Catholic Husband

Love / Lead / Serve

Make 2017 A Change Year

I love this last week of the year. There’s a feeling of hope and anticipation for the New Year. We’re eager for this grand reset, and we even start believing that we can change our lives for the better. I'm ready for 2017 to be a change year.Read Article

Stop Using In-Law

Marriage is full of misunderstanding. In our circle of friends and in media we bemoan the lack of freedom and small annoyances of our spouses. The truth is something entirely different. The reality of two people coming together to form something new is beautiful. Marriage is ultimately freeing and completely beautiful, even if it doesn’t feel like that sometimes.Read Article

The American Family: Then and Now

I'm interested in American history, in particular, American military history. As a son of the South, I enjoy learning about the Civil War from the Southern perspective. I’m currently working my way through the book “Rebel Yell.” It's an exhaustive 650+ page biography of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Jackson was a brilliant strategist and one of our nation's greatest generals. The book focuses on his life story as told through his personal letters. Turning the pages, I feel like I'm living in the period. I now have a much better sense of what America was like in the 1850s. The American family then stands in stark contrast to the American family today.Read Article

Offense and Defense

In any sporting event having a strong offense or defense is seldom enough to ensure a victory. If you run up the score on offense, but let the opponent do the same thanks to your weak defense, you’ll likely lose. In the same way, you can only win by scoring points, so having a strong defense isn’t enough. I’m learning that having a balanced approach to any problem is the key to success. This method is a timely resolution with the new year in the air.Read Article

Perfect is the Enemy of Good

As 2016 comes to a close, we’re on the cusp of the New Year Resolutions bonanza. I love the sense of hope that this time of year brings. I also like to share my goals for the upcoming year. The year never turns out how I expect, and each December I get a chance to course correct and start again. 2016 has been a year of great change for me with the arrival of Felicity. In the midst of this season, this idea of “perfect is the enemy of good” weighs on my thoughts.

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The List

With just a few weeks until Christmas, I’m sure that your shopping is in full swing. For many of us, the hustle and bustle can be disheartening. In this season of Advent, we wait with joyful hope, but most of our focus is on other things.Read Article

Count Your Blessings

Greetings from the Jersey Shore! My family has gathered from five different states to celebrate Thanksgiving together. Kids are running all over the house and plenty of warm feelings are going around. The holiday season is in full swing, and I’m enjoying some rest after another busy year.Read Article

Returning to Divine Freedom

The faith of the martyrs has always been an inspiration to me. Throughout history, men and women of all ages and states in life have laid down their lives in defense of the Church and Truth. Their executions have seldom been merciful. Rather, their deaths were calculated to inflict the greatest pain, humiliation, and terror. Miraculously, the opposite has happened. These gruesome executions occur even to this day around the World.Read Article

Understanding God the Father

I underestimated how impactful parenting would be in my spiritual life. Nothing has better helped me to understand the mind of God than being a dad. We spend a lot of time talking about Jesus, but we forget about getting to know the Father and Holy Spirit. Parenting is helping me to cover that lost ground.Read Article

Mending Post-Election Fences

We live in an ailing culture. How far we have fallen from the America that De Tocqueville documented in his journeys. In many ways, I believe that the way that we live our daily lives has contributed to the toxic nature of our society. This article is about more than just an election or any one candidate. This article is about who we have become, and the dire implications that it entails.Read Article

Thoughts on Friendship in the Digitial Age

One of my favorite activities is to pick an area of life where I need improvement and to work hard to make a change. I can only focus on one thing at a time, and that focus is what drives results. I’ve made big changes and little changes using this approach. One of my great regrets of the past six years is my lack of new meaningful friendships. I have friends from college that I connect with, but I haven't built many new friendships. It’s an area of my life that I’m working to improve. Before I can make great friends, I need to be a great friend.Read Article

The First Step to Being A Better Spouse

Everyone wants a happy marriage, but not everyone is willing to work for it. We’ve become too self-centered to recognize that we can build the marriage of our dreams. We must have the courage to mend our flaws and then the determination to cultivate a vibrant prayer life. If you want to be a more loving and patient spouse, you’ve got to pray at least 30 minutes each day.Read Article

The Necessity of Rest (and Why You Need More of It)

I spent four years in the workforce after college. The environment was challenging, but it was a nonprofit, so people were kind about it. There was a constant tension over work hours. The more experienced employees came up through the company at a time where results came at any cost. My peers and I were more interested in having a work/life balance. This difference of opinion centered on one critical element: the role of rest. To them, we were lazy. To us, they were unreasonable.Read Article

Take Permission to Pray

I’m a recovering productivity addict. I used to love optimizing everything. I’d find the best apps, the fastest way to get a job done, and I’d proceed with vigor. Every minute had to be scheduled, every task planned out, and every execution flawless. This way of life was taxing on me. A few weeks ago I shared how I struggled to find time to pray in my daily schedule. Perhaps you face the same challenge. I think I’ve figured out how to bring it all together.Read Article

Giving Up on Giving Up Slowly

One of my favorite Relient K songs opens with the lyric, “I’m giving up on giving up slowly.” It’s a song about redemption, resolve, and hope in a better life that is beginning now. It’s the moment we all experience when we walk out of the confessional.Read Article

Seeking Simplicity

Life has a way of coming full circle. Just five years ago, when I was young, free, and single, I obsessed over technology. My phone had over 100 apps in the early days of the App Store, and I was always looking for life hacks. I had this impetus to be more productive by using only the best tools. Like my conversion to Jazz (and now Classical) music, I made a major change over the weekend and deleted almost every app from my phone. Why did I feel this need to be free? It all started with a song.Read Article

Pam, Porn, and Paul

There’s no renewal without conversion. There’s no mercy without justice. There’s no Resurrection without the Cross. These axioms define what it means to be a Christian. Our lives must be in a constant state of renewal as we conform ourselves to Christ.

Pamela Anderson is one of the great sex symbols of the 1990s. This dehumanizing label, though intended to be a compliment, is repugnant. This label supplants the mystique of her femininity with something less than her dignity. She’s back in the news after penning an op-ed piece about the dangers of pornography.Read Article

Pro-Life with Credibility

The modern pro-life movement has focused on the issue of abortion. It would seem that is an appropriate focus given the scope of abortion and the opportunity for change. There have been 59M abortion deaths in the United States since 1973. Even so, to be pro-life requires that we be more than just anti-abortion.Read Article

The Duplicity of Moral Superiority

There's a tendency in human thought to desire superiority over others. We must show those we resent that we’ve made something of our lives and that it's more than they've done. Thus, we are better than they are. This tendency is destructive and it diverts precious resources away from bettering ourselves.Read Article

The Three Stages of Every New Marriage

Today's the ultimate Throwback Thursday. Alison and I are celebrating our four year wedding anniversary. We’re a different family than we were on that day, and different people, too. I can see now how each year has progressed and the different stages that we have moved through. The early stages of any new marriage can be tumultuous. I fear that we give newlyweds and engaged couples the wrong perspective. They’re sold on the idea of a honeymoon phase that I don’t believe is real. I see three distinct phases that every marriage goes through.Read Article

Making Time for Prayer

Over the past year, I’ve felt an increasing desire to incorporate more prayer time into my day. There’s something cathartic about quiet prayer time. Oftentimes, I'll feel the benefit almost immediately. The challenge with finding these time blocks for increased prayer is that time is finite. Quality prayer takes quality time.Read Article

Impeach Francis

I seldom take the time to read editorials. While the premise is good, the execution scarcely follows through. They tend to be pejorative, one-sided, and offer little intellectual value to the conversation. Instead, they simply validate those who already agree with a particular viewpoint and shut out the rest. I came across what ended up being a rather amusing editorial in which the author suggested that Pope Francis should resign. Furthermore, should he decline such an enticing offer, the faithful should force him out of office.Read Article

How to Make God Present to Your Children

Faith is a gift, one that parents try to transmit to their children. Those who have a strong sense of faith understand how it acts as a lever and fulcrum, elevating the common drudgery of our lives into something almost supernatural. The biggest challenge in the transmission of the faith is not explaining complicated doctrine, or even making the mysteries of faith understandable. Rather, the biggest challenge is making the invisible, visible.Read Article

The Fatal Flaw of Feminism

Americans have a great tradition of rugged individualism. We have a heritage of self-reliance typified by the settlers on the Oregon Trail, or the grit of the Greatest Generation. Self-reliance and self-motivation are two great qualities to have, but it seems that we’re becoming more and more insular. Instead of relying on a strong community, we count only on ourselves. This move has lead to peculiar movements and ideologies, especially modern feminism. The thing about authentic femininity is that it requires no words. They don’t need to tear anything down in order to validate themselves. They’re powerful and sublime in and of themselves.Read Article

The Joy of Two Children

When Felicity arrived this Spring, I had just gotten a handle on how to deal with Benedict. Now a toddler, he’s incredibly bright and interactive. We had a weekly routine organized that consisted of errands, trips to the library, adventures to see family, and even ways he could help around the house. As with all things, the moment that we get comfortable and confident, things change.Read Article

Live How You Ought to Live

We all have within us the power and ability to shape who we are. From the media that we consume, the choices that we make, and the actives that we participate in, everything that we do acts as a small puzzle piece, coming together as the picture of who we are. Physical activity, educational pursuits, and even hobbies can help us to reform our lives. One area that I want to particularly grow in is becoming the husband that I’ve always wanted to be.Read Article

The Genius of the Family

Experiential knowledge is the most valuable of all. When Alison and I went to the hospital to deliver our new daughter, we wanted what all parents want: a healthy child. Minutes after Felicity came into the world, she began to deviate from that script. As if she was living out an episode of House, MD, her condition was both perplexing and terrifying. Her symptoms followed the criteria for one condition, only to swerve to a whole new condition. Her care team was chasing a ghost, and one that would not be easily diagnosed.Read Article

Keeping Things Civil

Every four years, we have a tremendous, Constitutionally guaranteed, opportunity to remind ourselves just how much we hate our neighbor. Twelve to sixteen months of personal attacks and a relentless avalanche of political marketing that has become our presidential election cycle. Instead of being a moment for us to collectively pause, evaluate our progress, and choose a vision for our future, it’s a free-for-all.Read Article

Manage Your Care

Having married a physician, most of my daily conversations revolve around the topic of medicine. It’s not a terrible set-up, as healthcare is a major component of our lives. There are plenty of interesting issues to discuss, questions to ponder, and scenarios to explore. A fascinating aspect of healthcare today is the pedestal that we as patients put our physicians on. Instead of being trusted counselors, they become the proverbial Catholic elementary school principal, waiting to rap us on the knuckles for being overweight, having a poor diet, and failing to manage our conditions appropriately. They speak in technical terms and prescribe interventions and treatment courses that we do not fully understand, and we fail to ask a single intelligent question. The fact remains that the patient has a great deal of control in the management of their care, if only they’d take advantage.Read Article

The Rightful Place for Sex

We love sex. We love it so much that sex has found itself in just about every quarter of our lives. It’s a weapon, a tool, a marketing strategy, a sales tool, clickbate, and even a conversation piece. The only problem is, sex really doesn’t belong in any of those places. Sex most rightly belongs in a marriage, and the pragmatic reason has nothing to do with religion or pregnancy.Read Article

Respect People

The Catholic Church’s position on life is unimpeachable. Every human person has inherent dignity and the right to live from the moment of conception to their natural death. Arguably, the Catholic Church is the biggest champion of human rights and dignity in our world today. There are no exceptions and the Church speaks out against violations of the dignity of the human person in all quarters. Whether it be immigration, human trafficking, forced sterilizations, abortion, pornography, IVF, or the poor, the Church fights valiantly on the international, national, regional, and local levels to correct injustices.Read Article

I Hate Facebook. So I Did Something About It

I recently received an email from Facebook congratulating me on my 10 year anniversary on the network. While I’m sure they had a heavily researched intention behind the email, I found it to be both striking and frightening. In the first place, I found it striking how in such a fickle market, they’ve endured for so long. While others have come and gone, Facebook remains. In the second place, I found it frightening when I considered just how much of my life I’ve lost to Facebook.Read Article

Sick of Reality TV

Television programming has the unique ability to bring people together. Perusing Twitter after an episode of “The Bachelor” or checking out the blogs after an explosive episode of any popular show gives one the sense of just how transcendent it can be. One of the more popular genres of television programming in the past decade has been the rise of so-called “Reality TV.” The thing is, none of it is real, and I’m sick of it.Read Article

Education Happens Everywhere

One of the great tragedies of the American educational system is the way that it compartmentalizes learning. Learning and education, so it suggests, can only happen in a specific place and in a specific way. Thus, students must be in a classroom with books and a teacher in order for learning to happen. The problem is not so much the standardized format of instruction, but rather the subtle message that it sends.Read Article


There are certain experiences that are universal to all parents. Children, regardless of culture and environment, all act in generally the same manner. They all follow the same mental growth curve and have the same milestones. Raking things towards themselves turns into a pincher grasp. Crawling turns into unstable standing. Babbles turn into words, which turn into sentences. As children follow this invisible curve, parents follow their own growth curve. We develop strong feelings of protection, strong opinions on proper parenting, and eventually, feelings of inadequacy.Read Article

God, Hell, & Timeouts

One of the areas of parenting that I didn’t anticipate being uncomfortable with is timeouts. I wouldn’t say that Benedict has a case of the terrible twos, but I would say that he is certainly learning how to process his emotions. He’s a very easy going little guy whose bad moods can generally be managed by a simple change of scenery. Otherwise, he’s a joy to be with and lots of fun. Yet, like any toddler, his actions merit a timeout a few times per day.Read Article

Sin Drags You Down

I’m never more keenly aware of the physical effects of sin in my life than right after confession. I walk out of the Church with a great sense of relief, perhaps even a bit lighter. Truly I feel freed from that which was holding me back. This feeling, replicated each time I go to confession, leads me to wonder, how much does sin really drag me down?Read Article

Overwhelmed with Gratitude

Life is full of grand adventure. Our emotions, and the circumstances around us, can cast us into profound sadness or propel us to extreme happiness. We all have a tendency to take things for granted, so when we’re in the times of great joy, we should remember to acknowledge the source from which all blessings flow.Read Article

The Dinner Opportunity

We tend to overlook the dinner opportunity. Thanks to the rise in popularity of cooking shows, I think we’re beginning to appreciate the role that food plays in our lives. In fact, if you watch any home renovation show, people often look to upgrade their kitchens before any other room in the house. We need food for survival, but in the midst of a busy day, food serves a much greater purpose. Meals are a time for rest, relaxation, and for the family, an opportunity to come together.Read Article

If It's Broken, Fix It

If you take a careful look at mass produced products on the market today, you’ll note just how disposable our culture has become. Cars are safer, but feature more plastic. Furniture is rarely made with hard woods, but instead with pressed wood. Homes are built using cheap materials that don’t stand the test of time. Even when it comes to relationships, people have become commoditized. When something breaks, we think replacement and not repair, oftentimes to the detriment of our budget.Read Article

Dad Life

Lately I’ve developed a real interest in car care. I want our cars to last, so I try to wash them weekly and keep them clean. I’ve always been on the meticulous side when it comes to the cleanliness of our cars, but these days I’ve also taken an interest in making improvements. I’ve upgraded the rearview mirror, the interior lights, and the radio on the van in recent weeks. While working on these projects, it occurred to me that I’m now the dad and these are the kinds of things that I do now. Several times I’ve been in a bind while making a repair, but with no one to back me up, I just had to troubleshoot my way through the problem and make it work. During these times, I realized just how fun it is to be a dad.Read Article

We're Too Comfortable

When it comes to fallen away Catholics, it seems that each person has a singular event that pushed them over the edge. More likely than not, it was a harsh encounter with a religious. A nun yelling at them or a particularly brutal confessor, the trauma that resulted sadly caused them to leave their home. Like a young runaway, they found themselves in a strange place, cold, alone, and hurting with a possible return truly doubtful. I think that so much of that hurt comes from an experience that didn’t reconcile with their vision of the Church. The Church, and Christians in general, are supposed to be loving, kind, and gentle people, while being compassionately firm when correcting one another. Those in the religious life are supposed to epitomize those characteristics. So when one has a difficult encounter with a religious, they can understandably question the entire system.Read Article

Mastering Patience

IKEA is not a store that I associate with the virtue of patience. Assembling the furniture is a task that tries me in so many different ways. We recently bought a few new pieces in order to upgrade our home and prepare the kid’s room for the arrival of Felicity. Surprisingly, I was able to assemble the wardrobe by myself and anchor it to the wall with Alison’s help.
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Personal Pride

My neighbors love to sit outside and talk to one another. The other day, I was chatting with one of them, and he was telling me about his daughter who is just about to get her drivers license. He told me about how she wants a car, but how it has to be fancy and new. He then shared a story with me about his first car, a truck, that he paid off only to have it totaled shortly thereafter. In further reflecting on this gentleman’s predicament with his daughter, I thought about personal pride and how it relates to our lives.Read Article

Failure to Communicate

I often feel that our ability to communicate is falling into the trap of diminishing returns. New forms of communication, at their start, are very pure. They focus on connecting people in a very personal and intimate way. Over time, external pressures on communications providers cause a dilution of the purity. Communication becomes less about sharing a story, experience, or memory, and more about a transaction.Read Article

Gift Giving

There are many ways to express your love to your wife. Using the words, doing some chores, caring for her after a long week, and even cooking dinner are a few goods ways. One of the more infrequent expression of love is the giving of physical gifts.Read Article

Enough Breaks Already

It’s really easy to cut yourself too much slack. You laud praises on yourself for a good week’s worth of work and award yourself a day off. That day off turns into two, and the snowball continues. Rest is not a reward, it’s a necessary part of work. Rest is rejuvenating, it restores creative capacity, and it promotes health. Too much rest is sloth, laziness, and leads to a sedentary lifestyle. In order to rest, there must be work.Read Article

St. Joseph: Human

Placing yourself in Bible stories is one of the most widely recommended spiritual exercises when it comes to reading Scriptures. We’ve been given the gift of our faith and listening to the Readings every week, it becomes all too easy to separate ourselves from the stories. The Bible becomes a collection of bedtime stories, historical events that happened in the past that hold little relevance today. Sure, we take the teachings, well some of them, and implement them in our lives, but most of the subject matter just doesn’t apply. I like to draw parallels between myself and the state of mind of the characters. To Mary and Joseph, they weren’t perfectly modeling the domestic Church. To them, it was just life. They wanted to do God’s Will and they did it, in just the same way that you and I could if we truly applied ourselves. This deep level of humility before God and man is what characterizes the greatest Saints in the Church.Read Article

Learning Happens Everwhere

Learning is a life-long pursuit and chances are, at one point or another, you’re going to sign up for some program of study in your adult life. You may be working on a degree, certificate, training program, leadership/management program, new job training, or even just taking up a hobby. The task of undergoing schooling so many years after you completed your last phase of education can be daunting. Yet, it’s a challenge worth taking on.Read Article

Eliminate the Possibility

A great struggle in the single life is the lack of permanence. When casually dating, playing the field, or even when you’re in a serious relationship, there’s a tentative bond that can be severed at any time, for any reason. This is extremely healthy because it would be ill-advised to enter into a permanent relationship without really knowing a person. Yet, this wavering state of affairs can also cause much angst as two people continue to move in different directions while trying to maintain a relationship. Therein lies the beauty of marriage; namely permanence.Read Article

Vote Your Conscience

When Virginia held its primary election on Super Tuesday this year, I found myself in a position that I had never been in before as a voter. Having missed only one voting day since I assumed my civic duty, I am typically well-read on the candidates and am prepared weeks in advance to cast my ballot. This year though, things were different. I didn’t make up my mind until 10am on election day.Read Article

Hopeful Anticipation

I’m experiencing a noticeable difference between Alison’s first pregnancy and her second: I’m a lot more cool and controlled. With less than two months until the arrival of our daughter, we’re only now starting to make physical preparations. It’s not that we’re disinterested, just that there’s less mystery. Less mystery requires less planning. We have almost everything already, now all that we need are the little essentials.Read Article

Be Silly

Benedict’s favorite part of the work week happens on Thursday mornings at our library; he absolutely loves story time. Even though we’ve only been going for a few months, he knows when we’re driving to the library and he always charges into the story room. It’s a great time for us to be out and about, for him to interact with other little people, and for him to learn from someone other than me.Read Article

Etiquette in Marriage

I recently wrote about my thoughts on reading “Emily Post’s Essential Manners for Men: Second Edition.” In that post, I highlighted the three components of etiquette: 1) consideration (how others will feel), 2) respect (how your actions affect others), and 3) honesty (courteous truth telling). I want to look at these three principles and evaluate in a specific way how their implementation can improve the marital relationship.Read Article

The Danger of Despair

There are many obstacles to living a holy life. We must overcome our environment, our past choices, and even our own natural inclinations. While our “fight or flight” nature defaults us to looking after our own self interest, the Christian life demands that we look outward first before tending to our own wants and desires. Perhaps the most difficult obstacle that we must overcome is to dispel the false nature of despair.Read Article

Keeping Priorities Straight

If you feel guilty spending time with your family instead of working, you need to adjust your priorities.Read Article

Being A True Servant Leader

Servant leadership is a term that’s very popular in management circles. It attempts to form leaders who care less about power and more about using their influence to lift up their team members. Servant leadership turns the traditional model of leadership on its head by using its forces for good, instead of allowing itself to become susceptible to corruption. While it may be atypical to find servant leaders in the workforce, one place that it is easy to find these great leaders is in the home.Read Article

Painful Reminders

We’re all a bit detached from reality. We see ourselves in a certain light that tends to be a bit too favorable. At the very least, we have an ideal that we’re trying to reach. Daily we’re confronted with reality when we consider our mistakes, failings, and past errors that painfully remind us just how far we have to go.Read Article

Family Time Activities

I love Spring. Nature reminds us of the joy of new life and it also signals the beginning of the outdoor season. Every member of the family values, to admittedly varying degrees, time spent together as a family. As humans, we crave connection, and family time gives us that in a very safe and stable way. Just as it’s important to provide a young child with a variety of activities, your family time shouldn’t be spent solely in your living room. Spring and Summer present a wide variety of outdoor fun that can bring joy to all members of your family.Read Article

Be You

We all wear masks. We instinctively alter our behavior when we believe that we’re being watched in order to match how we believe other people expect us to behave. This phenomenon is seen most clearly in children who are always seeking to please their parents. The problem with behavior modification is that it can stifle out what we truly want to express for the sake of being more socially palatable.Read Article

How Am I Doing As A Parent?

I enjoy systems and stability. I like to learn how to do something, experiment to find the most efficient process, and then implement that process repeatedly to complete a task. I have 90 minutes to work in the morning before Benedict gets up. On weekdays, I spend that time working on web design for clients, on Saturday mornings I write, and on Sunday mornings, I play. I’ve tried many variations of my schedule, but that one works, so I stick with it. There’s little need to review or make course corrections in how I lay out my week because the work is already done. It’s set, I move on. There is, however, one area of my life where this type of plan and repeat process doesn’t work: parenting.Read Article

The Fourth Year

Let me begin with an acknowledgement. This blog exists thanks in large part to the silent work of my wife and editor, Alison. Over the course of the past three years, she’s had to not only edit over 670 individual posts, she’s had to endure endless thoughts, ideas, and design changes. She’s been patient, kind, thoughtful, and incredibly helpful. Without Alison, there would be no Catholic Husband.Read Article

Divorcing Faith & Work

Over the past several decades, the pressure to divorce one’s faith from one’s work has become increasingly strong. We’ve done it for a very long time in our political life, even as far back as the candidacy of John F. Kennedy who gave a landmark speech in which he aimed to assuage the American voter that as president, he wouldn’t be beholden to the papacy. This pseudo-logic, when taken at face value, presents itself as common sense; if my faith interferes with your life, then as a holder of public office, I shouldn’t use my faith so as to allow you to have absolute freedom. The problem with this line of thinking is that by leaving behind the tenants of one’s faith in the workplace, we all lose out on the very tangible goods that accompany faith.Read Article

Discounting the Eucharist

In my previous reflection on the intimacy of the Eucharist, I started to write about the insidious nature of complacency in the Catholic life, but realized it would be better to explore this topic separately. The fact is that we all have times in our lives when we don’t give the Eucharist the prayerful respect that we should. It’s a part of our fallen nature to not be able to fully recognize God within us, or even to go to the extreme of viewing ourselves as a god.Read Article

The Poor Box

Every moment is a teachable moment in a child’s life. What your children don’t realize is that as a parent, you’re constantly figuring out what to do. The life of a parent is one of judgement, evaluation, and action. We have to judge the proper course, model the expected behavior, and act decisively and within the vision of our children. We learn each day how to be better for tomorrow, but more importantly, all of this introspection helps us to define who we truly want to be and to start moving in that direction.Read Article

The Insidious Nature of Stress

One of my greatest relational weaknesses is a knee-jerk reaction to place blame. It’s a quick reaction and thankfully one that’s rapidly subdued by logic and reason. Still, it's pretty nasty and completely unfair. Few situations rise to the level where blame is even remotely appropriate, but even in those circumstances acceptance of responsibility and devising a path forward are far more productive. The downside to this weakness of mine is the opportunity that it steals from my marriage. It leaves me feeling out of sync with Alison and, in turn, less happy than I would be otherwise.Read Article

Give Locally

Until recently, Alison and I didn’t really have a giving strategy. Each month, we’d go over the solicitations that we’d received from various causes in the mail along with how much we had budget for giving. We’d write checks, send them out in the mail, and that was how we did things. There’s nothing wrong with that strategy. People were helped, good causes were able to move forward, and all was well. Lately, I’ve been rethinking our strategy because what was missing was a feeling of connectedness.Read Article

Where Are Your Manners?

I follow the work of Shawn Blanc pretty closely. Shawn is a writer based in Kansas City who does a variety of work and writing based on doing your best creative work and the tools to help you achieve that end. Among his sites are Tools & Toys and The Sweet Setup. I like Shawn because he and I share very similar tastes, and so if he find a particular app to be very helpful, I will likely do the same. One of Shawn’s sites recently featured a book recommendation, “Emily Post’s Essential Manners for Men: Second Edition” by Peter Post. Emily Post’s writings on etiquette are the gold standard on the subject, and now her grandson, Peter, is carrying on her legacy.Read Article

The E Word

One of our greatest shortcomings as men is our inability to express, process, or deal with emotions. We know two emotions: passion and anger. The depth of the human experience is lived through the vast spectrum of emotion, each eliciting a different set of responses and lessons. Our female counterparts are often blamed for being too emotional, but I believe that it’s precisely their ability to intuit and live through their emotions that they’re able to live more fully alive.Read Article

Eucharistic Intimacy

Your faith life has the potential to be the most intimate relationship in your life. It’s a relationship that you have 100% control over. God is waiting for you, unmoved, yearning for you to come out and greet Him. At the center of this relational treasure trove is the Eucharist. Its humility is unmatched and, while the Eucharist presents itself in simple terms, it’s anything but simple.Read Article

Grading Your Performance

It’s a good idea to think about your performance as a man and husband in terms of a grading scale. In days past, while you were still in school, you had some subjects that came easily to you in which you easily achieved an A with little effort. In some other subjects, you had a natural ability, but had to apply yourself more and may have hovered in the B range. Finally, there were (hopefully only) a few areas where you truly lacked a natural ability and had to work diligently to achieve a commendable grade. Life really is no different.Read Article

How Will You Use Your Fresh Start?

I love this time of year when I and every other writer on the Internet write about goals, resolutions, and fresh starts. It's part meeting a need and part recognizing that the New Year is the biggest time-based turning point in any given year.Read Article

Pursuing A Daughter's Heart

I wanted our next child to be a girl. When the ultrasound confirmed it, I was elated. Her name is Felicity and she’s arriving in June.Read Article

Antonin Scalia: America's Thomas More

“In every interaction you have with people, you can either give them life or take some away.” -Toby Mac

The passing of Justice Antonin Scalia is a great tragedy. Although all things are done in God’s time, I, along with many others, selfishly wish that he could have been permitted to remain with us longer. His death raises many interesting lessons that we can apply to our lives. Truly this was a man who lived the haunting words of Christ, “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me.”Read Article

A Balanced Social Life

The interview season is in full swing for Alison. We're about 18 months from graduation and her schedule is full of calls, phone interviews, and soon we'll be travel to conduct site visits. It's very exciting to finally see all of her work paying off, but it's also exciting for us on the social front as well.Read Article

What Great Things Will You Do in 2016

I've asked you how you will use the fresh start that the New Year gives you, but today I want to ask you a different question. What great things will you do in 2016?Read Article

Stay the Course

If there's one thing that we can count on, it's change. Perfectly laid plans are disrupted by unforeseen events and suddenly, they aren't so perfect anymore. The decision that we must make in times of change is if we're going to stick to our guiding principles or if we're going to throw out the playbook and do something completely different.Read Article

The Entitled, Envious Millennials

I read an interesting opinion article in the Wall Street Journal that took on the issue of a generation of disrespectful children. In the article, the physician writes about his experience of children being overtly disrespectful to their parents during his office visits. While the author acknowledges that not all children misbehave, it's much more prevalent than it was 20-30 years ago. Interestingly, he cites research that demonstrates that disrespectful children, "are more likely to grow up to be anxious and depressed, three times more likely to be overweight, more likely to be fragile, less healthy and less creative, compared with respectful children."Read Article

Cutting Corners is Weak

Personal integrity is a key component to success. In fact, America's millionaires rated integrity as the number one reason for their success. Laziness is perhaps the greatest human vice. We have so much potential, the power of our minds, the dexterity of our hands, and a multitude of tools that to take all of these assets and not use them for anything is a waste. Our time and our days mean something, though in the moment that may not be entirely clear. Laziness is more than just complete idleness, it's also cutting corners. It's acceptable to acknowledge our tendency to find easy ways out. Half of the battle is knowing just who your enemy is. Instead of cutting those corners, and inevitably losing, do the job right.Read Article

Random Acts of Service

Last Fall, Alison was on call one night at the hospital here in town. The proximity to our house to the hospital makes things both very convenient and painfully inconvenient. Benedict and I had the car and we planned on taking dinner to Alison shortly after her shift started. As I began to put the dinner together, I felt the urge to do something really nice. Instead of just a main course, I wanted to make her a full dinner. So I grilled up some burgers, packed up condiments, chips, dessert, and a mint. It was a small, random gesture, but one that brought her comfort on her long overnight shift.Read Article

A Rich Spiritual Life

What does it mean to have a rich spiritual life? What would your day need to look like in order to achieve that life? We have daily needs in our spiritual life that need to be met in order for us to keep making forward progress and in order for us to live truly free.Read Article

The New Year Slump

It's about that time of year when people hit their New Year slump. The grand plans, resolutions, and goals have encountered the first wave of resistance and most will return to their old ways. To expect a perfect journey is unreasonable and, frankly, was more crazy than the goal to begin with. Resistance provides the opportunity to reinforce the "why" behind what you're doing.Read Article

Life in Sync

I once read that we ought to make a major decision once and then manage it daily. That's decent advice. I want to live a life in sync where I have clear routines that ensure that I do everything that I want to do, and, most importantly, that my home stays clean. A clean, tidy home is necessary for me to work and make forward progress. Nothing slows me down more creatively than a house in disarray.Read Article

Persistence Wins

If you work long enough at something, you'll see results and win. Persistence is the most helpful attribute that you can have when you're pushing for a goal of any kind. The diligent always prosper.
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Honor Your Mother

During the years when my dad was in the Air Force, he seemed to find himself frequently in jobs that deployed on a regular basis. As a fighter pilot, his squadron was often sent to the desert for 90 days at a time. While it was a somewhat manageable amount of time compared to the length of deployments that other service families have had to endure in the past decade, the frequency was fairly brutal. During those times of deployment, my mom was left mostly alone to care for us.Read Article

Why I'm Optimistic

Inviting God into every aspect of your life is clearly an excellent idea. Having His help and guidance is like having a cheat code in life. There are many areas, however, that I don't even think to invite Him in. Guidance on a major purchase, request for help while working towards goals, or even just increasing the prayers of thanksgiving and showering Him with gratitude are places where I have room for improvement.Read Article

Parenting is Innate

This blog post was originally intended to be a reflection on how the beauty of shared parenting reveals the true design of parenthood. I was going to discuss the many times when Alison has been there to help ease my struggles with caring for Benedict and how our system ensures a consistent experience for Benedict. As I sat down to write this post a few weeks ago, Benedict was crying. Usually he's asleep at 5am on a Saturday morning, so this behavior was unusual. I waited a few minutes to ensure that he was actually awake, not wanting to disrupt what may have been just a momentary expression of emotion after a bad dream.Read Article

Long Term Thinking

Life in the Collins household has been in full motion as of late. Just after Thanksgiving we bought a van and expanded to a two car family. Then, late in December, my trusty Prius essentially died. We were able to sell it for a fair price, but we’re back to just one car. Of course, I was mildly devastated to lose my signature car.Read Article

The Sky Rarely Falls

People have been predicting the end of the United States and the collapse of the dollar since the very beginning of our Nation. There are plenty of threats and things to fear out there, but the sky rarely falls. If you find yourself living in constant fear of the economic or political collapse of your society, then you've placed your trust in the wrong god.Read Article

Why Marriages Fail

One of the main roles in the household for husbands is to take care of all of the little details when it comes to maintenance and upkeep. Oil changes, washing the car, lawn care, shoveling snow, and other associated tasks all fall within our purview. These are the tasks that we do for our wives. They aren't fun and they aren't glamorous, but we do them anyway.Read Article

Try New Things in Your Career

The New Year presents many interesting possibilities. You have a blank canvas of twelve months to go out and do something new, unique, challenging, and interesting. While many of us tend to think more about personal goals or dreams, I'd encourage you to consider your career as well.Read Article

Be Social After Mass

One of my favorite memories growing up was being social after Mass. This likely had more to do with the copious amounts of doughnuts available in the narthex or Parish hall, but there was something fun and refreshing about not racing home immediately after Mass ended. We got to know the people in the pews, made friends, and I would often get a little excited when I saw people from Church out in the world running errands. That's what good community is.Read Article

Inconvenient Times of Need

If there's one thing about marriage that's true, it's that your spouse often needs you when it's most inconvenient. While not altogether a bad thing, it can be a bit frustrating when she wants to talk while you want to sleep, or when you need a favor while she's working on a craft. While the inconvenience can be chafing, it can also be beautiful.Read Article

Broken Promises

I've been struggling lately to defend my beliefs amid our culture shifts. It's not that I think that I'm wrong, but it’s that I'm made to feel like I'm wrong. It's the bitter poison that Modernism tries to feed us. Modernism is a supremacist ideology that seeks to suppress and supplant all other thought systems. When you get down to the meat of Modernism's arguments, it's mostly semantics. New is not always better than old. New is not always destructive. Old is not always wrong. What isn't semantics, however, is logic. The fatal flaw of Modernism is that it cannot withstand even the first buffets of logic.Read Article


Earlier last year, Alison and I started discussing acquiring a minivan. We've been a one car family for about 18 months, but as we looked to the future, the time for us to expand our fleet was drawing near. Logically, we decided a minivan would be the right choice for our next car.Read Article

When to Quit

Around this time of year, I'm always excited by the potential of the new year. I have a long list of things I want to try and do, and inevitably I start running at all of them, at the same time. While the new year is a great time to add some things to your life, it's also the perfect time to pare down activities that aren’t producing results.Read Article

Discipline Trickles Down

Alison's schedule around Holy Days is always a little tricky. Our parish generally offers sufficient Masses, but they don't offer evening Masses on Holy Days (or Sunday). That means that we can be legitimately scrambling to get to Mass. This year, her schedule meant that we needed to go to Mass on December 31st, instead of January 1st. While praying before Mass, I decided to ask for a gift for the new year. I thought about plenty of options, but settled on one that I thought would bring about all. I asked for the grace of discipline.Read Article

Plus Two

We're nearing the half-way mark of Alison's pregnancy. This has been a very quick ride (for me, at least) compared to last time. I feel more confident in what's happening and what's going to happen. We're also getting to the fun part. Alison is starting to feel kicks, soon we'll (hopefully) know the gender, and in just a few short months, I'll be holding my second child in my arms.Read Article

Keep in Touch

I think that we have a tendency to discount work friendships. Work is not primarily a place to go to make new friends, but in the course of spending 40 hours a week together, you're bound to forge some new relationships. I think that we discount these friendships because they quickly fade when someone leaves the company. We need to change this.Read Article

Parenting Requires Daily Adjustments

A few months ago, I was one confused dad. As a first time parent, all of the development stages in Benedict's life are new to me. As a man, I'm a little less in tune with the changes going on in his life. To be sure, Benedict is extremely gentle and considerate. He shares everything very willingly, a trait that I hope he continues to have as he steps into the leadership role of big brother this summer.Read Article

Take A Break

The biggest downside to being self-employed is that there's no paid vacation. When I don't work, I don't get paid. This creates a dramatic tension that leaves me feeling guilty when I'm not working the hours that I need to be. Yet, intellectually, it's completely unrealistic to expect full employment and full hours, 52 weeks a year. Life isn't about money, but money is certainly important. Set goals, work hard, but don't exhaust yourself and lose everything.Read Article

2016 Goals

2016 is officially here! As is my tradition, I wanted to share with you my goals for the upcoming year. Just as I did last year, my goals are balanced across all areas of my life: financial, spiritual, intellectual, career, social, family, and fun. Sharing them with you is a great way for me to stay accountable to them. I began my goal planning at the end of November and started actually working on my goals in mid-December.Read Article