The courage to rest

Praying the ancient Vespers prayers at sunset. That's the life.

A few years ago, I found myself in a state of being perpetually overwhelmed. I mean, I still feel that way a lot of the time now, but back then it was worse. There was more of a sense of hopelessness, a feeling that I was sinking and couldn’t figure out how to pull myself up. Nothing I did seemed to get us any closer to having a peaceful routine or a house that didn’t look like it was b-roll footage from Hoarders. I pondered and prayed and whined about the issue for months, then, finally, something clicked. I had an epiphany that would... Read More

Desert spirituality at two o’clock in the morning

Look at pretty much any culture that existed before the use of electricity, and you’ll see that they had deep superstitions about night. Throughout the ages, it’s been a nearly universal human belief that evil forces gained potency after the sun went down. Age-old evening prayers reflect fears of death: Now I lay me down to sleep / I pray the Lord my soul to keep / and if I die before I wake / I pray the Lord my soul to take. …And an awareness of evil: May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting... Read More

Six questions for conquering crazy-think and making good decisions

I don’t do suffering well. Some generous people said that they thought I handled the pulmonary embolism thing gracefully, but a) they would have retracted all of that and slowly backed away in fear if they could have heard my inner dialogue, and b) sitting in a quiet hospital room and listening to my iPod didn’t exactly make me St. Josephine Bakhita. Also, it’s usually the little trials that throw me for a loop more than the big ones: I can kind of go with the flow when major medical procedures go awry, but getting interrupted... Read More

A few other things I learned from my month o’ doom

I’m now entering week 10,000 of this pregnancy, with only 40,000 more days to go until the April due date! (I don’t have a calendar handy, so that’s just a guesstimate.) Also, I just found out that I’m seriously anemic, which will help me fill out my “Blood-Related Issues that Make You Feel Like You’re Dying” punchcard. I thought I’d take a break from my big afternoon plans of staring at a wall (and occasionally yelling utterly empty threats to the kids about what will happen if I have to get off this... Read More

Christmas, sorrow, and a song

I’ve been meaning to ask this for two years, but have never gotten around to it. Now seems to be as good of a time as any: Can anyone tell me what this song is? (If you can’t see the player, here is a link to the recording.) During Advent of 2010 I had EWTN on the TV in the background as I did some Christmas decorating (read: I was probably surfing the web while the kids dug through ornament boxes) and it played a live broadcast of a Mass that was, if I recall correctly, at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Whatever... Read More

Teach me how to love the Psalms!

I’ve mentioned before that I want to love the Psalms more than I actually love the Psalms. I can see that God has given us a treasure chest of Scriptural riches here, I know many folks who find these parts of the Bible to be an endless source of spiritual refreshment. But I always have trouble getting into them. (This is especially problematic when praying the Liturgy of the Hours, which is based on the Psalms.) I am well aware that the problem is with me, and not with the Holy Bible. I also suspect that this issue is related to my general... 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

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

The Our Father, Word by Word – a roundup of posts!

When I wrote the first post for this series back in March, I thought I’d have it wrapped up by the end of Lent. I would have never guessed that the final post wouldn’t be up until almost December! Keeping up with the project required more work than I expected, but it was so much fun. In particular, I loved hearing everyone else’s thoughts. The guest posters were constantly coming up with fresh insights I would have never thought of, leading me to see this prayer in a whole new light. And so, nine months, 40 posts and 26 contributors... Read More

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