4 years ago

{Answer Me This!} 11 Things You Might Not Know About Me.

Kendra at Catholic All Year wrote up a fun post over the weekend answering some fun questions about herself: my favorite being when she informs us of the fictional micronation, Jimistan,  she and her husband have dreamed up and planned to establish if ever America goes to the poops.

Kendra tagged 11 other bloggers and was sweet enough to include me, asking the tagged bloggers a few questions about themselves.  These are always fun, and it’s been probably since my LiveJournal days that I filled something like this out, so I’m happy to play!  Maybe I’m happy to have an easy prompt, too :)


1. Where do you live? And why do you live there?

Ima livin’ in Ohiyah.  But I’d never ever pronounce it Ohiyah. We live here because it’s were my family is!  At one romantic time, I thought it’d be an excellent idearr to move to another state, but then the babies starting rollin’ out and if I didn’t have my mom or sister to visit with every week, I’d just die. Straight and simple, die.


2. What are you currently watching and/or reading?


Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown.   …yes, still.

I also have in queue:

Simcha Fisher’s The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning  

The Reason I Jump:  The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy With Autism,
by Naoki Higashida   

Watching: ABC’s Revenge.  & NBC’s Revolution.  I love them both.

3. What kind of Catholic are you: cradle, or convert? (Or considering?)

I’m a cradle Catholic. BUT. My parent’s didn’t start actively practicing their faith until I began high school.  So, naturally, I found it annoying and while I did continue to learn about Catholicism, I didn’t want to.  I’ve kept a diary since the second grade, and in one of them I have an angry poem about religion and feeling like it was being shoved down my throat. So while I learned some fundamental truths about Catholicism, I lived through high school and the first half of my college education in an obstinate rebellion of it.


4. Can you point to one moment or experience that made you a practicing Catholic? (Or want to be?)

YUP. I’d recently broken up with a boy who’d verbally and emotionally abused me about being Catholic.  He was/is Pentecostal. He would attack me with things he didn’t agree with about the Catholic faith, and demand an answer, like now.

Obviously, I couldn’t answer every single thing he’d bring up because I was barely practicing myself.  I’d never taken the time to ask some of the more challenging questions about the faith, so I could never satisfy his questions.  He yelled, became forceful, and at times when I presented him with personal stories of spiritual experiences, he pronounced that they must be from Satan.
I chose my faith, of course.  Even though I knew so little.

I was also suffering through a period of depression: feeling alone, angry, and completely rejected by every person I met, because of my Catholic Faith.  The Catholic culture just didn’t blend well with college life and most of all, art school. My professors and fellow students commonly laughed, in class, about such an antiquated religion.  Some students created artwork which ridiculed and attacked the Church.  We studied art history, and focused on works which were pronouncedly anti-Christian.
I later realized that not only was I being educated in fine arts, but also subtly educated with an undercurrent of how seemingly hypocritical, ridiculous, and irrelevant the Catholic church is to the “real world”.  I had a faith crisis.  How could I practice a faith which I was being told did not value the kind of gifts I was given (art stuffs)?  Naive moi.  So, so. so. SO naive.

Then, John Paul the Great died.  I sat in my silent, darkened dorm room on the day of his death, 9 years ago, rain pouring outside, and I had a paralyzing stomach ache (they were a frequent part of my life at this point, keeping me from missing class and laying in bed all day trying to sleep them off).  I had not paid a single iota of attention to the life of this pope.  Popes were old and they all looked the same to me. Just old, holy guys.
I opened my laptop –to this day I could not tell you how I got there– but I found myself visiting the Vatican website, sifting through papal encyclicals and letters written by John Paul II.
This letter caught my eye:

To all who are passionately dedicated to the search for new “epiphanies” of beauty so that through their creative work as artists they may offer these as gifts to the world.“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Gn 1:31)

The artist, image of God the Creator1.

None can sense more deeply than you artists, ingenious creators of beauty that you are, something of the pathos with which God at the dawn of creation looked upon the work of his hands. A glimmer of that feeling has shone so often in your eyes when—like the artists of every age—captivated by the hidden power of sounds and words, colours and shapes, you have admired the work of your inspiration, sensing in it some echo of the mystery of creation with which God, the sole creator of all things, has wished in some way to associate you.

John Paul II –a pope, of all people– understood the artist.  I read the whole thing. It broke me. It freed me.  And that’s how I came back to Jesus, to the Catholic church.  JPII, he’s my homie.  He’s as dear to me as a grandfather, and through him, I love my Creator with a gut-wrenching heartache.


5. How many pairs of shoes do you own?

Less than my husband. He’ll try to protest, but it’s true.


6. Are you a good dancer?

I was told to “just STOP.” at my very first school dance.  But dancing was part of my first date with Craig, and he married me.  So… either I got better, or he loves me too much to say otherwise.


7. Who usually drives, you or your husband?

Craig drives.  I kind of have pretty bad anxiety when driving, and feel the need to sleep for three days straight afterward.


8. What’s your favorite holiday and how do you celebrate it?

Easter, then Christmas.  Easter has become so much more to me than it was growing up.  We used to have gloriously competitive backyard wiffle ball games (my aunts, uncles, cousins and I). We’d stuff ourselves silly with my Granny’s amazing country cooking, and we loaded up on tons of pop.
I still cherish those days.

But now, the whole 40 day preparation for Easter with Lent; followed by the most spiritually emotional week of the year: Holy Week; followed by the most beautiful, Frankincense-filled celebration of Mass on Easter, is to me a preview, a tiny preview of Heaven.

Getting to witness my loved ones being baptized (my Aunt Lisa is coming into the Church this Easter!), seeing a soul be given to Christ, right in front of my eyes, is simply astounding.
Our parish choir always plays an earth shattering version of “O God Beyond All Praising” (trumpets with mucho gusto) which, to me is the most victorious praise song I’ve ever heard.   God willing, if I could request a song to God to be played as I enter the gates of Heaven, that’d be it.

Every year I question the practicality of eye makeup during Holy Week and Easter.  But, vanity always seems to win.



9. Which is correct? Left or right?

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Left.  Right is for fascists and arachnids.  J/K. I kid.  Seriously, Left, though.


10. Do you have any scars?

Oh, aye. I played softball up through high school and have a tiny scar on the bridge of my nose from being trampled upon (I was catcher and thrived upon home plate jousts).
Then I have your average bearing-a-child stretch marks.  But they’re pretty minimal, and have faded quickly.

What’s really embarrassing is that the older I get, the slower clumsy burns or cuts heal, and the more they scar!  I have a stupid scar from being clumsy while ironing.  No glorious tales, just clumsy ironing.


11. What’s the most famous thing you’ve ever done?

Having children.  They follow me around begging to be held, wanting only me.  They follow me to the bathroom.  They cry to be held when I walk into the room.  I have no privacy.   They’re my biggest fans, the tiny paparazzi.
Other than that… THIS:

Long jump, Property of C. Svellinger
This photo is actually from 2003, but how could I not share?

2002 County Long Jump Champ.  WERK.

 That was fun. Go visit Kendra and get to know the other bloggers she’s tagged.  I welcome you to answer these questions for yourself in the comments below, or to comment on Kendra’s page!  I love getting to know you all.  Have a good mundae.

OH WAIT! Sidenote!  I’ve acquired a really painful carpal tunnel thing in my left wrist. Blogging too hard? Or holding thrashing heavy children during Mass for too long?  The world will never know.
Anyway, aside from Advil (which really isn’t doing much), anyone have (natural-ish) suggestions about getting it to GO AWAY and NEVER RETURN?  Or is that even possible?  Merci bien in advance!



  1. Catching up on all my reads while naps go on and on (and on and on, please??)

    I am frightened about how similar we are sometimes.

    1. Yes, family.
    2. Loved Daring Greatly.
    3. Yes, to all of it. That was all me too. Even the parents thing.
    6. Yep. Me too.
    7. And this.
    10. Former catcher here, dear.

  2. Ok, now that I’ve gone and actually read this, I cannot recommend you move here! Nearby Grandma’s are priceless diamonds. I could never leave it and neither can you. Loved this post. And that pic.

  3. Hi, I just found your blog thanks to Kendra Tierney’s link. I like your wry take on life’s challenges.

    A bit about me — I’m a teacher, mother to two young children and living in Singapore.

    I also came back to Catholicism because of a guy I dated. He was a practicing Buddhist (meditated every day, met with a lama weekly). He was an optimistic person who always kept his eyes on the big picture and didn’t let the mind-numbing challenges of The Office get him down. I thought his optimism was because of his religious practice. It inspired my to go back to the Church, learn more about it and get confirmed.

    1. Oooh Singapore! I’ve heard beautiful things about living there. I think it’s quite beautiful that you returned to your faith, even though your bf was Buddhist. Thanks for visiting :)

  4. Ha, your answers are absolutely hilarious!!!!!!!

    And I love, love, love #4. I totally get what you’re saying: JPII is also my HOMIE and also feels like a grandfather to me..so strange but true..Never met him yet he’s so amazingly close to my heart. He totally transformed my faith and my life. I have never known a more Jesus-like person than John Paul the Great!!!!! I write a lot about him because he just seems to follow me everywhere in my life. SO I declared him my patron Saint (yes…already! haha)

    Love, Agnes

  5. I loved Simcha Fisher’s book so much I sent one to a friend I thought would benefit from reading it. (I made sure to warn her to look past the cover and read it anyway, haha.) Enjoy!

  6. Carolyn,

    I used to be a lefty myself, until I saw a picture of a spider underneath the paper! So, after a LIFETIME of being an on top bathroom tissue gal, I’ve flipped-flopped and am now an underneath gal!! I really HATE spiders!!

    Love reading your blogs, my dear, sweet neice! It was great seeing your beautiful family last Sunday! Your boys are absolutely wonderful!! Enjoy them, they do grow up so terribly fast!

    Love you!


  7. LOL! The “just stop” comment made me laugh out loud so hard…and I am with ya on the toilet paper, although I think that makes my husband a fascist because he says its the other way! ;)

  8. Fly Caro Fly! that’s a great picture :) Sports be not glamorous but they by awesome.

    A really good Chiropractor will be able to adjust your other bones. Jesse has gotten a lot or relief for his Carpal tunnel when he started seeing Dr. Paul Baker down our way. you could also look into physical therapy for it. I also will massage his wrist when its really bad, basically pulling away from the center along the tunnel itself. He likes that.


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