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Girl on Fire: How I learned that being a “good Christian” means being truly yourself

Happy Epiphany! Happy New Year! I just got back from Nashville, where I was at the mind-blowing SEEK 2015 conference. There were 10,000 college students in attendance, and I had the honor of giving the women’s keynote. It’s the story of how I used to think that there was only one right way to be a “good Christian,” and the startling moment that God showed me that to be truly Catholic is to by truly myself. (There’s also a Q&A at the very end where I answer questions that were tweeted during the talk.) I had a ton... Read More

The ecstatic joy of knowing you have a soul (and why I loved The Fault in Our Stars)

thefault

A fun and surprisingly intense debate has broken out among my friends over the past few months, and it revolves around this question: The Fault in Our Stars: depressing or uplifting? One of my friends summarized her impression the book by saying, “It’s a sad story where everything is bad and then more bad stuff happens. Why did I need to read that?” She is on Team Depressing, and a lot of people I know are with her. A note my babysitter found in her copy of the book, left by her friend. I, however, am on the other team. I loved... Read More

The saint of the NICU

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Today is my youngest child’s first birthday! Those of you who were reading a year ago might recall that that wasn’t the best day. It was a rough pregnancy, involving bilateral pulmonary embolisms, hospitalization, and getting stabbed in the neck by doctors (UNNECESSARILY). The birth was not a ton of fun either — without going into detail, let’s just say that getting 12 blood draws in the same arm in one day was one of the better parts of the experience. Then, only minutes after the baby arrived, he was taken away due to... Read More

5 big ideas that changed my life

Combat peer orientation by raising shut-ins!

Every now and then I like to take a step back and examine my worldview. I ask:¬†What core beliefs define my outlook? What are the characteristics of the lens through which I see the world? I was pondering the subject while putting away laundry yesterday, and I came up with a list of key ideas that fundamentally shape the way I evaluate life. (Yes, this is really what I think about while I’m putting away laundry. It’s sad.) I thought it would be fun to post a list of these concepts, then have you tell me which ideas have been most transformative... Read More

In defense of crying about Jesus

My Benedictine medal next to my pass for the IF Gathering.

Speaking of conferences, I spent all this weekend at the IF Gathering, and…wow. Of the hundreds of women in attendance, I’m pretty sure I was the only Catholic. I was there as a guest of my dear friend Lisa-Jo Baker, who seemed to be both excited and a little bit concerned about what I’d think of this event. With Lisa-Jo Baker, my Protestant-to-Catholic interpreter, and Tsh Oxenreider. We walked into the Austin Music Hall, where a praise and worship band hand already begun blasting out a song that filled the auditorium. When we... Read More

22 things I learned in my first ten years of parenthood

Doll face-down in urine on the couch, 2010

As I was sitting here thinking of all the awesomeness that this wonderful, new, non-2013 year will hold, it occurred to me that my oldest child will turn ten this fall. Ten! I have officially been a parent for a decade now, and I’ve had six kids during that time. When I took a step back and considered that I’ve been living in Baby Central for the better part of my adult life, it occurred to me that I must have accumulated some knowledge during that time. I mean, surely I’ve learned at least one or two things about this whole “keeping... Read More

When in doubt…GO

westgate-pool

I got a word of the year! The same day I said I wasn’t inspired to do one, God gave me one. It was one of those rare moments of getting a very direct and clear inspiration that definitely did not come from me. I was thinking of something else entirely, then, out of the blue, I was overcome by the message: HERE IS YOUR WORD. Before I tell you what it is, a bit of backstory: In our pre-kid days, Joe and I used to throw parties. Our building had a large deck on the 25th floor that included a pool and sweeping views of downtown Austin to one side,... Read More

Why I’m going to keep letting Santa and the Tooth Fairy ruin my life

A rough trip down from the attic leaves us with a statue of Mary, Jesus, and St. John the Baptist.

My daughter told me that she has a loose tooth this morning, and her words struck dread into my heart. Right now, I just barely have some holiday cheer going on up in here. We’re actually having a nice Advent instead of having the weeks leading up to Christmas be the stress-fest that they usually are — but we’re hanging on by a thread. I’m like a woman trying to walk a tightrope while juggling a lit Advent wreath with Christmas tree ornaments and a baby. It’s all going fine now, but the slightest breeze could send this... Read More

Ten images that tell you everything you need to know about this blog

scorpions-vs-scorpions

I was cleaning up my media files in WordPress today. As I scrolled past all the images, I realized that you could let someone who’s never visited my site look through them, and he or she would have a very accurate impression of what I’ve been writing about lately. That got me wondering: If I were to choose 10 images that I’ve used in previous posts that I think tell you everything you need to know about this blog, what would they be? Joe got in on the challenge, and we were laughing out loud as we pointed out the pictures that... Read More

On proving God

explore-god-billboard

There’s a huge movement that’s sweeping Austin right now called Explore God. If you live in central Texas, you know what I’m talking about. You pull out of your driveway and you see a sign in the yard across the street. You get on the highway and there’s a billboard. You drive past a church to see a big Explore God banner out front, then, on your way home, more signs dot the houses as you drive through your neighborhood. I was blown away by the saturation level that the people behind this movement managed to achieve, and... Read More

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