kids

“Christ at 33” (detail) by Hofmann

Speak less, Do more

  When I was a child, I awoke many mornings and found my mother in the kitchen preparing breakfast or folding laundry, while she watched Protestant television evangelists preach the word of God. Some days, I stumbled downstairs to find her curled up on the couch, tears running down her face as she listened to the morning message. I caught […]

The Hidden Life

When I retired from a public work life, I found a hidden life had many lessons to teach… When I was a new mom, I slipped away for a silent weekend retreat. Before we adjourned on Sunday afternoon, the organizers invited the participants to randomly pick a holy card. On it, was a virtue we were supposed to cultivate throughout […]

Raising Independent Catholic Kids in an Age of Conformity

Sexting, drugs, alcohol, cyber-bullying, teen suicide, rampant materialism, technology addiction, and me-first mindsets—the list of challenges to young people today can seem overwhelming.  As parents of two boys, ages fifteen and eighteen, I feel like my wife and I are on the front lines of a never-ending war for the very souls of our children.  I would love to tell you […]

The Good News About Imperfect Families

Do we have to go to church?” my five year old, Camille, whined as we readied for the Good Friday Stations of the Cross. “It’s boring and stupid,” she said, tears dripping down her cheeks and punctuating her overly dramatic sentiments. “I want to go to the Stations. Today is the day Jesus died. I want to comfort Him,” I […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Cathedral of My Bathroom

I used to think that my days of praying in my bathroom were numbered, and that the numbers were going to get smaller as I (and my kids!) got older. I assumed that, with a routine that involved them being reasonable human beings and sleeping on a normal schedule, I would be able to return to praying at my kitchen […]

The Virtual Family: Connected or Disconnected?

Six Ways to Avoid Becoming a Virtual Family

I took my family out to dinner one evening after my younger son’s lacrosse practice. As we were catching up on each other’s day and making plans for the coming weekend, I noticed a family had been seated at the table next to us. What struck me as odd was that the dad was on his iPhone answering an email, […]

St. Michael the Archangel

On Slaying Dragons And Other Noble Pursuits

A Lesson In Motivating My Boy Child To Choose The Good In the three minutes we had been sitting in our church pew, Christopher, my five-year old, had managed the following: He “accidentally” tore several pages of the green Gather hymnal, He took off his brown leather school shoes and tossed them under the pew (revealing large holes in the […]

"Christ in the House of Mary and Martha" (detail) by Johannes Vermeer

When My Martha Tendencies Highjack My Desire To Be Like Mary During Advent

I woke up one morning recently and panicked about my failure to “plan” Advent.  After a few hours of agonizing about an approach, I concocted a plan of attack. “If we get an Advent wreath, make a calendar, prepare an empty manger with sacrifice straw and pull out all fifty of the Christmas books, I think we’ll be in good […]