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Messy Family Podcast : Catholic Conversations on Marriage and Family

Parenting is not a clean-cut, simple process for those who like to follow the rules. Family life is messy and unpredictable, but it is the greatest adventure you will ever have. We are Mike and Alicia Hernon, parents of 10 children ranging from 10 to 27 and we would like to invite you into some of the conversations we have had with each other about marriage, parenting, and Catholic family life. Our hope is that our conversation sparks a dialogue between you and your spouse that leads to greater unity and intentional Christian parenting in your home. Listen in to our podcast and start the conversation as we seek to lead our families to heaven. Visit us at https:///www/MessyFamilyProject.org for resources, guides, links and show notes.
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Messy Family Podcast : Catholic Conversations on Marriage and Family
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Now displaying: 2022
Jun 20, 2022

“It's better to be wrong together than right alone” - Michele Doman

Every couple argues.  Or at least they should.  The reason is that arguing can be a path to unity which is what marriage is all about.  Some couples argue in measured tones with carefully reasoned ideas, while others argue with raised voices and emotional exchanges.  Every couple is different, but there are some principles that we all can follow to make our “discussions with emotion” more productive and focused on bringing spouses closer together.  Listen in as we give you Five Ways to Win Every Argument….  Just kidding.  That would not be a very good marriage podcast!  We will actually give you some tips to help you forge that unity in a manner that is healthy, holy, and good for both of you.  This podcast is a re-boot of “Arguing in Marriage” from March 2015.

Jun 13, 2022
Anxiety results from assuming responsibility that God never intended. I need to play the part God meant for me.  ~ Michele Doman This is a very special podcast that takes you behind the origins of the Messy Family Project.  Many of the ideas, philosophies, and lessons that we teach come from the wisdom of the Church, and also from wisdom we have gained from others.  This show is an interview that Alicia did with her mom, Michele Doman, who taught her much of what she knows about parenting!  Michele shares some of her story growing up in Manhattan, NYC, living through the tragedies of the Vietnam War, the confusion in Church teaching after Vatican II and the struggles she experienced transitioning from being a successful student and professional to being a stay at home mom.  We believe the lessons she learned will help moms and dads out there see God’s faithfulness and love for them in any situation.
Jun 1, 2022

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Augustine of Hippo

We want our community of messy families to be above average.  Intentional. Vibrant. Better than all the rest.  One way to do that is to be very thoughtful about how you spend your leisure time with your family this summer.  Every family and every trip is different, but no matter what the length is or where you go, families should be sure to make the most of their time with their children. Vacations strengthen your family culture, help you and your children grow personally, and are good for mental health! But this will only happen if you are sure to define your “why” and then make a simple, flexible plan. Listen in to this podcast when we share some of our vacation experiences and give some tips and tricks for making the most of this special time with your family.

May 27, 2022

Every family has an anointing and in order to walk in that anointing we need to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. - Deacon Larry Oney After Jesus ascended into heaven the apostles had the Eucharist.  They probably celebrated mass together, they had the Blessed Mother with them, and surely they prayed and fasted.  But they did not go out and evangelize, heal the sick, or preach the word.  Why?  They were waiting for the Advocate, the Breath of God, the Power from on high - the Holy Spirit.  Often we forget that we need the power of the Holy Spirit that lives within us to do any good work.  He is the one that enlightens our minds when we don’t know how to respond to a child, He gives us the courage to be vulnerable with our spouse when its hard, and He enables us to lift our hearts in prayer.  Join us for this interview with Deacon Larry and his wife Andi.  They have two very different stories of walking with the Lord and their marriage is an unlikely match on many levels.  But God brought them together and now they are serving alongside each other in preaching and teaching about the love of God and the joy they have in serving him.  

https://hopeandpurpose.org/

https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/challenge/

May 20, 2022

“Love is never something ready made, something merely given to man and woman, it is always at the same time a task which they are set. Love should be seen as something which in a sense never ‘is’ but is always only ‘becoming’...” ~ St John Paul II

What is one of the most important things you can give your marriage?  TIME.  We build relationships with the material of time - no time spent means nothing is being built. It is very easy for all of us to push time spent with our spouse to the back burner because although our marriages are Important, they are rarely Urgent. Think about it - there will always be something more urgent in life than spending time with your spouse. But there is nothing that is more important. Couples must intentionally take time to prioritize time with each other or it simply will not happen.  Daily connection, regular date nights, and weekends away are all different types of time we can put aside for our marriage. You need to take time for your spouse, but you also need to spend it wisely. In this podcast, we discuss some common stumbling blocks for couples, practical ways to make this time for each other and even some conversation topics for you and your spouse. 

May 12, 2022
“My kids don’t get to hurt me.  That is way too much responsibility for them.” ~ Dr. John Delony

So many of us don’t have a healthy relationship with our emotions and don’t have the boundaries that we all need to protect ourselves appropriately.  We get caught up in the things we can’t control and wind up ignoring what we can control. In his book, “Own Your Past, Change Your Future” Dr. John Delony draws on his two decades of work as a therapist and crisis responder to teach parents how to take extreme ownership for themselves and their children.  We were thrilled to be able to interview John and go even deeper into his thoughts on how we can be healthier people who can then be more effective spouses and parents.  The lessons that he gives in this interview and in his book are timeless.  Listen in as we discuss the real definition of “trauma” and “grief”, ownership of emotions and thoughts, the epidemic of loneliness and the need for friendship, and the role that parents play in all of this. 

May 4, 2022

 “For a Christian, joy isn’t what happens when life is going perfectly; it’s what happens when you know you are loved perfectly, even when life is a mess.” ~ Chris Stefanick

Sometimes we look at other couples and think, “Those people have it all together. It must be easy to be married to that person.  We are the only one’s struggling.” Nothing could be further from the truth. This interview starts with fun questions like “What’s the best part about being married to Natalie?” and “How did Chris pop the question?”.  But then, true to the brand of “Real Life Catholic”, Chris and Natalie quickly opened up their marriage to us to share the very real pain and suffering that they have journeyed through together.   All of us have our own battles to fight in our lives, and often we bring these battles into our marriages.  The question is, do our spouses come alongside us and fight FOR us, or do they themselves become another “battle to fight”?  In this conversation, we discuss the process of healing from sexual abuse within marriage, the effect on both spouses, how you can help your spouse through their struggles, and how to lean in to all the grace that the sacrament of marriage has to give.  This is a raw and real conversation that we believe will speak to the hearts of husbands and wives who take the time to listen. 

May 2, 2022
"In the adult, the space of acceptance is never whole, yet it is in the child. The child is really capable of listening impartially and unselfishly, the child is receptive to the greatest degree." - Sofia Cavalletti, Founder of CGS

We’ve all been there. You’re trying to calm a crying infant, the toddler is crawling under the pews, the seven year old is drawing in the missal, and you wonder if your teenager is getting anything out of this at all. What are we talking about? Taking kids to mass! The mass is the font and summit of our faith but so many times we wonder if our kids are Pay attention at all. Does standing in the parking lot with a crying infant or chasing a toddler through the vestibule count as your Sunday obligation? In this podcast, we talk about the challenges and importance of bringing our children to Jesus in mass. The world that children live in is completely different than ours psychologically and spiritually. It is absolutely vital that parents recognize this in order to nurture the child’s growing relationship with Christ. Listen in as we share our stories and insights on encouraging participation in this most important family prayer, Holy mass. 

Funny "Post Church Press Conference" YouTube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=om-qeqwcF8g

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Parent Resources: https://www.cgsusa.org/discover/cgs-approach/cgs-in-the-home-parent-resources/

Special Catholic Couples Getaway next January: https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/cozumel-2023/ 

Take our listener Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/messyfamilysurvey2022

Apr 25, 2022
“When parents nag kids, we get ignored.  When they nag us, we keep answering. Just who is smarter?  Maybe we have strong-willed kids because we (parents) are not strong-willed.” ~ Dr. Ray Guarendi In this episode, we have an enlightening conversation with Dr. Ray Guardendi, a Catholic father, teacher, and clinical psychologist who we have been following since the early years of our parenting.  It was a joy to speak to him and we think you will find it super helpful as well!  We discuss many things with Dr. Ray such as the difference in parenting today versus parenting 20 years ago, the dramatic changes that he has seen and how parents should respond, and how to make your discipline plan as effective as it should be.  We also cover social media use with kids, the importance of parental authority, and what parenting advice you should NEVER listen to. He even gave us a test we can do to see how strong our authority is with our own kids! With a great mix of practical experience and professional insights Dr. Ray gives wisdom and encouragement to parents of all ages in this fun and engaging conversation. 
Apr 18, 2022

Host Hijack!!  Alicia’s brother Paul joins Mike for some manly conversation (but don’t worry, Alicia jumps in at the end!) This conversation will be helpful to anyone who is looking to have a great marriage - whether you are a husband or wife.  It’s clear that there are many roles that men play in our world, some big and some small, but no other role comes close to the significance of being a good husband.  Instead of just talking theory, Mike and special guest Paul Doman discuss very real ways that husbands can and must love, serve, protect and lead in the home. This topic is essential for both men and women as we consider how we are being called to take extreme ownership for the way in which we lay down our lives for our wives and embrace our sacred calling. Representing the ladies, Alicia joins the end of our conversation to pose some questions from wives about their husbands.  Join in our conversation to laugh, be encouraged, and empowered in the role of a Catholic husband in a marriage.  

Special Catholic Couples Getaway next January: https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/cozumel-2023/ 

Guide to strengthen your marriage: https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/marriage/

Apr 11, 2022
“Without ideals we are aimless, but never let ideals eclipse the reality of our situation”  ~ Mike and Alicia Hernon

Living life with infants and toddlers is no joke.  And the more you have the crazier your life is!  We all know life is more than survival, but there were plenty of times that all Alicia could think when she woke up was “I just have to make it till nap time”. In this MFP classic episode which first aired in 2015, we talk about living life with kids under 5 without losing your mind. We give some practical tips for managing your children, ways to keep your marriage alive at this time, and how to act as a team in these crucial years.  Even though the “Survival Zone” is in our distant memory, we now have grandchildren who remind us regularly how much energy kids take!  Listen in for these essential tips in getting through these difficult times with grace and joy. 

Apr 4, 2022

“Instead of trying to protect yourself through your fear, learn to live dangerously! – by doing and saying what you think, know, and believe to be right, by not caring that you may be mistaken at times” 

~ Dr. Conrad Barrs, Born Only Once: the Miracle of Affirmation

Unfortunately, we live in a Pinterest-perfect, commercialized, consumerist culture that is looking for the top of the line in everything.  What happens when that attitude bleeds into our parenting? How does it affect our kids when we start demanding perfection from them instead of delighting in who they are?  In this podcast, we dive into the concept of “affirmation” and examine how essential it is that our children receive affirmation from us.  When a person is affirmed, they are not afraid to take risks, to be vulnerable, or to fail.  They know they are loved for who they are, not what they do.  They are delighted in and they know it.  Childhood should be a process of a person receiving these messages from their parent so they can become who they were born to be. Listen in as we discuss the effects of affirmation, practical ways to affirm children, and what affirmation is NOT.  The reference for this podcast is the book Born Only Once, by Dr. Conrad Barrs.

Mar 28, 2022

“One earns Paradise with one’s daily task.” ~ Saint Gianna Beretta Molla 

Chores, laundry, meal preparation, etc, etc…. It never ends!  But even this part of family life is an area in which God wants to enter into our lives and teach us to be holy.  Yes, there are very practical aspects of family life that we need to just get done, but HOW we do them will effect our growth as a Catholic family.  Listen in to this podcast where we discuss how we do chores, laundry, and our family’s schedule.  Things change over the years and its important that we realize that being flexible is one of the keys to keeping family life peaceful.  Finding new chore charts, routines, and assignments at home is one way that parents can keep themselves and their kids on their toes and learning how to serve each other.  The home is the training ground for life! 

Stefanick Date Night Sign Up: https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/date-night-with-chris-natalie-stefanick/

Mar 21, 2022
“If their love is a true gift of self, so that they belong each to the other, it will not only survive but grow stronger, and sink deeper roots… only when love between human beings is put to the test can its true value be seen.” - St. John Paul II 

Over the years, we have met many couples, ordinary people, who have been able to come to a deeper understanding of God’s love for them and the importance of their marriage because of the challenges that have come up in their lives. Many of these stories are inspiring, so we decided to share some of them with you.  We interviewed three couples from our Messy Family Neighborhood who have faced challenges in their marriage that they have been able to learn from by God’s grace.  Billy and Lori are a young couple who needed to learn how to operate as a family and not as “married individuals”.  David and Erin are a military family who dealt with the dangers of military conflict as well as long deployments.  Bill and Lisa have three children with various special needs who forced them to adjust their expectations of family life and prioritize each other even when their children’s needs seemed overwhelming. We all need to hear stories of God’s grace acting in the lives of other people to be inspired and encouraged. Listen in and enjoy.

Mar 10, 2022

The world says husbands and wives have the same or even interchangeable roles.  Some fundamentalist Christians and even Catholics say wives should let their husbands decide everything (even in regards to sexual intimacy!) and wives should obey as long as it is not immoral.  This way of thinking does not reflect the rich, intricate, dynamic teachings of the Church in regards to men and women.  A true Catholic marriage calls men and women to act in complementarity so they both become who God is calling them to be. Listen in while we unpack this controversial but essential topic on the role of a wife in a marriage.  (podcast on a husband’s role in marriage coming soon!)

Feb 24, 2022
Lent is a great time to take inventory of our spiritual life and ask ourselves, “How am I doing in my relationship with God?”  To help us all do that, we decided to interview Mike’s spiritual director of many years, Fr. Boniface Hicks.  Fr. Boniface is a director of directors!  A Benedictine monk, he runs the Institute for Ministry Formation at St. Vincent Archabbey and is the author of several books on spirituality.  But more important than that, he is a spiritual father giving guidance, encouragement, and sharing the Father’s love to many people around the country and even the world.  In this interview we discuss  why we should pray at all!  We also get into the practicalities of prayer - how to do it, how to make the time, and the effect it can have on our lives.  Jump in and listen to this discussion we had with Fr. Boniface and our members on our most recent Neighborhood Date Night. 
Feb 16, 2022

You try your hardest to raise your teenagers with patience, honesty and good manners, but they still end up being like you.

– Anonymous

There is much confusion among teens today around the crucial questions of life and we believe it is because too many parents are not taking up their essential role in their children’s lives.  During adolescence, the parent-child relationship is crucial especially for the parent of the same sex. Fathers teach boys how to be men, and mothers teach girls how to be women.  It’s never too early to start thinking about how to handle this period of transition from childhood to adulthood.  We have seen over the years some families who do this transition very well, and unfortunately some that don’t. Listen in to this podcast as we discuss things we have done with our teens, five of whom are now adults, and how we continue to learn about this wonderful stage of parenting that brings its own joys and challenges.  

We discuss these resources in our podcast today:

Feb 10, 2022

After attending our niece’s wedding recently, we had some time to reflect on the significance of marriage not only in our own lives today but how being married prepares us for our eternal unity with God.  The church teaches clearly that marriage is a foreshadowing of the unity between Christ, the Bridegroom, and the Church, His Bride.  This reality should impact our marriages greatly!  We need to allow this truth to change us and make us even more serious about deepening our relationship with our spouse.  Listen in for some inspiration about marriage, weddings, and even religious vocations.  This conversation will inspire and encourage you!  

Family Board Meeting Workshop: https://messyfamilyhood.com/family-board-meeting-registration/ 

 

Lenten program for couples: https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/cana90/

Mother Daughter course: https://messyfamilyhood.com/women-signup/ 

Dads vs Wild course: https://messyfamilyhood.com/dadsvswild/

Jan 27, 2022

“Teaching kids how to handle money is more than dollars and cents, it’s about character and responsibility” - Dave Ramsey

Handling money is a subject that can bring about strong emotion in couples, but it's a life skill that we need to teach our children!  How we use money reflects our values, and if we want to intentionally train our children and instill in them our deeply held beliefs, then we need to teach them how to use money.  Like most things we do as parents, teaching isn’t just talking.  Children learn by example, they learn by asking questions, and most importantly, they learn by doing.  In this podcast we take some time to explain how we have taught our kids how to use money and how they have taken these lessons into adulthood.  Although we don’t propose to have all the answers, we do share how we have handled allowances, paying kids for chores, children contributing to the household, and children taking care of their own expenses.  Listen in for some fun conversation and inspiration!

Jan 24, 2022

The family is a kind of school of deeper humanity. But if it is to achieve the full flowering of its life and mission, it needs the kindly communion of minds and the joint deliberation of spouses.  Gaudium et Spes 52.

How do you live life intentionally?  You plan for it!  And when you are a family, that plan starts with taking some time to have a “deep dive” conversation with your spouse.  A tool we have designed to guide this conversation is called “The Family Board Meeting”.  Think about it this way, your family is your own little corporation and you are president of the board.  Well, maybe not exactly, but you and your spouse are the partners in running your home, and how can you do that effectively without a plan?  Once a year it’s a good idea to get away, dream a little and set some goals.  The most important part of this conversation is not making the perfect goals or having the ultimate budget or schedule.  It's actually about having a unified vision as a couple for what you want your family to be. That’s what it’s all about.  Listen in as we discuss this valuable tool for you and your family.  (This podcast is a throwback to 2015!)

 

Free Webinar and Worksheet: https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/family-board-meeting/

 

Family Board Meeting Workshop: https://messyfamilyhood.com/family-board-meeting-registration/ 

 

Mother Daughter course: https://messyfamilyhood.com/women-signup/ 

Dads vs Wild course: https://messyfamilyhood.com/dadsvswild/ 

Jan 12, 2022

Having all our adult children along with our grandchildren at our house over the holidays reminded us that all the sacrifices we have made over the years (and continue to make!) are all worth it.  We thought our listeners would enjoy hearing from our kids’ perspective what worked for them and what didn’t, what we taught them intentionally or unintentionally, and how these lessons affect them now as adults.  We tell parents all the time that is so important to imagine what you want your kids to look like when they are adults, and we have tried to live that out ourselves.  Some topics we discuss in this conversation are the importance of forgiveness, “adulting”, managing teens, allowing kids to fail, and communicating respect for children so they know their voice matters.  We hope you enjoy listening to this conversation because we enjoyed having it! 

New MFP Guide to Screens and Your Child: https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/screens-and-your-child-guide/

Family Board Meeting: https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/family-board-meeting/

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