Category Archives: In all thINGs

In all things: Lake days and Sriracha fries edition

St. Ignatius believed that you can find evidence of God in all things.  I believe it, too … and here’s how I’ve been finding God lately.


We recently returned from visiting Scott’s family in upstate New York.   While there, we got to spend time at two lakes — Otsego Lake in Cooperstown:


and Minerva Lake in the Adirondacks, where Scott’s cousin organized a family reunion.



“Feast for the eyes” doesn’t begin to describe these two bodies of water.  Glorious.

RELAXING (kind of)


I luxuriated in this hammock at Otsego Lake, rocking back and forth, gazing at the leafy sky above me and thinking all sorts of spiritual thoughts.  Then two small boys suddenly showed up and began swinging me wildly back and forth, giggling loudly, while I held on for dear life.  Such is life as a mother.  (I have to admit, I was laughing too — and I remembered that God is found in laughter as much as in silent meditation).


Scott and I slipped out for a lunchtime date, the boys securely in the care of his sister and parents.  We decided to try the Sriracha fries with green onion and cilantro, because we love spicy stuff.


Let’s just say that if I didn’t already believe in God, these would seal the deal.  Holy cow, they were good.


Seeing Scott’s parents and sister was a treat; we see them so rarely, being on the other side of the country, and I always wish we could change that.  But at least we can savor the time we do have.  And it was great to see Scott’s extended family at the reunion his cousin organized.  I met several of his cousins for the first time, and Scott got to see some of them for the first time in about twenty-five years, so it was a blessing for both of us.


Back home in CA, my older son was delighted to finally go get his very own library card.  Talk about a rite of passage!  As Rita Mae Brown said, “When I got my library card, that’s when my life began.”  It was exciting for him and for book-nerd Mom.  I snapped photos like it was prom day.




My mom has sheet music for every occasion.

Two days after returning home, Scott and I celebrated our twelfth anniversary.  We had a great dinner at one of our “special occasion restaurants” (otherwise known as a restaurant without a kids’ menu) where I ordered quail with truffle risotto (yum).  It must have been the quail that got me thinking of this, but I started quizzing him on his knowledge of CA lore, being that he’s a native New Yorker and all.  He got the state flower right, but he guessed that the CA state motto was “Duuuuude.”  No wonder I love the guy.


The dotMagis blog is in the middle of its annual month-long celebration of Ignatian spirituality, and they invited me to write about a time when I found God in an unexpected place.  My story involves my youngest son, a running leap, the edge of a bunk bed, and an ambulance.  You can read it all here.  Check out all the other posts, too — there’s a wealth of spiritual insight there, and there will be a new one every day of July.

Where have you found God lately?  


A few of my favorite “-ings” (Pope Francis and “Dancing with the Stars” edition)


Did you ever see that famous psychological study about kids and marshmallows? Psychologists wanted to study delayed gratification, so they sat young kids down behind a plate with a marshmallow on it.  They told the kids that if they could wait ten minutes to eat the marshmalllow, then they’d get two marshmallows.  Then they turned a videocamera on, left the room, and got to find out how many kiddos could delay gratification and how many could not.

Well, I’m like the kids, and Pope Francis’ new book The Church of Mercy is the marshmallow.


I have grading to do — lots of it — and it is taking tremendous effort not to abandon the papers for the Pope.  I’m reading little bits of  the book  here and there, and I’m finding it so accessible, inspiring, and so real in its discussion of faith.

Two of my favorite excerpts so far:

“Whenever we Christians are enclosed in our groups, our movements, our parishes, in our little worlds, we remain closed, and the same thing happens to us that happens to anything closed: when a room is closed, it begins to get dank.”


“The word solidarity is a little worn and at times poorly understood, but it refers to something more than a few sporadic acts of generosity.  It presumes the creation of a new mind-set that thinks in terms of community and the priority of the life of all over the appropriation of goods by a few.”

See what I mean?  Very hard to focus on those papers with a book like this on the plate in front of me.


Here’s the kids’ new chore chart.

I got the idea from Tami Kiser’s book Smart Martha’s Catholic Guide for Busy  Moms.  Their chores are on index cards; they move them to the “Done” pocket when finished.  It’s working well, maybe because it’s such a tangible way for the kids to have a sense of accomplishment.  Luke is even learning to read the cards, which is a bonus.  (Can I make a card that says “Grade Mommy’s Papers”?)


“Dancing with the Stars.”   Loved the Disney night they did last week (I showed a few dances to the boys, who were duly impressed).  Are you watching?  I’m rooting for Meryl and Maks.


These days, I often find myself thinking about how I don’t seem to have time to think.  I’m always dashing from one thing to another, or else grading, or else crashing in exhaustion.  For my birthday a while back, Scott said he’s sending me on a retreat of my choosing, and I’m eyeing one that takes place the very weekend after school gets out.  I’m both excited and apprehensive, because I feel like a weekend alone in silence — something I haven’t done since way before I had kids — is going to be a massive shock to my system.  Hopefully it’ll be the good kind of shock.


If you like movies  like this:


and this:


then check out my latest article on the spirituality of period dramas.  (Did you know that Pride and Prejudice is an echo of Mary’s Magnificat?  Really!).

Happy Friday!