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A short backtrack

Day 17 – a picture of somethingone that has been an influence in your life recently

Dear Jen,

The first thing on my blog to-do list is to write a thank-you letter to someone who influenced me.  Of course, you suggested I write a thank you note to you for being awesome.  I’m gonna guess you didn’t know that I already planned that. 😛  Here’s the problem:  I’m not sure words can say just how awesome you are.

I’m not sure I can put a finger on exactly when our friendship began, but I’m pretty sure it really took off when I started trying to steal your babies.  You were even foolish enough to leave me alone with your first-born son.  Lucky for you, I knew better than to try and steal a sleeping baby.  You have to get them when they’re awake and happy and full of candy.  Or milk.  Duh.

When I came to visit you for a few days in June two summers back, I didn’t expect to end up staying all summer.  Bribing me with not one, but two babies, was a stroke of genius.  I also didn’t expect the kind of friendship I found.

Over the last few years, you have been one of the only people I can turn to with any problem.  You didn’t judge me when I left teaching, even when I was judging myself.  Instead, you opened your home to me and let me move in when I didn’t know what was next in life.

When I agonize over the plight of singledom, you tell me stories to make me laugh about your own dating adventures, sign me up for singles websites, and try to pick up guys for me at the farmer’s market or on the dance floor.  It amazes me the way you can spot my insecurities before I even mention them, and you always manage to find a way to make me forget my doubts.

Your faith has also been an immeasurable influence on me.  I watch you turn to God every day, in the good moments and the bad, and it inspires me to do the same.  Your relationship with the Lord makes me strive to know Christ with the same intimacy.  Not only have you been an inspiration, but you have pushed me to learn why I believe what I do, both personally and as a Catholic.  Your hard questions make me think about my own relationship with God on an individual level.  Catechetically, you challenge me to delve into the Bible and the magisterium to find answers to doctrinal questions I can’t answer on my own.

More than anything else, Jen, you’ve made me feel like family.  When I have a bad day, I know I don’t have to go back to a house with a roommate who is a stranger and nobody to talk to.  If I ever need a hug (or a piece of chocolate), I know you’ll be there with open arms and a box of Godiva.  We’ve taken each other to the ER, shared countless cups of coffee, mocked endless hours of children’s programming, and made more polygamy jokes than most husbands would be comfortable with.

So, my dear wife/big sister/best friend a girl could ask for, thank you.  For being awesome.  And for being you.


photo credit to baby bird #1!


I Love Lucy. . . van Pelt

Hi.  That was me, just up there.

Also, I think I see a little bit of me in the dad below:

Make up ridiculous stories and tell them confidently.  That’s my motto!


Day 12 – a picture of your favorite memory

Picking one favorite memory is so very unfair.  But, to play by the rules, I chose this picture from a retreat I went on my sophomore year of college.

Encounter was an amazing weekend.  Sadly, I was still living in the age of disposable cameras then, and didn’t end up with many pictures.  This one was posted on Facebook seven or eight years after it was taken, but I can close my eyes and it feels like yesterday.  Except that I don’t remember many names.

This was my table (table 1!) for the long weekend, and we did a lot of soul searching and baring together.  It’s amazing how close you can come to a few people over the course of four days.  Leaving that mountain on the fourth day was so incredibly hard.  Physically, I left with little more than I came with; a hand full of papers, a notebook, a CD.

I also took away so many memories. . .singing in the lodge, visiting the giant tree, sitting peacefully on a tire swing by the brook, seeing a deer pass by outside the window during Mass, the peacefulness of an evening spent in communal silence.

Most of all, I found a greater understanding of God and finally understood something I so desperately needed to hear that particular year.

I am loved.