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...]

Resolutions, big and small

My New Year's resolution has two dimensions. The first, very specific part of my resolution, is to floss daily. The second is to do the right thing all the time.The second part is ridiculous, unattainable perhaps, but shouldn't it be all of our resolution, always? The means to get there, for me right now, is flossing. Flossing is attainable. It is unambiguous and clearly defined. You can't fool yourself about flossing, because either you did it today or you didn't. It is a pretty low … [Read more...]

Intentional about Gratitude, but not about Downton Abbey

Gratitude may be our family's theme for 2014. I am reading a book on thanksgiving and inner peace, and these studies are all over the news. As someone who struggles with both postpartum and seasonal depressive tendencies, I'd like to try being much more intentional about giving thanks to fortify myself in joy and gratitude, before negative thought patterns take hold. The attitude of gratitude seems to rub off on kids as well. From the article linked above: The mere act of giving thanks has t … [Read more...]

Teaching your child how to handle a bully?

I know a child who has been picked on within a small group of boys, and I don't have much experience with adolescent boy interactions. The boy tells me that his instinct is to hit the other kid, but he knows that is not right and that he will probably get in trouble. Someone else suggested that he not actually hit, but use his size to threaten. We joked about having younger siblings go over, including a 5 year old, and tell the kid to lay off. In the end, we helped him to identify a friend … [Read more...]

Prayer for Sick Children

I don't know about your homes, but out here we are all in some unfortunate phase of a nasty virus, smack in the middle of such a fun Christmas season. Of course we are most worried for the little one, and so this morning I'm offering up a prayer I found in a little prayer book given at my baby shower...For the Health of a ChildHoly Mother, health of the sick and constant aide of those who pray to you, please speak with me to your divine Son. He showed himself loving and merciful in … [Read more...]

When Christmas brings sadness

Peace and blessing on this Fourth Day of Christmas!The Christmas dust is settling in our home.  We are having a wonderful holiday with family and friends.  With the hustle, bustle and wonderment of four kids and many visiting cousins, we feel blessed beyond measure (and perhaps slightly deficient in sleep).I am thankful that our Christmas season has been filled with great joy.  I have been reminded several times over the past month, however, that the Christmas season is hard for many of o … [Read more...]

My Favorite Moment of Christmas

Each year, my children choose a name from a hat and buy a gift for one sibling. We choose the name on the first Sunday of Advent and they plan the gifts, whispering and scheming and wrapping. Opening Secret Santa gifts is their favorite part of Christmas morning, no matter what else is under the tree, bikes or skis or huge marble run sets, somehow the package of markers from your big sister is the best gift you get. I think that the children know each other so well and they choose really … [Read more...]

Joy to the World


She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means 'God is with us.'" Matthew 1: 21-23 … [Read more...]

All Are Welcome, All Are Loved

It was Christmas Eve Mass a handful of years ago.  We were "running late", which meant we arrived with only 45 minutes to go until the service and the place was a total madhouse.  Alas, we were shuttled away from our sanctuary to the illustrious gym space, where the second mass was being held for the overflow.  It was a fine Mass and I tried keeping a positive attitude, despite being 6 months pregnant and in discomfort.  Thanks to the generosity of some kind parishioners, I enjoyed a seat while o … [Read more...]