Catholic Living

Play Ball!

Open my calendar and you’ll see a mess of red-and-blue-inked outdoor obligations. It is baseball season. With three of our boys participating on three different teams, it looks like once again the local little league has invaded my month of May. I first recognized the insanity of little league baseball a few years ago when … Read more

The Facts of Life

Catholic parents, let me take this moment to commend you. When it comes to education in . . . well, you know, the — ahem — facts of life, you have bravely stood up for parental rights. You have said: “These delicate matters are for parents to attend to! No one must usurp this right! … Read more

Seeking Smallness

“Do you think we’ll ever really be grown up?” I remember asking my next-door neighbor and best friend Krissy years ago. “Do you think we’ll ever talk about gas prices and health insurance and stuff?” We two ten-year-olds sat on our purple bicycles with sparkly tasseled handle bars and funky flowered banana seats as we … Read more

Stuck with the Lord

“Mom, mom!” a tense, tightly curled nine-year-old hissed from the pew in front of me. “Mom, the Lord is stuck in my retainer.” My own post-Eucharist prayer expanded, I considered the last time I, too, got stuck with the Lord. One April morning three years ago, after sending children to school and husband to work, … Read more

Taste and See

One recent evening just days before Easter found me sitting on the hardwood of our living room floor. My son had turned three, and this had been a long day of special breakfasts, paper-wrapped surprises, remote-control cars, and a Cookie Monster birthday cake. But now, as bedtime approached, I was sitting for a moment, watching … Read more

What about the Day of Wrath?

My thoughts today may have particular import during Lent, but they touch on a subject that is much more far-reaching. Indeed, it is a topic that ought to be inscribed along the horizon of one’s imagination in some permanent form, if one is at all serious about his mortal (and, let’s face it, his eternal) … Read more

Did California Really Ban Homeschooling?

Panic spread among the estimated 166,000 homeschoolers in California for a week, and outrage grew around the homeschooling community nationwide. On February 29, WorldNetDaily broke the story of a decision by a California Court of Appeals ordering two homeschooled children from the Los Angeles area to be enrolled in public school. Reporter Bob Unruh compared … Read more

‘Good Enough’ Mom

I pause in the supermarket aisle with an oversized cardboard box in my hand. I want to buy it — and yet something inside me recoils at the thought of placing this particular item in my shopping cart. My fingers clutch the cardboard as I study the label: 100% Real Potatoes. Mashed potatoes in minutes. … Read more

Precious ‘Pip’

Four-year-old Gabrielle is teaching herself to read. Her eager little eyes peer over my shoulder as I sound out words with her older brother Stephen. I catch her later, mouthing the stories as she works her way through a stack of early readers. She is teaching herself to write, too. She sneaks bits of lined … Read more

A Psalm for Serotonin

It’s February again. I’ve suffered three weeks of cold, steady rain here in San Francisco, rain that creeps under my collar like slimy earthworms, rain that squeezes out of the fog like suds. Perennially happy people smirk and say, “Yes, but it makes snow in the mountains.” I want to bonk them with their ski … Read more

Today Is Not Forever

Daniel says many things these days, but his first word is still his favorite: Mama. To a toddling 17-month-old, “Mama” means many things: When he falls and hurts himself, “Mama” means, “Comfort me.” When he can’t quite reach his ball that has rolled under the couch, “Mama” means, “Help me get what I want.” When … Read more

Feel the Music

The other day, I had a couple of the girls with me in the car while we ran some errands. A familiar song came on the radio and, without pausing to think, I turned up the volume. “What is this music?” my 7-year-old asked, wrinkling her nose in disgust. Oops, I wasn’t alone. I turned … Read more

Expect the Unexpected

I made one New Year’s resolution: Expect the unexpected. This will be my 2008 effort to take control of everything I cannot control. It’s a cheap trick, but I need it to work. I ended 2007 with another cruel cosmic reminder that unseen forces hover, waiting to derail my plans, like the gale winds that … Read more


I don’t mind football, as long as it’s other mothers’ sons who are crashing their bodies around the field. When it comes to my own sons’ participation, however, I prefer gentler sports. Like chess. Thankfully, my oldest boys have thus far seemed content to play little league baseball, basketball, and various forms of amateur, no-holds-barred … Read more

Messy Little Christmas

Do you know what two straight days’ worth of candy cane breakfasts, cookie lunches, and cupcake dinners — all washed down with sippy cups of juice — does to a 2 year old’s digestive system? If you don’t, Merry Christmas! Enjoy the blissfulness of that ignorance. If you do, Merry Christmas! And join me in … Read more

Be Still Oh Everyone!

Whoever planted this news item might as well have planted a bomb. Last February, a woman at a local Pennsylvania mall was asked by security guards to cover up while she nursed her baby. In protest, over 150 “lactivists” gathered with their own babies to hold a “nurse-in” at the same mall. On Mother’s Day, … Read more

Baby Business

I was talking with a friend recently about babies starting solids foods. We discussed when to start, first foods to offer, and different babies’ reactions and preferences. Suddenly, my eavesdropping children wanted to know: “How about me, Mama? What was my first food? Did I like it? How old was I when you first fed … Read more

Apologies to My Father

Dear Dad, Can you believe it’s almost Christmas? I feel like I’m standing on train tracks watching one of those two-stroke Diesels you loved to dare me to move. Where does time go? My Carol turned 18 and, suddenly, everything she does is precious again. Yesterday, when she rolled her eyes at me, I yelped, … Read more

Watching and Waiting

In late November, the air is ripe with motherly anxiety as many of us brace ourselves to “do” Christmas one more time. We ready ourselves for more shopping, more decorating, more entertaining, and more baking. And year after year, despite our best-laid plans and intentions, many of us wind up feeling controlled by materialism, pressured … Read more

Woman To Woman

Catholic women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant stand to benefit from others’ experience. This was the thought that motivated me to post some readers’ emails on my blog addressing the struggle to remain open to life in marriage and the difficulty of accepting an unexpected pregnancy. “Let’s encourage one another,” I wrote on the blog. … Read more

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