Hell week preceedeth Holy Week

Coming in hot on Spy Wednesday (tl;dr: round up “30 pieces of silver” to hide in various spots around the house and turn your kids loose for a survival of the fittest scramble to remember.)

Or if you’re like me, and you happen to be reminded of the dubious liturgical significance of this date at approximately 9 pm the night prior by a sentimental child coming round excitedly knocking at your bedroom door inquiring about this deeply held “family tradition” that he definitely can’t wait for!!! you can scrounge around and come up with 21 silver coins of various denomination and explain that the Pharisees got nailed by inflation and Judas didn’t net his full 30 pieces of blood money in 2021.

But enough about the profound liturgical living traditions in my domestic church. We’re now safely nestled into Holy Week, and instead of feeling like guiltily doubling down on fasting for this final stretch, as I do most years, I’m getting a distinctly more “crawling to the finish line” sorta vibe about the imminence of Easter.

Last week, through a series of unfortunate events, I believe we fulfilled our annual medical deductible in record time. From rusty nails to stairways to vicious(?) carpeted floors designed especially to split baby lips, I believe my children memorized the f word as well as if it had been included on their vocal list.

Did I mention I also made it to confession for the first time in 2 months? Or that I need to go back probably tomorrow?

We’re attempting a modest, Ikea-driven kitchen renovation that has spiraled, predictably, into proportions beyond anything in my wildest dreams or nightmares. After spending 4.5 hours on hold with various friendly women in Maryland at IKEA headquarters, we learned the sobering truth that our would be cabinets were not, in fact, winging their way to our front porch as anticipated, but were either indefinitely out of stock or languishing in a traffic jam in the Suez Canal (I wish I were joking).

The real kicker is that we’d already paid for everything. Daniel in customer resolutions could not understand why this was an issue for me, so after taking a restorative week off to simmer in impotent rage about big box socialism, I’ll be back at it bright and early Monday morning hunting down those pesky dollars that we kinda sorta need to order, you know, other cabinets. Ones that aren’t on a boat in Egypt.

It’s a first world problem to be sure, but as my best friend assured me during a highly emotive and likely profane voice text, it’s also the reason people pay lots and lots of money to outsource the fun to designers and general contractors.

I have a few links that I’ve been wanting to share and, absent from social media, I had the quaint, 2006-style experience of just texting them to a couple of people. But then I remembered I have a blog! So here you go: a curated must-read/watch/listen list created just for you:

Dave VanVickle was at Franciscan during my tenure, though I don’t recall our paths crossing. He gave an excellent and short talk on spiritual warfare, touching on everything from possession and his experience assisting at exorcisms to the best practices for protecting your family (hint: it’s…not what you’d think). Watch here.

Dennis Prager has been keeping me sane, from 2020 and beyond. My dad used to send me audio clips of his show back in the 90s, and always encouraged me to listen to and read his stuff. I started up again sometime last year between lockdown and nervous breakdown, and I haven’t looked back.

He is truly a man outside of time, his intellect and wisdom tower about the inch-deep emotive soup that passes for public discourse and debate in our present milieu. If you’re a current or recovering news hound like me, listening to his take on the world and, more importantly, on the art of living, makes for some pretty great mental stimulation. He keeps me company from my Alexa most weekday mornings in the kitchen, though my three year old Zelie does tend to scream when she hears the show opener start playing. I guess rabbinic wisdom, current events, and political commentary isn’t her particular cup of tea. Go figure.

This was a fascinating and extremely apolitical presentation on the science – trust it, it’s science TM – that isn’t being acknowledged or publicized about covid, the various therapeutics and prophylactics. If you’re firmly in camp “covid is forever,” it might raise your blood pressure. But if you’re like me and hoping we can return to some good old fashioned normalcy now that we’ve got a helluvalotta science to prevent, slow, and treat the course of disease, well, I think you’ll like what he has to say. Quick listen, too!

This author. I’ve been devouring his books since early February. I’m about to finish my 8th title of his, if I’m counting right? 2 trilogies and a double header. All about apocalyptic disease outbreaks (do I know how to unwind or what?) space and time travel, the complete breakdown of civilization and global and universal war, on one level or another. Sounds grim and gruesome but the stories are all fast paced and captivating, the sexy stuff is generally minimal and totally absent in some books (though definitely written by a guy who thinks he knows what women like, L to the O L, nope) and every time I get to the end, my Kindle is like “Ding! Congratulations, you’re one click away from the next installment of the Super Out of Control Space Pandemic series, or something, and like a Netflix binging college student, I do click, I must confess.

Sweet Carrie (whom I openly fangirl) sent me 2 gorgeous and decidedly chrism-scented bags of delicious Theology of Home…coffee! The coffee doesn’t taste like chrism, don’t worry. But the bags do smell ever so slightly on the outside of that heavenly scent, and more-so-slightly on the inside of a different and almost equally heavenly scent. We haven’t dipped into Vespers yet because I’m desperate for caffeine this week, but I can confirm Vigil is delicious, dark, complex, notes of chocolate and berries, tastes great black as an espresso shot or French pressed with cream. Honestly, I’m ruined. It’s so good.

I could have sworn I had more things to link but, like sand through an hourglass, diapers through a giant pack, minutes of sleep before 6 am, they’ve just…slipped away.

Wishing you a beautiful and blessed Triduum and Holy Week!