7 Quick Takes: Info on Ordination, Lino’s Visit, Charism Workshop, Speaking Gigs & More!


Tap tap tap … is this thing on? Let me interrupt our blogging radio silence to share these very important details.

1. Diaconate Ordination!

Joel’s deacon stole and invites for ordination arrived two weeks ago. The invites still sit in the box, so it seems we need an office assistant to even get them addressed and out in the mail. If you want to attend but are waiting for the official invite, please don’t wait on us to get our act together. The ordination Mass is open to the public, so please come and celebrate if you desire!

Here are the details:

Saturday, August 16, 11:00 AM — Ordination . . . → Read More: 7 Quick Takes: Info on Ordination, Lino’s Visit, Charism Workshop, Speaking Gigs & More!

Could you live in a “tiny house?”


We recently watched the documentary TINY: A Story About Living Small on Netflix and can’t stop thinking about it. No, not contemplating packing up and moving into a tiny house like the one pictured above any time soon. But we are left pondering how to live “small” in the space we occupy.

It’s the topic of my latest post at CatholicMom.com. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Head on over here to read and ponder with me.

Buckle Up! Riding the Marriage Roller Coaster


Marriage is a lot like a roller coaster, fun and exhilarating, but also full of twists and turns, loops and corkscrews. So how does a marriage survive while routinely being thrown off track? What’s one thing you can do to strengthen your marriage this summer, to lower the lap bar and fasten the seat belt so to speak? We share a few ideas; what are yours? . . . → Read More: Buckle Up! Riding the Marriage Roller Coaster

The Vocation of Dusting (+ a birthday giveaway!)

The Vocation of Dusting

“Dusting is important for saving the world.”

~ Leila Lawler & Elizabeth Foss



That was the quote from the Chapter 3 Summer in the Little Oratory podcast that most caught my attention. And it also brought back to mind a story filed away in my to-blog-about-one-day folder. Finally, a reason to talk about DUSTING! The story goes a little like this…

One Saturday morning a few weeks back I headed across town to Des Moines’ Southside and attended morning Mass and confession at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church. St. Anthony’s is a 100+ year-old parish, initially founded in 1906 to serve the ever-growing influx of Italian immigrants in the south-side of Des Moines. . . . → Read More: The Vocation of Dusting (+ a birthday giveaway!)

10 Things I Love About Daddy

Lucy and Daddy drawing

Dr. Meg Meeker says, “Dads: You are your daughter’s first love.” That’s certainly true for a five-year-old girl hanging around these parts.

My daughter Lucy and I were making homemade cards for Father’s Day last week, and I asked her to tell me ten things she loved about her daddy. Here is what she said.

1. Playing games with him.

2. Snuggling with him.

3. Going grocery shopping with him.

4. Reading Bible stories with him.

5. He likes hearing me read, and I like that.

6. Helping him make stuff, like cakes.

. . . → Read More: 10 Things I Love About Daddy

The Gift of Holy Hospitality

Summer in the little oratory

While we all have a role in welcoming people into our homes, it seems some people are empowered to do so in a special way, doesn’t it? People who have this gift, or charism, are energized by the very act of caring for others and providing food, shelter, and friendship. Do these thoughts bring to mind a person, maybe even a family, supercharged with this charism of hospitality? I have a family in mind who bleeds it, holy hospitality that is. . . . → Read More: The Gift of Holy Hospitality

What Every Catholic Marriage Prep Program Ought to Include


How would you answer this question …

Outline a marriage preparation program for your parish. Explain what components you would like to include and why.

Joel had to answer this very question for his sacramental theology course, and we thought it made good blog post material, too. It’s the topic of our latest column at Catholic Stand.

And {cough, cough}, for the record, Joel received a perfect score on his answer. Was the professor too gracious or just right in his assessment? Head on over and grade it! And then let us know what components you think are essential for a parish marriage preparatory program.

. . . → Read More: What Every Catholic Marriage Prep Program Ought to Include

“Framily” Ties


Joel and I were recently reviewing stats from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ 2013-14 study of permanent deacons. Take a guess — what’s the average age of deacons in the United States of America? How many are in their 40s like Joel? I won’t spill the beans here, but if you’re curious, head on over to my latest post at CatholicMom.com where I’ve provided a snapshot of the age demographics. I also reflect a bit on how we’ve even gotten through this journey with small kiddos at home.

Looking back, God’s brought people, “framily” as I call them, into our lives throughout the entire formation process. When God asks you to . . . → Read More: “Framily” Ties

Bringing the Monastic into My Domestic: Summer in the Little Oratory

Holy Family - Monastery Road


Ever heard of that word? Until a few years ago, I wasn’t familiar with it, and believe it or not, I actually remember my first encounter with it. It was July 2010, our first trip to Conception Abbey in Missouri for Joel’s weeklong summer diaconate formation classes. While attending the initial all-you-need-to-know-for-the-week type of meeting, we were told that evening prayer would be held in the Holy Cross Oratory on the third floor of St. Maur Hall.

Oratory? Sounded a bit like lavatory to me. Those Benedictines sure are a curious lot! All too proud to admit I didn’t have a clue what an oratory was, I simply took my . . . → Read More: Bringing the Monastic into My Domestic: Summer in the Little Oratory

Welcoming the Immigrant Among Us

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Some political issues remain simply political until they visibly impact the lives of those around us. Then suddenly we recognize them as issues of human dignity. My latest column for CatholicMom, a “World View Wednesday” post, revisits one such situation: immigration reform. Truth be told, immigration reform was once just a bunch of talking points that affected a group of people. But then something happened to shake that up. Immigration reform became no longer just about “those people,” but rather, a topic that deeply affected people I knew — fellow parishioners and community members. . . . → Read More: Welcoming the Immigrant Among Us