{p,f,h,r}–Pretty, Funny, Happy, Real

{p,f,h,r}–Pretty, Funny, Happy, Real

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

I’ve never done this before, because I normally don’t take enough pictures every week to do this weekly. But I sure did when I was on vacation, so here we go!


There’s a lot of pretty here, guys. Edel+ Charleston= pretty overload. So let me walk you thought it.


Carolina Jam Cake with lovely, simple flowers at Hominy Grill. The cake has caramel icing. Say no more, people.


This lovely St. Therese necklace made by the Fantastic (And Cincinnati-based!) On This Day Designs.


Goodies from the conference: St. Thomas card (also from On This Day), a St. Catherine of Siena medal, and a lovely print from Hatch Prints.  Dominican power was strong!


The cutest houses–and wonderful restaurants!


Seriously, a hat shop! A REAL HAT SHOP! With such a pretty sign.



Super funny ladies, they are: Kelly Mantoan and Mary Lenaburg. 


edel 2015! @emily_m_deardo Edel 2015 @emily_m_deardo IMG_1621 edel 2015 @emily_m_deardo

That about sums up happy, right?


IMG_1583 IMG_1635 IMG_1665

L-R: The tomatoes at the Charleston Farmers’ Market; buttermilk fried chicken at Poogan’s Porch (DIVINITY), and Passion fruit iced tea, so I don’t melt in Charleston humidity.


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.

Daybook No. 98

daybook tag

Outside my window:: Sunny but also cloudy, if that makes sense. I guess the weatherman would call this “partly sunny”? Or “partly cloudy”? (I never did understand the distinction.)

In the CD player:: 1776 soundtrack.

Wearing:: My PJs. I know. So unexciting. But all my pretty clothes are packed away for vacation!

Reading:: Reclaiming Catholic Social TeachingThe Whole World Over; Mansfield Park; Lisette’s List. I also have a bunch of books packed for vacation, including Middlemarch, The Forsythe Saga, The Girl On A Train; A Memory of Violets; Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, and a few more.

Yes, I bring lots of books when I go on vacation. It’s often like this:


Links you may have missed:: Jane Re-Read: Pride and Prejudice; Sketchbook Skool; The Declaration 

Crafting:: I”ve got some knitting packed for Edel, because there are going to be excellent knitters there, and I need someone to teach me to purl consistently! I’ve also got my scarf and washcloth still on the needles.

From the kitchen:: Not much, since we’re leaving soon! I’m looking forward to excellent Charleston food!

Keeping House:: Cleaning before I leave–making sure all the trash is out, and things are generally tidy, so when I come home it won’t be a disaster. And of course, packing.

Fitness: Today is a yoga day, and tomorrow is a gym day. I am packing gym clothes for vacation (the hotel has a gym), but I think the normal run of things might be enough! We’ll see, though. Better to be prepared, right?

Prayer:: Really trying to keep to my “horarium”, as I’m calling it. That means prayer in the morning (lauds) with some devotional reading; midday prayer (noon) if I don’t make it to Mass; Divine Mercy chaplet and Office of Readings at 3:00 (and rosary, if I have time); Vespers between 5 and 5:30 (with rosary after, if I didn’t get to it already), and compline between 7:45 and 8:45, depending on what’s going on. This is, actually, a copy of a few monastic schedules. It’s not every hour of the office, but it’s a majority of them (It’s four, and there’s seven hours of the office). As a Lay Dominican, lauds, vespers and rosary are required every day. But I really like the office of readings, and compline is special to Dominicans. And of course, Daily Mass when I can.

There will be an adoration chapel set up at Edel on Saturday, which makes me crazy happy.

This week:: Um, vacation? 🙂 Edel is Friday and Saturday. So excited for that. 10 Year Anniversary is on Saturday as well! Rejoice! 🙂

Some cuteness: Princess Charlotte and her family at her baptism yesterday. The baptism was held at St. Mary Magdalene church in Sandringham.

Daybook with Royal Baby Photos! @emily_m_deardo

Duchess Catherine and Princess Charlotte.

Royal Christening @emily_m_deardo

The Duke and Duchess, with Princess Charlotte in the pram, and Prince George checking on his sister. (“I want to make sure she’s in there…”)

Princess Charlotte at her christening @emily_m_deardo

Someone looks like her mommy.

Seven Quick Takes No. 78

It's Friday, so that means Seven Quick Takes! @emily_m_deardo


mmmm. Summer Friday. Those are beautiful words in the English language, no? 🙂


Since it’s summer, more people read. You can, of course, join the Jane Re-Read (Sense and Sensibility is what we’re talking right now). I’m still reading Prodigal Summer and Northanger Abbey. I just finished I Believe In Love, about St. Therese of Liseux and how she can lead us to a deeper spiritual life, and I really liked that one. There’s a lot to ponder and I’ll definitely be reading it again. (Who am I kidding. I read everything again….unless it’s Moby Dick or Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Shudder!)

I keep debating if I should read Girl on a Train. Yes? No? Thoughts?


My 10 year transplant testing appointment is on Monday. To put this in perspective: UNOS (the United Network for Organ Sharing, which “does” transplants in the U.S.) doesn’t even have 10 year survival rates on their chart. The last one they have is 5 years out, and for women, that rate is 46.1%. I read somewhere that 10 year survival is around 30%, but I forget where.
So, for ONCE, the odds have been playing nicely with me. I rejoice in this. The actual 10 year date is in July, but we do the testing in June, usually.


I’ve discovered that a lot of women don’t know basic maintenance things. This sort of scares me, ladies. You should know to put gas in the car (and what kind of gas), how to jump a car battery, how to use tools, how to unclog a toilet. Even if you’re married, your husband isn’t aways around to fix things! I’m amazed at how many women I know who can’t do any of these things and I want to be like, girls. Come on now!


My brother’s girlfriend sent me this photo of him at Disneyland, and I just love it:


As Br. H said, “How many Evil Empires can you fit in one picture?”


I’ve started swimming again–yay! But man, the muscles feel it when you swim hard for the first time in a season. They rebel the next day. But it’s so good to be in swim season again, I do not mind at all.


Almost time for Edel 2015 in Charleston! I’m so excited!! I’ve never been to South Carolina and I can’t wait to meet all the amazing women who will be there!

Seven Quick Takes No. 60



So we have to start with the big thing: I’m going to Edel!

I am so excited to meet Jen and Hallie and all the other lovely ladies, and I’m also excited to see the City of Charleston. I’ve never been to South Carolina, and my mom has always wanted to go to Charleston. So, we’re going!


The best part about the gathering? Well, OK, the other best part?

My 10th transplant anniversary is that Saturday.

Really, people, how much better can it be to celebrate a DECADE of life post-transplant than with amazing ladies, great food, maybe a spa treat (there’s one in the hotel!)

This is the sort of thing I never imagined before transplant–getting to travel all over the country and have these amazing experiences.


The plan right now is to get to Charleston on Thursday and stay until the following Wednesday, so we can see all we want to see and really enjoy the city, as opposed to “we have a weekend we must CRAM IT ALL IN NOW.” We shall take our time.

Dad is excited because they will be shrimp and grits and there’s a Starbucks in the hotel lobby. He’s pretty set for life, right there.


When I told my transplant doc that we were going to Charleston, he immediately said, “You must eat at Hominy Grill.” He’s not the only one who has said this, but he sure waxed poetic about it. If you have other suggestions for places to eat, pop them in the com box. 🙂


I was basically a prisoner in the house Monday and Tuesday, because of cold and snow. NOTHING like Buffalo, but it was cold, for sure–unseasonably so. I cannot imagine living in Buffalo. How do you even begin to clear five plus feet of snow?!


I’m excited to see Mockingjay soon–either this weekend or next week. And also, of course, The Theory of Everything, which opens here next week! Yay good movies! I also need to see Big Hero 6.


What are your plans for Turkey Day? Ours involve getting Bob Evans’ “Farmhouse Feast” and eating it at home. We’re not huge Thanksgiving Let’s Go All Out People (we sort of were, back in the day). Now we just like it nice and quiet, with maybe a movie or two that day or the day after. We’re low-key peeps. And we do not do Black Friday shopping–unless it’s Black Friday at Barnes and Noble. Because, why not.

Seven Quick Take Friday No. 59



Well, I guess it’s Officially Winter in Ohio. We had the first snow of the season yesterday. Nothing stuck (unlike near Cleveland, where they got inches of lake effect), so it was the snow I like. The kind that doesn’t stick. 😛 But it is definitely heavy coat season and “find my gloves” season now.


We’ve had radio silence over here (except for my Interstellar review), mostly because of NaNoWriMo. I’m about halfway to the 50K word goal. This novel has been hard, pacing wise–there’s a big, seminal event that sets off the big things in my novel and I’m not sure when to make that event happen. I’m trying to time it right. This is a novel that would HAVE to be more than 50,000 words, because there’s a lot I have planned in my head. It’s just a question of getting it down in the document. (NaNo novels can be over 50K–50K is the minimum word count to “win”.)


I’ve started Christmas shopping–I’m actually almost done for my parents–but now I have to wrap the gifts. Yeah, I’m not so great at wrapping….but at least I have pretty paper! And then there’s people who haven’t told me what they want yet. Sometimes I try to get something on my own, and some people I like to be told what to get them. I also have to start writing out the Christmas cards. They’re bought, but I haven’t started writing them out at all.


I have, however, done my Advent prep. 🙂 I bought new Advent candles for the wreath yesterday and I’ve got my Advent books all prepared. That’s going to be a post next week, I promise, because I love my Advent books and I try to share them with lots of people. 🙂


I am SO EXCITED about the Edel Gathering! I’ve already booked the room in Charleston, and tickets go on sale next week. Will I see you there?


When do you put your tree up? I generally put mine up the Day of the OSU/Michigan game, because that’s usually the week before Thanksgiving. I know some people who have it up NOW, and my mom usually puts it up after Thanksgiving. When I was a kid, we put it up the first weekend in December, the same weekend as the parish bazaar. Now it’s sort of whenever mom and dad want to, since none of us live at home anymore. 🙂


Reading: Traveling to Infinity by Jane Hawking, which is the basis for the new movie The Theory of Everything, which I cannot WAIIIIITTTT to see!!!! Between this book and Interstellar I’ve been thinking a lot about space this week!