The Post-CNMC Hangover

So you went to the Catholic New Media Conference in Boston. Had a good time?

I know you did. You made new friends, moved virtual friends into the Real Life column. You traveled, some of you, really far to get there, and then turned around two days later and traveled back home.

In between, you had tweet ups, and early calls, and rushing from one exciting session to the next. It was information overload!

We got pumped up for Christ! That’s what it’s about, of course. To arm us with tools for  evangelization, on the internet, yes, but really, in our lives. We leave the CNMC like any retreat: refreshed and on fire.

We look like this:

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 7.48.36 PM

And the truth is, we do leave renewed and ready to engage in the new evangelization.

But first, we have to get past this:

We’ve just started calling it the CNMC Hangover.

I think we should give a warning about this, but a little tiny part of me laughs and says: suck it up cupcake. It’ll pass quickly.

I promise.

Catholic New Media Conference 2013 Recap: Boston, redux!

CNMC logo

I always love the days that follow the CNMC, the Catholic New Media Celebration turned Conference now in its 7th event in six years!

Seven Six years! [edited: evidently I can’t count]

Impossible, and yet, here it is, or was. In other words, it’s over. Or a different way of looking at it, it’s beginning. You see, the CNMC has never been an end in itself but a springboard…to ideas…collaborations…relationships!

These first days home, as we unpack our bags are also an opportunity to unpack our feelings and thoughts about our experience. Social media is filled with reminiscences and jokes, lots of pictures, and banter with new friends.

I had an opportunity to present on blogging and engagement, and over the next few days will be posting my own response. But I thought it would be appropriate to provide a space to share those blog posts with the nice peeps who attended my session and said they’d stop by here.  So! Welcome! I invite you to share your blogs in the comments, and I’ll update the main entry. Maybe we’ll be able to gather a nice little collection 🙂

what do memes have to do with the CNMC?


Well, maybe not everything, but this silly photoshop, courtesy of Ashley Collins from Peter and Paul Ministries comes pretty darn close. It picks up the spirit of goofiness and making friends. This explains the Charlie’s Steve’s Angels theme we have going on.

You see, the CNMC really is a celebration. Oh sure, we’ve been moving toward a more professional conference, providing as much instruction and best practices sharing as we can pack into limited time with limited resources. We’ve managed to get some of the most amazing people in new media to come and play together under one roof. And what happens when these dynamic, faithful Catholics come together never ceases to amaze me.

What happens is akin to a lightning strike.

Collaborations begin.

Creativity flows.

Friendships are forged.

We connect as the Body of Christ, and the Body of Christ is a beautiful thing.

So when we kneel together in Adoration, sit together in Mass, celebrate the Eucharist as a community, send silly Tweets, post crazy Facebook statuses, pass notes send texts during presentations, and invade restaurants with huge parties, it’s because we get the point of the celebration — to get to know each other, not as virtual friends and collaborators, because we are that, but as brothers and sisters in Christ, working together to spread the message, His message, to all the corners of the earth.

Because when we know this Love, it’s impossible to keep it for ourselves.

photo by Cliff Ravenscraft

Read what others have to say about their experiences at the Catholic New Media Conference 2012. Add your Recap to ours!

7 Quickety Quicks! microwave edition

Check out the collection of other 7 Quick Takes Friday posts, hosted at Jennifer Fulwiler’s blog, Conversion Diary


I have so so much to do I’m going to whine and vent  a little here. I honestly can’t remember how long it’s been since I’ve felt pulled in so many directions. This is usually not good for me (ok, it’s probably not good for anybody) and if I let it go unchecked I’ll either check-out or freak-out, and neither will be productive. I’m going to take a little retreat today — scoot down to the monastery or the chapel for a little quiet time. How do you deal with this #firstworld problem?


I’m going to the CNMC this year in Dallas/Fort Worth! Are you going? Sign up! Quick! Registration is closing today so we can process all the new attendees. If you’re sitting on the fence, jump off and register! I promise you’ll have a great time. And no worries, we will take walk-up registrations on-site.


Had a nice little visit with Inge who popped in this week on her way to Dallas for the CNMC.


Enrollment has been a little out of control in a good way. Lots of students have been coming in because of some statewide changes that have impacted the kind of services they can receive at the universities. Overall, I think it’s a good thing for students needing learning support to go to a smaller institution, and it’s certainly a good thing for us, but man has this been a busy week. Nothing like speed-advising to make the day zoom by.


Last week I posted a link to Brandon Vogt’s website for information about Support a Catholic Speaker Month 2012.  Voting closed yesterday and if you go over there now you’ll see that he has updated the site with the Top 100. You’ll see our delightful host for Quick Takes, Jennifer Fulwiler, on that list! Check it out and sign up to feature one of those speakers on your blog. It’ll help spread the word about all the good news people like you and me are spreading about the Good News.


So my blood pressure has been a little out of whack for a few weeks. It has a lot to do with #1 and #4 above, and then there’s this:



and this:

So now I’m doing this:

and this:


I know there’s a lot of madness going on at this time of year. Many of you are either going back to school or sending your kids back to school. I know a whole bunch of you are actively involved in catechesis in your parishes. Every one of us, though, is certainly facing whatever challenges life throws our way. It’s a lot easier when we have one another for support, and even better when we know to whom we can always turn.

7 Quick Takes — The Plug a Website Edition

Check out the collection of other 7 Quick Takes Friday posts, hosted at Jennifer Fulwiler’s blog, Conversion Diary


Wow. I haven’t done this in so long that a) I feel incredibly guilty, and b) I kinda forgot what to do. I periodically become a blogging slacker. And then I snap out of it. Or something.


I’m getting excited about the CNMC this year in Dallas/Fort Worth! Are you going? Sign up! Quick!


Had two lunch dates with two delightful friends…and a crazy drive-by visit with another one. I’m going to call that a win in the hanging out with girlfriends column. And thank Momma Mary for her hand in all of it.


Since I’m posting pictures, let me share this one. I’ve been laughing an awful lot lately. Good, deep, loudly joyful laughs, and I like it. It’s the most fun I’ve had in a while, and it feels good. Don’t read anything depressing into it — I think I’ve just been so focused on things and carried around a serious frown of concentration that I’ve forgotten to just let go. As in, let go, and let God. That’s really been the greatest relief of all.


Brandon Vogt must really have more energy than the Energizer Bunny. Not that I’m comparing him to a bunny or anything, but just in case, he’d probably look cute in a big ole pink bunny costume and pull it off without having to punch anyone in the face.

Also, he’s going to be at the CNMC, and no doubt, a bazillion gazillion other things, too. And blogging. Better and more often than me. Anyway, he’s got a neat thing going on at his blog, encouraging all of us — ALL OF US — to go vote for our favorite Catholic speakers, and then write a blog post about one of them.

It’s a great idea — please go read more about it here and then participate!


I’m super excited to be running a special series about Learning Support redesign initiatives at my college (and in the technical college system in Georgia) for Pearson Higher Education. The first installment popped up this week —  a little early, but that’s OK. So here’s a shameless plug for that!


Finally, I thought I’d share just one more picture. It’s my stapler. No, it’s not a red one. It’s a very serviceable charcoal gray stapler that lies flat or straight up, depending on what you like — quite useful on those days when I have a lot of stapling to do. You should know, if you ever aspire to be a college professor, that some days have a lot of stapling.

I’ve had this particular stapler for a few years. Or maybe not — who really keeps track of their office supplies, you know? I’ve had it a long time. That’s good enough.

Anyway, I just now read what’s on the stapler. It says it’s antimicrobial.


Who has a need for an antimicrobial stapler? And what does that mean? Is my little bottle of antibacterial lotion not enough?

So. Many. Questions.

friends, Romans (of the Catholic kind), countrymen!

Another Catholic New Media Celebration Conference Celebration wraps up. It leaves me sad in a way, subdued, after the anxiety that leads up to it and that point when a wave of relief washes over us when we realize, okay, this is gonna work.

It’s always a surprise that we manage to pull this off , not because we can’t, because of course, we can’t — it’s the Holy Spirit, but because we always hit that wall of insecurity when doubt plagues us, when we wonder if what we’re doing is valuable, if we’re providing a real opportunity for instruction or growth or support.

We fear that we may be poor stewards of the donations that just barely keep us afloat as an organization if we don’t break even. We fear that we may fail to communicate effectively. We fear, quite frankly, that we’ll flop, and that failure, while a blow to our collectives egos, means a much greater failure in our mission to lead others to Christ. We are, after all, following that star on our logo, too!

So it goes that year after year we hit that wall of angst and realize that the momentum is out of our hands. We can’t stop the world and get off.

And we are afraid.

That fear hits us at a corporate level, but all of us on the board of directors are producers, too. We have podcasts and blogs. We have our own insecurities. We have dreams. We have technical issues, and writer’s block, and looming deadlines, and a million distractions, whether we are pursuing careers in new media or working in other fields and scrambling for the time to dedicate to this creative endeavor.

And then it happens…everybody starts arriving. We re-connect with our friends. We recognize faces from avatars, and G+ hang-outs, and Facebook photos. We are torn between staying at one table where we are engaged in a great conversation, and wanting to meet someone across the room that we’ve admired. There is laughter, and hugs, and did I say laughter? We finally relax.

The resounding message from this year’s CNMC is “Be not afraid.” It was not by design, but perhaps, it was by a greater design. At any rate, the fear of corporate failure going into the CMNC was quickly abated and replaced by the personal fear of failure — for me…as a writer and a small voice in this huge endeavor of the new evangelization.

I looked through various passages from scripture to find references to fear and seek consolation and I finally settled on Isaiah:

10 fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

Perhaps it is our human frailty to be afraid and feel alone. And yet, we are not alone as Isaiah points out. Each one of those phrases comforts. I am with you….I will strengthen you….I will help you.

I don’t have to do this alone.

As always, it’s the relationships that pull me into the CNMC. The spark of recognition when a name connects during registration — the spontaneous joy of a hug — saving seats at sessions — sharing meals — laughing together — praying together — being silent together — being present.

All of these things buoy me. They refresh me. They show me, in a very real and personal way that the work we do here is in communion. Because our God is a God of love, and we cannot take this love and keep it for ourselves but share its abundance with each other.

Where He consoles us with His presence, we follow His example and become present to others.

Where He strengthens us, we become an extension and a network for others.

Where He helps us, we extend our hands not just in collaboration but in friendship.

It’s why we do this. And why I picked such a silly picture to accompany this rambling post. It’s really not so silly — if you look closely, you’ll see three women from three distant geographical locations who might never have met had it not been for Catholic new media and previous CNMCs, and I couldn’t ask for a better, stronger, more loving beacon in this new evangelization than these women.

Here’s hoping that this year’s celebration has helped foster new relationships, both professional and personal. I know it continues to bless me.