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

OUR (The Our Father, Word by Word)

This, to me, is one of the most startling words of the Lord’s prayer. Maybe the most startling. I have a feeling that it wouldn’t be as remarkable to someone who came from a different cultural background, but I am an American and a Texan. I come from one of the most individualistic states in the most individualistic culture in the world. And even though I was an atheist in my youth, this cultural heritage deeply influenced my views about religion. The Christianity that I grew up around very much had a “Jesus and me” flavor... Read More

“He is not a means, and our joy is not the end”

6th-Century image of Christ from St. Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai A longtime topic of interest for me has been the concept of “spiritual dry spells,” when you can’t seem to feel God’s presence. I haven’t had a whole lot of emotional religious experiences, and when I was first in the conversion process, I had none. I felt like I was doing something wrong since so many other Christians seemed to have all these great, powerful experiences. I’ve read a lot on the topic, and probably the best analysis I’ve... 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

Where there’s help

A few months ago I was dropping some of my kids off at our parish’s Mother’s Day Out program, and a woman approached me in the hall. “I need help,” she said. I wasn’t sure what she meant. “The registration office is down that way,” I said, pointing to the Mother’s Day Out coordinator’s office. A gaggle of moms and toddlers walked between us, pausing our conversation, and I noticed that she looked tired. Her body language was tense. It dawned on me that when she’d said she needed help, she... Read More

Plan to love

A few months ago I attended a “How to be a More Loving Christian” seminar at our parish. (That’s not exactly what it was called, but that’s the basic gist of it.) It was a meal, followed by a talk, then some discussion. Before I got in line to get food from the buffet, I looked for a place to set down my purse and notepad to reserve seats for my husband and myself. I scanned the room. All the tables were over half full, except for one that had plenty of seats available. I started in that direction, but stopped when I saw... 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

Why my life is better since becoming open to life

“You guys aren’t really going to have any more after this one, right?” a few people have asked me privately. “We thought about having another, but the sleepless nights, the diapers, the pregnancy and birth — ugh! Aren’t you just so ready to be done with all that?” a neighbor asked at the playground last week. “I do not envy you,” a lady at the grocery store said solemnly as I passed by with a cart full of three kids under five and a hugely pregnant belly. Whenever people say things like this,... 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

Looking for the tow truck driver

Coming from atheism, the whole concept of there being a personal God who is somehow involved in all that we do was amazing…and intimidating…and confusing. As anyone who has read my 2007 archives knows, for many months I was fascinated with the concept of knowing exactly what God’s plans were for all the little details of my life. I looked everywhere for signs: did my invitation to a friend’s wedding get lost in the mail because I wasn’t supposed to go? Did my computer crash while writing for my blog because God didn’t... Read More

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