Laboring Through Lent

Black Bean Butternut Squash Soup

Today we wrap up our Lenten Soup & Stories series with a perfect ten. Or rather ... a perfect eight! The post comes from Marcia Mattern, wife to one and mother to six (just look at that gorgeous family!). She's a convert to Catholicism, a dietitian, a doula, and a Catechist for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Really, she's just an all-around awesome and kind woman whom I deeply respect and admire. Marcia and family live on a hobby farm in central, Illinois. Close enough to Des Moines … [Read more...]

Tortellini Making Day

Tortellini Making Day

Today's guest post comes from a very special person in our lives --- our daughter Lydia's godmother Maria Campbell. Since we both live in the Des Moines area, readers might think we have a longstanding friendship. That isn't exactly true. We actually "met" through the pages of this very site. Joel and I were in the midst of getting the infant loss ministry up and running, and well, you can read Maria's story here to understand why we connected. She's such a valuable resource, and more important, … [Read more...]

Julie’s Cajun Crawfish Soup

Julie Baldwin

Today's Soup & Stories contribution comes from Julie Baldwin, the Editor-in-chief at Ignitum Today who also blogs at The Corner with a View. A Midwesterner by birth, Julie currently lives in the South with her husband and beautiful baby girl. She has embraced southern living AND southern cooking, and today shares her Cajun crawfish soup recipe. Lucky us! I'm not even a "fish person," but I find this one quite intriguing! Maybe it's the lure of the Creole seasoning? Oh, one more thing. … [Read more...]

Resilient. And Delicious.


Shortly after bringing home my son Jude from the hospital, a package arrived in the mail. The return address on the package indicated it was from Trendy Traditions. Now if I hadn't been recovering from a c-section, I would have jumped up and down in excitement because I knew ... I just knew ... that whatever was inside would make me smile. And boy did it ever. If you aren't familiar with Trendy Traditions, now is the perfect time to learn more. TT is the work of husband and wife, Joseph & … [Read more...]

Ew Stew (otherwise known as Caldo Gallego)


Today's Soup & Stories post is sure to make you smile. And by the time you're finished reading, your tummy may be growling for this Spanish soup, too! The recipe comes from María Morera Johnson whom we've had the pleasure of meeting at the Catholic New Media Conferences. At the first conference Joel and I attended, there were several "Lisas" in attendance. Maria joked about taking on Lisa as her alias for that weekend, but really, the Lisas might have fared better to take on Maria. (You … [Read more...]

Cooking, An Investment in Family


It was an early spring morning in 2010. I dropped off my then two-year-old daughter at the childcare center before heading into city hall to begin the workday. I turned on Catholic radio and heard an interview with Patti Maguire Armstrong. Up until that moment, I don't recall knowing much about her, but the interview caught my attention. Patti shared a bit about herself, how she earned a M.A. in public administration (as did I), but set a career aside to be at home full-time with her … [Read more...]

Lessons from the Parish Soup Supper


"Something is wrong when the best possible compliment you can give a fish dish is that it doesn't taste fishy," or so said Jim Gaffigan during a recent concert he gave here in Des Moines. The "anti-fishers" in the crowd had a good roar over that line, myself included. Given I'm not a seafood fan, when today's Soup & Stories guest post hit my in-box a few weeks ago, I became excited. Could it be that our guest contributor has a plausible alternative to the Lenten parish fish fry? Please?! … [Read more...]

Food for the Journey


My dear friend Julie Nelson joins our Lenten Soup & Stories series today, sharing a lovely story about the importance of mentoring and supporting one another. Reading Julie's post reminds me of why I used to feel so energized after my weekly chats with her for Catholic Women Now, a radio show on Iowa Catholic Radio. As Julie writes, "We women are a kindred spirit that knows no age boundaries." And she certainly lives that out. Julie has supported me greatly in my vocational walk by … [Read more...]

How a Bowl of Soup Helped me Home


Today's Soup & Stories post is from a great friend and fellow contributor Catherine Boucher. Catherine is living proof that Nebraska Cornhusker fans are indeed people, too. (Sorry, this Iowa State alum couldn't resist!) Catherine and I first met virtually through our connections, and our friendship has truly developed into a gift. We met in real life this past December, and our lunch date was so comfortable it felt like we had known each other since … [Read more...]

Albondigas — Mexican Meatball Soup

Albondigas Collage

We proudly welcome the sweet and talented Diana von Glahn to our Soup & Stories series. Diana is the writer and host of the television series The Faithful Traveler, a program that explores Catholic places of pilgrimage around the world. EWTN recently broadcast The Faithful Traveler in the Holy Land, a six-episode series that has received rave reviews (we're fans, too!). And get this, The Faithful Traveler crew is returning to the Holy Land in May during Pope Francis' travels there, and Diana … [Read more...]