Ask any Catholic mom about some of the biggest challenges she faces in the day to day living out of her vocation, and it’s likely that her response will contain the words “not enough time.” Truthfully, Catholic dads, singles, priests and religious and even our children would likely bemoan the overburdened schedules that keep us always running and too infrequently on our knees.
I face this in my own life as a Catholic wife, mother, writer and editor, so it’s a bit counter-intuitive that adding another writing commitment onto my already overburdened plate could possibly help me feel optimistic about prioritizing the place of spirituality in my life. But having been a reader of The Integrated Catholic Life since its inception, I was deeply honored by Deacon Mike Bickerstaff and Randy Hain’s kind invitation to join the team here to share my thoughts on leading a more integrated Catholic life. Praying about, writing about, and ultimately trying to live a more balanced and productive life is a major priority for me these days. So I hope that by documenting my own challenges and victories, and reading about yours too, ultimately I will inch toward the type of Catholic wife, mom and professional I hope to someday be.
Before I jump into the fray here, I thought it might be helpful to share with you a little bit more about myself. I am married to my college sweetheart Greg, an Emergency Physician and the world’s best husband and dad. Greg and I recently celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary and the seventh anniversary of Greg’s reception into the Catholic Church through the RCIA process. Our teenage sons keep us humble and learning something new every day. You’ll likely soon read here about our adventures with launching a child into college, as our Eric prepares to depart for his Freshman year at Harvard in the fall. And if I survive teaching fifteen-year-old Adam to drive, you may read a bit about the joys of sharing our home with a teenager in today’s technological society.
I have the good fortune of working from a home office, which helps me “integrate” work and family a little too well some days. As the founder and editor of CatholicMom.com, I oversee the production of a website that hosts the work of close to ninety volunteer writers from around the country. My site, which began has a hobby ten years ago, is a true testament to the power of the Holy Spirit and the fact that you really can learn a lot from those “Dummies” books! What began with a dream and many prayers has grown into a resource that will serve families and parishes in over 110 countries around the world this year. The publication of my first book The Handbook for Catholic Moms has added the blessings of frequent travel and public speaking into the mix in my life and has me pondering now more than ever the absolute need for an overarching commitment to prayer and frequent reception of the Eucharist first and foremost.
I report here for my writing duties at The Integrated Catholic Life not because I consider myself an expert on the skills of integration. Rather, perhaps like many of you, I struggle each day to give God the first fruits and best of my labor, while at once serving my family and honing my professional skills. I’ve burned more than one dinner by simply stepping into my home office to “just check one email”. I’ve at times neglected my morning prayer time and my physical fitness regimen when life felt overwhelmingly busy, forgetting that this would only result in making me more stressed, not less. And yet, as an optimist, I know without a doubt that as Philippians 4:13 promises, “I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.”
I look forward to sharing and learning here with you, to meeting you and your families, to facing your work related challenges with you, and to praying with and for you. If you’d like to see specific topics discussed in this space, I welcome your comments below or your emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.