Who is Mama Monk?

I am Micha Boyett Hohorst: Texan in sweetness (born and raised), Northeastern in skepticism (my twenties), and San Franciscan in passion (snobbery?) for all things food and drink (two years). I am Southern Baptist nurtured, Anglican by choice, Presbyterian by current church, and in love with Roman Catholic monastic and contemplative practice.

I am a wife and a stay at home mom who left full time youth ministry, moved thousands of miles away, and began my thirties in sudden succession. And since that rapid life shift, I’ve been in a constant longing to find God in the simplicity and ordinariness of my life with a 3-year-old and baby. After two sweet years in San Francisco, we’ve miraculously found ourselves back in Texas. I’m trying to balance this adjustment again, always finding more in common with the ancient Benedictine monks I’m reading than with the moms I meet at the park.

I believe in feminism. I believe it’s a woman’s joy to work and pursue her own gifts. I believe in husbands who come home from work and roast a chicken with lemons and salt and pepper, just as God intended chicken to be roasted. I believe a woman can stay home with her children without feeling like a failure of the Women’s Movement. I believe in prayer, compassion, relationships and evangelism—in that order. And, honestly, I believe St. Benedict and his Rule are teaching me how to live my motherhood and wifery and contemplative life in joy.

Welcome to my brain.

46 responses to “Who is Mama Monk?

  1. Kim

    Micha,
    I have been a stay at home mom now for 12 years. My youngest has started full days at school and I struggle more now than ever to remember why I chose to stay at home. I am not lazy and do not have idle hands, but I feel strongly about my choice to be at home and to have a balanced life.
    Everyone’s balance is different and yet I feel as though I must defend my position of being at home. Even if no one is questioning me…I still feel like I defend it because of my own doubts and insecurities.
    Being a mom is something I want to be successful at, and because of this goal in my life, I MUST do what I feel is necessary to achieve that success.
    There is no failure in that.

    • Hi Kim.
      I’m really glad you’ve stopped by my blog. And I’m thankful for your honesty about the struggle to find joy in your life at home in a culture that doesn’t value it. That’s really the complexity I’m hoping this blog will explore.
      I would love to keep hearing from you in your process of finding that joy. I hope you’ll keep sharing your thoughts!

  2. Amy

    Hi Micha, The blog looks great. Look forward to reading more.
    Amy

  3. I can tell you’re a gal who’d like Fred Rogers, because I am a gal who likes everything you just said. (And Fred Rogers.)

  4. Hi Micha,

    I have 2 boys. I am (mostly) home with them. I love Henri Nouwen. I attend a Presbyterian church but sneak into Catholic Mass when I can. I used to be in youth ministry. I’m thrilled to find your blog. 🙂

    I read this article every couple of months… wanted to share – I think you’ll like it.

    http://www.washingtoninst.org/resources/articles/guest/motherhood-vocation.htm

    Keep writing!

  5. OK have to come back and add that I love poetry (reading it and writing it) and I can’t get through the day without the Psalms.

    If this was 4th grade and not the internet I would pass you a note in class that said “Can we be friends?” 🙂

  6. Hi Haley. Yes! Let’s be friends! I loved the article you posted. Thanks for it. I’m so glad you’re reading. Someday, when we’re not just friends on the internet, we should really have a latte and sneak into Mass together.

  7. As always, your brain is a joy to journey with! I’m so happy we found your online home… those scarce articles and posts here and there for Relevant, etc were not enough to help us feel connected.

    Eager to learn from you…

    Jeremy

  8. Hello Micha! I am visiting your blog after reading the interview on your brother’s website. It is crazy how many ways in which your blog dovetails with my life! (Your blog is something like the blog I would write if I could focus.)

    I currently attend a Presbyterian Church, after having left the Catholic Church about 4 years ago. Not only was I Catholic, I was a Carmelite nun for 3 years. (Technically, I only made it as far as a novice.) There is a lot about the monastic tradition that I am still wistful about, and I have struggled to find if and how to incorporate it into my Christian life. I find myself obsessively reading and re-reading fiction about monastic life (i.e. ‘The Hawk and the Dove’ by Penelope Wilcock and the Cadfael mysteries by Ellis Peters) – which only adds to my wistfulness.

    Also, I am about to become a mother in September.

    Also, I LOVE Gerard Manley Hopkins.

    I look forward to gleaning from your insights, and maybe sharing some of my own. 🙂

  9. Jeremy,

    So happy to hear from you! I’ve kept up with your family’s goings-ons through Jason. I’m so thankful you and Jessica are doing what you’re doing. Thank you for being faithful! So glad y’all are reading. Please give your wife a hug for me…

    Micha

  10. Wow Amy.

    I’d love to read the blog you haven’t started yet! 🙂 And I’d love to know your story. (And your reading list!)

    I hope you’ll feel free to comment on the blog and be our official former nun/expert on the monastic life!
    Seriously.

    Congrats on the pregnancy, by the way. I hope you’re loving it!

    Micha

  11. Micha! I’m loving this! I keep up with you Hohorsts on the August Blog – but I can’t wait to read your thoughts here. I’m still so sad and sorry we did not connect before you left – a couple missed communications are at fault. But I think of you often, and read your blog every time you post. Hope you are doing well – and keep writing! And next time you are back this way, PLEASE get in touch – Lucy would love the chance to love on August 🙂

  12. Brian Bhuta

    Micha – I’m glad to see that Sarah and I have contributed in a small way to this blog through your awesome t-shirt in your picture.

  13. Hey there, Micha 🙂 Meeting you at the monastery this week was truly a gift of grace. I look forward to getting to know you even better here. Blessings!

  14. Jodi Chesemore

    Micah! Our dear friend Nancy told me about your blog and I am loving it! Read Nouwen’s, Genesee Diary in my twenties and I was hooked on contemplative prayer and learning how to “be” rather than learning how to “do” and describe myself by that definition. August is truly blessed to have a Mom who desires God more than the “nice” norm of a pleasant life. God Bless! I look forward to reading what God has for us through you. Thankful for you even if it is Thursday and not Tuesday!

  15. Rheagan

    Micha –

    Not sure if you remember me, but I went to PBC in Amarillo, and I’m about 2 years younger than you. I stumbled on your blog from a friend of a friend of a friend’s blog. It is a very small world out there in cyberspace.

    I converted to Roman Catholicism in college, and have been Catholic ever since – with a husband and 2 kids added to the mix. I love your blog, and your discussions about how faith intersects life, and how the monastic life can have lessons for us all. (Esp. the rule of St. Benedict.)

    Have you every read “A Mother’s Rule of Life”? It is about applying the rule of St. Benedict to your daily life as a mother. I have not read it yet, but I know people that rave about it. Anyway – enough about me. I can’t wait to read more of your blog.

    Peace,
    Rheagan

  16. Dave

    Loved your commentary on “Come Holy Ghost”. It moves me to tears when we sing it at our Redeemer Church.

  17. Peter

    Hi Micha,

    I remember about 8 years ago, I was a student at Syracuse University and on the last day of class, you said that ‘God is real’. Those words resonated in me for years and I am glad you said that. At the time I was wondering how you had such faith to say those words. I now understand. I have accepted Christ a year ago and I believe you had a small role in that. Sometimes we don’t know the power that simple words have and how much of a blessing sharing our faith can be so. I just wanted to say thanks.

    • Wow, Peter. That’s such an incredible story to hear from you. Thank you for finding this blog and sharing that with me.

      I remember that day, how I’d felt for a while that I should say something to your class and agonized over what it should be. I’m so honored that it resonated with you and thrilled to hear that you’ve come to faith in the past year. Wow. Seriously, I’m overwhelmed hearing this story. I’d love to hear more about what you’re up to.

      Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  18. Hi Micha,
    I just found you through a google search on Luci Shaw’s “Mary’s Song.” Not only did I find the poem, but a kindred spirit! I am a contemplative who is just now experiencing the empty nest. My youngest son, who has autism (and who has been the inspiration behind 3 books I’ve written), moved this summer from the family home to a farm for adults with autism. God is good, but I am struggling to find my way in this new landscape. I am thankful for my monastery retreats, daily meditation, Henri Nouwen, Madeleine L’Engle, Joyce Rupp and Macrina Weiderkehr, all of whom I drink tea with regularly. I will definitely be joining you again!

  19. Kristin Jones

    Hi! My heart is leaping to find your blog! I have a 2 & 3 year old and NEVER have time to get online to read blogs or much else. But this morning my daughters are busy destroying the house and playing together blissfully well. I found your link through Debby Bellingham’s Mentored Life blog. Thank you! I am encouraged to be able to connect, albeit briefly, with another mama with very similar thoughts and priorities. I hope to be back again soon.

  20. Jamie

    Hey Micha:
    Cat recommended your blog to me…it’s great 🙂 I want to recommend to you http://danacandler.com/bookstore.html Particularly Entirety. Her writings are inspired by Bernard of Clairvaux…I think you will enjoy! Jamie

  21. would it be bad form to throw up a little “hell yeah”? so glad i found my way here today.

  22. Hi, Micha….
    My dear friend Phyllis recommended your blog. I read one entry and knew immediately it would become one of my favorites. I feel like we had so much in common. (library book, baby, moving, and much more) Can’t wait to dig into it deeper and walk with you as you move on from the Bay Area. Good luck on the journey!

  23. LIz

    Micha this is going to have to be updated! I can’t believe you’re almost gone from our city. I love you so much.

  24. Danielle

    Hallo and warm greetings from the beautiful state of Michigan!
    I’m a mid-twenties young woman who has been following your blog for a while, refreshed about your take on family, poetry, and Catholicism. I’m a Catholic, and it’s a beautiful faith, although sometimes misunderstood.
    Guess what today is? The Feast Day of ST BENEDICT! I heard it at mass today and I decided that today was as good a day as any to wish you a happy day.
    If you ever visit my beautiful state, I will show you my garden and push your boy on the tire swing while you drink tea and we can talk about God and life. And then we can drive out to the Subiaco Retreat house. Yes, I have been there. Yes, I have met the holy fathers and brothers who seek to bring sacred into the world. I am sure that they would love to meet you.
    And maybe we can go into the city of Detroit and you can meet the holy Franciscans as well! I’m sure you’d love their ministry as well!
    So, all the best to you on this special day! ❤

    • Danielle, I’m honored that you sent me a note on the feast of St. Benedict! Thank you! 🙂 I would love to drink tea and talk about God and life while August plays on the tire swing. It sounds perfect. So glad you’re here at the blog. Hope you keep commenting…I’d love to hear your perspective every once in a while.

  25. Enjoyed your post on CT, and am glad to now know about your blog. Will put it in my Google reader. Cool that someone else takes an interest in memorizing poetry. Do you have any tips for memorizing, other than reciting it to yourself over and over? Have you memorized 690 poems so far, or does the 690 in the title of your most recent Emily Dickinson poem stand for something different?

  26. Jenny

    Enjoyed your Her Meneutics column and loved stumbling upon your blog. Looking forward to reading what you share.

  27. Micha,
    I’ve been lurking long enough now. I can’t even remember how I “found” you but I am so glad that I did. I so appreciate your honest and insightful perspectives on faith and the ways in which you are attempting to integrate all of that with your daily life. Your writing style is open and real and incredibly refreshing. Thank you fo sharing. Would love to chat with you sometime about how you manage writing with motherhood. I’m struggling with how to do that myself.

  28. terry savage

    glad to meet you. look forward to more.

  29. Sarah F

    Micha – rapid life change…I can identify with that. I came home from a location overseas that I loved, kicking and screaming (yet unable to deny that was what my Lord required of me) with no idea what God had in store. In just over two years, I had gotten married, moved to a new city, started a new job, and conceived a child. Now I’m a full-time mother to one beautiful baby girl, and part time bonus mommy to a vivacious and creative 4 year old daughter. I’m blessed beyond measure, but struggling to relocate my inner contemplative (developed during my 5 year stint in Jordan). Your blog encourages me to start looking for her again.

  30. Sarah F

    Oh and – One of my favorite memories of my husband and I’s courtship are his readings from Gerard Manley Hopkins while tears welled in his eyes. I was raised Baptist, am Anglican but currently attending a Presbyterian church and also in love with Catholic monastic practice…practices that help me grow by leaps and bounds upon landing in a foreign land. A few other things we have in common.

  31. HI there, after lurking for awhile I wanted to introduce myself. I’m also a SAHM of two little ones, Southern Baptist-raised, Quaker and Anglican-formed, now attending a Lutheran church. Oh, and we memorize poems too! … have found recitation to be the best way to put our kids to sleep, and it’s good motivation to keep memorizing.
    I found your blog while looking for more resources on incorporating liturgical life into the home. I saw that you got To Dance with God, which is a book I LOVE but thought no one else ever read … so I’m eager to hear what you think and what you bring into your family life. RIght now I’m reading all that she says about Advent as a time of waiting and delayed gratification, and trying to decide what that might look like for us.

    warmly,
    Monte

  32. Lindsay

    I feel so liberated reading your blog. I can so relate, and haven’t had a friend to relate to on loving the contemplative life, and mass while attending a PCA church, though raised Episcopalian.
    My sister, who has been my best friend, converted to Catholicism and went into a cloistered convent for three years, and has been out for five years now. Also, have had sudden life changes into the world of motherhood, three kiddos in four and half years! I know that I am called to be a wife and mother, though it’s not easy. In fact, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done! It seems to lead me deeper into my struggles, and thus into His strength. I’ll be reading,hoping to glean from your writings! Thanks for your candidness!

  33. Tho I’ve read only a little so far your writings definitely engage me so I plan to return…. and perhaps do some catching up with books / readings that others before me have recommended. Always seeking….

  34. Fun, Following. Hi, I’m Leanne.

  35. Hi! I’m so glad to have stumbled across your space here – I sense a kindred spirit! I’m following, and happily so!

    ~Peace,

    LuAnne

  36. Pingback: [shared reading] on forgiveness & grace | Y.Y. Jenny Lee

  37. Absolutely love your connections between motherhood & Benedict! Glad to find a kindred spirit here.

  38. It is wonderful to read your description of yourself. I am in your mother’s generation, and it saddens me that so many of the young women of your age are missing the beauty of what you have described as a woman, wife, mother. God bless you and your babies and your husband.

  39. yes! so happy to find your blog. kindred-blogger-in-spirit. thanks for sharing your brain 🙂

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