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Manic Monday: A pope, a robin’s nest and Pearl Jam

I thought today’s headline should appropriately reflect just how manic this Monday will be, or how manic this past week has been. A little a bit of everything — and then some. Which is exactly the point of Manic Monday. Lots going on lately, and this week will be no different. We wrapped up our week with a first-of-season visit to Jim’s Tastee Freez here in Delmar, which you can see the girls enjoying in that photo on the left. Here’s what the rest of our Manic Monday looks like:

Words to Live By: Pope Francis has been talking about prayer a lot lately (no surprise there), but something he said recently really struck a chord with me because it sounded so much like what I wrote about in my book Everyday Divine: A Catholic Guide to Active Spirituality.  I had actually hoped to do a whole blog post on that, but sometimes life gets in the way of blog posting. Speaking about prayer, the pope reminded us that we don’t have to stick to the words of childhood prayers but can speak to God from our hearts:

“Prayer is very important,” he said, and “never forget to pray, never!”

“Nobody can tell when we are praying on the bus, on the road, we pray in silence, with the heart, so let’s take advantage of these opportunities to pray.”

Don’t just recite the prayers “that we all know from childhood, but also pray with our own words, pray to the Lord: ‘Lord, help me, advise me, help me right now, let me know what we should do.'”  — CNS

In the introduction to Everyday Divine, I wrote:

By weaving prayer into the actions of daily life — showering, cooking, cleaning, driving, working, eating, jogging, and more — you can bring a sense of the divine to everything you do. Suddenly life isn’t the chore you might imagine it to be; it’s a joy, because everyday prayer makes you grateful, shows you where God enters into your busy life, helps you traverse the highs and lows with equal calmness.

The whole book is dedicated to the kind of prayer the pope is talking about. So Pope Francis and I are on the same page. Yeah, I’m smiling right now.

Bookshelf: I FINALLY finished Halfway to Each Other. Nice little book about a couple who moves to Italy with their two children for a year and saves their marriage in the process. I started it for the glimpse into Italian life but found myself intrigued by the way the dramatic change in daily routine transformed this family for better forever.

Menu: Dennis and I made a return trip to The Merry Monk. flight of beersDennis for the repeat on BOGO pounds of mussels and me for the Bacon Cheddar Ale Burger that had been calling my name since my first visit there (when I went for the fish and chips instead). The place was packed when we arrived, so we decided to while away the time with flights of beers. I decided on a spiritual flight, choosing four craft beers with spiritual roots or names: Chimay from the Trappists, Namaste from Dog Head, Weyerbacher from the Merry Monks of Easton, and Abbey from Ommegang. First and last were the best. Yes, how annoying am I? Even my beer flights need a spiritual twist. And here’s a photo of the burger, which was as delicious as it looks. That’s a side of cucumber-wasabi dipping sauce for my fries. Yum.

Burger

Datebook: Last week I was in Wilmington, talking about being “Broken, Beautiful and Beloved.” This week I’m in Brooklyn, talking about “Stealth Evangelization: Using Social Media to Subtly Spread the Good News.” It’s a free event for World Communications Day. Thursday, May 22, starting at 12:30 p.m. at the Brooklyn Marriott. Check it out HERE, if you’d like to join us.

Viewfinder: I have been spending a lot of time on my deck this week. Love my deck. This year we have an added bonus, a robin’s nest in the weeping mulberry just off the stairs. Earlier this week, you could have spotted me running out onto the deck in the rain waving my arms and yelling at the giant black crow that was sitting on top of the mulberry, no doubt hoping to fly off with an egg while mama bird was out getting lunch. I am acting as our robin’s own personal scarecrow these days. Here’s a shot of those beautiful blue eggs and one of mama bird keeping them warm. She is surprisingly unruffled by all the activity out on the deck. Even when she flies off, she hangs out in the dogwood tree chirping at us and keeping watch with her mate.

Robins eggs

robin in nest

Soundtrack: This is where Pearl Jam comes in, in case you were wondering. I love, love, love this song. Just beautiful. Eddie Vedder is a favorite of mine, especially some of his more recent stuff. Enjoy.

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