Catholic Husband

Love / Lead / Serve

Pray for Those Who Persecute You

Jesus’ words always call us on to greater things, to be better people than we are today. Jesus’ words seem hyperbolic, but they are anything but hyperbolic. He was calling us to live the lives we were made to live, to reach the levels of true freedom that God had always intended for us.Read Article

My Father's Son

My younger self would be very disappointed in me if he knew the truth. I like jazz. When I was in 4th grade, my dad got really into jazz and would have it playing as background music each night during family dinner. He loved it, my siblings and I did not. This small chapter of my childhood reveals a simple truth: we’re all like our dads in one way or another.Read Article

Take Care of Your Things

In our disposable culture, there are very few things left that are well made. Quality construction comes at a price, and consumers would rather pay less now for a lower quality product that will need to be replaced than buy a high quality product and simply fix it when it's broken. This line of thinking applies to everything from cars to blenders.Read Article

A New Baby

I'm happy to announce today that Alison and I are expecting our second child. After two amazing years with Benedict, we're excited to welcome his younger sibling this June. All is going well so far, and Alison and baby are healthy.Read Article

Preserve Your Energy

Negativity is the biggest drain on our energy. Every day we encounter plenty of rabbit holes to go down; negative news stories, clickbait links, and even entertainment programs. I've just decided that it's not worth it to waste my time and energy on things that I have no control over and that are just going to bum me out.Read Article

The Daily Struggle for Goodness

When you're trying to live a better life, a holier life, don't expect evil to just roll over and take it. The struggle between God and the Devil is a zero sum game. For every person that lives a holy life, there's that much less capacity for evil in the world. When seeking renewal or change, be prepared for the onslaught.Read Article

Setting Your Goals for 2016

I think that the most interesting aspect of goal setting is looking at them in hindsight. As I sit here looking at the goals that I set for myself, I have to laugh at how much things have changed over the past 12 months. Some goals I beat by huge margins, and others I completely abandoned. It’s the nature of the year and the nature of change. The real secret to having goals that get accomplished is to start planning, in detail, right now.Read Article

A Christmas List

Although Christmas is just a few days away, I wanted to share an idea with you that might make next year's Christmas season a little bit less stressful. While the focus of the Christmas season should be on preparing our hearts to receive Christ, there's also an element of gifting. Gift giving is a wonderful and generous practice that allows us to show, in a material way, the internal feelings we have for one another. At its heart, gift giving is one person seeking to bring joy or help into the life of another. We give the gift of money to charities to ease the pains and sufferings of others. We give gifts to our spouses and children to meet some need or to bring them joy. We give gifts to our coworkers to thank them for their diligent work. Gift giving only becomes a negative when it takes our focus off of Christ and puts it on to materialism.Read Article

Turning Your Thoughts Back to God

We have a lot of mentally idle time. Folding laundry, cleaning the kitchen, running errands, and even doing work that requires low levels of mental resources, and we oftentimes fill those spaces with day dreams, list making, or anxiety. What if instead, we took those times and turned our thoughts back to God?Read Article

Food Diaries Are A Pain

The tactic in weight management that I’ve found to be the most effective and also the most cumbersome is keeping a food diary. The concept is simple: record and monitor your intake. The data you record will help you to better understand the needs of your body, what foods should be cut out of your diet, and ultimately help you balance your calorie count in order to achieve your weight goal. While the concept is simple, the execution is not.Read Article

Hell Isn't For Me

While I was in Drivers Ed, I learned a valuable lesson. Where your eyes go, the car goes. We're playing the long game here on Earth. In the routine of our daily lives, thinking about where we'll be in the life after this one can be easily overlooked. Yet, at the same time, our actions and choices within our daily routine point to where we're oriented. I've never once been happy as a result of committing a sin, yet sometimes I find myself in a cycle of decisions leading me further away from the life that God has planned for me.Read Article

Raising Wholesome Kids

My goal in raising Benedict is that he grow into a wholesome, mature man worthy of a great woman. The path to this ideal is filled with challenges, especially as he will face pressure from his peers and the temptations to make poor choices. I want him to preserve his honor, and the honor of those whom he associates with, so that he can present himself as a worthy gift to his wife should he be called to the married life.Read Article

Drive Safely this Season

As the cool Fall air moved into the region, I made a concerted effort to get Benedict outside more. We ran around in the yard, cleaned up our garden, and put away flower pots. He’s a determined little guy who loves his freedom, so we’d also walk the 50 yards or so of sidewalk in front of our house. Since I regularly take him on my walk with me (he rides in the stroller), he’s had plenty of opportunity to see cars drive by. During our walks on the sidewalk, he’d stop for every car, yell “HI!” and wave as they passed by. Many drivers looked and waved back, most did not.Read Article

Everyone Craves Respect

The Golden Rule should be the gold standard in human relationships, but my experience tells me it seldom is. I think we're all a bit confused about just what it means to be respectful of others. The fact remains, we all have within us a desire to be treated with respect, even when we disagree.Read Article

My Own Biggest Obstacle

When your thirst for change exceeds the threshold of your objections, things start to happen. We all have a series of objections when it comes to making changes in our lives. We like things the way they are, or the cost to make this particular change is too high. While it’s convenient to place the blame for our lack of change on external factors, the truth is that we’re our own biggest obstacle.Read Article

Ask God for the Big Things

Understanding God with the human mind is impossible. In order to help us bridge that gap into the impossible, we have to equate Him to something we can relate to. At various times and in different situations we may think of Him as our Dad, as a disciplinarian, or perhaps even as Santa Claus. The mistake that we make is that we pull God down to our level, instead of raising our minds to His. When we bring God down to our level, we miss out on the opportunity to truly experience His glory.Read Article

Lean on God

It's human nature to want to be independent. We want to be free to make our own decisions and have the dignity of supporting ourselves. Our quest to be beholden to no one begins early in our development, becoming most evident in our teenage years. While we see dependence as a weakness, the question must be asked: is it? No matter how independent we seek to become, is total independence really something to pursue? Certainly there are some worthy forms of independence such as that of financial independence or the independence of living on your own. Yet, as humans, I think it's necessary for us to be totally dependent in one sense. We must be totally dependent on God.Read Article

Change Requires Pain

There's something very real and raw about wanting to make changes in our lives. We all want to be better than we are today. We can see our future and (hopefully) we foresee brighter days with better financial security, better jobs, better opportunity, and better quality of life. The challenge is enduring the pains that it takes to get us from where we are to where we want to be.Read Article

Evil is Real

How many times have we witnessed the great falls of those whom claim to be holy and religious? How many times have we heard of televangelists, missionaries, and people that we once regarded to be of high moral standing exposed as being other than what they claimed? For some fraction of these cases, the individuals themselves were perpetrating a fraud. For the large majority of cases, we should walk away with one lesson: evil is real.Read Article

A Family of Saints

During this year's Synod on the Family, Pope Francis canonized Louis and Marie-Azelie Martin, the parents of St. Therese. What's particularly interesting about the Martin family is the vocations that came out of it. The Martin's had 9 children, four of whom died in childhood. Of the five who survived, all girls, each entered the religious life. This true model of holiness in a family has me thinking, what will it take for me to raise a family of saints?Read Article

Gratitude is at the Heart of the Christian Life

Today, we celebrate the amazing Thanksgiving. Although this humble holiday tends to get trampled on by shopping deals and the upcoming Christmas season, it’s actually one of the most important days of the year. Thanksgiving is all about gratitude, which is a central theme of the Christian life.Read Article

In Heaven Together

One of the best theological explanations of the Mass that I've ever heard is that when you're at Mass, you're drawn up into Heaven. When you go to Mass as a family, for that hour, your family is together in Heaven. Incredible! That explanation revolutionized my perspective of Mass and even today still blows my mind.Read Article

Your Sacred Ring

In the Catholic Church, we have aids that help to remind ourselves of God’s loving presence in our lives. We call these aids sacramentals. They are things that have been blessed and that point us back to God. Without being blessed, they are something ordinary like some beads strung together on a rope or water in a bowl. After having been blessed, they become something holy, something that’s a means to achieve peace and holiness in this life, and joy in the next.Read Article

Disengage This Holiday Season

I have a challenge for you this Thanksgiving and Christmas: disengage.Read Article

Never Rush Decisions

It's only when I rush into something that I get burned. Alison and I have recently been car shopping, which in and of itself is a time-pressured experience. Vehicles go up for sale and are sold, sometimes in a matter of days. Like a whack-a-mole game, opportunities come and go in an instant. Especially when it's a major, life altering decision, don't rush.Read Article

Giving Everything for Your Kids

Love is a concept that's been distorted and misunderstood. We all yearn to hear the words "I love you," but few of us can comprehend what it truly means until we're tested. It's easy to tell someone that you love them when all is going well, but what about when the whole world has been turned upside down? I think the best model of love in our world is that of a parent for their child.Read Article

We're Not Guaranteed Time

In the course of our human existence, we're faced with tragedies, none more sorrowful than the untimely death of someone in our lives. We have a justified belief that all of us will live into our 70s, 80s, or 90s, but the truth remains that none of us are promised any amount of time. That's why it's so important for us to take the time we do have and to make something great out of it.Read Article

Vapid Music

I'm fairly certain in every generation, as art pushes the boundaries of cultural norms and acceptability, there's always a crowd of people who assert that the new forms of art are unacceptable and in some ways corrupting. In modern society, as the boundaries of music are broken down and it's availability reaches its apex, so too has the sheer amount of music. New forms of music are emerging, as are new subforms. As we all consume more and more music, the importance of the message and impact becomes paramount.Read Article

A Powerful Confession Strategy

I try to go to Confession once a month, but sometimes my schedule conspires against me. In early September, I was overdue and itching to go, which landed me in a parish half an hour away on a Tuesday night. Confession was preceded by a Novena to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, which was something truly beautiful. Afterwards, both priests assigned to the parish heard confessions. Even though it was after 8pm, the lines were quite long.Read Article

I Hate Car Dealers

Alison and I are in the market for a new car. Well, we thought we wanted a car, but now we've decided on a van. A few weekends ago we spent a marathon three days car shopping. We went to three different dealers and a couple of private party sellers. We didn't walk away with a van, but I did walk away deeply disappointed with the process.Read Article

Getting Back on the Horse

We underestimate the power of momentum. Momentum, as it builds, evolves into an unstoppable force. Decision making becomes easier when you step aside and let the momentum of the situation continue to push you forward. Getting it started, or reversing negative momentum, well that's a whole other story.Read Article

The Radical Early Christians

For perhaps the first time in my life, I'm reading the Acts of the Apostles. Alison gave me the fantastic Ignatius Catholic Study Bible for Father's Day this year and I've been working my way through the Gospels and other books of the New Testament. I wrote earlier this year about how I've been reading the Bible footnotes along with the actual text and how much richer of an experience it isRead Article

Dating in the Married Life

The ordinary needs to be challenged. In the days of dating your wife, there was much newness in the air. You were getting to know each other, it was exciting, and the future was unknown. After your wedding day, things settled down. Many marriages fail with the couple citing that the flame died out, but that's a fallacy. Dating your spouse doesn't end on your wedding day. It doesn't end, period.Read Article

Take Advantage of Financial Booms

There's nothing better than a family financial boom. Flush with cash, you and your spouse breathe a little easier, you dream a little more, and the door of possibilities opens just a little wider. The great temptation is obviously to do something fun with the money... something a little reckless. The responsible thing is to use it to get ahead. How do you decide?Read Article

Why Mass Matters

I don't bother to read the surveys that pollsters do of Catholics. It turns into an exercise in, "I'm more Catholic than you," and the number of people who self-identify as Catholic is way too high. Honestly, if you consistently miss Mass, it's time to stop self-identifying as Catholic. It’s like being a vegetarian who eats meat four times a week. However, one thing that every survey does show is that the frequency of Mass attendance directly correlates to agreement with the Magisterium.Read Article

Take Pride in Your Car

Alison and I's Prius is 10 years old this year. Well, technically, I guess it's 11. We'll soon cross the 250k mile mark and man, is it in good shape. Looking at it from the outside, you'd never guess that it was that old or that venerable. In general, I think that men love taking care of their cars, but I want us to go a step further. I want us to have pride in our cars.Read Article

Daily Grooming

How we present ourselves to the world is an important aspect of live, and so making time for daily grooming is a must. To be fair, daily grooming can be a bit of a drag. Depending on the day, you may or may not feel like shaving, or you may opt for a few minutes of extra sleep instead of using that time for shaving. Regardless of how you feel on any particular day, make sure you take time for grooming.Read Article

Rethinking Together Time

Is residency over yet? With just under 18 months to go, I'm so done with all of this. Alison's schedule, the shifting sands, and lack of predictability in future planning. It's a part of the process, but that doesn't mean that I have to like it. As a part of this whole experience, Alison and I have really had to spend time rethinking what we need when it comes to time together.Read Article

Diligent Budgeting

Diligent budgeting requires three distinct toolsets: allocating, tracking, and accounting. Although each toolset has its own challenges and difficulties, using all three in unison can prove a very powerful asset as you strive to reach your financial goals. By not employing all three, you’re likely to lose money somewhere in your budget.Read Article

Priests Are Superheroes

If I were a priest, the standing weekly appointment that I'd most look forward to, and at the same time most dread, is Reconciliation. Confession is a beautiful, necessary, and needed Sacrament. Yet, for the priest, it also means that he must stand in the place of Christ, already a challenging role, and receive the burdens of everyone. I imagine that experiencing the fight for good and evil in such a real way can be an emotional challenge.Read Article

Christian Animosity Towards Catholics

During Pope Francis' recent visit to the United States, I was inundated with news articles, Tweets, and Facebook posts about the Church, often from people who aren't Catholic. Some of the reporting was quite pitiful, and a few of the Tweets and Facebook posts were inane. One of the most shocking Tweets I read was about the Papal Mass at Madison Square Gardens. The twit asked why they made the Mass a ticketed event when it should be open to anyone who wants to go.Read Article

Prayer and Flowers

This summer, Alison and I really got into gardening. We had an herb garden on our back porch along with assorted flowers, we had a small garden growing peas, potatoes, garlic, and onions. The biggest challenge we faced was the sun. Our garden had tons of sunlight and, with this summer's heat, lots of difficulty flourishing. We took a trip for about four days and when we came home, most of our plants were dead.Read Article

Every Election is Important

We're getting deep into the 2016 election, even though it's more than a year away. The fields for both political parties are getting plenty of attention for the wild card candidates that have thrown their hats into the ring. There's a level of excitement about the race, but really for all of the wrong reasons.Read Article

Things Will Never Make You Happy

When there's something that I want to buy, I tend to develop a laser-like focus on achieving that goal. I'll work to find any way I can to be able to get that thing. This most often happens with technology. All of this focus builds suspense and excitement, which quickly dissipates just a few days after I make the purchase. The suspense and excitement are gone, and I just move on.Read Article

Never Quit

Quitters quit. In perhaps the most obvious statement ever made on this blog, I'll state it again. People who are quitters quit things. The strange thing is that many quit just before they hit their inflection point. I've been tempted to quit this blog dozens, if not hundreds of times over the past two and a half years. At this point, the momentum is with me, and I just keep rolling. My writing skills have improved and I've found my voice.Read Article

Parenting: Exhilarating and Exhausting

Now that more of my friends are getting married and having kids, my Facebook timeline, or whatever we're calling it now, is filled with pictures of children. Heck, I look at my own Instagram and it's basically just pictures of Benedict. To some it may be annoying, but I think this all speaks to a deeper truth. Children are the most important thing in their parent's lives.Read Article

A Refuge in the World

I don't spend nearly enough time in Adoration. When I was in middle school, my mom and I were members of our local Nocturnal Adoration society. During my two years at Franciscan University, there was perpetual Adoration during most of the academic year, but I didn't often take advantage of it. Before we had Benedict, Alison and I did have a regular adoration shift on Friday nights, but since moving to Virginia, I've only been to our Parish's perpetual Adoration a handful of times. For such an amazing experience, I really ought to go more often.Read Article

The Art of Compromise

We live in a large society, and so the idea that we can have things exactly the way we want them is unrealistic. Even in our own marriages and families, when there are two decision makers, neither spouse can have complete control over how the household is run. We need to become experts in compromise, an all but lost art in a society that loves drama and rewards polarization. We achieve more by working together than by remaining intransigent.Read Article

Be Your Child's Rock

A father's role in his children's lives is unique. I've written before about how fathers are irreplaceable, but today I want to focus on how you're a rock for your children. We all have needs. We want to feel emotionally secure and safe. Kids are no different. As fathers, our children depend on us to help them meet that feeling of safety.Read Article

A Society that Doesn't Read

We live in a society that doesn't read. In 2013 a quarter of Americans didn’t read a single book. Ouch. What a waste. (Author’s Note: It’s interesting that the median number of books was age and community agnostic, but not income agnostic!)Read Article

The Church Isn't A Democracy

The reporting and commenting on the Church these days is insufferable. I skip over most articles, including those in the Wall Street Journal because they completely miss the mark. Even worse, although some articles contain bits of good information, reading them as if I wasn't Catholic, I can see how ambiguity of phrasing could give the complete wrong impression of the Church.Read Article

The Worst Time to Discern

The absolute worst time to make a discernment is when you're mired in sin. Yet, we do it all the time. Discernment isn't just about the meta-question of what you're called to do with your life. It's about prayerfully listening to what God is trying to tell you in the decisions of your life. Nothing could be more disruptive in the discernment process than habitual sin.Read Article

The Gift of A Child's Life

Recently I've been looking back at old videos of Benedict. Man that kid was fat. What also strikes me is that knowing him today, I can totally see him and his personality in these videos. He shows the same curiosity, cheerfulness, and desire to be around people as he displays in his actions today. I'm so glad that we've captured many of those moments so that he'll have them to enjoy later in life.Read Article

The Lynchpin of Education

Throughout the course of my education, I have had hundreds of teachers. I can say that, to the best of my recollection, only one didn't have passion. I had ineffective teachers, I had "bad" teachers, but nearly all of them had an intense passion for their careers, for their vocations. This deep desire to do well for their students is a unique asset in the teaching profession.Read Article

The Surprises of Being A Stay-At-Home Parent

Now that I've been a full-time caregiver to Benedict (read "stay-at-home parent") for just over a year, I can admit that it's nothing like what I thought. Part of this reality is of my own choosing and the other part is unexpected reality. Our house is too small and Benedict's needs are too limited right now for my duties to expand to take up my entire day. I can clean the house in an hour and Benedict is still napping for 4-6 hours during the day. Were I not working, the rest of my hours awake would just be play time for me. Here's what I've learned.Read Article

Enough About Sex Already

I have zero interest in your sexual preferences. Frankly, it's none of my business. Yet, we’ve become so fixated on everyone's sexual preferences that it's spilled beyond relationships into jobs, culture, and every other facet of our shared community life. Sex is an intensely interpersonal act that has two aims: to emotionally bind spouses more closely and to create children. The only time I'm interested in hearing about your sexual preferences is in the context of a baby announcement.Read Article

Go Read the Documents

If you have a question about what the Church teaches, just go read the documents. Start with the Catechism and then go and read supporting documents.Read Article

Incredible Martyrs

I'm encouraged by the stories of martyrs. Their fortitude in the face of unimaginable pain and sufferings is beyond inspiring. Truly their martyrdoms were events full of grace, and yet, their pain was very real. It's doubtful that there's really ever been a time in the Church's history when Her members weren't being killed in hatred of the faith somewhere in the World.Read Article

Finding Wholesome Programming

Lately I've been really into movies, books, and TV shows based on real life Cold War era spies. History fascinates me. Some of the stories are so crazy and unbelievable that they're more entertaining than any story that a writer could make up. I think that's why I'm so drawn to spy storylines.Read Article

Fear of Prison

I wasn't planning on revealing my biggest fear in life before an international radio audience, but I did. Earlier this summer, I was part of an in-studio audience on SiriusXM's The Catholic Guy Show with Lino Rulli and was invited up to the microphone. One thing led to another, and I confessed my fear of going to prison.Read Article

Where Do You Send Your Thoughts?

In a widely circulated Matthew Kelley talk, Matthew made the point that where you send your thoughts, your actions will follow. His point was that if you spend your time contemplating the things of God, your life will improve; if you spend your time contemplating sinful things, you will stay trapped in sin.Read Article

Be Courageous

When we think about courage, we often think about people overcoming all odds to accomplish something great. It may be an athlete reaching a new human speed record, a member of the Armed Services using their body as a shield against a grenade, or even someone who was told that they'd never walk again getting up and taking independent steps. We play up courage to a heroic level, one that's divorced from daily life, and certainly from our own life. We've got this all wrong.Read Article

Break Your Phone Addiction

Alison and I are both up for phone upgrades this month. It was with great glee that I watched the Apple September media event, knowing that I'd soon integrate this new technology into my workflow. Technology drives my work here at Catholic Husband and my work designing websites; its purpose is to make my life easier, better. There are apps to measure fitness, track chronic conditions, share news, connect with the world, check the weather, manage my business, and more. Yet, lately I’ve been feeling that my phone is starting to be more of a hinderance than a help.Read Article

The Politics of Abortion

Public opinion polls should not inform morality. Yet, as we enter into another long and grueling national election cycle, we're already starting to experience just that. Politicians are taking stands on issues that aren't aligned with their true beliefs, but rather they’re taking stands that the polls tell them are palatable to the electorate. Perhaps no issue speaks more clearly to this reality than abortion.Read Article

The Sign of the Cross

"In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Several times a day, we open and close our prayers with the Sign of the Cross. As one of the shortest and most frequently prayed prayers in Christendom, this humble prayer gets little attention. Yet, few combinations of words can pack such a powerful kick in such a small package.Read Article

The Forgiving and Perfecting Eucharist

It’s easy to fatigue on Catholic cliches. We use them ad nasaum until something beautiful and profound becomes trite. The thing is, while I'm tired of them, I recognize that we need these platitudes. Our faith has truths that surpass our understanding and these turns of phrase bring the mysteries of our faith within our grasp. Although they may be common to us now, they carry within them the beauty of our Catholic faith.Read Article

The Gift of Private Confession

I'm thankful for private confession. If I had to confess my sins publicly, in front of my own community, I probably wouldn't seek out God's mercy. Instead, the Sacrament draws me in. I can go to God directly, ask for His forgiveness, and gain the graces to do better. It respects my dignity and allows me to work through my weaknesses without bearing a heavy burden of public shame. We're lucky to have private confession!Read Article

Keep the Fires Burning

As Catholics, there are many things that we too easily take for granted. Our regular encounters with the Risen Christ begin to wash over us as something totally commonplace. Sunday Mass, the cornerstone of our week, is just another appointment on our calendar. Many of us struggle to keep the flame of faith alive.Read Article

The Speed of A Year

The speed of time never ceases to amaze me. It seems like every time I blink a day, week, month, season, or year is over. Perhaps no season travels faster than Summer. When it comes to big units of time (months, years), I seem to be intentional in how I spend my time, but in the days and hours, I tend to be more carefree. If I want to make those months and years mean something, I need to keep focused and live each day with purpose.Read Article

Believe in Yourself

There's a direct correlation between how successful you are and how diligently you work. The hardest workers get promoted the fastest, get the biggest raises, and are given the most freedom. You can be the top performer in your company if you show up every day and bring your A game.Read Article

The Value of Sharing

The world is an incredibly noisy place, even more so now that the Internet gives a bullhorn to anyone who wants one. There’s a great richness in this open flow of communication. We now get to hear the stories, voices, and viewpoints of a whole range of people that we wouldn't get to hear otherwise. A quick glance at your Facebook news feed and you'll find a plethora of stories liked or commented on by your friends. In this noisy world, we're foragers for each other.Read Article

Cherish Your Father

Benedict has started behaving like a two year old just a few months early. He’s usually loads of fun, but he can also test my patience. He'll be cute and cuddly at one moment and melting down in the next. It's all part of the deal when it comes to being a father. This experience of fatherhood has helped me to better recognize a great blessing that I had growing up and still have today: a great dad.Read Article

A Culture that Respects Life

We find ourselves, yet again, as Americans doing some serious soul-searching after last week's incident of gun violence. Two young journalists gunned down on live TV in a chilling video clip that's been seen by millions the world over. The assailant, hours later, taking his own life.Read Article

Do the Essentials

Daily schedules fluctuate a lot. Between work, appointments, shopping, and after-school activities, every day looks a little different. In fact, this fluctuation isn’t restricted to day by day comparison. In the evening, you may find that your day ended up looking remarkably different than it did when it started. These fluctuations mean that things that you planned on doing may not have gotten done. When I'm pressed for time, I often cut my essentials - reading, prayer, and exercise. This approach is all wrong. Instead of seeking to save a few minutes from the things that you consider to be essential each day, look instead at your to-do list and defer a few tasks for another time.Read Article

Listen to Your Body

I hate to admit it, but I'm losing ground to my migraines. Since they started in 2006, we've had an on again, off again relationship. At times, they have more control over my life than I do. At other times, they are virtually nonexistent. I've been doing all of the right things: solid sleep schedule, good eating, regular exercise, and plenty of water. Yet, from time to time, I get out of orbit. I've been in denial about my need for corrective treatment until two things happened. I started keeping a diary, as I should've the whole time, and frankly, the diary doesn't lie. Second, I became irritated that my daily choices had to conform to a rigorous daily regimen of preventative habits. Most days, it's fine, but what about when I'm on vacation and I want to sleep in or stay up late?Read Article

The Two Most Important Times of Day

There are two critical times of interaction with your wife each day. They are the times are when you say goodbye in the morning and hello in the evening. While both take only moments, I consider them to be real tone-setters for the day.Read Article

Cutting Your Schedule

It's said that the worst boss that you'll ever work for is yourself. At one time or another, you may take on a side job in addition to the work at your main employer. When you take on additional work, there's little opportunity for you to take on additional hours in the day. Instead, hours have to be reallocated from activities such as watching TV, surfing the Internet, or sleep. At the same time, a fast paced life is kind of fun. The American Dream compels us to get out of bed at 5am and stay up late into the night toiling so that we can have it all.Read Article

Coping with Loss

It's said that we tend to experience God in times of tribulation more than in our daily life. People who have no trials, sorrows, or sufferings struggle to know God because human instinct says that there's no need of God when all is well. The mark of a saint is one who relies on God in all seasons of life, both good and bad. At one time or another, we'll all experience loss and in those times, we should both pray and celebrate lifeRead Article

Behind Every Great Warrior is A Great Family

We owe a great debt to our current military members and to all veterans who’ve honorably served. While it's plainly evident that their sacrifice, courage, and willingness to serve deserves to be recognized, we ought not overlook those people who stand right behind them: their families. Families of military members and Gold Star families, those who's loved one died in the line of duty, sacrifice every day right alongside service members. Let's not forget those who stand behind and in support of our warriors.Read Article

Vacations without Your Kids

Our children's dependance on us is both proper and something that needs to be managed. It’s a wonderful thing that our children rely on us for their basic needs, for guidance, and for instruction. At the same time, this 24 hour job we call parenting is incredibly exhausting. What parent doesn't enjoy the peace and quiet that only the post-bedtime hours can bring? If we're not careful, the exhaustion of raising children can adversely impact the most important relationship in our lives: our marriage.Read Article

How to Read the News

Online news is both a blessing and a curse. You can get up-to-the minute updates, but oftentimes the initial reporting is wrong. You can read stories from across the country and around the world, yet the stories are usually filtered depending on the bias of a particular news organization. Perhaps the worst part about online news sources is that the vast, vast majority of content is simply republished content from another source.Read Article

Persistance vs. Overwork

As I sit down to write this post, I'm surrounded my mountains of stuff. My office is a complete wreck and frankly, I don't work well unless my surroundings are clean. It's been a very crazy few days between flying, being sick, and chasing Benedict all while maintaining a household. I've been seeking a greater balance in my life that involves prayer time, reading time, play time, down time, cleaning time, family time, and exercise time, all of which take away potential work time. Whether you're self-employed, work from home, have a scheduled job, or are a stay-at-home parent, we all face this great balancing act. The sticky part is determining what qualifies as persistence and what qualifies as overwork.Read Article

Regroup Weekly

I clean our house every Saturday, both inside and out. The laundry is done, the floor is vacuumed, the car is washed, the bathrooms are cleaned, and the lawn is mowed. Saturday evening is a great time of relaxation for me because everything is in its place. By the following Friday, life has happened and the house needs cleaning again. I maintain this weekly schedule because at some point during the week, everything goes off the tracks and I need a reset.Read Article

Resolve Conflicts

Far too many of us carry around burdens that we don't have to endure. Mistakes from the past haunt our daily lives and direct our actions. The guilt remains because, although time has passed since the incident, it remains unresolved. In the spiritual life, we have the Sacrament of Confession. The Sacrament is a time to talk it out, and receive forgiveness for our past mistakes. In our interpersonal lives, we need to make amends. Don't let your mistakes be enduring.Read Article

Fighting Financial Fatigue

Perhaps the most difficult struggle that any of us face in reaching our financial goals is the inevitable long journey it takes to reach them. Most of us have goals that are far in the future, like buying our own home, getting out of debt, or retiring in comfort. When we strive to reach a goal that we've never before experienced, it can be easy to fatigue on the goal, and to start losing ground. It's in those moments that your resolve is truly tested.Read Article

Know Your Story

In the not too distant past, I didn't care much about my family's genealogy. I knew about my parents and my grandparents, and that was sufficient for me. This viewpoint was completely the opposite of Alison's, which espoused the joy and adventure of both learning about your history and then going to visit those places. While studying abroad, she took a few trips to European ancestral hometowns and got a small taste of what her ancestors saw and did. For whatever reason, last year, I became intensely interested in my family’s story and embarked on a family genealogy project to learn all about my family tree. I've concluded that by understanding your family's story, you can better understand yourself.Read Article

Walking for Health

Earlier this year, as the temperatures began to rise and Spring poked its head out, Benedict and I started seeing more and more residents along our street spending time outside. Some were just sitting on their porches, others were doing yard work, and still others were playing with their kids. More than a few came up and talked to us, for the first time, and noted how much they enjoyed seeing us out and about, even in the bitter cold winter months. As it turns out, Benedict and I are well known in our neighborhood.Read Article

How to Move Past the Worst Mistakes

Perhaps the most painful mistakes you or I will ever make will involve money. Bad buying decisions, late payments, or even bouncing a check are all extremely embarrassing life events. We all struggle to let go of dumb money mistakes that we’ve made in the past. Yet, your mistake might not even be an external money mistake. Sometimes money mistakes involve only your family, like going over budget on something. Even though it only involves your family, it’s still embarrassing. It's incredibly important that you be able to forgive yourself and to forgive your wife for money errors.Read Article

How to Help Your Wife Live Her Dreams

Alison has been accepted into a medical Natural Family Planning course later this year. I'm not sure how long this has been a dream of hers, but a year into her medical career, I know that she's eager to live this dream. It's important that while you're chasing your dreams, you ensure that you're doing all that you can to support your wife's. After all, she supports you in everything that you do.Read Article

Stop Sin in its Tracks

In aviation, all mishaps, crashes, and fatalities are the result of a chain reaction of decisions. Each link in the chain contributes to the overall accident, and yet, breaking a single link is all that would have been required to avert disaster. The same is true in our spiritual lives. Sin doesn't just happen. Rather, it's the culmination of bad decision making and missed opportunities to choose a different outcome.Read Article

Work Needs A Finish Line

The line between on the clock and off the clock has been blurred beyond recognition. Today's workforce is finding it increasingly difficult to stop working. Ever. We work at home in the evening, in the morning before work hours begin, and even, sadly, on vacation. I've allocated myself 7 hours during the day for work and, to be completely honest, I struggle to stop working even then. When I lay my head down in the evening, I'm exhausted from a day full of work and chasing Benedict.Read Article

Don't Let Vice Kill You

You're likely a pretty good person. You go about your life doing the right thing every day. You have responsibilities to your wife and your family, and you do them admirably. You're an above average husband and a dedicated father. This is the image the that World sees, and it's the one that you hope you're presenting. Your interior life, your spiritual life, is probably somewhere around average, though it does have one thing weighing it down. It's a common struggle that we all share. We have a vice, a singular sin is holding us back, but we can't seem to shake it. I call it our "principal sin."Read Article

The Beauty Around You

Spring is my favorite season. It's used to be Fall because I absolutely love cold, grey, steely October days. Yet, I'm a person who loves hope, promised, and newness, so therefore Spring must take the crown. Perhaps my favorite part about Spring is getting Spring Fever. On the first warm day of the season, I immediately want to get outside, wash the car, and pull out all of my summer clothes. While the nice weather is usually gone the following day, the sentiment is right. Get out of your house and enjoy being outside!Read Article

Are You Taking A Pay Cut?

If you work for an employer that offers a benefits package as a part of your compensation, I strongly encourage you to make sure that you fully understand all that is being furnished to you. Alison's upcoming NFP certification course, for example, qualifies under her employer's tuition reimbursement program, meaning, essentially, that she's gaining several thousand extra dollars in compensation this year. Your employer furnishes benefits in exchange for a lower overall salary, so when you let your benefits sit unused, you're essentially taking a pay cut!Read Article

How to Spend More Time with Your Wife

Earlier this year, during one of Alison's many rotations, she was assigned to a hospital about 45 minutes away. Her shift was from 7am - 7pm daily with the exception of Wednesday, meaning that her schedule and Benedict's schedule aligned very poorly. In fact, during the week, with the exception of Wednesday and the weekend, she often wouldn't see him at all. To help alleviate the loss that all three of us felt, twice during the month Benedict and I drove her to work and then went on an adventure.Read Article

Reinforce Family Values

One of the most difficult challenges that parenting presents is passing on family values. If you value health, then don't give your kids three scoops of ice cream for dessert every night. If you value community, share a meal around the table at least once a day. Engage in family activities that reinforce family identity, values, and mutual growth.Read Article

The Secret to Winning Your Morning

The past six months have been a time of great change in my daily routine. With Benedict now walking and the weather starting to get nice outside, everything about my routine has evolved. I'm thankful to finally be able to walk in the morning again and also that the pace of my work is picking up. All of these changes have had a significant impact on how I plan out my day, although Benedict ultimately holds a veto over the schedule. Essentially, I've found that getting my morning started with just the right mix of prayer, work, and family gives me the best chance of feeling satisfied when I lay my head down at night.Read Article

One Trick to Love Your House More

To say that our house has a yard would be a stretch. We have a patch of land next to our house that contains nothing but weeds. Certainly there's a wide variety of weeds, and they're all green, but I don't think I've been able to spot a single blade of grass anywhere near our house. Yet, now that we have a "yard," I've been very keen to take care of the exterior appearance of our home. Earlier this Spring, Alison and I spent almost an entire day outside, trimming hedges, putting down mulch, and planting all sorts of flowers and vegetables. As a point of pride, we take care of our home's exterior.Read Article

If You Don't Understand, Do Nothing

I'm very involved in the healthcare decisions of my family. I always ask lots of clarifying questions and want to make sure that I fully understand the recommendations, treatments, and procedures that anyone in my household will undergo. Thankfully, I have Alison as a great resource to answer any question I may have after an appointment. Yet, even though she is a qualified physician, I want to make sure that I understand everything. Read Article

Traveling Parents

Today I want to put out a challenge to travelers everywhere: be kind to parents with young children.Read Article

Try A Different Mass

We all have personal preferences. Our personality usually shows forth when we choose to act on those preferences. For example, when it comes to loading the dishwasher, I have a very specific way that I like to have things organized. It's partly because I like order and partly because I’m incredibly inefficient when I don’t load as I normally do. Our personal preferences even show forth at Mass. Each Mass has its own culture, so if you don't like the atmosphere at your Mass, try a different one.Read Article

Reset Occasionally

I keep rigorous track of my goals throughout the year. I've mentioned before that I use the HabitList app on my phone in order to keep tabs on how well I'm doing. HabitList uses a method called streaking in which the user attempts to repeat the same task for consecutive days with the goal of achieving the longest streak of days. After extended periods of failure and defeat, however, streaking can work against me. If I see that it's been a while since I've done a particular task, then I'm less inclined to do it. I fall victim to "one more day” thinking, in which it doesn’t matter if I skip today, because I can always do it tomorrow. Sometimes in life, and especially in the pursuit of a goal, it's ok to reset the clock.Read Article

Open Wide the Doors

Over the Memorial Day Weekend, Alison and I didn't have much going on. She had to work on Saturday and we didn't have any plans to go anywhere or do anything on either Sunday or Monday. I was in the mood to have some people over, so we invited my parents and one of Alison's colleagues over for a cookout. The weather was scorchingly hot, but we ended up with a delicious meal of hamburgers, chips, and key lime bars. Alison and I do occasionally entertain friends, usually about one hangout every other month. Our Memorial Day gathering reminded me that entertaining friends is a lot of fun and that we should be doing it more often.Read Article

Kids Are Not A Burden

Benedict has been sleeping less lately, meaning that he requires more entertainment during the day. He's mostly satisfied if I'm at least in the same room as him, but he won't let me work at the nook that we have in the family room without him sitting on my lap. As his behaviors evolve, I have less time to get work done. While some may view it as an inconvenience, I don't. It simply means I need to be more productive while he sleeps, and ensure that I'm getting up at 5am so I can get everything done.Read Article

Plan A Sunday Adventure

While Alison and I moved to Virginia a little over a year ago, it wasn't until a few weeks ago that we actually did some serious exploring in our town. The gorgeous weather enticed us to go on a Sunday drive. These drives have largely fallen out of favor among American families since the rise of gas prices over the past decade. We drove around and discovered a huge sports complex, some really nice housing, and discovered that our town has an unbelievable number of churches. Sunday drives are about family, adventure, and most of all, relaxation. We need to rediscover that lost art.Read Article

A Place for Everything

I love living in a clean house. There’s something freeing about having wide open spaces with everything in its place. We all ensure that our homes are clean before we entertain or have guests over, but in the in-between times it’s often difficult for us to keep our houses completely clear of clutter. It just seems like cleaning ends up ranking pretty low on our to do lists during the week. One strategy that I’ve found to be particularly effective for cleaning is instead of setting things down, I put them away.Read Article

Small Blessings Lead You

God's plan for your life is multidimensional. Thousands of small events, shifts, and changes of plans lead you to the exact right spot, at the exact right moment for you to do what you were made to do. I grew up all around the world, and it took some pretty big roadblocks to divert me to Franciscan University where I met Alison. The rest is history. Had Benedict not come along two years ago, I'd probably still be at the non-profit, working a job that I didn't absolutely love, and held back from realizing my true potential. Yet, all of these small blessings, though some were challenging to accept at the time, have brought me here, where I belong.Read Article

Cousin Time

Earlier this Spring, I took Benedict to my aunt's house for a play date. My aunt lives about 90 minutes away from us and three of her four children were home at the time. My cousins range in age from 16 to 23 and I've always been close to them. Benedict had an absolute ball stalking their cat, watching their dogs, exploring a new house, and playing with his cousins. The day was great for me too, and it was a great reminder to make time to play and have fun with your extended family.Read Article

Is Your Wife Your Only Friend?

Admittedly, this is going to be a bit of an awkward post for me. While I wish I was living out the principles that I'm going to cover, I'm really not. You see, as men, we need really great guy friends. Certainly your wife is your best friend and yet, she can't be your only friend. We need people around us to help us be better men, and who better to challenge us than friends who struggle with the exact same things that we struggle with? By cultivating great relationships with a few great guys, you can build a support network and grow as a man.Read Article

Fighting Weight

Confession: I've let myself go. Since the beginning of the year, I've gained 15 lbs. Now, that's not how that's supposed to work. The weather is nicer, I should be more active. Yet, here I am. I've been lazy about my intake and even lazier about my output. For a while now, I've surrendered on my weight. I consider my condition to be temporary, but if I don't get my head in the game, it'll become permanent! The truth is, I'm having a hard time getting motivated.Read Article

Do the Right Thing

I once had a boss who told me that it's never too late to do the right thing. Oftentimes when we realized that we've made a mistake, our first reaction is to attempt to shift the blame or cover it up. We're usually not that successful and a small mistake grows into a big problem. Our anxiety levels rise and things spiral out of control. Instead of procrastinating, when you realize that you've made a mistake, just fix it.Read Article

Be A Brave Parent

Most days, I'm surprised that I'm a father. Certainly Benedict has been in my life for nearly two years, yet actually being in these shoes, it's still quite shocking. I know that the challenge of parenthood is going to be the biggest one that I face, and I know that it evolves every single day as he grows. I'm learning all that I can so that I can help Benedict be a man, with a clean heart and a free conscience.Read Article

Dress Up for Mass

Growing up, my family always dressed up for Mass. Though I recognize how expensive it must've been for my parents to dress three growing kids in nice clothes for Church, my brother and I always had on slacks and occasionally a blazer while my sister wore nice dresses. These days, Sunday is just about the only day during the week when I dress up. As my small business has me mostly doing web design for clients during the week, I'm typically wearing a graphic t-shirt and some plaid shorts. There's something really nice about Sunday morning putting on a suit, tie, and some nice shoes.Read Article

Pride and Money Mistakes

Money just might be the most personal thing in the world. Almost no other topic causes people to become defensive so quickly. After graduating from college, I went overboard and maxed out several credit cards. It was a big mistake and one that set me back two years in my financial plan. When I realized my mistake, with the help of those around me, I found a plan and worked my way back out. Money and pride are closely linked together and they're a deadly duo. We make mistakes, but pride compounds the problem. We need to take a few steps to help keep our money in check.Read Article

The Joy of Giving

Earlier this year, while at the March for Life, Alison and I were approached by a man selling official event hats. Ordinarily, I don't bother buying branded merchandise from events, but this time, I did. He told me that the proceeds went to help a particular charity that provided housing and job training to the homeless. Since the hats were clearly high quality and bore the official logo of the March, I immediately reached for my wallet and bought two. The thing is, giving your money to help others is the most fun that you'll ever have.Read Article

Let Go of Past Hurts

I'm a grudge-holder. I don't do it for all things, but when a particular relational infraction occurs, if it's offensive enough, I'll hold on to it for a very long time. It's not the best system in the world and it certainly adds stress to my life because grudges keep coming up in my mind resulting in me reliving the offending action. The problem with holding on to past hurts is not just that we can't do anything about them today, but also that it makes us a prisoner of the past.Read Article

Celebrate Life

One of the great tragedies of our modern era is our misunderstanding of the value of children. For a wide range of reasons, people tend to hold a very pessimistic and self-centered view on children. This contraceptive mindset has brought us to a very sad place where people miss out on the absolute joys of raising children.Read Article

Be Neighborly

I have a terrible track record of being neighborly. In the five years since moving out on my own, I've really only been friendly with one neighbor. It actually makes me a bit sad because having great neighbors is one of the best parts of the communal living experience. People looking after each other, enjoying each other's company, and sharing life together can enhance the lives of everyone involved. Perhaps I'll find that neighborly spirit when Alison and I buy our first home in a few years. Regardless of where we live, we all need to reclaim a strong sense of community in our neighborhoods.Read Article

Endure Misery

Life is full of a range of emotions. There are days when we're over the moon and others when we're down in the dumps. There are events that lift our spirits and others that drag us to dark places. While we're sure to have periods of great joy and fulfillment, we'll also have prolonged periods of deep misery. We seem to easily acknowledge that our good feelings are temporary, yet we fail to do the same to bad feelings. Misery is temporary.Read Article

The Best Thing About Permanence

Marriage is designed to last. While that's a simple statement, the implausibility of the construct makes it an enigma. How can two completely different adults, with completely different customs, traditions, and rearing, come together in their 20s or 30s and build an entirely new family that not only survives a 50 or 60 year marriage, but thrives and endures after the couple's death? There is but one lynchpin in the whole system that keeps this complex arrangement together: permanence.Read Article

Fighting Impatience

Several times a week, I fail to reach the high Catholic Husband standard. Being the husband that I was made to be is indeed a very high bar and one that's only achievable through diligence, focus, and determination. Many times throughout the week I'll be working on some project and Alison will ask something of me. It's usually in those moments that I'm most impatient.Read Article

Embrace Confession

In what I suspect is a universal experience among Catholics, I always get nervous in the Confession line. Despite my years of frequenting the Sacrament, there's always a bit of a pit in my stomach that eases the moment that Confession is over. While this pre-Sacrament anxiety is a momentary discomfort, I’d hate to think that it alone is keeping people away from the grace of Confession. When you consider the power of the Sacrament, what's the worst that could happen?Read Article

Nocturnal Adoration

When I was in Middle School, my Mom and I signed up for the local chapter of the Nocturnal Adoration Society. Once a month, we'd get up and go to a Holy Hour in the early morning hours, I believe it was around 2am. Since then, I've been a member of multiple parishes where 24-hour adoration was offered. There's something really special and still about scheduled Adoration at night.Read Article

Quality Time Takes Time

The difference between men and women becomes abundantly clear when it comes to quality time. For men, quality time is like any other allocated time during the day, a set period of time with specific objectives that, once complete, can be moved on from. Women tend to have a more fluid concept of quality time. It's an undetermined length of time and is fulfilled after a certain level of connectedness is reached. In order to help reconcile these differences, I've concluded that we men just need to concede this point. You can't rush quality time and expect meaningful results.Read Article

Staying on Budget

Going over budget is never a good thing. Not only does it mean that you have to find the money somewhere else, it also means that you’ll experience a setback on your progress towards your current goals. There are two main reasons why people over spend: they didn't budget enough money to start with or they didn't anticipate certain expenses. If you've been diligently budgeting for a while, going over budget probably isn't a result of irresponsibility, it may just be poor planning.Read Article

How to Deal with Traffic

Our National Driver's Education curriculum needs to be overhauled. At least half of the teaching time needs to be devoted to courtesy on the road. We all have a tendency towards road rage and frankly, it’s too often justified. When we get behind the wheel, it's as if an alter-ego takes over and all human decency goes out the window. Many of the delays and traffic jams are caused by people being jerks. One day this Spring, Benedict and I were caught in some heavy traffic on our way to pick up Alison from work. While in a 20-minute traffic jam, I saw a man who had all of his windows down, his headphones in, and smoking a cigar. While I don't approve of the headphones, I do approve of his attitude. He was in traffic, there was no way to avoid it, so he was going to enjoy it.Read Article

Give to the Beggar

Earlier this summer, Alison's family was in town and we made the trek into DC. While there, I was particularly struck with the number of beggars on the street. Certainly there were more on the street than in previous trips due in part to the nicer weather. Yet, for whatever reason, I was particularly struck with compassion. At one point, I saw a man literally eating trash off of the street, right here, in our Nation’s capital. I think that many of us refrain from giving beggars money for a number of reasons, but lately my thinking has been evolving.Read Article

Blazing Your Own Path

I wish I had started my web design business back in college. The free enterprise system and the American Dream are built on the idea that if you can do something or sell something, then the only limiting factor is you. You don't need anyone's permission. Just get out there and get it done. If I had started years ago, I'd be in a very different place right now. Yet, I'm not going to spend much time dwelling on those missed opportunities. Instead, I'm going to blaze a path forward.Read Article

Be Emotionally Present

Growing up, one of the staples of my day happened just before bed. As I lay in bed, my dad would come into my room and we'd have a "goodnight talk." These few minutes just before I fell asleep would be full of conversation, jokes, and inevitably, some tickling. We could discuss whatever I wanted, I could ask any question because it was my time. Perhaps my favorite goodnight talk would be when my dad "made" me into bread, which was essentially a few minutes of tickling, rolling, and general silliness. There's so much talk in parenting circles today about the importance and impact of strong fathers and my dad's goodnight talks could be a case study in effective parenting. Perhaps the most difficult part about his being deployed so often was that we'd miss out on many goodnight talks.Read Article

Deck Life

Our townhouse has a small and very cheap deck built onto the back. It doesn't sit very high off the ground and the wood is in terrible shape. It was built sixteen years ago and hasn't been treated, cleaned, or stained ever. While it's nothing fancy, it’s a decent place to hang out. This year for my birthday, my parents got me several deck items from IKEA and now it's an amazing place to hang out at night! If you have some outdoor space at your home, dress it up a bit and enjoy these summer nights outdoors with great company.Read Article

Drink More Water

Growing up, my Dad drank a lot of water. So much so, that he had a Brita filter in the refrigerator that was for his use only. Of course, that rule only existed because my siblings and I loved cold water, but hated refilling the pitcher. For the longest time, I hated water and lived almost exclusively on milk. Yet, over the past few years, I've reversed course and moved almost exclusively to drinking water. We underestimate the importance of water in our lives, to our detriment.Read Article

Rest vs. Idleness

Idle hands are the Devil's tools, yet God rested on the 7th day. Rest and idleness are very close cousins and it can be difficult to figure out which is which. While rest leads to rejuvenation, idleness leads to a near occasion of sin. Which is which and how do we make sure we're resting and not simply idling?Read Article

Dad the Driver

Family road trips are the stuff of legend. Earlier this year, Alison, Benedict, and I rented a van and made the 12 hour drive to Michigan. It was my first trip driving a minivan since I was in high school and boy was having all of that space nice! In my family, my dad would always drive on our road trips. Now that I'm the dad doing the driving, I know that providing a safe and comfortable trip for my family is a great experience.Read Article

Refuse to Fall

There comes a point in our lives when we have to stand up to sin. Sin, both great and small, has the ability to divert us away from the path that we wish to follow. We're only overcome by sin when we consent to it, and so we must summon the courage to say no more.Read Article

Know Your Mother

I find it easier to understand God's surpassing mercy now that I am a parent. The love that I feel for Benedict, and my deep seated desire to do all that I can to make him comfortable, causes me to do things that are borderline irrational. Although he's not at an age where he appreciates treats, when he's sick I want to go to the store and buy things to bring him comfort. When I get frustrated with his occasional bad behavior, I get over it pretty quickly. All things in my mind are directed toward his care and well-being. This irrational parental love is something that God has for us. Understanding how I can overlook any of Benedict's flaws gives me a small insight into God's ability to forgive our transgressions. He simply has a parent's love.Read Article

Relentless Positive Action

While I was living in Michigan, I was particularly impressed with the Governor's mantra, "Relentless positive action." When he was elected into office, the State was experiencing a very tough downturn and Gov. Snyder seemed to not let any problem get in his way. He wanted to get the State back on track and improve the lives of its citizens. This mantra, combined with a dose of courage, helped him make some pretty remarkable political moves. I really liked the idea of relentless positive action because it demands that we always move forward, no matter how big the challenges are.Read Article

Take Care of Your Home

I've gotten into a bad habit lately, where I ignore most of my daily to-dos for the sake of getting more work done. While it does feel good to make significant progress on writing and web design, it feels miserable living in a home that’s unkempt. I know that it's important to clean and I know how good it feels when everything is in its place, it's just that sometimes I let things get away from me.Read Article

Struggling with Focus

The reality of the finite nature of time is never more apparent than when you're doing something that you really love. For whatever reason, time seems to move particularly fast when you're engaged in a passion project, having a wonderful day, or experiencing some other great thing. For me, I have ideas of things that I'd like to do with Catholic Husband on a daily basis. Each idea has its own unique opportunity and could lead to other great things. However, I know that the key to success in any endeavor is focus. Without focus, nothing can be accomplished.Read Article

Take Advantage of Living Close

Thankfully, for the nearly three years of our marriage, Alison and I have always lived close to family. That wasn’t my experience growing up as my family moved across the country and around the world. While living in Michigan, we were about 2 miles from her parents and now that we’re living in Virginia, we're about 90 minutes from my parents. It's been a new and somewhat strange experience to see my family on a regular basis. In Michigan, we'd often go over to Alison's parents house for dinner and about once a month now, my dad comes over to go to breakfast with Benedict and I. I know that this closeness won't last since life changes will inevitably to spread us apart, but I'm making a conscious effort to take advantage of the close proximity while I can.Read Article

Respect Your Limits

We all have limiting factors in our lives. It may be a health issue, fear, past hurts, or even bad relationships. These limits place constraints on our lives in one way or another. My main limiting factor is migraine headaches. There are jobs that I can't take, stores that I can't shop in, and even schedules that I cannot keep because of them. Most recently, I went to an amusement park with my family and realized that rollercoasters can be a trigger for me. In order to have a solid quality of life, it’s important to respect those limits.Read Article

Humble Yourself

Humility may be the most unpopular virtue. We all love interacting with humble people and we enjoy their company, yet we can't bear being humble ourselves. We want to be strong, bold, brave, and independent, and humility challenges that view. Whenever we face sin or other struggles in our spiritual life, we can overcome them with humility. In fact, the best way to combat sin is by serving your wife.Read Article

Be Ok Being Alone

It used to be that I'd take my regular walks alone. Before Benedict arrived, and even in his first few months of life, while it was bitterly cold outside, I'd spend about an hour a day doing my walk in solitude. I'd have a set path that I'd take and while walking I'd listen to podcasts. It was a great time to clear my head, be alone with my thoughts, and think. I'd encourage you to find some time in your week to clear your head by being alone.Read Article

Never Miss An Opportunity

Throughout any given day, we have plenty of opportunities to do the right thing. Several months ago, I was grocery shopping when I saw a man in a power scooter reaching for a product on the top shelf. A teen employee from the store stood there and watched. I felt compelled to help the man, and so I did. If I hadn't, the man's life wouldn't have been any different. I'm sure there are many times during the day when he has to reach for something that's just out of reach. I'm not a hero, but I'd hope that my small act of kindness made him feel a little more human that day. Every day brings us dozens of opportunities to serve and help our neighbor and I hope that you're taking action on at least a few of them.Read Article

Spiritual Springs

Growing up, my grandparent's house was our vacation destination of choice. My Dad was often stationed on the East Coast, so the trip to south Georgia wasn't a big deal. I can remember one Easter trip in particular. On Easter Sunday, we went to the sunrise Mass held outdoors in a field. The grass was wet with dew, the sun was just barely peaking over the horizon, and there was something incredibly refreshing about the entire experience. Although I was just a little boy, there was something profound and lasting about uniting the celebration of Easter Mass outside with a quintessential Spring morning.Read Article

Get Your Wife to Heaven

If you want to be a really good husband, direct all of your actions towards getting your wife into Heaven. Essentially, that's our mission in the married life. Certainly our love is meant to be shared completely and we're to accept and raise any children that come into existence as a result. Yet, at the end of the day, everything points back to getting your wife into Heaven. What are you doing to accomplish that mission?Read Article

Sin Isn't A Foregone Conclusion

There are many myths surrounding sin. These myths are lies that we've either told ourselves or have entered into our mind in some other way, perhaps by way of a book we read or something we were told. I've believed, for too long, that sin will happen as a foregone conclusion. I'm human, I'm flawed, therefore despite my best efforts, I'll sin. Yet, that isn't entirely true. In fact, the belief that habitual sin is a foregone conclusion is false. One has only to look to the saints to recognize that reality. It isn't an easy place to get to, but it has been proven possible.Read Article

Thank A Vet

Five words are all it takes to make the difference in a service member's life. We see men and women all the time who are either currently serving in our Armed Forces or wearing apparel that tells us that they served. I strongly encourage you to take a moment, stop them, and say, "Thank you for your service."Read Article

Be Great, No Matter What

Last Fall, I wrote about To Kill A Mockingbird and the great scene where Atticus explains to his daughter that he has to have integrity, that he has to be the same person in public as he is in private. I took that scene and applied it to our Catholic identity and how we need to be bold in the public square expressing our faith with the same level of comfort as we do in our homes. In fact, that part of the book had such a profound impact on me that this is the fourth time that I've discussed this great American literary work since March of 2013. Today, I want to turn this lesson back on us again, only this time to discuss the integrity that it takes to be a real man. You need to be the man you ought to be, even when your family isn't around.Read Article

With Your Help

I'm not God. I didn't rise from the dead of my own volition. I didn't save countless souls from Hell, open the gates of Heaven, or defeat sin and death. If I'm not God, and if my track record confirms that reality, why would I ever have an expectation that I'd be able to defeat sin and amend my life of my own accord?Read Article

It's Okay to Rest

Go, go, go, go. The frantic pace of our lives has gotten really out of control. We run all day at work, only to get home and have precious few hours to recharge our batteries before starting a new day. Of course, those hours are often broken up by more work in the form of business emails, finishing up presentations, and work on other projects. We've become a culture that celebrates busyness for the sake of busyness, to the detriment of our wellness. The employee who works all day and goes home to work for several more hours is praised as a performer. The employee who works for 8 hours and then goes home and rests is reprimanded and regarded as lazy. We've forgotten that rest isn't a bad thing, and that it actually allows us to move forward.Read Article

Marriage and Patience

A few weeks ago, Alison and I went to a live radio show. That sentence felt weird to type, but it's true. We traveled into Washington, DC to be a part of the studio audience for "The Catholic Guy Show" with Lino Rulli which can be heard on SiriusXM's The Catholic Channel. During the show, I got up on the guest mic and for reasons unknown to me, admitted to an international listening audience that my biggest struggle in the married life is with patience. The fact is, it's true, although I didn't plan on sharing that part of my life when I got on air. There are plenty of times when I get really impatient at even the smallest inconveniences. Yet, I know that I'll never be happy in my marriage or in my life if I'm impatient.Read Article

Am I Doing Enough?

It's been a year since I started caring for Benedict full time. It's almost hard to believe not just that a year has passed, but how quickly his development has progressed. He's awake more, walking around, and talking to me. I share one of the looming questions that I'm confident every dad asks himself on a daily basis, "Am I doing enough?" Am I doing enough to support and promote his development? Am I doing enough to help him have confidence and trust in himself? Am I doing enough to make sure that he knows that he's safe with me? Am I doing enough to help him know that he's loved? Your kids need love, attention, affection and time from you. If you're giving them those things, then you're doing enough.Read Article

Finding Time to Pray

My daily prayer time is often a moving target. Depending on what the day has in store for me, I could find myself praying at any number of junctures during the day. My goal is to spend about half an hour when I first wake up, 15 minutes or so praying the Rosary with Benedict during our morning play time, meditation for a few minutes at noon, the Divine Mercy Chaplet during the 3 o'clock hour, and finally prayers with my family before bed. It's a pretty rigorous plan, that's for sure, and one that's proven elusive. Yet, when I add the time up, it ends up being about an hour during the day, during which I'll have 14 waking hours. Considering how much time is wasted throughout the day, it's a very reasonable plan. Yet, even with the best laid plan, it's still a daily challenge to actually do it.Read Article

Look to St. Joseph

One of the traditions in my line of Collins men is that each of us share the same middle name, Joseph. It's a tradition that started at least six generations ago, although I'm sure that the further I dig, the more Josephs I'll find. I'm not sure of the particular reasons as to why it was started, but I'm confident it was meant as a prayer for the intercession of St. Joseph. Joseph is a strong and silent character in the Bible, and the more we know about life in Nazareth in his day, the more we grow to respect him.Read Article

Relational Fresh Air

If on your Wedding Day you expected your marriage to be full of positive emotions and the warm fuzzies, you may by now have found yourself disappointed. Emotions are ephemeral, but love is not. When things get a bit chilly in your marriage, sometimes all you need is a bit of relational fresh air. My favorite part about spring is being able to open the windows. After a season of a closed up house, there's something really refreshing about a gentle breeze whipping through the halls of our home. Everything feels better and I feel more motivated to get things done. At times, you need the breath of fresh air in your marriage.Read Article

One Step Closer to Holiness

The battle for self-control is one that's waged daily. We’re constantly being pulled in two directions. On the one hand, we want to do what's right and on the other, we want to do whatever will selfishly benefit us. At times, good is winning and at other times, evil is winning. This is our daily experience. Yet, it's possible, with time and discipline, to do more good than evil. Beating temptation today makes you stronger tomorrow.Read Article

Do Something Amazing This Summer

Believe it or not, the summer months are upon us! Schools will soon be shuttering their doors for the season and temperatures will continue to rise, allowing for a more robust daily outdoor schedule. Summer signals more than just a season of rest, relaxation, and recreation; it signals the midpoint of the year.Read Article

How to Allocate Charitable Dollars

I love the hum of the mail truck. Although we live on a busy street, there's a particular sound that the mail truck makes as it rumbles down the road. It's a low hum combined with short bursts of acceleration as it moves from box to box. Even if I'm in the back of the house, I can usually hear when the mail has arrived in the early afternoon. Several days a week, our mailbox is filled with charitable solicitations. In the Christmas season, it gets even more intense. I don't mind receiving these mailings and we give each request due consideration.Read Article

Sunday Afternoons

I love Sunday afternoons. Many people don't really like them since they start to feel the Monday creep, but for me, I find them to be incredibly relaxing. All of the housework was done on Saturday, leaving the docket completely clear on Sunday. These wonderful afternoons are also the perfect time for some much needed family time.Read Article

You're Irreplaceable

One June evening in 1996, I was almost left without a father. My dad was deployed in Saudi Arabia when the barracks next to his was bombed by terrorists. As I think back on that night, though I was quite young, I'm grateful that my dad was not among the 19 killed in action that night. While our culture doesn't put a premium on the impact that a great dad can have on a kid's life, the fact remains that no one can take your place. You're uniquely and perfectly suited for your wife. Your marriage is the most important relationship in your life, more important than that of yours with your children and more important than your relationship with your parents. Certainly these relationships are in a very close second place, but nothing will ever be as important as your marital relationship. It's the spring from which blessings flow, and no one can take that place of honor.Read Article

Book Review: Marriage

Last December, during one of our regular visits to my parent's house, my dad handed me a book of his to read. This happens from time to time; a book that he got a great deal out of will end up in my temporary library to enjoy. Since I've committed to a habit of regular reading this year, my book queue is able to take on these random offerings.Read Article

Editing Friendships

College is the gilded age of friendships. At no other point in your life are you more fully immersed in your peer group. You live together en masse, you share numerous experiences in the forms of classes, exams, campus jobs, and events. Most importantly, you live in close quarters. Certainly your friend group is of a certain size, but you also have a massive acquaintance circle full of people that you know in connection to your coursework. This acquaintance group isn't one that you necessarily hang out with all the time, but you do greet each other in passing. College is full of social connectedness.Read Article

Confront Fear

One of the more popular topics in the blogosphere lately is fear. More and more, people who've achieved some degree of celebrity have turned the spotlight onto the crippling fear that we all face when we chase our dreams. This light is being used to show that even people who seem to have it all, who are at the top of their game, had to battle it out with their own fears of inadequacy in order to reach their goal. Fear is paralyzing, but often is unfounded.Read Article

3 Ways to Pamper Your Wife this Weekend

Weekends are a great time for some TLC. After a long week, often spent apart, the weekends afford us down time to spend as we please with our family. Hopefully you spend most of the weekend with your wife by working together on chores and projects, having a date night, or even something as simple as being in the same room together. The weekend is also a great opportunity to pamper your wife.Read Article

At Home in Church

I try to make it to Confession at least once a month and typically end up making it about twice per month. With the long lines at my parish, I have lots of time to think and meditate while I wait for my turn to receive absolution and a fresh start. I usually go on Saturday mornings when Confessions are heard right after the morning Mass. While in line, I'm able to observe fellow parishioners and their families soak up the replenishment that God's house offers. I feel a real sense of peace waiting in that line, one that reminds me that God's house is my home.Read Article

Managing Notifications

A few weeks ago, I noticed a drop in my productivity. I took a few days to consider the root cause of why I wasn't being as productive as I thought I should be. I have anywhere between four and eight hours a day when Benedict is napping in which to work and take care of other household tasks. In the past, I'd been able to eek out five to six hours of work without any problems, the rest of the time dedicated to reading, cleaning, or other tasks that popped up. Yet, lately, I'd been having a real problem getting to even just three hours of work. Then it hit me, I was being constantly derailed by notifications on my phone.Read Article

Valentine's Day isn't Over

I made a huge mistake last year. In honor of Alison's birthday, I coordinated among our family to give her an awesome present: her own coffee bar. She was getting ready to begin practicing medicine and I knew two things: Alison loves coffee and physicians need coffee. We got her an espresso machine, a wall-mounted coffee bar, coffee, and everything else that she'd need to have her very own, very fun coffee bar. Then I made a bonehead move. The excitement and anticipation overwhelmed me and I had her open all of her presents before her birthday. Her big day came, and there was nothing left. Whomp.Read Article

Be Aware of Your Example

One of the books that I've read this year was Eat Mor Chikin: Inspire More People by Truett Cathy. The book was Truett's way of sharing his thoughts on business, how he built Chick-fil-a into a national brand, and how he treats people. In the book, Truett tells a story about a man who sat down next to him on a plane and inquired about how to keep his teenage kids on the straight and narrow. While he was listening to Truett, he ordered a beer. Truett asked if he drank beer in front of his kids and intimated the importance of the example set by this gentleman for his children.Read Article

The Burden of Freedom

Freedom is a wonderful thing. Since you're reading this, you're one of the lucky ones who has the freedom to use the Internet. You have the freedom to read uncensored content. You have the freedom to determine the course of your life. As Catholics, we also have freedom. We can choose the right or the wrong. We can do good or we can do evil. Freedom, in all of its glory, is morally neutral. In fact, freedom is a curse if you can't control yourself.Read Article

For Granted

In life, it becomes incredibly easy to take things for granted. Small joys and simple pleasures tend to melt into the background after their initial newness fades. Something as wonderfully cute as a snoring baby can amount to little if we don't consciously take a moment to enjoy it.Read Article

Peace Starts At Home

When we were younger, my brother and I fought. A lot. This was to the benefit of my sister, since our punishment was typically to work together cleaning the kitchen, meaning she had months of practically no kitchen cleaning chores. I remember, after one disagreement, my dad telling us, "If we can't have peace at home, how can we expect to have peace in the world?" Following the news of the conflict in the Ukraine makes me grateful to be an American. I'm grateful that we have safety and security in our own homes and neighborhoods and don't go to sleep at night afraid that our house will accidentally be shelled by artillery.Read Article

Humility in Marriage

Marriage is unlike anything else in our world. It's a relationship that cannot be fully comprehended without entering into one, and it's many layers make it a lifetime effort of discovery. As is normal for human behavior, we try to compare marriage to a relationship that we do understand, bending it to fit into a reality that we can comprehend. The result is error, confusion, and misunderstanding. We often treat marriage like a business transaction, but marriage isn't a joint venture or partnership.Read Article

Preprare for Adventure

I don't know where I'll be living in two years. In fact, I can only think of one other time in my life when I lived in a house for more than two years, and that was my Junior and Senior years of high school. During college I was only living at home part of the year, meaning that my current stint in Virginia will be the longest I've ever lived in one place. As of right now, Alison and I have no idea where we'll move when she graduates from residency, but I know it'll be an adventure.Read Article

Praying for Kids Vocations

A few weeks ago, Alison called me on her way home from the hospital. She was listening to Catholic radio and the host had suggested that parents pray a monthly novena for their children's vocations. I instantly thought of the struggles in discerning my own vocation and the benefit that 18 years of constant prayer could gain. We shepherd our children's lives, why not pray for their vocations?Read Article

Giving All of You

Earlier this year, Mark Hart from Life Teen was on Lino Rulli's The Catholic Guy Show right after Super Bowl Sunday. Mark, an avid sports fan, was discussing how viewing the Super Bowl has changed in the years since he became a father. Predictably, he spent little time actually watching the game this year. Instead, he was helping his wife and interacting with his kids. Mark's story perfectly illustrates how marriage requires both a full commitment and a willingness to make your wife and family the priority in your life.Read Article

Integrate with Your In-Laws

One of the biggest changes for any newly married couple is feeling out the relationship with your in-laws. In-laws get a bad rap, some rightfully so. However, for the most part, your in-laws are simply a new family that you're now a part of. It can certainly be awkward, after all, they've spent a lifetime together and have a vast trove of inside jokes and shared memories. Although there can be some awkward moments, the best approach is to fully integrate with your spouse's family. Don't settle for being an outsider.Read Article

Complex Sexual Histories

Recently, I've been considering the role of men in the family life. It's a complex issue, and one that no longer has consensus among the masses. In a sense, we've forgotten how men should behave and interact with their families. There are many men who want to be good husbands and fathers, but these men find few clues as to how to do it properly. There are also many men who wish to pursue their own desires before being the husband and father that they ought to be, and there are few societal pressures to push them back in the right direction.Read Article

Stop Joking About Marriage

A few weeks ago, I was getting my hair cut. The barber asked what I did, and I told him that I’m a writer and that I write about Christian marriage. The resulting conversation was about his experience of the married life and the times when he really screwed up. I enjoyed our conversation, but I was a bit uncomfortable with the jokes that he was sharing. I love humor and use it in almost every situation, but, in my opinion, jokes about marriage tend to be more damaging than funny.Read Article

Nip Problems in the Bud

We all have a bit of a flair for the dramatic. While we may despise personal conflict, we’re a bit partial to the excitement and the unknown that the drama incites. There are endless reality TV shows based solely on the generation of drama. Drama is entertaining.Read Article

Even Jesus was Tempted

I hate temptation. It's always so exciting and alluring, especially if I give it any attention at all. All temptation needs is a moment of consideration and, like a fish going after the bait, it's got me hooked. Not every fish ends up in the boat, however. We have innumerable chances to fight back and break the line before it's too late. In those times, it can be helpful to remind ourselves that even Jesus was tempted.Read Article

Holy Week

As we enter into Holy Week and make our final Easter preparations, I think the spirit of this week presents us with an accurate picture of who we are. The rapidly changing and confusing nature of the events of this week can easily be seen as fitting into our modern world. We've seen stars rise and fall in relatively short amounts of time. We can also see ourselves in the events of this week. Like the Apostles, we cheer for Jesus on Sunday, only to abandon Him on Friday.Read Article

Respect Women

Sex sells, even when it's irrelevant. Watching commercials during the Super Bowl underscores this interesting point. Advertisers and companies use sex to sell things that really have nothing to do with human sexuality, like web hosting or restaurants. We're a sex-crazed people and it needs to stop.Read Article

Invest in Your Kids

Although Benedict is recently beginning to prefer walking to crawling, I've already begun to plan out all of the activities and hobbies that I want to introduce him to. He should learn Spanish and hey, maybe I'll learn with him. He should learn to play the piano or saxophone... I'll do it too! His grandfather and I are both pilots, so was his great grandfather, so he definitely needs to learn how to fly. There are literally endless possibilities and each of them is equally exciting.Read Article

Staring Down Medical Problems

In life, there may be nothing more disruptive than a major medical problem. Whether it's one that you're facing, or one that someone in your family is dealing with, medical problems consume the thoughts and time of those afflicted with them. This dilemma is one that is common in the human experience; despite our best efforts, we will get sick.Read Article

Adult Report Cards

When I was in high school, in my Junior and Senior year, I was introduced to something truly horrible. It was a system called EdLine and it gave my parents direct, realtime access to my teacher's grade books. While I performed well academically, the pressure of constantly knowing one's grade was almost too much. With the press of a button, a bad test grade could ruin an entire weekend. My parents loved it because they had a granular view of my progress and could spot trends.Read Article

The Joy of Serving

In the not too distant past, I engineered my weekly routine to involve cleaning a single room of the house every day. Since I spend almost all of my time at home, I want to have an environment that is clean and well maintained. When there's clutter or mess or dirt I feel impeded in both my energy and my creativity. When all is in order I feel balanced and at peace.Read Article

Intent Matters in Sex

One of the best books on the argument for marriage the way that we understand it is "What is Marriage?: A Man and Woman: A Defense" by Ryan Anderson, Robert George, and Sherif Girgis. I'll review the book in a later post, but in the work, the authors systematically lay out the foundation for the conjugal view of marriage. Namely, that marriage isn't based on emotions, but rather on a mutual desire to express love in such a way that it flows out from the couple and into children. Along the course of the argument, the material touched on some auxiliary issues, including the intent required during sex. Wrongful intent in a sexual relationship, even wrongful intent held by a married person, can reduce sex to a lie or a tool.Read Article

Turn Off the News

Since late last summer, I’ve had a subscription to the Wall Street Journal. It’s my first newspaper subscription, having before gotten the majority of news from websites. I must say, there have been a lot of unexpected difference in the print news as opposed to digital news. I’ve grown to hate 24 hour news networks.Read Article

Two Years of Service

Today is an amazing day! Two years ago today, I pressed the big green button and Catholic Husband went live. Now two years into our 100 year mission, we’re on our 409th blog post, our 10th podcast, our 2nd book and our 1 millionth web design.Read Article

Read to Your Children

A routine is perhaps the greatest tool in the toolbox of parenting. Kids do wonderfully with routines. Not only do they provide consistency, but they give cues to kids about how they should behave. Routines also help parents manage the dozens of tasks that come with caring for and raising children. A routine helps a parent make major decisions once and simply manage them daily.Read Article

The Rise of Divorce

I've recently started working on a family genealogy project. In the past, I hadn't much cared about my family's history beyond my grandparents, but lately I've become fascinated with our family's story. I'm basing all of my research around Benedict as the starting person and am excited about the journey that this is taking me on. While many of the discoveries have been very exciting, I've noticed something else that's rather tragic. In keeping with what I suspect is par for the course today, in the last 115 years, it's nearly impossible to find any branch of my family within two generations that hasn't been touched by divorce.Read Article

When is it Enough?

The lives of the saints are a great mystery to us. How is it that ordinary men and women, both lay and religious, can slip the surly bonds of sin and fall in love with Jesus so deeply that they give up their selfish nature, pick up their cross, and follow Him?Read Article

Read God's Book

Last Fall, Alison, Benedict, and I traveled to my cousin's wedding. While there, I saw one of those ubiquitous Catholic media CD displays in the back of the Church. A talk by Matthew Kelly caught my eye, so I picked up a copy knowing how much my sister enjoys his work. Alison and I listened on the drive home and something really stood out to me as Matthew was talking about what he thought our particular judgement would be like. He mused that God would ask us, "Did you read My book?"Read Article

Drop Everything for Her

When Benedict is in the family room playing, anytime he hears the locks on the front door turning, he'll stop and say, "Mama." This cute response to an all too familiar sound is based on his experience of daily life. In the evening, when Alison comes home from work, soon after hearing that sound, his mother appears in view and he gets very excited. No matter what he's doing or how engaged he is with his current activity, he'll stop, say "Mama" and then crawl to the baby gate, waiting to catch a glimpse of her.Read Article

Missing Alison

Alison's work schedule is, at times, a real challenge for me. On her month of nights, she'd be at home and awake from about noon to 5pm and then gone or asleep for the rest of the day. Some mornings I'd even crawl back into bed for a nap while she was sleeping just so we could be together.Read Article

Idle Hands

I recently watched an interview with a Benedictine monk done by a local TV station out West. They were profiling this monk and his jam-making business that he'd started on the monastery grounds. The reporter walked us through the monk's day, starting with prayers and then going immediately out into the fields to begin working. One of the lines from the story was the monk saying, "Idle hands are the Devil's tools."Read Article

Fight the Creeping Bulge

Winter is hard on me. During the spring, summer, and fall, I'm a regular exerciser. Benedict and I can be seen on our 4 mile circuit almost every day. When winter sets in, we're infrequent, if ever. I don't want to go out in the cold or the snow or on the salty road. Benedict, I'm sure, doesn't appreciate the cold wind on his face. It's usually during the middle of winter that I notice the creeping bulge.Read Article

Be Full of Surprises

A few days before Valentine's Day, my sister texted me asking what my plans were. "Are you going to write Alison a love letter and draw her a bath?" Of course, I responded yes. I also noted how hard it is to surprise Alison because I give away my best ideas on the blog and she edits every single one of them!Read Article

Make Time to Read

There are limitless ways for us to use our free time during the day, but most activities leave us feeling empty. Watching a TV show can be entertaining in the moment, but when the moment has passed, it's plain to see that nothing really impacted you during the previous half hour. The plot may have been captivating and some of the lines may have even elicited laughs during the broadcast. Yet, once the credits start rolling, you're back to your life right where you were before you started watching.Read Article

Play with Your Kids

As I look back on the pictures of Benedict from his first year of life, I'm suddenly very aware of the fact that not too long ago, he couldn't roll over on his own. When we first moved into our townhouse last summer, he could barely crawl. Now, just a few months later, he's standing on his own and taking a few brave steps.Read Article

The World Needs Fathers

We're living in a very confusing time. For whatever reason, we've stopped seeing people as uniquely beautiful, each with something to offer. Domestic violence is alarmingly high, pornography and human trafficking is arguably more prevalent than ever, rates of absentee fathers are through the roof, and marriage is no longer permanent, but stable for as long as each spouse is sufficiently benefited.Read Article

An Undivided Heart

When I was in college, I loved dating. I went on dates with many women, was in a relationship with a few, and married one of them. It's a difficult transition to shift your mindset from one of dating to one of a committed relationship. A marriage, being the lifelong commitment that it is, requires your full, undivided heart.Read Article

Daily Prayer List

We all have many things in our lives that we like to pray for. A list of intentions floats around in each of our minds and it changes constantly. New intentions are added, fulfilled intentions are subtracted, and all along the way, we're hopefully putting our trust in God and not in ourselves. This is very much a living list and it reflects our most closely held relationships and needs.Read Article

Don't Press Snooze

I have three layers of alarms each morning. My Fitbit has 3 silent alarms scheduled each morning for 4:55am, 4:57am, and 4:59am. At those times, it vibrates on my arm until I press a button to dismiss it. At 5:00am the lights in my bedroom slowly come on. Finally, as a fail-safe, at 5:05am, a very loud, and very annoying, alarm on my phone goes off. Most days, all I need is the Fitbit. Some days, I need the lights to help. On a rare occasion, my phone is there to save the day from getting away from me.Read Article

Forget About Being Right

There are many commonly held beliefs about marriage that I refuse to subscribe to. Over the past two years, they've been weaved into many of the posts that have appeared on this blog. I don't believe that marriage is about someone being in control. I don't believe marriage is about someone being nothing more than a rubber stamp. I believe that marriage is more than a partnership or a co-venture. Marriage is about a husband and a wife, both pouring themselves completely into relationship and reaping the rewards together.Read Article

Three Ways to Improve Date Night

Now that Alison's internship is starting to wind down and she's finished with her examinations and their associated preparations, we're finding more and more time to spend as a family. Don't get me wrong, she's still crazy busy and working long hours, usually far from home, but now that she has less on her plate, her home time really is our own.Read Article

Your Role As Husband

The role of husband is perhaps the most challenging role that any man faces. As a single man, the world was your domain. You chose your coming and your going. You chose what you ate, when you ate. You did all of your own social planning, shopping, and travel. As we stepped into the role of husband, and subsequently the role of father, all of that changed.Read Article

Support Our Priests

Growing up, priests were a constant presence in my house. My parents were very diligent in cultivating relationships with the priests at our parish, even as we moved across the country and around the world. Perhaps more notably, they made sure to continue these relationships, even when a particular priest was reassigned or we moved. I think that having the opportunity to get to know our priests on a more personal level, besides just seeing them at Mass, was instrumental in me discerning a possible vocation to the priestly life. Knowing them, I was able to better see myself being one of them.Read Article

Sublime Forgiveness

The struggle with the Sacrament of Confession is a lifelong one for Catholics. Our struggle is a deeply human one in that the Sacrament requires us to look at our lives and voice our failings. We're not perfect people, and Confession is a stark reminder of that. We love the feeling of cleanliness after Confession, but we struggle with comprehending God's great mercy.Read Article

How to Grow this Lent

Unbelievably, today is Ash Wednesday. In just a few hours, the hunger pangs will start to set in as we observe the first of two fasting days this year. Masses today will undoubtedly be crowed by the faithful looking to mark the beginning of this penitential and fruitful season.Read Article

Our Political Role

Today we observe President's Day and I think it's an excellent time for us to consider our political role.Read Article

Our Diocese's Best Kept Secret

When you have a new baby, everything in the world is wonderful. A long 10 months of hopeful anticipation culminates in you finally getting to hold your new little one as they snuggle up close to you and sleep. It's an amazing time and also an exhausting time. The joy of holding your warm baby is mixed with the terror that at any moment they could have a blowout and ruin your Hallmark moment.Read Article

Falling Forward in Lent

With Lent just around the corner, another opportunity for us to refocus our energies and prayer life on God is about to arrive. Lent provides an excellent opportunity for us to do some spring cleaning in our soul.Read Article

The Secret of Service

When you reach a certain level in a company, one of the perks that you may be given is an administrative assistant. The job of your admin is to take things off your plate that, while they may be important, don't necessarily need to be done by you. If you're running a division of a company, do you really need to be spending your time playing phone tag with a client?Read Article

Do Valentine's Day Right


WARNING! Valentine's Day is in 4 days. WARNING!Read Article

Honor the Dead

Today is the 12th anniversary of my maternal Grandfather's death. It’s a special day for me because I had the privilege of being with him when he died. Growing up, I didn’t have much time to spend with my paternal grandparents, both having died by the time that I was in 2nd grade. I was fortunate to have most of my childhood with my maternal grandparents. My mom's dad died when I was in 8th grade and my mom's mother died when I was in college, but developed dementia starting shortly after my grandfather had died. I really looked up to, and still do, my mom's parents. I treasure the memories that we made together. In fact, many of the crafts that I made with my grandparents can be found in Benedict’s room.Read Article

Have Clear Motivations

There are a lot of things that I'd like to do. Almost every day, I get a new idea for some project or goal that I'd like to work on. It might be an area of my life or schedule that I want to improve, such as incorporating more reading time for Benedict. It might be a new book idea or some new app. All of these ideas are inspiring in the moment and really quite appealing. I'm often tempted to change direction or course and to charge at this new idea. After a few hours or a few days, most of the ideas subside and I'm left with the ones that really mean something to me.Read Article

Avoid Whatever Leads You to Sin

I'm usually not very forgetful, but there's one time that I am. During Confession, after the priest says "Now say your Act of Contrition," I typically blank. It's not that I don't know the words, or even that I'm nervous. It's that I do much better praying out loud with a bunch of other people.Read Article

The Benefit of Catholic Schools

Last week, we celebrated Catholic Schools Week. While this post would've been much more appropriate had I posted it then, the editorial calendar simply wouldn't permit it. I would still like to share some thoughts about Catholic Schools in America and the role that they had in forming me.Read Article

End Month One

If you can believe it, we've already reached January 30th. Yes, just 30 short days ago we all experienced the hope, newness, and excitement of the New Year! I, along with pretty much the rest of the Internet, talked about some strategies for setting goals and making this your best year yet!Read Article

Room to Breathe

We all need a little wiggle room. In the course of a week, most of your time is spoken for. Living an overly burdened schedule can lead to exhaustion, burnout, and you not giving your very best every day. You deserve, and you need, room to breathe.Read Article

There Will Be Stress

In marriage you share everything, including stress. You won't find that little jewel printed on any brochure and you most likely didn't hear it in your pre-marriage counseling, but it's the truth.Read Article

The Importance of Stable Sleep

The best indicator of how well your day is going to go is how well you slept last night. Sleep is the biggest contributor to your overall health, your happiness, your energy to make it through the day, and your emotional health. For such a big deal, we don't spend enough time working to improve our sleep.Read Article

Make this Lent Matter

It's hard to believe, but in a little over three weeks, we'll begin our annual journey called Lent. While Easter is the biggest liturgical holiday/party of the year, the season of Lent leading up to it is, well, less fun.Read Article

Love Letters from the Past

Recently, I went through all of my Facebook messages and deleted old conversations. I've never been big into using Facebook messages for communicating, but for some odd reason, Facebook preserved just about every message I've sent using the service for the past 8 years. It took me about 2 hours to get rid of all of them, but I did it.Read Article

Why We March

Today marks both a sobering anniversary and a special anniversary. Today is the anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that ushered in a new era of misnomers in healthcare and encouraged a culture that viewed children as the ultimate burden, as opposed to the ultimate blessing.Read Article

Showing Tenderness

I love Benedict. I love the way he laughs uncontrollably as I hold his arms above his head and tickle his tummy with my nose. I love the way he gets excited when I snuggle up close to him and kiss all over his face. I love how much he enjoys being close to me and sitting in my lap. I love how he'll sit still anywhere if I'm rubbing his back or scratching his head. I love how when he's about to cry or is actively crying, he holds his arms up, hoping that I'll pick him up.Read Article

Hospital for Sinners

It's no secret that I love the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I don't love the feelings of anxiety while waiting in line, but I love what it does for me personally, physically, and psychologically.Read Article

Motivate Yourself

The New Year is always a popular time for fitness goals. Setting a fitness goal for yourself in 2015 is a brilliant idea. Your goals should encompass all areas of your life and physical health is one of the most important. Your overall health affects all other areas of your life, so making choices to improve it are a wise investment. The thing about your goals is that you need to do more than set them. You need to work on them.Read Article

Be A Thought Leader

There are two types of leaders in your company: the named leaders and the thought leaders.Read Article

Beat the Devil Out of You

No one likes being a failure.Read Article

Kids Are Raised by the Community

Mass has become a bit of a struggle. For whatever reason, I didn't anticipate that Benedict would reach an age where he can't be entertained enough to be able to stay in Church for an entire Mass. For weeks now, Alison and I have had to take turns taking him to the back of Church and play with him there.Read Article

Why You Should Do Your Job Well

There seems to be a natural tension between employee and employer. At the company I was at before, though widely known for its many good works in the community, there was a massive turnover of employees before year three. The number one cause cited in exit interviews was poor management.Read Article

Tell Your Kids Their Story

These days, things are changing rapidly in the world of Benedict. He's getting pretty good a mimicking, a few new words come out of his mouth weekly, and he's dangerously close to figuring out how to walk-any day now he'll start running around the house.Read Article

Small Changes Yield Big Results

So many things in our lives are fully within our control. We control our emotions, reactions, and how we treat people. Over time, it can become embarrassingly easy to stop recognizing the gift of your wife. You see her day after day and it becomes easier and easier to act with less kindness. If you don’t watch out, you may end up treating her more like a coworker than your life's partner.Read Article

Family Traditions

Growing up, I lacked, in a certain sense, roots. Most children get to experience what I like to call the "Tree House Childhood." They grow and live, for the most part, in 1 or 2 homes. There are growth charts on a door frame, a tree house in the backyard, and stories of the same teacher instructing all of the siblings.Read Article

The Constancy of God

We’ve all experienced a time of great betrayal in our lives. An instance when we were comfortable and happy in our world, only to have it turned upside down by someone very close to us. Perhaps it was a devastating divorce of your parents or a shocking betrayal by a very close friend.Read Article

My 2015 Goals

The New Year is here! 2014 is over and gone and 2015 has officially arrived.Read Article