This is why I can’t find my camera.
This is why I can’t find my camera.
I want to show you my daughter’s handiwork and explain how it got this way, because it’s a story about what parenting really is. When you are comparing your crazy life to some glossy home magazine spread, but it’s a real home inhabited by real people, I want you to understand that it didn’t come from nowhere.
So this is my backyard:
Isn’t it gorgeous! That’s the little grilling area off the kitchen. My daughter (age 14) completely overhauled this space a few weeks ago, with the help of her sisters. It was her response to the three of them being kicked outside until they’d cleaned the place up, on account of their not being able to be quiet inside for even one hour while I took a nap.
No really, that’s the story.
Here’s a before picture. Just kidding, but yes, the place was pretty much trashed.
To the left, behind the grape vines growing up around the mailbox, is the famous green castle. When it was first built the castle looked like this:
That’s the top two stories, and in the photo above you’re looking at a portion of the bottom floor. It’s a bit worn down now, and we’ve replaced boards and added shade over the years. We built it because we only had this teeny-tiny strip of private, fenced backyard area when our kids were little, so we had to build up-not-out for the play structure.
Part of parenting is using the talents you have (my husband did the carpentry) and the resources you have to give your kids some space to grow. This is what we had to give.
Even after this month’s clean-up, there’s still some trashy-looking stuff behind those red doors, but at least it’s down to all purposeful trash. An example is an upside-down plastic flower pot that serves as a table during “City,” the kids’ economics game that is the successor to the even trashier (literally) “Medieval Game.” They make up all kinds of sociological experiments when I kick them outside.
More history . . . See this cute wooden bridge leading to the seating area?
We went to Las Vegas to visit my parents some years ago, and in the early morning while it was still cool out, we’d walk around the neighborhood. The front yard landscaping in suburban Las Vegas is incredible – just gorgeous. The kids took photos of yard ideas, because they wanted a pretty yard. One thing they all liked was a wooden bridge over a rock riverbed formation. Superhusband built them this bridge for the play yard, and it connects to a second patio where we have a laundry sink. That area is not very pretty, though it’s now 90% less trashy than it was a month ago.
Lesson in parenting: We’ve had all these moments where the kids recognize and appreciate beauty, and we build on that . . . and our yard is still mostly trashed. They’re still kids. Their aspirations exceed their self-discipline. We’re still tired parents who don’t make them clean up enough. But slowly the beauty-to-trash ratio improves, year by year.
Here’s some lemon balm my daughter totally stole out of my part of the yard, and put into a terra cotta pot she also stole. I’m good with that, she didn’t mess anything up.
I love to garden, but I basically stink at it. My kids have variable amounts of love of gardening, but it’s not like we’re this amazing family out singing hymns while we hoe all afternoon in the pumpkin patch or something. We buy plants or seeds, stick them in the ground, and most of what we plant dies of drought or flood or some horrible fungus you don’t want me to describe. But a few things survive, and we learn more about what will grow in our actual yard (the garden books are wrong and the internet is wronger), and slowly it fills with things that aren’t entirely dead or pestilent.
Every living plant you see in these photos was a gamble. Life is a gamble. You just keep trying things.
Aren’t these hanging cacti adorable? They are a little freaky if you look closely, because they are leftovers from a life science lab on grafting plants. She has to have franken-cacti because non-school plants are expensive. She took kimchi jars (I know! We buy it! We don’t make our own!) and sawed off the tops, then made the hanging knotwork out of string that came from who-knows-where.
If you want a kid who does DIY’s, you have to let that kid just raid the supplies and try stuff. This is how my home gets trashed. Yes, my home is mostly-trashed in the pursuit of either beauty or laziness, one or the other.
We fought bitterly over where she was allowed to hang her hanging candles. All supplies totally stolen from other parts of the house or yard. Hobby Lobby made zero money on this one.
Look at this pretty sitting area! I got those curtains cheap when the girls were little, and they get used when you want to hang pretty curtains someplace — like if you’re having a princess-themed birthday party or something. They are hanging over the clothes rods and clothes lines that were our attempt to make a place to store all our whitewater gear, but it didn’t work out and was a fetid mess. Blech.
I still don’t know what to do with the whitewater gear. It’s piled in my laundry room waiting for a new home.
All furnishings and accessories in this photo were raided from another part of the house or yard. In some cases there was a weak attempt at either covering up the gaping hole or putting an almost-as-good item in place (like: a bathmat set down by the front door where that rug used to be).
Also, I got yelled at because that rustic wooden box had yucky insects in it. It was super disgusting, I agree with her there — but she totally wanted me to drop everything and decontaminate just so she could have her coffee table. Darling, part of growing up is learning to battle insects all on your own, thanks.
Final thing: The monogrammed pillow. That was made by the 14-year-old express for this project.
Let me explain to you about this.
My kids have had virtually unfettered access to sewing supplies, including a varying number of rescued sewing machines, over the years. Prior to the massive clean-out, this porch was heaped with a crazy-mountain of every kind of craft thing. I don’t even have any sewing things, at all, any more, because my children have stolen them so diligently that now it’s easier to just make them do the sewing, done. (I was never any good at it anyway).
If you want kids who craft — who really get good at developing their own style (I never, ever, monogram anything, no child picked up that habit from me), and thinking up a project and giving it a try, and eventually get to where they’re producing good adult-quality work — you have to let them make a mess.
Maybe you’re good at having them clean up after, maybe you’re not. (I’m not.) But you have to give them space, and let them experiment, and not be horrible about insisting every project be perfect all the time. As I write this, my nine-year-old is baking cupcakes. I just stay out of the room, and she can come ask me questions, and I’ll help her with putting things in and out of the oven when the time comes. If they don’t turn out — whatever. It was only cupcakes.
I let my kids play with paint, and now when I needed a patio table re-painted, I could trust a child to paint it as well as anybody. I let my kids play with food, and now my son cooks dinner as his primary household chore. My kids aren’t perfect. Everything they do doesn’t turn out golden every time. When my daughter took these photos, she carefully framed them to not show the less-pretty parts of our life.
That’s real life: Part beauty, part mess. Sometimes you really need to pay attention to the mess, and sometimes you need to sit back and enjoy the beautiful.
Photos by E. Fitz, used with permission, copyright 2016 all rights reserved.
You may have noticed that I caused the blog to become terribly ugly, and then I left it that way. Here’s what’s going on:
I do apologize. It’s like one of those dreams where you can’t quite seem to get to class all the way dressed. But I won’t be naked at the grand opening, I promise.
*By this we mean that a certain blogger was several weeks into exertion-induced arrhythmias and exhaustion that would not seem to listen any explanations about how no, really, we could just stop with that now, thanks. The thing that finally worked was all the usual adjustments, plus getting the heck off social media, which it turns out is more active a form of rest than other more laying-around modes of rest. If you see me on Facebook and my blog is still ugly, remind me to get off FB and go work on the blog if I’m such a little bundle of energy.
Quick update. Since last I wrote:
The corner turned just in time for me to get the taxes done, which is actually a happy thing. But seriously, man to whom I am married: Do not walk into the room and try to touch the computer, even just to turn on music, while I am doing the taxes. I’m not ready yet.
Things I learned:
I’ve been mostly off-line over the past couple months, because:
In other cool news: The boy is confirmed. Woohoo!
We had to do that letter thing for the confirmation retreat, where the parents and other people write letters to the kid, and then mid-retreat there’s a carefully timed moment to go off to a quiet place and read the letters. I wrote to the boy about how he is a genius of a comedian and I always feel like I’m living in some kind of cosmically-ordained lair of an arch-villain, in which I get to keep the one of the most brilliant comic minds of the century on hand as my jester.
I didn’t use the phrase “lair of an arch-villain” in the letter.
In other news, review edition: I have the best friends. If you ever need people to pray for you, you should have my friends.
That is all.
True story: This update is prompted by a combination of ennui and reading about people’s winter thermostat settings.
So everything is holding steady, which is good. Miracle drug still doing its miracle thing. I got hold of a fitness tracker this winter and have started watching the daily exertion count, which makes it much easier to manage my activity level, but also maybe a little more depressing (she said buoyantly). Basically the pace of six days on, one day off works pretty well, as long as the six days are “average”. I’m getting trained to take a second rest day preemptively if I know I can’t afford to bonk later in the week.
What doesn’t work: Continuing with a few extra average days, because you feel fine and anyway there are important things happening . . . talk about high-interest loans. Try to skip one rest day, and find your brain slowly draining away during the last couple “just one more normal day” days, and then your body is utterly laid out, as if you had the flu only you did not have the flu, for five days. Try to gain one day, lose five, and also alienate a few folks by your lousy social skills during the pre-collapse decline. Yeah, that was a neat experiment.
So that trained me to be aggressive about managing rest, and overall it was a beneficial experience because without the certainty that rest is a non-negotiable, it would be much harder to set the boundaries. Also, I discovered all these interesting BBC miniseries, so it worked out. Essentially I can tell how sick I am by how interested I am in television. Healthy = Zero Interest. Medium = I’d rather be writing. Desperate = Is There a Law that Brendan Coyle has to be in Every British Period Drama Ever Made Since 1991?
The surreal part of all this is that I find myself thinking, about myself, Well, um you don’t look sick to me. That’s a good thing (yay modern medicine) because pallor and gasping and feeling perpetually buzzed is overrated. The new normal is operating like a completely normal person, and without any particular difficulty, other than that normal happens to be at the limit of my physical capacity. But that at-the-limit situation doesn’t how I’d think: It’s no problem at all at any given moment to quick sprint across the yard, or take a long walk, or haul boxes of stuff in and out of the truck, and so everything seems completely not-sick. The hitch is in the number of days I can pull it off for, before I find myself suddenly struck by the Useless Fairy because I used up my minutes.
The other confusing thing is that if I’m on an even keel, things that other people find difficult, like spitting out massive quantities of punditry, are easy. Effortless. Which makes it seem like I’m a person of leisure and boundless productivity, when what I’m actually doing is preventing myself from going absolutely mad while I ration the physical exertion like an exercise miser.
I think that’s what it is: Being actively sick was like being exertion-destitute. Now I’m upgraded to the exertion counterpart to living on a very frugal budget: It isn’t that you can’t live on it, and have nice things and go places and all that; it’s that in order to make normal life happen without careening from crisis to crisis, you have to spend your limited resources very carefully.
Oh, so the thermostat story: We’re the kind of people who don’t turn up the heat in the winter. Normal winter thermostat settting was low sixties during the day, down to 55 at night (if it got so cold indoors, which is only in the depth of winter), and with a little blip up to 65 in the morning during shower-time. Also we’d push it up over 65 if guests came over, because people don’t always dress for winter during winter. We have a small wood stove in the living room that lets us do the cozy-around-the-fire thing in the evening if we want to as well.
Seemed to us like a fairly moderate regime, far less rigorous than the norm throughout the bulk of human history, but perfectly manageable even living in one of these societies where you’re expected to engage in full-immersion bathing every single day of the year, no matter how cold it is outside, thank goodness for hot water heaters. (I don’t mind a hot shower nor the benefits of obsessive hygiene, this works out for me, product of my time as I am.)
But what happened was that as soon as the house got cold, I completely turned into a slug. The new-normal wasn’t sustainable. I theorized after a little research that since I was already living at the limits of my endurance (which sounds more dramatic than it is, but still, is the case), the extra load of trying to keep the body warm was pushing me over the edge. I set the thermostat to “hold temp” at 65 night and day, and sure enough the body reverted to its normal cycle of productivity.
So now when I see people talk about thermostat settings, I have a whole new layer of curmudgeonly thoughts that I don’t share. To summarize: You don’t need to turn the heat up, unless you do.
A kitten found us, which means we can finally use the internet properly.
I persist, of course, in my incorrigible habit of crowding perfectly good bandwidth with religion, public policy, and other punditry. My hope is that by wielding the cat as a feline shield, the internet police will be stymied in their efforts to purify the web of non-cat bloggers.
1. My screen porch. YouTube viewing has plummeted now that we have our hyperactive dancing cat.
2. Midlands Homeschool Convention. Of interest to southeasterners. Huge regional event, piles of top notch speakers, and also me. Catholic writers guild will have a table, and there’ll be a rocking “Look at the Book” display of Catholic textbooks & materials from all the major players, hosted by Catholic homeschoolers in SC. Also free stuff and some drawings for prizes. The teepee in the corner, dear parents, is for your children. You sit on the chairs. July 24-26.
3. Catholic Writers Conference. Following week up in Chicago, smart people will be turning out at the writers’ wonderland that is the combination Catholic Writers Conference & Catholic Marketing Network’s trade show. This is the place where all the publishers and vendors of Catholic trinkets (games, art, music, etc) turn out so the Catholic book & gift shops can stock up for the season. Most interesting bit is seeing what famous internet Catholics look like when rendered in 3-D.
(I will be rendered in 2D for that one. Visit the Liguori booth if you go, and you can see my book. The me-traveling-to-Chicago part is not quite back on the program.)
Since last I wrote, Patheos has been fixing things, which means you have to go here to get the July archives.
June still copies and pastes nicely:
My ability to make lists and keep a calendar is back in full force. Wow. I knew my brain had been working on partial-capacity for a long while, but it’s dramatic to experience the return.
Saw Dr. M early in the week. He says come back in a year unless something crazy happens. No reason at this time to think there is something other than mystery-model IST, but of course if bizarre scary nasty symptoms emerge, then we’ll realize we were mistakenly optimistic. So far so good, and since I live in the present, “how things are now” is stretched out indefinitely in my imagination. I like that.
Trying to keep the schedule pared down during self-rehab, and also in light of the boy starting high school this fall and me teaching two new-to-me courses. (The one, French 1, I’ve taught before but not this particular course.) Have some work to do to get all the materials together for that. Re: High School, I came to my senses and enrolled the boy in Kolbe’s Online courses, which means I can stay on top of the homework-doing, but not actually be required to master the Greek classics myself in quite the same way it would take otherwise.
That’s all I can think of to report right now. Everything’s good. Busy, but not crazy busy, and my brain works again. CAWOG’s pretty pleasant these days. (It was never that bad, actually. Dramatic, but not bad.)
The catalog of blorging since last I updated here:
Three articles on the topic I hate to write about, but that keeps coming up:
The update ten days into the beta-blocker experiment is: Wow. Normal Life. I like this.
It’s getting hard to know how it’s going because I’m losing my sense of the before & after. I’d estimate, though, that I’m operating at about 80-90% of what I’d imagine is “normal”. A little tired, but nothing like the silly-tired even from this winter pre-catastrophic-turn-for-worse.
I’m happy. Follow-up w/ Dr. M mid-month.
The working theory on the dx is inappropriate sinus tachycardia, and if wikipedia seems a little vague, it’s because that’s how it is. If you google around there’s a variety of theorizing, some of which sorta matches up with my experience, some of which does not.
No particular notion of causes or effects in my case: Thyroid has been once again cleared of all charges, I don’t have any symptoms of an adrenal-secreting tumor (other than this one thing) but I suppose that’ll have to be ruled out definitively, and apparently if it were a problem with the sinus node itself, it probably would not respond to beta blockers so well.
Curiously, since the semi-dx, we’ve gotten two different reports of guys who had something quite like this. So it’s a thing. A semi-secret thing.
Now digging my way out of the backlog. Discovered a suitcase under the girls’ bunkbed last night that still hadn’t been unpacked from the March for Life. Oops. Little things. But now I know where that missing raincoat was.
First the backstory, from my post-pulmonology report last Friday, which some of you have already seen on FB:
. . . A pulmonary stress test is actually kinda fun. Until you hit your anaerobic threshold. But then they stop. So, fun.
Why fun? Because you have no clues. Especially after they take your glasses away. No real feedback on how hard you are going, so no depressing awareness of how hard you are breathing at pitifully minimal efforts. And hard exercise does feel good. Also, they ramp you up fast – just a minute at each level, so it’s over pretty quickly.
. . . Dr. M thinks it’s probably tachycardia of unknown origin, maybe caused by the special kind of hyperthyroid that doesn’t show up on the initial screen for thyroid stuff and for which I have none of the symptoms other than tachycardia.
He also vaguely mentioned “stress”, which people always feel compelled to mention. Funny story: A good friend in passing made reference to the “scare” I’d had this spring. And though I don’t quibble with word choice in casual conversation (because: casual conversation, don’t put deep meaning into offhand comments) . . . I was thinking to myself: I wasn’t scared. It doesn’t count as a “scare” if you aren’t scared.
To clarify: the prospect of dying is intimidating, because that is well known for its unpleasantness. And I’m a total whiner about unpleasantness, so long painful illnesses, no thank you. But actual death — the part that comes after the unpleasant part? Sure, I have a healthy concern for the state of my soul, no presumption there. But I’m also aware that it’s not like I’m suddenly going to get amazingly holy when I turn 85, either. Pray for the gift of final perseverance, do your best to report for duty at holiness-school each morning, not much else for it.
But I always find it comical when someone (as was not the case in this comment, I don’t think, it was just a random word, not a deep thought) gives me the emotional pat on the back because surely I’m so anxious about xyz situation, and I’m thinking . . . you get anxious about this stuff, but I don’t. Weirdly, no one ever reassures me about the things that do make me anxious.
Continuing with the pulmonology update:
. . . We ruled out weird variant asthma pretty roundly. Lung function better after exercise than before. Hard not to like that. Hereby excused from the evil dreaded methocholine test. Victory.
. . . More or less ruled out structural heart things, because O2 sats never dived, which they will if you have, say, a valve problem that occurs under load.
. . . So the new experiment is to try a beta-blocker to bring down the heart rate, see if that works and thus allows me to do normal things (like: exercise!), without dropping the BP so low I do abnormal things (like: faint!). As experiments go, I’m good with this one, because prescription = $3.38 at Walgreens. I’d spend a full four bucks on this if it came to it.
Drug in question is propranolol, picked because you can take it selectively (such as before exercise) rather than all the time. Little pink pill.
So I got home from Mass today, tired tired. Not super-bad tired, but not perky. I don’t do perky very much lately. Took pink pill at noon, ate lunch. 1pm decided it was time to do a test and see if this thing worked. Spouse asked me how I felt.
“My head feels a little funny, but that could be whatever.”
“What do you mean, it feels funny?”
“Like I want a beer and a coffee.”
“So it could just be Sunday afternoon?”
Took my pulse before I went out, and it was bobbling around in the “normal” zone, 70’s-80’s, which is about as good as it ever gets. Walked down the street to the track at the school. Walked a mile and some.
Yeah. A mile and some.
No super fast, but not slow either. Wasn’t tired. Not at all. Not short of breath. Chatted with a lady about her puppy towards the end of that mile.
Made myself come home so I didn’t give myself some @#$%^& injury from over-doing it. Back home again by 1:30, so I was in that normal walking-speed range, which I would not normally consider a fitness-y pace by any stretch of the imagination, but I figured for someone who last took a walk in late January, start easy. HR stayed below 120 the whole time. Not out of breath. At all.
–> In contrast, Friday afternoon on the treadmill, after two minutes of walking, one minute at 1.0 mph and one minute at 2.0 mph, my heart rate was at 126 and I was already feeling like I was exerting myself.
So then, sit-ups.
I check in with the spouse when I come in (not winded, at all, or tired, or anything), and then since I’m restless but determined not to do anything really stupid, I decide I’ll sneak back to the bedroom and do some sit-ups.
[This is my favorite exercise because there are only muscles involved. So I can do them without injuring things. All the other exercises involve tendons and nerves and who-knows-what, and I’m constantly on the brink of pulverizing something. I have good muscles but bad everything else. Sit-ups I can do. I love sit-ups.]
So all spring the routine goes like this:
So it takes like 10 or 15 minutes to do 110 sit-ups, because otherwise I’d explode.
Except today: Wonder drug. I go back there. Do fifty, pause for ten seconds because: muscle burn. 30 more, another ten-second break, then finish. Done. In a few minutes. Done. Not tired. Not winded. At all. At all.
Just wow. That was a good benchmark for better-living-through-chemistry analysis, because unlike going for a walk, I had a really clear idea of how much effort was involved in doing sit-ups because I could actually do them all spring, with the modified approach.
The pre-pill / post-pill difference was kind of like the difference in effort between walking up the side of a mountain with a 60lb pack on your back versus walking down the sidewalk with no pack, except that in reality, if you are fit, walking up the side of a mountain with a 60lb pack on your back is not that hard. You’d never get anywhere if you had to stop every thirty seconds for a minute break.
So yeah. Nobel prize for James W. Black, earned. And a big shiny star for Dr. Maybe. I’ve got to find out what kind of beer he drinks. Or scotch? Scotch.
The answer to, “How’s it going, Jen?” remains, “Pretty well, thanks!” I resurrected the Nine Annoying Things Novena over at the blorg last week, and the pray-ers did well. Hence today’s story:
So I go see Dr. Maybe yesterday, and they did the dreaded Six Minute Walk. And here is the very, very, What is wrong with people? situation: I did almost as well as predicted.
Seriously? Is this really all they expect out of pleasantly-plump 40-somethings? You’re kidding me.
You do the walk with a pulse oximeter, which means you can cheat and watch your heart rate. This is handy if you are the kind of person who knows at about what heart rate the gasping kicks in (see archives below for the secret), and thus you can maximize your distance by walking right at that special speed where you’re coughing a bit and your head feels like you just tossed back two glasses of champagne on an empty stomach, but hey, you aren’t going to faint, and even though death feels like the perfect next step, you can do it for six minutes. Or at least, you can do it that long if a stern nurse in pink scrubs gives you a face like she’ll spank you if you quit early.
It appears the pulmonologists aren’t big believers in pedestrian transportation.
Anyhow, I like the new guy, whose brain jumps around so much I finally pulled out a notebook and made a list of all the tests and appointments he was rattling off, because I had a feeling one or two might get lost in the shuffle if no one wrote them down, stat.
Ruled out again this morning — for good, this time? — pulmonary embolisms. Sent away three vials of blood — I’m not sure he’s quite to the point of looking for tropical diseases (I’ve never been to the tropics), but he’s almost there. More interesting tests coming along soon, looking for weird variants on regular asthma and exercise-induced asthma, and also he’s going to see if he can get my heart rate up high enough (on a treadmill, not with those evil chemicals) that the O2 levels drop, or something else interesting happens that gives us a clue.
We’re having real problems with finding clues. The trouble we’re having is that I’m dreadfully healthy for someone who’s sucking wind and coughing while ambling at grocery-store pace, minus the cart.
Blorging over the past couple weeks, for those who don’t subscribe:
May 7, 2014 Religion is about Reality – and so is the Black Mass In which someone in the combox accuses me of “shooting off my mouth”. What exactly is a blog for, if not that?
May 6, 2014 It’s Not Friendship if it Can’t Withstand Disagreement Because I have the coolest friends. Yes I do.
May 5, 2014 What I Write, Why I Write, How I Write . . . #mywritingprocess This is the truth, but I’m going to reveal more details at CWG later this month.
May 5, 2014 Tell Me About Your Favorite Homeschooling Conference @CatholicMom.com Listen, if you know about a good homeschooling conference, go over the link in this post and leave a comment. I can’t believe no one did this, even after I bumped the CMom post to two different conference-hosts that I knew about. Sheesh.
May 5, 2014 Inside the Glamorous World of Religion Blogging – Parody for the 5th Blorgiversary, featuring a video of me making everyone else seem as glamorous as Jen Fulwiler.
May 3, 2014 Guns in Church: The Divide Boils Down to Subsidiarity – I don’t much write about gun stuff. But when the Archbishop of Gunlandia does something to tick off all his redneck parishioners, someone has to get out some catechism quotes, right? FYI – post includes a link to my A/C article where I say there, concisely, what I’ve said here, verbosely: This is a topic on which Catholics of good will can disagree, and catechists need to leave their agendas at home.
May 2, 2014 Pomp without Vanity: A True Story from a Parish Photo Directory – My kid is as cool as Fr. Longenecker, and much, much prettier.
May 1, 2014 Fun Stuff: Beautification Claws From the Case Files of DragonEye, PI – Free short story. Catholic dragon.
May 1, 2014 Tried and True Ways to Eliminate People With Disabilities #BADD2014 – Review of what I blogged for BADD here last year. Because it’s still true. Quit trying to kill the people who bother you.
April 30, 2014 Something Fun: Armored Combat League World Championship May 1 – 3 – Because I have the coolest friends. Have I mentioned that?
April 30, 2014 Just Say No to Needy Busybodies
April 29, 2014 Heart Rate Training for Fitness in Chronic Illness – This is actually a useful post. It’s how I managed to nearly pass the 6-minute walk, despite being seriously seriously not well. And if I’d taken the walk two days earlier, I would’ve aced it out of sheer racing-preparation common sense.
April 29, 2014 Mid-Easter Evangelization: Time for an Egg Hunt! – Link to my column at NE, which got picked up as a reprint by at least one parish bulletin. I can die happy now. I have succeeded as a Catholic writer.
April 28, 2014 Trusting God When Life Isn’t Easy – Link to Pauline Media’s brand new, free, digital magazine. I wrote one of the articles in it.
April 28, 2014 Midlands Homeschool Convention – Last Day for Discounted Registration – Your one and only chance to see me speak in 2014. Turn out. It’s going to be cool.
April 28, 2014 Classroom Management for Catechists – Spanish Edition for Fall 2014 – I do a happy dance.
April 26, 2014 Why is Obedience a Virtue?
April 25, 2014 Real Life Prayer Gardening A picture of the dog who keeps my prayer life going. And my garden.
April 24, 2014 A Deadly Faith – Gospel Reflection @CatholicMom.com – I had forgotten all about writing this, but then I read it, and it was really good. Surprisingly good. Follow this to get the link to the CMom piece, and yes pastors, you may run it as a reprint in your bulletin next time Holy Week comes around. Or whenever.
April 23, 2014 Divine Mercy Sunday – What’s it all about?? – Relevant every day at 3pm. Or other times you have 7 minutes to spare and your prayer life needs a little something.