Some Bright Spots in My 2018

Some Bright Spots in My 2018 December 31, 2018

It’s been awhile since my last post because I have been traveling this Christmas season to see family. We live almost all the way across the country from each other and visiting has been absolutely wonderful. What a perfect time to travel far to be with family, too. But, as 2018 is finally coming to an end, I thought it would be appropriate to do a roundup of some of my favorite things of this year. In no particular order, here are my favorite things of 2018.


The Grace of Enough- Haley Stewart

I loved this look at life full of meaning rather than possessions. Haley is such a great storyteller and writer and seamlessly weaves her family’s story amidst practical tips for living more while having less.

Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: 250 Ways to Honor Mary- Katherine M. Towne

Kate runs name consulting and information site Sancta Nomina (mentioned below!) and is such a whiz. This book is an incredible collection of names you wouldn’t think of to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary– surely a name to fit every style. I wrote another review of it earlier in the year.

To Middle-Earth and Back Again- Kaitlyn Facista

I can’t say enough good things about this book. Tolkien superfan, Kaitlyn Facista has put together an instructional journey to use and read as you read through Lord of the Rings. I’ve always had a hard time with Tolkien and getting through LotR, but this journal has given me new understanding and new inspiration. Grab a copy of this if you really truly want to deepen your life.


Thy Tender Care- Harrison Lemke

Harrison is a Catholic Twitter friend of mine and I just cannot get enough of his newest Advent album. It’s an album of memories without the sorrowing nostalgia. It’s such a fitting Advent album, full of looking at the past while looking forward full of hope. Eve Tushnet wrote a great review of it (and I do disagree with her where she says I would!). I will write a full review of this album in the new year because I love it that much.



Simcha Fisher

Basically, I’d like to be Simcha when I grow up some day. I love her wit and her observations. I love how she’s not afraid to let you see how tired she sometimes is– emotionally, mentally, physically. I love how the Faith, her faith, comes through in every sentence. And I super love her “What’s For Supper” posts every Friday.


Natonthewall blog

Perhaps you remember music group Hanson and middle brother Taylor? This is his wife. To be clear, I’d be a huge fan of hers even if she wasn’t married to Taylor, but as it is, they make a phenomenal duo. Her blog details their life as people and as parents on the road raising their 5 (now 6!) kids. She’s guest posted at Nameberry three times (here, here, and here) talking about naming their children and their unusual name choices. She’s thoughtful, inspirational, practical, and just plain fun. It’s so nice to read about a family really enjoying life together through the struggles and the joys and seeing a woman truly come into herself as a mom without any of the saccharine schmaltz.

Sancta Nomina

Kate is  so cool, thoughtful, and wise. I love reading her name consultations and her posts on meanings behind names and her thoughts on them. She profiled my kids’ names this year, too.


Roman Circus

Matt Baker and Zac Mabry (yes, you might remember him as tiniest he-man woman hater Porky in The Little Rascalshere; read my profile on him ) co-host this informative and fun podcast. Topics vary from current events to just parts of the Faith they want to talk about. They’ve had some awesome guests on, as well. Currently, they’re doing a 12 days of Christmas podcast event where they have a different guest on each of the 12 days of Christmas (watch out, I’m guesting on Day 9!) and talk about a different topic of the Faith, numerically related to the day it airs. Find it here:

On Podbean

On Stitcher

On iTunes

Catching Foxes

Luke and Gomer continue to be my favorites. Their “discussion over instruction” method is engaging and makes listening to them like being in the room with old friends. Gomer and Luke are, in fact, old friends, but I love this invitation into their friendship and all the good they do. Also, it turns out that Luke knows my brother-in-law and I’m all about weird Catholic connections.

Clerically Speaking

Fr. Harrison Ayre and Fr. Anthony Sciarappa co-host this podcast on matters of Faith and theology, the state of the Church, and being priests. These are good guys and fun to listen to. They’re even more fun on Twitter– @fathersciarappa and @FrHarrison). Find it here:

On iTunes

On Podbean

Tea with Tolkien

Basically, anything Kaitlyn does I love. Her podcast, though, is just a pure delight. She talks about, what else? but Tolkien and truly amps up her mission of living like a hobbit and building community through it. Her daughter makes a guest appearance in the very first episode and, honestly, she should be on more often.

Catholic Sprouts

This is daily podcast for Catholic kids with episodes no longer than 7 minutes long to hold their attention. New episodes every Monday-Friday focus on one topic of the Faith each week. My kids (ages 6 and almost 5) adore this and ask for a new episode every time we get into the car. It provokes good conversations about the Faith and also ends with a small daily challenge or task, which my kids and I talk about how we’re going to do it that day. If you have kids, subscribe to this! Find it here:

On iTunes

On Podbean

Other way to listen


There were also a lot of movies (Avengers: Infinity WarBlack PantherReady Player One) and TV (DaredevilChilling Adventures of Sabrina) I truly enjoyed this year but no one wants to hear me ramble about anything else. And there were plenty of blogs, books, music, and podcasts I love that just didn’t make their way into this post. Tell me what you like to read, watch, listen to in the comments.

And a final request, please consider supporting me on Patreon if you want to continue reading my pieces! I’m a writer, I don’t make much, but I like what I do and I hope you do, too. If you can, please help support me, my career, and my family.


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