A few thoughts on my birthday

Today is my birthday. I turn 36. Not only have I now passed the halfway point of my thirties, but it’s a brand new year, I just had a brush with a medical condition that is often fatal, and my whole life has been turned upside down by my recovery. So, as you can see, I have no choice but to write a long and reflective blog post that opines about the meaning of life today. It’s a lot of pressure, really. I was lying in bed yesterday, mentally writing my post about all the Important Things I’ve taken away from this situation, and... Read More

Teach me how to love the Psalms!

I’ve mentioned before that I want to love the Psalms more than I actually love the Psalms. I can see that God has given us a treasure chest of Scriptural riches here, I know many folks who find these parts of the Bible to be an endless source of spiritual refreshment. But I always have trouble getting into them. (This is especially problematic when praying the Liturgy of the Hours, which is based on the Psalms.) I am well aware that the problem is with me, and not with the Holy Bible. I also suspect that this issue is related to my general... Read More

On grief and neighbors

Two weeks ago, I was scheming about moving. I was tired of trying to fit seven people into three bedrooms, tired of the fact that issues with our back yard mean that the kids won’t play out there for long periods of time, tired of scorpions stinging my children in the face. Also, a few weeks ago my seven-year-old son and a boy his age who lives nearby had been involved in what they thought were humorous pranks on our neighbors, but turned out to cause serious property damage. After the humiliating experience of having to knock on doors, introduce... Read More

Forgiving the unforgivable: A conversation with Dawn Eden

For many of you, Dawn Eden needs no introduction. She’s a popular blogger, a former rock journalist, Catholic convert, and author of the bestselling book The Thrill of the Chaste. I recently had the honor of interviewing her for the National Catholic Register, where she spoke for the first time publicly about her own experience as a victim of childhood sexual abuse. When I talked with her for that interview, I was overwhelmed by the amount of wisdom Dawn has gained on the subjects of healing and forgiveness. It was immediately clear that there... Read More

Bare Minimum Mode

While we’re on the subject of being overwhelmed, I thought I’d re-post something I mentioned in passing in a Quick Takes post a few years ago. When our fourth baby was about four months old, I decided to switch into what my husband and I call “Bare Minimum Mode.” This is a temporary paring down of our lifestyle where we cut out all non-essential activities so that we can stay sane. We try not to stay in this mode more than six months at a time, since it’s a mode of surviving more than thriving, but it sure is a lifesaver... Read More

What a spiritual director and an MBA taught me about being overwhelmed

I have a personality type that leads me to feel overwhelmed a lot. I’m ambitious but lazy; I have a latent perfectionist streak that comes out at unexpected times; I’m an Olympian procrastinator; and I’m so non-confrontational that I often find myself saying “Yes, I’d love to help with that” when what I should be saying is, “I CANNOT EVEN FIND TIME TO BRUSH MY HAIR RIGHT NOW, LET ALONE SIGN UP FOR ONE MORE FREAKING THING.” Because God looks out for people like me, I’ve had some very wise counsel... Read More

Turning the other cheek vs. being a pushover: What’s the difference?

I only have a second before I need to dash out to another event as part of my WEEK OF EPIC SOCIALIZING, so I thought I’d let you do all the hard work today and give me the answer to a question that’s perplexed me for a while: What is the different between being Christ-like and being a pushover? Here’s why I ask: I am an extremely nonconfrontational person. To a fault. I mean, if I walked out to my car and witnessed someone run a key down the paint, slash all the tires and break all the windows, I probably would just say, “Hey,... Read More

Living an awesome story

A good nickname for me would be “Inertia,” because, like the dictionary definition of the word, I tend to “exist in a state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force.” If my choice is accepting an invitation to go to an interesting social event or continuing to sit in front of my computer, I’ll choose the latter. If I had an idea for a new way to decorate the living room, I wouldn’t do it, even if I had the time or money. In other words, left to my own devices,... Read More

How to keep the internet from driving you crazy

Image from There’s been a fair amount of smack directed my way on the ol’ internet lately. For those of you who haven’t been following the fun over at my Register blog, there was was this, then this, and this, and this, and this. I could list a bunch more examples, but you get the idea. Between all the posts, their comments, and the comments to some of my posts, I’ve read at least 1,000 nasty remarks directed at me in the past month alone. A friend of mine recently marveled that I don’t seem bothered by it.... Read More

4 Steps for Starting Your Day the Right Way

You know what should be against the law? Having to deal with insomnia while you have a newborn. Last night I woke to feed the baby around 3:30 AM, and she went right back to sleep. I, however, did not. I would describe what went through my head as I lay awake glaring at the ceiling, but Simcha Fisher did it for me. That’s what it was like — complete with distress about rhubarb. Anyway, after a couple hours of the baby sleeping soundly while I engaged in the downward spiral of “I can’t sleep!” –> “I’m... Read More

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