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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

Happy anniversary to me and my blog

It was nine years ago today that I launched this blog. Although it looked very different when it started out and I posted much more frequently, the overall style and substance of Not Strictly Spiritual have remained the same. I have shared my struggles, my stories, my opinions, and quite a few recipes, covering everything from the ridiculous to the sublime. Thank you to all of you who have visited this site over the years, especially those of you who come back time and again. Even if we have never met in person, you are special to me, and I am grateful. Read more

Some advice never gets old

Whenever I give my retreat talk titled “Broken, Beautiful, and Beloved: Learning to See Ourselves through God’s Eyes” (last weekend, for example), I quote St. Francis de Sales twice. Actually, I quote St. Francis de Sales a lot in my life — in posts, in books, in columns, in workshops, but in this particular talk I quote him twice. This 17th century bishop had so much to say that remains incredibly relevant to our 21st century lives. Read more

Wisdom Wednesday: Do not lose your inner peace.

About five for six years ago, I kept bumping into St. Francis de Sales. He seemed to show up at every turn in my reading and writing. That’s when I first discovered his beautiful reflections on spiritual friendship, which prompted me to write Walking Together: Discovering the Catholic Tradition of Spiritual Friendship (Ave Maria Press). What I love about St. Francis is the fact that this 17th-century bishop’s writings could be so relevant to our world today, not just the writings on friendship but on just about everything. Like the Wisdom Wednesday quote below. There’s lots more where this came from:

Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset. — Saint Francis de Sales

Six years and counting here at Not Strictly Spiritual

Happy Feast of St. Francis de Sales and Happy Anniversary to Not Strictly Spiritual. It was six 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. Read more

Holy Trinity as model of spiritual friendship

On this Feast of the Holy Trinity, I thought I’d share this excerpt on the ways the Father-Son-Spirit model for us what spiritual friendship and right relationship are all about. This is from Walking Together: Discovering the Catholic Tradition of Spiritual FriendshipRead more

Striving for a new kind of perfect

“Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly.” — St. Francis de Sales

When I look at the magnificence of the delicate monarch butterfly above and read the wisdom of one of my favorite great saints, my first reaction is: “Easy for you to say.” They’re already pretty close to perfect by any objective standards, so they’ve got some nerve implying that little old perpetually imperfect me can do the same. But they weren’t always perfect, were they? Read more

‘Never be in a hurry…’

Many of you know that I am a huge St. Francis de Sales fan. I am continually amazed by the way this 17th century bishop speaks so profoundly and relevantly to our modern times. I thought I’d share a quote that speaks to me in a particular way these days.

Ponder these words:

“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” — St. Francis de Sales


Now, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and simply be for just two minutes. It will bring a sense of calm to whatever it is you’re doing right now.