Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December 31st! New Year Resolution

I will post more. I will edit what I post before I post it, and it will be either funny or profound or in the best of all possible worlds, both.   But for now, enjoy this piece I wrote on New Year Resolutions over at Eat Sleep Write!

See you in 2015!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Eat Sleep Write

I didn't get to post this one as we were busy celebrating Christmas.   Here's a writing lesson I wrote over at Eat Sleep Write.  It's funny too.   So go visit.  Enjoy!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Announcing, In the Back Pew!

Over at the Catholic Standard, I'll be posting for the family blog, entitled, "In the Back Pew."  (It's where we tend to sit).  

Here's my first piece....Celebrating the 12 days of Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Over at Eat Sleep Write

Writing about the reasons for writing humor today, and dealing with getting a son out the door at the same time. I'm a mom.  I multi-task.  

So go over and read at Eat Sleep Write!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Christmas Piece

We do writing assignments in my writing group, and they requested each of us do a Christmas tale.  So you can read A Year of Presents over at Eat Sleep Write!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Over at Eat Sleep Write

One of my writing projects is to run a humor writing room on Facebook. I critique, provide lessons and occasional exercises.   It's a lot of fun, and recently, we've been discussion writing humor and more specifically, dark humor.  So I have the first fruit of that discussion up over at Eat Sleep Write!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Growing Our Christmas

It started with what I thought was a rather flippant post on Facebook.  

I know liturgically, we have four weeks of Advent, but I think next year, to help myself get a handle on Christmas, I'm going to pretend it's like Lent and circle November 15, so I think...40 days to prepare and make ready. At least then, maybe I won't get to two weeks from Christmas and think, I'm still so very not not not ready. Or at the very least, I'll have longer to be ...not ready.

But it struck a nerve.  

This should be a time of blessed waiting, but very often, it is a time of frantic anxiety, with too many projects, too much work, too much needing to be done, not done, too many things to buy that cost too much.  It is easy to have the peace and joy of anticipating Christmas drowned by the tinsel and clang of "Martha Stewarting" or Saint Marthaing our preparations.   

Knowing I'm not the only one who suffers from this I haven't done enough, there's so much to do I can't start, I'm writing today to invite whoever has not really begun to look up from the sheep and look at the star to stop.  Put on some good Christmas music and put out one decoration today. Then take way one bag of stuff or things to give to charity or get rid off.  You will feel more of Christmas.

Then, tomorrow, do it again.  Bit by bit, day by day, Christmas will draw nearer, to your heart as well as the actual event.  

What will people remember of Christmas, what you gave willingly. These are the gifts that touch the heart.  So prepare, but let yourself recognize the why of this preparation, and anticipate how what you do today, will cultivate Joy to be given full flower come Christmas day.  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Small Success Thursday

There are only fourteen more days of Advent, so come over to and rediscover awe as part of your Small Success Thursday!

The Job of Not Sleeping

Yesterday I dealt with bedtime.  Today, it's time to get up!

Alarm clocks and alarm apps do little to rouse the slumbering adolescent. Schedules and bus times, breakfast and the occasional need of others to have access to the bathroom also hold little weight in any discussion with teens about about getting up in the morning. Experts in parenting books about teens advocate talking to your children about conflicts which occur regularly, to brainstorm about how to problem solve such issues.
That sounds great in theory, just like diets, budgets and five year plans. 

Read the rest over at Eat Sleep Write!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Taking on Bedtime

I'm trying to get back to writing at least three humor pieces a week, and Eat Sleep Write is publishing them.  I've got the eating and the writing down, but this piece is about the challenge of getting everyone else to grab some zzzzzzzz's.

Theory of Relative Time Management
Parenting magazines give top ten tips to help your toddler with bedtime. I read the advice, but none of it has ever worked for me, for any of my children.
Advice tip #1 Have a routine. We have a routine. I put them to bed. They get up. I put them back to bed. They get up. I put them to bed and threaten to revoke breakfast. Quiet ensues until they think I've been sufficiently distracted....Read the rest at Eat Sleep Write!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Lost Interview

Catholic Fiction hosts writers and somewhere they ran the interview they did with me, but it was lost in cybersapce until now.  They ask interesting questions.  I hope you enjoy it.

Creating a relationship between the reader and the words.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Over at the National Catholic Register

This past week, I had the opportunity to review the new exhibit at the National Women's Museum of the Arts.  They are hosting a fabulous collection called 'Picturing Mary.'  You can read about it at the National Catholic Register.  If you can't get to DC for the showing (from December 5 through April 14), go to the online version here. 

But if you can go to the exhibit, this is a wonderful way to spend some time this Advent or Christmas.    Thanks for reading, and for sharing the article on Facebook, twitter and with your friends.  

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Small Success Thursday

You know it's Thursday, so come join me over at!
Oh, and if you haven't read Lisa Hendey's book, The Grace of Yes, yesterday I got to catch up on my reading and hit chapter 4, the Grace of Integrity.  Up until now, I've enjoyed the book, but this chapter hit me with its wisdom.  I'm going to reread it today, and look at the reflections offered over in the book club at Catholicmom that is going through the book, one chapter at a time.  It's a great way to assess for Advent.  That's my reward for finishing the financial aid forms (working on it), and finishing an article on the exhibition at the National Women's Museum of Art, Picturing Mary. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Giant of a Man

A good man died. I know it happens every day, but I knew this one. I knew his wife. I fell in love with her. Back in college, I thought I knew everything, because what Junior in college doesn't? Taking a 200 level English course would be a walk in the park, in fact I planned to phone it in, this was my easy A. She'd be lucky if I showed up.
In walked this five foot nothing snow haired coke bottle glasses woman with the warmest smile and she introduced herself. She started as an associate professor, teaching French and Social Justice, and now 19th Century Short Fiction. I'm still not listening. I'm daydreaming about the date planned for that evening. Tuesday nights we went for pizza and to watch tv in the student lounge. Most people wanted Moonlighting, we liked Remington Steele. She mentioned her husband taught law at Notre Dame. I registered this fact, maybe he taught my Dad. She said she'd lived in France. They'd raised seven children.
I sat up. Seven? Who has seven children? This tiny woman. She saw she had my attention. She winked. I don't know why, maybe she already knew she'd caught me. She went on to talk about how we'd be reading Emma and Madame Bovary and Wuthering Heights, and discussing rationalism, romanticism, and reality in the context of all three. I took notes. She wanted an essay comparing the three women's concept of love by the end of the month, five pages. I'd give her ten.
We became friends beyond the class, phoning and talking for hours, girlfriends across the decades. I'd meet her for lunch whenever I made it to the campus. She'd laugh when I had another kid, and delighted when I lapped her, finishing at ten. She'd tell me stories about trying to manage four while her husband Bob was teaching at the campus or in Italy. She recalled the parade of the children into the ancient homes of the church, their patent leather shoes clacking on the elegant tile floors, and the time when one daughter fought with her brother in front of the priest. (We were trading war stories about going to mass with a large young crew). We'd hit all the important topics, food, Catholicism, poetry and our families. Every conversation ended with wanting to make sure we did this again soon, though soon came less and less when health compromised her memory.
We'd still talk over the phone, but I knew he was managing her, protecting her, not telling me, but knowing I knew, not everything was alright. When we dined together last, he sat next to her and though we talked for three hours, the malady never came up. He kept steering her when she'd get lost, and I knew, this was his opening of the door, courting his Emma by walking her in the garden, letting her not be the victim of her maladies. He finished the stories she couldn't. He told her jokes to keep her from dwelling too long on the knowledge she didn't know something she knew she used to know. While sharing dessert, I felt struck by the reality, this was a courtly love, and his eyes still delighted on his beloved even as she ate or spoke or sat silent.
Last January, he had a fall and couldn't care for her anymore and I lost contact with my funny snowhaired coke-bottle glasses poet friend. She'd been put in a home to get around the clock care, and not being a family member, I didn't know how to find her. Today, one of their sons contacted me through Facebook. A giant of kindness and chivalry no longer walks the earth, and I'm very sad I can't be there to hug my friend through the fog where she walks, hoping again to meet her knight that always walked with her up to now.

Prayers for all of their family, and for the repose of Bob Rodes' soul. I hope he and my dad are having a great conversation with C.S. Lewis.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Storytelling today

My son's fifth grade class wrote myths and I thought, what a great assignment, so I did it too and you can read it over at Eat Sleep Write today!

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!