Week in review

Although it began with Pentecost Sunday Mass and afterwards, kids having fun with sparklers in the backyard, this was a sombre week both on the local and world news front. And most significantly for us, a death in our extended family on Wednesday night. Every morning there was news from the US to share with…

Keep your eye on AI for your kids’ sake

Brain-machine interfaces. Now this issue’s on my radar, and should be on yours too if it isn’t already. And I know there is so much going on that we need to care about, but honestly, this could sneak up on us and send the other important concerns about raising our kids into hyper-drive. Read the…

Reading as spiritual practice

I’m deeply encouraged by St Teresa of Avila’s advice in her autobiography, Life, that reading a spiritual book is a good substitute for mental prayer if one finds it hard to pray. I find that keeping a dedicated mental prayer time can be both the easiest thing in the world, and the hardest, but I can always pick…

What is ‘carrying my daily cross’ really about?

As I move into middle age I see that increasingly, a big part of my daily cross is my experience of myself as I struggle to accept life as it is and be grateful for it, including the annoying and distressing bits that have been annoying and distressing me for five, or 10, or 20…

New Year’s resolution!

My column in last week’s Catholic Weekly. Click here for more like it. One day in the week before Christmas I decide to get back to praying Morning Prayer from the Divine Office. I go to a quiet room, pull up the Universalis website on my computer and get two verses into the invitatory psalm…

A friend in the ‘sister’ of St Therese

The canonisation of St Elizabeth of the Trinity recently was pretty special for our family. We have a social butterfly, piano-playing, fun-loving, sweet and prayerful girl in our family who is very happy to have a namesake in one of the Church’s newest saints. Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880), Elizabeth Catez, was born in…

Doubts and growth in prayer and life

A few months ago, speaking with a friend, I tried to explain my sense of loss of intellectual conviction about the most important beliefs that have so far underpinned my life and identity. At a deep level I seemed to be truly fed by the rituals of Catholic faith, it’s tradition, its people and the…

How to keep busy when you’re on retreat

When I was at the mothers’ retreat at the Mt Carmel retreat centre the other week I gave them a one-page ‘to do’ list of things that I suggested they try to complete by the end of the retreat at Sunday lunchtime. When I wrote this list I just thought it was a cute idea…

Refugees at the dinner table

I often check for news on my phone as I prepare dinner of an evening. Recently, after all the children had sat at the table, jumped up at hearing their Daddy come home, hugged and chattered to him, and sat back down again; after grace was said and water poured into cups, and the plates…

Not-So-Sweet Parenting Scrupules

Image by Brian Turner. School holidays have ended and I am relieved. Not for the reason you might think; I love having the children around. We also hugely enjoyed the long break we had from the whole lunchboxes, uniforms, homework, and basketball routines. No, one big reason I am happy to be getting them off…

The Best Thing You Will Do All Year For Your Children

To welcome guests to our home I keep a peace lily plant in a pot by the front door. Whenever its dark glossy green leaves lose their graceful arch and start wilting (usually when I’ve been too busy to notice it for a few weeks) I don’t just spray some water onto it and expect it to perk up.  I…