Skip to content

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

Lighting the Advent wreath: just hit pause

My reflection on the Advent wreath, from the current issue of Give Us This Day:

Lighting the Advent wreath each night for prayers before dinner has long been my family’s tradition. The flickering candlelight growing brighter with each passing week mirrors the interplay of darkness and light we see outside our kitchen window at this time of year. There is something both haunting and comforting about a single flickering candle or two dancing against the velvety darkness. Our brief pause as we light a candle and offer a prayer opens up just enough space in our jam-packed lives to let the beauty of Advent edge its way into our souls. Read more

Entering Advent, sometimes kicking and screaming

If you’ve been a reader of this blog since the early days, you know my family has had some Advent struggles over the years. There was the time we needed to start Advent with a coin toss, and the time I canceled Advent as punishment. Yeah, we like to keep things interesting. But, I have to admit that I get sort of melancholy when I read about those days. Life moves by so quickly, and, before you know it, opening the doors on a calendar just doesn’t hold the same fascination. Enjoy it while you can. Read more

Confronted with Christ

My brief reflection from Give Us This Day earlier this week:

Whenever we take our children to Manhattan, we are confronted by the reality of “these least brothers” Jesus talks about in today’s Gospel. On subways and street corners they hold out battered cups in battered hands. Our kids look to us to gauge whether we should be doing something, and if not, why not? We tell them we can’t give to every street person. And even as we explain, we fight our own guilt over ignoring those with the least who live among those with the most.

Read more

Talking everyday prayer, grief, friendship and more

I had a great time on today’s episode of A Seeking Heart with Allison Gingras of Reconciled to You. We covered a lot of bases, including three of my seven books: Everyday Divine, Parenting a Grieving Child, and Walking Together. It was a smorgasbord of my writing with a lot of fun and serious conversation mixed in. Thank you, Allison, for being such a wonderful supporter of Catholic writers and of this Catholic writer in particular.

If you missed the show, you can catch up here. And if you go to Allison’s website, you can catch an entire week of shows devoted to my books — Everyday Divine on Tuesday, Parenting a Grieving Child on Wednesday, and Walking Together on Thursday. Here’s the show:

 

Miscarriage: Love and loss 17 years later

My annual post in remembrance of the baby I never got to meet:

For the past few days I’ve been looking at the numbers on the calendar, growing more and more introspective as we inched closer to August 6. It was 17 years ago today that I learned the baby I was carrying, my second baby, had died 11 weeks into my pregnancy. Read more

Bringing the lost virtue of respect back into fashion

My latest story in the current issue of OSV Newsweekly:

If you are of a certain age, you might remember the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield’s signature line: “I don’t get no respect.” Back then it was funny, mainly because most of us were used to giving respect to our elders and getting respect from our children, so Dangerfield proved to be a silly misfit. But today that line has gone from one man’s stand-up joke to American society’s everyday reality. Read more

Manic Monday: Family, friends and feeling blessed

These are busy, crazy times here in the Poust House, and things only promise to get a bit crazier as we head toward the Triduum and Easter. That photo on the left is from last night’s Palm Sunday Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany. Serious palm there, people. No scrawny little stalks but full fronds, complete with the entire congregation processing in. Check it out next year if you’re nearby.  Read more

In fear I faced the real question: “Why not me?”

I am typically a “Why me?” sort of person — when my computer crashes, when a recipe flops, when I come home from the store without the one thing I went there to get. So you can only imagine how I might kick that attitude up a notch when something significant is at stake. But last week, when my 18-year-old son, Noah, was facing the possibility of serious and permanent heart damage, when we had no control and no way to help him as we watched him suffer through painful attacks, the “Why me?” slowly started shifting to another place. Read more