Daily Spirituality

A few thoughts on my birthday

Today is my birthday. I turn 36. Not only have I now passed the halfway point of my thirties, but it’s a brand new year, I just had a brush with a medical condition that is often fatal, and my whole life has been turned upside down by my recovery. So, as you can see, I have no choice but to write a long and reflective blog post that opines about the meaning of life today. It’s a lot of pressure, really. I was lying in bed yesterday, mentally writing my post about all the Important Things I’ve taken away from this situation, and... Read More

The secret of a domestic monastery

The kids running around Mt. Angel Abbey For years I’ve been fascinated with the idea of creating a “domestic monastery.” To me, that concept evoked a home that’s orderly and prayerful, a haven where you could go to retreat from the stress of the world. Something deep within me yearned for this kind of life — and, even though it might sound impossible to the modern mind, my gut told me that this concept is attainable. Especially after I started thinking about hard stops and balance and sacrifice, I became more convinced... Read More

“Domestic monastery” or “annoying introvert”? – it’s a fine line

An old friend got in touch with us recently, and his experience was proof that trying to contact one of the Fulwilers by telephone often yields different results than you would expect it to. Below is a transcript of our friend Sandeep’s experience with this endeavor. Before you read it, there are three things you need to know: 1) As part of his never-ending quest to thwart The Man, Joe is constantly switching to new, cheaper cell phone plans, which always involves changing his mobile number. 2) He recently switched our home service as well... Read More

Museum life

Back in July of 2006 I wrote a post marveling at a family friend who always managed to be cheerful and loving, even though she worked five times as hard as I did and had significant problems in her life. I didn’t have a take in the post; I just relayed the story, and promised at the end that I would write a Part 2 with further thoughts. I have never forgotten that I didn’t write that second post. By Grabthar’s Hammer, when I say that I will write a follow-up to a post, I SHALL DO IT! …Sometimes it just takes me six years... Read More

My (very late) word for the year

I didn’t choose a “word of the year” this year. The New Year happened to coincide a particularly low point in the book process, even by doomed project standards, and I scrapped the whole word choosing process when the only options I could come up with were: Futility Despair Floccinaucinihilipilification Then last Tuesday I found myself at daily Mass, and I think I got my word. My husband had kindly arranged to take a day off of work so that I could get some time to recuperate after a month that has so far been insane on a lot... Read More

Five bags for Alicia

Last Monday I did a major closet cleanout. It came about in the way all of my big household projects come about: I noticed that there was a problem, muttered something along the lines of I should do something about this at some point, promptly forgot about it, and ignored the situation until it got to the point of ruining my life. On Monday morning I was looking for a t-shirt and my arm got stuck in a jumbled of clothes, and only became more entrenched the more I struggled. I momentarily thought that my closet had become a malevolent organism that... Read More

Rock the present moment

One of the topics I’ve struggled with since the beginning of my conversion is the role of ambition in the Christian life. I have an odd personality type that could be described as “mostly extremely lazy, with occasional flashes of Type A behavior.” In other words, by default I sit on the couch and do nothing; but when I do decide to get up from the couch, I make it worth my while. I think this is why the concept of being ambitious is a tricky one for me: It’s easy for me to be tempted to do nothing and call it virtue, passing... Read More

An offering

Saturday morning got off to a grim start. As soon as I stepped into the girls’ bedroom, my sense of smell told me that my day just took a turn for the worst. Sure enough, my two-year-old had had an accident before she got out of bed. Though it was nothing close to the wrath of the poop fates, there was still quite a mess to clean up. I am not a morning person to begin with, so dealing with human waste before eight o’clock in the morning is pretty much my idea of hell. The girls were unphased by the biohazard, and happily made their way... Read More

What kneeling on a department store floor taught me about gratitude

As regular readers know, I am a gratitude ignoramus. This concept that flows so easily through the lives of others never fails to leave me confounded; I stand around scratching my head and analyzing what it means to count your blessings, while other people are actually counting their blessings. Ann Voskamp (whose blog I’m pretty sure the Bible specifically commands us to read) was the first person to get me thinking about this concept. I would read through her 1,000 Gifts posts and feel the Holy Spirit pouring through my computer screen,... Read More

A Hallmark card for God

It was Yaya‘s birthday a couple of weeks ago, and when the time came to write up a card, I froze. How could I possibly express my appreciation for all that she does for us? This was when I was bad-busy, when I’d gotten myself in over my head with so many commitments that I considered the day a success if I remembered to feed the kids lunch. So finding the right words to tell her what I wanted her to know for her birthday seemed impossible. I went down to the store, and headed for the greeting card section. I felt immediate relief as... Read More

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