Exactly ten years ago this month, I started a blog. I told exactly no one. Not even my husband. My first baby was six months old. I was working part-time, overwhelmed and tired. I craved connection and community. I wanted breadth of thought and depth of prayer. I couldn't find anything like what I wanted to read. So I decided to write it. I started writing quietly, typing one-handed in the dark, plodding out post after post that no one read. I didn't care; I loved it. My brain started spinning again. After a few weeks I did tell my beloved. After a few months I got brave and shared the blog with a handful of friends and family. I never expected it to amount to anything. Just a place for me to practice writing, to ponder spirituality and parenting, part of my transition from theological studies to new motherhood. Then a funny thing happened along the way. Writing turned into a calling that changed my life. . . . Readers will ask me now how to get started. … [Read more...] about ten years
Attention, taken to its highest degree, is the same thing as prayer. It presupposes faith and love. Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer. - Simone Weil Look, mama, look, do you see? A thousand times a day, tugging at my sleeve, calling out in the rearview mirror, yelling from upstairs, downstairs, around the corner, from the other room - look! Come quick! You have to see this! You have to see! Witness is part of parenthood. We watch a child becoming before our eyes. Awakening to the world at first. Alert for longer stretches each week, searching around the room with brand-new, blinking eyes. We watch and wonder: how did we help create this creation? We watch for the baby to smile, to laugh, to coo. Then to move, to roll, to crawl, to creep, to stand, to cruise, to totter, then triumphantly to walk. We clap and coax, we capture on camera: the marvel of witness. But swiftly the tide turns. When words meet movement, we must change, too. Now we are not simply the passive witness … [Read more...] about look, mama, look – do you see?
I recently presented at the Calvin Symposium on Worship on children and worship, faith formation across the lifespan, and work as vocation. Since the audience for the Symposium is primarily Protestant, I asked Mothering Spirit readers on Facebook to share how their church welcomes children. They sent photos and descriptions of every model of welcoming children that we debated within the ecumenical conference (e.g., Sunday school, nursery/cry room, children's message, family service, quiet bags, children's bulletin/missal, etc.). As a Catholic, I believe children are part of the Body of Christ who belong in Mass. Below is an excerpt from what I shared at the Symposium. How might it inspire or challenge you to reflect on how you worship with children - whether at church on Sunday morning or at home during the week? Be sure to check out my new resource pages for church ministers and parents, too! Why welcome children within churches? “People were bringing little children to him in … [Read more...] about how do children worship best?
He leans forward, eyes bright. Three Hail Marys are his. Each one he has started, and we have followed. He is four years old, sandy brown curls flopped in his eyes. His brothers have taken turns leading decades for weeks, and now he clamors for his chance, with all the gusto of younger siblings. He knows more than I realize. He hesitates in spots, but with a glance and a gentle prompt, his eyes sparkle again and he is off. Here is where he catches me. That breath between "...the fruit of thy womb, Jesus" and "Holy Mary, Mother of God." Where the prayer pauses. Where the first half ends and the second begins. Where Jesus meets Mary, child meets mother, leader meets follower, call meets response, breath meets breath, prayer meets prayer. I see the spark - in his eyes, in my body, in the space between us. It is the rare dazzle of holy. . . . Before I was bored, I am unashamed to admit. Catholic school kid in the pew, winding plastic beads around my hand. Not my … [Read more...] about the spark of prayer