Commonplace Book, 50

What is a commonplace book? For me, this is a space where I post interesting links, reflections on what I’m reading, and the newest recipes I’ve been trying out — a collection of miscellaneous micro-posts.

We celebrated Pippin’s feast day with the Feast of St Peregrine this week. He chose breaded fish, barbecue chips, cherry tomatoes, homemade ciabatta and cinnamon rolls he helped me make. He was over the moon. Kids are so easy sometimes.

What I’m fixing:

  • Using up freezer stuff, mostly. But it might be worth noting here something I haven’t said explicitly but only alluded to — you can make pesto out of just about anything leafy and green if you’re trying to use it up. Here’s a recipe to get you started, though you can search specifically for the green you’ve got wilting on you.

What I’m reading:

  • I finished Crunchy Cons and really, really liked it — more reflections to follow. But for now, I want to point to these lines:

“It is a postmodern paradox that those of us who cannot agree on what is true agree that truth matters.”


We Americans who share a commitment to traditional forms of faith understand the seriousness of the cultural battle  in which we and our families are engaged, and how vital it is to embrace and live by traditions that stand outside this time and this culture, and to fight the dictatorship of relativism, the tyranny of the everlasting now.”

BAM. I really appreciated how the book examined different ways family life is impacted by broader choices: homeschooling, obviously, but the homes we choose and the food we eat, as well. The book wasn’t what I might have expected, and I’m so glad a friend thrust it into my hands.

I’ve found that very little helps to develop and to cement a friendship quite as effectively as casual hospitality. And this only makes sense: Hospitality is, in a sense, the material analogue to the spiritual good of friendship. Authentic, life-giving friendship is a kind of love, and growing in love requires growing in emotional and spiritual intimacy—an intimacy different from that proper to romantic love, but a kind of intimacy nevertheless. And because intimacy requires the exposure of the self to the other, it requires both self-giving and vulnerability.

This is exactly what hospitality does in the material world: It habituates us to giving of our time and resources and it habituates us to exposing our inner sanctum, in all its messiness and imperfection, to our friends. In so doing, we prime ourselves for the more intense intimacy and vulnerability and self-giving of the spirit, where friendship’s supernatural character blooms.

This is something J and I have been intentionally striving for our entire adult lives, but we got a real boost when I was struck down with this last pregnancy. We couldn’t posture — it was all I could do to get off the couch and totter around. And you know what? If anything, it made our friendships deeper, these lame-ass meals where all we’d do is clear off the table and they’d bring a meal for us, or I’d thaw something from the freezer, and everyone would see our half-folded laundry and dog fur floors. (“Should I take off my shoes?” “Please don’t.”)

Time Machine:

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