4 Steps for Starting Your Day the Right Way

You know what should be against the law? Having to deal with insomnia while you have a newborn. Last night I woke to feed the baby around 3:30 AM, and she went right back to sleep. I, however, did not. I would describe what went through my head as I lay awake glaring at the ceiling, but Simcha Fisher did it for me. That’s what it was like — complete with distress about rhubarb. Anyway, after a couple hours of the baby sleeping soundly while I engaged in the downward spiral of “I can’t sleep!” –> “I’m... Read More

4 ways to place yourself in the presence of God

As part of our year with St. Francis de Sales, I wanted to excerpt the section from Introduction to the Devout Life where he offers four practical tips for putting yourself in God’s presence. This is an extremely important first step of prayer, he explains, since all too often we pray as if God were off in the far distance somewhere. With Lent approaching, I thought this might be a ¬†good section to cover since many of us are thinking about how we can improve our prayer lives. (All the text below is directly quoted from the book.) ———- St.... Read More

Banish the spiders

For my first post for our year with Francis de Sales, I was drawn to a section at the beginning of Introduction to the Devout Life. Addressing the reader as Philothea, which refers to “a soul in love with God,” he discusses venial, i.e. “small” sins. We don’t need to freak out about relatively minor sins; if you snicker at an inappropriate joke on television, it’s not the end of the world. However. Francis points out that there is a danger in getting attached to these small sins. If we adopt an attitude of “Aw,... Read More

Anxiety is easier

Last week St. Francis de Sales and some bad programming at Google Maps led me to one of the biggest realizations I’ve had this year: that anxiety = not trusting God. For a long time I knew that stress about certain individual matters was due to a prideful insistence that I had the best plan for how this or that situation needed to turn out. But it has been quite stunning to realize that every single time I am anxious, it is due to a lack of trust in God. So, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve been trying to work on this by making a conscious... Read More

Anger, anxiety and trusting God

I never intended for controlling feelings of frustration and anger to be the theme of my prayers and writing for the past few weeks, but ever since the subject first came up I haven’t been able to avoid it. I didn’t realize how often I let my Irish temper get the best of me until I tried to work on it — and, boy, do I have a lot of work to do! But I had a major breakthrough this weekend that has brought me great peace that I thought I’d share in case anyone else finds it helpful: A couple weeks ago when I first started writing... Read More

Temper control

Abigail and I were recently corresponding about the subject of anger. I don’t know whether it’s my background as a spoiled only child or my Irish genes or my naturally selfish disposition, but I think that the majority of my day-to-day sins involve getting disproportionately angry and frustrated when things don’t go my way. For example: the other day I was in a desperate hurry to get out of the house, my two toddlers were fussy, the baby was crying, and I needed to print something before I could leave. I hit “Print”... Read More