Pope Benedict has thrown me off again

 This morning Pope Benedict announced that he would step down from the Papacy at the end of this month. I'm both sad and encouraged.I came to love Pope Benedict XVI through his writing, a book of meditations called Benedictus: Day by Day with Pope Benedict. As with the best writers, his writing revealed little personal information about himself, but intimated that he understood humanity and its problems with belief very well. In fact, I'd never put down a book (each day, no less) … [Read more...]

Pop Music isn’t what it used to be

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 My daughter received a three disk CD of the complete works of Raffi for Christmas-- hours and hours of happy, multi-cultural sing-along-songs. She puts them in the CD player and pulls a chair up to the speakers, gazing into the digital clock-face of the machine, waiting for the next Raffi song to come out. She sings along: "I have a little dreidel, I made it out of clay…and when it's dry and ready, my dreidel I will play." She listens to "Willoughby, wallaby wanya… an elephant sat o … [Read more...]

Baby Notes: thoughts on recently having a baby

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*Everyone around here is tired of me being the patient. It's time to get up, get dressed, start doing something besides making goo-goo eyes at this Little Heavy.I love how after a newborn has just eaten, you can pick her up under the arms, and she hangs there like a loaf of bread dough with her mouth relaxed into a lackadaisical half-smile. Weirdly, this was the thing I most looked forward to while she was still cooking. *The phlebotomist on staff at the hospital … [Read more...]

How I learned to love reading

My Grandpa used to say it was unwise to give a good book to a bad mind. Don’t even attempt to read the Russians until you’re twenty-five. But I did it anyway, of course; got my copy of Crime and Punishment, and carried it around with me for my entire sophomore year of high school.I’d read a sentence, reread the sentence, read it again…and finally move on just to turn the page. My family made fun of me; called the book, and the bag in which I carried it, my security blanket, because I wouldn’ … [Read more...]

What Co-creation Really Feels Like

On the cereal box, there's always some arbitrary recipe that's supposed to induce you to pour out the whole box at once to make "bran cookies" or some other non-dessert. Add your Frosted Flakes, all ten cups of it, to a bowl of peanuts and apricots--and voila--you have twelve cups of trail mix that no one wants to eat, and there's nothing you can do about it now. The potion is mixed. You can leave it out on the counter in a plastic bag indefinitely, or you can throw it away and start over.So … [Read more...]

The Grace of Subordination

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*Before bedtime, I make rounds to find out where all of my children have landed. They have a distinct bedtime, but there's still a lot of shifting that occurs once the lights are out. I've found children bundled up in a nest in the closet, lying horizontally across a shelf with the linens, crouched down in the narrow space between the wall and their beds, and occasionally, nestled up with each other.How do they do this? I always wonder at the seeming effortlessness with which they sleep, … [Read more...]

Indecency: In the eye of the beholder?

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My extended family is half Catholic, half Protestant. When the Catholics get together, there are numerous children and babies. As a consequence, there's a lot of breastfeeding going on. A couple of the women have mastered the art of breastfeeding with one arm while walking around the kitchen preparing food. Others prefer to sit around talking, often with the men, while nursing a child. We're discrete about it--not exposing more than necessary to get the job done, but most of us have lost … [Read more...]


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