The Art of Presence

The Art of Presence is a fantastic piece by David Brooks.  Brooks compiles the collective wisdom of a family that has suffered great trauma.  He summarizes their thoughts on how those of us outside the zone of a traumatic situation can reach those within.  In summary, he writes-- I’d say that what these experiences call for is a sort of passive activism. We have a tendency, especially in an achievement-oriented culture, to want to solve problems and repair brokenness — to propose, plan, fix, int … [Read more...]

Photography Tips for Moms

Over the years, I have posted some fantastic pictures of my family and my children.  Under each one, you see a credit to Sweet Pea Photography.  The photographer there happens to be my little sister Elizabeth.  This arrangement has worked out quite nicely for me.  I experience an important life event, like a vacation or having a baby, and I don’t have to bring my camera or worry about snapping a single photo.  My sister follows me around like the paparazzi, works her tail off, and snaps amazing s … [Read more...]

A Hallelujah Christmas

I really enjoyed this song.  My husband and kids did too.  Very moving.In these last fews days of preparation for Christmas remember to always be aware of the presence of Christ.  When you run out of scotch tape at the 11th hour, when you are standing in a yet another long line at the food store, when you burn your last batch of Christmas cookies -- be aware of the presence of Christ.  Emmanuel means God is with us.  Embrace His presence.  Many prayers for a peaceful end to Advent and a v … [Read more...]

Snow, Sickness, Ugly Sweaters, and Prayer–It’s Advent time.

Good Morning Readers!Last week was a wild one around here.  Sick kids, a husband recovering from knee surgery, a car accident with an uninsured driver, and a sick babysitter --all worked together to cause utter chaos!  My 4 year old daughter had pneumonia, but she is doing much, much better this week.  And my poor husband had to have his knee drained (which I hear is extremely painful), and then he was rear-ended on the highway the next day (he is doing ok from that too).  I'll admit that I d … [Read more...]

11 Years Old, and Celebrating Therese’s Birthday for the Very First Time

It is probably not a coincidence that tomorrow is my day to post -- it is my deceased daughter Therese's 11th birthday.Therese Joy was born and died on what was a snowy Michigan night.  Some of the builders were there to meet her.  Others were praying for our family from afar.  Each year, as November 25th approaches, I grieve for my daughter.  Some years I cry a lot, other years I do not cry at all, but only experience a very palpable sadness.  Sometimes the grief begins as soon as the weat … [Read more...]

Christmas List 2013!!!

Two years ago, I did a Crazy Christmas Prep post in October, laying out our family plan for thriving during Advent and Christmas.  In response to that post, I received quite a bit of negative feedback.  From the very benign, “I’m stressed out and your post is only making it worse!” to the meaner, “you are so materialistic Red, and if you were as holy as some of us, you would just celebrate Christmas without gifts in a cold dark home and eat soup out of a can to fully embrace the humility of our B … [Read more...]

Wife Credit

My husband and I enjoy watching reruns of the show King of Queens.  One old episode addressed the concept of wife credit.  We found this idea very funny, and have recently come to terms with the fact that wife credit is a part of our marriage.  Maybe you don't call it by that name, but it's probably part of your marriage too.The idea behind wife credit is that a husband can go above and beyond his normal day to day duties and earn extra credit with his wife.  Wife credit can then be used in e … [Read more...]

Our Homeschooling Routine

Happy Monday!I've had a lot of questions lately about what my days "look like."  So this is going to be a really practical and honest post about  how I/we plan (or don't plan) our homeschooling days.I'll begin with a confession.  If I am not going on a morning run, I set an ALARM for 8AM!!!!!!!!!  I'm serious.  My kids sleep in and I love it.  I am not a morning person, and neither is my husband, so I think our kids have just very gradually gotten the hint that we aren't nice in the m … [Read more...]

Benedict said it first, but it didn’t make headlines.

I'm a little late on this, but everyone is still talking about Pope Francis' recent interview.  Allow me to start by saying that I think Pope Francis' comments, and the ensuing media narrative that Pope Francis is charting a new liberal course for the Church while Pope Benedict was a conservative focused on rules, is at best overhyped, and at worst outright deceitful.  While there is much to say about the content of Francis' interview, he doesn't differ from Benedict on fundamentals.Carl A … [Read more...]

To Homeschool or Not? A Snapshot of Peace.

Last week was the big back to school week around here.  Every time I checked facebook I saw adorable photos of children in Catholic school uniforms (and some without) smiling and marking the milestone.  As a homeschooling mom, I felt just a tad bit jealous.  Not that taking a cute back to school shot is a reason to send your child to school (it isn't)...but I thought about all these moms with less kids on their hands, moments of quiet as babies and toddlers took afternoon naps, time to do food sh … [Read more...]