Emily M. DeArdo



For Lent: Hosanna

Take Up and Read, Lent, prayerEmily DeArdo1 Comment

Hosanna is the new Take Up & Read offering for Lent, and she is so lovely!

I know I say that about all our books, but guys, she really is.


Hosanna covers the Gospel of Matthew
It runs from Ash Wednesday (ahem, next week!) to Easter Monday, so it’s the entire season of Lent!
Extra deep dives on the Beatitudes (photo below), and special Scripture for the triduum!

A variety of contributors, as always, and gorgeous art by Kristin Foss.
Plenty of space for journaling!

Available on Amazon




Here are the deep dive into the Beatitudes pages!


Daily Scripture written out, with plenty of room for lectio divina on the next page.


On Saturday, we give you a selah day , meaning time to relax and go back and do pages you may have missed, or just check in with yourself, your spiritual life, and how the week went for you.

All of these books are a true labor of love—we love writing them and making them for you, but we really love sharing God’s Word with you! Come join us this Lent!

A Friday surprise--quick takes!

books, behind the scenes, current projects, Seven Quick Takes, travelEmily DeArdo2 Comments

I haven't done one of these in forever, so maybe it's time to do them again? :) Linking up with Kelly! :) 


Dad just got back from his trip to London for a DevOps conference (DevOps is IT related stuff, for you non tech geeks out there). I was a just a little jealous, especially since he got to go to Westminster Cathedral for Mass and see Buckingham Palace and just be in London, which is really the greatest city in the world. 

Westminster Cathedral 

Westminster Cathedral 


He also brought me back the papers, which delight me to no end. I love getting papers from other countries. The first thing I noticed is how big they are? No American paper is this big anymore. It's amazing!



So yeah, I'm slowly savoring the reading of the papers. Because it's just fun, and that probably makes me a nerd. But a nice nerd. :) 


I always knew that London was fairly far north, but in checking the weather for my dad's visit, I noticed that it's a LOT farther north than I thought--the sun was rising at 4:30 AM! That's just amazing. But also, in the winter, London has to get dark pretty quickly. Sort of sobering. But I do think it would be cool to see one of the white nights, or even a sunrise at 4:30 (provided I could go back to sleep after seeing it. :-) 


Yes, my "desk"--my kitchen table--is a mess. I've got SO many things going on right now. I've started writing a new book (YES! Wheee! Let's hope someone wants it!) about churches and accessibility. I've been getting new library books like every day since the library actually has books I want to read, and they can be delivered to my local library so I don't have to drive all over creation to get them (our library system is huge).  I've been working more on my sketching, and I've been packing because we're going to Pittsburgh later today. So yes, it's nuts, and my table is crazy. 


Also, Catholic 101 is currently on sale for FIVE BUCKS! If you don't have it, you can grab it here. This is the cheapest it will be all year! 


I've been knitting, too, even though the hand thing took a bite out of that, but I finally got some more yarn for my scarf project so I'm back at that. I promise a Yarn Along next week!


And I also promise to do a reading round-up soon. I've been reading so many books that I need to talk about them. Soon, I promise!


Daybook No. 120: Our Lady of Guadalupe

Catholicism, DaybookEmily DeArdo1 Comment
The Our Lady of Guadalupe mural at the National Basilica 

The Our Lady of Guadalupe mural at the National Basilica 

Outside my window::

It's raining. It was snowing earlier and my car was covered this morning.  It's also been pretty cold but at the moment it's warm enough to rain and not ice, which is a blessing. Really. 

I'm wearing::

leggings and a blue t-shirt

In the CD player::

the Christmas playlist. 

Listening to::

Outlander Season two, episode one. Watching the series again. :) 


Fire Within (more on that below),  O Jerusalem (A Russel-Holmes book--it's book 5 in the series); The Best Yes by Lysa Tekurst, for bible study, and I Believe In Love, which is the Well Read Mom book pick this month. (No, I'm not a mom, but I love this group.) 

Living the Liturgy::

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which I've talked about here. Here's a little bit from that piece: 

Mary appeared to Juan Diego four times, beginning December 9, 1531, at Tepeyac. She spoke in Juan Diego's native language and asked that a church be built on that site in her honor. When he went to the local bishop, he (like most bishops and priests in these accounts) asked for a sign. On December 12, Juan Diego saw Castellian roses at the foot of Tepeyac, which weren't indigenous to the region. He filled his cloak (ilma) with the roses, and presented them to the bishop. However, the roses weren't the only miraculous thing--the interior of the tilma was imprinted with a picture of the Lady as she appeared to Juan Diego. (For technical information about the image on the tilma, see this Wikipedia article.) 

She is also the patroness of Mexico, the Americas, the Philippines, and the unborn. 

So if you want to eat Mexican food today in honor of Our Lady, I won't stop you. ;-) Or Mexican Hot Chocolate! :) 

Tuesday: St. Lucy. Who doesn't love St. Lucy/ St. Lucia? Have some St. Lucia buns! If you're a woman of a certain age (ahem, my compatriots), dig out your old copy of Kristen's Surprise and find your Kirsten doll. (I may or may not have a Kirsten doll. I may or may not have her St. Lucia outfit. I ADMIT NOTHING. :-P)

On Wednesday, it's the feast of St. John of the Cross, who wrote the "Dark Night of the Soul", and many other spiritual classics. He was a contemporary of St. Teresa of Avila, and at one point was her confessor and spiritual director. I'm reading Fire Within right now, about both of them, so my spiritual reading is timely! (It's a great book. You need to read it slowly. It's long. But it's great.) Since I've given you food recommendations for every other day, I'd go with something appropriately Spanish here. Or, you know. Tacos again. 

And then on Saturday, it's time to get excited, people. It's the beginning of the O Antiphons, and it's a week until Christmas Eve! 

Around the house::

Getting ready for Christmas with the rest of the housekeeping. Wheeee, right? :) And my dishwasher is broken, so I'm hoping the guy will be out to fix it today. 

Fitness and Creativity::

I've been trying to do a sketch every day this month, and I've been keeping up with it pretty well. My goal is to finish my current sketchbook by the end of the month. I've got about 13 pages to go, so it's definitely doable. 

Fun Links:: 

A Christmas song for you!


(Or, as it was fondly renamed in high school choir, "Do you know what I hear".....yes, it's very easy to mix up all the "hears" and "sees" and "says".....) 


Holy Week 2016

CatholicismEmily DeArdoComment

All's pretty quiet over here, for Holy Week and the Triduum. Time is being spent contemplating so, in the Dominican fashion, I can "share the fruits of contemplation." 

In a special way, let's pray for Belgium, another country added to the sad role of those affected by terrorist acts. Let us pray that terrorism will cease, and that the Prince of Peace can bring us peace. 

See, my servant shall prosper, 

he shall be raised high and greatly exalted. / Even as many were amazed at him--/so marred was his look beyond human semblance/ and his appearance beyond that of the sons of man--/so shall he startle many nations, / because of him kings shall stand speechless; / for those who have not been told shall see,/ those who have not heard shall ponder it. 

Who would believe what we have heard? / To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?/ He grew up like a sapling before him, / like a shoot from the parched earth; / there was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him,/ nor appearance that would attract us to him./ He was spurned and avoided by the people,/ a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity,/ one of those from whom people hide their faces,/ spurned, and we held him in no esteem. 

Yet it was our infirmities that he bore,/ our sufferings that he endured,/ while we thought of him as stricken/ as one smitten by God and afflicted./ But he was pierced for our offenses,/ crushed for our sins;/ upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole,/ by his stripes we were healed./ We had alone gone astray like sheep,/ each following his own way;/ but the Lord laid upon him the guilt of us all.

Though he was harshly treated, he submitted/ and opened not his mouth;/ like a lamb led to the slaughter/ or a sheep before the shearers,/ he was silent and opened not his mouth./ Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away,/ and who would have thought anymore of his destiny?/ When he was cut off from the land of the living,/ and smitten for the sin of his people,/ a burial place was assigned him among the wicked/ and a burial place with evildoers,/ though he had done no wrong/ nor spoken and falsehood./ But the Lord was pleased/ to crush him in infirmity. 

If he gives his life as an offering for sin,/ he shall see his descendants in a long life,/ and the will of the Lord will be accomplished through him.

Because of his affliction/ he shall see the light in fullness of days;/ through his suffering, my servant shall justify many,/ and their guilt he shall bear./ Therefore I will give him his portion among the great,/ and he shall divide the spoils with the might,/ because he surrendered himself to death/ and was counted among the wicked;/ and he shall take away the sins of many,/ and win pardon for their offenses. 

Isaiah 52:13-53:12


Making the Country Accessible: Thoughts on the Americans With Disability Act

transplantEmily DeArdo1 Comment
President George H.W. Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. 

President George H.W. Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. 

Although I don't generally call myself this, I'm a disabled American. (And no, I don't use a wheelchair.) The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) made my life a lot easier before transplant--but post-transplant, I see a lot of places where it needs some work.  The Act is 25 years old, so it's a good time to think about this. 

I'm inspired to write about this because most people, when they think about the ADA, think about people who are mobility-impaired--mostly, people in wheelchairs, or who use crutches or canes, or people who are blind. But let's think about people who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing, and people who have respiratory or heart problems. Let's broaden our scope. 

Pre-transplant, I used a handicapped placard for my car. I came upon it rightfully, because the amount of distances I could walk, especially after my stint in the ICU my sophomore year of college, was very limited. Walking around my college campus could be difficult, especially with my backpack full of books. But if you looked at me, I didn't "look" handicapped. I looked fine. I also had about 20-25% lung function. 

Lesson 1: Don't judge someone's handicapped status by the way they look

I was very grateful for elevators in my lecture halls, and in other places. There was no way I was going to be climbing lots of stairs (just ask my friend Chris, who had to carry me up the last few flights of the Empire State Building when we visited NYC during Christmas break our senior year. Yeah. Let's all be glad I only weighed about 95 pounds at that time.). My high school also had an elevator--which I never used, but it was good that it was there for students who broke legs or ankles. My elementary school wasn't accessible at all, and students who couldn't go up and down stairs had to be carried by their parents to their classrooms. Not great. 

Even post-transplant, I still used my placard. When I went back to work four months post-transplant, I was still working only half days. I still looked sort of sick--my skin was very pale, I was extremely thin, and my hair hadn't developed the healthy sheen it has now. If you cared to look at me closely, you'd have noticed that I was either sick with something, or recovering from something. Since I worked at the Statehouse, we had Highway Patrol officers that provided security for us, including patrolling the garage. I never paid them much attention to them until one stopped me as I went to my car, shortly after I had returned to work.

"Is this your car?" 


"Why is it parked in a handicapped spot? Are you handicapped?" The tone in the officer's voice indicated that he didn't think I was.

"I just had a double lung transplant."

There are few things more satisfying than watching people realize they've just had a major Foot in Mouth Moment. 

Now, I don't have one anymore. Now I walk across the parking lot with all the rest of you. But let's please remember that there are many invisible disabilities. Arthritis? Check. CF? Check. Autoimmune disease in general? Check. Epilepsy? Check. Diabetes? Check. Etc. 

(also, little side note: CF can cause arthritis. Yeah. That's a fun little holiday treat, as they say in Family Man. One of my friends has terrible CF related arthritis. Mine was not as bad as hers, and there were still days when my joints were so tender and so painful that the thought of putting any pressure on them--the though of even standing--was out of the question.) 

Let's talk about my life now. 

I have a cochlear implant.[ It is only by sheer dumb luck, or God prompting, that I took two years of American Sign Language in high school. I can use it if I have to. Normally, I don't. But I can.] There are so few accommodations for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people! 

Marcus Theatres is the only cinema chain around here--and I live in one of the largest cities in the U.S.--that provides captioning for every movie it shows. AMC doesn't (AMC is our other big local chain). When I want to see a movie, it has to be at the local theater, and if it's not showing there, I can't go, because I won't understand it. Apparently, AMC doesn't think that Deaf people or people like me might like movies. 

The system I use at Marcus is called Captiview. Marcus has about five of these systems and all I have to do is ask for one at the box office. It's easy to use and it's not distracting to others. They can't see the light from the captions (My friends and family have tried to read the captions when we're at the movies, and it's only if I turn it to face them that they can). Sure, it's a bit unwieldily to carry around in the multiplex, but it works. I love movies, and now I can go out and watch them in the cinema like everyone else. I get to see movies, movie theaters get my money! Yay! But if all movie theaters provided captioning, I could see a broader range of movies--and I'm lucky that the theater that is closest to me provides this service. And they're not a nationwide chain. They're Midwest-based and only in states like Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. So if you live somewhere else, then I hope your local theater has something similar, or you're out of luck. 

Some cable channels aren't captioned. YouTube videos, or online videos? No captions except "automatic" ones, which are about as useful as captions in Swahili to me. Warner Brothers, especially, incurs my wrath, because they do (Pardon my French, here) half-assed captioning. When I watch The Wizard of Oz and the captioning automatically comes on, it doesn't translate word-for-word. It gives a summary of what the character is saying. 

Lesson 2: Deaf and Hard of Hearing People Like TV and Movies. Please caption things for us--COMPLETELY! 

Seriously--the next time you watch anything from Warner Brothers, turn on the captioning, and you'll see what I mean. I know they're leaving words out, because I can hear the dialogue. (Not understand all the dialogue. There's a difference.) 

Some DVDs don't even have functioning captions. What is that about, guys?

Captioning like this isn't covered by the ADA. The only thing that must be captioned are channels that receive federal funding. Well, thanks. 

Normally, I'm a small government person. But this is ridiculous. Provide a basic service that is inexpensive (see the Captiview site I linked to--that's one of the selling points for their technology), easy to use, and not at all inconvenient to other patrons. 

Another area that needs work? The phone. People, not everyone who is Deaf or hard of hearing has a TTY. I don't have one. I don't know how to work one. But if a website provides chat services, I'm fine. We can communicate just great. I use email most of the time because if you call and talk to me, you will sound like Charlie Brown's teacher, unless I know your voice really well. (Meaning, you're my parent. And even then....)

AAA, for example: when I got a flat tire a few years back, I couldn't call them. I had to text my Dad to have HIM call them to come help me. It was ridiculous. Can't we come up with an app that will allow texting to contact services? This is the 21st century. We have apps for everything. Or not even an app--a number that could be reached via text message. 

This is especially true in health care. Oh my gosh. When I have a call with a case manager, my mom or dad has to sit and translate for me, because the case manager can't email me. It HAS TO BE over the phone. What? What sort of sense does that make? If you don't want to email, then set up a chat window on a website, like my bank has, or like many shopping sites have. If Bobbi Brown Cosmetics and the Disney Store can have a chat interface, then medical and insurance companies can, too.  Don't they ever think they might be working with a person who has a hearing disability? 

The law did a lot of good things, but there are plenty of things that still need work, especially in the realm of hearing, as I hope I've shown you. 

Tomorrow I'm going to write about accommodation in a place where you'd think it should be second nature--churches. 



Punching Satan in the Face: Edel '15

EdelEmily DeArdo6 Comments

Describing last weekend requires a lot of superlatives. Awesome. Epic. Fantastic. Amazing. You know, all those words that teenage girls like to use in squealing tones of voice. But in this case, they'd be well-deserved. It really was all those things.

Edel 15 @emily_m_deardo

My family and I arrived in Charleston on Thursday, and the conference kicked off on Friday evening. On Friday morning, I received an email from Jen Fulwiler asking me if I'd be a guest on her radio show that night. Now, I'd sort of hoped I'd be a guest, but I didn't think I actually would be, because those sort of things don't happen to me. I don't win the lottery or even the church raffle. I'm not lucky that way. But today, I was.

I did a little happy dance and replied that I'd love to. I do love to talk, after all. And I wasn't nervous, because I'd be talking about--well, OK--me, not nuclear policy or sanctuary cities. If I don't know about my life, who does?

I was worried that I wouldn't talk to anyone else all weekend--that people would think I was a weird blog fan girl and think "danger, Will Robinson!" But the women were all welcoming, funny, and friendly. As the weekend progressed, I realized that a lot of us often felt the same way--that people wouldn't like us, or would think we're "weird". But Edel is a great example of CS Lewis' definition of friendship: "You too? I thought I was the only one!" There was a lot of that at Edel.

But back to the radio show. Mary Lenaburg (pictured above with the fantastically funny Kelly Mantoan, one of our speakers) was first, and she talked about her sweet Courtney. There was a need for tissues after she was done talking. Fortunately, I didn't have to follow that. ;-) I was on in the six o'clock hour (we were on from 5-7) and to be honest, I have no idea how long I was interviewed, and I have a vague idea of what I said--adrenaline just totally took over.

Being interviewed by Jen Fulwiler and  Hallie Lord was a bucket list item I didn't know I even HAD. @emily_m_deardo

Edel 2015 @emily_m_deardo

I do know I said it's OK to get mad at God, because he can take it--this was tweeted a lot, apparently. (It's so weird to have things you said be tweeted. This happens to other people. Not me.) But I had a blast talking to these amazing ladies.

And when I say amazing, I mean they were all, really, amazing. Every one of us is fighting the good fight at home, moving toward holiness one load of dishes at a time. It was so refreshing to be with like-minded women!

In self-care, one of the things that gets talked about is "filling your well". Edel did that for me. Not only did I get to meet women whom I've admired for a long time (Mary, Kelly, Jen, Hallie, and Ginny, for starters), but I got to meet new friends. And we really felt like friends who'd known each other a long time. It was easy to open up to these women.

Edel 2015 @emily_m_deardo

edel 2015 @emily_m_deardo

edel 2015! @emily_m_deardo

Hugs and laughs were shared in equal measure. Let's not even talk about the spectacle of lots of Catholic women dancing and doing karaoke after imbibing cocktails.

But the biggest thing I took away was that none of us are alone in what we're doing. And we might be scattered all over the world, but we are united in what matters. And that might include shrimp and grits and karaoke, as well as more serious things.

In the gospels, Peter doesn't want to leave the site of the Transfiguration. He wants to stay up there always with Jesus, Elijah, and Moses. But he can't; Jesus leads them back down the mountain. Things like Edel are the moments of the transfiguration. As much as we might want to stay on the mountain, we have to bring what we've seen there back into our daily lives, and transfigure them, based on what we know now.

And the title of this post? That's from Kelly Mantoan's talk: "Every time you bless yourself, it's like punching Satan in the face."

A lot of us left Charleston ready to do just that.