It’s the End of the Year As We Know It

Happy last day of the liturgical year! It’s the end of Ordinary Time and tomorrow is the first day of Advent, the beginning of the liturgical year. I love how last Sunday, Christ the King, Lord of the Universe, is followed by Thanksgiving, and then we have a completely fresh start where we anticipate the birth of the One who makes all things new.

Advent is a wonderful season of anticipation, reflection, and preparation. We anticipate Our Lord Jesus Christ’s nativity and His second coming, reflect on how we can live more for Him who has given everything for us, and prepare to give more of ourselves to Him in this new liturgical year. It’s also a season of light penance in which we can perhaps choose to fast–e.g., from things that aren’t serving us well (like maybe our social media use)–and do works of charity for both those we don’t know and those we do.

Most of all, Advent is a season of love. Without God’s loving us before we could love Him back–kicking off the grand story of salvation history–he created us out of love, for love. The birth of Christ is the most important event in history and so it is salutary that we give more than just one day of our year–liturgical or cultural–to pondering on His coming, both then, now in the mass, and once again when the end of earthly time has come.

So, let us both somberly and joyfully prepare a special place in our hearts for this stellar event by taking some time to reflect on what He has done for us in His Incarnation, what He is doing for us daily, and what He will do for us in eternity. Maranatha!

A Prayer for Election Day

This is a rerun from six years ago. It seems even more relevant today.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Thomas Merton

Doing the Right Thing: A Birthday Tribute

Over a decade ago while perusing a journal I keep of favorite things read I found the following wisdom written by my dear departed friend and mentor Norma, whose birthday was October 7th and who received her heavenly promotion 17 years ago. I feel as close to her as ever as spiritual friendships are for eternity and thankfully not limited by either time or space; after all, “I believe in…the communion of saints.” It was good to be reminded of this advice on each occasion when I heard it–whether for my encouragement (usually) or her own–especially as she lived it out before my eyes during some extremely difficult times in her life. I hope it will encourage you as well!

“It’s always harder to do the right thing vs. the easy thing but it’s worth it in the end.”

The virtue of prudence–“right reason applied to action” (ST.II-II.47.2)–allows one to act rightly in any given situation, and that was Norma to a “T.” Happy Birthday, Norma, and thank you for praying for those of us who are struggling to live out this virtue as well as you did.

–Norma Lindquist, gone to be with God on September 1, 2005

The Power of Three

Here’s a timely reminder for myself from my favorite Elizabeth Goudge novel; maybe it will encourage you as well. One of the book’s highlights is a set of simple prayers shared by an aged Anglican vicar to a young woman who struggled with a lifelong ailment that looks strikingly like bipolar disorder. She certainly had a mood disorder that caused devastating periods of not being able to function as usual that caused some of her family to think she was “mad.” This dear woman received life-sustaining words from the vicar and I have found them to be both a lifeline and a balm when I struggle myself.

“My dear, he said, love, your God, is a Trinity. There are three necessary prayers and they have three words each. They are these,

‘Lord, have mercy.

Thee I adore.

Into thy hands.’

Not difficult to remember. If in times of distress you hold to these you will do well.”

Later the young woman, Mary, writes in her diary:

“I shall live and die here. Perhaps I shall never be well but this place will give me periods of respite that I would not have found in any other, and though I am able to do nothing else in this life, except only seek, my life seeming to others a vie manquee, yet it will not be so, because what I seek is the goodness of God that waters the dry places. And water overflows from one dry patch to another, and so you cannot be selfish in digging for it. I did not know any of this when I began this diary and I don’t know how I know it now. Perhaps it has something to do with the old man.”

 “For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease. Though its root grow old in the earth, and its stump die in the ground, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth branches like a young plant.

Job 14:7-9

The Scent of Water, Elizabeth Goudge

May we find periods of respite as we seek our eternal destination in this earthly journey. We all struggle with something.

Of blocks and blankets

Isaac Asimov said, “Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.” I’ve always liked that quote and thought I could relate to it. But not today! This morning I started my new attempt at a weekly blog post and it didn’t write itself like they usually have done over the past decade or so. At some point I realized it was going to be me telling a story, and I’m not a good storyteller (too many rabbit trails!). So, I find myself once again sleep deprived, on medication changes, and otherwise experiencing just plain old writer’s block. It seemed this weekend would be without a post until I remembered that, of course, you can just tell your readers what’s going on–and so I am!

Since I always have something I’m jazzed about I’ll leave you this week with a resource to ponder pursuing if you or someone you know has anxiety, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, bipolar disorder, depression, sensory processing issues, sleep issues, stress (who doesn’t?!) or a host of other conditions that would benefit from a weighted blanket. You’ve probably heard about them by now if you are neurodivergent or have someone in your life who is (again, who doesn’t?!) because they are so helpful to many of us with aneurotypical brains. My weighted blanket helps me the most with anxiety and relaxation–I’m one seriously uptight chick, after all, according to a source near and dear to me<g>–and has been a godsend for the past few years.

If you haven’t seen these already you can always do an online search. Mine happens to be a Mosaic weighted blanket–thanks to the generosity of family members (as they’re not inexpensive but they are extremely well made and allow you to get the amount of pressure your nervous system benefits from based on your size)–but apparently there’s utility to be found in a wide variety of weighted blankets. Their website is a good source of information on weighted blankets in general and will get you started thinking about whether investing in one might be useful for you.

Okay, now that I’ve shared that tidbit about myself and am relieved to see neither my brain nor fingers are totally broken, I’m going to go curl up on the recliner under my weighted blankie. Until next time, keep being you very well!


From a decade ago…a timeless reminder!

God remains in you in order to hold you up.

You remain in God in order not to fall.

–St. Bede the Venerable

Good words we all need to hear (or at least I do)…and pretty much all the time!

Stumbling Forward

Thank you, gentle reader, for turning your eyes to this blog. If this is your first visit here–welcome! This weekend’s post almost didn’t happen because of severe sleep deprivation and that’s not conducive to thinking clearly, much less writing well. But then I remembered the encouraging words I received last weekend when rebooting the blog, that I keep publishing my scribblings–and so here I am, scribbling away!

This blog has always been an outlet for the jumble of thoughts from my aneurotypical brain, often focusing on snippets of encouragement from my faith journey. As a close friend knows, I consider everything “on topic”–which is just another way of saying my brain finds so much of the world fascinating that it’s hard not to get caught up in the latest “bee in my bonnet,” as my dear husband so sweetly put it early in our married life. My journal contains the stream-of-consciousness stuff that I feel compelled to put down; my blog is more of an effort to selectively share what I am learning about neurodivergent living (known or unaware, disclosed or not, believed or disbelieved), as well as living with chronic physical conditions–and the occasional poem to placate a family member who thinks my infrequent scribblings of this sort worth sharing.

On sleepy weekends like these, or possibly at other times when I feel led to do so, I will share a rerun of a post from the past decade of blogging–primarily to jog my memory with something I felt was helpful at the time but also to hopefully allow you to be encouraged or informed as well. Having said that, let’s see what I dig up!

What Happened to the Blog?

So some of you may wonder what happened to my blogging after the pandemic started and I decided to reboot it. Well, the answer is that our beloved Basenji developed kidney failure and other age-related health problems and in much too short a span of time we had to say goodbye to my precious Piggly (otherwise known as Rascal). That put me into a new level of depression and ramped up my anxiety so much that writer’s block ensued.

As time stretched on with the pandemic and I had to self-quarantine due to being high-risk, I became socially isolated and this definitely did nothing to improve my mental health. A decline in mental health equals a decline in my writing, unfortunately for me. So I blogged in my head, more or less, or at the very least thought of blog fodder and got frustrated because I had severe writer’s block most of the past year and a half.

Next week I’ll ask my therapist to help me with this issue. I’m pretty sure I know at least one thing she’ll tell me to do and that I have already begun doing (again) recently–viz., keeping a daily journal. You’d think for someone who loves to write that I’d be able to journal regardless of my mental health but that is not the case for me. I think of so many favorite authors who struggled with depression, anxiety, manic-depression (bipolar disorder) and wonder how they were able to keep on keeping on? Must look into that more…

Anyway, when I’m depressed my limits include not having the energy to journal (or so I tell myself…I’m learning even a paragraph can be helpful). When I’m more anxious than usual I am the worst possible version of my recovering perfectionist self and can hardly stand to put words on the page, even though I have the energy. When I’m ramped up, well, that’s when most of my writing–and other forms of creativity–has occurred over the past eleven years of blogging (accompanied by waking up and eventually having to get up at unreasonably early hours to write, which then throws off my circadian rhythms which are already precarious because of my health issues).

So it’s a weird situation because when I’m experiencing mental stability I have to give increased attention to all the other parts of my life that I try desperately not to let slip through the cracks when I’m not doing as well and therefore it is my least productive writing time. I don’t know what that says about me as I’m always striving to do the things that encourage stability and you’d think a regular writing practice would surely bolster that. Whatever the case, it just feels good to be back in the saddle again, even if it’s only weekly. For those of you who have asked about the blog and encouraged me to reboot it, thank you for wanting to read more of my scribblings. It’s good to be back.

Music for Holy Week & Eastertide

A rerun for those of you who like music therapy during the Triduum and Easter season. I originally posted this six years ago so feel free to add more recent offerings and personal favorites in the comments.

Good Friday:

Traditional hymns: “O Sacred Head Now Wounded,” “At the Cross Her Station Keeping,” “The Old Rugged Cross,” and “Were You There?”

Bach’s St. Matthew Passion or St. John Passion

Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri

Contemporary: Matt Maher’s “You Were on the Cross,” “Jars of Clay’s “O Come and Mourn With Me Awhile,” and Bruce Carroll’s “Driving Nails”

Holy Saturday/Easter Sunday:

Contemporary: Carman’s “Sunday’s On Its Way”–and for the young at heart, here’s a fun video:

Easter Sunday/Easter Season:

Traditional hymns: “Christ Arose”, “Jesus Christ is Risen Today”, “Alleluia! Alleluia!” [Ode to Joy tune]

Classical: Bach’s Easter Oratorio & Widor’s Toccata from the Fifth Organ Symphony in F, Op 42 #1–Here’s a wonderful performance:

Contemporary anthem: Matt Maher’s “Christ is Risen.” Here’s a nice concept video done by a fan:

Contemporary hymn: “Easter Song” (Keith Green performance, although the 2nd Chapter of Acts is good, too)

Vintage anthems: James Ward’s “Death is Ended,” Don Francisco’s “He’s Alive,” and Dallas Holm’s “Rise Again”

Finally, I would be remiss to not include at least a few other year-round favorites that come to mind about the grace of God at work in our lives:

Bach’s Halellujah Chorus

U2’s “Magnificent”

Cat Steven’s version of Eleanor Farjeon’s “Morning Has Broken”

Johnny Cash’s “When The Man Comes Around”

Randy Travis’ “Three Wooden Crosses”

Any musical setting and/or performer for “Ave Maria,” although I’m especially fond of Andrea Bocelli and Perry Como’s versions.

The Bible in a Year Podcast

Are you wanting to soak in more of God’s Word? Do you find yourself planning to spend more time with Scripture but then it doesn’t happen? Are you an auditory learner? Or perhaps you’re just not big on reading? Did you plan to finally read the Bible through in a year but fall off the wagon? If you answered yes to any of these questions or are just curious…read on!

Fr. Mike Schmitz, known to many through the Ascension Presents YouTube channel, has got, in my opinion, the greatest Scripture tool going this year and the best thing is you don’t have to have started on January 1st. You can jump in at any point with Day 1. Also, he’s very realistic about people falling off the wagon–been there, done that–and is extremely encouraging about just picking back up where you were and proceeding forward at your own pace. Such grace!

Anyway, here’s more about its unique approach to reading through the Bible in a year from one of the podcasting platforms where you can listen to it; it’s available wherever you normally listen as well (e.g., Apple Podcasts app).

About The Bible in a Year (with Fr. Mike Schmitz)

In The Bible in a Year podcast, Fr. Mike Schmitz walks you through the entire Bible in 365 episodes, providing commentary, reflection, and prayer along the way.

Unlike any other Bible podcast, Ascension’s Bible in a Year podcast follows a reading plan inspired by The Great Adventure Bible Timeline, a ground-breaking approach to understanding salvation history developed by renowned Catholic Bible scholar Jeff Cavins. For each period in the timeline, Jeff will join Fr. Mike for a special episode that will help you understand the context of each reading.

With this podcast, you won’t just read the Bible in a year … you’ll finally understand how all the pieces of the Bible fit together to tell an amazing story that continues in your life today!

Listen and…

  1. Read the ENTIRE Bible
  2. Feel more confident about your understanding of Scripture
  3. Experience the transformative power of God’s Word in your daily life
  4. Start seeing the world through the lens of Scripture

Each 20-25 minute episode includes:

Two to three scripture readings
A reflection from Fr. Mike Schmitz
A guided prayer to help you hear God’s voice in his Word

The Bible contains adult themes that may not be suitable for children – parental discretion is advised.

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