ESSAYS

trusting God's presence

When We Have No Answers, Only Presence

By Rebecca Smyth | June 10, 2024

I run down the stairs to our living room after bedtime with hot, angry tears caught in the back of my throat, purposely stepping on all of the forbidden creaky spots—a personal act of defiance. I barge into the room where my husband Paddy is alone and planted in the middle of the floor. We…

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ancestors and motherhood

Marrow: The Memory in Our Bones

By Sharifa Stevens | June 3, 2024

My mother is almost 80 years old. She still remembers her brothers. One dear child she held in her arms. She remembered his face. A beautiful child. He died at three weeks, and though she doesn’t remember why, I suspect it may have been the holes in the shack in which they all lived, an…

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holding tight to love

Forget the Highlight Reel: We’ve Got To Go Through It

By Kathryn Whitaker | May 27, 2024

In a few weeks, the college-aged young adults return home.  Some are simply sleeping here for a few nights before making a cameo appearance at the dinner table in between groomsmen duties and friend visits. Another is crashing here for two weeks before a summer-long internship, and another has staked her claim in the empty…

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rising motherhood

The Rising Dough of Motherhood

By Tara McMullen | April 29, 2024

One Sunday morning, I woke up motivated. Mass at our parish is at 10:30, and with two toddlers, we can squeeze in almost an entire day before then, so after coffee was poured, muffins were distributed, and grapefruit was segmented, I started to make a loaf of bread to serve with dinner so it could…

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courage rooted in God

Mothers, Daughters, and Their Stories of Courage

By Kimberly Knowle-Zeller | April 23, 2024

I rise before the sun each day, before anyone else in the house wakes. I pour the first cup of hot coffee and grab a blanket to greet the morning on the porch. Beside me lie my Bible, pen and journal, and whatever devotional or book of poetry I’m reading. My spirit is soothed by…

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teaching our kids to notice God

Am I Doing This Right? Crosses, Questions, and Awe in Creation

By Stephanie Cherpak Clary | April 15, 2024

“What’s that?” my 5-year-old asks, pointing to a ceramic cross above the bedroom door at my parents’ house as I lie down next to him to help him fall asleep. “It’s a cross,” I reply matter-of-factly, with a pang of guilt that I apparently haven’t done a good enough job at catechizing my child for…

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parenting young adults

Too Big to Be Told: Parenting Young Adults

By Jenni Ho-Huan | April 8, 2024

Even when they were small, I was nervous that time would march relentlessly on and I would find myself where I am today: my kids ready to fly the coop and me, unready. This April, a tall, sincere, young man asked for my daughter’s hand. My social media went frenzied, and everyone asked how I…

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lightened grasp on parenting

Letting Go of My Own Way

By Lauren Nizol | March 25, 2024

My teenage son finally gave in to the sleep that he so badly needed, literally collapsing onto his bedroom floor while it was still light out. As the morning alarms went off, I crept to his room and could see he was stirring.  A sense of relief washed over me like those early days when…

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caregiving

Caregiving as an Act of God

By Claire McKeever-Burgett | March 18, 2024

In the beginning were the caregivers. And the caregivers were with God. And the caregivers were God. On March 27, 2023, I found myself sitting at a round table in the sixth-floor atrium of the Critical Care Tower at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) receiving a tutorial from a total parenteral nutrition (TPN) educator. I…

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preeclampsia birth

Mother of One, Mother of All

By Simeiqi He | March 11, 2024

Eyes wide, her whole body abruptly leaned toward the computer screen. With shock on her face, she turned to me. “You are in a very serious condition. You could have a seizure anytime,” the nurse told me. “Oh, ok…Will I still be able to go home?” “You are not going anywhere until this baby comes…

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after miscarriage

Loved, Not Forgotten

By Erin Strybis | March 4, 2024

I find out I’m expecting again in March of 2021. Two bright pink lines on a pregnancy test stare back at me in our bathroom. I count nine months forward to a due date in November. November, a month for cinnamon and cloves, sweater weather, and now, my second child’s birthday. My breath catches. I…

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anger in motherhood

Confessions of an Angry Mom

By Jenica Donahue | February 26, 2024

A little hand reaches up to the counter, and papers flutter to the floor. While I restack them, a chair is pushed over. Maybe even a plant. Something in me starts to tighten and grow, a tense little ball of fire. Words spill out, but they are useless; they clink to the floor. My preschooler…

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