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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Leading with Vulnerability (and Getting Hit over the Head with an Umbrella)

Let’s be brave and set up that field hospital in the trenches that Pope Francis is calling for… like this young woman taking care of people without homes, facing her fears and overcoming anger and disappointment.


So there I was, getting beaten over the head with an umbrella by a client in the middle of the parking lot (I’m a social worker, working with men and women experiencing homelessness).  As the umbrella came down, my mind raced, thinking of the possible ways I could best handle this situation (clinically speaking of course). There were just too many therapeutic approaches to consider. So what did I do?

I ran.

I ran behind a car and suddenly found myself in a game of cat and mouse. “Way to go, Maureen,” I thought to myself, and I began to laugh. Way to handle this professionally. Meanwhile, the man with the umbrella was coming at me.

As you can guess by the fact that I am writing this now, I managed to escape (though not gracefully) with just a few minor bruises and some lessons learned:

1. The agency where…

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Roasting Olives and Toasting Friends

Last night Roberto and I attended a blind wine tasting hosted by a couple of our friends here in Virginia. The tasting part of the evening was really excellent – a fun excuse to sample multiple wines, debate your spouse about flavors and pretend not to be cheating while conversing with friends. We had a great time.

Like all the guests, we brought appetizers to accompany the wine. I wanted to make something simple but intriguing and found just the thing: roasted olives. What appealed to me is that the recipes I found took a familiar dish and made it more interesting. La Fuji Mama and Lindsay Olives gave me a good basis to start, but because this was our kitchen, there was a certain amount of improv. Here’s what we did:

  • 1 16oz jar Garlic Stuffed Olives
  • 1 16oz jar Pimento Stuffed Olives
  • 1 12 oz jar Kalamata Olives
  • 12 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs Herbs de Provence
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • Equipment: medium bowl, 13×9 casserole dish, serving bowl
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Drain the olives and put them in a medium bowl.
  3. Mix in the olive oil, garlic, and Herbs de Provence.
  4. Zest the lemon and add the zest to the mixture.
  5. Juice the lemon into the mixture and stir thoroughly.
  6. Spread the mixture in a 13×9 casserole dish
  7. Bake for 20 minutes.
  8. Allow to cool, then transfer to a serving bowl and serve at room temperature with crackers or alone.

Roberto did all the chopping, zesting and juicing and let me supervise. We loved the result and so did our friends. In this case we served them with crackers and made toothpicks available. Though our dish was enjoyed, there were enough leftovers to bring home. We chopped up some of the olives in our Cuisinart  and spread them on crackers for an afternoon snack. Oh, and we baked some of the chopped mixture on chicken breasts for dinner tonight…


HOMILY: Love Anyway

How do you translate the dictum “Love Anyway” into your daily life? It’s an easy catchphrase but a tough mission. Fr. Brian Zumbrum gives us some insight and examples in this week’s homily.

Leaven in the World

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Fr. Brian Zumbrum’s homilies and reflections are posted weekly at Leaven in the World prior to a given Sunday. To see the archive of all his posts, just click here: Salesian Sermons.

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A | February 22/23, 2014

PROTIP: Before reading on, be sure to take a look at the Sunday readings here. This homily draws on all of this week’s readings for inspiration.

When  I was in college, I had the opportunity to spend 48 hours as a homeless person on the streets of Washington DC.

Each night on the streets, we would stay with someone who was actually homeless.  That was how I met Bo.

Bo was a piece of work, always cracking jokes or laughing about the absurdity…

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Not Your Typical Valentine’s Day

This post is so true, a lived experience of what the pope said yesterday in his advice about living together and how married couples should pray “‘give us this day our daily love,'”, teach us to love each other, to care for each other. The more you entrust yourselves to the Lord, the more your love will be ‘for ever’, able to renew itself and to overcome every difficulty.”

Dorothy Day Center for Faith & Justice

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My wife and I started our Valentine’s Day this year not-so-romantically: by taking care of a sick kid. Not so glamorous, not so romantic, but oh-so-appropriate. We cleaned up for hours after multiple rounds of Andrew throwing up, scrubbing carpet and floors, doing loads of laundry, bathing Andrew after a couple of the really violent episodes… all the while, Maura and I relied on each other to take care of both Andrew and his brother, whose needs still needed to be met regardless of the other circumstances in our house. It was well past midnight before our heads finally hit our pillows for good, a couple wee hours away from our typical daily morning routine. Happy Valentine’s Day, right!? Despite the lack of sleep and the disruption to one of our few chances at relaxation, and even though I wish our son weren’t sick, I found myself grateful for it…

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