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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

Mirror, mirror: discovering your true self

Week three. Time is flying! How are things on your end? Here’s the weekly update:

It was a SUPER stressful week, especially the weekend. To be completely honest with you, I’m in a terrible place right now, mentally and spiritually. Things have not gone as planned. Famous last words. So why does that still catch me by surprise and throw me off course? That’s the million-dollar question for me. And I’ll tell you right now, when things don’t go well and when things get stressful, I turn up the heat on myself. I pull out my worst “tape,” push my internal “play” button and let it rip. It’s not pretty or healthy, and it certainly doesn’t take me where I want or need to go, but it’s comfortable and familiar, the road most travelled, and so I take it. Even when I know I’ll regret it later, even when I know it’s likely to lead me to other unhealthy decisions — like eating the wrong food or staying up too late or skipping prayer time. This is why I’m head cheerleader for the tribe, because I have endless experience with this struggle. I’ll tell you this, however: Although I often feel history repeating itself in my life, the time I’ve spent working on my habits, journaling, and becoming more mindful have made me more aware. Even when I’m not following the Cravings “rules,” I’m well aware of where things have gone off track and how I might pull it back. The trick is getting from awareness to action. Read more

Self-care: Getting an expensive wake-up call

When I gave up my home-based business to start working in an outside office full time more than two years ago, I gave up a lot more than writing in my basement while wearing yoga pants and burning incense. I stopped exercising. I stopped cooking healthy dinners. I stopped eating healthy food. I stopped doing yoga. I stopped blogging. I stopped using my downtime as downtime and turned everything (even vacations) into work time, or at least work worry. That’s a lot of stopping. Did I start doing anything new? Why, yes, now that you ask. I started drinking coffee by the bucketfuls. I started eating at my desk without even noticing I was eating (exactly what I tell everyone NOT to do in my book Cravings). I started skipping prayer and meditation time. I started turning into an absolute basket of nerves.  Read more

Everything is blessing. Yes, even that.

‘Tis the season to give thanks, but what if we change things up a bit this time around? It could be a gratitude throw down of epic proportions, if we all make an effort. We already know that counting our blessings in an intentional way is good for us. It not only makes us more grateful, but more content. Suddenly the smell of fresh-brewed coffee in the morning or the sight of a hawk circling overhead serve as entry points to something much deeper. But, can we take that idea one step further, into the murky waters of struggle and sorrow, and find blessings even there? That’s our challenge. Read more

‘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