Oh, what a tangled web: rising above Instagram envy

Melina Birchem has uploaded 777 images to her Instagram account over the past two years: sushi, Starbucks, her new tattoo, rosary beads, cowboy boots. Sometimes the juxtaposition is jarring. A glowing monstrance, a chilled margarita. A snapshot from waitressing, a prayer journal documenting her consecration to the Blessed Mother. As a freshman at the University…

Tackling the new year one heroic minute at a time

The path to holiness requires good time management Oprah Winfrey recently joined Weight Watchers, which means she is not only a card-carrying, point-counting member of the weight-loss club, she is also a part owner. That’s how you do it when you’re Oprah: You go big (“you get a car, you get a car, you get…

Thirteen sons, no daughters, no reality TV shows

The wedding that Tyler Schwandt and his fiancée are planning could’ve been broadcast on national TV. But he’s perfectly content with a quieter, more intimate wedding Mass. The 23-year-old Catholic from Rockford, Michigan, has the distinction of being the firstborn of 13 boys, the family whose improbable boy streak went viral with the 12th pregnancy…

Searching for peace with help from a sage

This book feels like a slow exhale, reminding of another way It is the book that somehow surfaces when you need it most — manna for the multi-tasker, solace for the stressed. It is the book you stock up on to give to others, to slip in Christmas stockings, to pay it forward. It is…

Pope’s ravioli story: asking questions that unlock wisdom

Book is an ode to the power of learning, to the joy of being surprised and making connections I’m reading a book that speaks to me as a journalist, Brian Grazer’s 2015 release “A Curious Mind: The Secret To A Bigger Life.” In it, the 64-year-old Emmy-winning movie producer recounts his practice of conducting “curiosity…

Waiting for a husband, keeping the faith

‘I know chastity is what equips us to love authentically,’ says author Arleen Spenceley Arleen Spenceley can’t remember the last time she went on a date. It must’ve been 2014, she says without a trace of panic. Even though she’s in the thick of wedding season and nearing her 30th birthday, the fact that she’s…

Drinking with the saints, reclaiming Catholic merriment

The mention of booze generates a look of horror among many of the non-drinkers living and working alongside Michael P. Foley in Waco, Texas, where the Catholic dad teaches at a dry Baptist college. There’s a “skittishness,” he says. So Michael was prepared to raise eyebrows with his new book, “Drinking with the Saints: The…

The call of the birds: slowing down and tuning in

Birding has changed the way Rachael Butek sees the world and deepened her Catholic faith, attuning her to the intricacy of God’s creation “The only essential equipment for seeing birds is a pair of eyes. Good ears are a help too.” The first edition of “Birds: A Guide To The Most Familiar American Birds” smells…

Keeping score, winning big: a ‘30 Under 30’ honoree reflects

Twin pillars of faith and family keep social media star’s ego in check On Sunday night the email landed in Mike Foss’ inbox: He had been named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30,” the business magazine’s annual list of rising stars younger than 30. Mike Foss, the soccer player from Springfield, Va., the kid who had…

From attic to inbox, the American accumulation problem

It’s amazing how the sight of a bare counter can clear your mind Carly Poppalardo had blisters on her feet when she recently drove home from an eight-hour session of professional organizing, threw a bag of Trader Joe’s precut veggies and simmer sauce on the stove, flipped on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and…