Archive | April, 2011

I’m Home.

24 Apr

Kneeling in the empty sanctuary, nothing lit but the Tabernacle, no one present but a few setting up in the fellowship hall, the only sound the clacking of my rosary beads.

(I was shaking, so there was more clacking than usual).

There were no Hail Mary’s – in Latin, English, or Esperanto.

There were no Divine Mercy prayers.

This is the last time. This is the last time. This is the last time.

Butterflies. Anxiety. Tears. Hurt. Pain.

Pain. Pain. Pain.

Good bye is never easy.

Easy, without difficulty, habit. Habitual.

Does my hair look okay in the back?

Concentrate. Concentration.

Hail Mary. . .this is the last time. This is the last time. This is the last time.

Breathe. Release. Breathe. Release.

Good bye. 

Entering again, even darker, even quieter, with my godfamily beside me.

“Christ our light.”

“Christ our light.”

“Christ our light.”

May it always dispel the darkness of this night.

Water. Oil. Bread. Wine.

Holiness. Fire. Body. Blood.

Tears. My tears.


I’m home.

The Countdown

19 Apr

Thank you to everyone who has been keeping me in their thoughts and prayers, and especially to Calah, Hallie, and Kimberlie. Growing pains are never fun, but who wants to stay a baby forever? It’s, you know, technically my Catholic rumspringa so. . .if anyone’s been aching to commit a mortal sin with me, you have ’til Saturday. (kidding, kidding).

I’m in a strange limbo right now, juxtaposed between excitement, and nervousness, and numbness. It’s quite frankly difficult for me to believe that it’s really happening. I’m not really a cry-er, but it makes me cry thinking about how the blogging community has rallied around me and my fellow converts. Please, please, please believe me when I say that I am so very, very grateful. I don’t think there’s any better contemporary example of the communion of the saints than what you have all done for me. It humbles me – and I deal with pride a lot, so, humbling me’s never a bad thing – and at the risk of waxing cliche, never before have I felt so much love from a church community. And I come from a southern church – there was plenty of love to go around, no matter the theological pitfalls.

I’m going to be quiet for the rest of this week.


You might hear from me Friday.

But I’m waiting.

Thank you.

Donuts, Oral Roberts, and Mary, pt. 2

8 Apr

Hey everyone, I’m over at Austin Catholic New Media again with the second installment of my conversion story. Drop in and say hi! The ACNM team is doing a fabulous work in ATX.

Donuts, Oral Roberts, and Mary, pt. 2

7 Quick Takes: WTH edition

8 Apr
  1. Welcome
    All my new readers. I’m sorry y’all stumbled upon me in one of the most chaotic times of my life, but I’m glad to have you! If you can stand me at my worst, we should get along smashingly at my best.
  2. HAPPY!!
    My lovely, lovely friend Calah mailed me an awesome package with absolutely AWESOME jewelry she made. Her and her husband are way more gifted in this than I ever would be. You should track her down and offer her your first-born child in exchange for a bangle. Or a spectacular little ear cuff. Or a self-defense ring that won the praise of many.
  3. Pray.
    For my beautiful, loving friend and godmother-to-be Kimberlie. She has sacrificed so much of her time and given so much of herself to make sure that I had all the support I needed to come into the Church. She’s mom to four, and she and my godfather-to-be Paul could always use your prayers.
  4. CHANGE.
    Happened and happened FAST. Since we met last, I have decided to withdraw from Oral Roberts University and transfer to the University of Texas. I held out as long as I could, but a) tuition increased b) financial aid decreased c) my tolerance for insanity maxed out. It just didn’t make financial sense to stay for another semester when I could attend UT for almost-free. And, it actually sets my academic calendar ahead by a semester, but that’s another story entirely. I’m frantically scrambling for housing before Finals, and I have a few good leads, but. . .
  5. This is where my paranoia kicks in.
    My mother and I are very close. When I was in high school we would shoo the rest of the kids in bed, and she’d let me stay up with her and watch forensics shows with her all night. We were both fascinated with forensic science. The downside? I am disgustingly neurotic now. I check the back seat of my car before entering, I have four different routes to and from school, work, and church that I alternate randomly, the two children I nanny are never, NEVER out of my sight, when walking through a parking lot at night by myself, I have my keys clenched in my hand ready to use as weapons. . .I’m not really sure how. I shall scrape thee with my keys?

    Also, I’m applying for my concealed handgun permit, but that’s because there are a few real-life horror stories that happened in my community to girls driving home at night and my family lives on one of the roads that the travesty happened on. According to one person who found about this, this makes me not Catholic. Also a racist bigot. I’m not really sure how? But I digress. Bottom line, I have never lived alone. I also don’t want to end up on an episode of City Confidential because my roommate decided to date Ted Bundy.

  6. So I decided to get over it. . .
    And just look on to see what apartments were available, and what the going rate for roomshares is in the area. The first ad I see?
  7. This gem.
    While I’m glad he’s being honest, and I hope he finds a housing situation that is safe for the community around him, this did nothing – I repeat, NOTHING – to help my irrational fear of internet serial killers.

    Have a safe weekend. Don’t get murdered.

7 Quick Takes – !!!! Edition

1 Apr
1) Yes, another post from me. Two. In a night. Get over it. It’s happening.
2) It isn’t officially Finals week, but it’s almost worse – a huge, huge, huge paper, like, more important than senior paper, is due. . .TOMORROW! I’ve just got some revising and citations and things to do, but the dorms have had fire alarms, I have had an obscene amount of coffee (no, really. Viewer discretion advised), and it is really, really unlikely that I will, at any point before this afternoon, get sleep.
3) I actually have decent sleeping habits. I get no less than 6 or 7 hours of sleep every night. . .but at this time, every single semester, I turn into a crazy, wild-eyed, lazy, procrastinating college student. And I relish it. I love this time of the year. The stress, the deadlines, the lack of sleep, the giddy delirium, the crash after. . .
4) That was not an April Fools. I’m for serious.
5) I love coffee made in a French press. Except for the last cup of coffee you get out of a brewing, when the coffee sludge is all in the bottom of your cup, and you just have to take it like a shot.
6) I mean, so I hear. About the shot thing. And. . .all. . .
7) I’m glad I decided to write 7 Quick Takes now, instead of a couple of hours and a few pitchers of coffee down the road, when I’ve hit the panicky, paranoid, shaky stage of my annual epic all nighter.
I. . .don’t know. Just, visit Jen for more lucid quick takes.

The Waiters.

1 Apr

“My name is Waiter – not waiter in the sense of someone who waits at tables in a restaurant, but meaning someone who waits for a future which never comes.”

– Xinran, “Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother.”

I’m supposed to be finishing my senior policy analysis right now. But approaching the fertility management laws in China from a policy angle, while important and necessary, leaves a gaping sore in my heart that cries out for catharsis. That and my copy of “Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother” arrived today and it utterly and completely killed me inside. While I have an extensive dance background, I’m not really feeling the whole interpretive dance from the balcony form of therapy, and nobody wants to see me draw. So here I am.

I know a lot of people assume that I have a heart for China because they feel my parents somehow expect me to. Sometimes they’ll ask me,

“But what would you want to do if you DIDN’T have siblings from China?”

The answer? Exactly what I’m doing right now.

I don’t love China because it’s trendy. I don’t love China because I think Chinese adoptees are some kind of special designer child. A social status. I love it for that awkward burnt-liver smell that I can smell every now and then when I open a box that was made in China. I love hunting groceries in the Carrefour, not having to leave my name with a laundry mat in Guangzhou because mom and I have curly hair, I love letting the students practicing English make fun of my Texas accent that grows thicker the more exhausted/jet-lagged/emotionally spent I am, I love seeing the countryside – I can’t really say driving through the countryside because I get carsick in Dallas, much less China – I even love the food, and the not knowing what anyone around me is talking about, and letting elderly Chinese ladies drag me into Tai Chi sessions in the park, and watching homosexual ballroom dancers try to persuade my big, macho-manly-man-Texas-rancher-father to join them in a tango. . .(but that’s another story). . .

I hate being in the orphanages. I hate walking through the halls and seeing the faces of the twelve and thirteen-year-old girls that have spent their lives in the Social Welfare Institutes, excited at seeing new faces, but pain and bitterness in their eyes because they know the new faces aren’t for them.

But it isn’t a matter of feeling sorry for them. It’s not pity. It’s not philanthropy. And that’s where I do owe my family. Because it’s a sense of connection, in some small way. Connection to the mother who clung to Cait as long as she could, waiting until she was several months old before she left her wrapped warmly in a box on the orphanage steps in Nan Ping. Cami, found in a bus station still wet from her birth. Trent, abandoned for his missing foot. Aeren, left in the mouth of a coal mine. Sisters and a brother that mean every bit as much to me as Whitney, Logan, Kyle, and Trey. Cami who cried over Spring Break because she realized that I’m never really going to live at home again. Aeren who has fought for her life since the beginning – and has the stubbornness to prove it. Trent who was so ashamed of his foot that he screamed and cried the first night with our family because we had to take his three-sizes-too-small shoes off. Cait, 9 going on 40, who sits around reading science textbooks instead of picture books because she’s too old for childish things like fiction. . .and all four of them who pray diligently and sincerely every single night, with absolutely no prodding or instruction from anyone in our family, for their mother and father in China, and the rest of their biological families – and God help you if you tuck them in and forget to pray with them.

Just like my other four siblings have characteristics from our family members, somewhere in China someone passed those on to my siblings. Their families are out there, and I may not share any more blood with them than I share with my Penguins. But in a way, they’re my family too. I won’t ever meet them this side of Heaven, but I will fight for them. Through policy, through advocacy, through prayer.

Maybe someday I won’t have to think about the mothers that are watching from a distance right now, making sure their babies are found safely and swiftly. But until then I join my prayers with those of the Blessed Mother, who gave her son up to death on a cross, and knows perhaps better than any other human what those mothers are feeling now.