On Accepting Help

I was in desperate need of Confession recently. When I finally decided I couldn’t put off the spring-cleaning my soul so desperately needed any longer, I scoured the Internet looking for a local church and made plans to go.  I knew I would have to bring all six kids with me because my husband was working and I was dreading […]

A Review of Head and Heart: Becoming Spiritual Leaders for Your Family

As the Synod on the Family continues in Rome, Catholic families around the world are refocusing on the importance of transmitting the faith in a vibrant, intentional way at home. At this particular moment in history, spiritual leadership and growth in holiness within the family really demands our attention as sons and daughters of the Church, and as spouses and […]

What I Learned from Attending the Papal Mass in Philadelphia

Pope Francis in Philadelphia September 26, 2015 a katz / Shutterstock.com

Since we only live a few hours away, we decided at the last minute to attend the Papal Mass in Philadelphia. Making an appearance with our kids to this event—no matter how historic—made no sense. We did not have tickets. We have six children, one of whom is a toddler capable of shattering glass with his high-pitched screams. Two million […]

To My Children: Eight Things I Want You to Remember this School Year

Dear Children, Over the last few weeks, I’ve spent hours ordering uniforms and supplies and schoolbooks. I’ve nagged you at least five hundred fifty-six times to finish your summer reading. I’ve carefully selected new book bags with colorful prints that reminded me of you and I’ve labeled your notebooks and binders and tab dividers.   I’ve scoured the house for belts […]

My Number One Parenting Tip

A friend of mine came to visit last week with her small army of young children. We chatted while I slathered peanut butter and jelly on slices of wheat bread and threw them at the masses. Every five minutes, we filled requests for cups of water and changed diapers and broke up scuffles over broken toys. In between the commotion […]

Special Children, Blessed Fathers and The Profound Witness They Offer

"Suffer little children to come unto me" (detail) by Juan Urruchi

She sat in the first pew, directly in front of our parish’s beautiful gold tabernacle.  She was dressed for the occasion, donning a simple white dress and she had a small lace veil clipped into her hair.   Her excitement over the upcoming event left her wiggly and every few minutes, she’d look over at her teacher and flash a grin […]

A Mother’s Serenity Prayer

When the heat goes out and the temperature is minus-two degrees outside and I wonder when the oil company will arrive to save us from this dangerous situation, —Lord, help me to accept hardship as a pathway to peace, to take as Jesus did the sinful world as it is, not as I would have it. When we are on day […]

A Reflection on the Desire to Feel Superior

On a rainy afternoon not too long ago, I took the kids to grab a bite to eat at the large food warehouse near our house.  We were all a bit stir crazy from being cooped up, so the seven of us braved the hellish weather with nary a yellow slicker or umbrella. (In our family, slickers, rain boots, and […]

On Lenten Failures and Easter Resurrections

This year, I didn’t pull out the Lenten decorations I use as visual aids to help my children during the forty days in the desert.  My crown of thorns wreath, the purple cloth, the sacrifice jar and the other small devotional items I implement as best Lenten practices stayed housed in their Rubbermaid containers in the garage. I suppose this is […]

Three Good Catholic Reads

During the last week of January, when the grey had permanently settled in the sky and all I could see out my windows was a world painted the colors of a penitentiary, I received a late Christmas package: a box of review copy books. When I tore into the brown UPS package, my heart leapt with joy because although it […]