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...]

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...]

The Narrative Behind the Nativity Scene

Holy Family Nativity

When I was a little girl, my mom, grandma, and aunt attended a weekly ceramics class at a studio located in the basement of a woman’s home. The studio provided the space, materials, equipment, and a few helpful artistic suggestions along the way. Given she was a young stay-at-home mom to three children, the classes provided my mom with a welcome respite and outlet to share her creative gifts. The weekly outings also allowed her to have special time with my grandma and aunt. After class, they … [Read more...]

Pray, Work, Rest & Play: Advent, Week 1


"Sister Maria Assumpta walked up to the board and put up a basic compass shape. Rather than north, south, east, and west, she replaced them with work, rest, play, and pray. Very simply, she told us, "Your lives should always live in a balance with these four things." Welcome back to our weekly series --- Pray, Work, Rest & Play --- where we share a bit about how we're striving to incorporate an order, a rule of sorts, to our daily routine here at Das Schmidt Haus. A routine that organically … [Read more...]

Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry: 1 Small Thing To Do Today

Pray, Hope Don't Worry - St. Padre Pio

Saint Padre Pio is often quoted as saying, "Pray, hope, and don't worry." I came across an excellent idea in the book Celebrating Saints and Seasons by Jeanne Hunt that's too good not to share. In St. Pio's honor, today I made a worry list by writing down all the things that keep me awake at night --- the stuff of life that eats at me and unnecessarily draws my focus away from Christ. Then I placed that list in the back of my Bible; a symbol for placing my worries in God's hands. Finally I … [Read more...]

Consecrate Your Home to St. Michael the Archangel

St Michael Vatican

July 5, 2013, was a busy day at the Vatican. Not only did Pope Francis release his first encyclical, Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith), Pope Emeritus Benedict joined our Holy Father in the Vatican gardens for a blessing of a new St. Michael the Archangel statue. At the same time of the blessing, Pope Francis consecrated the Vatican to the Archangel's protection, saying: "We are not alone on the journey or in the trials of life, we are accompanied and supported by the Angels of God, who offer, so … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes: The Name Game, Camp Ujaama, First Fruits, Happy Marriages, Well-Read Moms & Cooking with 6 Ingredients

7 Quick Takes

 1. Crowdsourcing Time! On our next Catholic Women Now radio show, Julie Nelson and I are going to play our version of the "Name Game" and can use your input. How did or will you choose your children's names? How did your parents choose yours? What about confirmation names? I would love to hear your fun, interesting, boring, haphazard, heartwarming, or "just because" stories in the combox. Maybe you were named after a tugboat? Don't be ashamed --- proudly blow your air horn as stories like … [Read more...]

May Altars and Tips for Praying the Rosary with Kids

Pope Francis Tweets About Rosary

Hot diggity! I'm on a "Pinisher" role lately. I recently spotted a few ideas on Pinterest for how to assemble a family May altar in your home. Given the month of May is dedicated to Mary, I set out to create an altar to honor Mary. My latest column at highlights it --- head over here to read the full piece. Now the next logical step is to actually gather the family around the altar and pray a Hail Mary or two. Hey, even Pope Francis agrees! From his recent tweet: And we … [Read more...]

My Forrest Gump Moment

Forrest Gump Stops Running

F is for Forrest Gump. Read past Blogging from A to Z Challenge posts by clicking here. A few years ago, in the blink of an eye, my dad was killed while working in his backyard. A section of a big old tree fell and crushed him. Really, it was a horrific way to die. And while the reality of his death was very hard on my mom, siblings and me, the outpouring of support from friends, extended family, coworkers and mere acquaintances of my father’s at his wake and funeral Mass was a testimony … [Read more...]

The Smells and Bells of the Domestic Monastery

Domestic Bell

My husband Joel is in deacon formation and we travel once a month to Conception Abbey and Seminary, a Benedictine monastery, for theological training. Through our visits, I’ve developed a great admiration for the Benedictine way of life --- ordered, simple, and purposeful. There’s a time to work, a time to pray, a time to rest, and a time to play. During our visits, I find myself, almost spectator like, standing on the sidelines and watching monastic life unfold before me. I’ve bent the ears of … [Read more...]