Kate Morton and Layers of History

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As a child, I played a private game. I could pick it up wherever I went. As the school bus rumbled along the roads of our very average Florida subdivision, I’d dial back my vision to imagine what else had passed under these stately moss-lined oak trees. I could envision the contractors first rattling the canopy as they began construction twenty years before; I could imagine the Native Americans passing beneath the ancient live oaks in centuries past.

But the place I could always play the game best was, and still is, at church. In the Mass, I was not particularly well-catechized and no doubt misdated the parts of the liturgy wildly, not knowing the epiclesis from my epidermis (and I was probably wrong about the Native Americans, too), but that isn’t the point. What matters was, and is, this: the shivery conviction of the ancientness and universality of all this, a clue to its rightness.Read More »

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Candlemas, Kinship and Firstborn Sons

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I’m not entirely sure when I met my sister-in-law(-in-law).* But I think it was at the Evensong nights that sprung up about ten years ago. I had no idea of her future importance in my life, of course. She was just a college friend to both my new husband and his little brother.

And now she is someone I will see, in all likelihood, every Christmas for the rest of my life. She is aunt to all my children, and godmother to one. And last month, she gave me my very first nephew.Read More »

Shopping Secondhand as Spiritual Practice

A few weeks before Christmas, two of my party animal friends* and I met for a hot ladies’ night out: to the local Goodwill.

And let me say, we shut that joint down. (Seriously, though, we weren’t the last ones out: there was definitely a night owl Mennonite family in line behind us.)

The only rule was this: we could shop for clothes for ourselves BUT NOT FOR OUR KIDS. (Because everyone knows I love baby clothes.)Read More »

Crunchy Cons and (Anti?-)Consumerist Posturing

Ok, so here’s a sincere question: If we spend more time acquiring goods locally and ethically, doesn’t this mean we are becoming more materialistic, not less? We are definitely thinking more about stuff and probably spending more money, to boot. This is a question that’s been bothering me on and off since AP Environmental Science in twelfth grade, and most especially since a Dorothy Day-inspired private lecture on distributism got me thinking about consumer ethics again in a special way.

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Breaking Up with Facebook

I got my Facebook account in 2005. What this means is I have never been a grownup without Facebook, save the occasional stretch of a couple weeks at a time at Lent or in Uganda with limited internet access. Some good things have come out of it: renewing and deepening friendships when geography or life stage brings us into proximity, selling my kids’ old stuff to only semi-strangers, having a rich and mildly embarrassing collection of internet-hosted photos from the last 13 years at my fingertips at all times.

But mostly I waste a lot of time.

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Dorothy Day’s Little Way of Motherhood

So, last month I finished On Pilgrimagethe first book I’ve read by Dorothy Day. If you’ve read it, you know it’s a weird experience — like if I printed out a year’s worth of blog posts, interspersed them with my diary entries, stapled it together, and called it a book. But only if I was as insanely interesting as Day, even at her most scattered.

One page struck me especially. We have a new tradition of mother’s blessings here, where we gather to pray for and encourage a friend as her pregnancy comes to its end, and maybe that’s why this passage struck me particularly.

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