As Lent approaches, we are reminded that this season offers us a new beginning. Pope Francis describes Lent as a “journey of spiritual renewal in the footsteps of Christ.” During this season, we are called to turn our hearts and minds back to God, to return to the Lord who offers us the gift of […]
Author Archive: Strahlen Smith
Strahlen is a single mom of five boys. The fifth little guy was a surprise pregnancy and her husband left suddenly in the middle of it for a woman he met on Facebook. The next few years would bring financial, emotional, and spiritual challenges beyond her imagining, but they would also bring a faith she never knew existed.
Strahlen is now a life coach working with women in transition and hopes to reach out to other divorced Catholics to let them know there is Hope and Love in the Catholic church.
Today, she and her five sons work hard for everything that comes their way, but they are also successful, happy, and faithful. They enjoy camping, sports, and (highly competitive) board games. And if you're wondering about that last little Baby Boy - He is a bundle of giggles and goofiness. He is such a gift to his mother and brothers and he constantly proves that God's plans are greater than our own! Check out more of their story at Single Mom Smiling.
The new year follows Advent, a time to look forward and back, and Christmas, a time to celebrate the birth of hope and love. These holy seasons are meant for joyous celebration, yet for many they are seasons of stress, sharply contrasting darkness and pain, with twinkling lights and festive merrymaking. During this period, many look to the past and […]
This time last year, I happily watched several presidential candidates discussing values which reflected mine. Their plans for our nation had differences, but I could picture many of them being enacted and doing real good in America and in the world. My top candidates don’t usually make it past the first few months of election coverage, but this time, […]
This time last year I was so excited about what might happen in America during the next election and what effect that might have in the world. There was a pool of presidential candidates I liked. A few I would be absolutely thrilled to take the White House. Others I’d have just been very happy to take […]
I write this while enjoying a week on a lake in southern Maine. It’s the same place we’ve gone for our annual family reunion for over 30 years. Here, it seems the sun is always shining. The weather is always warm. The kids are always off playing games, competing with their uncles, and laughing with their […]
“Hey guys, I’ve got this great idea for a family project. We can work on it together this summer!” “Really Mom?” “Cool!” “What is it?” I could easily see their eager, enthusiastic little faces as I imagined how the conversation would go. “We are going to read and discuss the application of Amoris Laetitia, the 264-page […]
Ask any New Yorker, in our post 9-11 world, what “See something? Say something,” means and they’ll tell you. It’s actually a very simple idea that saves lives. See a package left unattended? Tell someone who can do something about it. See a backpack by itself on the floor of the train? Say something about it. See a […]
The first few Mother’s Days after my husband left weren’t easy. They weren’t peaceful or restful. They weren’t celebrations for the beauty that is womanhood. They weren’t shows of appreciation for the gift that is motherhood. Mother’s Day Isn’t Easy for a Single Mom Mother’s Day was tiring and stressful, just like every other day. I got up early, […]
I was disappointed with the Synod on the Family. I believe the Catholic Church had the best intentions but that it missed great opportunities to strengthen marriage and families, prevent divorce, and clarify misunderstandings. I doubt many Bishops on the Synod know what being divorced is like. I doubt many can understand what it is like to be […]
I sat in the courtroom. The papers I held in my hand dictated the inevitable. There was nothing I could do about it, and I sat watching and waiting for my turn to be called. I didn’t know it would be like this. Who could have? This is sitting in a crowded courtroom on hard benches in front of […]
I held the pregnancy testing stick in my hand, praying not to see the second line but I didn’t have to look down to know it would be there. I’d been here before in other surprise pregnancies; my body and heart already told me what my mind could not grasp. We’d already had our “last” child. […]
Thoughts of Valentine’s Day fills our heads with images of frilly pink hearts, chocolate covered strawberries, fluffy teddy bears, and of course, the cute bottomed cupid aiming his bow and arrow at a man and woman who, when pierced, magically, perfectly, eternally fall into blissful love. We snicker at the image of cupid and know reality […]
We think of spring as a time of new beginnings. The air warms up, the trees bud, and creatures big and small emerge from a long winter’s nap. December, on the other hand, brings the first day of winter and marks the beginning of a three-month shutdown for much of the globe. In my corner of […]
Nothing beats the scent of the deep green pine boughs, the contrasting bright red of ribbons, bows, and blooming poinsettias, and the robust love and laughter of family and friends. I love Santa Claus and the anticipation of magic in the air, the nip of Jack Frost on a crisp, starlit night, and the glow of Rudolf’s nose. Maybe […]
Dear Cardinal Kasper, There’s something I don’t think you understand about the whole divorce, remarriage without an annulment, and receiving the Eucharist thing. There are many who say you want to change Church doctrine. I am hoping there is less to it than that. I am hoping you are a man, human as we all […]
Pope Francis is in the United States, and the country is abuzz with excitement. The Catholic school where I teach is sending a group to Philadelphia to see him; every nearby parish has been given tickets to welcome the Pope, and winners of those otteries have been announced. It wasn’t that long ago that my husband, […]
No doubt college is an exciting and dangerous time, a time of independence mixed with heavy doses of temptation, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be a time of spiritual growth as well. As we send our children off to college, it is important to remember the influence we still have over them and to encourage them […]
I was angry, but not as angry as I should have been. I was kind of curious, too: What would she say? How could the speaker justify her actions? How could my Catholic university justify its actions?” I sat in the classroom listening to the woman from Planned Parenthood and wondered again why my Catholic university had allowed this […]