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Confessions of a rosary convert

Rosary-challenged. That’s how I’ve described myself for most of my life. Don’t get me wrong. I have more sets of rosary beads than I can count, tucked away in my nightstand and desk drawers, in multiple purses and hanging on my bedpost. When I’m in a panic, the Rosary spills from my lips without warning. I once embarrassed my daughters by reciting the Rosary at full volume on a crowded plane to Rome when we hit a scary patch of turbulence. I reserve the right, as a Catholic girl named Mary, to call on the Rosary at will, even if the prayer is not in my regular repertoire.

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The journey is the goal

Last week I was working out in a corner of our backyard where I decided to create a meditation garden. The area, which had once been home to a swing set, had become overrun with weeds and was, for the most part, lost space. I came up with the idea for the garden last year when pandemic gave me ample opportunity to work outside.

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The rules we live by

As we round the corner on pandemic and see a faint light at the end of our long Covid tunnel, I’ve found myself stuck—physically, due to some minor injuries and illnesses; mentally, due to months of near-isolation coupled with the long upstate New York winter; spiritually, due to an inability or unwillingness to simply sit with God or at least go through the motions of prayer and hope something sticks.

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Life Lines podcast: grief and grace

After a few months MIA, the Line Lines podcast is back. On the eve of the 33rd anniversary of my mother’s death, I’m talking about grief and grace, sorrow and subconscious memories that wake us up even when we’re unaware. The body, mind and heart remember. Always. Listen here:

For more Life Lines episodes, click HERE.

Responding with heart means jumping in with trust

I love how Peter tends to respond to Jesus with such pure emotion. As in today’s scene, when he leaps out of his boat and races through the water toward Jesus; as on the Mount of the Transfiguration when he wants to erect three tents; as he answers without hesitation that he believes Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God”; as he tries to convince Jesus that his Passion doesn’t need to happen, causing our Lord to say, “Get behind me Satan”; as at the Last Supper when he wants Jesus to wash not only his feet but head and hands; as in the Garden at Gethsemane when he cuts off the ear of a servant; as he warms his hand by the fire and denies even knowing Jesus.

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Getting past the ‘veil’ of judgment

One of the great joys—and occasional challenges—of being a writer is getting letters from readers via email, social media and even snail mail. Those messages often lift my spirits and encourage me to carry on with my writing when everything else tells me it’s time to pack it in. No matter how often I hear from readers, it is always an unexpected gift when I open up my computer and see a note from a stranger who was touched in some way by something I wrote.

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A prayer for bold and wild faith

Happy Easter Tuesday!

In today’s Gospel, we are reminded that Mary of Magdala was the first to witness the Risen Lord, and the first to preach the Good News of the Resurrection. In Mary Magdalene we see a woman who never ran, never wavered; who stood at the foot of the cross when all but one of the Apostles were nowhere to be found; who stood at the tomb when the Apostles thought there was no reason to hope; who stood before the Apostles and preached the impossible to a group of men who thought she was just an emotional woman having a hallucination.

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Manic Monday: Holy Week Edition

It’s been a while since I checked in here on a Monday, so I thought Holy Week would be a good time to do it. I hope you are all healthy and happy and enjoying the occasional bouts of spring — at least here in upstate New York — that give us hope that winter really is going to end, and soon. It feels like a figurative end to winter as well, as more and more folks get their vaccines and the hope of returning to in-person gatherings seems like a not-too-distant reality. I held back on saying a return to “normal,” because I don’t think we should return to normal. I hope and pray that this pandemic has taught us what’s important and what’s unnecessary and what is simply holding us back from true happiness in this life. Let’s not forget the hard lessons we’ve learned over the past year. I say that for myself as much as for anyone else because it’s easy to backtrack and return to old — and not necessarily positive — habits. Path of least resistance and all. So here’s to holding onto the pandemic lessons that opened our eyes and hearts and letting go of the pandemic fears and anxiety. That being said, WEAR A MASK until we are totally out of the woods. On to our Manic Monday rundown…

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Everyday mindfulness for everyone

I was recently asked to give a Zoom presentation on mindfulness for co-workers at the Diocese of Albany’s Pastoral Center. Because, as I’ve been known to say here again and again, mindfulness is not just for Buddhists. I thought other folks might be interested in this brief talk on what mindfulness is and how to weave into everyday life.

Remembering the Sisters who guided me on my path

The editor of the Albany diocesan newspaper came into my office recently and asked if I wanted to share a memory of an experience with a religious sister for National Catholic Sisters Week in March. My knee-jerk reaction was, “I don’t have any memories of religious sisters.” Not having gone to Catholic school, religious sisters were not part of my childhood. But then my mind jumped forward a few years and I said, “Wait. I do have a story.”

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