Laboring Through Lent

Black Bean Butternut Squash Soup

Today we wrap up our Lenten Soup and Stories series with a terrific post from Marcia Mattern about the spiritual similarities between Lent and pregnancy. “Forty days, forty weeks (or in my case more like 41 or 42 weeks!) Waiting and waiting for that baby, waiting and waiting for Easter.” And we’re also treated to a soup recipe that Marcia prepared right before welcoming Baby #6! . . . → Read More: Laboring Through Lent

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, both Maria and her husband Mark have become tremendous spiritual friends.

Maria’s blog is Our Heavenly Homestead, where she writes about her family’s journey to . . . → Read More: Tortellini Making Day

Julie’s Cajun Crawfish Soup

Julie Baldwin

Today’s Soup & Stories contribution comes from Julie Baldwin, the Editor-in-chief at Ignitum Today who blogs at The Corner with a View. A Midwesterner by birth, Julie currently lives in the South with her husband and baby. 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! Oh, one more thing. Please allow me to publicly congratulate Julie for being the first, and most likely only, person to ever use the praise “Slap Ya Mama” here in this space. . . . → Read More: Julie’s Cajun Crawfish Soup

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 & Melanie Gillespie, and they offer stunning made-to-order rosaries. But don’t just take my word for it; check out . . . → Read More: Resilient. And Delicious.

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 know, a form of Mary and all, as in our Blessed Mother!) Maria has a great story behind her birth name, María Begoña. Her mother is Basque . . . → Read More: Ew Stew (otherwise known as Caldo Gallego)

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 children. Patti then began writing as a hobby while raising children.

Perhaps it was because the work-family balance never felt quite right for me, but . . . → Read More: Cooking, An Investment in Family

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?! :) I’m really intrigued by how this parish is fostering fellowship and service during Lent, and all around a bowl of … yep, soup! . . . → Read More: Lessons from the Parish Soup Supper

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 listening, offering practical suggestions, and encouraging laughter. Even though she has more years of marriage and parenting experience under her belt, I’ve always appreciated Julie’s . . . → Read More: Food for the Journey

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!) First, a note from Catherine: This post in no way is intended to reignite the so-called “mommy wars.” I know tremendous mothers who work in and outside of the home. This post is simply about how a warm bowl of soup helped me to realize that God was calling me to be at home. . . . → Read More: How a Bowl of Soup Helped me Home

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 and crew will film a new program called Preparing for the Pope. What a well-earned and deserving opportunity! In today’s Soup & Stories post, Diana shares her family’s recipe for albondigas, a Mexican soup with hearty chunks of vegetables and small rice-filled meatballs. We’re preparing this recipe for our Sunday meal tomorrow, and our tummies are already growling for a bowl just looking at those photos. Muy bueno! . . . → Read More: Albondigas — Mexican Meatball Soup