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Join me for a weekend retreat at Pyramid Life Center

If you’re within driving distance of New York’s Capital Region and/or the lower Adirondacks, you are within retreat range! There are still a few more spots open for my weekend retreat, Stillpoint: Creating Calm amid Life’s Chaos, which will be held at Pyramid Life Center in Paradox, N.Y., Sept. 8-10, 2017. This all-inclusive spiritual getaway is designed to help you nourish yourself — body, mind, and spirit. You can do as much or as little as you want. I’ll provide the program; Pyramid will provide the spectacular setting. (The photo on the left was taken during the same September weekend two years ago, so, if we’re in luck, you’ll see the same riot of colors along the shoreline.)

Here are some highlights:

  • Silence in the early morning through breakfast.
  • Mindfulness practice with your morning meals
  • Several spiritual talks…on the cravings that get in the way of our relationship with God, on weaving prayer into everyday life, on spiritual friendship, on embracing our own brokenness and learning to love ourselves as God loves us.
  • Collage as prayer
  • Opportunities to pray together and apart in different formats
  • Poetry, music, journaling, nature, creativity
  • Disconnecting from email, texting, social media
  • Opportunities to hike, kayak, nap, or do whatever it is you need most

The cost is $150 for the entire weekend, including the program, accommodations, meals and activities. Pyramid is a rustic retreat center, with a lovely lodge with two big screened porches, a big dining hall, a log cabin chapel, a small meditation house on the lake, a “tree house” looking out over the lake and lots of nooks and crannies for stealing some quiet time.

The weekend begins at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8, with dinner at 6 p.m. and our first introductory session at 7:30 p.m. The retreat concludes with lunch on Sunday, Sept. 10, although you are welcome to stay on the premises until 2 p.m. As of this writing, it looks like we’ll have our own priest on hand to celebrate Mass for us on Saturday evening or Sunday morning, which is a wonderful bonus.

To register, click HERE and sign up through Pyramid’s online form. Once we have our final group, I’ll send out an email with some additional info, but just to give you some ideas… Plan to bring a journal, scissors, a glue stick, some old magazines (3 should be plenty). If you’re a photographer, bring your camera (or your phone in airplane mode) and use it as a way to pray visually. If you draw, bring a sketch pad. Whatever gives you peace and helps you connect with God. We’ll talk more about it in the days ahead. I can’t wait to see you there.

Miscarriage: love and loss 19 years later

My annual tribute to the baby I lost, the baby I call Grace:

For the past few days I’ve been looking at the numbers on the calendar, growing more and more introspective as we inched closer to August 6. It was 19 years ago today that I learned the baby I was carrying, my second baby, had died 11 weeks into my pregnancy. Read more

Sometimes children know best

Dennis and I were sitting around the kitchen table one morning talking with our son, Noah, who is home from college for the summer and working full time for the Diocese of Albany. Although he lives away more than he lives at home these days, when he does return for visits or extended stays, Dennis and I tend to revert to the parenting mode we favored when he was younger. Read more

First World problems and simple pleasures

About one week ago, our dishwasher died. Well, it didn’t die completely; it just shut down mid-cycle no matter how many times we tried to make it work. And, boy, did we try. We spent a ridiculous amount of time running the normal cycle, hearing the telltale ding of an error and then re-running cycles — sometimes four or five in a row — in an effort to get the dishes clean, if not dry. Finally, we surrendered, accepting the fact that for the foreseeable future we had no dishwasher, thanks to a dearth of appointments with our warranty company. And so, this weekend, Dennis headed to the store to buy a drain rack so we could start doing dishes the old-fashioned way. Read more

St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us

My reflection on the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene in the July issue of Give Us This Day:

St. Mary Magdalene has a feast! A new addition to the Church’s liturgical calendar as of only last year, our first reaction to the celebration might be, “What took them so long?” How is it possible that the “Apostle to the Apostles” was last in line when it came to official recognition of key witnesses to the resurrection? It’s a good question, because clearly Jesus Christ saw fit to put Mary Magdalene first. While the others were locked away in fear, she was at the tomb looking for the Lord, and she was not disappointed. Shocked? Certainly. Confused? At first. But disappointed? Never. Because she trusted in the Lord from day one and did not waver. Not once. Read more

Taking a vacation from technology

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed this week when a headline made me pause—and click: “I almost let my journalism job destroy my marriage. Don’t make the same mistake,” it read. Although I’m no longer a journalist and I don’t think my marriage is on the verge of destruction due to my job, I do think my joy, my spiritual health and my life in general are teetering close to the brink because of the always-connected mentality of the modern world. And I know I’m not alone. Read more

Christmas in July. Sort of.

My newest book of spiritual reflections is now available from Liturgical Press. It’s never too early to start planning for Christmas, right? You can get Daily Reflections for Advent & Christmas: Waiting in Joyful Hope 2017-18  for only $2 per copy at the Liturgical Press site, even cheaper ($1) if you buy in bulk, as many parishes do. There is also a large-print edition, which is only $5.95 and is not only larger print but a larger book for those who don’t want a pocket-size book, as well as an e-edition for 99 cents. The booklet  is also available on Amazon for $2 per copy, if you prefer to go the Prime route. Read more

My Merton Fourth-and-Walnut Moment

Tonight I had my Thomas Merton Fourth & Walnut moment. I watched this crowd dancing in the plaza on Atwells in Providence while we ate dinner, and all I could feel was love for all of them, and joy. This is the best of who are. All together. No differences. Strangers dancing as partners in the middle of an open square. #hope

The art of life, and the life of art

When I was young, I bought into the notion that I was not good at art, that we were not good at art, as if it were possible to classify an entire gene pool as bad at any particular thing. But the truth is that I was writing songs and my own version of poetry long before I hit high school. And although I didn’t think of it as such at the time, it was art, even if it was not the still-life-on-canvas type of art we might imagine when we hear the word. Read more

Take a weekend to nourish body, mind, and spirit

I’m guessing you could use a few days of peace and quiet, maybe in a gorgeous spot, where you have nothing to do but stare out a lake and let someone else do the cooking. Sound about right? If so, mark your calendars. I’ll be leading a retreat — Stillpoint: Creating Calm amid Life’s Chaos — at Pyramid Life Center in Paradox, New York, over the weekend of Sept. 8-10, 2017. Your spiritual getaway will include collage-as-prayer, journaling, silent breakfasts, meditation in motion, and prayer practices to help you discover the divine in the everyday, the miracles in the mundane. Plus, you’ll get delicious meals and free time to rest or hike or paddle a kayak across a crystal clear lake. I’ll provide the program; Pyramid will provide the spectacular setting, and you can do as much or as little as you want. The goal is to nourish yourself — body, mind, and spirit. Read more