Moving Through Lent

For those of you who’ve been here before, this is an updated post from three years ago but the link is definitely still relevant, pandemic and life in general notwithstanding. Also, there is one other thing about Lent that’s new for me this year. “It’s not about what you give up it’s about who you become.” Thank you, Matthew Kelley, for summing up so well the essence of this liturgical season.

Wait! Before you get the link I just remembered a second thing that has stuck with me. Fr. Mike Schmitz said, in his homily on the first Sunday of Lent, “The heart of Lent is that we don’t trust God and we need to learn how to trust Him.” There. You. Go. Lent is all about loving God more, not just praying more, fasting more, and giving more, although these are all a part of the season and ways in which we show that love. The whole purpose of Lent is to become more Christ-like and that can only happen when we trust Him more. More trust equals more faith in Him.

Lent has been here since Ash Wednesday, of course, but on this Laetare (“Rejoice”) Sunday, in typical procrastinating fashion I’m just now taking the time to share something that my readers who observe Lent might find helpful. After all, we may be on the downhill run but we’ve still got three weeks to go! Below you will find–in my opinion–the best one-stop shopping (so to speak) for all things Lent from the wonderful Karen Edmisten.

So, grab your favorite acceptable Lenten beverage–I know some of you have painfully given up your precious Dr. Pepper or cozy cup of joe–settle into a comfy chair, and prepare to be informed, encouraged, and generally motivated to embrace this season in all of its unique challenges. Finally, I pray you and yours have, as Karen’s youngest daughter once said, “a meaningful Lent.” Blessings to you!


Last week ago I wrote about waiting. As of one week ago today, the wait ended. Our beloved Basenji Rascal let us know through his behavior and symptoms [see the post titled “Waiting” for the link to a helpful chart re: symptoms] that he needed to be let go and so he made one last trip to the vet. Saying goodbye to a much-loved pet is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It has only happened twice before–once as a child and then later as an adult–but it’s been a long time and I had forgotten how much will remind you of your precious pet.

In my case, for the first few days, it seemed like everything I did was tied to his daily routines as well, resulting in much shedding of tears and extreme fatigue. Then there was a small, almost imperceptible, shift and the tightness in my body eased up. However, I found myself thinking he was in the laundry room with me one day when a tote bag hanging on the doorknob brushed up against my leg. Another time I mistook a throw pillow for his curled up form on the couch. Thankfully, for the past couple of days, I’ve been able to have more happy memories of his time in our household and the sad or painful thoughts aren’t constantly barraging my brain.

One day there will be unfettered discussions of Rascal’s tremendous time with us–e.g., how he loved his ice cubes and an assortment of human “snacks”–during those blessed four years and three months, but for now the memories are bittersweet. The man of the house misses him for, among other things, the special careful grooming sessions Rascal bestowed upon him; the son of the house has to go without special nose kisses; I even miss having my sleep disrupted by a sweet little bed hog. Rest in peace, my dear Piggly. There will always be a special place in my heart that’s yours.



Music Therapy: the Triduum/Easter Edition

Music for the Triduum/Easter season:

Good Friday:

Traditional hymns: “O Sacred Head Now Wounded,” “At the Cross Her Station Keeping,” “The Old Rugged Cross,” & “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:


Anthem: Matt Maher’s “Christ is Risen”; here’s a nice concept video done by a fan:

Worship & praise: Adam Young (a.k.a. Owl City)’s cover of “In Christ Alone (I Stand)”

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

Anthem: James Ward’s “Death is Ended”

Vintage anthems: Don Francisco’s “He’s Alive” & 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

Rich Mullin’s “Step by Step”

U2’s “Magnificent” & “Pride”

Matt Maher’s “New State of Mind,” “Alive Again,” “His Grace is Enough”

Eleanor Farjeon’s “Morning Has Broken”

Johnny Cash’s “When The Man Comes Around”

Contemporary hymn: “You Are Mine”

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.

NB–I originally posted this five years ago so feel free to add more recent offerings and/or your personal favorites in the comments.

Some good advice; some of which I am following

MENTAL HEALTH WELLNESS TIPS FOR QUARANTINE…from my favorite blog, Redbud Drive.

Redbud Drive

James received this from a colleague. At the end of the whole thing I list some of the things I’m doing (that are helping me.)

From psychologist Margie Donlon:

“After having thirty-one sessions this week with patients where the singular focus was COVID-19 and how to cope, I decided to consolidate my advice and make a list that I hope is helpful to all.  I can’t control a lot of what is going on right now, but I can contribute this.

Edit: I am surprised and heartened that this has been shared so widely!  People have asked me to credential myself, so to that end, I am a doctoral level Psychologist in NYS with a Psy.D. in the specialities of School and Clinical Psychology.


1. Stick to a routine.  Go to sleep and wake up at a reasonable time, write a schedule that…

View original post 2,046 more words


Waiting is hard. Waiting is no fun. Waiting is something I’m not very good at doing. Right now I’m waiting to see when we need to let go of our sweet 14-year-old Basenji. Rascal had been in good health for his age up until a few weeks ago, when things began to go wrong. In a nutshell, he’s in kidney failure and to add insult to injury his cataracts are now causing blindness and arthritis and accidents have set it. We just got him started on pain and incontinence meds this week and so far they are helping this difficult situation we’re all in.

A thoughtful member of the Facebook group we’re in for other Basenjis that have been rescued and given new “furever” homes sent me the following helpful link to help us in making a timely decision. I hope no one reading this needs it but if you should I’m including it here below. I’m so thankful the good Lord created pets for our companionship but saying goodbye to them is excruciating.



An Anniversary Amble

Today is my parents’ 56th anniversary. What could potentially be a dreary day due to a combination of weather, health challenges, and COVID-19 is still an opportunity to celebrate over five and a half decades of matrimony. When I talked with Mom on the phone she shared with me that her plans–since they’re stuck at home instead of going out to celebrate like usual–included the following fun idea. For every year they’re married she thought they could think of a highlight of that year. It might be what they did on an anniversary or my sister and mine’s births or other highlights over the years. I thought that sounded like a wonderful plan and maybe Hubby and I will do the same with ours later this spring. Knowing us, it will be largely populated with movies and music that came out in any given year!

So Happy Anniversary, Dad & Mom! Many happy returns of the day, and may you be blessed with many more years in which to make fond memories for recalling together. I love you both dearly!

Walk Between Two Worlds

Yesterday afternoon I ran away from home to the local rural cemetery that’s about a mile away from my home. It is a great place to walk, think, read or write (at the picnic table under the pavilion), and generally just be. It may sound like an odd choice for some but I find comfort among the gravestones, knowing that whatever challenges I’m facing pale in comparison with the loss of a loved one, especially a child. It provides a good reminder of my own mortality–although not in a morbid way–and encourages me as I think of how many of the souls whose bodies were laid to rest here are part of the great cloud of witnesses and are praying for those of us trying to press on in our own trying times.

Yesterday’s time there was spent walking as it was too windy to read or write in a physical journal I had taken with me so I got to enjoy the beauty of the pastoral view that stretches out amidst the surrounding hills and valleys. Often I pray as I walk and I feel a unique sense of walking between two worlds–this one and the eternal one. In the 16 years I’ve spent time in this place I’ve often wondered what the people here struggled with during their lifetimes and the longer I’ve lived in the community the more I get to know some of those stories.

My favorite remembrance is from a gentleman who went to be with His Lord and Savior last year. He has two adult daughters around my age that are local friends and his explanation to me of what a crucifix represents to him in my early years here has remained in my mind all this time. As he shared with me, he said the crucifix shows us just how much the Lord Jesus loves us all because He stretched out His arms in death to embrace us so that we might not have to spend eternity apart from him (John 3:16). I loved this and sometimes when gazing upon Jesus on the cross I think of Roberto’s words and am strengthened.

Every day is a walk between two worlds but some days I forget that this one isn’t the more important one as I get caught up in anxiety and fritter away my time worrying about things that may not even happen–or, even if they certainly will, worrying about them will not change a thing except make me more miserable. Elisabeth Elliot has a perfect reminder for me at times when I’m struggling to live in the present moment and trust God in all things and get on with doing the next thing.

“Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now!”

May we all see clearly what is required of us in our own walk between the two worlds today.

Beginning Again

This is probably the longest hiatus my blog has had…poor little neglected thing! However, with many–if not most–of my readers finding their lives more confined these days due to the COVID-19 virus perhaps some posts are in order. I thoroughly appreciate the sanity that social media is providing me as I’m high risk and so am stuck at home; not easy for an extrovert. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before my guys–both introverts–are under a shelter-at-home order but as we live in a rural part of the Ozarks it’s slow coming. Anyhow, in keeping with my “anything is on topic” nature of my blog I thought I’d start sharing random aspects of my quarantined life in order to stay sane!

I’ll start back with this wisdom from Thomas Merton about embracing the day’s challenges:

“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.”

Scribblings on the Sacred Heart

Oh Sacred Heart of Jesus
Please do not let me down
I want so much to grow and change
To turn my life around
If anyone can help at all
I know it must be You–
Waiting oh so patiently
For me to come to You.
Help me as a brother, please
Do not despise my pace
Of sloth and pride and
Everything else that got me in this place.
Be with me Gentle Jesus–
Take my heart and make it pure–
So I can do the next thing always
Just like that sacred heart of Yours.
Copyright 2019 Sabryna Noltie
The above verse just popped into my head this morning so I hurriedly scribbled it down. Then I read today’s daily mass readings for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and they were so encouraging that I hope you’ll take the time to peruse them (
Chocolate chip cookies will be served at dinner tonight for our celebration, plus I just began reading a young adult biography–Saint Margaret Mary and the Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Mary Fabyan Windeatt–that I had donated to our parish library when we finished homeschooling but before I had read it. It is devoted to telling the story of how she became the Apostle of the Sacred Heart and how the First Fridays devotion started (
Then, wonder of wonders, I made it to the First Friday mass this morning, something I haven’t felt well enough to do for a long time. Have a wonderful Friday and a special solemnity of the Sacred Heart!

Benedictine Blessings: Peace

As I learn more about Benedictine living in preparation for hopefully becoming a Benedictine oblate, I’ve decided to share snippets of my journey with you. Today’s inspiration is from the prologue of a long-beloved book, In This House of Brede, by Rumer Godden.

Why would a lay person be interested in becoming an oblate? I’m guessing there are as many answers as there are oblates but for me it is nicely summed up in the following opening quote from the book:

“The motto was ‘Pax,’ but the word was set in a circle of thorns. Pax: peace, but what a strange peace, made of unremitting toil and effort, seldom with a seen result; subject to constant interruptions, unexpected demands, short sleep at nights, little comfort, sometimes scant food: beset with disappointments and usually misunderstood; yet peace all the same, undeviating, filled with joy and gratitude and love. ‘It is My own peace I give unto you. Not, notice, the world’s peace.”

Along my journey to God I have found that “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,” truly “will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7, NRSV). I pray that you also have found this truth.


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