A few of my favorite “-ings” (Pope Francis and “Dancing with the Stars” edition)


Did you ever see that famous psychological study about kids and marshmallows? Psychologists wanted to study delayed gratification, so they sat young kids down behind a plate with a marshmallow on it.  They told the kids that if they could wait ten minutes to eat the marshmalllow, then they’d get two marshmallows.  Then they turned a videocamera on, left the room, and got to find out how many kiddos could delay gratification and how many could not.

Well, I’m like the kids, and Pope Francis’ new book The Church of Mercy is the marshmallow.


I have grading to do — lots of it — and it is taking tremendous effort not to abandon the papers for the Pope.  I’m reading little bits of  the book  here and there, and I’m finding it so accessible, inspiring, and so real in its discussion of faith.

Two of my favorite excerpts so far:

“Whenever we Christians are enclosed in our groups, our movements, our parishes, in our little worlds, we remain closed, and the same thing happens to us that happens to anything closed: when a room is closed, it begins to get dank.”


“The word solidarity is a little worn and at times poorly understood, but it refers to something more than a few sporadic acts of generosity.  It presumes the creation of a new mind-set that thinks in terms of community and the priority of the life of all over the appropriation of goods by a few.”

See what I mean?  Very hard to focus on those papers with a book like this on the plate in front of me.


Here’s the kids’ new chore chart.

I got the idea from Tami Kiser’s book Smart Martha’s Catholic Guide for Busy  Moms.  Their chores are on index cards; they move them to the “Done” pocket when finished.  It’s working well, maybe because it’s such a tangible way for the kids to have a sense of accomplishment.  Luke is even learning to read the cards, which is a bonus.  (Can I make a card that says “Grade Mommy’s Papers”?)


“Dancing with the Stars.”   Loved the Disney night they did last week (I showed a few dances to the boys, who were duly impressed).  Are you watching?  I’m rooting for Meryl and Maks.


These days, I often find myself thinking about how I don’t seem to have time to think.  I’m always dashing from one thing to another, or else grading, or else crashing in exhaustion.  For my birthday a while back, Scott said he’s sending me on a retreat of my choosing, and I’m eyeing one that takes place the very weekend after school gets out.  I’m both excited and apprehensive, because I feel like a weekend alone in silence — something I haven’t done since way before I had kids — is going to be a massive shock to my system.  Hopefully it’ll be the good kind of shock.


If you like movies  like this:


and this:


then check out my latest article on the spirituality of period dramas.  (Did you know that Pride and Prejudice is an echo of Mary’s Magnificat?  Really!).

Happy Friday!

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