Notes from beneath the veil

I wore a chapel veil to church for the first time ever yesterday. It’s something I’d wanted to/felt called to do for years, and I finally committed to doing it during Lent. I didn’t make it to Mass last week because, you know, snakes on a plane, so this Sunday’s Mass was my first shot at it. My biggest concern was not drawing attention to myself. Though a few women at my parish do wear scarves, hats, or veils in church, they’re a small minority, and I didn’t want to feel like I stood out. So when we arrived I... Read More

“He is not a means, and our joy is not the end”

6th-Century image of Christ from St. Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai A longtime topic of interest for me has been the concept of “spiritual dry spells,” when you can’t seem to feel God’s presence. I haven’t had a whole lot of emotional religious experiences, and when I was first in the conversion process, I had none. I felt like I was doing something wrong since so many other Christians seemed to have all these great, powerful experiences. I’ve read a lot on the topic, and probably the best analysis I’ve... Read More

The long thank-you

My six-year-old son is usually bored at Mass. For a couple years now I’ve been trying to find ways to draw him into it, but he can’t get past the fact that it’s not fun. Honestly, it’s not always easy for me, either. I’m not usually bored, but I’ve experienced a wide variety of other unpleasant sensations: I’m often tired, and sometimes feel restless and anxious for church to be over. It is not uncommon at all for me to spent most of the service feeling extremely frustrated by the behavior of my son’s... Read More

Where there’s help

A few months ago I was dropping some of my kids off at our parish’s Mother’s Day Out program, and a woman approached me in the hall. “I need help,” she said. I wasn’t sure what she meant. “The registration office is down that way,” I said, pointing to the Mother’s Day Out coordinator’s office. A gaggle of moms and toddlers walked between us, pausing our conversation, and I noticed that she looked tired. Her body language was tense. It dawned on me that when she’d said she needed help, she... Read More

When church isn’t fun

I can’t think of a time in recent memory that I have had less fun than I did on Easter Sunday. It was the day I found out that feeding four young children a breakfast of donuts and Easter basket candy results in the same behavior you’d expect to see if you gave crack to monkeys. It was the day that I learned that my husband and I are evidently descended entirely from warlike peoples, our genes leaving our offspring without a shred of proclivity towards civilized behavior or docility. It was a day that I was blessed with bountiful opportunities... Read More

Maybe it was the music

One day last year I told an atheist acquaintance that I’d cried at Mass that morning. It was one of those times that I just felt overwhelmed with the presence of God, I explained. I was so perfectly at peace, so surrounded by love that I couldn’t help but be moved to tears. “Maybe it was the music,” he responded. He went on to offer an erudite analysis of how music is known to produce certain positive sensations in the brain, noting that religious leaders from time immemorial have used the evolved human response to the stimulus... Read More

Plan to love

A few months ago I attended a “How to be a More Loving Christian” seminar at our parish. (That’s not exactly what it was called, but that’s the basic gist of it.) It was a meal, followed by a talk, then some discussion. Before I got in line to get food from the buffet, I looked for a place to set down my purse and notepad to reserve seats for my husband and myself. I scanned the room. All the tables were over half full, except for one that had plenty of seats available. I started in that direction, but stopped when I saw... Read More

Feeling taken care of

The other weekend my husband went out of town with the three older kids, and I stayed home with the baby. I decided to take the opportunity to tackle pretty much every household project I hadn’t gotten to in the past four years, and ended up staying up until 3:00 AM on Saturday night. When the baby woke up around 7:30 the next morning, I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. My muscles ached from moving furniture and hauling trash bags full of garbage and Goodwill items up and down the stairs all night, and my mind was foggy from so little... Read More

Seeking wisdom

When I decided to do a weeklong fast from my computer, it was because I was overwhelmed. I had a lot of discernment to do and needed to clear my head. Now that my oldest child just turned five it’s time to start making big decisions about homeschooling vs. other education options, and I’m also trying to figure out how to write a book, continue blogging, keep up with all my daily emails, stay in touch with friends, keep the house clean and the bills paid, all while still putting my family first. I knew that I faced some tough choices,... Read More

Finding home

The ride home from the airport after we picked up our Kidsave child Rita was a little tense. We quickly found out that when they said in her bio that she speaks some English, by “some” they meant “not a single word.” A Colombian social worker named Maria was with us as well, and she didn’t speak much English either. “Is hot too where you live?” I asked in broken Spanish. They barely managed to nod and smile. They had arrived a day late after getting stuck in Atlanta overnight, and were too exhausted to strain... Read More

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