A Fresh Start // Tea with Tolkien

After five or six years of sharing our family's story through these beautiful pages, I wanted to write to say that I'll be taking a step back from this blog of sorts. It's been quite a wild ride and I'm so grateful to those who have followed along, but I'm doing my best to pursue my dreams and they are leading me in a different direction. 

I've noticed, for a long while, that writing about a couple of things bring me an enormous amount of joy, yet they didn't seem to be a great fit for my readers in this place. I've written so many posts on theology & literature (specifically Tolkien) that didn't seem to quite fit in with what I had going on here. I absolutely love being a mother, but I don't find joy in writing about it in the same way anymore. I love doing crafts but I am definitely not a crafty blogger, especially since I have such a haphazard method of doing them that I can't even remember well enough to write it out well. And there are hundreds of other Catholic mama blogs on the internet, and these mamas are so passionate about what they write that it truly shows. 

So if you need me, I'll be over at Tea with Tolkien from here on. I'll still keep Lily & Mama Market open for the time being, but I don't think I'll have much to say that can't be said over on our Instagram feed (@lilyandmama_). 

Lots of love,



Liturgical Living March 2017: Lent, St. Patrick, St. Joseph, & the Annunciation

We're a few days away from the beginning of March, marking the beginning of the Lenten season.
Here are four important dates the Church honors this month along with ideas and resources to help
you and your family learn, celebrate, and grow in your home!

March 1: Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent, so remember this is a day of fasting and abstinence! "When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal. The norms concerning abstinence from meat are binding upon members of the Latin Catholic Church from age 14 onwards," USCCB
Make sure you receive your ashes on your forehead - not only is this important for yourself, but it can be a way to start the conversation with your children and even other people you might come across that day. I love Ash Wednesday because it's so easy to tell when another person is a Christian - I feel like it brings us all together, regardless of denomination! If you've never learned about the Catholic tradition of Ash Wednesday and Lent, you can learn more here. 

March 17: Saint Patrick

This feast is especially important in our home because it's Lily's birthday! This year she'll be turning FOUR, we'll be going to our local Saint Patrick's Day parade, and attending Mass at Saint Patrick's Parish. We have this book about Saint Patrick, which is surprisingly informative and thorough for being a children's book so I highly recommend it! And this movie about Saint Patrick is available to stream free with Amazon Prime. We can also use this opportunity to learn a little bit more about Ireland - try having an Irish dish for dinner, like Shepherd's pie  or Corned Beef with Cabbage.  

March 19: Saint Joseph

Today's feast is in honor of Saint Joseph, the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus! We can use today's feast as an opportunity to celebrate fatherhood and the humble, sacrificial masculinity Saint Joseph lived out. Consider making a special Saint Joseph altar in your home, or take a little extra time to write a note to the fathers figures in your life who have protected or cared for you as Saint Joseph cared for Mary and Jesus. 

March 25: Solemnity of the Annunciation

March 25th marks the Solemnity of the Annunciation, the date on which the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary. Read the Biblical account of the Annunciation in Luke 1:26-38, in which Mary replies to Gabriel, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Take some time today to reflect on ways that we can respond to Jesus in this same way, following in the footsteps of Our Blessed Mother. 


When you're just starting out, pick one or two feast days per month to celebrate. Once you get the hang of that, add more in one at a time. The liturgical year is rich with tradition and that means it can feel overwhelming at first, but keep in mind that this is meant to be a joy and not a burden. You will not win mom-of-the-year by stressing yourself and your kids out by trying to elaborately celebrate a feast day every single day.  And speaking of being elaborate - you don't have to be. If you find a lot of joy in being crafty or making themed dinners, go for it. But it's not a requirement. Saying a special prayer over dinner or mentioning the day's feast once or twice throughout the day is wonderful and can have a lasting impression on your kids. Or if you can do it, go to Mass! Mass is always a good idea. ;)

I'd love to hear how you and your family are going to observe Lent & celebrate these different feasts!
It's such a fun month with so many opportunities to learn and grow in our faith!

If you found this helpful or inspiring,
pin it or share on facebook! 

6 Podcasts for the Catholic Mama

A few months ago, I discovered the glorious wonderful amazing world of podcasts. A friend of mine had actually launched a podcast of her own (Hi, Summer!) and as I scrolled through the 'religion & spirituality' charts (my favorite topic), I was amazed at how many free + beautiful resources there were, just waiting to be discovered & downloaded! 

 I started subscribing and listening to podcasts in the car and in the kitchen, and it feels like my quality of life has quadrupled (not to be dramatic). I've been wanting to share some of my favorites, especially for the Catholic mama.

I've been encouraged, inspired, informed, and even felt such a sense of community by listening along and connecting with different resources offered by these hosts (Facebook groups, social media conversations, free downloads, and more).

And since that's my goal at Lily & Mama, it brings me so much joy to share them with you!
I hope you'll take a listen and let me know what you think! 

6 Podcasts for the Catholic Mama


Coffee and Pearls

A friend of mine introduced me to Coffee and Pearls a few months ago and I've been so blessed to listen to it. Hosted by Sterling Jaquith, author of Catholic Mom Challenge, this podcast focuses on helping Catholic mothers "strive for sainthood in everyday life". Episodes are fairly short, easy to listen to, and packed with practical reflections and tools for making the most of our time and resources.
Learn more & listen here. 

Among the Lilies

Hosted by the lovely Cameron Fradd, Among the Lilies is a podcast for "women who are tired of pretending and ready to be real". In each episode, Cameron and a friend - usually another lady but not always - discuss topics from authentic friendship and community, infertility and loss, to anxiety and weakness.  If it's something interesting and relevant to the Christian woman, they're going to talk about it. I feel like I need to be friends with her and so do you.
Learn more and listen here.

Pints with Aquinas

This is the only podcast on our list that isn't hosted by or created for women, but I'm including it because I'm a firm believer that mothers should be informed and equipped to share their faith. We are, after all, the primary catechists for our children! Pints with Aquinas covers philosophical and theological issues of our Catholic faith in a way that's easy to follow and even entertaining (yes I did just use the word entertaining to describe philosophy and theology). Go ahead and listen - you'll be glad you did. 
Learn more and listen here.

The Right Heart

Hosted by Erin Franco of Humble Handmaid, The Right Heart podcast was created to "to bring my listeners solid guests and great conversations about what it means to be a Catholic Christian in today’s crazy world, and how to find meaning and hope and God in everyday life. From how to pray as a married couple, to raising a special needs child, to being a working mom, to advice for young dads, there’s a little something for everyone on The Right Heart!" I've loved listening to her & know you will, too! 

Learn more and listen here.

Fountains of Carrots

Listening to Fountains of Carrots feels like hanging out with a couple of friends over coffee. Hosted by Haley of Carrots for Michaelmas and Christy of Fountains of Home, these two friends share their experiences, joys, and struggles while discussing anything from home organization to motherhood to their favorite authors and fiction. Fountains of Carrots is refreshing and fun to listen to! 

Learn more and listen here.


The Visitation Project

While The Visitation Project hasn't released a new episode in a few months, I somehow managed to stumble upon their page and was so excited to realize that I actually knew one of the hosts! Needless to say, I felt very cool. Hosted by Rebecca Frech, Bonnie Engstrom, and Heather Renshaw, this show is one of my favorites to listen to. Their show was created to "meet Catholic women wherever they are", and they discuss topics relevant to today's Catholic woman - spiritual motherhood, Lent, modesty, the new evangelization, self care, getting more out of mass, and more. 

Learn more and listen here.




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Are you as obsessed with podcasts as I am? I don't like to use the word "obsessed" because, really?
But really though, I am slightly obsessed with podcasts. 

Leave a favorite podcast in the comments so I can give it a listen!