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Annie Turner :
27 article(s)

Ann Turner is a passionate convert to the Catholic faith, who is also passionate about life in general, small dogs, food and wine, friends, nature, and the blessing that comes from just showing up and being a witness with other people. Follow Ann's faith journey & more at: itsthegodthing.blogspot.com. Ann is also the published author of over forty children's books. She loves to hear from her readers.
November 14th, 2014

One evening, at the end of the day, chores done, chicken curry eaten, and dog walked, my husband and I sat together in the living room. It appeared to be a calm space where we would talk about nothing more significant than whether we should watch the next episode of Sherlock…, our favorite BBC series. But then, I opened my mouth.
At the same time I opened my mouth, feelings rushed in behind the words. I was feeling overwhelmed by the sheer nastiness and mayhem in the world: Iraqi children fleeing their villages, the destruction in Gaza, the beheading of journalists and humanitarian workers by ISIS, climate change, and countless other stories, which I strove to avoid but somehow could not. I’d already gone upstairs

October 10th, 2014

I wonder if you are like me in the morning. Do you gulp coffee, eat toast standing up, and hurl dishes into the dishwasher while watching Good Morning America?
On this particular morning, the news came through that one of my favorite actors, Robin Williams, had committed suicide. My coffee cup hit the tiles and liquid cascaded across my kitchen floor.
“How could this happen?” I wailed to my husband, who was going through his own frantic dance of trying to leave for work.
“What happened, Annie?”
“Robin Williams committed suicide.”
He left his backpack on the floor and came skidding into the kitchen. From his face, he was as shocked as I was.
“How could someone who was loved by so many not know that he was…

September 10th, 2014

Ok, I give in. Everybody I know under the age of 40 seems to have invested in these tiny, expensive Fitbits, which you snap on your wrist or clip on your shorts. They measure your steps, the flights of stairs you’ve climbed, general exercise, and calories expended. They talk to you. In cheery, shrill little voices very early in the morning.
“Hi, Annie!”
“Good luck!” (Did it say “sweetie” or did I just imagine that?)
“UcandoitAnn”
My take on this whole “I-am-going-to-monitor-every-activity-of-my-day stuff” is that, sure, it can make sense. It may help you get more control over your eating and exercise. But, really? I need to know all of this?
I have a proposal. A fine one, I think. Let’s invent…

April 21st, 2014
The woman with a role in stories of Jesus' life, death and resurrection can be a model for our lives today

She was not the prostitute that you read about in Luke 7:36-50. Her story begins in Luke 8:1-3, which says, “Soon afterwards Jesus went through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with Jesus, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities. Mary, called Magdalene from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna … and Susanna, and many others … who provided for them out of their resources.”
She also is not to be confused with the unknown woman who washed and anointed Jesus’ feet, nor was she Jesus’ wife, although some modern novels would have us believe this. There is simply no evidence for this…

March 26th, 2014

Recently, I’ve been rereading selections from Henri Nouwen’s writings in the bathroom, as they are short, to the point, and open into deeper reflections. Some may protest at the idea of doing spiritual reading in the bathroom, but I find it a perfect place. No one bothers you. Your cell phone cannot buzz or twitch at you. For just a while you are protected from real life, all except the parents of toddlers who do not respect any kind of doors.
Henri Nouwen was a Dutch priest and theologian of enormous output. He wrote many books, lectured widely, inspired thousands in their spiritual journeys, and wound up living his later years in a L’Arche community in Canada, which pairs mentally abled adults with mentally…

February 12th, 2014

One of my new “guilty pleasures” is grabbing the Magazine section of the Sunday Boston Globe and going straight to “Dinner With Cupid,” which my husband has rechristened, “Dinner with Stupid.”
It is a microcosm of the dating game. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Globe, this feature pairs people (mostly young, mostly straight), matching up their list of attributes and interests in the hopes that they might promote a match of some sort, or at the very least, an enjoyable blind date.
Contestants fill out forms stating what they like to do on a Saturday night, who would play them in a movie, what is their favorite way to spend downtime, and more. The magazine shows pictures of the two people, usually…

October 21st, 2013

My young daughter is riding out the wet and rather depressing days partly by playing some entrancing video games. Despite my occasional hand-wringing and guilty murmurs about “corruption of creativity” and “encouraging violence,” our family has found some games that celebrate stories, imagination, and adventure. And those are the ones our daughter uses.
However, supper is about to be served, and as a rather serious foodie, meals with my husband are very important to me, as are their preparation (and the shopping and the thinking about and the moseying through cookbooks). This night it is spicy chickpeas cooked in a clay pot with Moroccan preserved lemons added at the last minute.…

August 14th, 2013

This summer, I’ve been watching the hummingbirds whirring up to our feeder and resting on the convenient little perches while they drink. I can almost feel their hunger and need for copious amounts of sugar water to fuel their darting flights through the air.
But what struck me most the other day was the ants. The red sugar water had sunk to unnoticeable levels, so I unhooked the feeder and took it inside to wash in the kitchen sink. As I unscrewed the bottom and blasted it with water, a cluster of small black corpses floated into the sink trap: Ants, maybe 20 or 30 of them, hard to count as they were such infinitesimal slivers of DNA.
To clarify their journey, envisage our house on a hill. Our deck rises a good 15 feet…

July 17th, 2013

I have just made a remarkable discovery, aided and abetted by Susan Cain’s marvelous book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World Which Cannot Stop Talking.
Here’s my surprise: I always thought I was an extrovert. I am basically at ease in social situations, don’t have trouble initiating conversations (since I got a small tattoo, I have found that a great way to begin talking to others), have been elected to leadership positions numerous times, ad nauseum. But — I really do not like working in groups. It is not my strength. I am far better and more productive working on my own (I am a writer, after all), taking long walks with the dog and thinking about things like Original Sin and the Big…

May 15th, 2013

Several years ago my family and I took a trip to the Southwest so I could do some research for a book I was writing for Scholastic’s “Dear America” series. While in Tucson, Arizona, we visited the astounding church called “The White Dove of the Desert,” which has some of the liveliest, most colorful folk art I’ve yet seen.
One of the paintings on the wall was of the disciples and their companions in the Upper Room receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The tongues of flame that rested merrily on the heads of the assembled crowd rather resembled roses. Sort of flaming red roses.
This gave me furiously to think, as Hercule Poirot would say. How do we experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in our…

May 7th, 2013

I don’t know about you, but just writing the word “anxiety” makes me anxious. It’s sort of like a virus. You see someone sneezing, try to escape the droplets spraying out, but still get the darn cold no matter what you do. I suspect fear and anxiety are somewhat the same: We catch them from others and we grow them inside ourselves as well.
My older brother has a dear stepdaughter attending Brandeis, and she was in lockdown for an entire day (as was all of Boston) during the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombers. It was scary and anxious, and my usual ways of dealing with this fear didn’t seem to be working so well. I spent time on the phone with my brother and wife — texted a few million…

April 23rd, 2013

All right, I admit it; there are a ton of things about not being brought up Catholic that clearly put me at risk. Or at least at a disadvantage. Case in point:
I usually do Reconciliation three to four times a year face-to-face with my favorite priest, a man of deep learning, wide experience and compassionate soul. He’s been there for my family in times of joy and times of great pain, and there is nothing I wouldn’t trust this guy with. But given how busy this amazing man is, I just couldn’t ask him to do Reconciliation and spiritual direction with me before Lent this year. So, I emailed the priest at the parish I now attend. And I know he is enormously busy too, as we’ve just lost our parochial vicar.…

April 8th, 2013

God works in mysterious ways. We all know that. So why should I have been surprised when a memory suddenly inserted itself into my brain today of a thunderstorm roiling the skies over my childhood house, lightning striking the ground, and the rackety sound of rain approaching? The sky turned green, and I plucked at my mother’s hand, “Where’s Nicky? Where is he?” I couldn’t put my worry into words, but I remember the sudden realization that I loved my brother dearly, that I didn’t think I could live without him, and that he needed to get home right now… before I could fret anymore. Thankfully, he scooted into the house a few minutes later, drenched to the skin, and laughing.
If you

February 25th, 2013

When I was growing up, the divide between Catholics and Protestants seemed greater than it does now. I’m not sure the word “ecumenical” had even been invented yet. But be that as it may, I remember being baffled by my Catholic friends, who on regular school days seemed, well — regular. But drive by a church, and there was this sudden flurry of unexplained activity, which I thought might denote some scratching but which turned out to be my friends crossing themselves. I hadn’t a clue what that meant. I think I’d heard the name “Jesus” by then, maybe at 11 years old, but I certainly had no real idea who he was or that he was to play such an enormous part in my life when I became an adult.
Lent was another occasion…

January 24th, 2013

Is anyone else out there as deeply disturbed by current events as I am right now? I know we’ve always had war in various places of the world, plus poor people shunted aside and ignored, plus victims of racism, homophobia, and violence to nature and humankind. But somehow, this year, these sad and bitter parts of human behavior feel like an iron cloak on my shoulders. I cannot even read about Syria anymore it is so upsetting, particularly after reading the luminous book, The Bread of Angels… by Stephanie Soldana, which tells of the monastery outside of Damascus headed by an Italian priest who tried to stay neutral and provide sanctuary for both sides in the conflict. He has since had to leave the country.
Today I ran around

January 4th, 2013

When I came into the Catholic Church ten years ago, there were a number of things I was a bit unclear about, including: the Pope, the Council of Trent, when exactly to kneel with everyone else so that I did not stick out like a foolish person with no wit, and — Eucharistic Adoration. Not only did I not know what it was, I could barely say… it.
I remember seeing our priest carrying the monstrance (another baffling thing I could barely say – it’s the special vessel used to carry the Blessed Sacrament) down the aisle, with the end of his sleeve wrapped around its handle like a good housewife holding a hot handle with an oven mitt. What’s with the cloth covering and all?
“Holy,” a friend whispered

November 15th, 2012

Recently, I stumbled across something called The Happiness Project. I discovered it as I poked around Heather King’s blog “Shirt of Flame” one day. Heather is a Catholic convert (like me), former “barfly” (unlike me), and a contemplative who is passionate about her faith and writing. Gretchen, the woman who wrote The Happiness Project…, discovered Heather’s blog, was fascinated, and shot some questions to her about happiness.
I began to feel uncomfortable as I read further, muttering things like, “White people’s problems,” and other critical labels. Suddenly I remembered one of Woody Allen’s early films when he is making love to some woman

October 10th, 2012

I’ve been thinking a lot about anger lately — righteous anger; spilling-over-the-top you are such total crud anger; you don’t deserve to be called a member of the human race anger; and what do you have in your ears, elephant turds, anger.
The level of rage in our national discourse seems to have hit a new low, or high, depending on how you use your statistics. Name-calling seems to be the preferred method of campaigning and “discussion” — although we can’t really use that term, can we, because to “discuss” means to listen to, and I simply don’t see a lot of listening going on.
The thing that I find most dismaying about this pathetic level of discourse…

September 19th, 2012

For some time now I have been faithfully following the little blurbs on the “Saint of the Day” in my various religious readings and Internet sites. These seem to include very young and virtuous girls in Italy who fend off rapists and then forgive them in the end; women who married young, had a gazillion children, forgave their husbands their infidelities and then founded orders of nuns who cared for the poor and the sick; holy men who became doorkeepers at monasteries and blew people away with their advice and wisdom.
This is not to knock these saints! By no means. It’s just to say — I cannot see myself in them. I wasn’t a virgin for very long; I am not humble and generous; I don’t…

March 27th, 2012

When I started writing for Busted Halo, the first piece I wrote, “What Sticks To Our Fingers,” was about death and what is left to us after a loved one passes on. It was pretty intense. And sad. I’ve been told, also moving. My editor suggested that for my first Busted Halo post I might want to write something a tad less saddening. (Is that a word? Is it theological?) We ended up running “What Sticks to Our Fingers” after all, but here’s the other piece I came up with:
We are in the run-up to Easter, and it always makes the hair on the nape of my neck stand up. It is so definitely not fun.… I’m one of those people for whom saying the Stations of the Cross is the equivalent to getting a root

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