A few years ago, I was asked to write an essay for the Soul Seeing column that appears regularly in the National Catholic Reporter. That essay turned into a moment for me. What started as an assignment, became a journey, as is so often the case. The essay I turned in back in 2014 was the first in which I explored in writing my lifelong habit of collecting broken sea shells and looked at it from a spiritual perspective. That original essay grew into more writings on the topic and, eventually, into a retreat day I offer: “Broken, Beautiful, and Beloved: Learning to See Ourselves through God’s Eyes.”
Now my original essay is part of this wonderful collection from Orbis Books. I am so honored to have my writing included alongside that of spiritual writers such as James Martin, Richard Rohr, Joyce Rupp, Brian Doyle, and so many others. A special word of thanks to Mike Leach, publisher emeritus of Orbis Books and creator of Soul Seeing, for asking me to write that first essay and for inviting me to be part of this book. It’s a lovely collection, something that would make the perfect Christmas gift for anyone who’s traveling the spiritual path and looking for a little nourishment along the way.
You can order Soul Seeing directly from Orbis Books or Amazon. You’ll find me on page 179 under the title “Brokenness Lets Us See Where True Beauty Lies.”
I’ve been in desperate need of some grace these days. So much so, that I pulled a tarnished silver necklace bearing the word “GRACE” out of my jewelry box and looked up a DIY silver cleaning recipe that verged on chemistry experiment to polish it up. It was as if that tangible, visible sign of grace hanging from around my neck might get me the real deal, or at least a little closer to it. Read more
Yesterday I was doing one of my regular appearances on the Morning Air Show on Relevant Radio and was scheduled to talk about Valentine’s Day, marriage, and true love, when a surprise “mystery caller” phoned in and asked me to be his Valentine. If you go to the 29-minute mark on the recording below, you’ll be able to hear the 30-minute spontaneous segment Dennis and I did with host John Harper. So much fun. Plus I got a Valentine’s dinner date out of it!
P.S. The photo to the left is actually our own love lock. (Ours is the small one in the center.) You can find it locked to the stair railing in the tunnel leading up to St. Peter in Chains in Rome. I’m happy to take you there to see it.
So everyone is talking about romance and love as Valentine’s Day approaches, but what about the other 364 days a year? Are we making time for romance — or at least the occasional night out without the kids — in our marriage on a regular basis? In honor of this holiday (which I don’t particularly like, by the way), here’s a column I wrote in the spring (obvious by the fact that there is no picnicking in Albany at this time of year!). It seemed like a good day to share it again. Here you go. And Happy Valentine’s Day!
Prescription for a better marriage? Start dating.
About eight or nine years ago, my aunt gave me a lovely picnic basket backpack, complete with cloth napkins, plastic wine glasses, everything you’d need for a romantic al fresco meal in a park or on a beach. And every year since then I have considered donating it to a school garage sale because, quite frankly, romantic picnics just weren’t on our “to do” list.
But something stopped me from throwing that backpack into the Hefty bags along with old puzzles and board games bound for the bargain bin. I had a tiny glimmer of hope that some day we would dust off that backpack and take it for a spin. Read more
It’s not too late! If you start right now, you and your spouse can participate in a virtual seven-day marriage retreat that will take you right up to Valentine’s Day. Well, technically it will take you to Friday the 13th, but let’s not go there. Read more
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
Marriage is hard, even under the best of circumstances. Add in some problems, and marriage can feel beyond hard, maybe impossible, as evidenced by the soaring divorce rate. But marriage is also beautiful, a calling to go beyond yourself, if it’s done right. Read more
Happy anniversary to us, Dennis Poust, even if we have to celebrate apart for the first time in our 19 years of marriage. We’ll make up for it when you get back from Roma.
For the NSS readers out there, I did not toast our anniversary by myself, as the photo to the left might imply. Dennis bought me a dozen roses and we popped a bottle of Prosecco before he left for Italy. The benefit of being apart for our anniversary? We get to have a pre-anniversary celebration and a post-anniversary celebration. We spent the before celebration at The Merry Monk pub in Albany, and we plan to spend our post-celebration at the slinky, sexy Speakeasy, also in downtown Albany. Read more