Emily M. DeArdo

writer

Coming January 2020-- Living Memento Mori: My Journey Through The Stations of the Cross

the bookEmily DeArdo2 Comments

Exciting news!

My book has officially been “launched” At Ave Maria Press, which means we have a title and a publication month!


Drumroll……….



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I love this title, but I know that you might be going, Memento huh?

Let me ‘splain.

Memento Mori is Latin for, "Remember that you will die" or, "remember death." Like a "memento" is something we have that reminds us of a person, place, or event, so memento mori is an item that is used to remind you that you will die, like a skull on your desk.

We do, as Christians, need to remember that we will die, that this world isn't all there is. A lot of us are in denial about this. 

So, that's what the first part of the title means--living with the knowledge that you are going to die. I've done that for an awful lot of my life, and that's a big part of the book.

The book examines this through the lens of the stations of the cross. So, each chapter is based around one of the 14 (well, 15, if you count the resurrection, which we are) stations--talking about Jesus' suffering, about our suffering, about memento mori, and using Pope St. John Paul II's letter On the Meaning of Human Suffering. 

It sounds like a lot, and it is, but it's a great "lot." I am trying to make it informative, hopeful, joyful (to an extent that the cross is joyful!--think "felix culpa"--O Happy Fault!), and with lots of C.S. Lewis references. 

So that’s what the title means!

January 2020 is the month before Lent starts—we get a February start next year, so may I suggest this will be FABULOUS Lenten reading?

Seven Quick Takes--The First Draft Exists!

7 Quick Takes, Catholic 101, current projects, hearing loss, Seven Quick Takes, writingEmily DeArdo2 Comments
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Linking up with Kelly!

I.

The FIRST DRAFT EXISTS!

Yay!

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When I first got the contract information, the fact that Ave Maria wanted a first draft by June 1 was daunting to some people I talked to. “Can you do it in two months?”

HELL YES I CAN.

II.

Why was I so confident?

Because I have journalism training. And political training.

And when you have both of those, you learn to write quickly, on ridiculous deadlines.

Deadlines? WHAT DEADLINES.

So, thank you to Professor Kelly Messinger in college for all the Chimes Wednesday nights where we ate Chipotle and wrote into the wee hours! And edited! And wrote! And edited!

III.

Now, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy, because sometimes….


But then I apply my Maxim: You cannot edit a blank page.

Get anything on the page. Anything. Let it sit there and then come back later and edit it. You never know what can happen.

Chapter 10, for example? WENT OFF THE RAILS. I had no idea where I was going with that one, and we went somewhere I had not anticipated. But there it is!

(It might not stay the way it is. LOL.)

IV.

Speaking of writing—my ebook, Catholic 101, is now $5!

That’s it. Five bucks, y’all.

Go get it!


V.

I also promise to have the Denver travel posts up next week. This week was just nuts, with getting the first draft done….oh, and getting a new CI processor!!!!!!!

VI.

So, if you want more on the CI, you can visit my series here. Basically I was glad to have hearing, but the processor I had had shortcomings. I couldn’t use the phone.

Now….I might be able to use the phone! I mean, what?!

I can listen to my voicemails and understand them!

So far, this new processor is a game changer.


VII.

Oh, one more thing about the draft—a question I’ve been getting a lot is, “Well, didn’t you have to write the book before you submitted it?”

Short answer: No. Most places, for non-fiction, want a proposal, with a chapter sample, but not the whole book. I’ll talk more about the parts of the process later (especially in my newsletter!). But, no. I had to write the book to the proposal specs.




Seven Quick Takes--manuscript work, mammogram redux, and sketching!

7 Quick TakesEmily DeArdo1 Comment
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Linking up with Kelly!

-1-

First off, if you missed it, earlier this week I wrote about how you can’t snap out of depression.
I
f you think you can do that, please read that post.

If you don’t think you can do that, please read that post.
Mental health is so important, and we, as a society, need to realize that it’s just as real as any other illness.

-2-

I know I promised y’all a Denver/Colorado travel write up. It’s COMING. I swear. I’m in the weeds on the manuscript because I need to have it all written by next Friday for my editor. There are only two more chapters to draft! YAY!!!!!

So once all that goes to my editor extraordinaire, then we edit, edit, edit, and polish, for two weeks, before we send it to the publisher.

-3-

In OTHER book news, I will have a pub date by the end of the month!


If you are a blog subscriber, you will get the news first. Everyone else will hear AFTER YOU.

So, if you want all book news first, plus the chance to have access to fun book things (yet to be determined, but totally fun), then sign up for the mailing list.


-4-

In the last edition I wrote about my first mammogram. Wellllllll…..

We had to do it again. Because there was something in the picture that the radiologist thought was me moving, although both the tech and I were like, there was no moving.

Anyway. Went back yesterday to take the pictures again, and this time, they are fine, both in quality and in terms of what’s there. So, normal! Yay!

All that to say, again: Ladies. Get your mammograms when you need to. Whether that’s 40, which is the normal recommendation, or earlier (if you have family history of breast cancer), do it.


-5-

Some of you may remember that I dabble in sketchbook keeping. Well, I’m back to that! Yay! I’m really glad because I enjoyed it, and I just haven’t had time to do it. I really kickstarted myself during the trip to Colorado, and now I’ve been working pretty steadily on filling books. Most of my work isn’t amazing, but you know, I’m happy with it. And it’s fun, which is important.

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I’m also working on some long-buried knitting projects, like a linen kerchief I started years ago when I was first learning to knit. Guys: DO NOT START WITH LINEN! Seriously! It’s fine now because I’ve had years of practice, but man, what was I thinking?!?!

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Anddddd also!

If you’re looking for a scripture study for this summer, or maybe a summer bible study for you and your friends, may I suggest Take Up & Read’s new book, Better Together?



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This book is about hospitality, and summer is such a great time for that! Have people over! Embrace community! All the good things!

Anyway, more about this book is coming, but you can order it now! It has all the lovely features you expect from our studies: daily readings, Scripture memorization, Selah days on the weekends, and recipes!

You Can't "Snap Out Of" Depression...

healthEmily DeArdoComment
“Irises”, Vincent Van Gogh (I saw this at the Getty when I visited in 2016.)

“Irises”, Vincent Van Gogh (I saw this at the Getty when I visited in 2016.)

There are few things that make me as angry as willful ignorance.

I can understand people not understanding things about CF, or my hearing loss, or transplant, or whatever. They’re pretty rare things. There’s a learning curve.

What I cannot tolerate, or understand, is how, in the twenty-first century, people still think that you can “snap out” of depression, and that you just need to “be positive”, and that if you have depression, you’re just “giving up.”

And yes, those words in quotes? All things I heard over the weekend during a discussion about this on social media.

So, for anyone who believes that those things are true, some education:

  1. Depression isn’t the same as a bad day or a bad mood.

    Everyone has bad days. When I’m having a bad day, I say I’m being “Grumpy Cat.” If it’s a really bad day, then I’m “Grumpy Cat Deluxe.” But both those things are totally different from depression. Depression lasts. Depression doesn’t go away with a good night’s sleep, or watching a good movie, or working out, or going out to dinner with friends. Things that work to get you out of bad moods do not work for depression. They might help. But they won’t solve the issue. That’s because…

  2. Depression is a mood disorder that affects your brain chemistry.

    The Mayo Clinic says:

    “It's not known exactly what causes depression. As with many mental disorders, a variety of factors may be involved, such as:

    • Biological differences. People with depression appear to have physical changes in their brains. The significance of these changes is still uncertain, but may eventually help pinpoint causes.

    • Brain chemistry. Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring brain chemicals that likely play a role in depression. Recent research indicates that changes in the function and effect of these neurotransmitters and how they interact with neurocircuits involved in maintaining mood stability may play a significant role in depression and its treatment.

    • Hormones. Changes in the body's balance of hormones may be involved in causing or triggering depression. Hormone changes can result with pregnancy and during the weeks or months after delivery (postpartum) and from thyroid problems, menopause or a number of other conditions.

    • Inherited traits. Depression is more common in people whose blood relatives also have this condition. Researchers are trying to find genes that may be involved in causing depression.”


Did you get all that? Changes in the brain. Hormones. Inherited traits. Brain chemistry. These are not things that just “go away” because you want to “snap out of it.”

And also, they do not go away “if you pray”, and you’re not depressed “because you don’t pray enough.”

Let’s sum this up really fast. :

Depression is not something that you can snap out of. It’s an illness, just the same as cancer or CF. People with depression need help from doctors, including psychiatrists/psychologists, and this help might include taking medication.

Do not tell people to “snap out of it.” You wouldn’t tell someone with cancer to do that. Don’t do it with someone who has depression.

Depression is not rational.

Feelings are not rational.

If some one tells you not to be depressed because you’re alive, or you have a good job, or a good family, or a nice house, or whatever…..that person does not understand depression. DEPRESSION IS NOT RATIONAL.

If you want a funnier—but entirely true—take on this, visit this post by Allie Brosh.
(Go read it and come back. Really. What follows will make more sense.)

I especially want to note the part about the fish.

Someone asks Ally, what’s wrong? She says, my fish are dead.

OK. Her fish are dead.

The person says to Ally, “Oh! That’s OK! I’ll help you find them!”

That’s not the problem she has. The problem isn’t that they’re gone as in missing. They’re gone as in dead.

No amount of positive thinking will bring the fish back to life.

Same with depression. No amount of being told “how good you have it” or “how happy you should be” will change your feelings! Because it doesn’t work that way!

Please, people.

Stop telling people with depression to snap out of it. Or that they shouldn’t be depressed. This is what leads to people not talking about depression, which makes the problem even bigger, and then it makes people feel like they should be ashamed of it! And they shouldn’t be!

If someone you know is depressed, please listen to them. Don’t tell them to snap out of it.



Seven Quick Takes--Colorado, Mother's Day, and Mammograms

7 Quick Takes, travel, current projects, health, the bookEmily DeArdo4 Comments
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Linking up with Kelly!

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I was in Colorado last week (hence why no blog posting!) for my sister’s bachelorette weekend. I’d never been to Colorado before!

One of the floral butterflies in Downtown Denver

One of the floral butterflies in Downtown Denver

The Collegiate Peaks in Buena Vista

The Collegiate Peaks in Buena Vista

Mel and I at Mt. Princeton Hot Springs.

Mel and I at Mt. Princeton Hot Springs.


—II—

I’ll write more about Denver next week, but here’s what I learned, in short, about going to altitude:

Drink a lot of water. Like, insane amounts.
Bring saline nasal spray. My nose was SO dry!
Bring a portable charger, because altitude seems to drain phone batteries faster
SUNSCREEN. ALL THE SUNSCREEN.

—III—

Our trip included Denver (my sister lives in Littleton) and Buena Vista, where the cabin weekend was held. I didn’t realize it was sort of desert-y down there. I should’ve expected it, but some how, I didn’t. I had never been in that sort of environment before, so it was definitely a new experience. I learned that I like green!

—IV—
Anyway, more on CO next week. It’s been awhile since I’ve done some travel posts, so it’ll be fun!

—V—

Amy Welborn wrote a great piece about Mother’s Day and parishes, and I’d encourage you to read it.
Mother’s Day is, to put it nicely, fraught. I really don’t think it should be celebrated as part of the Mass. Mass is for the worship of God, not for the worship of ourselves. If parishes want to do something for mothers (or graduates, or whatever), then they can do it after Mass. Blessings, etc.? After Mass.

I know so many people who are struggling with infertility. I, myself, will never have children. Let’s also think about people who have lost their mothers, or have not-great relationships with their mothers, or have other issues with their moms. Let’s realize this. Sure, mothers are important! (Love you, Mom! :) )

But do we need to make it such a big part of the Mass?

Same thing with Father’s Day. And also, I don’t think we do Father’s day nearly as much as we do mother’s day.

Celebrate your mom, but parishes, please do this after Mass.

And for the love of the Lord, do not make people hug their mothers at Mass! (see the comments in the article for that one.)

(And yes, I love my mother. :) This isn’t about not loving Mom!)

—V—

And because it’s my blog, I’ll expound a little more. One of the comments at the bottom of Amy’s post was all about “celebrating” at Mass. Having visitors stand up, or graduates be recognized, or birthday people be recognized.

I got one word for this:

NOPE.

People. Mass is not the time for this.

Mass is for THE WORSHIP OF GOD.

If you want to recognize birthdays, do it in a bulletin.

You want to recognize the grads? Have a reception in June after a Mass.

I CRINGE at the thought of making visitors stand up. I hate this. Why do you think a visitor would want to be recognized?! And what does that have to do with Mass? (This visitor never wants to be recognized. Ever. Just let me come to Mass.)

Yes, I realize I’m an old and cranky person here.

But I think it was Benedict XVI who said something like, if we’re applauding during Mass, we’ve completely lost the plot. (I’m paraphrasing, obviously)

Mass is not about us.

If you want to celebrate community things, that’s great. Do it after Mass.

—VI—

Well, that felt good. LOL. .

Writing of the book is going well. My next newsletter for subscribers should be sent out next week, so if you’re not a subscriber, do it now!

I’m 2/3 of the way done with the manuscript. This week has been some hard sledding but you know, the important thing is to get words on a page. So that’s been happening. You can edit words on a page. You can’t edit a blank one.

—VII—

I also had my first mammogram this week. My mom had breast cancer at age 47, so I had to get my baseline done 10 years before her diagnosis—hence, at 37. Since I turned 37 last month, it was time.

I was nervous about it—I’d heard horror stories about it hurting, especially with transplant scars (this might be TMI, but—for my transplant, the incisions are about where a bra underwire is).

But I had a great, careful tech, who made sure that nothing was pinching, and it wasn’t really bad at all. Yeah, the skin is being squished, but that didn’t really hurt.

Ladies—you need to get a mammogram at age 40. You might have to do it earlier, if you’re like me and have family history. Please, please, please check your own screening requirements and set this up.

(And finally, if you missed it, there was a yarn along on Wednesday!)




Yarn Along #89

books, yarn along, travel, knittingEmily DeArdo4 Comments
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I’ve finally cast off my shawl, and now I’m in the process of weaving in the ends and then blocking it. Yay! I can’t wait to wear it!

This shawl has taken me a long time and part of it was because of the move, and then getting my blocking supplies from my parents’ where I stashed it before the move….but now we’re all caught up.

I was just in Denver for my sister’s bachelorette party, and while I was there I got to visit Tattered Cover, an independent bookstore chain there. It was pretty awesome, and of course I got a lot of books:

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I’ll have more on Denver in a travelogue post later this week or next!

What are you knitting or reading? Share with me!


An Old School Easter Daybook

Daybook, hockey, Orchard House, the book, travel, writingEmily DeArdoComment

Remember how we used to do these all the time? Bringing it back. :) At least for this week.

“Resurrection of Christ and Women at the Tomb”, Fra Angelico

“Resurrection of Christ and Women at the Tomb”, Fra Angelico

Outside my window:

The tree outside my porch. Isn’t she pretty?

The tree outside my porch. Isn’t she pretty?

Wearing:

Jeans and a navy blue and white stripped shirt that I’ve had forever and probably need to stop wearing outside the house, LOL.

Reading

I’m on a Laura Ingalls Wilder kick so I’m re-reading the series; I’m on By The Shores of Silver Lake. I’m also reading The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and I’ve got Cranford in my bag for the trip I’m taking this week.

Plans for the week:

I’m going to visit my sister in Denver for her bachelorette party! Yay! So that’ll be fun. I’ve never been to Colorado.

Celebrating:

Easter! It’s an octave, so that means that it’s EIGHT DAYS OF EASTER. So be sure to keep celebrating! The Easter season is actually fifty days long, culminating in Pentecost. So get your celebration on. We fast and abstain and do penance for forty days of Lent, but then we have fun for fifty days! So have fun!

(But don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.)

If you normally give up meat on Friday, you don’t have to this coming Friday, because of the Easter octave. Yay! Woo woo!

I don’t pray the Glorious mysteries at all during Lent, but for the next seven days they’ll be all I pray when I say my rosary. Gotta fill up on the good stuff.

Around the house:

I’m putting up some wall art over at Orchard House. My couch has STILL not arrived and that’s holding up a lot of the art work because I want to see what works when the couch is here. But I have up two Rose Harrington prints in my office:

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Aren’t they pretty?

Speaking of the office….

Writing:

I’m doing pretty well on the book! I’m really excited about this. I’m almost 2/3 of the way done! Some of the chapters have been pretty substantially re-written from my first draft, but that’s ok because now they’re better. My editor is great. (She’s also patient, which is nice. Sometimes I get all rabbity in my thinking, meaning I’m all over the place. She helps. :) ) I want to have a draft of chapter 10 (Jesus is Stripped of His Garments) before I leave on Wednesday.

Listening to:

The “hallelujah!” chorus from Messiah and the studio cast recording of The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (not the Disney movie. The musical that’s derived from the Disney movie. It’s good stuff.)

Sharing Contemplation:

In the Gospel of Matthew, the women at the tomb left quickly with fear and great joy.

Fear and joy go together a lot of the time, don’t they? I got the book contract and then I had to write the thing and I’m afraid I’ll write crap. :-P You get pregnant and you want a baby, but then….labor! Right? I’d never noticed that sentence before. Fear and joy, co-existing all the time.

Getting the transplant call—-fear and joy.

Bet you can think of your own examples.

Maybe I’ll put this in the book? :)

Other good things:

BLUE JACKETS!!!! Their second-round series will be with either Boston or Toronto and will start this week (most likely). That series is going to game seven, so whoever will play will be tired, to say the least—but the Jackets can’t let up. Hope they don’t! Very excited about this series!

A Little Catholic 101 on Easter and Pentecost

And I’ve started a monthly newsletter-y thingy JUST for blog subscribers. They will find out all the book news first, they get special behind-the-scenes glances of things, I might even do book giveaways, WHO KNOWS. Anyway, you don’t want to miss this, so SIGN UP.

Please and thank you!




JACKETS!

family, hockeyEmily DeArdoComment

I was lucky enough to be at the Columbus Blue Jackets playoff game last Sunday! (They ended up sweeping Tampa Bay last night!) So I thought I’d share some of the photos I took. If you’re not into hockey, read something else. :)

Heading into the arena.

Heading into the arena.

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(That’s dad. :) )

We had some time before the game—well, a lot of time. We got there around 3:45 and puck drop was at 7, and we had dinner reservations at 4:15 at Buca di Beppo. So we went into the Blue Line (the Blue Jackets’ shop) before the game to check out what was for sale.

After that, we headed to Buca:

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And had a great dinner:

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Gotta have coffee for cheering strength!

Gotta have coffee for cheering strength!

Buca always has great decorations, and pictures of cute things, like babies covered in spaghetti:

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After dinner—TIME TO PARTY!

Heading in to the arena

Heading in to the arena

Pregame show in the concourse

Pregame show in the concourse

One of my friends on FB asked what happens to the hats tossed to the rink when a hat trick happens. At NA, some of them go here:




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Shirts! And rally towels! (under said shirts)

Shirts! And rally towels! (under said shirts)

The game itself was OBVIOUSLY intense, with the Jackets winning 3-1, and the place exploded. It was so loud in there. I tried to get some video of that but it’s blurry, so I won’t share.

But it was a fabulous experience. I’ve always wanted to go to a playoff hockey game, so I can cross it off the bucket list.

Seven Quick Takes In a Deluge

7 Quick Takes, current projects, Seven Quick Takes, Orchard House, hockeyEmily DeArdoComment
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Linking up with Kelly!

I.

OK, so, first, I’m thrilled to tell you that the talk I recorded for Kelly’s conference has been accepted! Yay! I’m part of the speaker’s library that attendees will have access to!

What is this conference, you might ask? Kelly has created a conference for Catholic parents of kids with special needs, called “Accepting the Gift.” You can attend in person, OR (and I love this part), you can attend virtually! How cool is that? So if you can’t make it to New Jersey, you can still attend!

Here is the conference page, so check it out! And do attend!


II.

This is also the first talk I’ve done as an adult—I did a witness talk at my parish mission when I was sixteen—but I really do like my talk, all things considered. :) It’s called “Joy Anyway”, and it’s about living life with a chronic illness, because, a lot of the time, we hear from the parents of people like me, but not the actual people who have the illness, and so I’m thrilled that Kelly asked me to contribute my thoughts, because I do care about this quite passionately, as you all know. :)

And of course I love the parents! Parents are awesome! But it’s important to get the perspective from the person with “the thing” as well, in my book. So, thanks Kelly for asking me! (And accepting the talk!)


III.

OK so yeah, it’s deluging here right now. Lots and lots and lots of rain being dumped on Orchard House at the moment. I overslept this morning and this is probably why, because it’s really dark outside. Not that I mind—I generally like rainy days.


IV.

Today is part of the editing process in the writing of the book. My editor has sent me chapters back, and now I go through and play with them and see what I can do to make them better. Some of the changes I just accepted on the first go round because they were easy (like, adapting to the press’s style guide) or just made sense. Bigger changes require more thought and distance, so that’s what I’m doing today.


V.

My birthday was on Tuesday, so I’m thirty-seven now! And it was a gorgeous day, which is rare in central Ohio in early April—it snowed on my birthday (as in the day I was born). But yesterday it was 82 and kids were in the pool, which made me shiver just seeing them in there, because that water was going to be cold!

ANYWAY (digression over!), it was a good birthday with sun and good food.

No, Emily did not eat all this cake. Emily did not come  close  to eating all this cake. We shared it. :)

No, Emily did not eat all this cake. Emily did not come close to eating all this cake. We shared it. :)


VI.

I also think that everyone should like their birthday. Because birthdays mean you survived another trip around the sun! Yay!!!!!! Birthdays are great! I mean, yeah, I’m thirty-seven, but to me, that’s sort of awesome. I wasn’t supposed to hit thirty-three. I wouldn’t have seen twenty-seven without Suzanne, my donor. So, yeah. Birthdays rock.

VII.

It’s hockey playoff time, and Dad and I are going to see the Jackets play the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday! This has been a bucket list item for me for awhile—seeing an NHL playoff game. The nice thing is that since the Jackets are playing Tampa, I can unreservedly root for them. When they play the Penguins in the playoffs (as they’ve done before), I can’t do that, I’m torn! But now, I can root for them all the way. It’s going to be great! The Jackets have all sorts of things planned—there’s a big plaza in front of the arena so there will be activities, and the arena opens up earlier than usual so people can head in and start the party. I hope the Jackets win! (They won the first game on Wednesday in Tampa in an amazing comeback. They play tonight. Pens are down one game to none against the Islanders. If you don’t care about hockey, I’m sorry this take was all hockey. :) )

Seven Quick Takes--House Updates, Writing, Hockey

7 Quick Takes, behind the scenes, current projects, the book, Seven Quick TakesEmily DeArdoComment
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Linking up with Kelly!

I.

So, first, the Penguins are in the playoffs for the thirteenth year in a row. This makes me happy.

(If you’re new here—I’m a huge hockey fan. The Penguins are my “main” team. The Blue Jackets are my “home” team and I want them to make the playoffs too, which they will do if they win one of their next two games.)

II.

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Orchard House is in the stage of “personalization” or “zhushing” as they say on Home Town. I’m putting up pictures and other fun things, like my refreshed ribbon board in my bedroom:


III.

If you want to see how tiny Emily was in college, here’s my college ID closeup, along with one of my favorite magazine cutouts:

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IV.

And about the button. It says “Italians for President Nixon.” Now, obviously, I wasn’t alive to vote for Nixon. But one of my best friends, Branden, is an auctioneer (as well as about 5 million other things, including our county clerk), and he loves political memorabilia, so he thought I’d like it, since I’m half Italian. And I do like it. It’s funny.

V.
The big pink piece of paper is an audience ticket my friend Amilia gave me. She was lucky enough to attend a general audience with Pope St. John Paul II, and she gave me the ticket. You can tell I’ve had it FOREVER, it’s all sun bleached, but I love it.

VI.

The dog picture? That’s Liberty, who used to be Colonial Williamsburg’s mascot. I was so psyched to meet her when we visited two years ago! She was such a good dog!

VII.

I could keep telling stories, but I’ll wrap up with a writing update! (Maybe next week I’ll tell more stories? What do you think? Because everything on this board has a story!)

So I’ve sent chapters 1-4 to my editor. She has sent me edits for chapters 1-2. So we are really making progress! Yayyyy!





Yarn Along #88

books, knitting, yarn alongEmily DeArdo4 Comments

Linking up with Ginny!

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I’m in the last stretch of my Feile shawl. I’ve really enjoyed knitting this so I’m sort of sad to see the end coming, but I can’t wait to wear it! It’s so pretty!

I’ve heard about Peace Like A River for YEARS—seriously, a child life specialist told me about when I was probably 20 or so—so I figure it’s time to read it.

Once I finish the Feile I’m not sure what I’ll do! I want to use the yarn I got at Williamsburg but I don’t know what to make with it! I’m thinking I might go simple and make a cowl or a scarf. Or maybe a hat.

Seven Ways To Bring Joy To Your Day

7 Quick TakesEmily DeArdoComment
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Linking up with Kelly!

So after my last post, I thought it might be helpful to give you some concrete ways to bring joy to your days when that might REALLY be lacking. So, here we go!

I.

Iris Murdoch said that, “One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.” So, that’s how we’re looking at this. Small treats!

The first one: Eat your favorite meal. Do the comfort food thing. One meal (and I do mean one) isn’t going to send everything into a tailspin. For me, it’s usually Chuy’s or pasta carbonara. Eat something you enjoy. And enjoy it, while you eat it.

II.

Take a lunch break. When I was working full-time, a lot of my days were…rough. So I would go to Barnes and Noble on my lunch break. Even if I didn’t buy anything, just getting out of the office and into a place that I loved was a great way to reset my day and give me energy to get through the rest of the day.

III.

Go to Eucharistic Adoration. Just sit with Jesus. You don’t have to do anything. Just be there and rest in his presence.

IV.

If you’re not near a chapel, then take some time to pray—a decade of the rosary, reading the Bible, whatever works for you.

V.

Read your favorite book or watch your favorite movie. Say, “tonight is movie night. I’m going to go home and watch my favorite movie and eat popcorn and it’ll be great.”

VI.

Have something to look forward to. Schedule lunch with a friend, make a date to see a movie (even if the date is with yourself, there is nothing wrong with that!), but get something on your calendar that makes you happy, even if it’s something small.

VII.

This doesn’t always work for me, but it might work for some of you—do something physical. That can mean working out, but for me it can also mean playing the piano or singing or even knitting. Do something that moves your body and makes you focus on something else. Sometimes just saying to myself, I can work on that knitting project, or I can do yoga class on Friday, is really helpful.


These are just a few suggestions of things that work for me. I hope they help you!





Joy In the Morning (OR: How I get up every day and do life)

CF, essays, transplantEmily DeArdo2 Comments
My siblings and I on my brother’s wedding day.

My siblings and I on my brother’s wedding day.

Warning: This might be a sort of rambly post. Settle in.

I was visiting my therapist last week. Yes, I see a therapist. I have since I was 17. A lot of people with CF do (not all, but a lot). I have no shame in telling you that.

So anyway, I was at an appointment with my therapist, and we were talking about how I was a bit maxed out on doctor visits. I mean, in almost thirty-seven years of life, I think my quota’s been hit, right?

And that doesn’t even count the other “stuff” we do—Mom accessing my port every month, the meds I take (which are vastly less than pre-transplant, btw), the blood glucose tests I’m doing twice a day now, etc. It’s a lot. It’s less than pre-transplant in some ways, and more in others. I have a colonoscopy every five years, which means one next year. I have a mammogram in April, because my mom had breast cancer and so my sister and I have to start our mammograms at age 37 (ten years before Mom was diagnosed). And then there’s dentists and eye doctors and the things normal people do.

So, yeah, it’s a lot.

This led to talking about compliance, which means, doing what the doctors tell you to do. And I told a story that I thought was illustrative.

When I was about seventeen, I was having a regular clinic visit, an I saw a sign on the wall of the exam room, saying that if you were 95% compliant with taking pulmozyme (one of the CF meds), you’d get a prize at your next clinic visit, see your nurse for a chart to win! Stuff like that.

Now, I never did these, because, generally, I was too old. This stuff was generally for the smaller kids, to get them in the habit. But what I thought was interesting was that the center wasn’t pushing perfect compliance.

Because that doesn’t exist.

Now, look, I’m not saying I was a slacker. Because I wasn’t. My mom, for one, wouldn’t let me be, even if I was disposed that way. I take my meds. I did my treatments. But yes, sometimes there were times where I put in a few minutes of precious sleep over a “perfect” Vest treatment, when I was in college. Sometimes I just went to bed. Not often, but sometimes. I wasn’t “perfect”, and I’m not perfect now. To be “perfect” now, I’d be a MESS. I’d be taking meds all day long, worrying about timings and if this was going to interact with that and how does this work and oh my gosh my brain is going to explode!

I take all my meds, and I take them twice a day. Is that perfect? Well, no. It’s not optimal. If can affect absorptions. *

But here’s the thing—I want a life. I don’t want to live in a glass bubble.

I went to school. I did activities. I rode bikes with my friends and went to the pool in the summer with them and then we went to the coffee shop and played board games. I had sleep overs, where I didn’t bring my equipment! I went on choir tour! (And yes, I brought the mini nebulizer!) I went to college.

Honestly, if my parents had tried to wrap me up in the bubble, I would’ve had a fit. I always wanted to be like everyone else, as much as possible. As Erin once said in a Home Town episode, I’m like a wild pony, and I need freedom!

(Not too much freedom. But enough freedom.)

So anyway, talking about all the things I had to do every day, my therapist then said, well, how do you do it? I mean, what gets you up in the morning?

And then I said, “well, that’s sort of what my book is about.” (Because it sort of is. Sort of. The book is sort of about a lot of things! )

But here’s what it comes down to:

Yes, there are a lot of things I have to do in my life. More than the average bear, that’s for sure, so when people say “well, you just have to suck it up and do X,” I want to roll my eyes, because that’s a big chunk of my day. (I’d wager it’s a large part of everyone’s day. As my grandfather used to say, “that’s why they call it work!”) But yeah, for me, and for other people like me, we have a lot of stuff on a daily basis that isn’t fun but must be done, and you just do it and don’t whine about it.

But what gets me up in the morning? Well, a lot of things. I’m very in touch with my inner child and I get excited about really little things. When I was working in the Senate, a lunch date with my Dad was enough to make me excited for the day. Today, it’s stuff like, a package is coming in the mail! It’s a hockey night in Pittsburgh! I get to write today! Oh, this book comes out! My book is in at the library! Chuy’s with Mary!

I’m very easily amused. And that helps me, I think, because it overrides a lot of other things that are not so fun. (Like making myself go to the gym. And poking my fingers. And doing doctor paperwork.)

But a big part of this, and this is what I’d say to anyone facing a chronic illness, is this:

Go live your life!

You really, really, really cannot hole up in your house and be all sheltered. You can’t. GO LIVE YOUR LIFE. Go outside! Do things! Be free! Have fun! Go to the park! Go swimming! Pet a dog! Whatever!

Yes, treatments are vital. YES, compliance is important—if I hadn’t been a compliant patient I NEVER would’ve been listed for transplant! But if you’re caught up in PERFECT, then…..you’re going to miss things and your life will be so small.

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Seriously. Do what the sign says.

Live your life. Take your brain with you.

*: As far as absorptions: the only meds I take that NEED to be taken around the same time every day are my immunosuppressants (the prograf). That’s important. However, I am also far enough out that if I’m off by a few hours in a dose, the world will not end. When I traveled to LA, my nurses told me to just take the meds on LA time and not worry about being exact. I used to take my meds exactly at 8 AM and 8 PM (even rushing to the lobby of the Ohio Theater to take meds before a symphony concert started). Now, it’s generally around those times. I’m not quite as OCD.

The meds I’m talking about here are things like my nexium and magnesium supplements. You’re not, really, supposed to take them together. But if I didn’t, then I’d be carrying around meds all day and thinking about when to take them, as opposed to thinking about things more worthy of my brain space! It’s not a huge deal to take them together. But yes, some meds do have to be taken at certain times, and when I do those (like home IVs) then, yes, it’s on the dot as much as possible. You usually have about an hour leeway on either side of the dose time (for example, if the dose is due at 6 PM, you can do it at 5 or 7, but not 4 or 8.)








The Annunciation

CatholicismEmily DeArdoComment
Jean Hay ,  The Annunciation ,  1490/95., oil on panel.

Jean Hay, The Annunciation, 1490/95., oil on panel.

Happy solemnity of the Annunciation!

(If you’re a Tolkien fan, you know today was the day the Ring was destroyed….so go watch Return of the King today.)

I thought I’d share some poetry with you today. I don’t generally do this, but there’s a lot of good stuff about the Annunciation, so, to the poets!

John Donne, Divine Poems, 2. Annunciation


 Salvation to all that will is nigh;

That All, which always is all everywhere,

Which cannot sin, and yet all sins must bear,

Which cannot die, yet cannot choose but die,

Lo! faithful Virgin, yields Himself to lie       

 In prison, in thy womb; and though He there

Can take no sin, nor thou give, yet He’ll wear,

Taken from thence, flesh, which death’s force may try.

Ere by the spheres time was created thou

Wast in His mind, who is thy Son, and Brother;        

Whom thou conceivest, conceived; yea, thou art now

Thy Maker’s maker, and thy Father’s mother.

Thou hast light in dark, and shutt’st in little room

Immensity, cloistered in thy dear womb.

And some Rilke. In this one, the angel Gabriel is the speaker.

Annunciation
The Angel speaks


You are not closer to God than we
We’re all from Him so far

Yet with such sweet wonder

Your hands blessed are.

So do they ripen, so they shimmer

from the sleeves as by no woman before.

I am the day, I am the dew,

But Thou,

Thou art the Tree.


I'm weary, for the way was long

Forgive me, I forgot

What He, who sits in gold array as in the sun sent me to say,

You thoughtful one

(great space bewilders me)

You see: I am the beginning

But Thou,

Thou art the Tree.


Wide I spread the arc of my flight

I found myself so strange and far

And now your little house is drowned

in the folds of my great, bright dress.

And yet you’re alone as never before

You don’t see me at all

As if: I’m a breath of wind in the wood

But Thou

Thou art the Tree.


All the angels fear like this

Let one another go:

Never had we such desire

Uncertain yet so great

Perhaps that something happens soon

You only know in dreams

Hail, for thus my soul now sees:

You ready and so ripe.

You, Lady, are the great, high door

that soon shall open wide.

You, most beloved ear to my song

Now I feel: my word is lost

in you as in a wood.


So I came and I fulfilled

A thousand and one dreams

God looked at me; bedazzled me…

But Thou

Thou art the Tree.

Seven Quick Takes from the New Place

7 Quick TakesEmily DeArdoComment
seven quick takes.jpg

linking up with Kelly!

I.

Recent posts from these parts:

Meet Orchard House
The contract came!

II.

This video is right on, in all ways:

“That’s compassion!”

“That’s eugenics.”

III.

New desk here. For your Home Town fans: quarter sawn white oak, yo!!!

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IV.

There are two more boxes that need unpacked, but everything has been sort of a blur this week so I’m sort of delaying that. A bit. Maybe. :)

V.

I had clinic on Monday and things are pretty good. lung function is stable. My A1c (a measure of sugar in your blood, over time, to put it really basically) is trending upward, though, so that means I’m going back to checking my blood sugar a few times a day, and we’re going to tweak the diet. Yay. My enthusiasm is noted. Essentially, the last three months were stress-tastic so there was stress eating and all sorts of other not-great health decisions, so I have to be much more disciplined in this area.

Well, it is Lent. So being penitential is cool right now. So, into the gym and into a stricter diet I go….

VI.

I re-read the Ramona Quimby books this week, because Ramona is good comfort reading, right? :) She’s also good quick reading.

VII.

I lived in my old place for about 14 years, so one of the things I have to get used to now is new traffic patterns/timing. I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to get places anymore, because new traffic over here! So that’s been a little stressful since I had two doctor’s appointments this week (the above mentioned clinic and my dermatologist). But I know I’ll figure it out…eventually.



I Never Want to Get Used to This

behind the scenes, the bookEmily DeArdoComment

I came home from grocery shopping yesterday and found a box against my door.

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This is the box that holds my contract, as well as some AMP swag (yay swag!) and other notes that are important in the Writing of The Book.

I still really can’t entirely believe this is happening.


And yes, the book is being written. The contract will be signed and mailed today so yay!


Orchard House

essays, Orchard HouseEmily DeArdo1 Comment
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I’ve decided to call the new place Orchard House, for a few reasons.

One, Little Women was the first “adult” book I read, back in third grade, and it’s always resonated with me, in various stages. As a kid, I liked Amy, because she looked like me (the blonde). Of course I evolved into Jo, the writer; Beth, the one who stayed behind, was also relevant for a lot of my life, although I’ve never been that sweet, and she played piano, which I do (sort of—I’m self-taught). Meg, the oldest, has also had resonance over the years.

Also, Orchard House was a cozy place of creation—the girls were always making something—but it was a home. Sort of idealized, yes, but a comfortably, cozy, safe place. Who doesn’t like that idea?

And of course, there will be lots of writing happening here. So I’ll be channeling Jo in her attic room. Although my room isn’t an attic and it’s a bit nicer.

I  love  my desk!

I love my desk!


So, a snapshot of the new place, and it’s name. More decorating photos to come, but I wanted to introduce you!

The Week of Everything

essaysEmily DeArdoComment
A gorgeous rose from the bouquet my brother and sister in law sent me, celebrating the book!

A gorgeous rose from the bouquet my brother and sister in law sent me, celebrating the book!

This is the week of everything.

I’ve started writing the book.

I will sign the contract this week.

I’m moving.

Yup, it’s a lot.

But in the midst of all this good stress (and it is good stress), I’m really thankful for my body.

And that’s weird for me to say, because normally, my body and I are at odds. It’s not perfect, by any standard. And it never will be. It’s always going to be ‘Healthy for me’, which is not healthy for anyone else, generally.

But right now, it’s able to take out big bags of trash, and go under beds and cabinets, and pack boxes, and clean toilets. It’s slow going, because my knee never really recovered from the meds last fall, which messed it up, and I still only have 54% lung function (which is so much better than 19%, don’t get me wrong!), so I don’t work as quickly as someone else might.

But my body can do these things. And I’m really grateful for that. It can do these physical tasks, and I can type these words.

So even though it’s the week of Everything, and I’m running around like a crazy person, I’m glad I can run around like a crazy person.

No yarn along this week, and no quick takes, because it’s The Week of Everything!

But next week, maybe a tour of the new place?

Did That Really Just Happen?

writing, the bookEmily DeArdo4 Comments
Jo's novel .jpg

Well, guys.

It happened.

I have a book contract.


Yes. IT’S TRUE!!!!!

I’m going to write a book for Ave Maria Press, uniting my story with a Way of the Cross. The book is tentatively titled The Way of Your Cross, and it’s devotional in nature. It’s going to incorporate Pope St. John Paul II’s Salvific Doloris (On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering), Scripture, all sorts of stuff.

I am thrilled to death. And also flabbergasted. And….just amazed. It’s sort of like the world’s best caffeine high.

I’ve been going around the world like Belle in the bookshop.


I mean, it’ll be a real book! On REAL SHELVES! That people can REALLY GO TO A STORE AND BUY!

I feel a lot like Jo in Little Women. “I'‘M AN AUTHOR!!!!”

I can’t quite process this.

(Last GIF, I swear:

The book will be for sale next Lent, we’re hoping. That’s the goal.

Now I have to write the thing.

Obviously I will keep you updated! If you want to know about book stuff FIRST, then please sign up to follow the blog, so you get all the news first!

Thank you for all the support and prayers, everyone! It means the world to me!



Ash Wednesday Yarn Along!

books, knitting, Lent, yarn alongEmily DeArdo2 Comments

It’s Yarn Along Time!!!! :)

And it’s Ash Wednesday, so happy Lent to you! And yes, I do mean “happy” Lent. I really like Lent, probably because: 1) I’m a spring baby, and 2) I was born on Good Friday. So, I like Lent. And I also need discipline every once in awhile (who doesn’t), and the spiritual rigor of it, the peeling away of the non-essential, is a good thing.

Anyway, to the yarn!

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OK, so the details:

This is the Feile shawl, which I am loving. I love how the stripes change—do you see how they had a sort of neat pattern going on, and then switch to solid stripes? Love that. Eventually, the contrast color, the blue, will become the dominant color as I work toward the end of the shawl, with the white being the contrast. This is a really easy shawl, but the fun is in the slight pattern changes. The thing that’s going to be a pain is all the end weaving in! But oh well.

I’m using Frabjous Fibers yarn, the Mad Hatter base (sport weight). The white speckled is Victorian China, and the blue is called “Muchness” (seriously, isn’t that great?). I’m using Knitpicks sunstruck needles, size 4, on one of their interchangeable cables.

The book is a great one for Lent, I think: Catherine Doherty’s The People of the Towel and Water. It’s about doing every day activities as prayer—really being present in the moment, and allowing everything you do to be prayer, working for God, even when you’re sweeping or cleaning or writing (or knitting!). Catherine founded Madonna House, and I’ve been reading some of her writing lately. I recommend it!