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Have you hugged your colon today?

It’s mid-March, and that can mean only one thing on this blog: It’s National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. That means it’s also time for me to parade out a photo of my fine-looking colon to get your attention. Yes, that is my actual colon on the left, as photographed by my kick-butt (pun intended) gastroenterologist. (Be thankful I limit my coverage to still photos.) Read more

The end is the beginning; the mistakes are the lesson

This week we delve into our final chapter of Cravings, but that doesn’t mean we’re done with this topic or this journey. In fact, this is just the beginning. At least I hope it is. By this point, I hope you’ve made some peace with food and perhaps have learned to weave in some quiet time to eat mindfully, journal, pray, or just sit in silence now and then. Whatever you’ve started during this eight-week process, keep it up. Continue journaling, if that worked for you. Stay in touch with our community here or build community where you are so you don’t have to go it alone. But, more than anything else, take at least a few minutes every day to be with God. Even if the food habits slip or the mindfulness goes out the window now and then, just keep coming back to the God, to the beginning, and start again. There is no failing here. There is no wrong way to do this. We find lessons everywhere, even in the “mistakes,” even when we beat ourselves up because we didn’t measure up to our own expectations. It all takes us to the next place on the path. Read more

Seeking Easter hope amid Lenten sorrow

I stood in the upstairs hallway of our home recently, hugging my 12-year-old daughter, who was finally expressing outwardly the fears that must have been churning inside her for a day or so in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting. I held her and told her that it was okay to feel sad and scared. I wished I could tell her this was something she didn’t need to fear, but I knew that would be a lie, so I told her, “You’re safe here with us tonight.” Because the truth is I cannot promise her that she will be safe in her school or at the mall or at a concert. Those days are gone, and it stuns me to admit that horrifying fact. Read more

Multitasking, Mindfulness, and Meditation

Well, so much for me posting this one from the archives “tomorrow,” as promised on Feb. 18. Obviously, things continue at a breakneck pace, and I will admit that I am multitasking — the bane of the mindful existence — to the point that my head is spinning most of the time, to the point where I’m forgetting things because there are way too many “things” piling up higher and higher. Precisely because of my penchant for doing too many things at once and my love of the mindfulness practice, this is quite possibly my favorite chapter in Cravings. Read more

To my beloved-but-abandoned tribe…I’m back

I am so very sorry for leaving you all hanging for, what is it now? Two weeks? I know we need to cover chapters 6 AND 7 of the Cravings journey, and we’ll get to that post haste, but first I just need to let you know that, while I wasn’t here on the blog with you, I was with you in spirit, wishing every day I could find five minutes to stop by and say something. It’s been a bit of a crazy month so far. In my other life (my full-time job as Director of Communications for the Diocese of Albany), I was busy launching a new website. I’m pretty proud of it, so, if you have any interest, you can see that by clicking here. For a while there, it was taking every waking moment (and most of the sleeping moments as well), but I’m back and ready to talk Cravings. The next chapter is one that hits home for me because it focuses on balance, something I clearly need more of in my own life.  Read more

Seeking the divine? Just look up.

I am not in the regular rotation when it comes to walking our rescue dog, Jake, especially at night. Dennis and Olivia handle most of the dog-walking duties in our household. But one recent Saturday night, with Dennis out of town with Chiara for a gymnastics competition and Olivia already one walk in for the day, I leashed up our pup and headed out into the cold, black night. Before I even stepped off the porch, I wanted to be done and back inside with a hot cup of tea warming my hands. I tugged at Jake’s leash and impatiently tried to move him along as he lingered too long, sniffing at twigs and snow mounds, street posts and trash cans. Then, as we rounded the corner, I finally lifted my gaze from the snow-covered asphalt and found myself face to face with Orion the Hunter overhead in the winter sky. Read more

Feast or famine: Finding the middle way

By the time we end our Cravings journey in a few weeks, we will be well into Lent. Hard to believe. And yet, the liturgical calendar seems so perfectly timed for this tribe. We can take what we’ve been talking about here and kick it up a notch, if we so choose, in the weeks ahead. As we delve into Chapter 5: Feast or Famine, we can use the lessons here as a precursor to the Lenten journey that will begin on Ash Wednesday, February 14.  Read more

Sane eating and healthy living

Sorry for the delay in getting our latest Cravings Tribe post up on the blog. This week we’re tackling chapter 4, Freedom by the Forkful, and taking a closer look at willpower, sane eating, and the ways our need for love and peace in our lives can keep us tied to high-fat comfort foods that make us feel good for the moment but drag us down over the long haul. I can see that at play in my own life. Back when I wrote this chapter of Cravings years ago, I was working out of my house and able to make time and space for my daily meditative morning ritual of “mindful oatmeal.” In addition, I’d often take time out of my day to chop up some veggies and make a green drink or start a pot of soup or  do some other prep so I could have a healthy, Read more

We’re celebrating 10 years at NSS!

It was 10 years ago today that I decided to launch this blog on the Feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of communicators. Where has the time gone? Back in those early days, I was blogging every day, sometimes more than once a day. That was before social media had become the norm, and so what today would be a Facebook post was a full-blown blog post back then. Originally, I started the blog as a way to get out there ahead of my 2008 book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Catholic Catechism (Yes, that’s just about 10 years old as well!). But very quickly this blog became a place to explore my spiritual life, share recipes and travel stories, commiserate over my struggles, and post photos and anecdotes from my life as a mom. The blog truly lived up to its name back then. It was NOT strictly spiritual. One day I might post a survey that showed which Disney princess I was or what punctuation mark best suited me. The next day I’d be posting about Thomas Merton. You never knew what you’d get, and that’s what I loved about this space. What I still love about this space. And there were fan favorites as well: Foodie Friday, Manic Monday, Wisdom Wednesday. Read more

A house divided

My reflection today in the January issue of Give Us This Day:

If you’ve ever had a serious fight with your spouse or parent or child, you know the pain of a house divided. The silence or rage—depending on how you process anger—seeps into everything until even sitting at the kitchen table together sipping coffee becomes too much to bear. If you don’t heal the wound, it festers until permanent destruction and division sets in.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus cuts to the chase on that topic with what feels like the spiritual equivalent of cold water thrown in our face. We have to reconcile and unite, believe and follow the Spirit, or risk a house so divided it cannot stand. How appropriate that this message comes up on a day dedicated to prayer for the protection of unborn children, the plight of whom has divided houses—both State and private—for more than four decades.

St. Teresa of Calcutta once famously said that “the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion,” because if the most vulnerable among us are not safe, none of us are safe. If a mother does not feel secure enough to bring her baby into the world and in desperation chooses the unthinkable, none of us are secure, and the unthinkable becomes the acceptable.

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