About

Hello, my name is Julie, and I am a wonderer. I’m one of those distracted types – the kind who become absorbed in questions of God, justice, and baked goods while I’m supposed to be doing the dishes.

I am a stay-at-home mother to five young children: three school-aged boys and two preschool-aged girls. They and my husband and I live in a charming, 150-year-old Victorian in Maryland, which holds infinite possibilities for imaginative play and home repairs.

I wrestle every day of my life with how to fulfill my obligations to my family and our home while also doing something constructive with all that wondering.

photo of the authors children

I started blogging in 2013, back when I was lonely and craving the sort of community I saw among Catholic bloggers online. I wanted to claim my part of it.

I wanted, too, to share the cute kid stories and the homemaking struggles. I wanted to process the ways in which my life had changed since becoming a mother.

In my single twenties I’d earned a degree in political science, done a stint in the federal government, lived on my own in Washington and Annapolis, traveled much of the United States and Europe, and worked as a lobbyist for the Catholic bishops of Maryland.

In my thirties I got married, quit my job, had five babies in seven years, changed an ungodly number of diapers, and pretty much figured out the baby/toddler/preschooler phase of parenting. (Still working on the school-age phase; trying not to think about the teenage phase.)

This year I entered my forties, and I now find myself trying to chart a course that melds the mind/heart work of my twenties with the hand/heart work of my thirties.

Which brings me back to the blog.

When I started These Walls I wanted to do more than the cute kid story thing. I wanted to use my blog to encourage civility in political discussions. That had been my schtick: I’d prided myself on engaging on contentious issues in a respectful, open-minded manner, and I didn’t see why others couldn’t just up and do the same.

I thought we could communicate ourselves out of this mess. That, if only we calmed down and looked around and sought to understand, we could fix the things that were wrong with our society.

Six years later – six years of wrestling with the issues of the day, of struggling to come to terms with shifts in society and politics, of experiencing the changing nature of friendship and community online, of slugging through difficulties with my writing, family life, and health – I now see that that thinking was very small.

You and I and the folks we encounter online can’t just band together to fix society. No strategy, no movement, no social media campaign can right our wrongs and heal our divides. No amount of communication will fix this.

But I can work on fixing myself.

It’s not just our society that’s broken: I am broken. Sin and pain and perspective and the weight of untold generations of history bear down on me. I have much to work on.

I’ll bet you do too. I’ll bet you have something to fix.

These days I’m as absorbed in the ideas and problems of the world as ever. I’m still chewing on politics and current events while I dig my hands into sinks full of dirty dishes. But I am also turning inward. I am examining my thoughts, my gut reactions, my motivations and desires, and I am trying to order them toward goodness. I am working to point myself toward the good, the beautiful, and the true.

It’s a different kind of small thinking.

Few people will ever impact society in a broad way, but every one of us can work to make our own minds, our own souls, our own families, our own relationships with people and communities more healthy and whole.

Follow along with me here at These Walls to peek in on someone trying to do that work – someone wrestling with herself, thinking things through, seeking to understand, and wanting to improve.

And if you’ve been struggling with the urge to fix as I have – well then maybe you can undertake this wrestling, thinking, seeking, wanting-to-improve work too.

photo of the author

 

Note: This page was updated on October 24, 2019. Any comments dated prior to that reference a previous version.

11 thoughts on “About

  1. Your reasons for starting a blog mirror mine, exactly! I’m glad I found your place, and look forward to some good “conversations” in the future! 🙂

  2. I love that you’re blogging, Julie. I’ve never been a “blog reader” (is that such a thing?) but I love your family so much and have always enjoyed your company when we have moments to sit and share. I miss having you next door and I honestly believe I’ll never (because I have never) had such wonderful neighbors as you and Brennan and the boys!

    Kuddos to you for expressing yourself!

  3. I just found your blog through another one, and I can so relate to wanting to enter the conversation. I’m toying with the idea of starting my own blog too. The husband and I were discussing my ideas just today over lunch so we’ll see. I look forward to continuing to read yours in the meantime.

  4. I just discovered your blog, and I want to say congratulations for taking the plunge and starting it! I enjoyed reading some of your posts, and I have just added you to my feed. I have also started a blog recently. After four years of being a stay-at-home mom, I finally decided to draw a line and do something for me – I feel like I needed this outlet for my sanity, and so far, I love it! I never knew what I was missing, but I feel like a whole new person just by having a blog. It’s great to be able to speak my mind, and it’s even more awesome to discover this great community of mom bloggers, and to become part of it.

  5. Just stopping by from Jen’s blog. I am bookmarking your blog, and I will be stopping back. I look forward to reading your seven posts in the next seven day. Keep calm and blog on

    • Thank you! But… um… I need to update this page. I’ve no longer got three under four. 😉 For the next couple of weeks, we’ve got three under five. Then we’ll turn all typically-spaced-children and have a five-year-old, a three-year-old, and a one-year-old. For a few months. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Hello Julie & Family,
    just saw you on CNN, sending best wishes from Vancouver Island, BC Canada. don’t usually watch CNN, but have been to keep up on storm conditions as my American family members lives in NC, VA, MD, NJ: mother, siblings, niece, nephews, cousins. Your sons look like real sweeties. How nice your parents are there to help as only parents can eh! looking forward to hearing the good news of your daughter’s safe arrival. (by the way, my fourth baby was about an hour labour!) Many good thoughts and encouragement to you and your family. Kind regards,
    Beth Mitchell

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