February 14, 2020
Each of us has a story and we are part of a story. We are part of the story of the human race, of the Church, of our country, and most importantly, you are part of the story of your own family. In our modern world we tend to forget this! We also need to be aware that when we engage with our story in a healthy way and then we share that story with our children, we empower them. When parents are at peace with the story of their own lives, they can share their experiences with their children and teach them using their own examples. We can give our children hope through the witness of our own lives. Sign up for Cana90 at Other links and resources referenced see:
January 29, 2020
Our culture all around us is throwing tough issues into our lives and the lives of our children all the time. We are dealing today with topics that our most of our grandparents never had to confront, let alone explain to a child. To guide our children in the way of truth, we must first understand the truth ourselves. Then, before we communicate, we need to recognize that children have specific stages of moral development. We as parents need to realize this so we can “feed” them information appropriately and in a way that children can digest and use correctly. In this podcast we group “tough topics” into categories and then give our take on how to explain these to children. Get your free book by sharing your experience of handling tough topics with your kids: If you're interested in buying and finding out more about this great resource, visit
January 16, 2020
For some couples, praying together is very natural but for others, it feels awkward or forced. (You’ll have to listen in to hear our experience!). The reality is that there are many different ways to pray with our spouse and every couple is unique! In this podcast, we discuss how you can engage in speaking to your Heavenly Father as a couple, bound together with Him in a covenant of love. Each type of prayer is important - blessing, intercession, plea for guidance, communal prayer, and repentance. Growing in your prayer life is an essential way to develop and deepen your relationship, but also a way for you to support your spouse and love them more profoundly. Family Board Meeting worksheet: For more information and resources visit
December 18, 2019
We started this topic in our last podcast MFP122, but there was so much to cover we had to continue the discussion! In this podcast, we discuss the different ways boys and girls deal with aggression and why parents need to teach self-control differently to their sons and daughters. Navigating friendships is another way in which parents need to understand gender differences. Don’t have the same expectations of peaceful play for your sons and daughters - they each have their own challenges! And as kids get older and become adults the process of independence looks very different for moms than it is for dads. All of this is good for parents to realize so they can appreciate the gifts of their children and their amazing uniqueness found in their personality, temperament, and gender. Support the work of this ministry to families at Dr. Leonard Sax’s book:
November 26, 2019
In a culture that is proclaiming gender as “fluid” and is encouraging “gender-neutral” parenting, we proudly stand and say boys and girls are defined and different. Wonderfully different. And did you know those physical variations extend beyond simply the obvious? Boys and girls have distinct wiring in the brain, eye structure, and hearing acuity. Boys overestimate their abilities, and girls underestimate them. Boys feel just as deeply as girls, though they are less verbal. The distinctions are many and sometimes subtle. What does this deeper understanding mean for parents? The more parents realize how their sons and daughters are uniquely made, the better they will be able to understand and guide them to further maturity. In this podcast we draw from the research of Dr. Leonard Sax in his book Why Gender Matters, which we highly recommend. There is so much ground to cover we split this into 2 podcasts! Part 2 coming next week. Referenced in this episode: Advent Kit for Families: Tampa Event: Dr. Leonard Sax’s book:
November 5, 2019
The power of a name, the importance of memory, the responsibility to heal the world, the reality that God dwells with us - all of these are lessons that we as Catholics can learn from the Jewish people. At the end of October 2019, we had the privilege of being guests of the Foundation Stone Institute who hosted us for a trip to Israel and the holy sites there. We had a powerful experience visiting the places where Jesus lived, worked, preached and healed. The trip gave us a deeper understanding of our Catholic faith, but also of the Jewish people, our “elder brethren”. There were many insights that we had and lessons learned, but in this podcast, we decided to limit ourselves to four things that we walked with that we think families can benefit from. These values have been held by the Jewish people for centuries and we can and should learn from them. Support this show and ministry at
October 24, 2019
Every parent wants their children to be happy, but it seems children today are more unhappy than ever before! Part of the problem stems from the expectations and pressure on our kids and part of the problem is that most of us don’t recognize the path to happiness ourselves. Dennis Prager states, “Happiness is a moral obligation.” We all need to realize that happiness is a choice, not something that just happens. We need to teach our children that happiness is under their control, show them the choices that lead to happiness, and then form them with the self-discipline needed to make those choices. We can’t force our children to be happy, but we can give them the guidance and tools they need to choose it for themselves. Find out more about our mission and vision for the future:
October 16, 2019
There are few bigger changes in life than going from having no children to having children. After that the next biggest life change is every child that comes after! Moms and dads who have newborns need the support of family and friends in a particular way as they make these transitions. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, sisters, and even brothers can all listen to this podcast to learn about how they can support new parents at this critical time. It's good for parents to know that it is important to be honest about the feelings they are having because sometimes expectations do not reflect reality. Being open to life is not easy but it can bring you more joy than anything you've ever done. It can also bring more unity and strength to your marriage if you keep lines of communication open and if you are willing to be vulnerable. To contact us, and for more information and resources visit us at Event Info:
September 25, 2019
We believe there is a conspiracy afoot in the world against marriage and family life, but it is not a conspiracy of earthly powers; it is a spiritual one. Parents, by raising a family you have entered into this battle, so you need to keep your eyes open and take spiritual authority within your home and within your own life. In this podcast we discuss things like how the Evil One tries to deceive us, how we can give him footholds in our lives, and how we should respond to his attacks. By freeing yourself up to love, living in the light, and taking authority in our own lives we can live a life spiritual freedom, allowing nothing to hold us back. Remember, Christ the Victor has come to bring us life and it is by His grace and in His name that we shall overcome. Take our listener survey - More on our Tampa Couples Getaway - Prayers and book links can be found at:
September 10, 2019
There are different types of love, but the love that is exclusive, belonging to husbands and wives is eros, a passionate, romantic love which is an essential part of any marriage. As parents we are concerned with so many things - keeping our families financially afloat, the many needs of the children, feeding and clothing everyone - it is easy to neglect to fan the flame of romance between you and your spouse. In this podcast we give you some encouragement and practical ideas for ways wives can pursue their husbands and how husbands can pursue their wives. We talk about WHY this is important and HOW you can do it better than you are today. Take Our Listener Survey - The Four Loves by CS Lewis - Love Languages episode - Messy Family Minute Weekly Email -
August 22, 2019
St. Francis would tell his followers “Let us begin again for until now we have done nothing.” This is a great inspiration for us because sometimes we feel like we are always beginning again with new habits, plans, and goals for our family. We are the most consistently inconsistent parents out there! But we have become less stressed out about our inconsistency because we see that it is an opportunity to begin again with our children. It is hard to create habits in ourselves, let alone a group of children! But habits are an important part of formation, as the quote above from Stephen Covey shows. Since we have made so many plans with our family, we would like to share with you some of what we have learned in creating habits for your family. In this podcast we discuss questions such as how do you create appropriate habits for your family? How do you come up with a plan with your spouse? How do you keep those kids motivated? 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families: The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family: Amazing Camp for Teens: Special weekend in Tampa for couples in February 2020… interested in hearing more?
July 31, 2019
Our society not only devalues mothers, but also underestimates their importance in the life of a newborn child. Some biologists believe that humans are born too soon because so much formation happens in the first years of life outside the womb. The essential element in this formation is the mother. No matter how much time a mother spends with her child vs. being in the workplace, the quality of her relationship with her infant is what makes the difference. In this podcast, we use the book Being There: The Importance of the First Three Years by Erica Komisak as a reference for parents seeking to do all they can to develop a healthy, securely attached, independent child. Buy this book : Get our messy family newsletter: Family Retreat Kit: Related shows Every Mother is a Working Mother - High Powered Parents -
July 10, 2019
Social fragmentation, the break down of the family, isolation, and stress has wounded and broken many of us. Families need to be honest about their need for professional help - honest with themselves and with those around them. It is a sign of strength to admit weakness! Plus, there are burdens that parents simply cannot carry alone. Marriage counselors, child therapists, 12 Step groups, doctors, and support groups are all resources that families can and should take advantage of in order to function in a healthy, holy way. Counseling can offer hope, healing, and a path forward. Listen in as we discuss some of the challenges and obstacles, what to look for in a counselor as well as a note on therapy for children. Kheriaty’s A Catholic Guide to Depression - Mike's interview with Dr. Kheriaty for EWTN: Article on choosing a good therapist -
June 21, 2019
Parenting is a path to holiness, that is clear. Part of this growth in your holiness is taking on the responsibility for the formation of your children. It's hard to form people! But it is a job for unselfish, dedicated parents and no one can do it better than you can! In this podcast, we discuss principles that are important to keep in mind as we form our children. Ideas such as your children are not the center of your family, but part of a community; that you need to teach your children to give themselves away; that trust is earned and love requires boundaries. We pick a few other rules that we have found to be important in our parenting to pass on to you. Along with parenting philosophy will come some very practical insights also that will help you form your children and bring peace to your household. Family Retreat Kit and Videos: Related Episodes and Blog Post: The Irreplaceable Role of Parents (episode): The Irreplaceable Role of Parents (blog post): Growing a Family Culture:
June 5, 2019
During our tour of Australia, we had the opportunity to meet many listeners and make some amazing new friends. One of our events was a day seminar for engaged and newly married couples with an Australian ministry - The Marriage Project. During the day, we had a time to take questions from the audience and we loved it! It was great to experience firsthand the desire that these couples had for intentional, authentic relationships with each other and with their greater community. We answered questions about blending families, challenge of children and marriage, discerning family size, and even our most important piece of advice to a newly married couple (that one was hard!). We hope you enjoy hearing us interacting with our listeners and hearing us really think on our feet! Catholic Family Fests: for other events see: Family Retreat Box:
May 28, 2019
“The family is indeed more than any other social reality, the place where an individual can exist ‘for himself’ through the sincere gift of self…it is the ‘sanctuary of life’” ~ St. John Paul II, Letter to Families, #11 This episode is our first LIVE podcast, recorded during our Australian Tour in May 2019.  During this tour, we presented a seminar sponsored by our good friends (Australians, read “mates!” ) at the Marriage Project.  In this talk we examined the question “What is the nature of family?” Society cannot define was this nature is, because society did not give family its nature. Family has a given meaning all its own. According to St. John Paul II, a family is a community of life whose mission it is to guard, reveal and communicate love. It is a man and woman bound together in a life long commitment whose love is fruitful.   Therefore, our understanding of marriage must be seen within the context of family, since not only do we all come from a family, but we are made for family. Survey about future membership site: Join our newsletter (don’t miss out):
April 30, 2019
High emotions and the advent of adolescence seem to go hand in hand.  Instead of getting caught up into our children’s emotion and the drama that may ensue, parents need to truly be “the adult in the room” and be an example of how to deal with strong feelings in a appropriate way.  To do this, we parents need to be self-aware and conscious of our own woundedness and need for healing. Only then can we be an example to our children and a source of hope sending the message that they CAN overcome.  We need to empathize with our child and empower them to master their emotions while using their intellect and will to act, thus integrating all their faculties to act virtuously. It's hard for parents to teach pre-teens and teens how to handle drama, but this is the job of hard-working, devoted parents! Survey about future membership site: Join our newsletter (don’t miss out): Cana 90 meditations (Lent & Easter seasons):    Schedule for MFP events in Australia: Additional resources for this episode: Dr. Brene Brown on empathy More from Brene Brown Daring Greatly and Power of Vulnerability Teaching your child self-control: Raising confident kids who aren’t full of themselves: Discipling and Disciplining Our Teenagers:
April 4, 2019
Have you ever felt like your world was going up in smoke?  Listen in as we explain this dramatic story of our car fire, where no injuries occurred or lives lost, but the disaster was complete.  Though the loss was great, God’s faithfulness and providence was even greater. We felt it was not a coincidence that this happened during the season of Lent because we are able to see the themes of fasting through detachment from goods, mercy that was shown to us, and the prayer that protected us and our children. No matter how Satan plans our demise, God can always have the victory. Video and article: Join our newsletter (don’t miss out): Cana 90 meditations:
March 19, 2019
Men today can’t do anything right. The world has taken the idea of masculinity and distorted it to the point that it is barely recognizable from the ideal man celebrated one hundred years ago. As dynamic Catholics living in this time, we want to celebrate men and encourage them to reclaim their true identity and realize who God created them to be - fully using their gifts and masculine qualities to serve others. In this podcast, we use the apostolic letter “Into the Breach” written by Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix, AZ to put forward and answer three questions - What does it mean to be a Catholic man? How do men love? And why is fatherhood so crucial? Referenced For the full Apostolic Exhortation: Into the Breach visit Wild at Heart: Abba’s Heart: For past posts for Cana 90:
March 5, 2019
We have a very exciting program to share with you all in this podcast that we are doing for Lent. We know that we want to bring our wills and our hearts closer to God, but how do we make sacrifices and offer up our wills as a married couple? What do sacrifices in Lent look like when you are raising children and are already laying down your life and your body for them? Our beautiful faith provides the answer for us. Offer up our prayers and fasting to subdue our wills and then show mercy first to those closest to us, our spouse and children. Allow all the “built in” sacrifices that we do NOT choose during the day to become an offering pleasing to God. Do it all under the authority of your spouse, who you also have authority over. Listen to this podcast and sign up for more ideas, structure, and accountability in Cana 90! Sign up for the Cana 90 program:
February 21, 2019
Very frequently people will email or write to us asking for our organization secrets, tips, or techniques. Our secret is.. We don’t really have one. We do have principles and a philosophy that we live by, but the perfect system of organization for our home still eludes us. But, what we can give you is an overall view of how we make decisions and communicate with our children on making our home run so children are clothed, fed, and get where they need to go (for the most part!). Doing chores and managing schedules takes up much of our time as a family, but in the context of family culture, that is actually not the most important part of your family. Family operations needs to be seen in the context of your WHOLE family life and parents need to make sure the rest of the family culture is not neglected because so much energy is spent on our physical needs. Listen to the podcast, and then take a look as some of the resources that go with this podcast on our website. We have more practical tips there! For resources, family organization app and cool products we use visit us:
February 6, 2019
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” – Brené Brown There have been times in our marriage when we felt ourselves drifting apart. Not because of any one catastrophic event, but just because we weren’t working on our relationship. We were just getting by. But in a culture antithetical to marriage, just getting by is not enough. All Catholic couples need to work to cultivate a dynamic, vibrant relationship, strong enough to bear the demands of family life, and weather everything the world will throw at it. The reality is, we are never done working on our marriage. In this podcast we discuss the importance of “checking in” with our spouse to see how we are doing. To do this effectively we need to practice how to listen but also practice being vulnerable. This podcast has a worksheet that you can download at our website and use as a tool to work with your spouse towards a more intentional, unified marriage. Download our three part guide to a more united marriage at Also you will find other items like the parish bulletin insert and how to celebrate and advocate for marriage online. Its not about the nail video- Daring Greatly by Brené Brown (
January 29, 2019
A parenting fail is simply a lesson wrongly considered. ~ Mike and Alicia Hernon Have you ever let your emotions get the better of you? Have a discipline plan go south? Have a fun family time turn into a disaster? Yes, us too. All parents make mistakes! Even though we have a marriage and family podcast and we share advice and ideas, please don’t think that we (like you!) haven’t had some big “fails” ourselves! In this podcast, we share some stories of things we have done that didn’t turn out the way we planned. The good news is that through these fails we have learned lessons that stay with us even today. Hopefully you will be able to see yourselves in our stories, laugh a little bit and maybe even learn something from these examples of our own messy parenting!
January 17, 2019
“A family doesn’t need to be perfect; it just needs to be united.” Families are busy – running from place to place with little time to look where they are going or to even form an idea of what they want their family to look like. The Family Board Meeting is a tool that couples can use to cast a vision for their family and create concrete goals that will make that vision a reality. In this podcast we discuss the importance of this time, talk about elements of a Family Board Meeting, and we give suggestions on logistics that will make it happen. Go to our website to download the guide that can go along with this podcast. Creating a vision for your family and setting goals as a team is a powerful way for couples to be more intentional about building their own family culture.
December 20, 2018
Most parents realize that young children are not little adults and they have particular needs for their physical and mental well-being. We must realize that they have particular needs for their spiritual well-being as well. Parents need to learn how to tend the seed of their child’s faith life and that starts with acknowledging the differences, and realizing that in many ways, the child is closer to God than we are! The beautiful thing about parenting is that as we nurture our child’s faith, we will grow closer to God ourselves. We must learn from the child how to have a “child-like” faith as Jesus taught in the gospels. Listen in as we explain how the child’s faith is different than ours and how we can nurture their faith in appropriate ways. For more on this show and other resources visit:
December 11, 2018
More than any other topic, discipline is something listeners have asked us to address in our podcast. Our hesitation has been that this is just such a complicated topic!   One that deserves much time and thought because, well… it's complicated and there are no easy answers, as much as we would like there to be. So instead of trying to cover all things regarding discipline, we decided to give some foundational beliefs in our discipline philosophy.  This podcast explores 5 principles of discipline that all parents can apply to their children, no matter what the age. This podcast compliments our Guide to Discipline found on our website.   Download the Messy Family Guide to Discipline at Podcast episodes referenced in this show The Five Love Languages - The Irreplaceable Role of Parents - Parenting as a Team -
November 30, 2018
Welcome to the 100th podcast! We are celebrating the public launch of our ministry with new branding, new website, and even new intro and outro music on the podcast itself! As promised, we decided to interview the people who had more influence on our parenting than anyone else, and who have taught us the most. Those people would be (drum roll, please!) our children! We hope you find both interviews entertaining and informative (though the younger kids were more entertaining than informative!). We decided that 12 people talking altogether would be too much so we first interviewed the oldest 5 children and then the youngest 5. We talk about such topics as – What are the best and worst parts of being in a big family? What life lessons have you learned from our family? How did you handle fighting with siblings growing up? What did that teach you? It was fun for us to interview the older children and hear what influenced them and made the biggest impression on them. They came up with some really great insights that we hadn’t even thought of! We hope you can listen in and celebrate with us, but also gain some insight and inspiration from hearing from the Hernon Ten. For more on this show and other resources visit:
November 14, 2018
We listen to what our parents say to us because this is how we figure out who we are. – Dr. Meg Meeker The words that parents say to their children are important, but equally as important (if not more) is HOW we say those words. We have found this through our own struggles with yelling! Communication happens not only verbally, but also emotionally, so our words can be lost in the way in which we express ourselves. When we raise our voices in anger through yelling we may unintentionally be verbally assaulting our own children. In this show we talk about having a plan, getting perspective and asking for help. Stay connected and hear about the new website, Advent box, and more by signing up for our newsletter:
October 24, 2018
Raising children is beautiful but also hard work. It’s a task for unselfish, devoted parents. ~ Archbishop Chaput Parenting is not for cowards, that is for sure! Thankfully, God gives children two parents who, when they work together, can provide the best environment for their child. But working together can be tough. Spouses come from different backgrounds, have different personalities, virtues, and vices. All of this needs to be worked through to get in sync with each other. Presenting a united front to your children is not only good for them, its good for you and your marriage as well. Listen in as we give some tips on how to parent together with respect, unity, and God’s grace. Join the Messy Family list at:
October 9, 2018
“Each family finds within itself a summons that cannot be ignored and that specifies both its dignity and responsibility: family, become what you are” (Familiaris Consortio, #17) We have discussed how important a family culture is. It is a powerful construct that communicates more effectively than your words alone can. But how do parents build a healthy culture in their home? What should the elements be? The first priority should be building a spiritual life, which we discussed in “Building a Family Culture” but what comes after that? In this podcast, we discuss the next 4 priorities: your marriage, the family’s network of relationships, discovering giftedness, and family operations. Listen in and then take some time to discuss with your spouse what needs to be strengthened in the culture you are building in your home. (BONUS: At the very end we are joined by a special guest.) Sign up for more on Family Culture at
September 26, 2018
Creating a Family Culture is a powerful way to influence our children in a way that goes beyond our relationship with any one individual child. It is greater than just you or your spouse. Family Culture is the unspoken system that binds your family together and communicates your expectations, beliefs, and values more powerfully than any written word. It is a natural construct, but it is actually spiritual also because it creates an invisible web that binds your family together. This system of values and beliefs that result in behavior powerfully forms the way of life for your family. Parents need to be thoughtful and intentional about the culture that they are stewarding within their home. Listen in as we explain the priorities that should be found in a healthy family culture.  Part 1 of 2… more to come You can take the survey to help shape the direction of our ministry at
September 14, 2018
Siblings: Children of the same parents each of whom is perfectly normal until they get together ~ Sam Levenson One of the greatest gift we can give our children is more brothers and sisters. But as parents our responsibility isn’t just to provide those siblings and just walk away saying, “Hope it all works out!”. We need to provide the environment and guidance that children need to have healthy, life-giving relationships with their brothers and sisters. This is a challenge – no doubt about it! But the effort that parents put into this formation is worth it in the long run. Listen in as we give tips, perspective, and encouragement to all parents who are working to overcome sibling challenges. Download and more at (pending)
August 22, 2018
You are at a friends house for dinner with your kids. The 3 and 5 yr old are playing on the floor. Each has a toy, but then one child decides that he wants what his friend has. Chaos ensues. What are parents to do? How do you deal with your child? What do you say to the little friend? How do you manage this with your hosts? This is a sticky situation that many parents run into - how can you have peace between little kids visiting together? We talk about this and give some realistic expectations on little kids play and social interactions.
July 26, 2018
“…the ability to be “at leisure” is one of the basic powers of the human soul.” – Josef Pieper, Leisure, the Basis of Culture How many of us really appreciate what it mean to enjoy leisure in our lives? Life can’t be just about work, and simply “having fun” doesn’t capture what we really need to be rejuvenated in our lives. We need to allow ourselves to just “be” and we need to also create that culture within our family. Taking time for reading, creating, or playing games is one of the ways we can have a foretaste of heaven. In this podcast we discuss this topic, but we also give a list of recommended games for different age groups and games that the whole family can play, no matter what the age! Interested in the list of fun games we mentioned on this podcast?  Sign up for our newsletter or contact us.
June 20, 2018
To be in your child’s memories tomorrow you have to be in their lives today. ~ Unknown. Be who you were made to be and you will set the world on fire. ~ St. Catherine of Siena There are parents in this world who are greatly gifted. They started out as Catholic men and women who were highly successful in their professional lives and had made sacrifices to get there. When children come into the picture, how do these professionals, who are now parents, order their lives to make family a top priority? In this podcast, we discuss the principles that parents can apply in ordering these goods – the good of developing your professional skill and the good of family life – towards the optimal path to holiness and wholeness. There are no simple answers, but with prayer and discussion parents can make a decision that will give them peace. Take the survey at: Downloads and notes: Become a Patron:
May 30, 2018
“Sanctify the family and you will sanctify the world.” No, we are not talking about dad (although he may be king of the remote!) We have a different King in mind. 62% of children say they stopped being Catholic between the ages of 10 and 17 according to the CARA research center. This means children are losing their faith while they are under their parent’s roof. How can we make sure our kids are not part of this statistic? What can a modern Catholic family do to create an environment that helps keep our kids faithful? Where should we start? We believe the “secret weapon” for Catholic families in the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus within your home. When families proclaim publicly that Jesus Christ is King, great mercies and graces flow into the family. Listen in as we explain what this means and how to use this “secret weapon” to keep your family close to Christ. Resources: * Messy Parenting’s Enthronement of the Sacred Heart Ceremony * Become a monthly supporter * Books on Enthronement
May 16, 2018
“Emotions are like children. You shouldn’t lock them in the trunk, but you don’t want them driving the car either” Have you ever had a child melt down because they didn’t get what they wanted? How do we respond to emotional outbursts in our children? Self control is an under appreciated virtue in our modern culture, but ironically, it is the one skill we can teach our children that can help them achieve great success. Instead of embracing the maxim of today, “Just do it!” we should be echoing the slogan of the 80’s anti-drug campaign which was “Just say no!”. Our children need to learn from a young age that they CAN be in charge of how they react to their emotions, but they need your guidance and help to do this. In this podcast we give some tips and tricks on how to speak to your child and put them in the driver’s seat of life.
April 28, 2018
“The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference” ~Elie Wiesel Have you ever felt distant from your spouse? Living like married singles in the same house? or maybe just some dryness in your marriage? Every marriage goes through cycles of romance and then disillusionment which can lead to true joy. But without intentional decisions and actions, marriages can get stuck in indifference and that is a very real danger. What are the most effective steps to move out of this stage? How do you overcome indifference? In this podcast we give some practical and simple advice to husbands and wives who are striving for an exceptional marriage. Related Episodes: * Five Love Languages * Vulnerability in Marriage * Arguing in Marriage
April 16, 2018
We regularly get questions from our listeners on a variety of topics. Some can become podcasts, some are answered individually, but some questions are a bit in between. On this episode, we tackle someone struggling with outgrowing a friendship and wondering how to handle that and another who is working to build community where they are. Another listener has an autistic son and would like to encourage all Catholics to be sensitive and inclusive, especially in church. We had another question about godparenting when the parents of your godchild are not practicing their faith. All important and relevant issues for parents everywhere. Listen in to hear our take on these questions and then feel free to contact us with some of your own issues! Referenced episodes: * Building Community * Godparenting * Evangelizing as a family * Prepare the Way (video)
March 28, 2018
Dads, no one will call you Hero like your daughter will. – Dr. Meg Meeker The Father-Daughter relationship is sweet and sometimes cute, but the reality is that it is of vital importance in the light of every girl who will become a woman. Father’s don’t have to be perfect, but they need to be intentional about how they relate to their daughters. Well-fathered daughters enter the world with a healthy respect for themselves, and for men in general which often can help them enter into deeper, more fulfilling relationships as they enter adulthood. Listen in as we give some insight, inspiration and ideas on how you can work on your relationship with your daughter. Resources: * Steubenville Father Daughter Dance * Articles and Posts from Dr. Meg Meeker on Raising Daughters * The Surprising Ways Your Father Impacts Who You’ll Marry * Devotional for Strong Fathers, Strong Daughter
March 14, 2018
“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way…” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 Very few of us are blessed to be surrounded by people who agree with us on our faith or values 100% of the time, but we need to navigate these relationships and keep them healthy in spite of our differences. This is true especially in parental relationships because honoring your parents is a commandment, without a caveat or condition. The reality is that when people are critical of our faith, our values, or our parenting choices we need to learn to respond first with love and charity. It is a simple answer but a difficult one. In this podcast, we give 5 steps in loving those who differ with us. This podcast was sponsored by an anonymous supporter who is struggling to stay in relationships with family members who disagree with their practice of the Catholic faith.
February 28, 2018
All of the parenting we have done for our son has led up to this point. The point where he separates from us and forms his own family. Feb 10, 2017 our son Patrick married Cassie in our hometown of Steubenville and it was a wedding to remember! Not everything went perfectly as planned, but that didn’t matter. The bride and groom beautifully reflected the love that God has for all of us and the formation of this new family should give all Catholics another reason to hope. We are so proud of our son and our new daughter, and we hope you are inspired by their wedding story!
February 18, 2018
Screens are part of our world and they are here to stay. TV, computers, smartphones, tablets are all around us and becoming an essential element in our everyday lives. Though many would like to demonize these devices, the reality is that they are amoral – not good nor bad. It is our job as parents to help our children learn to use these screens in a way that is beneficial for their physical, social, and emotional development. Screens are a big issue for parents and a complex one. In this podcast, we discuss navigating this topic with our kids and why limiting screens is it actually more of a challenge for parents than for children. “Their performance might be high in gaming and internet information processing, but what about performance in low-tech activities such as building relationships? Parenting? Achieving greatness at anything, from sports to music to business?” ~Amy and Evelyn Guttmann Links: * What Screen Time and Screen Media Do To Your Child’s Brain and Sensory Processing Ability * American Academy of Pediatrics: Media Use by Children * Previous Messy Parenting episode on Kids and Technology
January 22, 2018
“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Ps 37:4 Making decisions is a stressful and sometimes difficult task for most of us, especially when you are a parent.  Deciding where to live, what job to take, or how to educate your children are probably 3 of the most important decisions you will make.  How can you know what God wants?  How can you figure out what is best for you and for your family?  In this podcast, we discuss things to consider when you have to make a big decision.  God wants to bless you.  Just seek His face, stay close to Him and don’t stress out! Resources: * Fr. Mike Scanlan’s What Does God Want * TV Show with Fr. Timothy Gallagher on Discovering God’s Will * Related podcast: MP 033: Educational Choice
December 18, 2017
We are all looking for the perfect gift. What gift is more treasured than our Lord? Many of you deeply desire for your children to know Christ in a special way this Christmas. In this video broadcast, we encourage you to first receive from the Lord, because we can’t give what we don’t have ourselves. In order to celebrate Christmas, use this time to seek reconciliation and give generously what you have been given. We can very simply honor the birth of our Lord through the very gift of ourselves to others. This is our fourth Advent broadcast and would love to hear your reaction. By signing up for our email newsletter we will also send you links for a great Christmas album that your family will enjoy. At the end of this is a sample with our daughters singing the Angel Gabriel. Related episodes: * Holidays with In-laws and Out-laws * Forgiveness * Family Prayer * Busyness
December 3, 2017
Make Advent a time to renew your family’s faith life with scripture. This the audio version from the Advent video series from Messy Parenting. Our hope with this series is to help you make Jesus Christ the King of your family and unleash God’s power in your parenting. This is the second of the four part series. This week we focus on “Making the Word of God Flesh in Your Home”. In 20 minutes we share 3 ways to make scripture come alive this Advent (and throughout the year).
November 27, 2017
The days between Thanksgiving and Christmas are full of many tasks, which are fun and beautiful, but also may take our eyes off of the One we need most at this time. Making room for prayer in our busy schedules isn’t just something that is important during Advent, it’s an essential part of parenting and living as a Catholic in this crazy world. In this podcast, we take some time to define WHY we should pray, HOW you can pray, and, most importantly, WHEN you can pray. Subscriber for newsletter for Advent Video Broadcast and daily meditations for the Jesse Tree at
November 14, 2017
“A child will have many friends and companions in their lives, but they will only ever have two parents.” ~Mike and Alicia The role of parents in the lives of their children cannot be underestimated. Of course we have a natural role – we are to protect and provide for our offspring- but we sometimes forget that we have an irreplaceable role in the spiritual and emotional lives of our children as well. There are many messages from the world telling us otherwise, but we need to stand firm in the truth that we have a dignity and responsibility as parents. When your children are young you cannot be your child’s friend, or companion, or buddy. You need to be the authority figure, the protector, the image of God the Father to them. This is a daunting task, but God will give you the grace you need. What is your “irreplaceable role”? How can you take your rightful place in the life of your child in a way that no one else can? * Protect them- Infants and toddlers need protecting, but so do teenagers. Looks different, but someone has to do it. * Provide for them- We realize we need to give food, clothing and shelter, but we also need to provide for kids emotionally, socially, and spiritually. * Form them- You are the first and best teacher of your child. Lean into that role and use the power of your relationship to speak to their heart. * Be a student of your child- Observe them. Learn their personality type. Find what motivates them. This is true at every age. We all want to be known and it gives a person security like nothing else to be “known” by their parents. * Invest in them- You could die tomorrow and in a few weeks you would be replaced at work, but your children would be changed forever by your loss. Your family is the greatest return on your investment. And they need you more than anyone else. * Sense of identity and belonging- Your child is a son or daughter of God and you are the one to confirm that identity on them. Create a family culture so your child knows that when the world beats them up, they will always know who they are and have a place in your home. * Sense of purpose- One of the highest and most important needs of man is a sense of purpose. Children need to know that God has a plan for their lives, that He has a mission specifically for them. Their life as a purpose, and you will be there to walk beside them and find that purpose together. Join us for a 4 week Advent Series to make Jesus Christ the King of your home. Starting the weekend after Thanksgiving we will be sharing via interactive video about how to deepen the faith in your family. The four part live video series will be recorded and posted for later viewing by patrons and sponsors. Sign up for our newsletter to stay in the loop and for more information on this series. [mc4wp_form id=”613″]
October 31, 2017
“Life is pain, your highness. And anyone who tells you differently is selling something.” – The Princess Bride Children today are less able to deal with failure, rejection, and pain than ever before. As parents, we hate to see our children suffer, but how do we prepare them for real life? How do we help to make them strong, but flexible at the same time? In this podcast, we discuss how hard it is to see our precious children struggle, and we point out the pitfalls that parents can easily fall into. We also give three principles you can implement in your parenting to help form resilient kids. Please take five minutes to complete the 2017 Listener Survey.
October 16, 2017
All throughout our children’s lives we are laying a foundation. A foundation upon which the rest of their lives will be built. How we relate to them, the consequences we provide, the teaching we give when they are teens (or even younger) will affect how we relate to them when they become adults. Parenting an adult child can be amazingly satisfying or heart-breaking depending on the decisions they make. In this podcast, we give 7 tips on how to parent your adult child and help them to launch into the world of adulthood.
September 25, 2017
We thought we were really nice people before we had kids. Our children can sometimes trigger anger in us that we didn’t even realize was there and we can even surprise ourselves with its violence. To overcome unrighteous anger, we need to understand why we get angry (sometimes its not unjustified!) and make a plan for how we are going to deal with it. This can be a difficult issue for many people because it takes humility to admit when we are wrong, and vulnerability to deal with our own brokenness.
September 6, 2017
Our world presents images of cartoon fairy godmothers and mob boss godfathers, but in actuality, being a godparent is a life-long commitment of spiritual significance. To be an effective godparent we need to be in relationship with our godchild as a Christian witness as we assist the parents in the faith formation of their child. In this episode we discuss how to choose a godparent, the importance of godparents in the life of the child, and how to be a godparent that actually makes an impact in the life of a young Catholic. Listen in to learn more about this important relationship.  This sponsored podcast is dedicated to Katie Stockermans.
August 11, 2017
“If the devil cannot make us bad, he will make us busy.” ~ Corrie TenBoom If we are too busy to pray, to eat with our family, to play with our kids, then we are too busy. When we look at our family’s schedule we need to make sure that we have the “big rocks” in place. We need to make sure that we invest time in those things that we say are our top priorities. Show me how you spend your time, and I will show you what you value. In this podcast we talk about families and our busy schedules. We look at how we can juggle it all and make wise choices for our children and ourselves. Really, most of our podcast ideas boil down to this – how do you make it all happen? Episode Sponsor: The Master Planner Related Episodes: * Kids and Activities * Raising confident kids who aren’t full of themselves * Overwhelmed * Family Board Meeting
July 18, 2017
The future of evangelization depends in great part on the Church of the home ~ St. John Paul the Great Every Catholic is called to evangelize. No matter where you are in life, we are to spreading the gospel of Christ in all we do. Does that mean that we need to carry a bible in the diaper bag and preach on the street? Not necessarily (though a bible in your diaper bag is a good idea!), the first step in evangelization is to love. When we evangelize as a family, that means that we first love, serve, and preach the gospel to our own children as we create a home in which others can come to be served and cared for. Your family can be a witness to Christ as you show how to love as Jesus loved. This podcast was sponsored by Sean and Aine Ascough of Ireland! Related Podcasts: * Evangelizing your Kids * Passing on the Faith (interview with parents of 10 & grandparents of 40) * Scripture and the Family
June 26, 2017
“The more ready you are to give yourselves to God and to others, the more you will discover the authentic meaning of life.” ― Jason Evert, Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves Chastity is a Fruit of the Holy Spirit and a virtue that frees us to love others for who they are, not for what they do for us. The foundation of chastity should be intentionally laid when our children are young so this virtue can fully flower in the teen years and beyond. This podcast isn’t a “chastity talk”; its 50 minutes of practical advice on what this virtue looks like when a family of all different ages and stages of development is living it out. Thank you to the Piwnicki family from St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Crystal Lake, IL for sponsoring this podcast! Related Podcasts: * Importance of Friendships for your Kids * Preparing Your Tween and Yourself for Adolescence * Messy Parenting Guide to Dating Great Books: * Raising Pure Teens by Jason Evert and Chris Stefanick * Theology of His/Her Body  by Jason Evert
June 13, 2017
One blessing of having 10 kids is that we have matured and learned enough about kids to appreciate the toddler years of children #9 and 10 much more than those years with children #1 and 2. Our advice to parents of toddlers is to start by enjoying them. Its hard to do when they are destroying your house and embarrassing you in public, but with a few strategies and consistency on your part, you can begin to see that this little bundle of creative energy has been amazingly designed by the Divine Creator. It’s all part of His plan to get this child to adulthood and independence, and to get you to heaven!
May 9, 2017
“It is in the family that young people have their first experience of Gospel values and of the love which gives itself to God and to others.” ~ St. John Paul the Great As Catholic families, we want our children to be open to the call to priesthood or religious life, but how do we do that in a practical way? Where does this call come from? How can we support our children in responding to that call? Ultimately, the answer comes down to teaching our children to love and know Jesus, because the path ahead of them can only be walked with His help. In this podcast, Father Joe Doman, Alicia’s younger brother, shares his vocation story and insights into how the laity can foster vocations. We also discuss how to support the priests who care for us in our parishes.
April 25, 2017
“Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.” ~Ben Franklin God could have made food boring, dull, and simply to sustain us. But He didn’t. He made food good! Added with human creativity and work, food becomes a sign of love to our families. Parents work to buy food, prepare food, and serve food to nourish their children. It’s amazing how much work goes into just feeding people! In this podcast we talk about feeding babies, the kind of food we give our kids, our perspective on organic and non-GMO foods, and why we think its important to consider your philosophy of food that you are passing on to your kids. Additional Resources: * Grace Before Meals (Fr. Leo is awesome!) * The Catholic Table (great book and blog!) * Once a Month Cooking (Cook book)
April 5, 2017
“More than ever necessary in our times is preparation of young people for marriage and family life.” – St. John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio Preparing for a wedding can be a whirl of appointments, deposits, planning, decision-making, “Pintresting”, and, sometimes, drama. But the wedding is just a day, marriage is a life time. Preparing for marriage is a very serious and important task for any couple. Marriage is naturally fraught with difficulties, and in our culture today that is especially true. There is little support for faithful marriage and many of us come from families who have given us poor examples of what a healthy marriage should look like. In this podcast we give some topics that couples really need to discuss as well as some of our own insights of how to renew the sacrament of marriage in our church. Some Resources Mentioned: * Catholic Bishops on Marriage * Fr. John Riccardo – Biblical Vision for Marriage Pt 1(iTunes) * Beloved DVD Series
March 15, 2017
“The future of evangelization depends in great part on the Church of the home [the family].” – St. John Paul II The deepest desire for many of us as parents is to pass on the faith to our children. According to many statistics upwards of two-thirds of young people are leaving the faith. so its obvious that most parents are facing an uphill battle. Parents must be intentional about the evangelization of their children. What is the secret formula for success? What does it look like to be an evangelizing parent? In this podcast, we share the TOP FIVE WAYS to evangelize your kids. Gain some insight, spark a conversation, and go deeper in the work of evangelization. Listen in and share your ideas.
March 2, 2017
“Once you’re a parent, your relationship matters more, not less, because now other people are counting on you.” ~ Marriage is under attack, but many times the attack is not direct and aggressive. Instead, it is slow and subtle – couples simply drift apart. How do we keep this from happening in our marriages? In this podcast we give 5 ways to keep your love alive in your relationship. We must continue to pursue and discover our spouse, no matter how long you have been married or how well you know each other. During this episode we also share a new and exciting way that our listeners can help us spread this ministry of Messy Parenting. Listen in! Consider sponsoring the podcast
February 13, 2017
This is part two of our podcast on teenagers. There are few tasks in parenting that can be as rewarding but also as challenging as disciplining sons and daughters who are moving from childhood to adulthood – otherwise known as teenagers. This is an important time of transition for them, and it is a time of transition for parents as well. Old ways of communicating and protecting them will not be as effective as they were. Some families breeze through this time, while it takes a heavy toll on others. In this podcast, we would like to give some foundational principles that we have found very helpful in discipling, not just disciplining, children who are going through this amazing and critical transformation in their lives. This podcast had so much information in it, that we decided to break it up into 2 parts.
February 7, 2017
Don’t throw away your friendship with your teenager over behavior that has no great moral significance. There will be plenty of real issues that require you to stand like a rock. Save your big guns for those crucial confrontations. ~Dr. James Dobson There are few tasks in parenting that can be as rewarding but also as challenging as disciplining sons and daughters who are moving from childhood to adulthood – otherwise known as teenagers. This is an important time of transition for them, and it is a time of transition for parents as well. Old ways of communicating and protecting them will not be as effective as they were. Some families breeze through this time, while it takes a heavy toll on others. In this podcast, we would like to give some foundational principles that we have found very helpful in discipling, not just disciplining, children who are going through this amazing and critical transformation in their lives. This podcast had so much information in it, that we decided to break it up into 2 parts. The second part will be out next week.
January 17, 2017
“Father Mike Scanlan was a priest of the New Evangelization before there was a New Evangelization,” ~ George Weigel Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, impacted many lives with the saving message of Jesus Christ. He was a friar, priest, preacher, teacher, healer, president, but to us he was our spiritual father. In this podcast we take some time to reflect on the lessons that we have learned from this man that we would like to share and continue to make real in our lives. We know you will benefit in hearing about this great man because he taught us both how to love Jesus, in a deep, real, intimate way. We hope we can honor his legacy by continuing to proclaim the gospel in the best way we know how- by sharing these stories with you. The debt we owe him is beyond all measure. Thank you Jesus for this gift, this privilege, this humble friar who has changed our life for all eternity.  #FatherMike For more information, videos and more on Fr. Mike:
January 5, 2017
“Human beings look separate because you see them walking about separately. But then we are so made that we can see only the present moment. If we could see the past, then of course it would look different. For there was a time when every man was part of his mother, and (earlier still) part of his father as well, and when they were part of his grandparents. If you could see humanity spread out in time, as God sees it, it would look like one single growing thing–rather like a very complicated tree. Every individual would appear connected with every other.” ― C.S. Lewis We all come from somewhere. We are part of the human family, but also we are part of a particular family with a history. So many of us, especially Americans, have lost the appreciation for our family tree that we should have. It’s important that we know where we come from, so we can pass that on to our children and to future generations. In this podcast we talk not only about ancestry and the importance of knowing it, but also of keeping connections with extended family and keeping our own family history through videos, keepsakes, and photos. All of these things are important in keeping us grounded in our place in history. Catholic tangent from show: I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts!
December 13, 2016
“In children we have a great charge committed to us. Let us bestow great care upon them…Form the soul of thy son aright, and all the rest will be added hereafter.” —St. John Chrysostom We are so grateful for all the people who have emailed us encouraging words and stories of how these podcasts have touched their lives. We are MOST grateful for those people who email us questions, because we can use them as topics for our podcasts! Thank you for trusting us enough to ask for our help. In this episode we take some time to answer questions and give encouragement to those who have asked us about issues like teaching gratefulness, getting kids to sleep, and tithing. Keep those questions coming!
December 4, 2016
“Harboring unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die” Unforgiveness destroys marriages, relationships, families, and communities, but forgiveness is the most powerful weapon we have as Christians. When we forgive, with the grace of God, we are free from the power that any person and their actions have over us. Sometimes forgiveness seems impossible, and if it is dependent on us, then it would be, but we are not alone. Listen in as we talk about what it means to forgive and how to do it.
November 20, 2016
The birth of Jesus brings us the good news that we are loved immensely and uniquely by God – Pope Francis The Advent season is more than just a countdown to Christmas. It is a time of preparation for the coming of Christ –  His coming at Christmas and His second coming. The Church gives us many beautiful traditions to help us lead our children to focus on more than just presents and treats, but instead on the true celebration of the gift of Jesus! In this podcast we share some ideas and inspiration on what we do for Advent and how to inspire your family in this journey to Bethlehem. Previous podcasts of interest: * MP 036 : Holidays with In-laws and Out-laws * MP 021 : Visiting Family
October 31, 2016
“I don’t know what’s more exhausting about parenting: the getting up early, or acting like you know what you’re doing.” ~ Jim Gaffigan, Dad Is Fat Babies are a joy. People will tell you that no one can describe what its like to be a parent and they are right! Parenthood is something that has to be experienced because you can’t explain it. God has this amazing way of combining an experience that is exciting, frustrating, amazing, and discouraging all at once. He does all this to form us into who He wants us to be which is the best version of ourselves. In this podcast we offer some encouragement, a dose of realism, and of course, practical advice in navigating the transition of being a married couple, to being parents.
October 17, 2016
Warning! Political Talk Ahead! “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing” ~ Edmund Burke This election is a difficult one for many reasons. What is a good Catholic to do? Over the years, Mike has been involved in politics on the local, state, and federal level. He has had time to think and pray about some principles that apply to this election in America, but also to elections in other countries and at other times. We think you will find this advice practical and helpful as we navigate these muddy waters in our election this year.
October 5, 2016
…do good, be rich in good deeds, and be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:18-19 Where we spend our money is a very personal decision. The fruits of our labors are important and where our money goes reflects our values. Giving money away is where the rubber hits the road in our relationship with God. How much to we recognize that we are dependent on Him? Do we really give Him all we have? Using part of our hard earned money to serve the Lord is a reflection of our lives that are given to Him. Listen in to hear our philosophy, but also some practical advice on how to discern what God is calling you to in giving some of our resources to the service of His Kingdom.
September 26, 2016
I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle; I just wish He didn’t trust me so much. The common answer when people ask “How are you doing?” is often, “I am so busy!” Sometimes being busy is good, but when you feel as if you are riding the crest of a wave, but you trip and the wave crashes over you, something has to give. There are many things about being a parent that are overwhelming, because much of what we are dealing with is new to us! When you are overwhelmed, parents need to stop and reevaluate. Listen in to this podcast – our first in a few weeks! – where we give some sympathy, empathy, but also some good ideas of how to deal with the common experience of being overwhelmed.
July 28, 2016
“To love is to be vulnerable.” – C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves Many cry that marriage is under attack, but often the attack is actually more like a cancer that creeps into our relationship with the person that we should feel totally safe with – our spouse. For our marriages to grow, we need to reveal ourselves to the other and this involves risk. For many men, the risk is seeming weak. For women, the risk is getting hurt. But there really is no option! In the married relationship you are either growing or dying. We need to all learn how to honestly share our inmost thoughts and feelings in the context of marriage if our marriage is truly going to bring us life. In this podcast, we talk about what holds us back, why we should go forward, and what the fruit of vulnerability is in our marriage.
July 21, 2016
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. – Romans 13:1 Every day it seems like we hear of another act of violence by police or against police. Where is the respect for authority in our culture? How can we teach respect to our children? Actually, the more important question is why should we teach that to our children? In this podcast we talk about the importance of respect for authority because authority ultimately comes from God. Our culture right now has a disrespect for authority. We need to change that and it starts with our own family.
June 7, 2016
I don’t believe an accident of birth makes people brothers or sisters. It makes them siblings, gives them mutuality of parentage. Sisterhood or brotherhood is a condition people have to work at. – Maya Angelou Growing up all we remember was fighting with our siblings. Now, they are our best friends, an integral part of our identity. Creating an environment in which siblings can form sisterhood and brotherhood should be an essential part of your parenting playbook. Your children’s relationships need to survive distance, conflict and the test of time long after you are gone. How do you do that now? How do you make that a priority in your family? Listen in as we share our experiences as siblings and as parents of a large Catholic family.
May 24, 2016
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:26-27 Parents worry about so many things. When you have kids its like part of your heart is walking around outside of you! What is worth the mental and emotional energy of concern on your part and what is not? In this podcast we discuss the things that parents worry about and the Catholic response to worry.
May 4, 2016
“We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer Our faith celebrates and values children and openness to life, so having one child or no children can be particularly painful for Catholic couples who long for a big family. To discuss this topic on a personal level we interviewed Brad and Jessica Sheguit, Alicia’s sister and brother-in-law who have carried this burden for over 7 years. In this podcast, Brad and Jessica share their struggles and give advice on how to support couples who carry this hidden cross. * Church’s teaching on fertility treatments: USCCB & another doc * Additional Catholic information: * NaPro technology:
April 19, 2016
Every single person has a different perspective when looking at the same thing. How many times in our marriage do we come into conflict with our spouse over things that are not moral issues, just differences in opinion? It happens pretty often especially when you are first starting out and beginning your family. In this podcast we help you to see that those differences are actually gifts. We just need to figure out how to discuss our differences in a productive way. Many of our examples for this podcast come from listener emails that we felt were important to respond to.
April 5, 2016
You can’t put your head in the sand. If you don’t bring up tough issues with your child, they are going to encounter them, but from the perspective of someone else. When do you bring up sticky issues with your kids? It’s so hard to know when and if you should discuss things like terrorism, abortion, or where babies come from. Kids bring up topics at the most inconvenient times! Plus, life is messy and as much as we would like to keep our children innocent forever, that is just not possible. In this podcast, we share some of our experiences and give some guidelines on how we have handled these issues with our kids. Listen in and let the conversation begin. Conversation Questions: * How will we protect our child’s innocence? * What issues are on the horizon for our family? * What’s our response as parents to these issues?
March 28, 2016
Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world where people so often either ignore or fight each other. It is a sign that we don’t need a lot of money to be happy – in fact, the opposite. ~ Jean Vanier (Founder of L’Arche) Relationships are a complicated thing, but somehow we can’t live without them. Just as it is not good for man to be alone, it is also not good for a family to be alone. We are created to live in community. How do we do this when our lifestyles tend to isolation? How do you find community with people who share your values? How do you create community where there is none? In this podcast we share some experiences and ideas of how to form meaningful relationships with other people and why this is vital to the health of Catholic families.
March 9, 2016
Being a working mom is not easy – you have to be willing to screw up at every level. ~Jami Gertz The phrase “working mother” is redundant. First, let’s be clear – deciding if mom should work outside the home is not a moral issue. It is a personal decision made by couples in light of their priorities. In this day and age, most mothers have to work at some point. Some moms have home businesses, some work part-time, some work full time, some are able to not work at all. No matter what, the employment decision is a difficult one for families. In our family, Alicia has worked part time and full time so we have had to wrestle with many of these issues. Here are some questions for couples to discuss: Do we appreciate the role of a mom and how she contributes to the household by the work she is doing at home? How are we balancing the needs of our children with the financial needs of our family? If mom is working, what is our financial plan? We also responded to a listener question about having more children when mom has to work in order to keep the family afloat.
February 22, 2016
“The Lord gave me this challenging child for a purpose. He wants me to mold and shape this youngster and prepare him or her for a life of service to Him.” ― James C. Dobson This episode is really meant for parents of little kids. Kids who push other kids because they actually like them, but don’t know how to play with anyone because they are only 3 yrs old! The reactions of our society to aggressive kids (usually boys) range from disbelieving shock (“How could that child DO such a thing?”) to indifference (“He is just going through a stage”) but neither response is really the right one. Little guys are just raw personality and it is amazing! But that little personality needs to be formed and trained by their parents – and yes, that means you. It can be truly embarrassing to have an aggressive child, but get used to it, because your child is just beginning his work of embarrassing you! We also have some advice for kids at the other end of the spectrum – those who get picked on and pushed over. They too need to learn the right way to respond that will not teach them to be a doormat, which is not what we want our children to be. We also respond to a listener question from MP044 Criticizing your husband.
February 9, 2016
Disrespect rarely motivates a man. When we judge or criticize another person, it says nothing about that person it merely says something about our own need to be critical. Which statement to you agree with more – “I don’t know how I could live without him”, or “I don’t know how he could live without me”? Do we treat our husbands like a child? Do we criticize our husbands in public or to friends? Criticism doesn’t achieve the change women are looking for — ever. Attacking the need to be respected a sure way to put your marriage on the road to danger. How can wives speak to their husbands respectfully? How can husbands and wives work as a team to improve their marriage and their lives?
February 2, 2016
“I have this problem with low self-esteem, which is really ridiculous when you consider how amazing I am.” ~ the modern child Raising confident children is the obsession of many parents today. Cries of “Good job!” “You can do it!” “You are awesome!” can be heard in playgrounds, sporting events, and auditoriums all over the country. Is this really how we should ground our children and help them to be the best they can be? The key to self-esteem is not what you do, but who you are. Who are you? You are a child of God, created in His image. Listen in as we delve into this topic and explore how we can communicate to our children true confidence based in reality. Conversations starter questions: * What activities can I do to help give my child confidence? * How do I build my teens identity as a child of God? * Where does my identity come from? In my accomplishments or in who I am?
January 24, 2016
‘Spend’ your time on paper before you ‘spend’ it in reality “How do you do it?” People ask us this question all the time, so we finally decided to answer it, at least in part. In this podcast, we share why a routine is important and why families should budget their time, just as they budget their money. How do you make up this “budget”? Decide what your values are then they should be evidenced in your routine. As usual, we give some principles, and then some specifics on how to make a routine for your family that reflects your values and ideals. Discussion Questions: * What is our routine? Do we have a routine? * Does it align with our values? * What do we want to change about it? Other podcast referenced: * Chores * Family Board Meeting * Family Dinners
January 17, 2016
…I promise to be true to you in good times and bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life. ~ wedding vows A wedding is a day, a marriage is a lifetime ~ Engaged Encounter slogan Our wedding was a day to remember for many reasons. First of all, we both married our best friend and began the greatest adventure of our lives. Also, it was a complete disaster by wedding standards. An ice storm in Philadelphia caused power outages, hazardous driving conditions, and canceled plans for many of our guests. In this podcast, we share our story so all of you can feel great about your weddings, even if they didn’t go as planned!  
January 3, 2016
“Am I not here, I, who am your mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need anything more? Let nothing else worry you, disturb you.” ~Our Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Diego The Virgin Mary is not only a model and intercessor for us to Jesus, but she is also our Mother. She is the crown of God’s creation and a great gift to us from the Father. Who is this woman? Why is she so special? Why should we introduce our children to her? In this podcast we answer these questions while sharing our own experiences and thoughts on this amazing woman. Resources: * What is Marian Consecration? (3 minute video) * Divine Mercy and Mary (1 hour video from EWTN show) * Best book >> 33 Days to Morning Glory * Consecrating a child to the Blessed Virgin Mary (prayer)
December 14, 2015
Do or do not… there is no try. – Yoda Failing to plan is planning to fail. – Ben Franklin Your family is your own little corporation and you are president of the board. Well, maybe not exactly, but you and your spouse are the partners in running your home, and how can you do that effectively without a plan? Once a year it’s a good idea to get away, dream a little and make a plan. A Family Board Meeting isn’t about success or failure; it’s about being unified as a couple in your vision and goals for your family. Links: • Family Board Meeting post @ • Three Questions for a Frantic Family by Patrick Lencioni • Michael Hyatt — Beginner’s Guide to Goal Setting • Family Mission and Vision (Stephen Covey) via Art of Manliness
December 6, 2015
“Musical nourishment which is ‘rich in vitamins’ is essential for children.” ~Zoltan Kodaly, music educator Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. ~Plato Music is a powerful tool, a vehicle for ideas, emotions, and stimulation that is absolutely unique. As parents, we need to train our children to recognize music that is good and music that is not worth listening to. By exposing our children to lots of different types of music we can help them to make judgments and choose what is good. We can’t underestimate the importance of music in our culture and in our home.
November 23, 2015
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. “ – Matt 18: 15 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” – 2 Cor 12:9 As a married person, we have a duty, a solemn obligation to help to get our spouse to heaven. Sometimes that happens because we can be a cross for our spouse ☺, but sometimes we need to help our beloved by pointing out things in their lives that need to change in order for them to grow in virtue. This is more than just a difference in values – most of those are not a moral issues – this correction is regarding sinful patterns of behavior or vices that need to be rooted out. How do we do this? How do we know when to speak up and when to just pray or be silent? How do we get the courage needed to have this conversation with love?
November 15, 2015
“A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.” – Garrison Keillor “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5 Thanksgiving and Christmas are times of great joy and celebration, but can also be times of unprecedented stress and conflict. Buying gifts, traveling to see extended family, keeping traditions, are all important aspects of the holidays. How do Catholic families enjoy this while also keeping Christ as the center of our holidays? How do we love our families while we are striving to keep the peace and make everything perfect for our kids? Listen in as we discuss these challenges and ways that we have dealt with them in our household. More on this at the Visiting Family podcast Some Advent ideas: 9 Things to do to make a more meaningful Advent #ShareJesus and Dynamic Catholic
November 8, 2015
“With great power comes great responsibility” ~ Ben Parker (Spiderman’s Uncle) As Catholics, we have a great blessing in the clarity and beauty of the Church’s teaching on contraception. Using the natural rhythms of a woman’s cycle to regulate birth is a way that couples use the reason of science as they are informed by the light of Faith. NFP is a gift, but it’s also a challenge! It’s hard to deny our bodies when our culture is telling us that we deserve every comfort as well as instant gratification.  In this podcast, we talk about the gift of NFP, but also the reality of the cross of denying ourselves. Listen in and tell us what you think! Link and Resources: * Humanae Vitae * Dr. Janet Smith * Couple to Couple League * NaProTechnology (Creighton Model of NFP) * USCCB on Natural Family Planning * Theology of the Body Institute
October 25, 2015
You might be a millennial parent if you… have more pictures of your kids than you do of yourself on social media, feed your kids only organic food, regularly ask the internet for parenting advice, have a tattoo or piercing, or… The generation born between 1980-2000 has a particular way of parenting that is unique. Recently TIME magazine ran an article called “Help! My Parents are Millennials!” and we thought it would be a good idea to address some of the issues it brought to light. This generation is effected by the culture in some very good ways, but also in some very unhealthy ways. Its important to be open-minded, tolerant, and questioning, but not at the expense of being obedient, respectful and humble. In this podcast we look at how Millennials are parenting their children and what their particular challenges are. Link to articles: * TIME Millennial parents raising kids poll * Summary from Mother Mag
October 18, 2015
“…parents must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children. Their role as educators is so decisive that scarcely anything can compensate for their failure in it.” ~ Familiaris Consortio #36 Making educational choices for our children is a task that is daunting and stressful for most parents. How do parents know what will be best for their children and for their family? The reality is that no one can make this decision for you. Parents need the grace of God to consider homeschooling, public school, or Catholic school and chose what is best for their child. In this podcast we give some principles that we have used to guide our decisions and share some experiences of all the different schooling options we have chosen.
October 12, 2015
“What I do, you cannot.  What you do, I cannot.  But together we can make something beautiful for God” ~ Blessed Mother Teresa In our culture today, kids have so many options for activities that it can be overwhelming!  How do you balance family life with sports, theater, groups, and community events especially when you have many children?  Exposure to different activities is important, because children have talents that should be discovered. Nevertheless, we are doing a great disservice to our kids when we tell them that they “can do anything they put their mind to” because that simply isn’t true.  We all have unique gifts given to us that we need to discover, and part of being a parent is to guide our children through this process and eliminate things on the way.
October 5, 2015
To go on pilgrimage really means to step out of ourselves to encounter God where He has revealed Himself, where His grace has shone with particular splendor, and produced rich fruits of conversion and holiness ~ Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI We as Catholics are incarnational people – part of the richness of being Catholic is that we can see and touch the elements of our faith!  Bringing our children to holy sites like special shrines, homes of the saints, or places of miracles helps us to make the faith real to them.  These aren’t just trips; pilgrimages are spiritual journeys that bring together what we know in our hearts and what we see with our eyes.  In this podcast, we share about two pilgrimages that we recently went on – to the Holy Land and to Philadelphia to see the Holy Father.   Listen in as we discuss how these holy journeys have strengthened our faith and inspired our children.
September 20, 2015
“Where there is a family with love, that family is capable of warming the heart of a whole city with its witness of love.” – Pope Francis Our Holy Father has a pastor’s heart, but often his quotes become controversial. He speaks directly to families, those suffering, and to those in power in a frank, honest fashion. With the Holy Father coming to the United States and the upcoming Synod on the Family, we are taking time in this podcast to discuss his words, some of his challenging comments, and why some of the things he says are taken in a negative light. We all have a responsibility to prayerfully reflect on his words with the knowledge that they are spoken by the Vicar of Christ. We welcome you to listen to our thoughts and share your opinions with us. Show Links * Live Stream of World Meeting of Families and Papal Visit * Prayer for the Synod on the Family * Love is our Mission: The Family Fully Alive
September 13, 2015
Pope St. Gregory: Learn the heart of God from the word of God. St. Jerome: Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ. How is the Word of God honored in our homes? God is present in His Word; do we truly realize that? As Catholics, we need to surround our children with scripture through stories, prayer, teaching, and song. We should be using the Bible to pass on the faith to our children, for it is through the Bible that they will come to know who Jesus is and hear Him speaking to them. Great Resources: * iBreviary * Scripture Studies from Scott Hahn and St. Paul Center * Alicia’s CD (songs help memorize scripture)
September 6, 2015
Nothing makes a father happier than seeing a daughter with a smile on her face and her boyfriend with fear in his eyes. – Willie Robertson Your natural instinct is to protect your daughter. Forget what pop culture and pop psychologists tell you. DO IT. – Dr. Meg Meeker Daughters AND sons need direction and guidance when it comes to dating. The world tells us that dating is private and we have no business “meddling” in our teens affairs. Nothing is farther from the truth! Kids need mom and dad’s wisdom on navigating the perilous world of relationships and emotions. We have some practical advice to give from our own experience that we can share with you. Parents have to be intentional about discussing relationships with their kids and make a safe place for them to be honest and vulnerable, so they don’t go seeking affirmation in the wrong places. Dating is another area in which Catholic families can affect the world in a positive way by our example. Listen in! Hernon Ground Rules for Dating (heavily copied from Jennifer Degler)
August 30, 2015
Your marriage is only as good as the work you put into it. A child-centered marriage is a recipe for disaster. Teach children early that their “happiness” is not Mom or Dad’s reason for living. ~Breathing Grace, Everything I Know About Marriage in 200 Words or Less How often to we take the time to show our spouse that they are “Number One” in our lives? Dedicated time alone without the children is an essential part of any healthy marriage. The foundation of your family is your marriage and we should never, ever take for granted that we are doing fine. In this episode we talk about the importance of a Date Night and Get Away Weekends. We also address two listener questions – one on toy guns and the other on how to have effective family time. Listen in and start the discussion on how and why we should all spend quality time with our beloved in order to improve our family life.
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