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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

Maybe your hunger for more is a good thing

When I saw today’s entry in my book of reflections, I knew I had to share it here. Wanting more, wanting to move forward, wanting to change, not accepting the status quo…It’s all good. See for yourself.  This page is taken from Peace in Our Hearts, Peace in the World: Meditations of Hope and Healing by Ruth Fishel.

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Mirror, mirror: discovering your true self

Week three. Time is flying! How are things on your end? Here’s my 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

If you missed On Call with Wendy Wiese, listen here!

Our Cravings Tribe and the reVolution-not-resolution journey we’re on for the next few weeks — or maybe for ever! —  were the focus of On Call with Wendy Wiese on Relevant Radio yesterday afternoon. It was a great conversation. Thank you, Wendy, for making the time for this topic. If you missed it, you can listen on playback at the link below.

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https://relevantradio.com/programs/on-call-with-wendy-wiese

Week two: getting beyond the dieting delusion

We are one week into our journey! How are you doing? Is it easier or more difficult than expected? Are you feeling any shifts — emotionally, physically, spiritually? I know it’s early in the game, but sometimes the push-off can be dramatic, making us aware of our habits and triggers. And awareness is a big part of this transformation process. Take a look back at your journal from this past week, if you’ve been keeping one, and see what your days looked like. I’ll give you a few insights into mine: Read more

Recalculating: the story of my spiritual life

I think there are two kinds of people: those who trust their GPS implicitly and those who don’t. I fall into the latter group, always second guessing the instructions and striking out on my own as Katniss—yes, our GPS is named after the heroine in the “Hunger Games” series—patiently but insistently gives commands: turn left, take the second exit, stay right. More often than not, I respond with comments of my own: Are you crazy? Do you know how many lights are on that road? Never on a Saturday! And so Katniss is forever “recalculating.” Read more