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Meeting God in the Middle

Our weekly blog post will be up tomorrow. Sorry for the delay. Can you believe we’re already moving onto Chapter 7? The weeks are flying by. In the meantime, if you missed the latest radio show discussion on our tribe and this Cravings topic, you can listen in at the link below. It’s just a short 10-minute segment, so not a big time commitment. Thank you to the folks at Mater Dei Radio out of Portland, Oregon, for having me on the show.

Click HERE to listen.

 

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

Life in My 50s: wisdom’s slow burn

Every once in a while, something happens that gives me pause and makes me take note of the ways I am aging. I attempt to open a bottle of apple juice and find myself struggling to budge the screw cap that used to loosen without effort. I bend down to put away dishes and a shooting pain in my knee makes me straighten up, except that it’s not as easy as it used to be. Whenever one of these age jolts occurs, I think of my grandmother, who lived independently until she was closing in on 101. I wonder what it was like for her to notice the subtle changes in her abilities and strength as the years passed, and I wonder if I’ll be able to manage those same kinds of changes with anything close to the grace and chutzpah that marked her century of life. Read more

This balancing act called life

What does a balanced life look like to you? When I hear the word “balance,” I feel the word “peace.” In my mind’s eye, the two are inextricably linked. And on some deep interior level, I know that if I can just find a way to bring some balance into my life, peace is sure to follow. But balance is hard to come by in our all-or-nothing world, and so we have to strive to be counter cultural, to look for ways to even out the highs and lows we typically traverse, to learn to be present wherever we are, even when where we are isn’t so hot, and to find beauty there. Read more

Talking Cravings, catechism, and all things Catholic

Today’s interview with Todd Sylvester of the Live Hour on Archangel Radio out of Alabama was one of those unexpected and happy surprises, a really great conversation that not only gave me a chance to talk about Cravings (and some of my other books) but also sparked some serious introspection and reflection. We talked about my faith journey, my work as a Catholic journalist and author, about the catechism, and, of course, food. It was a really fun 40 minutes and it went by so fast. I loved the fact that Todd not only read Cravings but focused on parts of my own book that I’d forgotten about, at least hadn’t thought about in a very long time. Spirit at work.

If you have some time and want to listen, click HERE and push play.

 

Feast or Famine: finding the middle way

By the time we end our Cravings journey in a few weeks, Lent will be a few days away. Hard to believe, isn’t it? And yet, it 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. But we can also allow some Lenten wisdom to inform the journey right now, especially as we delve into Chapter 5: Feast or Famine.  Read more

Ten years later: Adele remains a powerful witness

I saw on Facebook two days ago that it was the tenth anniversary of the death of one very special parishioner of St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Delmar, N.Y.. I wrote a column about Adele after her death. Thanks to the wonders of technology, I was able to recapture the 2007 Word file. Here it is again, ten years later. (The photo to the left is one I snapped of Adele at the Peace Pole at St. Thomas after a parish school event on Oct. 2, 2004.)

Everyone at our parish knew Adele. Maybe they didn’t know her up close and personal, but they knew of her. She was a visible and ever-present fixture at St. Thomas. Her wheelchair with the “Got Jesus?” bumper sticker on the back was parked in front of the first row of pews at every Mass every weekend. When she wasn’t in church, she was praying in front of the Mary statue outside our school or in front of the tabernacle in our chapel or at any number of vigils around the peace pole. Read more

Don’t miss your moments

My reflection from Give Us This Day:

St. Paul’s story of conversion always sparks a little jealousy in me. Probably not the appropriate reaction, but let’s be honest: wouldn’t we all like a blinding light and God’s voice from heaven setting us on the right path once and for all? I know I would. There would be no more wondering, no more doubts, no more confusion about whether I’m doing God’s will or my own. Few of us get that kind of wake-up call, and those of us who do often miss it because we’re busy looking for one that is more interesting or less difficult. Read more

Happy anniversary to me and my blog

It was nine years ago today that I launched this blog. Although it looked very different when it started out and I posted much more frequently, the overall style and substance of Not Strictly Spiritual have remained the same. I have shared my struggles, my stories, my opinions, and quite a few recipes, covering everything from the ridiculous to the sublime. Thank you to all of you who have visited this site over the years, especially those of you who come back time and again. Even if we have never met in person, you are special to me, and I am grateful. Read more

Sane eating and healthy living

I’m late, I’m late for a very important date! I’m so sorry this week’s Monday post has been delayed. I had to move offices at my workplace, and it threw off my entire day. Forgive me for lagging behind.

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 these days. 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, home-cooked meal ready by dinner time. Although life was still hectic, our diet seemed to have a good measure of sanity. When I began working outside the house 18 months ago, however, all of that changed. Aside from cutting out my mindful oatmeal routine, I have become much more reliant on pre-made foods, easy meals, and take out, none of which leave me feeling very healthy and happy after the eating is over. The reality is that eating healthy can take a lot of time and energy. It’s easier to eat fattening comfort foods. And so our challenge now is deciding if we’re worth the time it takes to do the shopping and chopping, prepping and planning required to create balanced meals in a peaceful atmosphere. No more eating on the go, munching in the car, standing at the counter with one hand in a bag of chips as you scroll through emails. (Guilty here!) Read more