reconciling things

“Allow it all to happen: beauty and terror…” Rilke

I currently have about 1,589 ideas running around my brain, but none of them taking shape of a cohesive post. But I have a bunch of random things we would talk about if we were sitting down together over a cup of chai with an extra shot of espresso. Madame Zeroni, the dog, would be begging for crumbs from something loaf-like I have baked for you. We would get comfy on the couch, or better yet in the rocking chairs that are around my fire. We won’t have a fire burning much longer, the days are getting warmer. So, let’s enjoy these last few while we can, getting cozy and talking about books, music, prayers, the deep things on your heart and mine, and the dumbass things people say. Let’s catch up and spill the tea while sipping our tea in gratitude that here we are over the halfway point of Lent. We have met Jesus along the way…and heard his gospel being proclaimed to the ruins of our hearts.

What I’m Reading:

  • The Devil and Bella Dodd, by Mary Nicholas and Paul Kengor (Very fascinating. Very sobering. Not a difficult read though.)
  • The Drama of the Gifted Child, by Alice Miller (A sweet gift from a friend. I am trying to be open-minded. So far not digging it, but also not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. If you’ve read it, tell me what you liked about it.)
  • The Old Testament, particularly books of history. (This is what I am reading aloud to the children in the mornings. Their reactions to these very shocking stories is amazing and I love them so much.)
  • The Princess and the Goblins and The Princess and Curdie (These are our read aloud for evenings. I adore George MacDonald’s imagination so much.)

What’s On the Speaker:

  • Into The Lantern Waste, by Sarah Sparks (It’s a whole album inspired by the Chronicle of Narnia. It is really lovely. I cannot get enough.)
  • Fight (A playlist I keep building to remind myself to keep fighting the good fight…and that sometimes that means things get messy. When I feel intimidated by bullies, this is my “Don’t fuck with me” playlist. Try it.)

What I’m Praying:

  • I have resumed the Chotki, which I fell out of the habit of praying. But a new one in pocket means the stream of petitions for mercy does not end.
  • The kids and I have been working on memorizing The Morning Offering and making that a regular habit each morning. It’s just too easy to fall out of bed and then just start working before dedicating the day to something bigger, deeper, kinder, better, more tender, more loving that just checking things off the list. Therefore, “O’ Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day, for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, for the salvation of souls, the reparation of sins, the reunion of all Christians, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father this month, Amen.” (I just typed that from memory. How did I do?)
  • Loneliness. Yes, I am trying to embrace it like a lived prayer. It has hit pretty keenly these days of Lent. But, then somehow miraculously, I meet Jesus in the Garden. Will he let me unite my loneliness to his? Can I in some small way console his Sacred Heart in the dark night of his isolation and passion? “Just give me time and I’ll love the things as no one ever did, until they all have become wide and worthy of you. I only need seven days, I guess, which no one has claimed or covered before, seven pages of loneliness.” (Rilke)

What I’m Cooking:

  • Gluten-Free Dumplings. Yes, we have finally found a combination of flours and starches that lets us enjoy dumplings that do not fall apart. It’s just a tiny bit of bliss in my gluten-free Crohn’s healing life.
  • Also, Gluten-Free tortillas that are not corn. Don’t knock ’em until you try ’em! They hold together and are so soft! Link here: Gluten-Free Tortillas on Annyssa Wellness

What’s Bringing Me Joy:

  • I am at my highest weight in three years. I joke about me finally getting chubby. I may be quite a ways from that, but you know what?! I don’t care. I’m gonna rejoice that my jeans are feeling tight, my hair is growing back, and my energy is returning. I’m alive, y’all. That is miraculous. Hear this: healing is possible!
  • My 17 year old was accepted at Magdalen College and is preparing to launch. He is also driving, working, and becoming this grown man and I just love it so much. Life just keeps moving along and unfolding in new forms of joy and growth.
  • My 20 year old is writing his thesis and is about to graduate from college. I am so proud of his hard work and dedication. More than that I am proud of his character. He is a man that can be relied on.
  • Chai Lattes with oat milk and a shot of espresso. No lie, on days I work double shifts this is the highlight of the day.

And just for giggles, here’s a collection of weird things people have said to me lately while I have been bartending:

  • How many baby daddies do you have?
  • You have nine children? Why aren’t you the size of a refrigerator?
  • How soon after talking to someone online is the appropriate time to send a dick pic?
  • What do you think about Pete Davidson?
  • I have a question, you don’t have to answer, but if you have nine kids why aren’t your boobs more saggy?
  • Me: Can I get you a beer? Them: Not right now, we are just going to sit here and admire you for a while. Me: What fresh hell is this?
  • Them: So you’re religious? I haven’t been to church since the last time I went to a funeral. Me: Well, don’t make the next time your funeral. Get your ass to Mass.
  • A guest to a coworker: Is Daja the ethnic one with the red lipstick?

5 thoughts on “Mid-Lent Check-in

  1. I love the bar conversations. Real people are good.

    A hearty YES to George MacDonald (“The Light Princess” may be my favorite).

    “The Drama of the Gifted Child”: not Alice Miller’s best—her first, but not her best. “Free from Lies” is much more straightforward. These days, you can’t turn around without bumping into a book or Instagram post on trauma, but none of them hone in on the secret that Miller discovered: we have to go back and express the emotions we were never allowed to express if we ever want to heal, and we have to feel those emotions and get them out with NO judgments attached. Whether we realize it or not, our bodies continue to hold onto the fear, the anger, the sadness, the confusion, the shame. And it will all continue to affect us in ways we would never imagine (such as physical illnesses) until we let them go, but it cannot just be an intellectual letting go. God made us with emotions. We need to use them and make sure that no one else gets between us and them. They are not bad, so yelling when you are angry, crying when you are sad, and feeling rightfully pissed at the people who treated you like shit—instead of trying to convince yourself that you have to forgive them—are not bad things to do. They are the correct things to do.

    I know from experience that when healing begins to happen, you finally start learning to trust yourself, and everything starts falling into place. I don’t consider myself fully healed, and I can tell when something in my past still needs attention, because my body lets me know. That’s usually when I turn to my husband so we can talk about what’s bothering me. He listens, suggests, and if he has something to do with my discontent, makes sure the problem gets resolved, not brushed aside, evaded, or just covered up. I do the same for him, and for the first time in 35 years, we genuinely communicate. We now know more about each other than we ever did before, because we each finally know ourselves.

    In recent months, Dennis and I have had numerous conversations with each of our kids that last for hours. They tell us how they feel, what they think, what they are struggling with, and they know that they will be listened to, encouraged to share more, and never judged. We want to know how we have hurt them. We want them to get upset, cry, and yell at us if that’s what they need. On the other hand, if they are happy or excited about something, we want to know! Since beginning the process, anxiety and panic attacks that plagued many of them (and me) have made themselves scarce.

    Alice Miller asks questions that we’ve been told, for thousands years, are off limits. But the truth is the truth. It should hold up just fine under interrogation.


    1. The Light Princess is so delightful! I have read that aloud to the children so many times over the years. It never gets old!

      And I will stick with Alice Miller to the bitter end. 🙂 I promise I’ll finish! ❤


      1. Reading a book because you are obligated to is terrible, so please don’t feel that you are. Do what’s right for you.


      2. Oh, I don’t feel obligated. I like a challenge. 🙂


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