Yesterday Chiara came into our bedroom early in the morning, and as she snuggled up next to me I said, “We have to go sell Girl Scout cookies today.” Here’s how the rest of that conversation went: Read more
So last night I watched a double feature: Dr. Seuss’s “The Lorax” followed by “Vision: From the Life of Hildegard Von Bingen.” On the surface this rather surreal pairing might seem just too weird for words. Even I thought so as I tried to make the mental and visual shift from technicolor Thneedville to 12th-century Germany. Read more
I was going to put up an anniversary post today to mark the fifth birthday of Not Strictly Spiritual. And then a Facebook friend posted the video below, and I realized that this is what I needed to post. I can only tell you about all the things I’d like my blog to be and how I’d like it to help you on your spiritual journey. But this video and these children can show you what it means to love and to live out the Gospel day by day through their actions. What a beautiful story. Please watch it.
Sixteen years ago today — right now — I was in labor with my firstborn. It was a moment in time that would change me forever, a day that would usher into my life a new definition, a new vocation, a new and fierce kind of love. Today, as Noah stands on the brink of adulthood, Read more
Today, in the midst of my absolute craziness, I was given the gift of a little sacred moment in an unlikely place. And, as far as I’m concerned, those are the best sacred moments, and usually the ones we need most.
After my haircut this morning, I ran into the library to grab a book waiting on hold for me, the whole time thinking about how I didn’t have a spare minute for any of these errands and activities. As I headed back out, I looked down the side hallway in the library’s entry and stopped short. Read more
You may recall that last week’s kick-off to the Advent festivities at our house deteriorated into fighting, screaming, a coin toss, and, eventually, a declaration (by me) that all fun Advent activities would cease at once and until further notice. (We did keep up our Advent wreath practice before dinner each night, however.)
So this morning I asked Chiara if maybe she’d like to retrieve the wooden Advent calendar from the basement, along with the Playmobil Nativity set, and the little Advent Christmas tree. Her immediate reaction was a panicked, “NO!” That seemed curious, so I persisted. In a teary voice, she said that she didn’t want to take out the Advent activities because she was afraid there would be more fighting.
Hmmmm…Things were getting curiouser and curiouser. Read more
I wish I could begin this post with some inspiring story about how we returned from Saturday evening Mass and a lovely dinner out last night to gather around the Advent wreath and begin this season of hopeful anticipation with joy and love and peace. And I guess I could tell you that if I just wanted to sound good in print, but (as I mentioned yesterday in my welcome-to-the-new-blog post) this place is about honesty on the spiritual journey, and so I have to tell you what really happened. Read more
Here’s how tonight’s dinner conversation went:
Dennis: Who did Jesus tell,”Upon this rock, I will build my Church?”
Mary: Yes. Simon who?
Chiara: Simon Cowell?
We don’t normally focus on this sort of stuff while passing the mashed potatoes, but tonight we went off on a religious education tangent. This answer definitely won the prize.
I was driving to and from Noah’s film club meeting, Olivia’s horseback riding lessons, and Chiara’s competition ballet-tap-jazz class yesterday — and squeezing in some much-needed raking during the “spare” minutes at home in between –when I started to get that overwhelmed, woe-is-me feeling. I was heading down the same road for the third time in less than an hour, wondering how we had reached this tipping point.
As I pulled onto the long gravel road leading to the stables to wait for Olivia’s lesson to end, Natalie Merchant started singing “These Are Days,” and suddenly I could feel tears forming out of nowhere. Not tears of frustration or desperation, but tears of sudden realization. Tears of gratitude for what I know is a blessing, as difficult as it can sometimes feel.
These are the days
These are days you’ll remember
Never before and never since, I promise
Will the whole world be warm as this
And as you feel it,
You’ll know it’s true
That you are blessed and lucky
In a flash I went from fragmented to full, fast-forwarding to some day down the road when my children no longer need me to cart them around or read the stories they make up or take them on a camping trip.
I remember when Noah was a toddler, and people who were parenting teens at the time would tell me to savor the terrible twos because adolescence was going to make it look like a cake walk. And they were right. And now, when I complain about a house cluttered with toys and book bags and school papers, those same parents remind me that in a few short years my house will be quiet and clean, and I will long for the days of clutter and confusion. And I have no doubt they will be right again.
These are days to remember, even when I want to forget.
Here’s Natalie to sing us out. Have a great weekend, and remember to savor the moments, even the ones that make you crazy.