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 power of an “I don’t know”

Allison Vesterfelt

Happy Easter, everyone! I hope you all had a prayerful and transformative Holy Week, and a wonderful Easter Sunday. He is risen! I want to begin the first week of Easter with a guest story by a new friend of mine who is absolutely delightful. For those of you who haven’t met her yet, her name is Allison Vesterfelt, and she’s the author of Packing Light: Thoughts on Living with Less Baggage. You can also connect with her on Twitter and Facebook. I first met Ally when I went to the IF Gathering, and she exuded light and love and sweetness.... Read More

The saint of the NICU


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

Non-Catholics, say hello!


One of my favorite comment threads in recent memory was the wonderful response I got to my post about attending the IF Gathering. Not only was the discussion great (seriously — check out those comments), but I was tickled by the emails and direct messages I got from non-Catholic friends saying, “I didn’t know other Protestants read your blog!” Since many of the conversations that happen here are a lot of us Papists talking to one another, I wanted to take a moment to shine the spotlight on you all so that we can get to know... 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

When in doubt…GO


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

Are we all delusional? (and other questions about having a relationship with God)

Explore God

On Monday I met up with pastors John Burke and Eric Bryant of Gateway Church here in Austin to film a Q&A session for the Explore God campaign. Burke, Bryant, and the moderator Bridget Henderson have done an amazing job with this series, so it was an honor to be a part of it. The question for this session was, “Is it possible to have a personal relationship with God?” Here’s the video if you’d like to check it out: A few of the many questions we discussed were: Richard Dawkins says belief in God is delusional. But... Read More

What is the religious climate in your part of the world?


Every other year I like to ask readers to talk about religious trends in their parts of the world. These posts always lead to the most fascinating discussion, so I’m excited to do it once again! Take a moment to answer the following questions. I’m especially interested to hear from folks who live outside of the United States: Where do you live? If you’re outside the U.S., PLEASE NOTE YOUR COUNTRY IN CAPITAL LETTERS. What is church attendance like in your area? Are there many churches? Do they seem to have active memberships? How... Read More

On proving God


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

Why a show about meth dealers made me feel closer to God

I mentioned the TV show Breaking Bad in yesterday’s post, and it made me a little nervous when a few upstanding Christian ladies said that they’d never heard of it but might check it out on my recommendation. It immediately triggered one of my Dominican Sisters nightmares: I pictured one of the sweet nuns checking in on my blog, seeing my recommendation for the show, and assuming that its title must be short for something like Breaking Bad Habits! She pulls it up during recreation time, and the other sisters walk in to see dead drug... Read More

Next Page »