When the Holy Spirit shows up for Sunday School and more (7 Quick Takes)


There are Sunday school teachers who prepare days ahead of time. Then you have me, who often spends Sunday morning flipping through the curriculum for the day while feeding people breakfast.

I am one of the pre-k teachers, and I’m never alone. Last Sunday, the theme was “God made music,” and my fellow teachers and I were texting ideas for a book we could enjoy together and musical instruments we could make out of noodles, cups, and masking tape.

I persuaded my son to bring his trumpet to play, which seemed like a wonderful idea until we were running to the car and he couldn’t find it. He had left it on the bus on Friday.

Still, I wasn’t rattled. As I was walking in the hallway outside my classroom, I noticed that the music teacher happened to be in her room. So, I stopped in and asked if we could bring the students down for a quick visit so she could play the keyboard for us.

Instead, she put together a beautiful music lesson, leading the children in a song about Jesus as they waved scarves to the music. Then she introduced them to a series of instruments and made it into a game. The class flew by and the children—hopefully—took away the lesson that God created music and that we can use music to praise God.

The Holy Spirit showed up in a big way.


Are you cooking anything for Thanksgiving dinner? We are going to my sister-in-law’s house, and the emails have started as the plans come together. I think I’ve offered to make an apple pie, my hot broccoli dip, and maybe a vegetable. My husband volunteered for a charcuterie tray and some drinks.

I might also have offered to bring a green bean casserole, even though I have never made one and might only have tasted one once. That’s not one of my Thanksgiving staples.


This time of year I enjoy shopping, but I realize I can’t shop well with my children. They behave beautifully, but we find things they want. Then I have to figure out how to either buy them without their noticing or go back later without them.

I end up taking lots of photos of items, so I’ll remember what was where. I wish stores had some kind of sneaky way parents could slip a gift to them and pay for it on the sly.


It’s possible, of course, that the bigger problem with shopping is that I see things that I want but really don’t need.

The other day we were at discount store, and I saw that they had sets of parrot lights. Who needs parrot lights, you might ask? Who doesn’t need parrot lights?

Luckily the lines were so long that we might still be waiting to check out six days later. So, I left them on the shelf. But I can still hope I’ll find them in my stocking.


My purse strap broke the other day when my purse got caught in the car door. I was afraid I would have to replace it, but that would be such a waste. Luckily I was able to clasp it to a different part of the purse. But I think that maybe I am too rough on things. How does a purse get caught in a car door?


Parent-teacher conferences make me cry. Every. Single. Time. Even when there is absolutely no reason to cry, I find my eyes filling up as I think about all my children have accomplished.

I interrupted our fourth grader’s math teacher at one point during our session to say, “Look how well he spelled multiplication! Just the way it sounds!”

For the life of me, I cannot obsess about every grade or go on the online grading system all the time the way you’re supposed to. But I do like celebrating the little successes—and the big ones.


Tomorrow we are going to a baptism! I’m so very excited. The new Child of God is the little boy our friends adopted from China a few months ago. I am so honored to be included and so happy that we will be able to watch him grow up. Baptisms are just so wonderful, of course, but this is special because I don’t think I have ever been to a baptism of another child from China.

Read more quick takes at Kelly’s blog, This Ain’t the Lyceum, and have a wonderful weekend!

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.