Sunday, May 24, 2015

My Kind of Facelift At 40!

Dear Precious Readers,

Thank you for taking an amazing spiritual journey with me for the past 8 years on Abigail's Alcove.

I have created a new blog that reflects the person that I've become at age 40.

At you can find a place to give yourself Beauty, Silence, and a Peaceful Rural Setting on this busy internet highway.

Join me there to find inspiration for silent prayer, to find Movies, Music and Books that compliment your spiritual journey, and to meet up with a friendly sidekick who loves to chat about the deep things in life.

Everything on this blog has been moved to "Alcove" on the navigation bar. Comments on all posts are now open.

The "blog" tab on will contain new posts I wrote after May 15, 2015.

I look forward to meeting up with you in a modern and more technology friendly setting!

See you soon!

Your friend,

Abigail B.

Monday, May 18, 2015

I'm Becoming a Real Carmelite

I have a date to say my final promise to become a Carmelite for life! It feels like the difference between getting engaged to the boyfriend I loved vs actually buying my wedding dress. It feel like, "This is real now. This could actually happen for me!"

May 2016!

When I joined the Carmelite Lay Order years ago in 2008 I was originally scheduled to make my final promise in the 500th Year of St. Teresa of Avila's birth. St. Teresa, or "My Tess", is my bff. My final promise date all seemed to fit in this perfect scheme of God. I felt like the profession date was a confirmation of my call.

I told my husband that I felt a little sad that I wasn't approved to make my final promise in the Centennial Year 2014-2015.

He told me "You have a date! Who cares that you lost a little time between a move and three pregnancies! You are a better Carmelite after those experiences. You will be professed next May and we are all so happy for you! Start enjoying your news!"

So rather than feel like a failure for taking so long, I'm letting myself feel excited.

My community has discussed my case. They have made a ruling. They have accepted me into their community. My community has set a date to welcome me in their fellowship!

One year.

I have one more year to live under my temporary vow until I get to make my final promise to remain a Carmelite for life!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Book Review: "Arriving at Amen" by Leah Libresco

New Catholic author Leah Libresco's book, "Arriving at Amen," is an unusual and lively read. Libresco's talent is to see the handiwork of God within Math, Science, Literature, and Modern Day Musicals. I find her book an especially useful tool for those of us with an established Catholic Identity and a routine prayer life.

Libresco's short, clear, and creative metaphors about prayer and the spiritual life really stuck with me throughout the day. I don't think I'll forget the her image of Morning and Evening Prayer being similar to an open and closed parenthesis inside a computer program. God designed me to need both parts to run my day well!

Rather than continue to talk about her unusual book, I'd rather show you her talented writing in person. Here is a quote regarding the universal sacrifice of the Mass.

"Imagine that wherever you walked, you traced out your path behind you, maybe with ink, maybe with string. There would be some places where the only evidence of your passing was a single, lonely line, but other locations (the threshold of your front door, perhaps) would show a thick mass of overlaid lines. Every point where lines cross would be a location that you occupied more than once. The times at which you stood there may have varied, but the position would remain the same..."

"I thought of the sacrifice of the Mass as being an example of the same kind of singularity. Throughout history, wherever they were in space and time, Catholics have continually doubled back to intersect in this one space. . . I might turn up for a different Mass ... but in the long chain of coordinates that describe me, there's one variable that remains absolutely the same at every Mass. ... I'm always in the exact same position with respect to Christ's sacrifice regardless of whether I'm in the same location in space and time (x,y,t) as his Crucifixion." (pg. 118-120).

Libresco has a rare gift to write about the deep mysteries of prayer with clarity and humor. I hope we can enjoy many more religious books from her in the future!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

For All Spiritual Mothers

Happy Mother's Day to all women who have developed an authentic and deep connection to a child. Your love is a work of art! Thank you!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Catholic Take on A.D. The Bible Continues | Episode 6

Feed My Sheep | The Ordaining of a Bishop

Two Ways to Clean A Kitchen (According to a Poor Clare)

"What do we mean by a clean kitchen? There can be something that looks like cleanness just because nothing is going on. Let us linger for a couple of minutes on those material aspects. There are two ways, for instance, you could have a clean kitchen.

One, is that the cook never does anything there, that no service goes on there. Everything is in its proper place and never taken out; there is no work, there is no love, there is no energy, there is no spending. Nothing is ever spilled because nothing is ever done. Nothing ever burns because nothing is ever cook. And it's a clean kitchen.

Then there is a clean kitchen that is the result of loving labor after there have been some spills, some scorching, some pans boiling over--and then there is always cleaning up. Lots of work has gone on, and wherever human work goes on, there are always going to be some spills, there are always going to be some pans boiling over, and there is always going to be some things that didn't turn out as we had hoped. But then it is all cleaned up afterwards. That is a very different kind of clean kitchen from the first kind.

Then too, there is a clean house, the kind of thing we have heard about, read about, shivered about: women who are so tyrannical that they have a spotless house because nobody is ever really allowed to live there. Nothing really happens, in a deeply human sense. It's clean, all right, but for lack of life. And then again, there is a clean house in which a mother of many children has spent herself, every day, cleaning up the mud, sweeping the rug, washing the dishes because people have to be fed. You could have very clean dishes if you never fed anyone. You could have a shining stove if nothing is ever cooked on it-going back to our first image. But there can be the house that is always so beautifully clean because the mother is always cleaning up the inevitable messes that human living entails; the happy little disorder that comes from living, and the messes that perhaps should not have been made but then should not be pointed at--just cleaned up. And that is a very different kind of house.

In our spiritual life, the parallel is very evident: nothing else could be meant by a clean heart, but a cleaned heart.

--Come, Lord Jesus: Meditations on the Art of Waiting, Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C.

(I am such a Carmelite! I have been a stay-at-home Mother for 10 years. I'm incredibly messy and very poor at house cleaning tasks. My husband is the exact opposite of me. He has this natural, calm sense of order and his dream job at retirement is to become a janitor. For 10 years of our marriage, he carried me. Now finally after 6 kids and his 12 hours spent at work everyday, we are not getting the house cleaned on the weekend together regularly. We are printing out new car insurance cars and going rock climbing instead. So for two years the deep cleaning work is all on me. I'm failing at it.

I'm such a Carmelite because I could read 10,000 articles on Fly Lady --which is a great encouraging How To Clean Your House website that seems to work for every other mother except for me. I read "How to Clean Your House" and I fall easily into discouragement and self-pity. Yet I read three paragraphs from a spiritual book by a Poor Clare and I am inspired to be a better house cleaner. I think "Oh, this is why I'm supposed to care about this task!

I often sail on an opposite tact from everyone else but I have to trust that we are all aiming for the same buoy. A clean house is a critical tool for an active, happy family life. I was built to get to better housecleaning by sitting still and talking to Jesus' Mom in silence for 30 minutes today. Praise God for the Poor Clares. Their spirituality is so sweet, so encouraging and yet so, practical!