Sunday, May 26, 2013

In Light of Recent Events...

Dear Friends,

It is with great joy that I can finally say: I am once again a student at the University of Notre Dame.

Officially, at least.

I never truly considered myself otherwise, but I have the paperwork in hand that states this wonderful news.

If you have been in touch with me throughout this process, read my Facebook statuses, or saw my angry tweets, you know this has been a long and frustrating process. That is naturally expected when one deals with a difficult medical situation that interferes greatly with one's life. However, the frustration and difficulties that arose in my attempts to iron out my educational situation were indeed unexpected, especially considering I was dealing with one of the premier universities in the nation.

That's right, folks. I have something bad to say about my beloved Notre Dame.

This is a post I was not sure I was going to write. However, in light of recent events, I feel compelled to do so.

I have been readmitted to Notre Dame, so I no longer have to consider the nagging worry that airing my grievances over the process of withdrawing and re-applying to Notre Dame could somehow affect my ultimate admission decision.

However, these are not the events that convinced me to write this post.

Notre Dame fans and haters have respectively balked and rejoiced at the hot news airing on ESPN this morning. Notre Dame's renowned play caller, Everett Golson, is no longer enrolled at Notre Dame.


The guy who led us to a National Championship, the leader of our team, our golden ticket to years of potential success doesn't even go here anymore?

According to a statement from Golson, he has been suspended from Notre Dame for the fall semester due to "poor academic judgment." Cheating, plagiarism, something of that nature. In addition, Golson intends to return to Notre Dame. No school official has confirmed that a return would be possible. However, sources indicate that readmission will indeed be an option.


That has been the operative word in my vocabulary for the past year. Allow me to explain.

When I chose to leave Notre Dame on what I described as "medical leave," I was really withdrawing from the University. I would not be considered a student by official standards. This time away from school was to allow me the time I needed to heal and take care of my health. This was exactly what I wanted. However, I did not expect the difficulties that followed.

My parents picked me up from Notre Dame on the Sunday prior to Labor Day. We did not know much about the road ahead, only that my health was the number one priority. We did not have the option to speak with any faculty or staff at Notre Dame due to the holiday weekend. Our knowledge was limited as we loaded up the car and drove tearfully away.

The next week was filled with countless phone calls to deans, academic advisors, doctors, the Office of Student Affairs, and many other individuals. After many phone calls, someone finally mentioned an incredibly important piece of information that had yet to be brought up: Notre Dame withdrawals for medical reasons are required to be two semesters in length.


I did not come home to sit around for a year and then waltz back to school a year behind! I came home to participate in an intensive therapy program that would allow me to return to Notre Dame as soon as possible, namely in the Spring Semester of 2013.

I Googled Notre Dame's withdrawal policy as soon as my little fingers would take me. It reads as follows:

  • A student who withdraws for any reason must apply for readmission to Notre Dame.
  • A student who withdraws due to personal or health reasons normally will be required to remain away from the University for two full semesters before an application for readmission will be considered.
    • In these cases, a student must receive clearance for re-admittance from the University Counseling Center, University Health Services, or both, as determined by the Office of Student Affairs.

Alright, returning to Notre Dame would require applying for readmission. I can handle that.

The next statement caught my eye - a student who withdraws due to personal or health reasons normally will be required to remain away from the University for two full semesters before an application for readmission will be considered.

Call me a wannabee-lawyer, but the word "normally" implies that this statement is not always the case. There was room for discussion.

I followed through with the withdrawal. The papers were signed and it became official. Then I began my next mission: readmission to Notre Dame.

I could take you through the pain of this process step by step, but I will save you the length of that story. I will simply state the issues I have with Notre Dame's withdrawal and readmission process. Please note that this applies only to withdrawal for medical reasons.

- I was told by multiple sources that returning to Notre Dame after only one semester away was indeed possible. I have this in writing. As you may  have already guessed, this was ultimately not true.
- To withdraw and reapply to Notre Dame, I dealt with over 15 individuals. Most of these individuals were not in contact with each other. Contradictory statements occurred. Communication failed and ultimately broke down. This was a world class, $50,000 tuition school? I was appalled.
- I withdrew from Notre Dame on September 1st. The reapplication was due October 1st. Though I understand the rule is that students would not be re-applying after only one semester away, it seemed incredibly unfair that part of the reason this was not possible was due to the need for three months to "process" the applications. No one would be able to say they were ready to return to school after being away one month. However, that does not mean one would not be ready after four months.

To summarize so far, I was initially told I could not return to Notre Dame after one semester. Then I was told this was possible. I submitted the re-application with a letter from my doctor stating that given my current trajectory of progress and my hard work in therapy, I would easily be ready to return to Notre Dame.

Fast forward to October 10th. I received a letter in the mail reading as follows: "The Committee on Readmission recently completed its evaluation of your application. I am sorry that we are unable to approve your request for readmission to Notre Dame as you are not eligible to reapply until the Fall 2013 semester."

Not eligible? That's not what I had been told! Had someone confirmed that I was 100% ineligible to reapply for Notre Dame until the Fall of 2013, I would never have put myself through the continuous excitement and subsequent rejection and disappointment.

But give up? Never. I loved Notre Dame too much to give up so soon.

To clarify: after receiving this letter, I contacted all of the people I had interacted with in the process and asked for clarification of the question regarding standard policy versus unreadiness. Was I not readmitted because the committee thought I was unready? Or was it simply because I had not been away for the aforementioned two semesters? I was told the committee desired that I complete the standard period of separation: two semesters. I wanted further clarification. Was readmission prior to the standard two semesters possible, or was it completely off the table? If so, I wanted to give Notre Dame the feedback that they should make this very clear to students to save them the heartbreak of being denied after receiving false hope.

I never got a response. So, I pushed forward.

I met with my Dean (who was truly the most kind and helpful woman in this entire process) and pressed the issue. I explained in detail everything I was doing to heal and make the progress I needed to make. I felt that my personal, individual situation was not considered. To me, it seemed that the readmission committee simply took one look at the length of my withdrawal (NOT the requisite two semesters) and denied my application. If the committee read my application and felt I was unready to return to Notre Dame, I would accept that. However, from the language of the letter I received, it felt more like the committee was simply following standard procedure and had disregarded my personal application. Notre Dame always claims to be about the individual student. I wanted proof that ND would live up to its word. She met with the "readmit policy subcommittee" and informed me that they had agreed to review my application in the same timeframe as all of the others for that semester.

I was ecstatic.

My incredible doctor at the ND Counseling Center informed me there was paperwork I had to fill out from the Counseling Center as part of the readmission process. This paperwork was to come from Admissions. I had not received such paperwork so I began to make phone calls in order to make this happen.

I was determined.

Eventually, I received a phone call from a member of the Committee on Readmission. In a rather blunt fashion, she questioned why I was still attempting to be readmitted to Notre Dame after being told that it was impossible. In stunned silence, I broke into tears and handed the phone to my mom, who explained to this staff member the great struggles and difficulty we had experienced throughout the withdrawal process.

It was official. I was not returning to Notre Dame for a full year.

I was crushed.

Then Notre Dame tried to deactivate my ND Email. That took about four phone calls to sort through. I had to provide proof that I needed it to stay activated. Because clearly I was lying about being home on medical leave with panic attacks and OCD.

To make matters more frustrating, when the time came to reapply for the upcoming Fall Semester, the paperwork was astounding. I had to obtain letters from all my doctors, complete an essay, complete a questionnaire from the counseling center, and take a 567 question test (Minnesota Personality Inventory, or something like that). Just to go back to school.

But it was worth it. It was for Notre Dame, the place I love.

Now, after being readmitted, I am not guaranteed the same financial aid package I previously possessed. I am not even guaranteed on-campus housing.

Talk about frustrating.

Do not mistake my frustrations for complaining or pity-seeking. I am better for the struggles that I went through. However, I believe Notre Dame needs to re-evaluate their medical withdrawal policy and make it more accommodating.

First of all, most students on medical leave have much more important things to concern themselves with, i.e. their health. Do not make the process of leaving or returning to Notre Dame difficult.

Second, consider each student's personal situation. Do not assume that because a student is taking a medical withdrawal for psychological reasons that they will not receive the help they need in one semester's time away from school. That may be the trend, but it is not the universal truth.

Third, improve the communication between members of the withdrawal process. I fear the confusion unwittingly caused by me resulted in some trouble for those who were trying to help me - this is just a fear, not a fact. I do not have any proof of this. Regardless, the miscommunications helped no one and should be minimized.

Finally, and most importantly, clarify the rule that withdrawals must be two semesters. Remove the word "normally" from your policy if there are no exceptions! If there are exceptions, make that known. Help your students thrive. Do not make things so difficult that you drive them to tears and heartbreak.

I love Notre Dame and I am so incredibly excited to be returning in the fall.

But, as you can see, it is not perfect. That's right, Notre Dame is not perfect.

I intend to meet with some staff members in the hopes of providing feedback about my personal experience with the withdrawal process in order to improve the process for those who deal with it in the future.

So, my final words?

Good luck Everett.

Words Truly,


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Love Tough Enough to Count On

Dear Friends,

It is an odd time to be posting a new blog post, but I just got home from work and could not wait any longer. It has been a while since I've posted (funny how that seems to be the start of every post I write!), but I have been inspired to plow forward and try to write more frequently by a variety of friends promulgating their excellent blogs on the internet.

Tonight, I write on a difficult subject. If you know me or have been following my blog, you know I have encountered mental disorders in the lives of my family and friends, and in my own life. It is something I intend to continue to write about, for the sake of helping others. I have received occasional emails from random people who have encountered my blog and have finally been able to put a name to the terrors they have been experiencing. Just tonight, I received an email from an Argentinian man struggling with HOCD, looking for guidance and direction. I hope and pray I can use my experiences to help others in any way I can. Tonight is one such night.

I want to pass along a story of a war waged by the mind, the story of an invisible struggle, and the story of a beautiful woman who has blessed me with her presence in my life.

My best friend in the whole world is Marie Kathleen Bordley, and she has done a very brave thing tonight. Marie posted her story online for the whole world to read. She bared her past, her heart, and her soul. I want to share her story not only because she is a brilliant writer who rivals the greatest literary geniuses, but because her story deserves to be heard.

Marie and I became friends the very first day of band camp (yes, nerd alert!). We generally remember the moment as follows:

Marie: "Hi, I'm Marie. My brother is the one giving a piggyback ride to that guy."

Maggie: "Hi, I'm Maggie. Funny, my brother is the guy he's giving a piggyback ride to."

By sophomore year, we were the best of friends. We talked all the time and texted frequently. But sophomore year, something changed. Marie changed. Physically, mentally, and emotionally.

As you know, I'm the queen of worrywarts, and all my worry flags were raised, signaling that something was very wrong.

I will let Marie fill in the story from here; please follow this link and read her blog post. Then, continue reading below.

My intentions here are two-part. First and foremost, I want to spread Marie's story to anyone that will listen. It is SO incredibly important to break down the stigma of mental disorders.

 To do so, we must talk.

We must share.

We must listen.

We must not be afraid. Knowledge truly is power.

Second, I want to pass on some of the lessons Marie has taught me. We, as human beings, need each other. We need the love that we give and receive. We need to care for each other, and to be cared for. Marie has always been there for me, especially in my darkest moments. I have always been and always will be there for her on the days when the sun is shining its brightest and on the days when the night seems endless.

Live this love in all of your relationships.

If you are concerned about a friend, do not be afraid to speak up and involve adults if need be.

Remember that you are not a doctor or a miracle worker - you cannot fix your friends. You can only support them.

I remember sending Marie the lyrics to a song by Hunter Hayes entitled "Cry With You."

The lyrics read as follows:

"When you try not to look at me, scared that I'll see you hurting, you're not hiding anything. Frankly, its got me worried. Nobody knows you better than I do. I keep my promises, I'm fighting for you. You're not alone, I'll listen till your tears give out. You're safe and sound, I swear that I won't let you down. What's hurting you I, I feel it too. I mean it when I say when you cry, I cry with you. I'm not going any place. I just hate to see you like this. No, I can't make it go away, but keeping it inside won't fix it. I can't give you every answer that you need, but I want to hear everything you want to tell me.

You need love tough enough to count on...

So here I am."

It is not a betrayal to help your friends get the help they need. We all need to be able to count on tough love. Our true friends are the ones who care enough to show us this tough love when things get difficult.

Words Truly,


Monday, April 22, 2013

She's Baaaaaackkkkkkk...

Dear Friends,

WOW, has it been a while! I must say, I have missed blogging and am very excited to continue this crazy journey of sharing my thoughts with you. I have had "Write a new blog post" on my to-do list for two months, give or take a few months. Do I think it's pretty sad it took me this long to get around to writing one? Absolutely. However, I swear I have good reason!

From December through March, I was assisting with my high school alma mater's spring musical. I acted as the rehearsal accompanist/assistant music director/pit coordinator for Lake Catholic High School's production of "Anything Goes." Be prepared for a blog post all about this amazing experience. In the meantime, allow me to say this: I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to work with an amazing group of students and some of the best teachers in the world. There are very few words that can truly express what the experience meant to me. Allow me to say this as well: Boy did it take up a ton of my time! This makes up a very large chunk of the explanation for my absence.

In addition, I have been taking courses at Lakeland Community College. For fun. Oh yeah. This deserves its own blog post, so I will not expound too much here.

I have been lucky enough to road trip to visit Notre Dame, Ohio State, Capital University, and the University of Dayton over the past few weeks. It has been wonderful to see my dear friends (and make a few new ones!), especially those who do not live nearby.

As I finish the last few weeks of classes, close a few doors, and open a whole bunch more, I have one true goal in mind: get back to Notre Dame! It is within my grasp and I am beyond excited. I cannot wait to write a blog post thanking all those who were with me on this journey--it may be the longest one yet!

In the meantime, I will provide you with an eclectic mixture of posts with topics ranging from the light-hearted to the extra-serious.

Pass it on, friends: "She's baaaaaackkkkk!" (Hooray for a terribly cheesy play on a terribly cheesy line from a terribly cheesy 'scary movie'!)

Words Truly,


Thursday, February 14, 2013

OCD: Exposure Therapy and ACT (Part 4 of a 5 part series)

Dear Friends,

It has been a while! Since starting my 14.0 credit hour load at Lakeland, nightly musical rehearsals, maintaining my Etsy business, volunteering, and attempting to have something of a social life, I haven't been keeping up with my blogging. However, I am back, and with some good stuff, too! 

In this post, I will continue my series on OCD and this time I will discuss something a little more current: treatment. As I have explained in previous blog posts, I came home from Notre Dame on medical leave after a few weeks of experiencing terrible panic attacks, depression, and particularly poignant OCD thoughts. The main reason I came home was not to run from the problem, but to address it. Prior to college, I had received some therapy in addition to taking medication. The bulk of this therapy was focused on what is known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT. CBT is defined by Wikipedia as "a psychotherapeutic approach that addresses dysfunctional emotions, maladaptive behaviors, and cognitive processes and contents through a number of goal-oriented, explicit, systematic procedures." CBT is essentially the process of attempting to change one's thoughts and behaviors. The therapy I received prior to college was of little to no help, for a variety of reasons. I was not open enough about the specifics of the intrusive thoughts and anxiety I was experiencing. Instead of saying, "I have intrusive thoughts that I might be gay" or "I experience anxiety due to an obsessive thought about possibly being gay," I skated around the issue, saying something like, "I have intrusive thoughts that really bother me about stuff..." I essentially led my therapist to believe that I was dealing with very general forms of anxiety, when in reality I was being tormented by specific, phobic fears that occupied every waking thought to float through my mind. 

After my first year at Notre Dame, I had made a great deal of progress. I began to engage in more research about my specific issues, learning I was most certainly Obsessive-Compulsive in addition to dealing with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I began working with a therapist at Notre Dame to overcome the constant occupation with these thoughts. He introduced me to a book entitled "Getting Over OCD: A 10-Step Workbook for Taking Back Your Life." 

This book was incredibly eye-opening. It introduced me to a very new form of therapy that is most used to treat Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy. Exposure Therapy is based on a very simple concept: facing one's fears. Exposure helps you to habituate to your fears. First, you build a hierarchy, or a list of events that trigger your fear. These are listed in order of least-anxiety-provoking to most-anxiety-provoking. You begin at the bottom of the list and exposure yourself to that fear. You simultaneously track your anxiety on an arbitrary scale known as "SUDS," or Subjective Units of Discomfort Scale. You will notice that as time passes, your SUDS will begin to decrease as your anxiety decreases. You begin to habituate to the feared subject. Each time you engage in exposure to the feared subject, the anxiety will not spike as high as the previous time. Eventually, the hierarchy item no longer provokes anxiety, and you can move up on your hierarchy. The photo below gives an example of a graph used to track SUDS during exposure.

An example of exposure: If I was terrified of spiders, I would initially sit in my room with a spider in a cage in the room next door. When this no longer caused me anxiety, I would sit in the same room as the spider in the cage. Then, I would move next to the spider in the cage. Finally, I would pick the spider up in my hands. Throughout this process, I will habituate to the anxiety caused by the spider and no longer respond with this anxiety. 

The second part of exposure therapy is known as "response prevention." When dealing with OCD, the sufferer creates compulsions, or ways to lower the anxiety caused by the obsessions. In order to effectively engage in exposure therapy, the participant must refrain from engaging in any compulsions to lower the anxiety. The anxiety must be allowed to lower on its own, without any assistance from the sufferer and his or her mind. Response prevention is the process of breaking the compulsions or refraining from partaking in them during exposure therapy. The end result will be habituation to anxiety caused by the obsessions and the loss of subsequent compulsions.

Exposure is grueling work, but boy is the payoff amazing. I partook in some exposure at Notre Dame, but I found it was easy to push to the wayside in favor of homework and extracurricular activities. Exposure requires many hours of time, and as I was faced with the decision of healing, I realized this was something I would need to do at home, away from school, stress, and a lack of time. Upon arriving home, I began an intensive therapy program with my current doctor (who is absolutely PHENOMENAL!) and attended therapy three days a week for 90 minutes each, with one to two hours of homework each night. We set up a strict exposure program involving some pretty bizarre stuff, to an outsider. To combat my HOCD, or fear of being gay, I read literature about homosexuality, looked at pictures of attractive women, and made a recording of myself reading a script about the possibility of being gay, all in order to lower the anxiety caused by specific triggers. To combat my fear of harming myself, I even had to sit next to a sharp knife in my room and listen to a script I recorded in which I described the process of harming myself. This made for some amusing conversations in the family, as I finished dinner, picked up my knife, and proceeded to walk away, saying, "Time to expose!" You may ask, "Isn't that dangerous? Aren't you afraid you will hurt yourself?" The beauty of exposure therapy is that though some of the techniques seem like they could be dangerous, those with OCD do not intend to follow through with or partake in the obsessive thoughts that come their way. 

In all, my exposure therapy sessions were successful, and my SUDS charts proved as much. My anxiety would increase and decrease, forming a perfect bell curve that became smaller and smaller with each exposure. 

Exposure therapy is not the only form of therapy used to treat my OCD, panic attacks, and depression. An additional form of therapy my doctors introduced to me is known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or ACT. ACT has, in my humble opinion, changed my life, and changed it for the better. Previously in this blog post, I discussed CBT, which is based on the concept of changing your thoughts and behaviors intentionally. ACT is quite the opposite. The basis of ACT is that by fighting your thoughts and attempting to change them, block them out, and get rid of them, one only perpetuates the intrusive thoughts, and thus the suffering involved. Instead of engaging in a constant battle with OCD, anxiety, depression, and other difficulties, one accepts the thoughts, fears, worries, and feelings experienced and commits to the things one values most in their life. I could write 20 blog posts about ACT, but I won't, so I encourage you to do some looking into this form of therapy if you or someone you know is currently struggling with a mental disorder or just a very tricky problem. When one finally gives up the battle, paradoxically, the battle is won.

I would like to share one last tidbit about my treatment, because I think it is hilarious! During the first week of treatment, my doctor asked me to describe what my OCD looked like and to draw a picture of it. I did my best (yes, it was a stick figure), and presented it to him. He then asked me to give a name to my OCD. I looked at him like he was crazy--ironic, I know, since I was the patient in the shrink's office. He ordered me to stop referring to my OCD as "My OCD" and give it a proper name. After many "Ums" and "Wells," I had a stroke of genius. I recalled a particularly scary animated character from my childhood: Heffalumps and Woozles, the creepy elephant-like creatures in Winnie the Pooh. From then on, my OCD became known as "Mr. Heffalump." 

Tell me these aren't terrifying!

The idea behind this naming of Mr. Heffalump was to separate him from me. I had essentially made OCD a piece of me, Maggie Skoch, by constantly referring to it and visualizing it as "my OCD." Though it seemed incredibly ridiculous at the start, renaming my OCD to Mr. Heffalump did wonders to remove the association between this disorder and my self. 

So there you have it folks: a peek into the treatment of an OCD-sufferer. I encourage you to ask me any questions you may have--this can be some pretty confusing stuff! Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!

Words Truly,


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

OCD: Giving the Academy a Rain Check (Part 3 of a 5 part series)

Dear Friends,

It has been a while since I touched my OCD Blog Series and I figured it was time to get back on the wagon and hash out this third part. Part three of this series will be about how OCD has affected my life and the lives of those around me, both positively and negatively, in the past, present, and future.

Let me start with the most recent and obvious effects of my struggles with OCD. One of my favorite songs right now is "It's Time" by Imagine Dragons. Take a listen here:

The opening lyrics read as follows: "So this is what you mean when you said that you were spent. And now it's time to build from the bottom of the pit right to the top. Don't hold back. Packing my bags and giving the academy a rain check." The first time I heard this song, I couldn't help but laugh and relate it to my life. I'm not one of those girls who says every Taylor Swift song is about her life or whoever the popular lyric-relater is these days, but I had to draw the comparison here. OCD literally led me to pack my bags and give my academy a rain check. As I have stated in a few of my blog posts, I essentially had a breakdown when I returned to Notre Dame as a result of my OCD. The most immediate, recent, and painful of OCD's wide-reaching affects has been the fact that I have had to leave my beloved Notre Dame, albeit temporarily, in order to learn how to overcome and live with OCD. 

OCD made times of my life abnormal, difficult, or uncomfortable as a result of the symptoms. I would not say that OCD made my life Hell, but it certainly made times of it feel Hellish. I was constantly on guard, trying to avoid anything that would spike the intrusive thoughts and accompanying anxiety. I struggled to focus on even simple tasks, such as doing homework or spending time with friends. I often collapsed in tears after an exhausting day of trying to hold myself together. OCD made the simplest things a struggle.

OCD has not only affected me, but those closest to me. My amazing parents and siblings have really carried me through this trying time. However, I know it took its toll on them. During my last night at Notre Dame, I called my parents crying while they were at a wedding. My mom, who I have seen cry maybe three times in my life, broke down into tears, as did my Grandma. They were paining with me. As we drove away from Notre Dame the next day, there was not a dry eye in the car. My dad, a brilliant fellow who always tries to find a reason for everything, initially blamed himself for my struggles. He kept questioning what caused my OCD... "Maybe it was the fact that I didn't always let you win as a child or my genetics or the way I raised you that caused this..." I know I scared my beautiful friends too, who could not have been more amazing throughout this entire experience. They continue to be amazing, asking how I am, rescuing me when I get cabin fever from being home, and being true companions. As far as personal relationships go, OCD put pressure on them, but that pressure stemmed from love, and that is a far greater thing than any negative OCD could create in my life. 

OCD has brought about many positive effects as well. It has strengthened my faith incredibly. I have felt that barren emptiness in my soul where there was nothing left but room for God to bring me back to life. I was mad at God for a while, and sometimes still question His plan, but I have begun to grasp what the word 'trust' really means. Whether I like it or not, OCD influences my study habits and organizational habits. I would not say OCD is the cause of my success in school or the reason I like organizing things, but I cannot pretend that it hasn't played a role in either of these things. Finally, I believe the most important thing OCD has revealed to me is my pride. When I was struggling with OCD, I thought I could deal with it on my own. I had a hard time accepting what I learned in therapy, because I believed I shouldn't need anything but my own willpower to overcome OCD. I knew that was irrational--it was my pride talking. C.S. Lewis calls "pride" the greatest of all sins, saying "It was through Pride that the devil became the devil. Pride leads to every other vice; it is the complete anti-God state of mind. As long as you are proud, you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people, and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you." Wow, C.S. Lewis, you rock my world! Pride was keeping me from true healing, both mentally and spiritually. I am by no means your perfect slice of humble pie now, but I have recognized my pride, and I am working on it.

OCD is kind of like an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend; you kind of hate them, but you can't deny they taught you something.

Words Truly,


Monday, January 7, 2013

Here Come the Irish

Dear Friends,

Today is the day. The day no one thought was possible. Even Notre Dame fans silently scoffed at the idea that we would play for a National Championship after last year's season (and, frankly, the last 24-ish seasons). But here it is, despite the doubts, the ridicule, and the never-ending commentaries arguing for Notre Dame to be deemed irrelevant in college football. The Fighting Irish are playing in the National Championship. The Fighting Irish are uNDefeated. The Fighting Irish have arrived.

And yet, despite the undefeated season and #1 ranking, the doubts and ridicule remain. Notre Dame is going to get crushed. Notre Dame should be 9-4. Notre who? Notre Dame has no chance in this game. Well, my friends, as a dear ESPN analyst stated yesterday, Oregon has no chance in this game. Kansas State has no chance in this game. Heisman-winning Manziel has no chance in this game. Notre Dame does have a chance in this game. They are playing for a National Championship and they fought to be here, whether you like it or not.

Notre Dame is a team you either love or you hate. I rarely find anyone who falls in middle ground. Lately, I have been hearing a lot of complaints about people jumping on the Notre Dame bandwagon. First, I must defend our "Subway Alumni," those devout fans who have loved Notre Dame all their lives but have not attended the University. They do not deserve to be called bandwagon jumpers simply because they attended college elsewhere. Our following is much greater than many people realize. For those who have jumped the bandwagon and will place Judas' kiss on Notre Dame's cheek if we lose tonight, I hope you at least respect what our football program has accomplished this year. I tend to want to appreciate the support while we have it, as it is truly well-deserved.

Do not count the Irish out tonight. They are going to play their hearts out and I simply hope and pray for a spectacular game (okay, and an Irish win). However,no matter what happens tonight, the true Notre Dame fans will "love thee Notre Dame" until the day they die.

In honor of tonight's National Championship, I have searched Etsy for Notre Dame-related creations and have listed some below. Without further ado, GO IRISH!

I dream of an Irish victory...

An awesome vinyl decal!
If anyone was wondering what colors I want my wedding to be... (or kelly green :D)
I adore the fact that these exist. 

A beautiful print!

So incredibly creative and beautifully made!

Go Irish.

Words Truly,


Friday, January 4, 2013

What's a Downton?

Dear Friends,

I am proud to say my Mom and I discovered the gem that is the BBC series "Downton Abbey" before it became all the rage that it is now. For those of you who have never watched Downton Abbey, I highly recommend it. I often describe it as an intelligent soap opera set in the early 1900s. It contains all the drama, humor, and wittiness that anyone could ask for.

Downton Abbey provides insight into the "upstairs, downstairs" relationship between the wealthy homeowners and their employees, who work 'downstairs.' Maggie Smith plays the the brilliant Dowager Countess, Lady Grantham. Her privilege shows in this favorite clip from the show:

I decided it would be fun to make a play on this hilarious one-liner from Maggie Smith on a t-shirt in my Etsy shop. When Downton Abbey became a hit, many people were asking the question: "What is Downtown Abbey?" So if you love this show, you will understand my t-shirt in my Etsy shop, shown here!

Check out the premiere this Sunday on PBS!!

Words Truly,