On Not Taking it Personally When our Kids Fail

Historically, I have struggled when the young people in my care make poor choices. I have tended to take their decisions personally, and to see those moments as a failure on my part, thinking that their choices reflect badly on me.

As a parent, this has caused me to turn inward on myself, ruminating on how I am failing my kids and students, because, obviously, if I weren’t, they would be perfect little saints.

Even writing that sentence, I have to smile. Because removed from the heat of the moment, I can see how silly it is to think that. But in the moment itself, that is exactly the kind of thinking I have tended to engage in. If my children or students choose poorly, then, to me, that means I am somehow failing as a parent or teacher.

However, in doing this, I make my place in the grand scheme of things distorted, larger than life, out of proportion. As if me doing everything right (an impossible task) will somehow result in the people in my care doing everything right as well.


When I set myself back down in my proper place amongst the bigger picture, and zoom out even a little bit, I can gain a better perspective.

For example, it isn’t God’s fault that we choose to sin. It isn’t a bad reflection on God, and it doesn’t mean that God is anything less than a good, good Father to us.

In fact, our ability to choose is a reflection of His goodness to us.

Those opportunities to choose—even if we choose wrongly, are chances to learn and carve away those parts of ourselves that are not yet fully conformed to love. It allows us to choose love in the first place. We need to see the difference between where we are now and where we have the potential to be so we know how to orient ourselves moving forward. Our failures are a beautiful opportunity to learn and to move closer to Him.

The same applies to me and my relationships with my children and students. As a person entrusted with young people both in my home and in my classroom, I am learning to view these opportunities as a gift. When they make poor choices, I can get a good look at areas where my children and students have an opportunity to grow in character and holiness. And I have the honor of helping to guide them on that path.

Click to tweet:
Our failures are a beautiful opportunity to learn and to move closer to Him. #catholicmom

Those moments have, in some ways, very little to do with me at all, other than the fact that they are opportunities for me to step up in my role as one who guides young people, and to help them turn back to love. To grow their virtue muscles. To help them see the difference between who they are today and who they can be, and to spur them forward. To encourage them. To help light the way.

When I view things like that, I put myself in my proper place. I put their choices in their proper place. And I can even rejoice at this thing called Free Will, and the opportunity it offers us to be sanctified throughout our lives so, when the time comes, we will be ready to meet God, Love itself, with arms wide open.

And so, in the end, it isn’t a poor reflection on me when the youth in my care make the wrong choice. In fact, it is an honor to be present, and to be ever at the ready to help.


Note: This article originally appeared on Catholic Mom

Carving Time For Rest

As an introvert mom to four and Catholic school teacher, I know two things to be true. I love working with youth and being a mom. I also know that I am often overstimulated, and that in order to do my job and my parenting well, I need to set aside regular time to rest.

Easier said than done in the day-to-day hustle and bustle, but when I don’t rest, many of my less-than-amazing traits shine through. The impatience, the feeling overwhelmed, the irritability. The need has always been there, but rest has looked different at different phases of life for me. There hasn’t been a magic rest recipe that has worked well all the time. There have been times when I have tried to rigidly schedule rest, but I found that certain days I need certain things more than others, and sometimes the scheduled “rest” didn’t match what I needed at all, and therefore it felt more like a burden than anything else.


So I let go of the rigidity, and recently, here is what I’ve done that I’ve found helpful. And I hope some of you may find it helpful, too.

I started by making a list of things that recharge me. Things that, for me, constitute as rest. Some items on the list were a hot bath, reading a book, enjoying a nice glass of wine with my husband, writing or creating something, taking a walk, prayer, journaling, just sitting in a quiet space, taking a nap, doing a workout, and so on.

And then, rather than sticking to some regimented schedule of predetermined rest activities, I allow myself the freedom to choose what would best help me in that given moment. I do this by taking care to be mindful throughout the week of how I’m feeling. Am I overstimulated? Maybe I need to let my husband take care of making dinner so I can go enjoy a quiet bath when he gets home from work. Am I low energy? Some days, I might cure feeling tired with an energetic workout. Others, I may shut my eyes for a little while for a nap.

I’ve learned that right now a lot of my rest involves accepting the introvert inside me and stepping away from people for a little while, whatever that looks like. When I do that, I’m much better for everyone when I return.

One thing that remains relatively constant is setting aside regular time to pray. This often happens early in the morning, before the rest of the house has stirred. It’s not natural for me to get up at 5:00 AM, or even 5:30, but it is the best chance I have at quiet before the day begins for everyone else in my home. I do this four or five times per week, and it acts as an anchor to my days.

Click to tweet:
It can be very easy for us moms to push aside our need for rest, to put the needs of others above our own. #CatholicMom

It can be very easy for us moms to push aside our need for rest, to put the needs of others above our own. I often smile when I think that even God rested, and I feel the value of rest in my soul when I see how much better I am for those I love and serve when I prioritize resting too.

Rest will not look the same for every person, and it probably won’t look the same every day, but if we can take time to recognize the things that recharge us, and allow ourselves to take the time when needed, then I trust that we are better equipped to live our calling in whatever phase of life God has us in today.


(Note: This article originally appeared on Catholic Mom)

Success! You're on the list.

Different Kinds of Catholic Moms

I think how we raise our kids in the faith is likely formed, at least to some extent, by how we were raised in our own. If we had a good experience that developed a rich faith life, or if we encountered struggles or poor examples or formation in some way still lingers in our minds and in our hearts.

There are moms who do an amazing job at liturgical living, or who are faithfully and frequently found with rosary beads in their hands. Moms who take their kids to Adoration often, to Confession often. Moms who homeschool and love it.

Since converting to Catholicism in 2016, I have tried on many different Catholic-mom hats. We do love celebrating liturgical days and feasts, but not all of them. We do love praying the Rosary, but it’s not my most frequent devotion. We love going to family Adoration, and would love to do that more often than we have. There were many parts about homeschooling that I loved, but in January of this year we enrolled our kids at a local Catholic school and I am beginning work there as a teacher. That particular move has been better for our family in many ways.

At first, I think I felt like I wasn’t a complete Catholic mom, in some ways, because I didn’t fit neatly into one of the boxes I had created in my mind about what a Catholic mom should be. But over this past year, that has changed. I am realizing that Catholic moms come in as wide a variety as the women who embody that name.


And, for me, I have come to accept that the thing that I lean most into as a Catholic mom is encouraging my kids to think deeply about the faith, to ask good, rich questions, and then to walk them down a path of knowing that there are deep, good, rich answers to be found. I also want them to love the liturgy, to see the beauty in ritual and tradition, and to know that we are connected profoundly to the Christians who have come before us.

This is likely formed by my childhood growing up in a fundamentalist-leaning but also somehow charismatic evangelical church. I was taught that faith and science are sometimes at odds with each other. I didn’t know there was depth to be found past the basic tenets of the Gospel, and when I became an adult my despair that there may not be deep answers to be found lead me towards agnosticism.

My husband had similar experiences within the Catholic Church, where he grew up knowing the rules but not understanding why they were there.


So, together, it has become very important for us to let our kids ask questions, to explain the whys of our faith, and then to hope and to trust that when they go off on their own some years from now, that they will find they have a firm foundation to stand on. My prayer is that they will feel safe at home.

I am the It’s okay to wonder and ask deep questions kind of Catholic mom, along with a sprinkling of the other kinds too. And that’s one of the beautiful things about our faith: that rich diversity is what makes the Church. God has given us each unique passions and gifts and calls, and we can all be ourselves fully within our Catholic home.

Click to tweet:
What parts of your faith formation impact how you raise your kids as Catholics? #catholicmom

I’d love to learn what you lean into in your motherhood as a Catholic.

What parts of our faith bring you joy to share with your children?

What parts of your faith formation impact how you raise your kids as Catholics?



Note: This article originally appeared on Catholic Mom.

Measuring Success in a Busy, Messy Family

While spending time with my husband and brother recently, I said: “I don’t know if either of you know this, but I can sometimes be a bit rigid.” They laughed, because it’s true. I laughed, because it’s true. It was a good, lighthearted moment.

But now, a few days later, when reflecting on that rare time spent together (my brother lives several states away and was with us for a brief visit), I realize that even my ability to say that, and then to laugh about it, is actually a marker of a significant amount of growth over the past couple of years.

Desiring Control

Some of the pieces of my past have led me to tend toward wanting to control as many variables as possible in my life. Things not going according to plan used to have the ability to send me into a spiral of anxiety. I’ve been doing a lot of work to dig deep into these things in order to not pass them along to my children.

I used to measure success by how many things I accomplished on my to-do list, and whether the kids and I got everything done by sticking to my self-imposed schedule.


Emphasizing the Wrong Things

I’ve been learning, sometimes through fire, that all those things, like getting tasks accomplished when I hoped, or even getting everything done at all, puts an overemphasis on the things of this world, including time, productivity, and what I perceive to be ‘good’ behavior from my kids. I was in danger of sometimes falling into the trap of thinking “My kids are well behaved, so I must be doing a good job as a mom.”

It didn’t leave a lot of room for flexibility, or mistakes, or, the most important of all, all of our journeys to, hopefully, sainthood.

Shifting Focus

My ultimate goal as a mother is to help my children grow into the people God created them to be. To become the saint God intends them to be.

So I’ve been working very hard to flip my normal tendencies on their head. How about, instead of seeing a conflict between the kids as some kind of failure, I see it as an opportunity to teach them how to apologize, forgive, and then make amends. To take a moment of sin or selfishness and support them in facing it head on and doing the hard work to overcome it.

Sticking to a schedule or having everything go exactly according to plan is of such small importance compared to their souls.

kids arguing

A New Way to Measure Success

At the end of the day, I’m working toward measuring success in an entirely different way than I have in the past. Instead of asking if everything went according to my plan, I’m trying a new question.

And that question is this: “Did I support my children in their journey toward becoming the people God created them to be?”

Even if the kids fought every ten minutes. Even if the kitchen is a mess. Even if we only got math done and nothing else for homeschool. Even if I’m exhausted. I want to see my kids in heaven. I want them to go off into the world one day loving God and seeking Him all the days of their lives. That is, unequivocally, the most important thing.

There are so many messages bombarding us mothers these days about what “good” motherhood looks like. It can be so easy to fall into the trap of comparing, of pushing to do more, of measuring up to some standard of success someone else has set for us or that we’ve set for ourselves.

Click to tweet:
I want to see my kids in heaven. I want them to go off into the world one day loving God and seeking Him all the days of their lives. #catholicmom

mom cooking at the table with kids

An Example in the Saints

If anyone else struggles with rigidity, or the great tendency to view the immediate moment as the most important thing, please know you aren’t alone. It’s hard, when we’re in this skin and inside of time, to maintain a view of the eternal.

Even Saint Zélie, mother of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, had bad days. In one of her letters, she writes: “Oh well, that’s the day so far, and it’s still only noon. If this continues I will be dead by this evening! You see, at the moment, life seems so heavy for me to bear, and I don’t have the courage because everything looks black to me.” 

But she also said this: “For me, our children were a great compensation, so I wanted to have a lot of them in order to raise them for Heaven.” And she did raise her children for heaven. 

That is success as a parent. That is the ultimate goal. May we ask God for the grace to see each and every day in light of the eternal, and do the same.

Note: This article originally appeared on Catholic Mom.

Purchase Lorelei’s Books Here:

Success! You're on the list.

“Ask a Catholic” #1: “I’m happily Evangelical, I’m not sure I see the relevance of learning about Catholics at this point in my walk of faith.”

Hello and welcome to our new series, “Ask a Catholic!” This is a spot where you can ask us anything about Catholicism, and we are happy to answer. I’ve been looking forward to this so much, especially since so many of my friends are Protestant/Evangelical. Firstly, as a way to reduce the misunderstandings between us. And second, as a place to invite dialogue in a world that sorely needs it.

And so, to our first question we shall go!

Question #1: “I’m happily Evangelical. I’m not sure I see the relevence of learning about Catholics at this point in my walk of faith.”

This is a great question, and a wonderful place to start.

I was thinking about it this morning, and I found an analogy that might be helpful. In many ways, I think declining to learn about the Catholic Church, or avoiding it, or even just assuming we understand it enough to know it isn’t for us, is sort of like a child refusing to get to know its mother. The idea of that seems so silly. Of course a child will want to know its mother- as much as he or she can know about her, probably! Because, for one, she is where that child came from. And second, who she is will greatly shape and impact that child for the rest of his or her life.

I think the same is true about the story of our Christian faith and how it grew since its beginning.

As someone brought up in various branches of Evangelicism, my idea of a church was often a relatively plain building or sanctuary that also functioned as an auditorium, or a performance hall, or even a basketball court in some occasions. My idea of church was an opening prayer, a series of songs, an offering…all of which led up to a sermon that was the sort-of pinnacle or focus of the service. Then another prayer and possibly another song at the end.

As I came into adulthood I started to wonder what the early Church looked like…what were there services like? Did we hold the same beliefs? Retain any of their traditions? And if we didn’t, when and why did we give them up? Did our American Evangelical Christianity look anything like Christianity looked like for the generations that immediately followed the life of Christ on earth? And if it didn’t, should it? I began to suspect that whatever it looked like, early Church couldn’t possibly have been an auditiorium-style sanctuary with projectors, and stage lights, concert-style emotion-driven music, and a pastor-centered service.

Then I realized that the people in these places-these auditioriums with the performance heavy services were the same people I had been listening to and believing for years, mostly passively, when it came to what Catholics believed and taught. And the thing was, for a group of people so certain that Catholics were wrong on so many issues, none of them could tell me what the early Church looked like once I started to ask.

So, on one hand, I had pastors and fellow church and small group members telling me what Catholics believed and how wrong they were compared to Evangelicals on a number of things:

“Catholics believe you can earn your salvation, Catholics worship Saints, Catholics have an unhealthy devotion to Mary, Catholics believe you can’t just go to God with your sins, Catholics are so devoted to tradition that they go through the motions and don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus, Catholics added books to the Bible, Catholics don’t believe in Bible Alone and obviously Bible Alone is the truth, they don’t believe in Once Saved Always Saved and obviously Once Saved Always Saved is the truth, Catholics think you can earn your salvation by works.” Just to name a few.

Then, on the other hand, I also had this vague understanding that the early Christian Church-from Jesus until the Reformation…was Catholic.

I started to wonder if somehow not all of the things I had been taught or had come to believe about Catholics were true, or even if they were, if they were maybe incomplete in some way.

And it all comes back to this. The child knowing its mother. If we don’t understand Catholicism, then we don’t truly understand the history of our Christian faith.

We don’t understand where we came from.

The Missing Years

Christianity didn’t appear in a vaccum, with hipster pastors and rock music and stage lights, even though that was my experience of Christiany- it was what I had known my whole entire life. Some of the churches I went to were very humble, just a couple of singers adding their voices to a cassette tape through the speakers. Others were much more highly produced, and some even recorded songs and sold CD’s of original music. But I had fallen into the mistake of thinking that because it was all I had known, that that was all it ever was. Pre-Reformation Christianity had been explained to me in vague terms like ‘indulgences’ and ‘Luther’ and ’99 thesis nailed to a door,’ even though our faith had existed for 1500 years prior to that. It was like we had the Bible, and then we skipped right ahead to the Reformation.

What on earth had gone on in between? What did the earliest generations after Jesus do and believe? How did they structure their life and practice of faith?

No one at the Baptist/Calvinist church we were attending at the time could tell me. I wondered if it could even be known? If it could, I felt very strongly that I needed to know it. There had to be something incredibly precious and sacred about those early Christians and the way they lived their faith. I felt like they had something to teach me, and the fact that I had grown up in an modern, Americanized bubble of Christianity no longer served as an excuse.

Our History Matters

There’s a joke among Catholics that to study Church history is to cease to be Protestant. I harbor no illusions that my little posts here and there will send people running to the Catholic Church. But I do hope for this: For anyone with whom I’ve garnered any bit of trust, I hope you’ll read this series. If for nothing else than to better understand a part of our shared Christian faith that was there since the start.

I think we all only have something to gain from a better, clearer understanding.

And that, my friends, is how we begin the “Ask a Catholic” series. Feel free to email us a question for the series, or drop it on our Facebook page or at the bottom of this post. We’ll answer as soon as we can!


Purchase Lorelei’s Books Here:

Success! You're on the list.

Donuts After Mass and Other Hopeful Things

Well, we’ve made it to Illinois! Though the move wasn’t too far, mileage speaking, it was far enough that we are having to reset many aspects of our life. In the next few weeks, we will be finding new doctors, dentists, playgrounds… pretty much everything. We keep checking things off the list, but new things get added as well. They all keep telling me it will settled down at some point. And I will choose to believe them. I look forward to the day when all the big stuff is done. But we are here. And that’s a good start.

So here’s a little update on the goings-on of This Catholic Family, now of Illinois.

Donuts After Mass

We think we’ve found a parish! St. Raphael the Archangel. It’s a gorgeous church built of multiple old churches, just a few minutes from our house. I have grown to love beautiful churches so much in the past few years, and this one just felt right for our family, almost as soon as we walked in. The beauty is there, and the history, and the hope of something new. They are still installing the stained glass windows, and have additional work to to in finishing the build of the church so we feel like we are a part of a beautiful beginning, but also something that has roots.

One of the things we were going to miss about moving was our family tradition of donuts after Mass. We would go to O+H Danish Bakery in Racine frequently after Mass for donuts. As we were preparing to move, I looked and couldn’t find a bakery in our area that would quite feel the same. St. Raphael’s, it turns out, offers donuts and fellowship time in the basement of the church each and every Sunday. And you can bet we’ve checked it out! I wish more parishes had something like this, and I am so thankful St. Raphael’s does. It’s helped us get to know a few people already. We are optimistic about joining our family life with the life of this new parish.

Emptiness = Potential

There’s a lot of empty in this house right now. Empty walls, waiting to be painted then filled up with art and pictures. Empty rooms waiting for furniture to arrive. And the emptiness that comes from living in a space you haven’t made many memories in yet, which feels a bit lonely at times. But that kind of emptiness is also filled with potential. The potential for all the memories that we are going to make. It’s been helping me during this transition to pay attention to when a new memory shows up in this new town, in this new home we are forming for ourselves.

A few examples:

When the kids came to the the house for the first time after we moved, they ran and squealed as they went to find their new rooms, and checked out the space. The kids have their own rooms now, but August went right to Felicity and said “My door is always open.” It was so sweet.

There’s one.

A huge rainstorm came through. We can see a lot of sky from our front yard, and when the rain passed, the dark purple rainclouds brushed away to more open skies with streaks of clouds containing every color of the rainbow. The burnt orange sun slipped down toward the horizon, and I stood outside in that salty, warm air, and saw a sunset I would have never been able to see from outside our old house. JP joined me outside and we just stared at it for a while together. I could have looked at that sunset forever.

There’s one.

This weekend we had a family movie night, and watched The Greatest Showman with the kids. At the end credits everyone was dancing and twirling around the family room until we were all pretty dizzy.

There’s one.

Slowly, but surely, this empty house will fill up. With furniture, with kids projects from school, with pictures on the wall. And with memories. This will be the house we think of first when we tell our family’s story. The emptiness of this space has so, so much potential.

And we found a way to still have donuts after Mass. 🙂


Success! You're on the list.

Purchase Lorelei’s Books Here:

What’s The Deal with Catholic Guilt?

I think we’ve all seen or heard someone make a joke about “Catholic Guilt” at one point or another.

This article explores what Catholic Guilt is, really. And if it’s actually funny. Or, on the other hand, if it a misrepresentation of something meant for our good.

What is Sin?

It’s important to get on the same page about sin before we even attempt to talk about this issue. Let’s turn to the Catechism to get our definition.

1849 Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as “an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.”121

1850 Sin is an offense against God: “Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight.”122 Sin sets itself against God’s love for us and turns our hearts away from it. Like the first sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to become “like gods,”123 knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is thus “love of oneself even to contempt of God.”124 In this proud self- exaltation, sin is diametrically opposed to the obedience of Jesus, which achieves our salvation.125 

(emphasis mine)

Using this definition, I often break down the idea of sin to conclude it is any time where I choose to serve myself rather than another. It’s desiring my perceived good over my actual good. It’s refusing to love. And in refusing love, I am refusing God because God is Love itself.

Sin wounds my relationship with God, because I’m actively rejecting Him. It hurts my soul. It makes me sick.

When I think about sin now, I think about any one of us, if we gave in freely to our own passions, distorted from God’s good intent, might even find ourselves on earth in our own sort of personal hell.

Sin is serious business. But, thankfully, that’s not the end of the story.

My Protestant Practice

Before becoming Catholic, I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about the ways I rejected  or blocked God (Love) out of my life. Some of the churches I attended would have a moment for such reflections. But it was usually just that, a moment. And, to be honest, in those moments I most often thought “meh- I think I’m doing pretty good, comparatively speaking.” I shake my head at my past self now. And I’m still not exactly sure who I was comparing myself to… those convicted of crimes against humanity? The people in pews beside me, as some sort of holiness version of keeping up with the Joneses? Just the general sense that, in the grand scale of humanity, I was doing okay?

And then the service would move on and I would move on and I continue along my merry way. I knew I could ask God for forgiveness, but as someone who had come from a Once Saved, Always Saved tradition (for much of my life), I didn’t have an ingrained sense that my confession mattered. I had ‘invited Jesus into my heart’ as a child. And if you are Once Saved, Always Saved, then the moment you say that prayer, it’s a done deal.

Now, you can read more about how I learned that perspective didn’t fit with my actual life experience in my Coming Home Network conversion story by clicking here, but suffice it to say, I had accepted Jesus as a child, then possibly crossed over into rejecting Him as a young adult before I made my way back through the Catholic Church.

I learned through that journey that my choices do matter. They have eternal impact. And yes, everything good I do is by the grace of God, but I’m not an automaton. God can work through me to show his love and healing to this world, but He needs my yes to do it.

And so I’d better pay attention to the areas in my life where I’m letting Love in, and also to the areas in my life where I’m not.


The Value in Examining Our Conscience

I worry about the fading of the concept of confession in general as the trees of Christian separation continue to branch farther and farther away from their historical roots. And I have personally found immense value in examining my conscience on a regular basis, followed by a good Confession.

But first, what is an Examination of Conscience?

An Examination of Conscience is a beautiful exercise we do as Catholics, where we take stock of our lives and our heart. We spend time praying about and thinking about the areas where we are letting God (Love) lead the way, and the areas where we are turning from Him (Love) and choosing to serve ourselves first. We take an honest look at where we are being selfish, or prideful, or fearful, or careless, or impatient, or any number of things.

There are many ways to examine our conscience. Click here for a link to some excellent resources that walk you straight through the entire process.

But we don’t just leave it there when we’re done. We aren’t meant to just acknowledge our shortcomings and sit around feeling bad about ourselves. We know we have the ability to make a change. We can grow in virtue and holiness. We can turn our “No” to God, into a resounding “Yes.”

Once we have examined ourselves, we are ready to make a Confession.

Confession: A Healing Sacrament

It’s no secret how much I love Confession.

Confession is so many things. But one thing it is not. It is not a rote recital of our wrongs just for the sake of checking an item off a list.

It is a Healing Sacrament. And for good reason.

When we go to Confession, we sit before a Priest, who is standing in place of Jesus for us. We share with him those struggles we identified in ourselves. And we receive, not only God’s forgiveness to us, but we also receive penance, our medicine to help heal the wounds created by our sin.

We leave Confession with the Grace of God to continue to say yes to Him. And if and when we fail, we know Confession is always there, to help us right our path. To help us to learn to love others better than we could on our own. To help sanctify us, and to flood us with God’s Amazing Grace so we can effectively live as His hands and feet.

Back to Catholic Guilt

Nothing about the Catholic Church desires for us to hobble around, eternally burdened by our shortcomings. And long story short, anyone who has been haunted by Catholic Guilt in their life, has taken these beautiful practices meant for our own good, for our own healing, and for whatever reason, allowed them to become distorted.

When I’m carrying some burdens inside my heart, I might know it’s time to go to Confession. So I just set up a time and go. I know I want to let as much of God (Love) into my life as possible, and if I can be honest with myself about when I’m not doing that, then I can experience healing and let His Grace help me make different choices.

There’s a huge difference between the conviction we need to make something right, and then doing something to heal what we’ve broken, and the notion of “Catholic Guilt.” Guilt, when left to its own devices and void of the connection to healing, can turn us inward and makes us focus dangerously on ourselves. And when we focus on ourselves, we are entering a realm that is unhealthy for our souls. We are entering the realm of sin. 

So, no, Catholic Guilt isn’t funny. It’s actually probably a sign that someone has experienced pain in some form or another inside the Church, and have not yet found their way to the healing. If we know people who struggle with this, or who have left the Church because of it, it is so vital that we live Grace in our own lives. Forgiveness in our own lives. The joy of healing in our own lives.

We have the opportunity to be an example to those who misunderstand our faith, to those who are seeking, and to those who might be confused. Let us be an example of the Church’s beauty as we seek, more and more each and every day, to choose Love.



Success! You're on the list.

Purchase Lorelei’s Books Here:

Southern Hospitality and Sharing My Story in Texas

I had the amazing opportunity to give my talk, “A Protestant Interrupted,” at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Angleton, Texas last weekend.

Mary’s got my back 🙂

Father Victor Perez had seen my Journey Home episode, and reached out via Twitter to invite me to his parish. I have to admit, at first I wasn’t sure if it was a serious invitation or not. Tweets are mysterious like that. But sure enough, he followed up via email, and soon we were talking about dates and travel arrangements!

And Southern Hospitality is a real thing, y’all. I met so many kind people, including Judy, who was my airport transportation and lunch companion, and Dan and Rita, my awesome hosts (and providers of early morning coffee and Tex Mex dinner.) Along with so many others.

Most Holy Trinity is a beautiful, energetic parish, with lovely music and passionate people. It was a pleasure to meet so many of them before and after I shared my story.

The one tricky aspect to this trip was early departure times from the airports. I wanted to make sure to get home in time to spend Sunday afternoon with my people back in Wisconsin, so there was a slight shortage in sleep over the course of the weekend. But that was a small sacrifice for time well-spent. Plus, on the way home, I had a layover at the Dallas Airport, in the terminal that contained a Ben and Jerry’s. I walked, wide-eyed up to the lady at the counter and was all like “I am so glad you are here!” She may have looked at me like I was a little crazy, but she was certainly generous in her scoopage, and for that I am eternally grateful.

What a joy it is to be able to share some of the many reasons I love the Catholic faith with some new friends. I hope to be able to visit again soon. 🙂

– Lorelei

For more information on booking Lorelei for a speaking engagement, please see our Speaker page above, or click here.


Success! You're on the list.

Purchase Lorelei’s Books Here:

Strong But Not Superhuman

The Swells and Crests of Life

We had a period of time this fall into early winter where things were relatively calm. I remember thinking to myself during that time, Remember to appreciate this. Be thankful for this.

Because I’ve been around at least long enough to know that life comes in seasons, in swells and crests, and that something would come to stir up our temporarily calm seas.

Mary was in the hospital for two nights just before Christmas, and RSV spread through the rest of the family for most of Christmas break.

Then, in January we caught our breath.

In February, we lost my aunt to suicide, and we are still recovering from that loss. The pain continues to come in waves. There are good days, and there are difficult days. The air leaves my chest and my stomach sinks every time I go in the basement and see a pile of boxes there. All her stuff. Filled with clothes and baking supplies and art that I have no idea what to do with and no clue if or when or how I will be ready to see it, to touch it, to use it again.

Coming to terms with the pain she felt, our own powerlessness to do anything to change it, and the hope that my prayers can help her still all make for a complicated mix of emotions. I can’t control when the grief hits. And when it does, it isn’t always convenient.

And it just seems like right now there is an abundance of regular but personal and professional business that make finding balance more tricky than it is at other times. I’ve wanted to have time to write more on the blog, but it’s been difficult to find the words to say amidst all the sadness.

I’m struggling with knowing the best direction to take my novel, and in discerning if it’s time to let it rest for a bit and start something new. It’s tough for me to leave a thing unfinished, in any area of life. And it’s also tough for me when there is no clear end point. I can’t say for certain when it will be ‘done.’

We are making some positive, needed, good changes, like moving to a bigger home to account for the growing number of people in our family. I’ve started being asked to speak even in different states, which is super cool and exciting.

Managing Self-Care

But compartmentalizing is tricky for me. It’s tough for me to keep everything in it’s own separate baskets in my mind and things tend to spill over. Today, I wrote an outline for myself to make sure I’m managing my self-care. Blocking time to write, to read, to exercise, to sleep. To make sure I respect the rhythm of my own body and the way God has made me. I recharge my batteries by having time alone. By writing. By reading. And by prayer. If I don’t make it a priority, then I can go too long without making it happen, get caught up in the current, and I start to feel anxious.It was good to take time to actually write out those priorities.  And it’s amazing what a quiet hour by myself can do for my peace of mind and ability to be present for my family.

The long and short of it is, I need to remember to give myself a break! I can’t be All The Things All The Time to All The People. I can’t read an article while Mary is crawling on my lap. I can, however, set aside time specifically for Mary crawling on my lap and other kid related endeavors, and also set aside different time to read that article.

I am strong, but I am not a superhero. And I think consistently trying to do more than one thing well at one time is a way to drain this momma fast.

If I need some time to grieve, I need to take some time to grieve. Not grieve AND feed the kids dinner. Not grieve AND coach a teacher. I need to open up time to just let myself grieve, at least at some point during that day. And respect it. Likewise, I can’t write a super cool blog post AND interact with my kids (with any level of patience). I can work on house hunting/building stuff, but not at the same time as I pack my lunch.

It sounds so simple, but it is something I try and do so often! Not only am I going to do this one thing, but I’m going to do more than most other normal people and try and do more than one thing at the same time and then take pride in the fact that I am able to be so productive and efficient!

But at the end of the day, I just make myself tired.

So this is a good, recurring lesson for me. We won’t ever be able to finish All The Things when all is said and done. And learning to let myself take a slower pace, or set something aside for a while will only help maintain some much-needed balance. During the times when the seas are calm, but also when they are rougher too.


What helps you keep balance when things get busy? Have you had seasons of your life where you learned new ways to keep a healthy perspective?

Success! You're on the list.

Purchase Lorelei’s Books Here:

10 Tips for Those Entering The Catholic Church This Easter

Two years ago this Easter Vigil, I entered the Catholic Church. Here are 10 things I found helpful when approaching my own Confirmation. I hope they are helpful to any of you out there who will be Confirmed this year! Several of the items on this list are helpful for us all to remember, no matter how many years we have been a part of the Catholic faith.

1. Go to Confession

This is a good idea for anyone as we come up to Easter. Let us make sure we are turning towards God in our lives, with our choices and our heart, so we are ready to receive Him and celebrate the joys of Easter Sunday. Let us bring our struggles before God, and let him help us change. Let us get right with our God.

2. Go to as Many Services as You Can

The days leading up to Easter Sunday can be a profoundly spiritual experience for someone entering the Catholic Church. If you can attend the Triduum services, that is amazing. It helps put our faith into context as we approach this most significant celebration. It gives you time to pray, to connect with God, and to prepare your heart.

3. Look Around

When you stand in front of the congregation on Easter Vigil in the moments after you are anointed with oil and confirmed into the Catholic Church, take a moment to look around you. Take a moment to appreciate that you are in full union with the Church established by Jesus himself 2,000 years ago. The Church that has remained connected to its history and its source through apostolic succession. You are connected, in the most powerful way on earth, to the roots of your Christian faith.

4. Take Pictures

I am so thankful to have pictures from the night of my Confirmation. I can just see the joy on my face. It takes me right back there, right back to that moment when I knew I was finally, and fully home- as much as I am going to be before heaven. Whatever your path to get here, it’s worth recording and remembering and celebrating. It’s a hugely significant moment in your life. Document it.

Yay Catholic!!!

5. Reflect

When my own Confirmation approached, I took some time to look back and was so, so thankful for all the bits and pieces along the way that led me to find peace, and Truth, and such a firm foundation. So, take some time. What was your path like to get here? Was it smooth, difficult? Did you wrestle through doubts or did you walk a path of peace? Where do you see God’s hand leading you? Who were the people who helped you along the way? How would you tell your story? However you got here, it’s beautiful. It’s amazing. Give it the weight it deserves, and be sure to give thanks.

6. Get Connected with Other Converts

One of the things that helped me the most,both when things were good and when things were difficult in my transition to the Catholic Church, was being connected with other converts. Regardless of how similar or different our backgrounds were, I found I had so much in common with those who walked the path before I did, in so many ways. This gave me encouragement and strength. It still does to this day. This connection can take many forms. I read stories of converts in books like Journey’s Home. I joined the Coming Home Network, which provides resources, articles, and community online and in print for those of us making our way back to Rome. Watch Journey Home episodes on EWTN. Keep an eye open for other converts in your parish. We all share a common bond. Let’s continue to walk alongside each other even after Confirmation.

7. Go Big

One of the most fun things for me around the time of my Confirmation was getting caught up on my Catholic “Swag.” I was so excited to receive some Rosaries. We got a Mary statue for our backyard. Bought some books on the Saints. Put up a legitimate crucifix in our home. Holy water font. Had things blessed by a priest. I gotta be honest, the weeks leading up to Easter still get me excited and I just bought this Nerdy Catholic Tee (not making fun of it- that’s what the company is called!)

mockup-57853159.jpgMy lovely, but cradle Catholic husband asked me what on earth that meant. When we become Catholic, we call it Crossing the Tiber. And this shirt is awesome. So, if you are feeling inspired, add some of those items to your own life and home. They are tools to help us keep our faith in our hearts and minds at all times. They are tools to help us reflect, remember and pray. And, at least in my case at the time, I had some serious catching up to do.

8. Study up on Easter Vigil

Friends, if you have never been to an Easter Vigil service before. It is amazing and beautiful and symbolic and The. Best. It is also long. It will help so much if you can take some time to understand what is happening and why at each part of the service. Here’s a primer on the USCCB website. I found I was able to embrace the beauty of the Catholic Church once I understood what it was. You will be able to get the most out of the service if you do too.

9. Be Patient

If you are already connected to your parish community- great! If you don’t yet feel connected, I encourage you to keep pressing on. Sometimes it takes time to get to know people in a Catholic parish. This is a huge, global church. Depending on the background you are coming from, and depending on the parish you attend, many things might be different from what you’re used to. There might not be an active home/small group structure, there might not be donuts and coffee after Mass. But there will be people there that you will connect with. It might just take some more time. Two years in, JP and I have found some very dear friends in our parish, and in the Catholic community in our town. We recognize people at Mass on Sunday and stay for a bit and chat. It didn’t happen overnight, but somewhere between year 1 and year 2 we got there. We weren’t feeling lonely anymore. Not only do I now know I’m spiritually home, but going to Mass actually feels like home in the way of the fact that our parish family is there with us too. Be patient. Connection will come.

10. Celebrate!

Whether you will be alone with your sponsor at Mass on Easter vigil, or if there will be pews filled with people who have come alongside you on that day, Confirmation is something to celebrate. Celebrate in whatever way is right for you. A dinner before Mass, some time in Adoration, taking a walk, announcing it to the world. Stay true to yourself, but celebrate. Celebrate the beauty of Easter, the beauty of our faith, and the beauty of crossing the bridge into full unity with the Catholic Church.


Success! You're on the list.

Purchase Lorelei’s Books Here: