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12 years and counting…

Today is the 12th anniversary of this blog. I launched it back in 2008 on the Feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of writers, not really knowing what would happen. Back then, I was able to be here daily, sometimes multiple times per day, a luxury I no longer have. I miss being here with you regularly and I do continually hope that I can increase my presence in the future, but I want to thank all of you who continue to visit. Thank you for being patient, for staying with me, and for lifting me up with your comments and emails when I do get around to posting something here.

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We’re celebrating 10 years at NSS!

It was 10 years ago today that I decided to launch this blog on the Feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of communicators. Where has the time gone? Back in those early days, I was blogging every day, sometimes more than once a day. That was before social media had become the norm, and so what today would be a Facebook post was a full-blown blog post back then. Originally, I started the blog as a way to get out there ahead of my 2008 book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Catholic Catechism (Yes, that’s just about 10 years old as well!). But very quickly this blog became a place to explore my spiritual life, share recipes and travel stories, commiserate over my struggles, and post photos and anecdotes from my life as a mom. The blog truly lived up to its name back then. It was NOT strictly spiritual. One day I might post a survey that showed which Disney princess I was or what punctuation mark best suited me. The next day I’d be posting about Thomas Merton. You never knew what you’d get, and that’s what I loved about this space. What I still love about this space. And there were fan favorites as well: Foodie Friday, Manic Monday, Wisdom Wednesday. Read more

Entertaining angels unaware

My latest Life Lines column, running in the current issue of Catholic New York:

I’m not a big believer in coincidence. Rather, I see those unlikely moments and “chance” encounters that cross our paths—and sometimes change our lives—as something much more significant, as the movement of the Spirit. And although the Spirit is always swirling around us, even when we are unaware, when we actively open ourselves up to this grace and holy energy, we can expect the unexpected. Read more

The power of truth

Truth is important to me. I try to speak it here. I try to speak it in my real life. I try to speak it on Facebook. Because, to me, if you ain’t got truth, well, you ain’t got much. But not everybody loves truth, as I often hear via private emails from anonymous strangers, sometimes (but not often, thankfully, because I have great readers) on my blog, and occasionally in comments on my Facebook page. Read more

My blog, my choice. My blog, my choice.

So yesterday I wrote a deeply personal post about my recent spiritual struggles and my feelings of hope upon seeing Pope Francis step onto the balcony. I felt very vulnerable, especially since I spoke about not even being able to pray this Lent. I believe that’s what’s called “putting myself out there.” Read more

Happy Anniversary to me, to us, to NSS

Happy Feast of St. Francis de Sales and Happy Anniversary to Not Strictly Spiritual. It was four years ago today that I decided to launch this blog, choosing the feast of the patron saint of journalists and one of my personal favorites as the perfect day to jump into the wild and wacky world of blogging.

Back in the early days, my blog was housed on my website, which you can see by clicking HERE. Then I moved it over to blogspot. It has ebbed and flowed with my life. When I’m writing books, as I am right now (two of them, in fact), NSS suffers a bit. When I have a little more time, I’m back at the NSS keys. Truth be told, writing on this blog is really one of my favorite “jobs.” I love talking to you and sharing my faith journey — and my recipes and photos.

This anniversary caused me to go back and look at some of my earliest posts, which gave me a good laugh at where I’ve been and a sobering reminder of the places where I haven’t made any progress. We had THIS photo of Chiara at work while I blogged, and THIS post about trying to get through Mass with a cranky toddler (how quickly we forget those days). And then there was THIS post about being “politically homeless,” especially during a presidential election year. It’s deja vu all over again.

Who knows what the next four years will bring? I can guarantee that in the coming months you’ll be hearing about my new books, one from Ave Maria Press and one from Penguin. And I know you’ll get regular updates on my kids, my cooking, my gardening, my travels, and, of course, my spiritual journey, which twists and bends and changes with each passing year. I’m always amazed at where it takes me, where God takes me.

So thank you for joining me here whenever you can. I truly appreciate your friendship and loyalty to this blog, even when I don’t show up for days at a time. And now I thought I’d end this post the same way I ended my very first blog post, with a favorite prayer written by St. Francis de Sales (one I have hanging on my bathroom mirror):

Do not look forward in fear to the changes of life;
rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise,
God, whose very own you are,
will lead you safely through all things;
and when you cannot stand it,
God will carry you in His arms.

Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
the same everlasting Father who cares for you today
will take care of you then and every day.
He will either shield you from suffering,
or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace,
and put aside all anxious thoughts and imagination.

— St. Francis de Sales

Foodie Friday: Go visit these foodie blogs

Today I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite food-related blogs. Go visit these sites and try a recipe or two. You won’t be disappointed: Read more

Come with me if you want to pray

We’re going on a field trip today. Over to Huffington Post, where you’ll find me writing about prayer. Just call me HuffPoust. Why the foray so far afield? Well, HuffPo invited me to write about prayer in connection with my newest book, The Essential Guide to Catholic Prayer and the Mass. So today I’m covering “What’s the Point of Prayer?” I’ll start you off here and let you continue over there:

By Mary DeTurris Poust

Most of us, at one time or another, send up a prayer and hope against hope for the answer we want. And more often than not, we wait and wonder, as we continually check our spiritual inbox for some sort of sign, if perhaps our prayer fell on deaf ears, or on any ears at all. Hello? Is this thing on?

Unfortunately, prayer is not like a gumball machine. We don’t put our prayers in and then wait with cupped hands for the correct response to come pouring out.

Prayer can be a tricky thing, even for those who do it religiously, so to speak. We can get the feeling we’re not doing it right or that we have to be holier in order to pray. Not the case. Blessed Pope John Paul II once said: “How to pray? This is a simple matter. I would say: Pray any way you like so long as you pray.”

So on that note, let’s look at the five most common questions people ask me about prayer:

1. My life is already so jam-packed with responsibilities. How can I add daily prayer to the list?

Prayer is not meant to be a chore and certainly shouldn’t become one more stress. Continue reading HERE.

Catholic bloggers in NY’s Capital Region

The latest issue of The Evangelist, the Diocese of Albany’s weekly newspaper, included a story on local Catholic bloggers, and I was on the list.

Here’s a snippet from the story by Angela Cave:

Among the thousands of Catholic bloggers populating the Internet with thoughts on spirituality, politics and the Church are several well-known residents of the Albany Diocese.

Mary DeTurris Poust is the author of several books on spirituality and a column that appears in two newspapers. A parishioner of St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Delmar, she writes a personal blog called “Not Strictly Spiritual” ( in addition to contributing regularly to Our Sunday Visitor newspaper’s daily blog(

As many as 2,000 people read her posts at Our Sunday Visitor; about 100 follow Not Strictly Spiritual.

“Sometimes, it’s the oddest thing that will catch somebody’s attention,” said Mrs. DeTurris Poust, offering the examples of posts on a religion-themed episode of the “Glee” TV show and on an artsy statue of Blessed Pope John Paul II.

The blogger gets the biggest response when she exposes her vulnerability and helps readers on their own spiritual journeys.

Common topics include hindrances to her spiritual life, reflections on retreats and Bible readings, thoughts about liturgical seasons and an annual post about her miscarriage.

“People want that connection to other people when they’re hurting or going through a rough time,” she said. “I think that’s when my blog is at its best.”

On the other hand, “if you want a pesto recipe, I’ll give you that,” she added.

Some of her posts chronicle the lives of her husband and three children in words and photos, while others dissect the spiritual aspects of ordinary tasks.

One of Mrs. DeTurris Poust’s favorite blog entries explored her quest to survive the chore of doing laundry with a smile on her face, in a show of love for her family.

Yet another sought to find serenity in a bowl of oatmeal: “I want to become more aware of the connection between the fast-paced, non-thinking eating that I do and the fast-paced, non-thinking living that I do — and the praying that I don’t do,” she wrote.

But when she’s not in a “good spiritual place,” she’s honest about it with her readers.

“I certainly don’t want people to get the impression that I’ve got it all figured out,” she told The Evangelist. “I think we forget that, a lot of times — that we’re all out there, we’re all trying to walk this path and we can feel like we’re alone.”

You can read the full story, which includes links to other Capital Region bloggers, by clicking HERE. If you’re curious about some of the Not Strictly Spiritual posts Angela mentions in her story, here are a few links (just click on the title):

Learning to Let Go, Starting with the Laundry

Finding Serenity in a Bowl of Oatmeal

Remembering the Power of One Small Life

Where Am I? Connecting the Spiritual Dots

Angela also mentioned my blogging at OSV Daily Take, which you can find by clicking HERE.