Life: What Was True Yesterday Remains True Today

lifeAnd I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. – Matthew 16:18

It would be easy to get depressed by the Irish referendum. Two-thirds of voters said they wanted restrictions eliminated on abortion.

Two-thirds of the Irish took the pro-death side – although I doubt many thought of it in those terms.  They voted for the right of a woman to choose, a modern progressive position that puts Ireland squarely in line with most of the “first world.” Continue reading

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Confession for Perfectionists

confessionI might be the only person who loves Mondays — in fact, it’s my favorite day of the week. Now that all my kids are in school, it’s the day I get to take the house back from the chaos of the weekend and get back to work on my own projects. But even when the kids were little and the routine of the weekend didn’t differ much from the routine of the week, Monday always felt like a fresh start. It was a new beginning, another chance to eat healthier, to stay more organized, to stick to my schedule. This week I’ll do better.

Not surprisingly, I’m also the kid who eagerly anticipated the first day of school: the smell of freshly sharpened pencils, a stack of empty pages, a box of pristine crayons. The start of a new school year accompanied a list of resolutions: this year I’ll be more organized, this year I’ll be less shy. Continue reading

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Love and Like

likeLove bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now, we see in a mirror dimly but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:7-13 Continue reading

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Praying the Litany of Social Media

I love keeping up with friends and relatives near and far on social media, and being informed and inspired by the things they share.

This morning, picking up my phone after my morning prayer time, I was inspired.  What if, instead of scrolling through my social media feed with curiosity or with boredom, I approached it with prayer? Continue reading

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Lagom: The Swedish Art of Temperance

swedish

At Easter we display a Påskris, a tree made of twigs and feathers.

Over the past few years, our family has been exploring my husband’s Swedish roots. We’ve mastered making Swedish meatballs and the pantry is always stocked with lingonberry jam from IKEA. We’ve tried to incorporate Swedish traditions into our family celebrations, especially those that enhance our Catholic faith. Our favourite is the Feast of St. Lucy: every year on the morning of December 13, the eldest daughter of the family traditionally makes lussekatter (S-shaped saffron buns) and serves them to the rest of family wearing a wreath of lit candles on her head. We don’t do the latter, of course, because we don’t favor the smell of burnt hair with our morning coffee, but for many years (at least until adolescence!) our daughter Mia wore a wreath of fake leaves and felt candles while serving breakfast to her siblings.

The newest Swedish notion we’ve begun to explore is the concept of lagom, which, loosely translated as “not too little, not too much,” is the art of balanced living. To Swedes, lagom in daily life is a sense of balance and moderation in all they do. It means work, rest, and play in equal measures. At work, it means taking time for fika, a morning and afternoon coffee break (traditionally with kanelbullar, or cinnamon buns) that is as much an institution as work itself. At home, it means balancing the “stuff” with an equal amount of clean, bright, open space. In conversation, it means listening as much as they speak, and embracing silent pauses as a chance for everyone to reflect. Continue reading

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The Blood of Horses and Men

horses

Automedon with the Horses of Achilles by Henri Renault

“What he loved in horses was what he loved in men, the blood and the heat of the blood that ran them. All his reverence and all his fondness and all the leanings of his life were for the ardent-hearted and they would always be so and never be otherwise.” ― Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

Henri Renault’s painting of Automedon with the Horses of Achilles brought to mind a book I have recently read about ardent-hearted horses and ardent-hearted men and these men’s relationship to nature. In All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy presents John Grady Cole, the last heir in a long line of Texan cowboys. As a youth, he escapes the comforts and cares of his more “civilized” mother in search of wilderness and adventure. He and his horse ride through the vast deserts and rocky mountains of northern Mexico searching for destiny. John Grady believes his fate is tied to working the earth and tending the cattle and, most importantly, breaking and riding horses.  He claims to be able to establish a deep relationship with the beast that runs under him. Continue reading

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More Tankers than Takers

tankersAs I was getting my hair cut in the basement it all came to me. I wish I would have thought of that before my meeting. Sharing it with a brother priest was nice during the haircut, but I wish I could go back and explain better. That’s what I want to do now.

Last year I visited a prominent businessman in the Tri-state area. I prepared for the visit by making sure I had all my numbers straight, how much we have gotten out of debt, our current budget situation, and so on. Most of all I prepared myself through prayer and simply being passionate about the mission of the Legion and Regnum Christi. But I wasn’t prepared for one simple question that he insisted on. What do you do? That sounds easy to answer, right? After all, how hard can that be to explain to someone what you normally do? Continue reading

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Women of Faith

Even as I was boarding the plane in New York, I still didn’t have a clear picture of what I was supposed to do. I knew it was a Catholic radio station reaching tens of thousands of listeners with the message of the Gospel. I knew it was an apostolate of Regnum Christi, and that I would be welcome as a Legionary. But on specific details regarding Guadalupe Radio, I came up empty. Except that they were having this huge convention. In Spanish. In Los Angeles. For women. So why was I going again? The signal was coming in a little fuzzy. Continue reading

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Julia Child, Five-Alarm Chicken, and the Humility to Be Just Ok

husband

When I host a dinner party now… I serve tater tots!

I am not a good cook. Raw meat makes me squeamish and I panic when there are too many things boiling and steaming and sizzling on the stove all at once. I lack the gift and skill to know how to balance flavours or thicken a sauce. And this used to really bother me.

In fact, this used to be the start of most arguments between my husband and me. As the primary caregiver of our children and the stay-at-home parent, I felt like it was my job to make perfectly tasty, healthy, and budget-wise meals from scratch every night (all while caring for four kids only five years apart in age). The problem was, I was terrible at it. Nearly every evening, my husband, Jamie, would come home to his tearful wife juggling what felt like a thousand pots and pans at the stove, trying desperately not to burn the sauce while the noodles were already ruthlessly overcooked, or pulling a pan of blackened bread from the oven while an accusing timer reminded me of yet another failed dish that needed my immediate attention. Continue reading

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The MET Gala and the Indelible Mark on our Souls

metConsidering how volatile opinions are about the MET Gala the other night and the fact that I’m Canadian, putting my own opinion out here publicly the morning after the night before either means I am sleep deprived by the demands of a May end-of-the-school-year schedule, or that I feel strongly enough about what I think God is teaching me that I can get over any fear of sharing my thoughts.

I watched the opening of the new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with interest. Entitled Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, I wanted to see what this meant both to the curators who had the idea, and to the Church who lent the museum over 50 religious articles and vestments from the Vatican Museums collection. Continue reading

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