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A Literary Survey

A Literary Survey

I love this kind of post.  (You know that, right?  Because I've totally done it before.  And also here.  And also here, and probably elsewhere!)  This time I stole it from my friend Maggie.  You can read her version here.  (And then read more of her blog because she...

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Evangelization

Evangelization

Marianne Worthington calls him "The Acts Man" in her beautiful poem.  (Stop.  Click the link.  Read the poem.  Come back.)  We called him the Bicycle Preacher.  I've recently been informed that his name was Mr. Wilson. Knoxville was his beat.  Some say they saw him on...

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Good Day Sunshine

I got an award, y'all! This comes courtesy of my friend Elizabeth Flora Ross, who writes at The Writer Revived AND is the founder of The Mom Pledge Blog.  She's an awesome writer and a wonderful mother to her darling four-year-old, and I admire her very much. So I was...

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"The School I Would Run"

"The School I Would Run"

The title is in quotes because I utter that phrase frequently, mostly when complaining about something that has happened in one of my kids' schools or when reading about the latest stupid educational fad.  (I also sometimes say "If I ran the world" but that is another...

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Feminism's Rotten Fruits

Feminism's Rotten Fruits

UPDATE:  I was inspired to repost this by discussion surrounding the Women's March on Washington and by what many referred to as vulgar signs and speeches they saw on the media.  While I understand that many women find such things empowering, I too question whether...

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Letting Go

Letting Go

"Is there anything to eat?" I think that's maybe what I'll miss the most--my hungry boy saying those words to me, in person or on the phone, usually multiple times on any given day.  I almost cried this weekend watching him fight his way through the mob in the...

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Pretty Pretty Princess

Pretty Pretty Princess

So it seems like everywhere I look lately I see articles about what not to say to your little girls.  Don't mention that you have issues with your weight.  Don't tell them they are pretty.  And for God's sake, don't call them Princess. (Disclaimer:  I am not...

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25 Reasons to Love Knoxville UPDATED

25 Reasons to Love Knoxville UPDATED

It's no secret to anyone who knows me that I love my hometown.  Five years away for college and my first year of marriage was enough for me and I don't ever want to live anywhere else. I could list dozens of reasons for my love of Knoxville.  But that's not the...

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Summertime and the Living Is Easy

Summertime and the Living Is Easy

Summer time and the living is easy . . . Right?  That’s what we are led to believe, anyway.  That’s the ideal. My childhood memories paint summer in almost unbelievably idyllic hues.  We slept late.  Swam every day.  Came home wet and starving into the frigid...

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Drained

It' no news to me that my stats for this thing are way, way down.  And it's no wonder, given the irregularity and infrequency of posts here lately. Now I knew I wouldn't be able to post much during the craziness that was most of April and all of May.   But I kind of...

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Going Home Part II

Going Home Part II

We had a big morning planned (two lectures and a tour) but we kind of forgot about it and slept in instead.  We had to take a cab to make it to Georgetown in time for the Family Picnic (which we would totally have bagged too except we had already paid for it).  The...

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Going Home

Going Home

So this is where I am today! Twenty-five years ago (yes, that does constitute an actual lifetime!) John graduated from Georgetown University, and we are here for his Reunion.  (He's older than me.  We just won't discuss when my 25-year Reunion will be.  Until I blog...

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Dear Mom in the Pew

Dear Mom in the Pew

Dear Mom in the Pew in Front of Me, the One with the Rowdy Kids: No, I am not going to write about how much your kids disturb me during Mass.  I'm not going to suggest that you take them to the nursery (we don't have one anyway!) or sit with them in the cry room or...

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Ending Child Abuse

My sweet friend Maggie is a wonderful writer and she has a big heart as well.  She's blogging today on her fundraising efforts for child abuse prevention via Childhelp.  Will you take a minute to visit her site and consider making a donation?  And while you are there,...

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An Embarrassment of Riches?

Most of the time five kids doesn't seem like a lot to me, it just seems normal.  I can blithely respond to that ubiquitous comment, "I don't know how you do it!" with "Oh, after three it's not any harder, just louder," and mostly mean it. But there are times when I...

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I'm Lovin' It

Here's a new way to find me, folks!  And it's a great and easy way to follow other blogs you like.  Check it out.  Bloglovin' is very simple to set up. <a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/5419853/?claim=jqb64exnej5">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a> I'm...

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Prejudice Hurts

I know how I lucky I am to live in a country where my freedom to worship however I wish is guaranteed.  I take that for granted and I find it hard to realize that people are still persecuted to the point of death for their beliefs in other parts of the world even...

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It's a Great Time to Be Catholic!

It's a Great Time to Be Catholic!

So, I'm thinking now's a good time to be getting all Catholic on the blog because HABEMUS PAPAM, y'all!  This doesn't happen every day--I mean, this is only the fourth time it's happened in my whole life (which is edging ever closer toward the--gasp--half-century...

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48 Questions (and the answers too!)

Last week I was too busy LIVING my life to write about it!  And this week I'm playing catch up from last week.  So here's a self-indulgent, quickie post, inspired by my friend Elizabeth, to get me back to blogging.   1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?Yes.  My first...

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Sanctuary Redux

I promised a while back I would post pictures of my new bedroom furniture once it was in place but then Christmas came and you know how that goes.  Anyway, the lighting in my room is not the best but you can get a decent idea in the pictures below: There's a cedar...

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Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning

Winter cleaning doesn't sound right, and actually it was fall when we did it, but we (mostly me) thoroughly cleaned out our garage a couple of weekends ago in preparation for the arrival of the contents of Grandma's house. [Update:  And I will be doing it again this...

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Some Things Don't Make Sense

Some Things Don't Make Sense

Terrible things evoke many responses:  tears; prayers; the urge to hide, to sleep, not to read or look or hear any more, or even to obsessively read and watch and learn everything about what happened; and, for writers, to write.  You wonder if maybe you shouldn't....

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Embracing Change

I don't like change.  I never have liked change, and anyone who knows me well knows this about me.  Now I would assume that it would be hard on ANYONE to lose every single personal possession to fire, to have to move into a new house with all new things in it, but...

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The Best Laid Plans . . .

So the past few days have been an exercise in stress (not that I needed any more exercise in that area), endurance, and the necessity of flexibility.  I guess it all started around midnight on Thursday . . . Many of you will remember that John's grandmother died last...

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More Advent Memories . . .

. . . but not here!  I'm guest posting today at Living on Love, as part of Lacy's marvelous series on Advent.  Please go check out my post, and once you're there look around the rest of the blog.  Lacy's a young mother who writes thoughtfully about motherhood,...

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Countdown to Christmas

Countdown to Christmas

That's what they call some of the calendars in stores this time of year, and it irritates me.  Of course, Advent doesn't always correspond exactly to the dates on the calendar, but it's an Advent Calendar all the same! I remember the first one I ever had--a Nativity...

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Signs of the Season II

And one last link on the Advent Workshop, this one from the Knoxville News Sentinel.  William was quoted in this story!  Can you tell I really, really liked the Advent Workshop?  So much so that I never missed one, even though one year that meant I showed up with a...

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One Year Later

Last year getting ready for Christmas was . . . strange.  And maybe I will write more about that letter.  But reading this guest post I did last year brings it all back.  Go read it while you are waiting for new content!  

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I Took a Little Break . . .

. . . because NaBloPoMo is over, and I did it!  One post every day for a month.  Now it turns out they have a monthly version of it now, and maybe it will be a good thing to do in January, but December is busy enough. I'm going to start off the month, though, with a...

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Serendipity in the Kitchen

I rarely use recipes, certainly not for everyday foods.  I like to think of my own mind as a sort of cookbook, capable of synthesizing ingredients into masterpieces.  I'm not sure if that's a special talent or something that can be learned from years of cooking, maybe...

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Temptations

People waste time at the office--we all know that.  They hang out at the water cooler, take long smoke breaks, sneak onto Facebook and email when no one is watching. Working at home comes with its own set of time-wasting temptations. Particularly when I had no one to...

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Fire or Ice?

Fire or Ice?

Fire and Ice Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I've tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice.     -  ...

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Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On

I've written before about my anxiety dreams.  Last night I had a doozy. I dreamt that I suddenly realized that I was enrolled in college and that my life had become so complicated that I had simply forgotten all about attending classes for some weeks.  I remember...

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So This Is Christmas

Except it isn't, not really.  It isn't even Advent yet.  Once upon a time I might have complained about the onslaught of Christmas when Thanksgiving is barely over, but no more.  I used up all my indignation fussing about people putting up decorations right after...

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The Best Turkey I Ever Made

The Best Turkey I Ever Made

I don't know about you, but I always get nervous about roasting the Thanksgiving turkey.  It's such a big responsibility.  If your casserole doesn't turn out exactly right, so what?  There are about 100 more casseroles on the table.  But if the turkey is bad?  That's...

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Busy Busy Busy

Y'all, that's only a little of what I've been up to today. If you're hosting a dinner tomorrow you've probably been doing the same. It's almost midnight and I've just had to send my kids out for things I forgot, I'm toasting pecans, and I'm desperately trying to thaw...

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Let the Preparations Begin!

That's my counter, waiting for tomorrow.  We are hosting Thanksgiving for the first time in several years, and I expect to be cooking all day.  I hope to have only the turkey to deal with on Thursday. When I was growing up, Thanksgiving was so comforting, following...

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Conviction about Things We Do Not See

So yesterday I posted a picture of the slate I got from my church roof, and my sister thought she saw a face in it.  Please don't think I'm attributing miraculous intervention into this and I'm not going to offer my slate for sale on ebay, but I still think it's a...

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Southern Vocabulary: Useful Words

“It's impossible to explain to a Yankee what `tacky' is. They simply have no word for it up north, but my God, do they ever need one.”                                   -- from The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy I think that "tacky" may be universally understood by...

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If This Stone Could Shout!

Can you guess what this is?  If you were at Immaculate Conception Church this morning you probably can, but I'm guessing everyone else is going to be puzzled. It's slate.  A slate roof tile from the church, as a matter of fact.  With a new roof being installed, some...

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Unburdened

I made my First Confession at Holy Ghost Church, back when I was seven, in the good old anonymous darkened confessional.  Every three months thereafter, Father Henkel and his current associate pastor would appear at St. Joseph School and we would be told that today we...

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Haunted House of Dreams?

So far I have posted every day in November and have had no difficulty finding inspiration.  Truth be told, I have whole pages of ideas for blog posts, and new ones float in and out of my head all day every day!  Some I remember and some I forget; some I scrawl down...

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I Will Keep Sunday Holy

Second grade is a big year for Catholic children.  Lorelei and her classmates will prepare all year for First Communion, and this Saturday they will participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time.  Lorelei has said the Act of Contrition about 10,000...

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Tripping

Field tripping, that is. Today was the day Lorelei and the other second graders had been longing for and talking about for WEEKS.  (These little kids get so worked up over things that they are bouncing off the walls DAYS in advance.) Finally, they were going on their...

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Debauchery

I knew something was up when I heard the front door open this morning before I even went downstairs.  But I have a secret weapon:  thanks to our security system and the wonders of the iPhone, I can look on my phone and instantly know every time the door has opened in...

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I'm Cooking Again

Actually, I am always cooking, or at least I am always feeding people.  With six people in the house, all on different schedules, someone is always hungry, and sometimes I feel like a short order cook. And we run out of groceries around here so quick that you probably...

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Pumpkins Pumpkins Everywhere!

Yes, it's that time of year--or really, it's slightly after that time of year, since I couldn't find a carving-sized pumpkin for love or money the night before Halloween, which is when I attempted to buy them.  But that meant I ended up with several smaller ones...

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It's Just Not Fun Anymore

It's Just Not Fun Anymore

The last few days before Election Day, my Facebook newsfeed was jammed with posts and memes indicating how tired everyone was of the campaign.  One little girl was famously moved to tears over the whole thing, and I think I know how she felt. Constant negativity IS...

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NaBloPoMo

So I just heard about this--I mean, really, like just now, with less than 20 minutes to go in the first day!  And I think it's a great idea, since I've been terrible about blogging lately--as much as I want to--and clearly I need some outside motivation. But with only...

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Praying with Facebook

Praying with Facebook

Facebook is a lot of things to a lot of people.  It has the power to unite and to divide, to heal and to injure.  It sounds ridiculous, no doubt, to non-users, but its effect on my life has been profound.  But one of its most surprising and beneficial effects has been...

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The Things That Really Matter

The Things That Really Matter

Closet space.  Is there ever enough of it?  There were next to no closets in our Victorian house.  We purchased three armoires from Myrtle's Mess for the bedrooms, and crammed them so full the doors would barely close. (John's enormous oak armoire is one of three...

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Standing outside the Fire

I've written this post in my head dozens of times, each one different.  It's an anniversary, and I knew I should--that I wanted to, NEEDED to--commemorate it in some way.  But should I talk about what I've learned?  The good things it brought about? Just start off...

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Training the Mind

Training the Mind

"A liberal education is at the heart of a civil society, and at the heart of a liberal education is the act of teaching." ~ A. Bartlett Giamatti  I am a BIG believer in Liberal Arts education.   I majored in English at Georgetown University, and rather obviously I did...

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Hey It's Good to Be Back Home Again . . .

Hey It's Good to Be Back Home Again . . .

. . . after ten days away! (about which much more later, I hope!) The last time we went to Baltimore, our house burned down.  So I think we were all a little nervous and were happy to come home to this: Two of three kitties have yet to put in an appearance, though, so...

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Thank Heaven for Little Girls

I love sharing pictures of my new house with you and I hope you like seeing how far we've come since September.  The reason these postings are few and far between is that the rooms have to be clean before I photograph them (got to keep it Pinterest safe!). Today's...

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Things I Am Afraid to Tell You

If you are a blogger, or if you follow a lot of blogs, you probably know about this already.  One blogger's courageous admission that there was more to her than what she shared every day on her blog led to a movement.  The theory is that we can all be brave together...

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55 Reading Questions

55 Reading Questions

I have a Tumblr, which you can find here.  I don't do much with it; I think I'm not really in the demographic it's meant for, but I signed up so I could see what my daughter posts.  And recently I happened upon this list of questions from timaspublishing via...

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Chips off the Old Block

More on the topic of when your kids are like you . . . I really should have taken a picture, even though all you would have seen was the backs of their heads. The other night ALL FIVE of our kids (Emily being home from college for the summer already!) were lounging...

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I Hear America Crying

I Hear America Crying

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear; Those of mechanics—each one singing his, as it should be, blithe and strong; The carpenter singing his, as he measures his plank or beam, The mason singing his, as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work; The...

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The Future Is in Her Hands

The Future Is in Her Hands

I recently wrote about how cool it is when your kid is good at something that you aren't able to do at all.  But how about when your kid is BETTER than you at something you are pretty good at? 🙂 My family are writers from way back.  My mother has a journalism...

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A Breath of Smoke and Ashes

It's there every time I go into the garage.  The smell of fire.  It's there, and then I'm here: That's not a place I really like to be, figuratively or otherwise.  In fact, it's become a bit of a thing:  I don't drive down that part of Northshore any more, no matter...

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Feed the Dog and Get the Girl

A couple of days ago I encountered the following link on a friend's Facebook Wall.  Christi has a knack for getting good conversations started on her Wall (or now I guess I have to sadly say Timeline) and this was no exception. Go read it or what I'm going to write...

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Easter Blessings

Easter Blessings

As I've written before, I love Easter.  It's my favorite holiday. This Easter felt like even a bigger deal than usual to me.  For one thing, all holidays post-fire feel like milestones.  I know what happened to us doesn't compare to a death in the family, but things...

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What Mothers Do

I've got five kids and I've been a mother for over 21 years.  I find that my "mothering urges" sort of spread themselves over whatever children happen to be around me.  When my kids have friends over, I'm all "sweetheart" and "honey" at them.  I feed them.  I feel...

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What Is the Mass For?

Today is Holy Thursday, the day of Holy Week on which we remember that Last Supper Jesus shared with his Apostles, the birthday, as it were, of the Mass itself. We'll hear the story tonight at church, and some of us will have our feet washed in commemoration of Jesus'...

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