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

Forgiving the unforgivable: A conversation with Dawn Eden

For many of you, Dawn Eden needs no introduction. She’s a popular blogger, a former rock journalist, Catholic convert, and author of the bestselling book The Thrill of the Chaste. I recently had the honor of interviewing her for the National Catholic Register, where she spoke for the first time publicly about her own experience as a victim of childhood sexual abuse. When I talked with her for that interview, I was overwhelmed by the amount of wisdom Dawn has gained on the subjects of healing and forgiveness. It was immediately clear that there... Read More

How to keep the internet from driving you crazy

Image from xkcd.com There’s been a fair amount of smack directed my way on the ol’ internet lately. For those of you who haven’t been following the fun over at my Register blog, there was was this, then this, and this, and this, and this. I could list a bunch more examples, but you get the idea. Between all the posts, their comments, and the comments to some of my posts, I’ve read at least 1,000 nasty remarks directed at me in the past month alone. A friend of mine recently marveled that I don’t seem bothered by it.... Read More

Explore your doubts, but do so in peace

I hear from a lot of people who fear they’re losing their faith. They’ve had some doubts come to mind that they just can’t seem to get past, and they’re rattled to the core to think that their entire belief system just might be false. Since I’ve spent so much time in the spiritual desert, this is a topic near and dear to my heart. I’ve spent a long time thinking and praying about how to respond to people in this difficult situation, and thought I would share my answer, which has two key parts, in case it’s... Read More

Fancy meeting you here!

A priest friend of a friend once commented, “I could be a saint if it weren’t for the people!” I feel that way all the time. I’m so easily annoyed; it’s probably my worst personality defect. I’m like a grouchy old lady waiting to happen: just give me a cane and a rocker, and I’ll happily sit out on my front porch all day and complain about celebrities and politicians while shaking my fist at merrymaking neighbors. My irritation is almost never with people I know well; I usually transform into a person with... Read More

Of cat ownership and “little” sins

My post from Monday reminded me of a story that’s been in my “to write about” stack for more than a year, yet another lesson along the lines of “be very careful about not being loving at all times…” Longtime readers may remember that a couple years ago I had some serious angst about the neighborhood kids frequently ringing my doorbell and running. The problem was that they tended to do it during my kids’ naptimes, and the fact that they would beat the door a couple times and hit the doorbell about five times... Read More

Choosing patience

When we found out that all our paperwork was approved and we’d be hosting a Kidsave child this summer, one of the first things I thought was that I was going to have to work on patience. I had always thought of myself as a fairly patient mom, especially considering my circumstances with four kids under five, yet when I thought of how my daily behavior might seem to a child who didn’t know me well — who may have even experienced abuse* — I realized that things were going to have to change. At least a couple times a week the... Read More

The Saint Diet

This post is part of a series about re-thinking my relationship to food, which I call “The Saint Diet” to remind myself that the ultimate goal is deeper union with God. You can read all the posts on the subject here (scroll down to see them all). A couple weeks ago I was talking to my spiritual director about my slack prayer habits, and I happened to mention in passing how tired I am all the time. Interestingly, she wanted to focus more on addressing the tiredness situation than the specifics of the prayer issues, pointing out that... Read More

It’s easy to love people far away

Earlier this week, I had a falling out with a relative. We haven’t spoken since. I’ve been praying about this (though my prayers are admittedly along the lines of “DID YOU SEE THAT?! I am NOT going to apologize. I did not do ANYTHING wrong…”), and I keep getting this nagging feeling that I’m supposed to do something here, and it’s not whine about it more to my husband. As much as it galls me to admit it, I think I’m called to humble myself and re-initiate conversation, even though some pretty bizarre/rude/untrue... Read More

The story of a friendship

Remember the kids who were ringing my doorbell and running? They kept doing it. I talked to them about it again, as kindly and calmly as possible, and yet they kept at it, usually waking up my children and shattering my free time in the process. I’d been trying not to bring it up with their parents/guardians since I know that some of them have complicated situations at home, and I didn’t want to add any stress there. But a few weeks ago I’d exhausted all ability to be charitable, and I was just mad. In an example of how even a... Read More

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