What I Read: Halfway Through 2020

Please note: I have intentionally decided not to include Amazon links (unless something is available exclusively on Amazon). Instead, if you are interested in reading any of the books I mention, I encourage you to check out your local library or independent bookstore. These places (and the communities around them) need your support, and they are generally quite willing to order any book if they don’t currently have it in stock. However, if Amazon is still the more practical choice…

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Common Men and Women

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte I love to read about the lives of different saints and to see the great variety of people that God has loved and called to serve Him – from the battle-tested St. Joan of Arc to the “Little Way” of St. Therese of Lisieux to the humble yet famous St. Teresa of Calcutta, and from the vibrant St. Francis of Assisi to the studious St. Thomas Aquinas…

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Bird by Bird – Tips for Life

One of my favorite books on writing is Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. This was one of the first books about writing that I ever read, probably in my early teens, and it was only when I re-read it in the last year or so that I realized how much the advice in this book has shaped not only my writing but also how I approach life. Lamott is not just a writer but also teaches writing professionally, and much…

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Julian of Norwich’s Revelations of Divine Love

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte Sometimes the right book finds you just when you need it the most. I had not heard of Julian of Norwich before this past year, when her book “Revelations of Divine Love” was assigned for the Well-Read Mom book club, a national community with small groups all over the country (wellreadmom.com.) While I am not a mom myself, the ladies of the local group warmly welcomed me…

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Isolation Update: Just Us Chickens

Things are actually starting to feel a little less isolated lately, as I have (safely and cautiously) been able to start visiting with some folks again. Because I already worked from home, it’s true that the quarantine really hasn’t changed all that much in my life, but it’s certainly nice to have some face-to-face interaction with people again. From the Homestead My new chickens are nearly big enough to go outside full-time. Which is pretty exciting, since they have been…

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A Food Lover’s Thoughts on Fasting and Feasting

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte The Lord truly invited us to enter fully into the desert this Lent. And perhaps it has been a consoling blessing that this crisis happened when it did, right as we entered into this penitential season. Hopefully it has been an opportunity to deepen our prayer lives, reflecting more fully on the Lenten fasts we had already chosen to adopt. In modern rhetoric, fasting can refer to…

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Isolation Update: Art During Crisis

The last few weeks I have been making some serious headway on my novel-in-progress, and it’s felt pretty good. But in those last few weeks I have also had a few emotional mini-crises while reading the news and thinking about the state of the world and what the future might look like, and I have had to stop and ask myself, “What’s the point? Should I really be spending my time working on a silly novel right now? Should I…

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Shakespeare: A dip into the Histories

It’s my tradition to spend the month of April focused on the works of William Shakespeare, though this usually means just watching various movie adaptations of the plays. Why April? Mostly because this was the month that the Bard was born and later died. I find it helpful to have specific times during the year to focus on little traditions like this. Otherwise, it can be easy to put things off, saying that you will get to them some time…

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Isolation Update: I Might be a Disney Princess

So, the highlight of my week definitely came yesterday, when I was able to save this sweet chickadee from being toyed with by one of my cats. Now, to be fair, my cats are not exceptionally fierce, being well-fed house cats, and don’t exactly have killer instincts. But they do like to play. When I saw one of the cats out in the yard, clearly engrossed with something, I went over to investigate and found this stunned little chickadee on…

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Reset

It’s hard to know what to write about right now. Everything feels uncertain and we are all struggling to find new routines, a new normal for our lives. I’ve been managing to avoid the majority of the main stream news and the hysteria contained therein, but I’ve stayed informed enough to know that these are serious times that we are living in and life will most likely look very different even once we are past the worst. For me, the…

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