Things Keeping Us Alive – Feb. ’17

Things Keeping Us Alive – Feb. ’17 February 20, 2017

We recently and randomly declared it “Treat Yo Self Day” in the Sick Pilgrim community*. We were encouraged to do a little something extra (“lagniappe,” if you speak Cajun) for ourselves and share a picture of how we went out of our way to treat ourselves. And since Sick Pilgrim isn’t Rich Pilgrim, our treats were less about costs and more about little joys.

Treat Yo Self Day was a not-so-subtle reminder that SELF CARE IS IMPORTANT. It’s easy to get caught up in the stressors and negativity in our lives. This day was an excuse for us to do something that made us happy – for no reason. The results of our Treat Yo Self Day ranged from a coffee in the middle of the day, pizza, whiskey, scotch, time to read a good book, a memorable trip to a dog park (with a dog; we’re not that weird), swinging in a hammock, Starburst, Cheetos, and Oreos.

Next month we may need a Trim Yo Self Day.

Treat Yo Self day is gone, but its focus on self-care and temporary aversion to the negativity in life is always there, always necessary. Hence our monthly post Things Keeping Us Alive.

613LbxwAVlL._AA300_Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man Is Hard To Find and Other Stories that I got from Audible is one thing keeping me alive. My Alexa croons one of Flannery O’Connor’s Southern-gothic tales to me each night before I go to sleep, like a morbid bedtime story. It’s incredible. Good Country People is probably my favorite.



Also,  this bald parrot. It is probably my Patronus.

 Five other Pilgrims told me what’s bringing them small joy in their lives right now.


John Robinson is Donna Meagle to my Tom Haverford. He just began a new career as a special education teacher in Florida.

Code Black. Right now I have a little time to binge watch some of my favorite shows and make jrsure the house is clean as well (no excuses when you’re home all day, right?). I fell behind on CBS’s hit series Code Black, which is nearly identical to the classic ER. Code Black mirrors ER in that it has all the beautiful woman and handsome men as nurses and doctors (with the exception of Luis Guzman, who I can only remember as teaching me what “bat-wings” were in the Dane Cook movie, Waiting), who always deliver the most dramatic lines at the perfect time. Rob Lowe is “lit-er-al-ly” as annoying as he was on Parks and Recreation. So although the show is somewhat cheesy, it keeps me alive because of the constant teeter-tottering between life and death, the rooting for the underdog, and choked up feeling I get when someone who shouldn’t die, dies. Watching Code Black reminds me that while the show is scripted, other people’s lives are more difficult than mine – in actual hospitals right now, shedding tears over loved ones, and making tougher decisions than what to watch on TV.


Cassidy Hall  co-produced the film In Pursuit of Silence which is currently being screened at film festivals across America. See a trailer here. Find out more about Cassidy at her website.

bfEggs. And breakfast food in general. But mostly eggs and butter. Last night I woke up at 2:00 AM and ate some eggs – which made a joyride out of the needlessly-waking-up. There are so many ways to eat eggs: scrambled, hard-boiled, egg-salad (I guess that’s technically redundant), over-easy, etc. Also, there’s something liberating about the power to separate the yoke, or not (let’s be honest, it holds most of the flavor). Then, there are all kinds of butter vessels: English muffins, other muffins, pancakes, waffles, biscuits, toast, even more eggs. As much as I wish this were an ode to Ron Swanson and I could tell you I have a breakfast food poster on my wall — It’s not. I don’t. And, I’m a vegetarian. Sorry to disappoint.

Bold friendships. New friendships. And people that are children. Lately, or always, my tender heart has needed the guardian power of an army. I’ve been lucky enough to find this in new friends, old friends, and those little ones that we title children. The veneer friendships have sailed away. What remains are the people that remind me to dive into trusting myself and also pause; protect my heart and still love like my wild-self; let go and hang on; cry and laugh (within the same sentence). Life-giving people is really an understatement. You, humans, you know who you are.


Maren Grossman is a Catholic and a homeschooler, but not necessarily a Catholic homeschooler.  When she isn’t splitting hairs, she enjoys knitting, drinking coffee, and wearing fuzzy slippers.

The Divine Mercy Chaplet:  I am not one of nature’s early risers, and the interior monologue first dmthing in the morning can be brutal.  I imagine most people get out of bed each day without having an existential crisis first, but not me.  To turn off that critical voice, I’ve started praying the Divine Mercy chaplet each morning before I get out of bed.  It’s short, it doesn’t demand intense reflection, and it speaks directly to my anxiety.  As an added bonus, I’ve been praying it on the wooden child’s rosary my godfather gave me when I was baptized at age 6.  I adored my godfather, and he passed away some years ago.  That connection to him means a lot.

The video for Million Reasons by Lady Gaga:  It’s hard for me to put into words why I find this video so moving.  It’s pretty clearly a reflection on faith, on our need for God, and on the challenge of coping with our own failures and the failures of the larger church.  I wish that I had the capacity to take these challenges to faith and turn them into something as beautiful as this song and this video.  I also wish I had a hat like that.


David Russell Mosley has a PhD in theology, smokes a pipe, drinks scotch, writes with a fountain pen, and does all these things decidedly un-ironically. He writes over at Letters from the Edge of Elfland.

6_gandalf_smokingpipeThe Lord of the Rings. This book gives me so much hope. First of all, it gives me hope because the twentieth century was able to produce J.R.R. Tolkien. In an age of “enlightenment” of industrialization, here came a shining star (not a lone star, I might add thanks to the likes of Lewis, Barfield, Williams, etc.). But the story itself gives me hope. The vision of reality it presents is one far more real than that given to us by the culture around us. And that gives me hope. It gives me hope because it reminds me that there is more to this world than I can see with my own eyes; that angels and demons, fairies, saints, elves and more are amongst us; that a tree is not just a tree; that a river is not just a river; that bread and wine are not just bread and wine. Tolkien reminds me of this and that gives me immeasurable hope.

Writing Handwritten Letters. There is nothing like writing and receiving and handwritten letters. When you put pen to paper you are imparting some of yourself, some of your soul to the paper and gifting it to the other person. It is far more personal than sending an email or a text. But even more so, the slowness of it is part of its beauty. It takes time to handwrite a letter, especially if you want it to be legible. You have to pause over your words, which makes you think about what you’re writing. Then there’s the time it takes for the letter to get from you to someone else. That gives you both time to think about what you’ve said. It isn’t the fast-paced nature of a conversation held in person, but a slow and deliberate sharing of selves. I certainly recommend writing them with a fountain or dip pen and on nice paper, but Bic pens or clicky pencils on notebook paper works well too.


Maddie Foley is the roguish whippersnapper of the SP community. She was recently accepted to attend Notre Dame, and we are all very proud of her. Even though I call her “Teenage Wasteland.” It’s out of love.

The Book of Christian Prayer. I just got my mini Liturgy of the Hours in the mail. There’s something sacramental about turning pages, mumbling words, and awkwardly singing hymns you’ve never heard. It’s been exactly what I needed because recently I haven’t been able to actually pray in a very “conversational” way, so the methodical devotion is good for me. I heard it described once as prayer for people who aren’t good at praying, and that’s me.

The sunrises and sunsets. The sun rises at approximately 6:30 and that’s normally when I image1roll out of bed. The show is right outside one of my bedroom windows, and I’ve been saying my prayers in front of it in the morning. It feels like it could be accidental sun worship, but you’ve got to lose some to win some. The sunsets have been breathtaking the past few months but especially this week. It’s like God knows how hard the day is in between sunrise and sunset so He gives us a little something extra so that we can survive.

Thanks you guys; you rock. Readers, remember to treat yo self.


* Do you jive to our Sick beat? Are you Catholic-friendly and not a jerk? Interested in being a part of our rag-tag group of misfits? Find Sick Pilgrim on Facebook, shoot us a private message and call it “Yo Pest,” and tell us a little about you and why you want to join our freak show. 


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