - I would suggest considering the possibility that it's a soy or corn allergy. All of those additives - flavors, vitamins, MSG, nitrates - and normal flour - in cookies, breads, crackers, pasta, etc - are derived in one of three ways: from corn, from soy, or synthetically. There are only a handful of manufacturers of these preservative and enriching ingredients, but they all use all three processes and all food companies use the manufacturers interchangeably. The FDA doesn't require the derivatives to be labeled by allergen, so the companies don't worry about it. The reality is that people are consuming soy and corn - two of the most prevalent and growing allergies in the US - without knowing it. They're in meat (lunch meat, pre-cooked chicken, sausage, hot dogs, raw meat that is injected with anything except salt and water), starches, as well as boxed, canned, and pre-made food.

So if you're trying to isolate the thing that's making you feel sluggish, gives you a rash, upsets your stomach, makes you jittery, etc., I'd suggest trying to eliminate soy or corn from your diet, including these derivatives. There's no reason for you to give up all bread if you're really allergic to soy and you could purchase entirely organic and simple-ingredient foods (TJ's has one... yay!).  If that's the real issue, there is corn and soy in other things you may be eating. If they don't bother you yet, they could bother you later... as I'm learning the hard way.

I sound like a conspiracy theorist/crazy food lady/crunchy hippy, but it's all acknowledged by food companies when you call them. If you ask what their sources are for natural flavors of thiamin mononitrate, they'll tell you it's either derived from soy, from corn, or synthetically and that if you have sensitivities to any of those things, you shouldn't eat any of their food. It's crazy. But it's the way it is. For now. Maybe when enough people have allergies, they'll pay attention.

In the meantime, pray for me. I need a little fortitude right now.

17 July 2015

restocking the bagel box

You may not remember this about me, but I have an that I stock with unique, handmade, cotton, washer and dryer safe, durable, and super cute things for mamas and babies. My sewing productivity ebbs and flows as other things in my life take time and energy, but I've spent quite some time this week working on the restocking project.

I'm happy to say that I have several new Wiggle Worm nursing covers up...

... and I have a bunch of delightful fabrics for Snuggle Bug blankets, which will be in production & then in my shop soon.

16 July 2015

Just Listen to Pope Francis

I was at Comic Con last weekend. No, not a pass-holding attendee of the event, but a people-watcher. It's fascinating to watch thousands upon thousands of people milling about downtown San Diego, dressed in various costumes, some very weird and others very authentic (which, in turn, made them very, very, very weird.)

As I walked down the sidewalk, I passed many men holding signs - big black signs with white lettering - all heralding the end of the world, the condemnation of sinners, and the Good News of Jesus. I hesitate to call these men Christian; while they did, apparently, believe that Jesus is the Savior of the World, they happened to be obnoxious These people were yelling into their portable mic-and-speaker systems, berating everyone, making sweeping judgmental statements, and generally working against a spirit of Christian kindness and gentleness. If there were a book written on "how to approach non-believers regarding conversion," these fellows would be breaking every rule.

Worse than their obnoxious strategy, however, was the nonsense that they were yelling. My favorite/least favorite quote of the day (depending on whether I choose to laugh or cry at this memory) was this: "YES, IT IS TRUE THAT YOUR BODY IS DYING. BUT YOUR SOUL - THE PERSON LIVING INSIDE OF YOUR BODY - WILL LIVE FOREVER!!!" The wrongness of such a statement boggled my mind. I confess that I had visions of wresting the microphones from these individuals and telling them to stop spouting nonsense, please, for the love of all that is holy and true.

As obnoxious, erroneous, and potentially harmful as these men might have been, however, I consoled myself with the fact that they weren't claiming to be Catholic. These men, doing and saying things that were questionable, at best, were not doing so in the name of the Catholic Church.

But that exception, that moment of "oh, well, it's just some crazy non-denominational Christians," is like looking down a tunnel and claiming to see the world. My experience that day at Comic Con is a particular instance of where the name of Catholicism was not being besmirched by Catholics. There are plenty of examples of where those within the Church - those claiming to be Catholic and assuming authority that they do not possess - do a very fine job of turning people away from it, from Jesus, and inventing needless obstacles to grace.

Some might justify their obnoxious, cruel, harsh, and judgmental language because "Jesus berated people, too. He even got angry and flipped tables. He cursed a tree once, too."

But let me just stop that train before it leaves the station and ask a question: wasn't Jesus the only person to flip tables in the Gospels?

... yeah?


Well, then, if you are God Incarnate, you can curse trees, berate people for their sins, and flip the freaking tables, because YOU ARE GOD. Oh, you're not God? Then put down the cyber rock and back away from the "publish" button on your blog, twitter, facebook, etc.

[Another note on the righteously angry Jesus episode involving table-flipping: it happened in the Temple. This did not occur in a Roman market or another place under the reign of Caesar. It was in the Temple, the place where God's chosen people gathered to pray. So if you're going to flip tables just like Jesus, might it not have to be the ones you find holding donuts on Sundays at your parish?]

So, then, if you're not God, you don't get to flip tables or condemn people. You don't even get to judge people.

That doesn't mean you are a moral relativist or that you don't believe an action is morally wrong. It doesn't mean that when you hear about what Planned Parenthood does - performing abortions in specific ways, so as to preserve various organs for whatever research facility happens to want them - it doesn't make you vomit and/or cry.

It means that you love those people. It means that you respect those people because they have just as much human dignity as you do. God doesn't love you more than He loves them. Yeah, read that sentence again. It's important.

I have come to believe that most people are sincerely good people. People want good things for themselves, probably primarily, but they also want good things for others. They recognize that there are just and unjust ways to treat people, they endeavor to act rightly. I don't believe the world is overrun by malicious, vengeful people. I do believe that the world is overrun by sinners. I believe that there is no human person living upon this earth who stands as an exception to that. There is blood on every human being's hands, and it's the infinitely most Precious Blood in existence.

I can believe all of these things and still firmly believe that abortion is always wrong. It always involves killing a human being. There is no contradiction, no tension, between the ways of truth and the ways of love. Pope Francis has declared the upcoming liturgical year to be a year of mercy. He is putting the spotlight back on human actions and the necessity of them being primarily & essentially merciful. He is becoming famous for his treatment of others, for his words and actions that emulate Christ's mercy. In doing so, he is following a tradition as old as the Church herself.

To appease those who might prefer to take a Doctor of the Church as an authority on these things, here's what St. Thomas Aquinas has to say: "Now is the time for mercy, whereas the time to come will be the time for justice only. Thus the present time is ours, but the future will be God's alone." 

I pray that the love and peace of Christ be with you all.

12 June 2015

No News is Good News (in this case)

Hey... it's been awhile. Sorry about that. Life just started happening everywhere around me and the blogging got sidelined for a while. So this is me, just checking in. I'm still alive, things are good, I'm busy, and my brain is still like an explosion in a pin ball machine. I don't have any funny stories or interesting subjects to discuss at the moment, but I haven't forgotten about you and I hope to be back with something of (at least some) value in the very near future.


15 April 2015

Pope Francis on Complementary of Man & Woman

This is my favorite subject to think about, discuss, and develop, so it won't surprise you that I am super excited that our Pope spoke (albeit briefly) about it during his General Audience today. Since I am a TACer and, therefore, a firm believer in the utilization of primary texts, here are his words, without my opinions or interpretations thrown in. Take a look? 

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
Today’s catechesis is dedicated to a central aspect of the subject of the family: that of the great gift that God made to humanity with the creation of man and woman and with the Sacrament of Marriage. This catechesis and the next are concerned with the difference and complementarity between man and woman, who are at the summit of the divine creation; the two following ones will be on Marriage.
We begin with a brief comment on the first account of Creation in the Book of Genesis. Here we read that God, after having created the universe and all living beings, created his masterpiece, namely, the human being, which he made in his own image: “in the image of God He created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis1:27).
As we all know, sexual difference is present in so many forms of life, in the long scale of the living. However, only in man and in woman does it bear in itself the image and likeness of God: the biblical text repeats it a good three times in two verses (26-27): Man and woman are image and likeness of God! This tells us that not only man in himself is the image of God, not only woman in herself is the image of God, but also man and woman, as a couple, are the image of God. The difference between man and woman is not for opposition, or for subordination, but for communion and creation, always in the image and likeness of God.
Experience teaches it: to know himself well and to grow harmoniously, the human being is in need of reciprocity between man and woman. When this does not happen, the consequences are seen. We are made to listen to and to help one another. We can say that without the reciprocal enrichment in this relation – in thought and in action, in affections and in work, also in the faith – the two cannot understand in depth what it means to be a man and a woman.
Modern and contemporary culture has opened new areas, new freedoms and new depths for the enrichment of the understanding of this difference. However, it has also introduced many doubts and much skepticism. For instance, I wonder, for example, if the so-called gender theory is not also an expression of a frustration and of a resignation, which aims to cancel the sexual difference because it no longer knows how to address it. Yes, we risk taking a step backward. The removal of the difference, in fact, is the problem, not the solution. To resolve their problems of relation, man and woman must instead talk more to one another, listen more to one another, know one another more, love one another more. They must relate to one another with respect and cooperate with friendship. With these human bases, sustained by the grace of God, it is possible to plan the matrimonial and family union for the whole of life. The matrimonial and family bond is something serious, and it is for everyone, not only for believers. I would like to exhort the intellectuals not to abandon this topic, as if it had become secondary for the commitment in favor of a freer and more just society.
God has entrusted the earth to the alliance of man and of woman: its failure makes the world arid of affections and darkens the sky of hope. The signs are already worrying, and we see them. I would like to indicate, among many, two points that I believe must be attended with greater urgency.
The first. It is without doubt that we must do much more in favor of woman if we want to give back more strength to the reciprocity between men and women. In fact, it is necessary that women not only be more listened to, but that her voice has real weight, a recognized authoritativeness in the society and in the Church. The way itself with which Jesus considered women –we read it in the Gospel, it is so! -- in a context less favorable than ours, because in those times women were in fact in second place ... and Jesus considered her in a way which gives a powerful light, which enlightens a path that leads far, of which we have only followed a small piece. We have not yet understood in depth what things the feminine genius can give us, which woman can give to society and also to us. Perhaps to see things with other eyes that complements the thoughts of men. It is a path to follow with more creativity and more audacity.
A second reflection concerns the topic of man and woman created in the image of God. I wonder if the crisis of collective trust in God, which does us so much harm, and makes us become sick with resignation, incredulity and cynicism, is not also connected to the crisis of the alliance between man and woman. In fact the biblical account, with the great symbolic fresco on the earthly paradise and original sin, tells us in fact that the communion with God is reflected in the communion of the human couple and the loss of trust in the celestial Father generates division and conflict between man and woman.
From here comes the great responsibility of the Church, of all believers, and first of all of believing families, to rediscover the beauty of the creative design that inscribes the image of God also in the alliance between man and woman. The earth is filled with harmony and trust when the alliance between man and woman is lived well. And if man and woman seek it together between themselves and with God, without a doubt they will find it. Jesus encourages us explicitly to give witness to this beauty, which is the image of God. Thank you!

28 March 2015

Mini Buttermilk Biscuit Tarts with Almond Custard & Fruit

Hello, friends! Happy Saturday!

This is a combination of a braggy post with an informational post. I made these scrumptious little treats this morning.

Braggy part: I didn't have a recipe, but that is becoming a more common occurrence as I expand my cooking experience.
Informational part: I won't be sharing everything with you (a girl must have her secrets), but I will share these sweets with you because I love you. :)

- Trader Joe's Refrigerated Pop-N-Fresh Buttermilk biscuits
[it is so rare that I can use a packaged mix or pre-prepared food that I hope you'll pardon the use of such things in this recipe. I know that I hate when I am searching for a recipe, and it says "easy one bowl cake!" and the first ingredient is "boxed cake mix"... that isn't from scratch, guys. But these biscuits are soy free and the ease of baking them is so novel to me. Just give me this one, k?]

- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2T cornstarch
- teaspoon almond extract
- cup of almond milk
- fresh or frozen fruit of choice (I used frozen, which may explain the extra juices that bubbled up in these tasty treats)

2. In a medium pot over medium heat, whisk together sugar & corn starch. Add almond extract and almond milk.
3. Stir until thickened and bubbly. Turn heat down to low and continue to stir for another minute or so. Take the pot off the stove and temper your egg yolk by whisking some of the hot mixture into it. Then add warmed yolk + custard back to the custard in the pot and whisk vigorously, keeping the egg yolk from scrambling. Return pot to low heat, simmer and stirring constantly for another minute or two. Set aside finished custard.

1. Slice, pit, or otherwise prepare fruit to be put in the custard tarts. I used frozen strawberries and frozen cherries.

Biscuit prep:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit (as per directions on pop-n-fresh can)
2. Lightly grease nonstick muffin tin.
3. Pop open that can-o-biscuits. Try to avoid screaming. I'm still working on that step.
4. Split each of the 8 biscuits in half (so you have two short biscuits circles rather than one tall one.

1. Stretch and work the biscuit dough so that it fits like a pie crust, covering the bottom and sides of each muffin mold.
2. Whisk the custard that's been sitting for a while to make sure it's a smooth texture. Spoon about a tablespoon of custard into each mini pie crust.
3. Place fruit of choice on custard. It will sink into your custard a bit, but that's a good thing.
4. Bake for 16-18 minutes (until the biscuit crust is golden brown.
5. Cool for 10 or 15 minutes and then remove from muffin tin.
6. Refrigerate to chill custard.
7. Enjoy your culinary experience!

p.s. - these things are only 3 WW points (new system) each. So it's a totally justifiable snack.

03 March 2015


^^^ The theme of this past weekend's Confirmation retreat

I hadn't gone on a Confirmation retreat since I had been allowed on my sister's - she was in 10th grade and I was in 8th - so I was more than a little nervous to embark on last weekend's retreat. Even though I was surrounded by a fantastic leadership team, I have a rather perpetual fear of unknown things, which carried over into my specific anxiety about the success of the retreat. But I went. And it was good. Crazy, exhausting, and sometimes frustrating... but still good.

Grace always surprises me. And I'm thankful for that. If I were to anticipate it - and therefore, in some manner, take it to be ordinary - it's very nature as an extraordinary gift would be missed. You put in your best effort and then hope for the grace to appear and make up for your deficiencies and answer the necessary questions. So yes, grace always surprises me, but I'm of the opinion that it is proper that grace surprise me. It's not like I'm "owed" grace or something. It's an unexpected present.

{I'm pretty sure the latter paragraph is composed of two redundant sections, both of which could adequately express my point, but I'm too tired to edit properly. Mea culpa.}


To be totally honest, most of my memory of retreat is a crazy blur. I got a migraine Friday night, so I spent that night barfing instead of sleeping, and my activity Saturday was so fueled by adrenaline that I couldn't fall asleep until about 4:30 am Sunday, in spite of me putting my physically exhausted body to bed at 2. But each one of the few moments I clearly remember were so obviously grace-filled that I want to share them with you, my friends. :)

In no particular order:

1. Our youth minister asked that I be his extra hands over the weekend rather than leading a small group of students in their sharing and discussions. I was happy to oblige. Punctuality and efficiency don't make good things happen of themselves, but I'm a firm believer in them being an excellent framework out of which good things have time and room to grow. In preparation for the weekend, I assembled a black half-inch binder containing paperwork, schedules, and lists... and upon arrival found that Matt had made one as well, the only difference being that his was white. It is such a grace to have a partner in organization who thinks the way you do!

2. A slice of humble pie is always fun. We had been told to plan some short presentation to introduce ourselves to the teens and I had elected to use a couple of photos that Andrea had taken of me last summer. One was a very dramatic headshot, in which I look very serious and glamorous. The other was a rather goofy headshot of me pulling my mouth into a grin. I was going to show them both, briefly showing the glam shot, but mostly focusing on the ridiculous one since that is the one that is more authentically me. Alas, technical difficulties occurred, we didn't use my headshots, and I introduced myself with my sister. That was totally fine and cool... and then my dramatic headshot appeared on the projector. And stayed there. For a long time. Finally it was replaced by other peoples' photos... only to return and remain, once again, lingering on the wall. My face. Enormous and dramatically arranged. It is such a grace to have an intensely embarrassing moment in front of 100+ people... occasions for humility can be the moments of vulnerability that allow people to connect with one another.

3. Last time I went on retreat (only a few months ago), the kitchen was great about accommodating my allergies... apart from one slip-up Saturday night that caused me to get pretty sick. Since it had been my own retreat, though, it didn't negatively affect anyone else's experience. I didn't want to risk that occurring when I was really needed on this Confirmation retreat, so I packed all of my own food. I made these quinoa and oat bars with sun butter and maple syrup. I ate one at every meal. The grace here is in the fact that these bars - a recipe I had not previously made or consumed - kept me full and functioning all weekend; I didn't get hungry, I didn't pass out, and I even liked them tolerably well.

4. Speaking of food, I have a pretty funny story to share. Friday night at dinner, I found myself at a table of junior guys. Somehow we ended up talking about fitness, weight lifting, muscle building, etc., and suddenly I found myself being given weight loss advice. They encouraged me to set concrete, small goals and that the feeling of reaching those goals would be the best feeling ever. I listened quite seriously to all they had to say on the subject, but I was definitely laughing on the inside at their earnest intensity in giving such advice to a female chaperone. There is so much grace in laughter and in recalling these funny moments!

5. I got to experience real weather. I know many people were bummed that we had such dreary weather, but it wasn't just boring dreary weather. It was really exciting weather. The wind was positively howling all weekend, the rain started Saturday, but never got really intense, and then on Sunday it snowed. I loved it! It was such an adventure and I never got cold, even though I didn't have a coat! There is a two-fold grace here in that 1) the buildings were well heated and 2) I was so busy that I never sat still long enough to get cold. 

6. Even though I wasn't able to really connect with any particular group of the juniors since I was the supervisory "extra brain" (also known as the "bad cop" in opposition to Matt's "good cop") on the leadership team, I was given the opportunity to really connect and bond with the senior leadership team since I directed the "Fix You" skit this year. It's an intensely emotional skit, immediately following a talk on sin & forgiveness and preceding the hour and a half of confession time. The preparation and rehearsals for the skit all take place outside of the normal retreat meetings so it requires a further time commitment on the part of the team. It was such a grace to get to know each of the teens better through that extra time spent with them. It was such a grace to witness their dedication to giving the juniors a powerful and meaningful illustration of God's love and mercy through their performance. It was such a grace to watch them succeed. I am so proud of them... and that is such a grace to me!

7. In addition to all of this, there were so many unexpected gifts scattered through the weekend:
     - There were sweet girls who made a point to seek me out for one-on-one conversation and advice... which was such an honor, I still can't quite wrap my head around it.
     - Quite a few people told me that they had such a wonderful experience and that they were so inspired by this year's senior leadership team, they would be applying to be on the team next year! I wasn't surprised by the interest expressed by a few of them, but there were several from whom it was a complete (but awesome) surprise.
     - The chaperone situation leading up to retreat was pretty dicey, to say the least. There were a lot of plans that fell through, a lot of maybe's that turned into no's, and it was all pretty stressful and very not-done. The team that ended up coming together was so cool, though! There wasn't a lot of prior acquaintance within the adult leadership team, but over the weekend, a lot of kindred-spiritedness was made manifest.
     - Since I didn't have much of a personal interaction with the teens, I assumed that my impact would be minimal. I thought wrong. I received so many sweet affirmation notes, so many expressions of gratitude for the things I had done, or the one or two very brief things that I said. The fact that my affirmation bag was full of these notes was totally overwhelming.
     - God gave me a huge present by letting me feel so loved by Him during the Mass on Saturday. I don't always experience that at Mass or in prayer, and I've come to really see it as an extra gift from God, not a necessary effect of grace. I always know and believe God loves me, that I receive grace by participating in the Mass, but to feel that love and to have it make me warm, happy, and comforted is a rare and beautiful thing for me.
     - When Saturday night rolled around, we hadn't played the retreat theme song all day and, to be honest, we hadn't even played it more than once during those first 24 hours of retreat. So when we played it after Adoration and the students were suddenly excited and engaged, dancing and singing like crazy, and then calling for an encore during which they rushed the stage in a giant mob... well, it was probably due to some sleep deprivation and crazy teenager group energy... but it was cool.

After the kids left Sunday afternoon and we had cleaned up the cabins and hall,  I suddenly felt both hungry and exhausted. The adrenaline stopped and the sleepiness settled in to stay for a while. I came down the mountain with Matt, who I had briefed on the whole "Bridget & motion sickness" situation, and he was incredibly nice about and cool with"taking it slow" on our drive back. We stopped at a few places along the side of the road to look at some incredible views so Bridget could get her stomach calmed down.

After a successful trip down the hill (no barfing this time! yay!), we did a pretty quick unpack and storing of the supplies. We were all so tired and relaxed and... yeah, mostly tired. We were in Matt's office, talking about something, and it somehow got Andrea and I started making theology jokes... the obscure Trinitarian theology kind of jokes. The other people didn't think we were very funny. But before you all think that my sister and I are totally pretentious, you should know that we laughed long and hard at a fart joke on Brooklyn Nine-Nine later that same evening. Very much not pretentious people here.

Retreat was good. I'm so glad it's over. Not because it is a bad thing, but because I'm not sure how much more I could've done before falling over. I'm glad it happened and it happened well. I'm grateful for each and every person who helped prepare, run, organize, and make this retreat happen. But it's over. And now we can all sleep.

(the photos in this post are mostly an illustration of the evolution in mood some of the adult leadership went through this weekend: excitement, distress, concern, and crazy)