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A house divided

My reflection today in the January issue of Give Us This Day:

If you’ve ever had a serious fight with your spouse or parent or child, you know the pain of a house divided. The silence or rage—depending on how you process anger—seeps into everything until even sitting at the kitchen table together sipping coffee becomes too much to bear. If you don’t heal the wound, it festers until permanent destruction and division sets in.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus cuts to the chase on that topic with what feels like the spiritual equivalent of cold water thrown in our face. We have to reconcile and unite, believe and follow the Spirit, or risk a house so divided it cannot stand. How appropriate that this message comes up on a day dedicated to prayer for the protection of unborn children, the plight of whom has divided houses—both State and private—for more than four decades.

St. Teresa of Calcutta once famously said that “the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion,” because if the most vulnerable among us are not safe, none of us are safe. If a mother does not feel secure enough to bring her baby into the world and in desperation chooses the unthinkable, none of us are secure, and the unthinkable becomes the acceptable.

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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

Note to my younger self: Don’t pack the Dante books

A former editor, current friend, and perpetually great writer posted an essay — What Fresh Hell Is This? — about the advice he’d give to his 22-year-old self knowing what he knows now. It’s a wonderful weaving of Dante, disappointment, and discovery that will make you think and probably make you nod your head in recognition at least once or twice, regardless of what you and your 22-year-old self have experienced over the course of a lifetime. Read more

Wisdom Wednesday: 5 ways to fine tune your life

I love to read about how other people have transformed their lives into something more manageable, less stressful, more satisfying. What steps did they take? How do they maintain it? I’m always curious, hungry for information. Even if I’m not going to go off the grid, live in the mountains, sail around the world, homeschool my kids, start canning my own food, whatever the particular path might be, I can learn from every single person. There’s always a morsel of magic to be obtained, a nugget of spiritual gold hidden in every story.

So when I came across this post yesterday on the Tiny House page (I dream of living in a Tiny House some day when the kids are grown), I knew I had to share it today. So much goodness, even if you live in a big house crammed with stuff or a city apartment amid the noise and smog.  Read more

What are you chasing?

Time for a little honesty. I woke up this morning feeling beyond down in the dumps. Actually I’ve been waking up that way a lot lately, save for a few days on vacation when I was able to deny reality. But now, with summer winding down and reality breathing down my neck, it’s hard to plaster a smile on my face and pretend it’s all great, even if it sounds great on paper. I mean, we’ve got our health, we’ve got a big trip to Italy in the offing, I’ve got one book project halfway done and another ready to go as soon as the first is complete. What could possibly be dragging me down? All of it. Read more

Only human, just a little human…

This is one of those songs. Every time I get in the car, it seems to come on. Hadn’t ever heard it up until a few days ago but fell in love with it the first time I caught a piece of it. So much so I sat in the library parking lot just listening even though I really needed to get my books and get on with the day.

 

“I’m only human, and I bleed when I fall down…” Give it a listen. I’m gonna let Christina Perri play us out on this Friday afternoon…

Manic Monday: Jumping one hurdle, ready for more

This has been a crazy busy week, but a good week. After months of preparation, weeks of handwringing and many sleepless nights of worry, Noah’s Eagle Scout project is complete. I have to send out a special thank you to all those people who gave their time, their talent, their treasure, and their used books — 1,006 of them, to be exact. We took a dreary room in a residence for children slipping through the foster care system and turned it into a beautiful refuge filled with books and comfort and calm and a quote to inspire. I hope they see it not only as a place to relax but as a reminder of their worthiness in this world. They should have a beautiful place to sit and read. Every child should have that.  Read more

Learning to float on the tides of life

I am always amazed by the shifting sands of life. We can be moving along, fairly content, assuming we’re on an even course, when out of nowhere something we hadn’t even glimpsed in our rearview mirror sends us into a tailspin. And conversely, we can be struggling, or just muddling through when just as suddenly some shooting star streaks across our night sky and reminds us that there are miracles all around us. Every day. If our eyes are open. Read more

25 random things about me, as if you asked

This is “25 Random Things,” a Facebook meme that was circling around back when I first joined Facebook. It was kind of fun to do, so I thought I’d share it again here. What would be on your list of 25 Random Things? Feel free to share some in the comment section. (I’ve updated ages and dates on this list in parens since it was done almost five years ago.) Read more