More about Me


I am a writer…

I’ve been a writer all my life, scribbling in diaries and notebooks throughout childhood and high school, then studying English at the University of Notre Dame and journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. I am a former managing editor of Outside Magazine and of Rand McNally’s editorial division (books and atlases), and I’ve done a lot of freelance writing for magazines and newspapers. I write really long letters and sometimes emails, to the chagrin of my recipients!

I am a wife and mother…

I could never have pursued my passions in Honduras without the wild support of my family. My husband, who holds down the home fort for me during my mission weeks, does his own mission trips in Central America, including Honduras, for general surgery, though never (yet) to Sister Maria Rosa’s mission. Someday we’ll go together! Our older son and daughter have come to Honduras with me on parish youth and young adult trips; they’re both brilliant at communicating and playing with the Honduran kids and making them feel loved. Our youngest daughter is adopted from Guatemala and will come to Honduras with me soon. I believe her adoption and our wonderful experiences in her home country of Guatemala really opened me up to fall in love with Latin culture, language, music, and faith. Plus reggaeton music, Salva Vida beverages, salted mangoes, and so much more, including the uniquely Latin devotion to the Virgin Mary.

edIMG_1137 2

I am a mission trip leader…

I first traveled to Honduras, a small Central American country the size of the state of Louisiana, in 2008 on a mission trip with my Indianapolis parish, Immaculate Heart of Mary. I thought this trip would be just a one-time eye-opener to poverty and social injustice the Third World. Fourteen years. Almost 30 trips later, I feel as if I have two families–one here in Indiana and another very large one in Honduras. I’ve been back to Honduras one, two, sometimes four times a year since that first trip, eventually becoming a leader for adults, teens, and young-adult trips. Our mission weeks center on construction and maintenance of the children’s homes at SAN; parties and events with the kids; providing backpacks, school uniforms, and school supplies; and conducting food brigades to nearby rural villages. I also serve on the board of Friends of Honduran Children Indiana, a 501c3 that administers child sponsorships and scholarships for SAN, among other support. 

I am a musician…

Music takes up much of my time, too. I play guitar, banjo, bodhrán (Irish drum), and I tinker with mandolin. I play in a band (The Crooked Finger Rhythm Revue), sing Alto with the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, and sing and play music at my church on Sundays. I’ve loved being part of thousands-strong virtual choirs during COVID and have lately written some songs that are not entirely cringeworthy! Many of my musician friends are on my Honduras mission teams, and we enjoy epic jams at night…


I care about avoiding “toxic charity”…

It took me about 10 years to research and write my two books about Sister Maria Rosa. I could probably write ten books about all she taught me about how to treat the poor, not by giving them a lot of material donations or trying to “fix” them, but by accompanying them and loving them in their daily lives. While I know that “toxic charity” does happen in short-term mission travel (even my own groups over the years), I am so grateful for Sister Maria Rosa’s example and her counsel to raise up the poor with the dignity of work and to honor them as human beings worthy of health, safety, respect, care, and love. She asked us to stand with instead of for the poor and that makes all the difference.

21 Random Facts About Me

  • I grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Crossroads of America

  • I've lived in Chicago, Santa Fe, Toronto, and Innsbruck, Austria

  • My three children were born in three different countries: United States, Canada, and Guatemala

  • I studied English at Notre Dame and did my Master's of Science in Journalism at Medill/Northwestern University

  • I play banjo, bodhrán, guitar, and mandolin in a band called the Crooked Finger Rhythm Revue

  • I am married to my college sweetheart

  • My graduating class at Notre Dame has one of the losing-est records in ND football history (3 years of Gerry Faust and Lou Holtz's only losing year)

  • My homemade popcorn is like crack

  • If I could live anywhere it would be in a high desert climate, like the American Southwest or Chile, OR along the Mediterranean in Greece or Italy's Cinque Terre

  • I sing Alto 2 in the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir

  • Hiking and whitewater rafting make me really, really happy

  • I make a yummy strawberry shortcake trifle in the summer and raspberry gingerbread trifle in winter

  • While studying abroad, I found the house outside Sparta, Greece, where my great-grandmother was born

  • My favorite book is The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse, by Louise Erdrich

  • I love science fiction. I am a complete nerd about Star Trek, Harry Potter, Twilight, The Walking Dead, and anything from the Marvel Cinematic Universe

  • Christmas lights are my very favorite thing in the world

  • I bought my dream guitar--a white maple Martin M-36--in my early 30s

  • I got to sing at Carnegie Hall with my choir a few years ago

  • I ran my only half-marathon in 2:02 at age 40. Ten years later, I had two hip replacements!

  • My birthday puts me astrologically on the cusp of Aquarius and Pisces, a good watery, artsy, friendly mix

  • My favorite Sirius Satellite radio stations are Coffeehouse and Classic Rewind