Thursday, March 30, 2023

A PreK Gourmet

 My four-year-old proudly walked over to me, holding a stone aloft in his small hands. “Dinner!” he proclaimed, before holding out the stone, on which lay a selection of mint leaves. I ate a couple, and he scurried off to his “jungle”—a corner of our house that is overgrown with grass, weeds, and some variety of mint plant that I thought had died off long ago.

As my son happily continued to work and play in his “jungle,” nibbling on green onions and mint leaves, my mind drifted to the “local food movement.” With its farm-to-table meals, foraging classes, and countless workshops offering expertise in a variety of topics, there is a wealth of information and resources for people who desire to get “back to the land.” However, I’ve noticed that there also can be a trend to complicate matters.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Teething: a haiku

I have some thoughts and reflections on life and the world that are simmering. 

However, my toddler currently loves hitting the laptop's keys when I'm trying to write, and because all the kids now know how to unlock my bedroom door, there is no place I can hide to blog during the day...except the tornado shelter (which does not have an outlet for my laptop. Otherwise, I may consider it). 

This fact, combined with my total lack of energy thanks to lots of behavioral and physical developments my kids are going through has caused my writing life to be a bit lackluster lately. 

So, instead of a long post about Catholicism, literature, parenting, or whatever else I'd like to rant about, please enjoy this brief poem that was inspired by the lovely springtime and the not-as-lovely bout of teething that my baby is currently enduring ;) 

Friday, March 10, 2023

When God works, can I sit still?

Each week, I find myself in a classroom on our church’s grounds. We often may think of classrooms as places where rows of desks clutter the room and where brightly-colored posters scream out from the walls. Yet, this classroom is different: A low table with a wooden figure of the Good Shepherd and his sheep sits in the middle of the room. A simple prayer table is tucked in a corner.

Against a wall are shelves featuring 3D models depicting different parables found in the New Testament. Along another wall is a large 3D map of the City of Jerusalem at the time of Christ, including buildings that the children can place onto the surface: the Temple, Herod’s Palace, the Tower of Antonia, the Cenacle (upper room). A simple raised map of the Holy Land stands nearby, as well as 3D models depicting the Last Supper and events from the infancy of Jesus Christ.  

There are “practical life” materials and an area with a model altar, a corner of the room includes materials that children encountered at their Baptism, so they may sit and ponder the gifts God showered on them in that sacrament.

This is no ordinary classroom; this is an atrium for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. Here, tremendous prayer and lessons overflow into the hearts of small children and those of the catechists.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

An Open Book: February 2023 reads

February flew by, and between writing projects and my overall scattered reading life (I'm currently working through 3-4 books right now), I did not read quite as many books as I thought I would. I even had to return a book or two to the library unread! (I need to stop operating under the assumption that I can renew books infinitely haha!)

But, I did read some delightful books last month, so I'm linking up with An Open Book to chat about them. Let's dive in! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Lent, life, and a shrine: Spring 2023

Happy Ash Wednesday, everyone! We made it to an early Mass as a family today, and although it's a penitential day, I also experienced a deep joy...for beginning the day with a beautiful liturgy (with several other people, too!) and also entering the fantastic season of Lent. I felt renewed as we prayed together in the liturgy; today feels like a fresh start. We can begin again to plunge deeper into our relationship with God. We can refocus on the path of holiness. We can truly leave the past behind and step forward in faith, trusting that God will refresh and restore our weary hearts and souls.


Since it's so much fun to talk and think about food on penitential days: My husband recently started watching short food videos by Gordon Ramsay, and he's taken our family's scrambled egg game to the next level. (When I make food, I put together something super simple and throw it on plates; when my husband makes food, he creates gorgeous platters of deliciousness. It is always a treat when he prepares food for us!)

My husband put together this breakfast after Mass one Saturday morning.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Keeping vigil

Darkness fell over the city as we brushed teeth, grabbed breviaries, donned our Sunday Best, and hopped in the minivan. Gentle anticipation building, we drove down the highway while praying Night Prayer. 

City lights twinkled across downtown, mirroring our joy and excitement. Soon, we turned onto a side street and saw the cathedral looming ahead. Rows and rows of parked cars met our eyes. We saw people exit and enter the cathedral continuously. We grabbed hands and ventured across the dark parking lot and through the large cathedral doors. 

We were met with a hushed awe. 

Sunday, February 5, 2023

A Rule of Life: Daily Mass

I once wrote about the importance of prioritizing our priorities; of making the time and space for the different things that are important in our lives--even when those look different from the priorities and values of other people. In that post, I mentioned that my husband and I practically accomplish this through our Rule of Life (a basic framework for how we want to live). I thought it would be fun to write a small series of posts that dive into a few different elements of our Rule of Life. 

Today, I'd like to share one element of our family's Rule of Life: Daily Mass.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

An Open Book: January 2023 Reads

Happy February! I am curled up inside this week, cozying up with books and staying out of the cold. So, it's a perfect time to link up with An Open Book to chat literature! I read some wonderful fiction and non-fiction books in January, so let's dive in! 

Friday, January 20, 2023

2022 Reading in Review

I began the new year by reading a book by Catherine Doherty 
and watching my kids smash a gingerbread house. It was a great
way to start 2023 :) 

This new year is already flying by for me, so before we get too far into it, I want to stop a moment and think about my reading and writing life from 2022. When 2022 began, I wrote that my only major reading goal was "reread more books." I didn't have any totals I was focusing on and was not part of any reading group (I unfortunately have a schedule conflict with the local Well Read Mom group--someday I'd like to get back to that group if it works out!). I put down books that weren't hitting me at the right moment, and I read a lot of really splendid books. 106 books, in fact! 

I read about dreadlocks and addiction, history and the liturgy. I read classics and memoirs, nonfiction books for adults and timeless children’s novels. I read about zombies. I read about vampires. I read about nineteenth century women who were unjustly imprisoned in insane asylums, and I read about Romanian teenagers living under a dictatorship in the 1980s. Somehow, I didn’t read any comic books or thrillers (a small sampling of those genres usually finds its way into my reading stack each year), but I read a lot of fascinating books!

Here's a quick highlight with one book I read each month. It isn’t always the best book that I’ve read that month (one month, I managed to read books by Catherine Doherty, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI-may he rest in peace-and John Steinbeck…I don’t know how I could even pick a favorite with a mix like that). But, it’s a way to shine a light on some of the titles that I picked up.

Friday, January 13, 2023

A Decade of Learning

On this day ten years ago, I got to see a relic of St. John the Baptist—the man who baptized Jesus. Seeing that relic as I traveled in Austria was really cool, and it is also a great starting point as I think about the years that have filled the time between that moment and today. 

Then, I was a bright-eyed sophomore in college, nineteen years old and excited to traipse across Europe with my fiancé for an entire semester.

I somehow lost that awesome hat on a train in Austria, sadly.

Now, I’m a sleepy-eyed stay-at-home mom, twenty-nine years old and happily having adventures with my husband and four children in Oklahoma.

Life looks a little bit different now than it did then!

Later this month, I’ll turn thirty, and as I prepare to leave my twenties behind, I feel a lot of gratitude to God. The past ten years have included a lot of suffering, joy, happiness, sorrow, and growth. They have been a tremendous gift. As I prepare for whatever God sends me next, I'm also thinking about six things I would love to tell myself when I was preparing to turn twenty:

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

An Open Book: December 2022 Reads

 Welcome to 2023, everyone! I'm joining An Open Book to look back on the books that I ended the year 2022 with. It's a great mix of fiction and non-fiction, so let's dive in!