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 … [Read 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. … [Read more...]

The Vocation of Dusting (+ a birthday giveaway!)

The Vocation of Dusting

"Dusting is important for saving the world." ~ Leila Lawler & Elizabeth Foss Dusting? Dusting. 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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

The Gift of Holy Hospitality

Summer in the little oratory

Throughout Christian history, hospitality has been regarded as a sacred responsibility. From Chapter 53 of the The Rule of St. Benedict, "Let all guests who arrive be received as Christ, because He will say: "I was a stranger and you took Me in" (Mt 25:35)." More simply, whoever welcomes the stranger, welcomes Jesus.  In chapter 2 of The Little Oratory: A Beginner's Guide to Praying in the Home, the authors explore family and the home and focus on this gift of hospitality. The spirit of … [Read more...]

“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 … [Read more...]

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

Holy Family - Monastery Road

Oratory. 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 … [Read more...]

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.com, a "World View Wednesday" post, revisits one such situation about a most serious political issue of our day: 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 … [Read more...]

The Day the Cardinal Paid a Visit

Red Cardinal

One day shortly after my father passed away, I had lunch with a trusted spiritual friend, a deacon of the Church in fact. This deacon's father had also passed away at about the same age I was then, and the deacon was a great resource during my time of grief. During our lunch, I made an off-handed comment about how comforting it was to think about my dad resting well in Heaven  --- à la Mercy Me I Can Only Imagine style. The deacon stopped me. "How do you know he's in Heaven?" The conversation … [Read more...]

Take 5 with Jon Erwin

Take 5 with Jon Erwin - FB

Filmmaker Jon Erwin discusses his new movie Moms' Night Out With its title Moms' Night Out, one might think this movie is just for the girls. To that I say, in my best Lee Corso ESPN College Game Day voice, "Not so fast!" But don't take my word for it; hear it from the director and co-writer yourself in the video here. I am honored to share my interview with filmmaker Jon Erwin about his new movie, Moms' Night Out. Last summer I had the opportunity to spend a day on the movie set. Now I'm … [Read more...]