Coffee & Pearls is a weekly podcast where I share wisdom to help Catholic Moms get a better handle on their lives. If you don’t want to listen to the podcast… no problem! The entire episode has a corresponding blog post that you can read instead!

Good Enough is Good Enough Book Review

Good Enough is Good Enough Book Review

Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

Scroll down to read it as a blog post!

I agreed to review this book, which I’ll mention below, a while ago without knowing that I would be thrown into an emotional darkness that has lasted through Lent and continues on into the Easter season. Things have been quiet on the Coffee & Pearls front. Honestly, I struggle with how much to share my negative attitude and petulant pouting, not because I don’t want to be transparent, but I certainly don’t want to be an online complainer.

This pregnancy sucks. It took all the ideas I had about who I was, what I’m capable of, my ideals of motherhood and marriage, and it ripped them out of my hands.

I didn’t feel like reading a book titled Good Enough is Good Enough. I’m tired of my own excuses and my lack of showing up. I certainly didn’t want a pat on the back for mediocrity or letting things slide.

But God knows what I need. He put a book in my lap and a deadline to jolt me out of my haze of wallowing.

I loaded up the book on my Kindle and thought, “Thank goodness. I can read this in a little over an hour.”

I will now take a moment to thank modern publishers for making self-help books shorter. They used to be three times a long. These shorter books don’t have less wisdom, the authors are simply freed of having to say the same thing in ten different ways to make the book look meatier.

In the hour and a half it took me to read Good Enough is Good Enough by Colleen Duggan, I felt both lectured to and loved, surprisingly not by Colleen herself but by the Holy Spirit through her words. This was just what I needed. Colleen’s wisdom and life stories were a joy to read. I particularly liked the saint quotes she peppered throughout the book.

This is a book that says what I’ve felt strongly is the problem with American parenting lately, we care too much about things that don’t matter and we don’t care enough about the things that do.

She runs through the major aspects of motherhood, parenting itself, marriage, watching your kids suffer, and comparing yourself to other parents. I appreciate that she doesn’t have “cute” problems I read so often that feel like pandering. She shares real, deep, raw, and very relatable problems. I appreciate her honesty which feels genuine without sounding like a list of complaints about how difficult modern day parenting is.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

While I never would have described myself as selfish before I had kids, I couldn’t deny that fact after.

I filled most of my days with silent commentary on my parenting performance and rarely, if ever, did I make the grade.

I needed to abandon the frantic, worried, compulsive sermons I was inclined to issue in prayer in favor of more gentle requests to God about what it was he wanted from and for me.

The holier we are, the more we will suffer due to the evil and sin in the world. But external evil only harms us to the degree we react badly to it, by fear, worry, discouragement, sadness, giving up, rushing to apply hasty solutions that don’t solve anything, judging.

We wanted to allow our kids the freedom to tell us if they hated going to Church so we could actually engage them in conversation rather than have them sit docile and obedient in our pew for eighteen years and then discard their faith in college.

My kids are not a sacrament, but my marriage is.

We have a choice: we can waste time complaining about it, comparing our difficulties with those of others, and forcing solutions that don’t work, or we can pull up our sleeves and devote ourselves to the work required of sanctity.

Learning to submit is a slow, humbling process though. It takes time and practice and effort – a lifetime of tweaking.

As I began writing this review, my 4.5 and 2.5 year old daughters are downstairs singing the Litany of the Saints. This was clearly a gift of God saying, “Buck up kid, you’re doing okay.” It reminds me that even when I’m stuck in bed for hours and days on end, when we don’t have enough money for piano lessons or matching Easter dresses, when my bathrooms are messy and I haven’t read books to them in three days, I’m still doing okay. I continue to expose them to the truth, beauty, and goodness of God and they’re soaking it up.

Colleen’s will both make you feel like you’re doing good enough but also inspire you to work harder on the things that matter.

This book is long enough to feel meaningful but short enough you could give it to a friend without making her feel like there’s no chance she’ll actually read it. The questions at the end of each chapter are interesting and thought-provoking. I can see a group of moms easily using this as a study.

I feel confused that God has given me, not only a surprise Irish twins pregnancy but also one that has already crippled my body forcing me to take a back seat as my husband pretty much single parents our kids. While his stress level increases as he juggles everything, our sex life is deteriorating even more than usual and so he is left without any outlet for that frustration either. My hands are tied and I can’t make food for the kids like I want to or take them to the park on these first nice Spring days. God seems to be asking my husband and me to surrender our ideas of how great we are and to simply accept that we’re not. We are nothing without Him.

The feeling of hope still feels a big out of my grasp at the moment but Colleen’s book helps me to feel peace in the midst of this pain. I’m going to be okay. The kids are going to be okay. My marriage is going to be okay. And even if okay involves a whole lot of suffering, I take comfort in knowing that suffering is what saints are made of and after all, that is my deepest desire for my life.

You can get this book for 20% off through the Ave Maria press website using the code COLLEEN. You can also get it on Amazon HERE.

The Holy Souls in Purgatory

The Holy Souls in Purgatory


Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

Scroll down to read it as a blog post!


I’ve been a in a big purgatory place since Advent. As a former Protestant, I didn’t know a lot about purgatory. Then once I knew about it, I kind of left it in the background. Then when I was going through a Faustina phase, I stumbled upon Susan Tassone’s book St. Faustina Prayer Book for the Conversion of Sinners. This was a perfect little book for me because most of my family is not religious and it gave me a tangible and focused way to pray for them!

Then once I discovered Susan as an author, I looked at her other books. She had tons of books on the topic of purgatory. The first one I started with was Praying With The Saints for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. I loved this book. It really helped me understand more about purgatory but also the great joy that can come from praying for the holy souls there.

You see, they cannot do anything to get themselves to Heaven. They are trapped in a sense depending on the mercy of the Lord and depending on our prayers. When we pray for them, it can actually lessen their time in purgatory or even release them to Heaven. What joy we could give!

There’s something really satisfying about praying and imagining the great work it is accomplishing. And that is not a new concept to me. I have always offered my prayers and sufferings to Mary to do with as she pleased and that is still true for everything I do since I”m consecrated to Jesus through Mary but I have a simple mind and it helps me to imagine something straightforward like saying a special purgatory prayer and bringing joy to one person.

The most souls are released on Christmas Day and the second most souls are released on Easter Day. So please please please pray for these holy souls during Lent and pray especially for them on Easter Day. I also imagine there are a great deal of souls released on Divine Mercy Sunday when Jesus opens his heart in a special way to hear our appeals for his mercy!

One of the most powerful things we can do for the holy souls in purgatory is to have a Mass said for them. You can call your church office and find out what the suggested donation is to have a Mass said for someone. If you belong to a large church and the Mass intentions book fills up quickly, find a rural church and make a donation to them. It’s a wonderful win all the way around. The church prays for these holy souls and you can help a smaller church get some much needed funding.

If you visit you can have a Mass said by one of the Servants of Charity.

I was going to type up some purgatory prayers but The Catholic Company already did a wonderful job so you can read about those options here:

I encourage you to go and learn more about purgatory. I’ve been sharing what I’ve learned with my children. After all, if Our Lady of Fatima felt comfortable showing a vision of hell to young Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco, I believe our children can handle hearing about purgatory, which really is another extension of God’s mercy. We have now been praying for them every day and we say a prayer for them when we pass a cemetery.

A good place to start is to Google, “saints and purgatory.” I found that the stories of the saints who had mystical experiences with souls in purgatory were the most interesting and compelling to me. These stories helped me understand, not only the great need the holy souls have for our prayers, but also the great effectiveness of our prayers, which has been giving me comfort.

Here is a link to Susan’s books She’s known in the Catholic world as The Purgatory Lady! I’m very impressed with her ministry and the clarity of her mission. She doesn’t use social media so we have to spread the word for her! You can read more about her at

I’m praying for you mamas. It’s hard to be a mom these days and hard to be a Catholic. Let us offer up these battles we’re fighting and the suffering we experience every day for the holy souls in purgatory. Let us feel that our small, unseen efforts are helping those who cannot help themselves!

God bless!

What Kind of Lent Are You Having?

What Kind of Lent Are You Having?


Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

Scroll down to read it as a blog post!


I’ve been Catholic for almost 8 years now and so I’ve been through a few Lenten seasons. I’ve noticed that there are a few different flavors of Lent that I have experience. No doubt there are even more but I wanted to share a few with you in case you were experiencing one of these.

Exactly What I Planned Lent

Well this can be a lovely experience. I like controlling things so I enjoy when something has the precise outcome that I imagined. It can be deeply satisfying. This type of Lent is where you outline the things you’re going to give up, you schedule your prayers, your Stations of the Cross visits, and your almsgiving and it all goes according to plan. I’ve had this Lent before. Though I no doubt made the mistake of attributing it to my own wonderful planning and self-discipline, sometimes God does allow us to have this kind of Lent. Perhaps he knows that this is what you need to feel close to him or to feel strong in your faith at the moment. Don’t questions a lovely Lent. Just enjoy it and feel close to Jesus!

I Failed on Day One and Never Recovered

There is a much more humbling kind of Lent, the one where you blow it. Every year I see blogging stories of women who feel brave enough to share how much they have failed at Lent. I appreciate these stories because we’ve all likely had a Lent like this. We have high hopes but through stress, laziness, immaturity, lack of paying attention, or general life craziness, we don’t do the very thing we promised we would do. As frustrating as it is to have a Lent like this, and oh how I have had a Lent like this, I do appreciate the times that God knocks me down a few pegs. Hey kiddo, you’re still fallen, you’re still made of the flesh and left to your own devices, you’re going to screw it up. Noted Lord! This Lent also leads you straight into the arms of Jesus because you come to realize you’re nothing without Him.

God Chose a Completely Different Suffering For Me

This is usually an extremely painful Lent. You set out to have a contemplative, look how strong I can be at giving up X kind of Lent, and instead God hits you with a 2x4 and says NOPE, we’re doing it this way. I’m talking flooding in your house, kids who break bones, neverending flu with things coming out both ends of your family, a lost job, a family member who passed away, and anything that crops up unexpectedly and steals your sweet serene Lent replacing it with a chaotic, emotional, painful Lent instead. This type of Lent is hard mama, I’ve been there. You should immediately have mercy on yourself and adjust your expectations. It’s likely that you should give up the cross you intended to carry and to pick up the one the Lord has given you instead. Give him thanks because he has given you a special view into his own suffering. Contemplate the pain he went through and feel wrapped in love that he will give you the grace to get through your own pain as well.

The Sick/Pregnant/Disabled Body Kind of Lent

This Lent is a little bit like the last one but instead of a major event that comes crashing down on you, this is more like a slow burn that stays with you through the whole desert. You want to do more but you’re sick, pregnant, or can’t control your body in some way. You feel trapped. You think you ought to be out there DOING SOMETHING and so you feel like you’re wasting time. You may feel guilt, shame, or frustration. You think you’re taking the easy way out by just existing instead of attempting heroic, or even small attempts at volunteering. Set down your fish fry expectations mama. This is right where God wants you. He’s put you in the waiting to teach you the pain of that space. Imagine how God waits anxiously for each soul to turn to Him? I’m not sure we can describe God as having anxiety but there is a deep longing that he has and it causes him pain to be away from us. Don’t allow this time to keep you away from him. Bury your head in his chest and tell him that this is all you can give and ask for his mercy that it’s enough for him. I’ll tell you a secret… it is enough.

No matter what kind of Lent you’re having, you’re human and you’re broken so it can be easy to use this time to focus on ourselves instead of the Lord. Don’t fall for this temptation. Throw your arms open and hug the Lord with your whole heart. It doesn’t matter how “good” you’re doing, He wants your love. He wants to feel close to you. Don’t lose sight of that as a goal.

What other kinds of Lent have you experienced? Share your story in solidarity with other Catholic moms!

Overcoming Addiction, Accidentally

Overcoming Addiction, Accidentally


Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

Scroll down to read it as a blog post!


I think one of the biggest challenges for Americans these days is that we’re actively addicted to things that we don’t realize we’re addicted to. Our lives are largely without war or hard manual labor. We don’t even have to cook anymore if we don’t want to. Gone are the everyday struggles of the early 1,900’s and they’ve been replaced with a silent and invisible war: the one inside our mind.

We are so bored out of our mind, yes, even those of us who feel busy all the time, that we are coping with Netflix, shopping, Starbucks, and social media. We’re deeply unsatisfied and we’re avoiding this pain by engaging in a lot of numbing activities.

Last week I posted an article about the jokes we often make about drinking to survive parenting. My friend Ashley made a thoughtful comment that it was, in fact, just a joke and we should be able to joke about the struggles of parenting without feeling condemned to live out the brokenness that the joke suggests. She’s absolutely right. I make jokes about things all the time and jokes don’t force you to give in to bad behavior.

But it still bothers me, all the memes that suggest we can’t be nice moms without coffee or we just “can’t help ourselves” when we go to Target and we end up spending a few hundred dollars we didn’t mean to. Somewhere in the jokes, we’ve laid a foundation that we’re not responsible for being… responsible.

The truth is that my friend Ashley is an incredibly grounded person. She reads more than anyone I know. She has a high sense of self-awareness. If she buys something she doesn’t need, and I’m not sure she even does that, she’d cop to immediately for what it was. She wouldn’t laugh and say, “Oh, I just couldn’t help it.” The jokes aren’t dangerous for her.

My concern is that the more we scroll through our phones and see these jokes about wine, coffee, and shopping, the more we normalize this behavior. I suspect there are moms out there who have grabbed onto these isms and use it to feel good about their bad spending or drinking habits. We do the same thing about binge watching Netflix. We’ve made a joke about it and it’s starting to feel more and more okay.

Last year a friend of mine, after having four boys, had a girl. She saw this adorable tulle skirt in the store and posted a picture of it saying how tempted she was to buy it now that she finally had a sweet girl at home. Her family had gone through a series of life-threatening medical issues and her husband was not able to work. I was shocked by the number of people who commented on this picture and said, “Get it anyway.”  “You deserve it.”  “She’s only little once!”

Now my friend is a responsible adult with a budget so she didn’t buy this overpriced skirt that her daughter would no doubt only wear for six months. But I could not believe how many people were cheering her on to buy it anyway despite knowing their precarious financial position. This was not a meme and they weren’t joking.

We are about to head into Lent and if you’ve done a good job of praying and asking yourself what you should really give up to grow closer to Jesus, you might have accidentally decided to give up an actual addiction that you have. The problem with giving up an addiction that we don’t call an addiction is that we’re not prepared for the withdrawals.

After a week, we start to experience a lot of bad side effects from giving up this thing that we have become so accustomed to having. And though your symptoms won’t be as bad as giving up heroin or prescription drugs, you will likely pass through the same difficult stages.

If you’re not prepared for this, it’s likely that you will give in and participate in your addictive behavior. I am firmly in the camp that we ought to give up things for the entire season of Lent and not just Monday-Saturday. If you’re only giving something up for six days out of the week, I will strongly suggest that it is not painful enough for you to walk with Christ in the desert and grow closer to Him. Sundays should not be a FREE day for you to eat the chocolate or watch television or check your Facebook account.

Here’s what’s important about giving up an addiction. The first steps should always be awareness of how hard it’s going to be to give it up and a solid vision of the positive things you get instead. If you’re watching less Netflix, you can spend more time reading or with your family.

So if you’re sure you’re going to give up something you’re addicted to for Lent or if you get a week in and realize you’re much more attached to this thing than you realized, here are some resources I want you to check out that will help you make a solid plan. I absolutely think this work is well worth your time!

I am not addicted to drinking wine, coffee, or shopping. For some reason, those things are not weaknesses for me so it’s easy for me to talk about them. I am, however, definitely addicted to refined sugar, regency romance novels, and I go in an out of phases of being addicted to Netflix. I tend to kick it for a long time, then I get pregnant and sick and I find myself hooked once again.

I think it’s important for us to use the same words we use for drug addiction for these household addictions that we have. They are incredibly powerful. They have real power over us. They keep us from loving Jesus as we ought to. It’s important that we name them and fight them.

I love you. I mean it. If I were standing in front of you in your kitchen, I would smile softly and say, “I totally understand.” This life is hard. We are all in a great deal of pain and the idea of taking on more pain by giving some of things up makes me sick to my stomach. Sometimes I’m strong enough to do it and sometimes I’m not. But what I’m never confused about, is how bad it is. It’s bad when we can’t control what we do. When we feel such a strong compulsion to drink, eat, spend, and watch even when we don’t want to do it because we know how bad it is for us.

Giving in to these behaviors does not make you bad. Nothing could ever make you bad. God created you like He created the Earth and the sky. He stood back and said, “It was good.” And he didn’t mean the opposite of bad. He meant, perfect, just the way He wanted you to be. Nothing can change that because it is your soul inside of you. God loves you beyond measure and understanding and no addiction can ever change that.

Take comfort in this truth. Find strength in it. Then use that strength to loosen your grip on an addiction you have. Lent is a wonderful time to do this. Cling to Jesus with all your might and ask Him to help you walk in the desert. You will emerge stronger and more holy and it will be worth it.

Lent Is Supposed to be Painful

Lent Is Supposed to be Painful

Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

Scroll down to read it as a blog post!

I must admit, I’ve been struggling with how much Lent noise there has been on the internet for the last two weeks. I feel like I normally prepare my heart for Lent on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday but in the last few years, much like the Christmas season, the season of Lent comes clattering in weeks before it beings. Read this, pray with with, buy this for your kids!

It has suddenly stopped feeling private. And maybe that’s just the nature of how we access information and how we live our lives now. For even I have felt the need to trumpet out what I’m doing for Lent personally and with my children.

How do we walk this line of wanting to share our faith and get resources into the hands of people who need them versus living a life of Mary’s quiet humility? I’m trying to figure it out for myself.

Lent is meant to be a time of prayer and fasting. It’s also meant to be a personal and introspective time. We are not to be the pharisees who go and say, “Look, look! See what I did?” This is especially difficult for bloggers because we know that people read what we write and we want to help them. I do not create special content for Lent because I know there is plenty of it out there.

If you want to find something to work on, you can do so easily. My challenge to you is that you choose something that is right for your soul, not for your social media account. I know, I know, most of us would scoff and defend the fact that we have a firm line in place and we don’t let the pressure of perfect pictures own us… but I think some of us are lying just a little bit.

If you created a product for Lent to help others, that’s great. Share it with joy and pride. But for everyone else, choose your Lenten journey and travel it offline. That doesn’t mean you can’t share it privately with friends. I think walking in faith together is important but let’s stop trumpeting our spiritual journey in search of applause or virtual hugs.

Lent should be a somber time, a quiet time. Remember, we are walking in the desert. In my home, we stop watching all non-religious television. If we watch something, it’s about the trials of Jesus or one of the saints. We have penitential meals on Friday and that doesn’t just mean meat-free. Sure you can have cheese pizza but that doesn’t really teach you about the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.

If I sound a little judgy, it’s because I am. America has done what we so often do which is to take something good and to twist it into being commercial and fun. Lent is not supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be a slap in the face, a bucket of cold water. If it’s not painful, you’re not doing it right.

That is not to say that we have to get it perfect.  Many of you will set out with lofty goals and then life will get in the way and you will fall short. Jesus sees you and he knows your heart. He knows when you have to set down your spiritual practices to take care of your kids. But he also sees when you set down your spiritual practices to watch television. These moments are private. They have nothing to do with me or your friends. And in the end, your salvation comes down to your own choices.

Guard yourself against the glitter of the internet. Hold your Lenten pain close to your heart and allow it to lead yourself to Jesus.

It is important that we each walk through the desert for forty days each year. What a small price to pay to understand what the Son of God came to Earth to do for our salvation so that we might even have a shot at Heaven. Do not try to avoid the heat of the sun or the burn under your sandals. Learn to sit with the pain of this walk and ask God to show you what else needs to be burned away so you can be more like Jesus.

If you need a journal, a devotional, a DVD series, a series of adult coloring pages, etc. to help keep you focused on this journey, that’s fine. But embrace these tools as ways to sharpen your focus not to ease the pain of this trial. The pain is the purpose of it. Do not be scared of pain.

Here are five phenomenal quotes on pain and suffering from two great saints!

Trials and tribulations offer us a chance to make reparation for our past faults and sins. On such occasions the Lord comes to us like a physician to heal the wounds left by our sins. Tribulation is the divine medicine. 7

St. Augustine of Hippo

Would that men might come at last to see that it is quite impossible to reach the thicket of the riches and wisdom of God except by first entering the thicket of much suffering, in such a way that the soul finds there its consolation and desire. The soul that longs for divine wisdom chooses first, and in truth, to enter the thicket of the cross. 12

St. John of the Cross

When it is all over you will not regret having suffered; rather you will regret having suffered so little, and suffered that little so badly. 4

St. Sebastian Valfre

Your first task is to be dissatisfied with yourself, fight sin, and transform yourself into something better. Your second task is to put up with the trials and temptations of this world that will be brought on by the change in your life and to persevere to the very end in the midst of these things. 24

St. Augustine

All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle. 21

St. Francis of Assisi

Seeking the Kingdom of Happiness

Seeking the Kingdom of Happiness


Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

Scroll down to read it as a blog post!


One of my favorite things to do with Coffee & Pearls is to find material that you’re probably not reading, put a Catholic twist on it and share it with all of you! I imagine there aren’t a ton of you reading business books, sales books, or books about how to create online courses. And yet the tips I find in these books would be so helpful to moms.

Today I want to share with you a quote from Ira Glass.  This is a popular quote that is shared among artists and writers who are feeling discouraged about their work. But this morning, I was thinking, this really is the same frustration we feel about marriage and parenting.

Here is the quote:

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

Now I did not have a lot of good examples of happy marriages or peaceful homes and certainly none that were Catholic. When I got married, I’m not sure I had many expectations for what Catholic marriage and motherhood should look like. But quickly, I found some superb examples and that’s when I would begin to feel discouraged.

There is something so wonderful about sitting with a mother in her fifties who has many children, some of whom have left the house and hearing her talk about family life. I could hold onto a cup of tea and listen to that mom speak for hours. Wisdom is dripping off of her and she casually chats about the whirlwind experience of raising a family.

I am especially in awe of veteran homeschoolers and I love to ask a million questions when I manage to grab them!

When I just had Rose Mary, I would often see moms with three or four kids and even though the noise might have been louder and the busyness of the children was happening around us, these moms had a peace about knowing how to handle their own kids. Now I see that I too am much more able to handle my four kids than I did my first one but I am now looking 10-20 years ahead at the mom who has raised teenagers and sent them off to college.

This quote is true whether you’re trying to produce physical work or whether you’re trying to be a good wife and a good mother. Your taste is likely far above your ability. But there is hope! In acknowledging that, it lessens our pain and frustration and it gives us a little extra strength to persevere. We know it will get better because WE will get better. There are just a certain number of spousal squabbles and toddler tantrums we have to experience before we too can refine our skills as wives and homemakers.

Like everything I talk about, I’d like to give it a spiritual slant as well. When Ira ends with “You’ve just gotta fight your way through,” I think this is especially true about Catholic motherhood and marriage. The devil is trying desperately to unseat the last hold that God has in our society, which is faithful families.

If he can disrupt your marriage, if he can make you feel unsatisfied with raising children, if he can turn your heart cold with bitterness or hot with rage toward God, he is one step closer to breaking up your family. And in my opinion, a family can be broken up without divorce. We can continue to live as a family in a dark and twisted environment of addiction, selfishness, and anger. We may even appear happy on the outside but if God is not the center of… everything… we are in danger of letting the devil win.

One thing I repeat to myself often about the tasks I choose to take on, the way I serve my family, and the work I do with all of you, is that God’s economy is the opposite of the world’s economy. God’s ways are not the ways of the world and so doing “the right thing” can often feel wrong. I love this quote from Fr. Kirby in his book Kingdom of Happiness, which I highly recommend:

While momentary happiness may be possible, true and consistent happiness can only be found in a world that is right side up; that is, facing in a direction beyond itself, toward God, who is all-good and the source of long-lasting happiness.

I want you to think today about ways that you are pleasing the world instead of pleasing God. It probably isn’t even a big things or an immoral choice but simply a choice that isn’t best. Go through your day or your calendar for the week. Imagine you’re telling Jesus about what you have to do. Now notice any time you feel uncomfortable, then sit with that feeling and ask yourself, “Why?”

Five Second Rule

Five Second Rule


Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

Scroll down to read it as a blog post!


Most days I wake up knowing what I’m going to tackle. I thought about it the night before. I might have even made a list of what was to come. I also try to take a few moments to visualize me crushing my goals for the day. These two things will go a long way to you running your day instead of letting your day run you.

But sometimes… I haven’t done these two things. I haven’t prepared the night before. I wake up feeling like I just want to hide in bed and avoid everything I have to do for the day. Sometimes I dread all the errands, the sibling squabbles, the toddler crying, and I even dread the bad things I just know are going to pop up even though I haven’t thought of them yet.

Yes, sometimes I wake up in a dark place.

I’m very grateful that a friend of mine was reading The Five Second Rule and told me how much she liked it. I Googled it and found that the author, Mel Robbins, has a Ted Talk (Watch Here) about the same topic. For those of you who want to read instead, here’s an article summing up this idea:

She says, “The 5 Second Rule is simple. If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill it.”

Basically, we have about five seconds from the moment an idea pops into our mind about something that we ought to do before our brain starts talking us out of doing that thing. As soon as I heard what she had to say, I instantly knew exactly what she was talking about. I have experience that negotiation so many times where my brain starts coming up with reasons why we shouldn’t workout or we don’t really have to sit down and do school with Rose right now. That voice usually sounds a lot like, “We can do it later.”

What I love about this concept so much is that it speaks to what I suspect a lot of women are suffering from. Many women tell me that they feel overwhelmed and they don’t know where to start or how to prioritize. But I think a lot of us are actually just staring at our living room, paralyzed about what we know we should do. If I asked you right now what three things you need to do today that would help your life, you could probably tell me.

The things is, those tasks are yucky. We don’t want to do them. We don’t feel like it.

Enter the five second rule. As soon as something pops into your mind, “I should do some laundry,” immediately begin counting down. You are now a Mom Rocket. 5-4-3-2-1 Blast off! You move your body and you take care of this right away.

I would like to add another layer to this already awesome concept. I would like to add the 15 Minute Sprint. I find that almost everything I need to do around my house, can be done in less than 15 minutes. It feels like an overwhelming burden because the list is long or I’ve been staring at my kids for 2 hours and I feel guilt over my lack of progress but in truth, I can slam out some amazing things in 15 minutes.

I want you to try turning your life into a game. How much can you get done in 15 minutes? You know you’re capable of amazing things because when you get a call that your mother-in-law is stopping by in 15 minutes, you can Wonder Woman tidy your house like WWIII depended on it.

This week, try combining these two strategies. First, act on your goals within five seconds of thinking of them. Don’t let your brain trick you into paralysis. Second, once you start working, push yourself to work as fast as you can so you can complete your task in 15 minutes. Once you’ve done this a few times, you’re going to start feeling confident! You’ll be pleased by the work that is done AND you’ll feel better about sitting on the couch and staring at your kids after you’ve gotten a few household things done first!

Here is a worksheet that you can use to write out all the 15 minute, 30 minute, and 60 minute tasks you can accomplish. Then, when you find a pocket of time, you can 5-4-3-2-1 yourself and dive right into one!

Blew My 2018 Goals Already

Blew My 2018 Goals Already

Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

Scroll down to read it as a blog post!

At the end of December, I launched the Catholics Crush Goals course. It was amazing! More than 300 people joined the program and so many wonderful conversations came out of it. I was really transparent with people about my goal setting process and my own personal goals for 2018. I had 8 main goals and smack dab in the middle was Goal #4: Don’t Get Pregnant! I even created a slogan for this goal: This is my baby-free year!

I had such big plans for the year and I was filled with joy as I shared them with my students!

Then last week, I got a positive pregnancy test. I’m not gonna lie, it was a huge blow. I was pretty devastated. I know, I know, a baby is always a blessing and this baby will be! I will love this baby with all my heart. But it’s okay to despair in the meantime and to wonder, “Why Lord?”

I quickly looked back and my chart to see what happened. It was totally my fault. I had been gluten and sugar-free for the weeks leading up to Christmas. Then for Christmas we ate ALL THE FOOD for four days straight. It wreaked havoc on my body and the bathroom situations weren’t exactly shiny and bright. Amidst all that, I thought I ovulated late but I must have ovulated and had my signs get swept up with the other things that were coming out of me and I didn’t catch it.

It doesn’t really matter. Here we are. I’m pregnant. My baby is due at the beginning of September. I usually go a little early so this baby and my last baby will be 13 months part.

The truth is, the other three times I’ve gotten pregnant this early have ended in miscarriage so it’s more likely than not that we won’t get to hold this sweet baby. But you can’t plan on that, so my heart is looking forward to September and planning accordingly.

So here’s what is going to change for me. I’m going to set down some big dreams I had for 2018. I’m going to try and let go of my bad body image and accept that God must love plumpy me for now since that seems to be the state I’m going to remain. I’m going to embrace not knowing what the future holds and to live each day simply… while also freezer cooking food before I start throwing up.

These are the books I’m going to be reading in the next few weeks:

If you have any other recommendation, I’m all ears!

So here’s what I have to say about being dealt some difficult news. And this is difficult news. It will either end in a miscarriage or having two babies thirteen months apart both of which will be hard for my mama heart.

But here’s what I know. I am strong. I can handle difficult things.

The pain of something, or your ability to live through that pain doesn’t change just because you know it’s coming. It shouldn’t be more scary. We are all capable of living with pain and in fact, God gives us precisely enough grace to survive. The fact that you’re reading this means that God has gotten you through all your pain 100% successfully so far.

Presently, my biggest pain is the waiting. I don’t know what feelings to process so I’m not really processing any. It doesn’t make sense to be sad before I’ve had a miscarriage and I feel too guarded to be excited about a baby that I might not get to hold. So I’m living in the in between and it’s painful.

Here are the five things I’m going to do to spend this next six weeks waiting to know God’s plan for us:

  1. Go to Adoration more. I’m going to try and go anytime I have a spare 30 minutes that I can sneak away. My husband’s work schedule has been crazy lately so it may not be that often but I’m going to actively be trying to find this extra time.
  2. Read. Reading helps me process and helps me point my heart toward God instead of toward my selfish nature or what the world tells me to want. I listed the books above that I plan on reading.
  3. Speak. I’ll keep recording Coffee & Pearls and putting out classes for Rekindle, Catholics Crush Goals and Catholic Minimalism. It helps me to help others. I feel a brightness in my soul when we come together to grapple with the struggles of this world.
  4. Cry. I’m going to let myself cry whenever I feel like it. I will cry happy tears, sad tears, tears of submission, and probably a category of tears I’ve never cried before. I will do this without judgement and just let them fall.
  5. Pray. I will continue to pray even if I feel nothing, especially if I feel nothing. We pray out of obedience because God created us to love Him. Prayer satisfies my soul even if I can’t feel that in my human flesh. We are a people of obedience and we must never stop praying. The Lord giveth and he taketh away. Praise be the name of the Lord.

Please pray for me. I’ll be praying for all of you, especially anyone who is in darkness or who feels like they are struggling. The Lord is great and generous even if we do not presently understand how.

I will leave you these words from Teresa of Avila:

We can only learn to know ourselves and do what we can – namely, surrender our will and fulfill God’s will in us.

When We Were Eve

Colleen Mitchell has written a new book! It’s called When We Were Eve and it’s pretty much what you’d expect. Lovely, heart-wrenching, uncomfortable and yet comforting at the same time. I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to read it. I didn’t feel like opening up my soul to some truth that would probably make me laugh and cry and stare at my own ugly. I knew I’d read it eventually because I like Colleen but December didn’t seem like the right time.

I’m writing this at the time of Advent and I really just want to think of the miracle of Jesus, not my own brokenness. I know they’re connected and Advent is a wonderful time for self-exploration and digging deep but you have to be brave to go on that journey.

God gave me the strength to be brave and it’s just what needed at precisely this time of year!

This book is about the raw truth of womanhood starting with Eve and then woven with truths from the rest of the Bible. It’s about how God sees us, how we see ourselves, and about the sin that keeps those two images from being the same.

Each chapter involves a story about Colleens own struggles with womanhood and you’ll feel like her friend by the end of it. At the end of each chapter she includes a story from a different woman, which honestly, made me feel like I was part of a beautiful community of Catholic women. We’re all broken and trying to figure this thing out together. We need more reassurance of that these days.

I was surprised how much I came away feeling as if I knew and understood Eve so much more. Previously, she was sort of a mythical princess of Eden. Pretty to be sure but also too difficult for my mind to comprehend as a real person. This quote in particular really struck me:

We know it, too, the inexplicable foolishness of wanting what we know we don’t need and how our minds can cloud with desire until it becomes doubt about what God really said. I used to look at Eve with a certain bitterness, blaming her for my own depravity. But when I am honest about my temptations and how easily they convince me that I know better than God, I can only embrace Eve with compassion and suffer with her what it is to know the shame of disobedience.

Colleen writes a lot about body image and perhaps that’s what I didn’t feel like reading. I mean who’s ever in the mood to stare their own body image issues right in the face? But it’s precisely what I needed even though I didn’t know I needed it. God reached out through this book and held me. He told me that He loves me just the way that I am and goodness, lately I had been doubting that a little.

This book gave me the courage to see my own body the way the Lord does. It also gave me a deep appreciation for Eve’s pain and how that echoes in each of us that have come after her.

In that heartbreaking moment, when Eve first looks down at her own body and sees it as bad, the flesh becomes, for the first time in human history, the object of a woman’s shame, something other than her apart from who she was made to be, something that risks her goodness rather than houses it.

I was pleasantly surprised how often Colleen talks about virtues. I’ve been reading about virtues a lot lately wanting to instill strong ones in my children. I was not expecting how she ties virtues, specifically growing in virtue, to our innate womanhood and our understanding of our purpose and our bodies. 

When we practice—and practice we must because we will surely be imperfect in our efforts— the virtues, we learn to keep our sensual pleasures ordered toward God and away from evil. Virtue becomes the measure that allows us to enjoy freely the beauty of this world we so naturally long for; we can be naked and without shame in the measure to which we desire those things as a pathway to earthly and eternal joy—a longing that we brought along with us when we left Eden behind.

My favorite section of the book is when she opens up Proverbs 31. I have always wanted to feel connected to the Proverbs 31 woman but every time I read about her, I feel a deep sense of hopelessness that I could never be her. Is this what God wants from me? Colleen takes your hand and leads you through this scripture in a way that makes you feel a little taller, a little stronger.

You probably won’t feel like reading this book. You’ll see the beautiful, soft green cover and you’ll want to toss it in a drawer so it stops looking at you. You know what waits there, growth and growth is always painful.

Read it anyways. It’s probably exactly what you need right now. Yes, I mean right now, no matter the season. You need some truth. You need some love. You need God to reach through these pages and give you the softest most comforting hug you’ve ever had. You need to cry and let our doubt and bitterness leak out of you so you can fill yourself back up with love and joy.

When you’re done, give it to a friend. We need to pour gold into the cracks of our broken sisterhood and see that God loves us through our mistakes. We can do this one woman at a time and eventually it will create and ocean of warmth and loveliness in the world.

Here’s a link to When We Were Eve. Share it with your friends.

Our Family’s Number One Rule

Our Family’s Number One Rule


Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

Scroll down to read it as a blog post!


The number one rule in my house is: obey. That’s it. Everything else falls under that rule. I don’t expect my children to magically know what needs to be done around the house but I do expect that once I ask them to do something, they will do it right away.

A classical school near our house has a school saying about this. Obey, right away, all the way, cheerfully, every day.

Now to be honest, I don’t care about the cheerful part. I don’t accept sass or whining but I also don’t expect them to be chipper about doing the laundry. I’m still trying to cultivate a positive attitude while doing housework!

I do like that saying though and we’ve been trying it on for size as a family. It’s given me a really easy response to children who don’t do what I ask right away or all the way.

I’ve really come to see that my role as their parent is to ensure that know who Jesus is… who He is really is and how to have a real relationship with him. And it’s also my job to teach them obedience. After all, they’re going to leave my house and they must make their own choices. They will get to choose whether they want to obey the teachings of the church or not.

Obedience is painful.

Obedience is not fun.

Obedience is necessary for real peace.

If I don’t know them how to obey when they don’t feel like it, how will they know how to do that when they are tested in the world? The world makes it so easy to chase pleasure, money, and fame.

Here are three quotes that inspire me to teach my children obedience.

Love to be real, it must cost—it must hurt—it must empty us of self. -Mother Teresa

I want them to know that love is about serving those whom we love. It is not about warm, tingly feelings. It’s not about having fun. It’s not about who we like to hang out with. Love is about seeing someone else’s true value and because of that value, we choose to serve them.

To love God is something greater than to know Him. -St. Thomas Aquinas

We can have them memorize scripture, take religious classes, and learn what the catechism says but if we do not teach them to love God… to really love him in their hearts and with their actions… then the studying is worthless. Religion is not school, it is a lifestyle… a series of choices we make every single day.

Be a good child, and God will help you. -St. Joan of Arc

I feel yucky when I give into temptations and turn from God. We all do this in small ways every day. We choose the lesser path. We avoid doing something good because we don’t feel like it. When I am a “bad child” I feel it deep in my soul. What a gift then, that we can give our children, using these short years that we have them, how to obey God with childlike simplicity. I do not do that because God told me not to. It really is that simple.

I want my house to be a training ground of sainthood. Like turning out good soldiers, I want to turn out good saints. And to the outside world, we’re going to look bananas. I get that. God’s economy is almost always the opposite of that of the world. If God values it, it’s likely the world will stomp on it. It’s important that we understand WHY we are teaching our children obedience. It is through this that they may learn how to obey the Lord. And hopefully, along the way, this teaches us better obedience as well!

I’ll leave you with this verse from Ephesians 6:1-3:

Children, obey your parents [in the Lord], for this is right. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise, “that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life on earth.”


CLICK HERE for my amazing Advent guide!

How to be Catholic with no Traditions

How to be Catholic with no Traditions

Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

Scroll down to read it as a blog post!

Alright, it’s no secret I didn’t grow up Catholic. When I finally came into the Church at Easter vigil 2010, I had no idea just what I was stepping into. I thought I knew, but I really didn’t understand the depth and breadth of the Catholic faith, especially when it comes to traditions.

I knew Advent wreaths were a thing but that’s about all I knew of how to celebrate Christmas the Catholic way. There’s chocolate calendars too right?

Then I had my first child and I thought, “I should pass on traditions!” But I didn’t have any to pass on. I remember sitting down at my computer and feeling overwhelmed by all the options. And the truth is, most of the people who have websites dedicated to Liturgical Living, must also be related to Martha Stewart or Gordon Ramsey with how intricate their food and crafts were!

I felt unworthy. I felt lost. I felt like an outsider.

Now I’m not one to let negative feelings deter me so I pushed through and tried to celebrate a few things. We tried some Advent stuff and we tried a few feast days dedicated to popular saints.

I’m not gonna lie… it bombed. Turns out liturgical living with little children is tricky. I’m not going to say it’s not possible but when you take big kid activities and hope that you’re 3-year-old has a holy experience… it will probably end in frustration and tears… theirs or yours.

Those first few years were discouraging to say the least. I felt out of place. I also felt like a failure as I saw all these wonderful examples of liturgical living online.

Eventually I discovered a few things about myself and my children and I wanted to share them with you.

  1. I love me a good tea party!
    Guess what? It’s easy to brew tea and plop cookies, crackers, or fruit in front of your kids and call it a saint celebration. This is my jam! It’s easy, simple, and can be healthy too!
  2. Coloring pages and word searches can be like praying for children.
    After becoming a certified Catechesis of the Good Shepherd teacher, I really learned that the work of children ages 3-6 is to learn how to quiet their body and to listen to God. They can do that in so many ways! Coloring, searching for words, or even building things out of legos can be a true work for God. They don’t need to be praying the rosary or creating complex Catholic crafts to celebrate a feast day. Simply give them a coloring sheet and read a saint book out loud to them. It’s easy and powerful! You can do other things later when the kids get older but for now, this is a great start to your Catholic traditions.
  3. Simply marking time is enough to begin with.
    Forming life-long traditions takes time! You need to get to know the liturgical calendar. You need to get to know the saints. And you need to get to know yourself and what you like to celebrate. In the beginning, it’s enough to simply verbalize that today is a special day and do something very simple like light a candle and say a prayer. By starting small, you can begin to feel the beautiful rhythms of the Catholic church and to live with the liturgical calendar.
  4. Candles are cheap and powerful!
    I know, we tend to think of children and fire as a bad mix but hear me out. I light candles for three-year-olds in my atrium all the time. They’ve learned to respect the fire and to snuff it out when they are done praying. They are small tea lights and there is always an adult in the room. If we educate children about candles, they can rise to the occasion to treat them seriously. And guess what? They do! Kids love candles. It’s a great way to make them focused on their prayers to the Lord.
  5. They will remember!
    If your children are young or if they don’t seem to care about the celebrations that you’re doing, do it anyway. You are doing this as much for yourself as for them and they will remember. You are imprinting a way of life on their little hearts. In five years, they’ll be asking you, “When is St. Nicholas day?” Eventually, they’ll be old enough to help bake hot cross buns themselves. The magical liturgical moments in your mind, they will come but you have to lay the groundwork now!

We are a liturgical people. We have a longing in our hearts to live our lives through the changing seasons. God created us to love things that change and things that are constant and we find that in the calendar that changes throughout the year but is the same year after year.

So how do you be Catholic with no traditions? Just start one. Deepen your Catholic faith by adding some of these traditions in your home.

To make things easier, I teamed up with Ashley Woleban from to bring you an Advent Guide. This includes TONS of information but some special sections just for beginners!

Click Here To Get The Advent Guide

5 Ways To Get More Done, Mama


Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

Scroll down to read it as a blog post!


I just recently took a class on productivity. It was great! I kind of thought I “knew everything” about being efficient but this class pointed out a few things I wasn’t doing so I wanted to share them with.

Now remember, I don’t seek out ways to be efficient so I can get more things done. I try to work efficiently so I have more time to waste with my family.

In America, we’ve stopped valuing quality time. It feels like we should be working or cleaning. I know that’s difficult for me still. I struggle with giving myself over to nothingness… to just sitting around and chatting or taking a drive for no reason. But I also know how important it is to just spend uninterrupted face time with your husband and with your kids.

  1. Download the News Feed Eradicator for Chrome.
    This is a plug-in that you can add to your Chrome internet browser that disables the news feed of your Facebook account. This is especially important if you’re a blogger or do any kind of work through your Facebook account. It still shows you all your notifications and you can access all your pages but you can’t see the regular ‘ole news feed of all your friends. I didn’t realize how much time I spent scrolling through the feed until it was gone. I still find myself wanting to scroll but now it’s gone and I can’t!

    Here is a link to the News Feed Eradicator:
  2. Create a Time-In Jar
    This is actually something I thought of recently to help give a physical reminder to GET OFF MY PHONE! I got a mason jar and put some construction paper around it that had “Time In” written on it. The idea is that when I get home or come downstairs, I drop my phone in this jar and I spend time with my family. I don’t need to hold it, touch it, or look at it. I know where it is and I can check on it every 1-2 hours.

    This has helped me greatly to avoid the mindless refresh that’s so easy to do when your phone is sitting next to you! I’ll post a picture of this on my Instagram account so you can see it! I’m @sterlingjaquith.
  3. Put Your Phone in Do Not Disturb Mode
    I did not know about this mode a few weeks ago! Apparently, at least on an iPhone but I’m guessing on the other phones as well, you can put your phone in the Do Not Disturb Mode. This silences all notifications except a text or phone call from a person on your favorites list!

    Brilliant! Now I won’t miss a call from my husband but I don’t need to hear the reminders for doctors appointments or the library reminding me we STILL haven’t brought our books back! I think this is a great way to help us put those phones down and stop looking at them. We know we won’t miss anything important so it gives us the freedom to leave it alone!
  4. Get Dressed & Put Your Shoes On!
    This class I took was about people who work from home. The teacher said even though her office is across the hall from her bedroom, that she still puts her shoes on to know that’s now in work mode. I’ve heard this often about  motherhood too. Wake up and get dressed for the day. I go in and out of phases of doing that and since having Forest, I’ve definitely been out of that phase.

    So I’ve been starting to do that more and it feels great. I get dressed right away and I even brush my hair… gasp!!!

    Some of you don’t like wearing shoes in the house so you can skip that part. I happen to like wearing shoes in the house and it makes me walk around more so I do this part too!
  5. Consider Laundry Self-Care
    Most of you know I’ve been trying to lose weight and mamas…. It’s hard! I really hate moving my body. I loathe exercise. And so it’s not surprising that ANY barrier that pops up is welcome and I immediately latch onto it as an excuse why I can’t exercise.

    One of the easiest barriers to grab onto is the idea that I don’t want to wear several outfits in one day because it will create more laundry. Let’s say you woke up, put your day clothes on and now, at 10 a.m. you have a break to workout. You’d have to put your workout clothes on. Then you ought to take a shower (another big barrier for me) and after showering, you ought to put on clean clothes! That’s three outfits in one day!

    Now there are no rules that say you HAVE to do this but it’s easy for me to think I SHOULD and therefore, if I didn’t workout, it would create a lot less work for me!

    But in the end, I’m only hurting myself. Would I do laundry every day for six months if I could lose 30 pounds? Absolutely!

    So I’ve started viewing the extra clothes as self-care. We’re always saying we need to be better about self-care and so I’ve decided that doing more laundry is like taking a bubble bath. It’s taking some retraining of my brain but so far it’s working! I’m seeing the extra outfits as a gift to myself because in the end, there isn’t much I want more than to have a stronger, healthier and much smaller body!

Alright so there are five things I hope can help you feel like a more rockin’ mom! If you’ve changed something up in your routine lately, share with the group either as a comment on this blog post or over on my page

P.S. I was on Danielle Bean’s podcast girlfriends. Check it out here:

God Sends Messengers


Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

Scroll down to read it as a blog post!


My husband sent this quote to me the other day. “God sends messengers, not books.”

At first I thought it was funny because I write books but then I sat with the quote a little bit longer. It’s true that for most of us, we’re going to encounter Christianity or the message of Christ through a person. Few of us will discover the world of Catholicism through a book. Most of us will meet a Catholic person, a messenger, and this will inspire us to pick up a book to learn more.

As we head into the holidays, you will no doubt see many people you haven’t seen in a long time. Maybe you’ll run into friends from high school, maybe you’ll see your extended family, or maybe you’ll volunteer at a soup kitchen and meet someone new.

You have an opportunity this year to be a messenger, a messenger for Christ.

As many of you know, I came to Jesus because I witnessed a beautiful and strong marriage. This marriage was so attractive to me that I figured I must need to be a Christian to have a marriage like that. It was a pretty selfish way to meet Jesus but I don’t think Jesus cares how we meet Him, just that we do.

You cannot meet Jesus and remain unchanged. You can deny the experience you had but I guarantee you will have an experience. If you don’t, I will suggest that you didn’t really meet real Jesus.

I imagine if you’re listening to Coffee & Pearls that you’ve met Jesus at some point so I won’t talk to much more about that. Instead, I want to focus on what happens after this encounter, specifically, after we have become Catholic.

You see, I went from a warm and loving Protestant church to a cold and distant Catholic church and it was so confusing. I certainly wasn’t expecting perfect humans. We are all broken and we live in a broken world. I think there is beauty and hope in this brokenness as we all rest in Christ trying to figure everything out.

But what I encountered instead of a community who rested together, seeking to repair the brokenness and try to be more like Jesus, was a community who was mostly defensive. It was as if they were in an ivory tower and I wasn’t allowed in. They were closed. They acted like they had it all figured out.

“We don’t need Bible studies, we have the Mass.”

They kept the Catholic treasure to themselves. I had to work really hard to find it on my own. I’m not sure why Catholics are so private.

When I read about the lives of the saints, they didn’t seem very private at all. St. Catherine of Sienna was a loud-mouthed rebel. St. John Vianney was a truth-teller who told it like it was without holding back.

I’m not asking you to be my best friend. I don’t need to know your whole life story. What I need is to be able to go to the hospital for sinners and not feel out of place. This is what we all need.

We need to be healed and we need to feel comfortable asking for it. We need each other. We need to lean on each other despite our sinfulness.

You’re not fine and that’s okay. You don’t have all the answers and that’s okay. Your job as a messenger is to say, “I’m not fine but I have Jesus so it’s okay.”

We don’t need to shine up Catholicism and pretend it makes us happy. It most certainly doesn’t. It’s hard. The bar is high but there is comfort in this. There is a great peace comes the more we embrace our faith by sacrificing what the world tells us we should love instead.

I’ve said this before but I think it’s such a great visual. Imagine that you’re wearing a t-shirt that says, “Watch how a Catholic handles this situation.” It’s so powerful to think about. In a way, we are always wearing that message whether we’re making good choices or not. And I want to suggest people are more aware of it when we’re acting without charity or kindness.

Your job this year, with both Catholics and non-Catholics, is to be a messenger. Tell people that despite your struggles, and mama I know you’re struggling, that your peace comes from Jesus. It doesn’t come from money, it doesn’t come from beauty, it doesn’t come from fame, and it doesn’t come from worldly success.

You know that things are going to be okay tomorrow because God loves you. He created you and He will give you everything you need until He calls you home. That means even if you die tomorrow… it’s still going to be alright because you will be with God.

Take a deep breath. Nothing that you’re dealing with is bigger than God. He loves you and He has a plan for you. Rest in that love. Rest in that peace.

Then let others sense your peace. This is how you bring the message of Christ to those around you.

Praying With Your Husband


Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

Scroll down to read it as a blog post!


Alright, let’s talk about something that we don’t talk about often… praying, out loud, with our husbands.

It’s awkward, y’all.

I’m sure there’s a perfect combination of Catholic upbringing mixed with maturity and open conversation… that leads to an instantly comfortable prayer life after the wedding but as that was not my personal experience, I won’t speculate what kind of couple starts out knowing how to pray right away.

For the rest of us, praying out loud with our husband did not come easy.

I imagine, like myself, many of you put it off for quite a while even knowing how important it is. Many of you listening still don’t pray out loud with your husband and I want to say, that’s okay, you’re not a terrible person. Hopefully after this episode, you feel inspired to try for the first time or try again.

First, let’s get this out of the way. Praying is very private. It’s hard to go from stream of consciousness prayers inside our heads to forming complete, non-ridiculous sentences in front of other people. It’s not weird that you think it’s weird to pray out loud with your husband.

I always find that it’s much easier to ask for help when I think it’s normal to ask for help.

So here’s how I went from awkward praying sessions to routinely praying out loud with my husband.

  1. Start with something easy. I’m talking one Our Father before you get into bed. It’s okay if makes you laugh. It’s okay if you roll your eyes. It’s important just to start. 
  2. Add in more easy things. When you’re ready to step it up, add a Hail Mary and a Glory Be. Then you’ll have the big three! 
  3. Hold hands. Okay, now you’re ready to take it to the next level. Pray while holding hands. Man this is hard. My husband and I do this every night and let me tell you, there are some nights when I’m so seethingly mad at him that I want to punch him in the face! Grabbing his hand and praying feels like one of the hardest things ever on those nights but I do it out of love and obedience to God who asked me to pray with my husband. 
  4. Free From Prayer. This is where you each take a turn praising God, giving thanks, or asking for help. This can be a big jump if neither of you are used to do this. I think the trick to trying this out for the first time is to just let each other know it can be messy, silly, poorly said, or incomplete sentences. This is from the heart and it doesn’t have to be anything. Give each other the space to try it out. 
  5. Choose a patron saint for your marriage. The next thing to do is to choose a patron saint for your marriage. Our is Our Lady Undoer of Knots. We pray every night asking her to help us undo the knots we’ve tied in our marriage. We try to celebrate her feast day on December 8th along with the Immaculate Conception as sort of a marriage anniversary too!

If your husband is uncomfortable,  you need to respect that. You can’t strong arm him into praying with you if he doesn’t want to. It’s likely to have the opposite effect that you desire. Instead, simply pray for him. Ask the Holy Spirit to come down and change his mind. Ask Mary to help soften your husband’s heart to the idea of praying and then just wait.

I’ve also tasked my husband with putting out a podcast about how important it is for husbands to pray out loud with their wives. He’ll do it this week and then I’ll post it!

Pray with your husband! Start at step one and keeping working on these steps until you’re doing all five. Yes, even if it takes years! In the meantime, I’ll be praying for you!

Saint Trainer

Saint Trainer

Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

Scroll down to read it as a blog post!

Recently I was asked, “Why are you qualified to teach other people how to be saints?” It was a fair question. There certainly isn’t a degree in saint training that I’m aware of. I’ve just sort of self-proclaimed that I am indeed a Saint Trainer.

I had never been asked this question before and it gave me pause. I thought for a moment. I almost let feelings of insecurity bubble up inside of me but then the Holy Spirit tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Because you’re a sinner.”

Yes! That’s it!

I am qualified to be a Saint Trainer because I am a sinner and that means you’re qualified to be a Saint Trainer too!

Okay, well it’s not just that we’re sinners. To be qualified you have to acknowledge you’re a sinner and desire to NOT be a sinner. By the very fact that you’re reading this blog post right now, you’re showing me that you don’t want to be a sinner. You want to be a good Catholic. You want to live out God’s will.

And my guess is that you aren’t quite sure yet how to do that or perhaps you’ve been told once (or a thousand times) but you need some inspiration for getting it done today.

To me, this is what sainthood is all about. It’s the baby steps. It’s the waking up each morning, each hour, each time I arrive home and saying, “I can do better. I want to do better.” Any moment we turn away from the glitzy trappings of the world and we choose Jesus, we are turning into saints.

I genuinely believe there are four things we need to do to become saints in Heaven.

  1. Reptent
  2. Believe in the Gospel
  3. Discern God’s will for our lives
  4. Obey God in that plan

Now typing out that list was awfully easy to do. Living out that list is rather difficult. Let’s break down each one and see if we can’t get better at being saints on a day-to-day basis.


After listening to a Fr. Riccardo podcast where he said, “We must become green berets of repentance,” I never think about repentance without that phrase coming to mind. It’s so powerful because we have this idea in our heads about what green berets do. They are the elite. They are strong. They don’t quit until they’ve completed their mission. They live with intensity.

We need to repent like that. All. The. Time.

This doesn’t just mean getting to confession monthly or weekly if that’s possible, it also means pausing all throughout the day and tossing up a genuine, “I’m sorry” to the Lord when we screw up. I do this all the time.

I’m sorry I was snippy.

I’m sorry I was just jealous of her.

I’m sorry I felt entitled to buying that thing I wanted.

I’m sorry I felt like you didn’t love me.

I’m sorry I wasn’t grateful for all my blessings.

We know… truly we know… when we have made bad choices, or less than ideal choices — when we have not done our best. If we seek to be green berets of repentance then our mission is to always be on the lookout for these small sinful moments and to repent about them immediately.

Believe in the Gospel

On some level I’m sure we all believe in the Gospel. After all we’re Christians! But when John asked us to believe in the Gospel, I think he was also asking that we know the Gospel.

I don’t know about you but I surely haven’t memorized all of any one of the four Gospels! I could do a much better job of reading these sections of the Bible over and over again until they become so infused in my subconscious that I can quote them easily to others or simply use them to calm myself down when I get anxious throughout the day.

Here is where I think we could all use some work. Most of us know our Bibles far less than the original Americans. Few of us sit around at night reading the Bible out loud to our family. To be honest, that sounds awfully boring to me! Maybe I’d like that if I dressed up like a Colonial and lit a candle and pretended we had no modern entertainments!

And yet, I have to ask myself, do you really want to be a saint? How can you be a saint if you don’t make it a priority to know, and maybe even memorize, all the words that Jesus said while He walked on Earth?

Guys I’m still working on this but I believe it’s an important ingredient for modern sainthood!

Here is an awesome book to help you memorize the faith (or anything) Memorize The Faith

Discern God’s Will For Our Lives

This is a toughy. There’s no magical formula for this. If there were, I’d write a book about it and sell millions of copies! How do we discern God’s will?

Don’t you just feel like if Jesus came down and asked you to do… anything…. that you’d smile and say, “Of course Jesus, anything for you!” But most of us have not had that experience and so we feel like we’re left to guess and puzzle it out on our own.

Honestly, I think the key to discerning God’s will is to spend more time in silence and especially in Adoration. I say that with a deep sigh because those two things are particularly difficult to me. They always sound wonderful until the moment I have to make time for them and then despite how healing and lovely they are, I never feel like doing it. So I can’t promise you that you will suddenly crave silent prayer time or hours in Adoration but I do believe these are key to hearing the will of God for our lives.

You can read Discerning the Will of God by God: An Ignatian Guide to Christian Decision Making by Timothy Gallager 

Or A Practical Guide to Discern God’s Will which is only $.99!

Obey God In That Plan

Once you have spent time in prayer and tried to discern the will of God for your life, your job is now to live that out. Take what you’ve heard in the whisperings of your time with Jesus and throw yourself into those plans.

I’m surprised how difficult this is sometimes. I will come away from Adoration with a crystal clear idea of what I think God is asking me to do and then somehow between the hustle and bustle of the next day and the noise that the world fills my ears with… I suddenly forget. I take a few steps off the path and I stop pursuing the crystal clear plan.

I believe this is why journaling and doing an examination of conscience at the end of the day is so important. We need to write down what we think we hear God telling us and then we need to revisit those notes often. We need to ask ourselves at the end of the day, “How did I do? Did I try hard to live out God’s plan for my life today?” And if we didn’t… well we can go straight back to being green berets of repentance.

I think most of the time we know when we’re winging it or going our own way versus trying to live a Christ-centered Catholic life. I believe if we just spent a little more time asking ourselves which path we’re walking on… our own or God’s…. we would find a lot more peace.

I hope this makes you feel hopeful. I hope you will walk away from this with a renewed sense or purpose and at least a better understanding of what questions you should be asking yourself each day!

I want you to know that you too are qualified to teach other people how to become saints! And if that sounds like fun to you, do it! We need more saint trainers out there!

You are all signed up!