Serious Men. Serious Toast.

My husband won a service award at work. Every now and then they pass out these little carrots for being a good company man, so you can go to the website, which resembles a Sharper Image catalog, and pick out some frivolous piece of gadgetry or a small appliance, and maybe conciliate your wife for all the stupid travel you've done lately. And I'll say, nothing makes up for your husband's absence like a Sonic toothbrush.But at this point, the only small appliance of which we had vague need was … [Read more...]

Between fatigue and falling down: Rapture!


One thing my sister won't tell you on her blog is that she is a very good runner, has been for many years, placed top ten in state cross country meets, still holds records at our high school and at Notre Dame U. After six children, she's still swizzle stick thin and a daily runner. In an excellent proof of forming a woman to form civilization, it seems her children might follow in her footsteps, as they've taken to entering these charity runs for leukemia and whatnot as a family, and sweeping … [Read more...]

Seeking the Light


It began as a conversation with a friend about sex; she said that her guiding principal in the bedroom, and elsewhere, is to live entirely in the light. There would be no lies or deceit in the bedroom, no words said that she didn't mean, no acting in ways that she didn't act naturally, to make the gift of self, the gift of humbly and wholly being herself as God made her--not as the magazines told her she should be.Likewise, she would expect truthfulness from her husband, even though she … [Read more...]

Ever Upward, Caveman: On the Failing of Spiritual Mottos


Once upon a time in spiritual direction, I struggled to come up with a motto for my life--a catchy slogan like "So easy, a caveman can do it," or "A little dab will do ya"--not so much to sell me on the essence of my vocation, but to remind me in five words or less what my vocation actually is, when, for instance, I'm overwhelmed because I can't control my husband, my kids, my dog, my house, the weather, my moods, or anything really, and I'd rather go to France and do the can-can.I found it … [Read more...]

Goats, Robo-Christians, and God-people

After I'd lived in England for six months, and had been on pilgrimage from there to Rome during Holy Week, and had climbed the Holy Steps on my knees, and had kissed the drops of Christ-blood still on them though covered by sheets of plexiglass, and had broken up with my boyfriend/fiance of three years, and had started attending Mass again regularly, I came back to the Midwest, back to the small liberal arts College, back to the frat houses and kegs and vats of vile mixed alcoholic beverages, … [Read more...]

Case Study in Controlled Violence

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This old post came up in a recent conversation (Thank you, Calah!). Thought I'd give it another run.  I have no idea how to make children behave, and when I read theories and hear stories of children forever changed into angels by a sharp word here, or a meaningful hug there, I instantly bristle. It defies thousands of years of lived experience for a child to be made perfect by a smart parent. It’s only happened once that I know of, and both the child and his parent were Go … [Read more...]

Somebody’s Got To Do It


OK kids, time to clean the kitchen. You have ten minutes to wipe down the counters, load the dishes and sweep the floor, and then you can watch Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Oldest: I'll put away condiments.Girl: I'll wipe the table.Fourth child: My job is sweeping.Second child: My job is staring death in the face.Everybody: Lucky!  … [Read more...]