{pretty, happy, funny, real)

Ahhh...first steps. My sweet little Sister Stinky took her first steps yesterday. She hasn't taken any more (unassisted) since.


The day before that, she took some tentative little half steps amidst the violets currently blooming all over our backyard. This walking thing has been very nerve-wracking for our little Sister Stinky. Very, very nerve-wracking.

The story goes that her mama was the same way when it came to walking in shoes. In fact, I probably would have never walked or worn shoes if I hadn't been inspired by my slightly more adventurous twin sister. Poor Sister Stinky doesn't have one of those.

She has her moments when she is willing to trust me and try new things. She digs her little toes in the dirt. She toddles with assistance to the best of ability. But ultimately, she needs to know that her mama is close by. She can only do all she does with that knowledge. I enjoy watching her lovingly from a distance, so proud with each attempt on her behalf.

(Don't you love post-nap hair?)

Some years ago, a dear priest friend (who was also a confessor of mine) told me this story:

Imagine that, some years from now, you have a daughter. And imagine that she's learning how to walk, but she's not very good at it yet. Imagine that she's carrying a full glass of milk to you...and she's wobbling and spilling milk all over. Then, right when she's about to reach you, she spills the whole glass. How would you react?

Of course, even years before I'd met Sister Stinky I knew the answer - I'd scoop her up in my arms and hold her close...so proud of her attempts.


(Sister Stinky has decided that mama's lap is her new hermitage these days.)

I think this analogy is a poignant one as we near the end of the Lenten season. Despite our best attempts, we have not yet reached perfection, nor will we have reached it by Easter Sunday. Often, our lack of perfection manifests itself in the form of sin, but sometimes it's like a toddler's wobbly steps...not sin but not perfection either. Perfection takes grace and practice. It is the practice part we all struggle with. 

Those first steps in the direction of perfection are terrifying at times. We want to be "perfect as (the heavenly) father is perfect" but we are so afraid once we start down the road of holiness. The security of the lives we've known is so comfortable. We are like little Sister Stinky...too in love with crawling to give it up for walking. 

Yet, when we finally do accept God's grace and take those first steps...what joy our Father has for us! Each attempt that Sister Stinky makes fills the Abbot and I with such joy. It is the same way with God. 

Don't despair in these final days of Lent, but trust that your first steps toward perfection are pleasing to God. And trust that, when you are most afraid, you can retreat back to the safety of His arms...like a toddler in the arms of her mama. :-)

IMPORTANT: I encourage you all to stand up for religious freedom tomorrow by attending one of the rallies being held at noon in various nationwide locations. Visit https://www.stophhs.com/ for more details!

For more images of contentment, visit Like Mother, Like Daughter!


  1. This sounds exactly like JP! At one, he will scream if we even hold him with his legs on the ground. He wants to be held or very near to me. His older brother has induced him to explore some, but he is still very tentative to be out of my arms. The funny thing is that T took his first steps at 9 months and has not stopped since :)

  2. Lovely post! Your little girl is so sweet!

  3. That is a truly beautiful story about the milk! I really loved it...it might make going to confession a *little* bit easier.


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