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Give your Valentine more than flowers and chocolate

So everyone is talking about romance and love as Valentine’s Day approaches, but what about the other 364 days a year? Are we making time for romance — or at least the occasional night out without the kids — in our marriage on a regular basis? In honor of this holiday (which I don’t particularly like, by the way), here’s a column I wrote in the spring (obvious by the fact that there is no picnicking in Albany at this time of year!). It seemed like a good day to share it again. Here you go. And Happy Valentine’s Day!

Prescription for a better marriage? Start dating.

About eight or nine years ago, my aunt gave me a lovely picnic basket backpack, complete with cloth napkins, plastic wine glasses, everything you’d need for a romantic al fresco meal in a park or on a beach. And every year since then I have considered donating it to a school garage sale because, quite frankly, romantic picnics just weren’t on our “to do” list.

But something stopped me from throwing that backpack into the Hefty bags along with old puzzles and board games bound for the bargain bin. I had a tiny glimmer of hope that some day we would dust off that backpack and take it for a spin. Read more

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Surprise! It’s Pope Francis. Yeah, that happens.

Pope Francis makes an impromptu visit to an immigrant settlement on the outskirts of Rome. This video is so beautiful it made me cry. Read more

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Day one of a virtual retreat for couples. Join us!

It’s not too late! If you start right now, you and your spouse can participate in a virtual seven-day marriage retreat that will take you right up to Valentine’s Day. Well, technically it will take you to Friday the 13th, but let’s not go there. Read more

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Music Monday: When You’ve Got Trouble

My new favorite song, discovered on The Coffee House on Sirius/XM, for your Music Monday listening pleasure. Simple, beautiful, spot on. This one goes out to Dennis, my sweetheart. “When You’ve Got Trouble” by Liz Longley:

“All my heart is tangled all around you
When you’ve got trouble I’ve got trouble, too
All my life is arm in arm with you
When you’ve got trouble I’ve got trouble, too” Read more

The Song

The Song: An honest, soulful look at this beautiful, messy thing called marriage

Marriage is hard, even under the best of circumstances. Add in some problems, and marriage can feel beyond hard, maybe impossible, as evidenced by the soaring divorce rate. But marriage is also beautiful, a calling to go beyond yourself, if it’s done right. Read more

anniversary roses
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Happy 19th anniversary, amore mio.

Happy anniversary to us, Dennis Poust, even if we have to celebrate apart for the first time in our 19 years of marriage. We’ll make up for it when you get back from Roma.

For the NSS readers out there, I did not toast our anniversary by myself, as the photo to the left might imply. Dennis bought me a dozen roses and we popped a bottle of Prosecco before he left for Italy. The benefit of being apart for our anniversary? We get to have a pre-anniversary celebration and a post-anniversary celebration. We spent the before celebration at The Merry Monk pub in Albany, and we plan to spend our post-celebration at the slinky, sexy Speakeasy, also in downtown Albany.  Read more

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We are love, we are one…

A little musical inspiration on this first friday of March and first friday of Lent. I love this song, and when I heard it again yesterday as I was driving kids all over town, it felt like the perfect Lenten meditation. Here’s “Nothing More” by The Alternate Routes:

We are Love
We are One
We are how we treat each other when the day is done.
We are Peace
We are War
We are how we treat each other and Nothing More

grace

Receiving unexpected grace via the U.S. mail

Grace can be hard to put your finger on, like trying to grab at fog or hold onto a breeze. I remember even back when I was writing The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Catholic Catechism that I struggled to define it in a way that would make sense to people, especially people who maybe had never really contemplated that word before and what it might mean in their lives. Read more

Snowdrops

A little rainy day Rumi: Plant only love…

When you plant a tree
every leaf that grows will tell you,
what you sow will bear fruit.

So if you have any sense, my friend
don’t plant anything but love,
you show your worth by what you seek.

–Rumi