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 I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Head on over here to read and ponder with me. … [Read more...]

Buckle Up! Riding the Marriage Roller Coaster


Roller coasters are a centerpiece of the amusement park, a common summer vacation destination for many families including ours. While there is some danger involved in riding them, roller coasters can be safe when properly designed and tested. Engineers understand what forces a body can comfortably withstand. Proper measures are taken to make sure the cars stay on the track and the passengers stay in the cars. Riders also play a role in ensuring a safe ride. They are instructed to, “Keep arms 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...]

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...]

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...]

Easter Snapshots


He is risen. Alleluia! Popping in to wish you a Happy Easter on this fifth day of Easter. It feels good to allow the fingers to fly on the keyboard once again. I suppose I could have waited until day 45 or so to pass along Easter greetings and stubbornly reinforce that Easter is a 50-day celebration, but I won't. Maybe next year. I realized late in the day on Easter Sunday that I didn't get one photo of my blue-eyed beauties in their Easter best to share here. Not even one? Not. One. … [Read more...]

The Das Schmidt Haus Baby Name Game


Stop me if you've heard this one before. An ancient history professor went to the hospital to be with his wife as she gave birth to their first child. While the baby was born, the professor's expression never changed. The child was put in the arms of his mother. Still the professor's countenance never changed. The family moved from the delivery room to the post delivery room. Still the man's face didn't change; it remained bland. A nurse noticed this and asked him to go into the hall while they … [Read more...]

Make Your Own At-Home Stations of the Cross

At home Stations of the Cross

Note: This post originally published last year during Lent, and I'm updating it just a tad and republishing. I've seen a few "how to pray the Stations with your children" posts floating around social media lately, and I simply want to share something that works well in our home. Our daughter Lucy is now five-and-a-half years; Jude man is now two. I decorated the mantle with our at-home stations once again this Lent, and the kids are rather naturally attracted to know what's being illustrated … [Read more...]

Soup and Stories: 40 Days, 40 Bowls of Soup


Here at our digital plot of land, I share a bit about my family’s desire toward living an intentionally, joyful Catholic life. This Lent my family is striving to be very intentional about the food we eat to nourish our bodies. Here’s what's cooking at Das Schmidt Haus this Lent. Friends of mine recently introduced me to the tradition of eating only soups for dinner throughout Lent. Intrigued, I began researching the history of soup, and I found a story about how the French once sold a … [Read more...]