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Monks, music and musings on monastic life

I came across this video clip via the Morning Air Show on Relevant Radio and clicked on it mainly because I love Gregorian Chant, but it is so much more than an album promotion. It gives you a brief glimpse into monastic life in general and Benedictine spirituality specifically, along with some beautiful views of Italy and hauntingly beautiful music. It’s like a micro-version of the monastic feature film Into Great SilenceIf you have a few minutes, this is sure to bring a little serenity to your day. The album, Benedicta: Marian Chant from Norcia by the Monks of Norcia, is available June 2.

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 Catholic Worker and the Quiet Beatle

Today we honor two of my favorites: Dorothy Day and George Harrison, a seemingly unlikely pairing on the surface but not such an odd couple when you dig a little deeper. Day died on this day in 1980, and Harrison died on this day in 2001, forever linking the gritty would-be saint and the decidedly sage-like musician. At least in my book. Read more

Wisdom Wednesday: ‘Go back to blue’

I’ve decided to continue our Lucinda Williams theme by choosing her song “Blue” as our Wednesday Wisdom. One of the few “poems” I’ve written in my life is titled “Blue,” so more Lucinda connection for me there.

Here are the lyrics and then a YouTube video of her performing the song live from a show in 2009. Enjoy.

Go find a jukebox and see what a quarter will do 
I don’t wanna talk I just wanna go back to blue 
Feed’s me when I’m hungry and quenches my thirst 
Loves me when I’m lonely and thinks of me first  Read more

My long love affair with Lucinda Williams

When I moved to Austin, Texas, the first time… (I actually moved there twice, first in 1988 and again in 1995. Almost moved there a third time. It’s that kind of city.) Anyway, when I moved to Austin, Texas, in 1988, I took only what could fit in my un-airconditioned Chevy Chevette, which wasn’t much. Some clothes, a typewriter (Yes, a typewriter, not a computer!), a rotary dial phone (goodness I’m old), my favorite books and some pots and pans. Left behind were both of my beloved guitars (the beat up $3 find my grandfather bought at a garage sale and the shiny 12-string I used to play in the folk group at the 9:30 a.m. Mass at St. Aedan’s in Pearl River.) I simply couldn’t fit them in the car, and I guess on some level I figured I was starting a new life and maybe my guitar-playing wasn’t going to figure into 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…

Another big day for Noah

Today was Noah’s annual piano recital. He played “Potter Waltz” from Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire. It was flawless, if I do say so myself. Sometimes, when I’m listening to Noah practice day after day (although that’s not as frequent now that he’s discovered the joy of headphones), it’s hard to see his progress. But sitting at the recital, listening to younger performers who are where he was just three short years ago, it dawned on me — for the second time in one week — how far he has come and how grown-up he is getting. Bravo, Noah. Take a bow.

Some weekend wisdom

Chiara woke up from her nap too early and too cranky today. When I arrived at her bed, she clung to me and asked if I would sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat and the Itsy Bitsy Spider. That seemed easy enough. As I started heading downstairs with her, she yelled, “No, in your room,” which seemed kind of odd until I figured out that she wanted me to take the guitar out of my closet and play, something I almost never do anymore.

I was half tempted to tell her that I needed to work and would play the guitar later, but decided that I could squeeze in a couple of songs. I tuned up the guitar and sang her special requests, and then she said, “Now you sing one of your songs by yourself.” And so back and forth we went, a song for Chiara, a song for me. I haven’t sung for me in so long I almost didn’t remember what to sing. As we sat there on the bed, an icy rain clicking against the windows, I suddenly felt a wave of peace settle over me. It was as if Chiara knew exactly what we both needed at exactly the right moment. Read more