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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

The upside of winters in upstate

I was going through some old Life Lines columns and happened to come across this one from January 2002. This snowy Sunday seemed like the perfect time to pull it out of the archives and reprint it here:

Ever since we moved back to New York after almost six years in Texas, we’ve heard the same thing over and over again from friends, relatives, co-workers, and absolute strangers: Are you ready for the loooooong winter? As if we live in Nome, Alaska.

We smile and remind everyone that – in addition to the fact that we’ve already lived through a loooooong winter in upstate New York since arriving here in early January last year – we were born and raised not all that far from here. Our kids may not have seen snow before landing at Newark International Airport, but I have many fond memories of snow days and sleigh riding, cold toes and hot cocoa. Yes, we’re ready for the loooooong winter because it gives us a chance to sloooooow down. Read more

Lighting the Advent wreath: just hit pause

My reflection on the Advent wreath, from the current issue of Give Us This Day:

Lighting the Advent wreath each night for prayers before dinner has long been my family’s tradition. The flickering candlelight growing brighter with each passing week mirrors the interplay of darkness and light we see outside our kitchen window at this time of year. There is something both haunting and comforting about a single flickering candle or two dancing against the velvety darkness. Our brief pause as we light a candle and offer a prayer opens up just enough space in our jam-packed lives to let the beauty of Advent edge its way into our souls. Read more

Entering Advent, sometimes kicking and screaming

If you’ve been a reader of this blog since the early days, you know my family has had some Advent struggles over the years. There was the time we needed to start Advent with a coin toss, and the time I canceled Advent as punishment. Yeah, we like to keep things interesting. But, I have to admit that I get sort of melancholy when I read about those days. Life moves by so quickly, and, before you know it, opening the doors on a calendar just doesn’t hold the same fascination. Enjoy it while you can. Read more

Defying definitions and trusting your own story

Everyone has his or her own story. Our history, family, faith, environment – all of it combines to create a background story that runs through our entire life, for better or worse. Through the ups and downs, the surprise plot twists, the losses and accomplishments, we write a new chapter day by day. Read more

Confronted with Christ

My brief reflection from Give Us This Day earlier this week:

Whenever we take our children to Manhattan, we are confronted by the reality of “these least brothers” Jesus talks about in today’s Gospel. On subways and street corners they hold out battered cups in battered hands. Our kids look to us to gauge whether we should be doing something, and if not, why not? We tell them we can’t give to every street person. And even as we explain, we fight our own guilt over ignoring those with the least who live among those with the most.

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I look at my students and see our future ex-Catholics

My post over at Aleteia today:

When it comes to teenagers, you expect a certain amount of eye rolling and apathy, but put those same kids in a faith formation class for an hour and fifteen minutes at the end of a long school day and right at the dinner hour and you’ll see a level of teenage disinterest that could make you wither on the spot. That’s what my husband and I faced when we stood before the 21 high school sophomores we teach at our upstate New York parish. Read more

Miscarriage: Love and loss 17 years later

My annual post in remembrance of the baby I never got to meet:

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 17 years ago today that I learned the baby I was carrying, my second baby, had died 11 weeks into my pregnancy. Read more

Bringing the lost virtue of respect back into fashion

My latest story in the current issue of OSV Newsweekly:

If you are of a certain age, you might remember the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield’s signature line: “I don’t get no respect.” Back then it was funny, mainly because most of us were used to giving respect to our elders and getting respect from our children, so Dangerfield proved to be a silly misfit. But today that line has gone from one man’s stand-up joke to American society’s everyday reality. Read more