Punching Satan in the Face: Edel ’15

Describing last weekend requires a lot of superlatives. Awesome. Epic. Fantastic. Amazing. You know, all those words that teenage girls like to use in squealing tones of voice.

But in this case, they’d be well-deserved. It really was all those things.

Edel 15 @emily_m_deardo

The fantastic Kelly Mantoan and Mary Lenaburg.

My family and I arrived in Charleston on Thursday, and the conference kicked off on Friday evening. On Friday morning, I received an email from Jen Fulwiler asking me if I’d be a guest on her radio show that night. Now, I’d sort of hoped I’d be a guest, but I didn’t think I actually would be, because those sort of things don’t happen to me. I don’t win the lottery or even the church raffle. I’m not lucky that way. But today, I was.

I did a little happy dance and replied that I’d love to. I do love to talk, after all. And I wasn’t nervous, because I’d be talking about–well, OK–me, not nuclear policy or sanctuary cities. If I don’t know about my life, who does?

I was worried that I wouldn’t talk to anyone else all weekend–that people would think I was a weird blog fan girl and think “danger, Will Robinson!” But the women were all welcoming, funny, and friendly. As the weekend progressed, I realized that a lot of us often felt the same way–that people wouldn’t like us, or would think we’re “weird”. But Edel is a great example of CS Lewis’ definition of friendship: “You too? I thought I was the only one!” There was a lot of that at Edel.

But back to the radio show. Mary Lenaburg (pictured above with the fantastically funny Kelly Mantoan, one of our speakers) was first, and she talked about her sweet Courtney. There was a need for tissues after she was done talking. Fortunately, I didn’t have to follow that. 😉 I was on in the six o’clock hour (we were on from 5-7) and to be honest, I have no idea how long I was interviewed, and I have a vague idea of what I said–adrenaline just totally took over.

Being interviewed by Jen Fulwiler and  Hallie Lord was a bucket list item I didn't know I even HAD. @emily_m_deardo

Jen’s radio show on the Sirius XM Catholic Channel.

Edel 2015 @emily_m_deardo

After the radio show with these amazing Edel co-founders.

I do know I said it’s OK to get mad at God, because he can take it–this was tweeted a lot, apparently. (It’s so weird to have things you said be tweeted. This happens to other people. Not me.) But I had a blast talking to these amazing ladies.

And when I say amazing, I mean they were all, really, amazing. Every one of us is fighting the good fight at home, moving toward holiness one load of dishes at a time. It was so refreshing to be with like-minded women!

In self-care, one of the things that gets talked about is “filling your well”. Edel did that for me. Not only did I get to meet women whom I’ve admired for a long time (Mary, Kelly, Jen, Hallie, and Ginny, for starters), but I got to meet new friends. And we really felt like friends who’d known each other a long time. It was easy to open up to these women.

Edel 2015 @emily_m_deardo

edel 2015 @emily_m_deardo

edel 2015! @emily_m_deardo

Hugs and laughs were shared in equal measure. Let’s not even talk about the spectacle of lots of Catholic women dancing and doing karaoke after imbibing cocktails.

But the biggest thing I took away was that none of us are alone in what we’re doing. And we might be scattered all over the world, but we are united in what matters. And that might include shrimp and grits and karaoke, as well as more serious things.

In the gospels, Peter doesn’t want to leave the site of the Transfiguration. He wants to stay up there always with Jesus, Elijah, and Moses. But he can’t; Jesus leads them back down the mountain. Things like Edel are the moments of the transfiguration. As much as we might want to stay on the mountain, we have to bring what we’ve seen there back into our daily lives, and transfigure them, based on what we know now.

And the title of this post? That’s from Kelly Mantoan’s talk: “Every time you bless yourself, it’s like punching Satan in the face.”

A lot of us left Charleston ready to do just that.

Grace will lead me Home


There’s been a lot of talk lately about Brittany, the girl in Oregon who is 29 and has decided to end her life in a few weeks, because she has cancer.

I was going to write about this. But then Ann Voskamp put this on her blog, and…all I can say is yes.

Yes, five thousand times yes.

Suffering is pain. Suffering is darkness and doubt and horrible things, and there are times when in that suffering and pain we want to end it all, to end in on our terms.

I know. I’ve been there. I’ve almost said no so many times. So many times I wanted to close my hands, like Ann says in her book, and say no, God! No God, I will not take this from your hand! 

No, no, no. I will not.

But the thing is…..that’s where the pain all comes from. From saying no.

What kicked Lucifer out of heaven?

Saying, no, God. No, God, I will not do this. I will not serve. 

And finally….

Thousands of years later….the world was healed and saved with yes.

Yes, God. Yes, I will do your will. 

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”

–John 6: 38

I have laid in the bed, in the dark nights, with tubes in my body and pain in my mind and thought I can’t.

I have fought against that will. I have wanted to stop.

But then I realized that God is in all those details. He knows when I sit and when I stand, and He has marked out my day aright.

There is a plan…it’s just not one I know, all the way to the end. But to end the story before it’s really over? To deny myself, and others, any of the precious days that God gives?


I can’t.

We have to–all of us have to–trust in the plan. Open our hands and say “yes” to whatever is placed in it.

God is always good. Always. No matter what is happening.

In the suffering is the good, the glory…its beauty.

And I say that as someone who knows it, and who has wanted to run away from it and deny it and has wished for something that would be easier.

But that’s not His plan for me. His plan is for me, right here, and right now, with this body.

When He calls me, I’ll go. But until then….He’s the author of my story.




This is an excellent, excellent post about prayer, especially this part: 

While you are wondering how to talk to Him and where He is in the midst of your loneliness and friendlessness and fallenness or busyness and craziness and prosperity, can you imagine that He might gob-smack you tomorrow with a big old Moral of the Story, but He might also be preparing you for something so far down the line it might not be worth fretting over it right now? Tell Him that — that you are willing to wait and see.

And that might be prayer. For all I know.

Catholic note to filmmakers and writers

Catholic NUNS are cloistered. That means they don’t work in hospitals, run schools, etc. They don’t leave their monastery unless it’s for something like a doctor’s appointment. 

Catholic SISTERS do these things. 

So, nuns aren’t sisters, and sisters aren’t nuns. 

Thanks. 🙂 


Retreat 2014 notes

I made my annual retreat over the past week. I say “annual”, and usually it is, although there are years where all I get in terms of retreat are my Lay Dominican chapter’s day of recollection around St. Dominic’s Day on August 8. Not that that’s bad, but it’s not the same as a weekend retreat, especially a weekend silent retreat.




This year I attended our Diocesan Council of Catholic Women’s retreat, led by Fr. Ezra Sullivan, OP, who is stationed at St. Gertrude’s near Cincinnati (where our province novitiate is). The theme of the retreat was “Mary, Mother of Sorrows/Mother of Grace”, and how those two titles aren’t mutually exclusive.

As much as I love to talk, I also love–crave–the silence of retreat. How is God supposed to be heard over the noise of daily life? Remember, Elijah didn’t hear God in the earthquake. He heard Him in the “still,small voice” (1 Kgs 19:11-13). The silence isn’t absolute. It usually starts after dinner on Friday and then there’s an optional Saturday social, with the silence ended after Mass on Sunday. You can also ask questions during conferences. But, in general, silence is the rule, so that everyone can spend time immersed in God, listening for His voice, and spending time in prayer. Continue reading

Seven Quick Takes No. 43



It’s a hockey night! Tonight I’m going to the Penguins/Jackets game with my dad. It’s my first Jackets game this season, so I’m really excited to go. I love hockey. Dad took me to my first game when I was about seven or eight and I was hooked. (If you’re a hockey fan: that was so long ago, Hartford still had a hockey team….) We are Pens fans, originally, but we love the Jackets too. So we usually split our team spirit gear for both teams. 🙂


Rehab goes well. I did 8 miles on the bike on Wednesday and not sure what’s up today, other than meeting with nutrition after my workout time. Yeah nutrition…sort of. As I’ve done more reading on food and good ways to eat, I’ve been inclined to go for a whole food diet as opposed to Weight Watchers/etc., which is mostly processed stuff (at least the pre made foods they have), and the recipes require things that are generally altered. I like to cook, so I might as well do it, right? With real foods? That’s my thought process.


In CCD this week, I’m teaching the kids about the second coming, the Four Last Things, and Purgatory. In case you were a poorly catechized Catholic (or not Catholic at all): The Four Last Things are Heaven, Hell, Death and Judgement. So yes, we’ll be talking about those things with the kids. Yes, Hell is real, guys. I’ll try not to scare them too much. 🙂 (We’re watching a video about the Fatima apparitions in a few weeks–The Day The Sun Danced–and it has a scene of Hell, since Mary showed the children a vision of Hell. So they’re gonna get the picture in an age-appropriate way.)


Back to yoga with a vengeance. I know I need to be. I can do it at home and there’s a great center nearby. The body needs it, I need it, so that’s that. Full stop. 🙂


Next weekend: Silent retreat! YES! So excited. I love silent retreats and can’t wait to go on this one. How can I pray for you? Leave an intention in the com box, if you have one. 🙂 This will be my first one in a few years, and I need it!


I’m in the midst of Elizabeth Foss’s brilliant RESTORE workshop. I am loving every second of it. I have to lay down routines and plans and habits so I can have the life I want, and a life that will promote/preserve my health. This is especially important since I got my CT scan results back Thursday and I appear to be in chronic rejection, which means there is scarring happening in my lungs and we want that to stop. Sometimes this scarring can lead to a second transplant, sometimes you can live for decades with it. We’re not sure exactly how it starts or what it is or how to fix it. We’re on the cusp of modern medicine here. So: I need to really, truly focus on what is important to me and make it happen. I have to do these things and not waste words, breath, or pixels. I gotta do it. RESTORE is so helping me get there, providing me with great essays, community, and tools. Because it’s pedal to the metal time. No more messing around with things that waste brain cells and induce frustration.


So, the book proposal is going out. It is. I’m finishing it, printing it, and mailing it. We’re gonna get it done.

Seven Quick Takes Friday No. 42



The madness has started! And I love it. Thank God Pitt won yesterday. I was a bit surprised OSU lost to Dayton but I had OSU losing in the next round anyway, so not too sad about it. 🙂 We’re Pitt peeps in my family! (Dad did his undergrad there) They play again (against Florida) on Saturday.


I watched some of the games at the home of two of my friends who, coincidentally, are married–I was friends with each of them before that, however. 🙂 They have a gorgeous little girl (she’s almost 1 1/2) and I got to read Madeline to her, which was fun. I love reading books to kids–I do voices. Some of my favorites are the Llama Llama books, Go Dog Go! and Fish Out of Water (probably because my mom read the last two to my brother and me).


First week of Pulm Rehab ends today–five more weeks to go! Today I have my sessions with my PT and with nutrition. Really, the problem with nutrition is I am hungry. A lot. Sometimes all the time. That’s a med thing, and I’m not sure what we can do to fix it. But we’re gonna try! I also have a CT scan with contrast at 2:15 before my pulm rehab session at 3:00. That means–peripheral IV time! YAYYYY! 🙂 (NOT)


But before I get poked with 20 gauge needles, I’m having lunch with one of my favorite people, who is also a student at my alma mater, so I get to eat in the Main Dining Hall (MDR) again. I really loved my college years and I”m glad I live so close so I can go back and visit. 🙂 (I cannot believe my ten year class reunion is this year….gulp!)


I want to see Divergent soon. Loved the first two books. The third–eh.

Also, I am not happy with The Giver trailer. Not at all. Ages are all wrong. Sets are wrong. Costumes are wrong. IT’S A LOT OF WRONG, peeps.


Read a great book this week: Girl at the End of the World. People, you need to read this. It’s a real, honest, moving account of a woman’s escape from a fundamentalist cult founded by her grandparents.


Going to confession tomorrow. Have you been yet this Lent? Maybe you should go too? 🙂 (Friendly Catholic reminder!)