Struggles

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 secret to an intentional Christmas

Kendra Tierney

Kendra Tierney I was surprised by¬†the wide variety of reactions that bubbled within me when I read Kendra Tierney’s post about how she’s not giving her kids toys for Christmas. In about three seconds, I went from “THAT’S NUTS!” to “It sort of makes sense but I would never do that” to “Maybe I should do that” to “I TOTALLY NEED TO DO THAT!” After I thought about it a bit more, I decided that the specifics of the idea might not be the right fit for us (at least not for this year),... Read More

The saint of the NICU

DSC07199

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

The lazy nerd’s guide to weight loss

These ARE the running pants that come in "long".

The bad thing about committing yourself to writing a post a day is that it inspires you to write about subjects that you might normally have the good sense to avoid, like weight loss. I know that this topic isn’t everyone’s thing. Joe, for example, stares at the nearest exit like someone trapped in a room filled with skunks (and spiders…and menacing clowns…that is also on fire) every time I bring up what he refers to as “weight loss chat.” However, I have poured a tremendous amount of time and thought and energy... Read More

Shadow beliefs and giant centipedes

fr-jonathan-scorpion

One of the neighbor girls was here the other day. As soon as she walked in the door, I could tell that something was wrong. She sat anxiously on the edge of the couch for a while, half-heartedly playing with the kids, her mind elsewhere. Finally, she said what she had obviously been waiting to say: “Miss Jennifer, can I talk to you about something?” “Sure,” I said. I was more than happy to offer her soothing words of comfort and wisdom for whatever it was that troubled her. “Well…you see…” she struggled... Read More

How to think about the afterlife (hint: you can’t, because you live in Flatland)

I don’t spend much time trying to imagine heaven. To be honest, it always stresses me out. Every time I get a mental image that I like, I realize that something about it would get old if I had to deal with it for, you know, eternity. The other day, Joe brought home some chocolate-frosted donuts as a special treat. The kids were evidently curious to see if it is in fact possible to have one food item contain over 10,000 calories, so they topped each donut with whipped cream. I took one bite, and it was everything I dreamed a chocolate-frosted,... Read More

Never say never, and other thoughts on having more kids

Some folks have asked if my doctors are putting pressure on me not to have more children. I usually respond with a sound like hoooooo-ho-ho-hooooo (which is not supposed to be a sound like what Santa says, but rather a hearty laugh to indicate, YOU HAVE NO IDEA). The doctors have said this before, when I was diagnosed with the clotting disorder¬†after getting a deep vein thrombosis during my second pregnancy, but, luckily for my third, fourth, fifth, and sixth children, I knew that they weren’t that serious when they said, “You seriously... Read More

Explaining where God is when we suffer, when there are no words

No 7 Quick Takes Friday this week. Blessed Good Friday to you all! I don’t know whether I’m just extra sensitive right now or whether a whole lot of people are having a really bad 2013, but it seems that I’ve come across an unusual number of stories of great suffering lately. From friends, from blogs I follow, and from the media, I have heard stories that leave me stunned with sympathetic grief, wondering how the people involved could possibly survive such a cross. Naturally, I often wonder where God is in all of this. I mean,... Read More

A few other things I learned from my month o’ doom

I’m now entering week 10,000 of this pregnancy, with only 40,000 more days to go until the April due date! (I don’t have a calendar handy, so that’s just a guesstimate.) Also, I just found out that I’m seriously anemic, which will help me fill out my “Blood-Related Issues that Make You Feel Like You’re Dying” punchcard. I thought I’d take a break from my big afternoon plans of staring at a wall (and occasionally yelling utterly empty threats to the kids about what will happen if I have to get off this... Read More

A meditation on the shocking idea that maybe we’re actually not just lazy whiners

When Joe first saw me in the hospital, he said I reminded him of this scene from Office Space:. I had tubes in my nose, a 16-gauge IV in my hand that was causing me constant pain, had just received a daunting diagnosis that left me with a ton of questions about both my immediate and long-term circumstances, and yet I seemed…happy. Undoubtedly, a large part of that can be attributed to being lifted up by so many wonderful prayers. But there was something else, too, that was responsible for my surprisingly peaceful state of mind: Relief. December... Read More

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