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‘Shining like the sun’: Merton goes to the prom

I was standing in the dressing room of Lord & Taylor recently, waiting outside a closed stall door as Olivia tried on dress after dress in the elusive search for the perfect prom attire. As I scrolled through Facebook while she ran through her costume changes, I was surreptitiously eavesdropping on a group of high school girls who had taken up residence in the other four dressing room stalls, sequins and taffeta spilling out each time one of them peeked out to ask for an opinion. They ran back and forth between stalls, giddy with excitement and generous with compliments as they gushed over each other’s choices and encouraged each other to be bold and wear something outside of their typical fashion comfort zones. Read more

ReVolution, not resolution, beginning here Jan. 2

Our new adventure — this Cravings Tribe — is not about making a single, one-year resolution or losing 10 pounds or becoming someone you’re not. It’s about finding out who you really are and coming to terms with your true self. It’s realizing you are good enough exactly as you are right now, at this very moment, whether or not you feel you need to eat healthier, exercise more, spend less time on social media, read more, pray more.

Whatever your “goal,” we want to begin from a place of acceptance, but that takes work. It doesn’t come naturally, does it? We are hard on ourselves, always seeing the cracks, the flaws, the places where we’ve failed to live up to our own expectations. That’s about to change… Read more

Revolution 2017 is coming! Join the #CravingsTribe Become a #SoulSurvivor

If you build it, they will come.

Thank you to everyone — in the comment section on this blog, on my Facebook page, and in my email inbox — who have said YES! to the #CravingsTribe. We are on our way. Read more

Life in my 50s: don’t tell me what to wear

This morning I posted the link below partly to make a point and partly because it was funny. A comment left on my post in all caps, telling me never to wear a backless dress, perhaps meant as a joke, perhaps not, has inspired me to share not only the photo of the backless dress I wore a few months ago at age 53 over there on the left (I’m 54 now, way past the 30-year cut-off referenced in the story below), but I’m also posting the duct tape backless bra I created to make wearing the backless dress possible. Because I’m just that crafty and creative. Read more

Abundance over scarcity: trusting God to provide

This Life Lines column was originally intended to be my last. It was 15 years ago this month that I wrote my first column for Catholic New York, and this seemed like a nice tidy way to bring things to a close. Plus, as you may recall from last month’s column on humility, I thought I had nothing left to say. Then a few things happened to make me rethink that plan. Read more

Humility, humiliation, and quiet surrender

Humility has never been my strong suit, which seems somewhat odd to me because I’m not a bragger or a diva. In fact, I trend toward the low end of the self-esteem spectrum. But humility is a tricky thing because it seems ever so close to humiliation, which never feels good. Before you know it, pride rears its ugly head and ego is right behind it. Once ego is involved, all bets are off. 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

Sometimes happiness isn’t a choice.

My Life Lines column, running in the current issue of Catholic New York:

My hands look older than my mother’s hands ever did. That’s what I was thinking at Mass last Sunday when I should have been focused on more spiritual pursuits. But I couldn’t get past the sudden, albeit not surprising, realization that I am aging far beyond anything my mother experienced in her 47 years. Thanks to a couple of small-but-disturbing age spots and prominent veins, my hands remind me that life is moving at breakneck speed and I might want to take stock of things. Read more

Note to my younger self: Don’t pack the Dante books

A former editor, current friend, and perpetually great writer posted an essay — What Fresh Hell Is This? — about the advice he’d give to his 22-year-old self knowing what he knows now. It’s a wonderful weaving of Dante, disappointment, and discovery that will make you think and probably make you nod your head in recognition at least once or twice, regardless of what you and your 22-year-old self have experienced over the course of a lifetime. Read more

Wisdom Wednesday: You know how to be brave

The song “Colours” by Margo Rey has been a favorite on my iTunes play list for quite a while now, but last weekend’s Christian Mothers’ Retreat in Syracuse was the first time I wove the song into one of my presentations. It was a hit, as I guessed it would be. Quite a few women came up to me after my talk and asked for the song’s title and artist. I knew it would tie in perfectly with a religious retreat despite the fact that it is a secular song because it speaks to the heart and to something I think so many women confront in their lives: learning to love themselves for who they are and to step into their own skin once and for all and be brave, no matter what may or may not be going on in the background or center stage of their lives, no matter how they think they’ve failed, no matter what the outside world pushes them to be. Read more