Easter squirrels make a Good Friday sacrifice. Jesus and I weep.

I went to the grocery this morning just four minutes after it opened, and it was a pleasure cruising down the aisles by myself. I only planned to buy essentials – eggs, the four different types of milk we consume, bananas, Dave’s Killer Bread Thin-Sliced with 21 Whole Grains and Seeds*. Somehow those items morphed into $184. What the even heck? I can’t keep buying all this food if people are just going to eat it. *Have you had Dave’sRead more

Trying to calm myself amid the chaos, and Jesus not taking the wheel

I’ve lost my inner peace. It’s hiding, like maybe in my kidney or something. “You always see the glass as half empty,” says Hot Firefighter Husband. I thought about this a couple of weeks ago while I floated down the lazy river at Discovery Cove in Orlando. Discovery Cove is a magical fake tropical island where you can snorkel with sting-rays that don’t sting and swim with dolphins that act happy. It’s surrounded by a lazy river which meanders through organized tropicalRead more

Dear Dad: Let me tell you about today.

It soaked into me as I walked across the Notre Dame campus yesterday, the grief. My footsteps fell where they had fallen more than 30 years ago, and where yours had fallen 20 years before that. I looked up at Father Sorin’s gray marble face, and it was the same face that had stared down at you. There is something magical about such continuity, and it transformed the grief from a layer of sadness into a balm, like an ingrained,Read more

Sex, Brad Pitt, Catholicism, child abuse, and nuns. Together again! Also, Louisiana.

Do you remember I once assumed I’d be a nun? TRUTH! Starting in middle school, us Catholic girls were told to listen for The Calling, which was God’s recruiting voice. I was – am – an oldest child, resplendent with martyr-like tendencies and a false sense of obligation, so as soon as I heard about The Calling, I figured I would just take one for the team. Whichever team. At the same time, though, I learned about sex. Sex sounded horrible, butRead more

I’m back! The same, but different.

PART I I’m emerging from the Place of Perpetual Grief, a strange state of being in which I constantly question every tear, every smile, every lump in my throat. Is it real? Is it feigned? Am I sad because I’m supposed to be sad, or because my dad has left me? Or both. Then my writer-sister-friend Gale Massey sent me an article in which the psychotherapist Francis Weller is interviewed. Weller maintains that modern American culture discourages us from “grieving rituals” common to other cultures, andRead more

Ash Wednesday, Adam and Eve, and dirt.

Last month, Hot Firefighter Husband tried to eat super-healthy. He counted calories and downloaded food apps onto his phone, and wouldn’t even drink with me. I was all, what? Are you trying to ruin my life? One day I bought him some ice cream and held it under his nose after dinner until he ate it. Then we were both happy. This story might sound familiar. That’s because it’s essentially the tale of Adam and Eve. Man is good, womanRead more

Heaven vs. Hell – and who lives where?

One evening last week as we drove along in Splenda the mini-minivan, I made the children disengage from Minecraft in order to observe the beauty of the sunset. I’ve lived in Florida now for nearly 20 years, and I still never tire of the cloud formations, particularly around the gloaming. “Gloaming” is a fabulous word derived from the Old Middle English word meaning “to glow,” and it refers to twilight, or dusk. You should try to use it in aRead more

Dear Savvy Sister: I’m a lesbian, but I want this guy to like me.

REMINDER: The questions posed in this occasional column are written by actual people.  Dear Savvy Sister, I finished my novel last year and a junior agent read it. She said it was “pretty” and suggested that I rewrite the whole thing and add a plot. Sigh. So I spent the last year studying the elements of storytelling with a brilliant guy in my community. We worked out a plot line and I’m rewriting. Here’s my question. This new teacher ofRead more

God? God? And silence.

Most nights, I let my kids watch the evening news. This is partly because I want to watch it and they just won’t go away. But also, I like exposing them to death and destruction so they’ll appreciate the fact that I keep them breathing every day. Earlier this week, a story aired about a speeding drunk driver who crashed into a house and killed a 17-year-old high school honor student as she slept in her bed. The Diva stoppedRead more

Todd Akin, abortion, and infertility. What constitutes a child?

On several occasions in the not-too-distant past, I visited a local abortion clinic to pee in a cup. It was always in the wake of an artificial insemination, and I was desperate to be pregnant. There I sat in the waiting room with a bevy of young women, most of them bleary-eyed and resigned, waiting for our urine to be examined by an underpaid staffer who then opened a door and called a name. Each time, I feigned appreciation atRead more