Manic Monday: The calm after the storm

It’s been quite the weekend. Not much was accomplished, other than staring at the swaying trees outside and praying they didn’t land on our power lines. Oh, and The Weather Channel. Lots of wasted time spent listening to national and local people explain for the thousandth time that a flash flood means water moves in quickly. I’ve got a weather report hangover this morning, as I look at everything I didn’t do while waiting for the power to go out and our basement to go under water. And none of it happened.

So here’s what is going on this week…

Soundtrack: “Hey Jude” and “Sweet Child O’Mine,” both of which Noah was playing for us on the piano last night. Nice.

Bookshelf: The Genesee Diary by Henri Nouwen. I haven’t started this one yet, but it is ready and waiting for my own weekend retreat at The Abbey of the Genesee. I leave on Friday for three days of silence and prayer. Woo hoo!

I’m also finally finishing up the last few days of the 12-week program known as The Artist’s Way. I’ve found it really helpful, creatively speaking. Morning Pages have become part of my daily routine, which is some sort of evidence of the strength of this book. I have a really hard time starting new morning routines.

I will maintain and then expand on the morning writing/creativity routine by jumping into a book I mentioned in this space weeks ago, The Artist’s Rule, which looks at creativity from a monastic perspective. I plan to start that right around the time I head to Genesee, which seems like perfect timing since I’ll be hanging out around monks. That’s also a 12-week program. I’ll let you know how it’s working as I get into the heart of it.


This was our view at the start of the week,

sitting on the sands of Long Beach Island, N.J.
By Saturday morning, Our Lady of Guadalupe was stored in the shed, along with all of our other outside chairs and such. She may be the Mother of God, but she’s not taking any chances in a hurricane.

We lucked out. No power outage. Just lots of small branches down. Here’s the deck the morning after. The tarp? Well, believe it or not, our deck was painted one day before the hurricane and we were attempting to protect it from the very severe drip line that develops due to rain/snow/ice. Two things on our shopping list: a generator and gutters for the top roof line.

Appointment book: This will be a very busy week between work and kid stuff. I’ve got a bunch of jobs to finish before I head to my retreat and lots of back-to-school shopping that still needs to get done. On top of that, I’m checking day by day to see if I have to report for jury duty. Ugh. So far so good, but it’s only Monday. Fingers crossed I don’t get called in because that will just throw life into a total turmoil here.

Have a good one. Prayers for those who are suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.

For moms everywhere, on the Feast of St. Monica

Just about one year ago, when I spent 11 days in Rome, I had the chance to visit the Church of St. Augustine (seen here) multiple times since it was just around the corner from Santa Croce University, where I was attending a seminar for journalists.

In this beautiful church, complete with an altar and angels by Bernini and paintings by Raphael and Caravaggio, is the tomb of St. Augustine’s mother, Monica, whose feast we celebrate today.

I knelt before her tomb, so grateful just to be in Rome, and whispered prayers for all the moms who had asked me to remember their intentions while I was in the Eternal City. And I prayed for mothers everywhere, because no matter what our background, no matter how much we do, we often think its not enough, that we are not enough.

So today, as then, I am remembering all the moms I know and those I don’t, praying we find the patience and strength we need to live out our vocations fully and joyfully and that we also have eyes to see not only where we think we fall short but where we are doing our best — teaching our children, serving our families, trusting in God — day after day, year after year.

I remembered all of you this morning as I said Morning Prayer, and I will remember you again in just a little while when I go to Mass. Please remember me in your prayers as well. And let us turn to St. Monica for comfort when we do come up against those hard times and wonder how we will get through. She was living proof that the power of persistent prayer can change lives — our own and those of our children.

Riding the waves of prayer

Riding the waves of prayer

When I’m sitting on the beach, staring out at the Atlantic Ocean, I can’t help but hear prayers of praise echoing in my head along with the crashing waves. The power of the ocean is unsettling and comforting all at once, and for me there is something deeply spiritual about that. (more…)

Manic Monday: A whole lot of nothing

I had hoped to make this a visual post, but, alas, I forgot my camera cord so there’s no way to get the photos from there to here. Some other time.

In lieu of that, just a few notes…

Bookshelf: I’m still working my through — more like savoring — The Journal Keeper by Phyllis Theroux. One gem after another here, especially for those who write and/or have a spiritual bent. Jackpot for me.

Weekly Wisdom:

“I thought about how most of us are asleep while waking, how we open and shut our mouths making conversation, but we are still asleep.” — The Journal Keeper

Soundtrack: Atlantic Ocean. Nothing like the sound of waves crashing on the shore again and again and again.

Viewfinder: Oh, if only you could see what I see. Sand and surf and seagulls and sailboats. Blue sky and water stretching on forever.

Appointment book: Nothing official. Unfortunately, there’s too much work packed in with the sunscreen and beach hat. I’m going to try to keep that to a minimum.

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