Wednesday, 19 April 2017


The Christian virtue hospitality has been on my mind lately.  With our little circle of friends growing, we've been pleased to welcome more people into our untidy chaos.  Roan's godfather comes in the evenings after work and stays well past bedtime, speaking of holy fools, Welsh folk tales, sacred icons, and his summer trip to Russia.  Social workers are in and out of the flat every week, some of whom have become important allies in our struggle to raise a child with autism.  Various individuals from our parish drop in from time to time, and they are always welcome.  The Jehovah's Witnesses long ago ceased to be traveling salesmen (or women, as it were); their visits are looked forward to from week to week, especially by little grubby-handed people looking for presents and sweets and attention.

A young man joined us for roasted lamb and potatoes on Easter Monday, and though he is not a Christian, I like to think we pulled him into our tiny, imperfect reflection of the divine domesticity -- as one playfully pulls a reluctant swimmer into the cold, fresh water on a hot summer's day.

Visitors are as much a part of the culture in our home as the family and furniture and--if I say so myself-- are met with warm attention, if not the height of creature comforts.  It is invaluable for me to step back and survey my home with the eyes of an outsider.  Perspective shows me that things aren't as hopeless and bedraggled as I imagine them to be.  That if I were a visitor here, I would see beautiful laughing children, good conversation, and an invitation to sit and rest away from the cares of the world, without fear of judgement or rejection.

After a visitor leaves, I am tired, but I am grateful for that little window into our life.  Like all virtues, hospitality works harder in transforming those who give it than those who receive.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Holy Week

It's Holy Thursday.   I'm standing in the kitchen with my bullet journal open and no idea what to do.   But there is a lot to do.  So much, in fact, before Easter, and the dent I've put in that to-do list isn't worth calling the insurance company over.  I'm already stressed, anxious about my ultimate failure, slow and inevitable like a melting glacier.  Can I please just skip ahead to the Alleluia, wake up on a sunny Paschal morning with the dishes sparkling in the drying rack and the outfits laid out clean and crisp to put on for Mass?  I'm not ready.  I'm not prepared.  I don't even know where to begin.

So maybe today, I'll just ignore the to-do list.  I mean, do things if I feel so moved, but channel my energy into being present, even imperfectly so, even if I fall asleep.  On just waiting and watching and praying in the Garden.  All I have to bring is me.  All I have to do is be.

I think I can do that.  I think it'll be okay.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Winter Is Dead

Said the daffadowndilly of A.A. Milne's poem.  It's such a funny and poignant way to say "spring is here."  It's not a mere inversion, though.  It carries a note of finality, of triumph.  It is an apt illustration for the Resurrection.  "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." (1 Corinthians 15:26)  Winter's not just gone.  It is slain.

That's the mounting feeling during these last weeks of Lent.  Holy Week will put a halt to it, and in the midst of spring will settle silence and sadness.  But the mourning is necessary for the inevitable joy.

I've been studying with the Jehovah's Witnesses again.  This is good for me because of the intellectual stimulation and the motivation to study the Bible.  At home, we are implementing a schedule to bring order to our days and our household.  With the inevitability of the schedule comes good habits: remembering to consecrate my day to God, remembering to say prayers before bed, and any snatches of time I can find throughout the day to remember He is near.

Meal planning and preparation is at an all-time high.  Even on todays like today, when we are ill with colds, there is a satisfaction in proclaiming, "Take-out for dinner!"

Tonight our parish will have a Reconciliation service that I want to attend.  Winter is dead, and I will slough off my sins like dead skin in the Sacrament, the way the earth sloughs off winter.


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2017."

Afon:  he was promised ice cream after his haircut so is in a good mood.  He did very well for the lady cutting his hair.  Which is probably thanks to the ice cream....

Roan:  being silly before Mass to get the giggles out, with cream on his mouth.

Friday, 31 March 2017


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2017."

Afon:  I don't know if he sees right through you or right into you. Either way, it's unnerving.
Roan:  playing in the park on a warm spring day.

Afon lost his first tooth on the past Tuesday.  At first, he was quite distressed, and I didn't know what was happening.  We were getting him into the bath before school and there was blood coming from his mouth.  When I saw that his tooth was loose, I assured him that it was okay and build up the excitement of getting a big boy tooth.  He seemed to cheer up when he realized what was happening was normal and expected.  It came out later that day and was sent home in a small brown envelope--his first lost baby tooth!

Roan has picked up a few words, such as "water" and "shoes."  The speech therapist says he is delayed, but we are optimistic with his introduction into playgroup via Flying Start after Easter.

Sunday, 26 March 2017


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2017."

Thursday, 23 March 2017


A two-week virus, including a double ear infection, swallowed half of March.  But there is something sacramental about getting over an illness in the spring.  Your body and the earth have the same sort of fawnish hesitance.  Spring here is bursting with flowers, daffodils especially.  They have different color faces, like the orange ones pictured above, but I think I prefer the ones of pale yellow.

The light-time grows each day by minutes, but a minute at the end of each period of darkness is a lot. New babies are born and are expected.  Saint Patrick and Saint Joseph invite reprieve from (some) fasting.

Lent is slow, and my attempt at rhythm and fasting challenged by long sickness.  It'll take some doing for me to right myself again.