Recommended reading for Lent

Ash Wednesday is just around the corner (March 9), so I wanted to share my suggestions for great Lenten reads, and get your suggestions as well. Also, based on some emails I’ve been getting with questions about Lent, I wanted to say: If you’re considering observing Lent but aren’t familiar with it, I strongly encourage you to go ahead and do so! If you’re not sure where to start, just give up some small thing that you like (e.g. listening to the radio on the way to work, sugar in your coffee, a certain TV show, etc.) and... Read More

What are some “baby steps” for celebrating Advent?

I hate to admit this, but I’ve come to associate Advent with EPIC FAIL. (And preparing the way for the glorious birth of Christ, of course. That and EPIC FAIL.) Every year for the past three years I’ve tried lead my family in some of the rich traditions that this beautiful part of the liturgical year offers. And every year I end up getting overwhelmed and giving up around the second Sunday, the Advent decorations peeking out from the clutter on our mantle now serving primarily as a reminder that I don’t have my act together. As... Read More

Breathing with the Body of Christ

As I mentioned the other day, until recently I didn’t understand what Advent was all about. Actually, I didn’t completely understand what Lent, Easter or Christmas were all about either. The significance of the different seasons of the liturgical year was one of the last things that I researched in my long road from atheism to Catholicism; I had so many other tough concepts to explore that figuring out why Catholics didn’t eat meat on Fridays was the least of my worries. But I went through the motions anyway. In 2006, before my... Read More

What child is this?

Every time I hear the song What Child is This?, I feel haunted. It started back in 2005, when I was still researching Christianity and not sure that I believed its claims. I’d be driving around, yapping into my cell phone, glaring at people who drove too slowly as I rushed to buy presents I should have bought weeks before, and then I’d catch sight of some nativity scene and all my racing thoughts would stop. For just a moment, I’d remember that I had a question to answer far bigger than what I should get my husband for Christmas. During... Read More

And to dust you shall return

We had a great time on Fat Tuesday. To do some feasting before the start of our first Lent as Catholics, my husband and I went to the the Darwins‘ house. When I first arrived I felt the wind pick up and looked to see some threatening clouds on the horizon, so I hurried to get inside before the rain started. We watched the Super Tuesday election results and talked some smack about politics with our friends as we enjoyed good food, good company and good wine in the warm glow of their home. In the midst of our merrymaking the window screens would... Read More

Celebrating Advent

As I mentioned, at the beginning of this month I found myself scrambling to celebrate Advent…which was especially challenging since I had no idea what Advent was (luckily my kind readers helped me out). I had to turn the page over on my already huge to-do list to now add “Get Advent wreath!”, then after thinking for a moment, “Figure out what Advent wreath is for” and, after more thought, “Figure out what Advent is for.” Though I sincerely wanted to know more about this season, I felt burdened by having... Read More

Scrambling to celebrate Advent

As I walked into our beautiful church yesterday, I heard glorious music waft through the building, noticed a lovely purple candle burning near the altar, and saw our priest in a rich purple robe. And in a moment of saint-like spiritual maturity, I thought: “OH CRAP, IT’S ADVENT!” In typical fashion, I really wanted to observe Advent this year but have done nothing about it. I don’t even know what it is. So, determined to finally incorporate this mysterious part of the liturgical year into our family traditions, I am going... Read More