Monday, March 11, 2013

Five Things About Myself

The always funny, but seriously faithful Catholic mom blogger, Colleen,  from Martin Family Moments tagged me in a post to share 5 things that most (blogging) folks probably don't know about me.

Thanks, Colleen, for tagging me and allowing for a super-easy Monday post after a Daylight Saving weekend!!!  Anyone else still missing that lost hour of sleep?!!!

Here we go...

1.)  I am 100% Polish-American! My parents were born in Polish-ethnic neighborhoods in Detroit, Michigan.  I grew up hearing my grandparents speak Polish when they wanted to talk about things that little ears should not hear!!!  Needless to say, my cultural connection to Catholicism runs deep.  Often, the strong fragrance of incense can carry me back to my childhood when I would attend Mass (said in Polish) with my grandmothers.

To this day, I remember the strong sense of pride that my grandparents felt when Karol Wojtyla was elected Pope in 1978.  He was the first non-Italian Pope in over 400 years!  I don't think I nearly appreciated his contributions to the Faith as I do now.  (Have any of you read, Blessed Pope John Paul II's "Letter to Women"?  AMAZING!!!)  And although I endured a lot of teasing at the hands of my German-Catholic and Irish-Catholic classmates, I was secretly proud, too, that the "new" Pope was Polish!

2.)  Piggy-backing on the whole Polish-American thing... best friend (since 3rd grade) fell in love and married a man with my MAIDEN name. My POLISH maiden name.  (For decades, we were the only family in St. Louis with that last name!)

And yes, her husband also has the same FIRST name as my father and brother.  Makes for confusing times among our Catholic grade school friends who think she married my brother...or father...or...

yikes, like I said, confusing!!!

Me...40lbs heavier...with O'Dowds Irish Pub in Kansas City, MO

3.)  Okay, one last thing about Catholic school....I promise...

My best friend...who now has my maiden last name...and I attended an Irish-Catholic grade school.  (She's Irish by the way...are you now thoroughly confused?!!!)  We were taught by nuns.  From Ireland.  Who had the heaviest Irish brogues.

Anyway, the nuns, in full habit, taught us girls how to Irish dance!!!

To this day, my Irish Catholic grade school continues to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a full festival including corned beef and cabbage dinner complete with Catholic school boys serenading with "When Irish Eyes are Smiling" and girls in costume on stage dancing.  See picture here! They are the EXACT same costumes!!!  Michael Flatley's "Lord of the Dance" we might not be, but everyone who attends knows we put on an awesome show!!!

Oh, and the senior citizens on the Nursing Home circuit LOVED us!!!

4.)  I attended and graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia, affectionately known as MIZZOU. with a degree in Political Science.

We are now officially part of the SEC.  This gives me great satisfaction as I secretly wish I was part of  GRITS (girls raised in the South).  (I couldn't be more Midwestern!)

Unfortunately, the sensible Heartland-er in me cannot put giant hair bows in my darling daughter's fairy-floss fine hair or dress her in smocking from head to toe!  ;)  (I don't know who this child is, but I'm certain she's adorable...if only the giant hair bow didn't overshadow her face...good lawd!)

5.)  I actually used that degree in Political Science.  My senior year of college, I interned with the Missouri Attorney General's office.  I graduated and moved to Kansas City after accepting a job working for United States Senator (retired) Christopher S. (Kit) Bond (R) and then for the youngest-elected Missouri county prosecutor (at that time).

I left the world of public administration/governmental affairs, for an incredibly fulfilling job working in Fundraising for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.  It was during those 18-months with Catholic Charities that I truly witnessed the Church's mission in being the hands and feet of Christ.  I loved visiting with the directors of the different programs (St. Benedict's Special Education program...Migrant Worker Services...Project Rachael...Food Pantries...Emergency Services (gas/electric/utility help)) to better understand their needs and then write letters of support for grant applications.  I *heart* the non-profit sector!!!

So, there you have it....little Polish girl, who can Irish dance, with a best friend who now has her maiden last name, who graduated from Mizzou and actually used that Political Science degree!

And now you know!

As I am slowly getting to know all these great Catholic bloggers...I tag the following people:

Noreen from Rosary Mom
Blue Mockingbird
Neen from All This and Heaven
Sue Elvis Writes
Kari from Overflow

As I know that many women have taken a break from blogging for Lent and time constraints vary among working and stay-at-home moms, I'm not quite sure how many of these women will actually be able to participate, but I highly encourage you to take a moment and stop by each of their blogs. They truly write from their souls!



  1. Well I'm a 100% Irish girl who can't Irish dance, but we named our first born after your polish pope! Thanks for your nice description of me and for playing along :-)

  2. So much fun to learn all these new things about each other, Val! Have a wonderful evening!

  3. Valerie-

    What a fun post to read! I went to Mizzou too (though I didn't actually graduate from there- it is sort of a long story). The picture of you and your best friend is adorable. How awesome that you are still close. :)

    I am totally shocked and honored that you tagged me. What a fun post it will be to write but I think I will have to mull it over for a few days to see what five things I can come up with!

    Thanks so much for inviting me to play along!

    God Bless, Kari

  4. Hi Valerie, I learned a lot about you through your post! I would love to be in the inner workings of Catholic Charities and learn how they help others. I've been told that Catholic Relief Services is usually the first responders and give the most money for disaster relief. The paper never reports it though. I'm not sure how CRS and Catholic Charities are related but I've no doubt that they assist many people in need.

    Thank you for tagging me and like Kari, I will take a day or two to think about this one.

    God bless,


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Your kind words are appreciated! As Mother Teresa said, "Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love."