Mama Monk Interview!

I know many of you dear readers have come by my blog because you love my brother Jason and trust his advice. He’s smart and funny and deep and you hope I’ll be too. And I appreciate that. I don’t mind the pressure…as long as you’re not expecting me to have snark oozing out of every word I write. And as long as you don’t anticipate super clever footnotes. I don’t even know how to make footnotes. So, thanks to… Read more

Hey there, St. Patrick

I’m not Irish. My step mother-in-law is and that could possibly count for something. Otherwise, St. Patrick’s Day has never meant a ton to me, besides my memories of how hard it was to go to gymnastics class on St. Patrick’s Day never having any leotards with green in them. An entire leotard wardrobe with no green? It was so unfair. That is why I’ve spent today doing a little research into our man of the day, Patrick. In my… Read more

I’m so tired of the word “nice.”

Why is “nice” the preferred morality term for all toddlers everywhere? I keep thinking that if some Martians walked onto any playground in America, they would gather that our greatest cultural value is niceness. Why else would we speak of it as our gold standard of behavior? Is nice really all we want our kids to be? I’m becoming more and more aware of how often I use the word with August. He throws his food on the floor. “August,… Read more

Why Hopkins is the man.

I sat awkwardly bent forward in a thick oak chair, bulky in a sweater and snow boots, pages of poems spread on my lap. Every time I entered my professor’s office that first year of grad school, I couldn’t help but be intimidated by Mary’s wit, her loud opinions, and her short pencil skirt with snappy lace up boots. The day I learned about Gerard Manley Hopkins we’d been discussing my poetry and my tendency to write about God in… Read more

Passing the faith

A few weeks ago, I sat around with some fellow mothers discussing the great dilemma of modern Christian parenthood: Family devotions or no family devotions? Even just the phrase rings warning bells in my ears.  Can’t we think of a better term that doesn’t make teenagers automatically want to throw up in their mouths? As someone who spent the past decade in youth ministry, I’m leery of any family activity that can do more harm than good to a child’s… Read more

Fully Present

This morning I can breathe through my nose! My son slept through the night. And my husband didn’t keep me awake with his feverish ickiness. We’re on the mend. And as a result, here I am, having just prayed through my morning Psalms, and having just thanked God for not leaving even though I was not near him for a major chunk of time. Why is it that my entire connection with God seems to be run by my ability… Read more

Introducing…Thankful Tuesday!

In my earnest, outgoing, college-is-like-church-camp! freshman year, I met with two friends at seven every morning to pray for about, um, two weeks. (At least we tried.)  In our instituting of the prayer time, we had decided that we needed a day set aside for thanksgiving, a day to ignore our usual requests and simply thank God for all the good things in our lives. And we decided that, of course, it should be on Tuesday. Tuesday gets so little… Read more

The Mamas Share: Bishop’s Sonnet?

If you’ve been reading, you know that I love Elizabeth Bishop and you know that I’ve been holding out hope that some of you are memorizing her poem Sonnet with me. As of tomorrow mama:monk will be moving on to a new poem. I know you may not have had time to learn all of it. Or you may think that a poem is the last thing you’re going to use your limited brain powers on in the midst of… Read more

Examining the Ordinary

This has not been a week of Benedictine bliss. In fact, I’ve been a failure of the Rule, hardly praying, living in the same pajamas four days straight, feeling sorry for my sickly self, and in turn, caring for the little boy I passed that sickness onto. The good news is that Benedict would be okay with that (except maybe not the feeling sorry for myself part). For all of his sixth century intensity, he was a man of grace…. Read more

What I was thinking about this morning while I lay awake at 4 am, unable to go back to sleep, due to the massive amount of snot in my head.

Why do I have to be sick for a third day in a row? Aren’t antibiotics supposed to work faster than this? I’m such a jerk. If I’d lived 100 years ago I’d be dead by now from all the infections I’ve had. Thank you God for the invention of penicillin. Seriously, thank you. I wonder if I drink coffee this morning I’ll throw up? I really want to drink coffee. Wait, didn’t Chris get bread crumbs in my freshly… Read more

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