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“The National Institute for Literacy estimates that 47% of adults (more than 200,000 individuals) in the City of Detroit are functionally illiterate”… good thing  St. Anne is  now the Patron Saint Of Detroit.  We could use some of her mother/ teacher influence.

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Ahead of her time

Kate must have seen my mom’s wedding photo somewhere and decided to find a dress just like hers!

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Order of Friars Preachers

One of the true blessings of going to Notre Dame is that I have good friends who have entered the religious life. Last year I traveled to Ann Arbor to see my friend Kristin, now Sr. Louis Marie, profess her vows. Here is a video of the vestition (reception of the habit) of my friend Santiago, now Br. Tomas Martin. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that both of my friends in religious life became Dominicans- it’s an awesome order. I am so proud of them! You can see Br. Tomas best around the 8:30 mark- he’s at the front of the line on the left hand side.

I sometimes took it for granted while I was in school, but the rich Catholic culture of Notre Dame really did a lot to cement my faith. Many kids  stop going to church in college, but at Notre Dame going to Mass on Sunday was the normal thing to do. More than any other aspect of college, I think I will miss that environment for the rest of my life.

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Do you need a smile today?

Of course you do. I do too. Here you go:

Thanks, Zoo Atlanta!

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Weary

I am carrying so much. I’m at the edge of my endurance. I have no patience, energy, or compassion. Every day is about getting things done as best I can and keeping myself sane. There’s very little room for the needs of others. I’m in a self-absorbed crisis mode. I want to carry around a sign listing everything that’s difficult in my life right now so that everyone will respect my pain and think twice about asking something else of me.

I know. I am whiny and ungrateful. I have so many blessings, and things could be so much worse. I know. I don’t feel it.

They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles’ wings;
They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.
Isaiah 40:31

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These seven students have more courage in their pinky fingers than I have in my whole body

More than 100 protesters led by seven young people brought to the United States as young children — and who were later arrested after blocking traffic in protest — marched through downtown Atlanta to raise awareness about undocumented youths.

After a rally in Hurt Park near Georgia State University, protesters delivered a letter to the school’s admissions office which asked GSU officials not to comply with a ban on undocumented immigrants that takes effect this fall. The Georgia Board of Regents in October voted to prohibit undocumented students from attending five of the state’s most selective colleges.

After delivering the letter to surprised admissions officials, the hundreds-strong crowd marched and chanted “Education, not deportation,” “Undocumented and unafraid” and “Education, not segregation.”

The seven undocumented youths then unfurled banners and sat in the middle of Courtland Street, blocking traffic for close to an hour before they were all arrested. Late Tuesday evening, U.S. Customs and Immigration enforcement officials were reportedly determining whether the arrested students would face deportation.

via Immigration rally ends in arrests after protesters block downtown street | Atlanta News & Opinion Blog | Fresh Loaf | Creative Loafing Atlanta.

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The Engagement Story

Sorry to keep everyone waiting! Wedding planning complicates life, I’m learning, and leaves much less time for blogging. Who knew? Anyway, on to the story.

On the evening of Saturday, March 12th, Matt had asked if we could go over to his parents’ house for dinner. I was fine with that, but I had also had a long week, so I wanted to take a nap first. When Matt showed up at my place to pick me up, I had characteristically overslept and was still finishing getting ready. It only took me a few minutes, but I noticed Matt was a little antsier than usual. I didn’t think much of it.

We got on the road, but quickly hit traffic on the interstate loop that circles Atlanta. We were crawling- unusual for a Saturday evening- and Matt kept getting text messages. I assumed that he was telling his mom we would be later than we thought for dinner. We talked about lots of different things, but one thing I clearly remember telling him about was my coworkers’ conversation earlier in the day about their engagement stories. One coworker had asked his wife while they were dozing off on the couch- she had said “Huh?” and he was just glad he didn’t need to repeat it! My supervisor’s was even funnier. Her husband had a whole speech prepared and got down on one knee and everything, and her reaction was something along the lines of “Hmm, OK, this could work.” Matt reacted pretty strongly to that, something like “Please don’t ever do that to me!” Poor guy! I think I laughed at him and teased him a bit. Not helpful.

Anyway, we eventually got to the area where Matt grew up, which conveniently is also where we went to grade school and middle school. Our school is only a couple of miles from his house. When we got to the school, Matt pulled in the parking lot. I was pretty confused because I thought we were running late for dinner with his parents. I bugged him about why we were stopping but all he would say is “Pit stop” as he parked the car. We both got out and went to the main entrance. I was a little suspicious at this point that something was going on. Matt tried the doors. The first three were locked- much to Matt’s obvious concern- but the fourth and last door was open. We went inside.

It was dark in the atrium. Matt took my hand and led me towards the grade school side of the building. Our kindergarten classroom is the very first room on that hallway. Matt opened the door to the classroom and turned on the light. The first thing I noticed was a book lying on the center table. Matt led me over and we sat down. Matt explained that the book was a collection of our kindergarten class’ drawings. We paged through the book together, trying to remember who some of our classmates were and laughing at the pictures by those people we still know today. Then I noticed that my page and his page were paperclipped together. I smiled looking at them- mine featured stars (typical for 5 year old me) and Matt’s had dinosaurs (VERY typical for 5 year old Matt!). Matt took my hand and told me that as far as he could tell, this was our first collaborative work.  He said, “The story never said ‘The End,’ and I never want it to.”  Then he got down on one knee, took the ring out of his pocket, and said, “Laura, will you marry me?” I pride myself on the fact that before I gave him a huge hug and kiss, I said yes and let him slide the ring on my finger. (It fit perfectly, by the way- the kid had stolen two of my rings days ago without me noticing so he would get the right size). We exchanged I-love-yous and walked back towards the front doors, pretty giddy and giggly.

Out of the dark of the atrium, there was suddenly a woman hugging me and congratulating me. I couldn’t see her face, but I was pretty sure I didn’t recognize her- I think I said thank you and I hope I hugged her back. It turns out that Matt had been in cahoots with the assistant principal at our school so that everything would be unlocked and ready for us. She was the person he had been texting in the car while we were stuck in traffic! He wanted to make sure she wouldn’t leave and mess up his plans.

While Matt had been proposing, the assistant principal had been sneakily taking photos of us from her office across the parking lot. None of those really turned out, which is fine with me- I’m glad we shared that moment just the two of us. Anyway, the assistant principal was very excited about our engagement, saying that it was a great story for the school, and she ushered us back into the classroom to take staged photos of the proposal. Best of both worlds- we have photos, but the moment itself was private 🙂

We thanked her profusely and headed back to the car. I still thought we were late for dinner. I called my mom to tell her all about it while we drove the last couple of miles to Matt’s house. When we got to his house, I said I had to go, I needed to go eat dinner with Matt’s family. I was totally surprised when we went inside and my family was waiting there for us along with Matt’s parents! My parents even managed to get my little brother to come along. We had a huge family meal and everyone had a great time. I really can’t think of a better way to celebrate my engagement than to watch my family and my fiance’s family share a meal and bond. It helps that our families have known each other for so many years, I suppose.

I think that’s everything. Oh, and the assistant principal is writing an article about us for the archdiocese newspaper- I guess it’s good press if you can boast that a kindergartener might just find her soul mate among her classmates! 😀

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