• Rooted in science, psychology, and progressive Christian values, Dr. Ellen O'Donnell and Rev. Molly Baskette deliver a clear, witty, and compelling guide for making family life work in these crazy times.
    — PRH
  • Groundbreaking, profound, frank and friendly, Bless This Mess is itself a blessing. While reading it, I laughed out loud and teared up. If you are struggling with how to talk to your child about God, goodness, money, sex, gender, drugs and death then Reverend Baskette and Dr. O’Donnell are here to help! They will introduce you to the latest research on child development and best practices in parenting, blended with a spirituality that is both inclusive and particular.
    — Wendy Mogel, author of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee
  • Imagine Shane Claiborne’s “The Irresistible Revolution” meets Daniel Siegel’s “The Whole Brain Child.” Authors Ellen O’Donnell, Ph.D., a child psychologist, and Reverend Molly Baskette, a UCC minister, get it. They have been there as parents as well as professionals.
    — Amy Nee-Walker, Messy Jesus Business


A child psychologist and a minister walk into a daycare…

When Dr. Ellen O’Donnell and Rev. Molly Baskette first met, they were both new mothers seeking parenting wisdom. They read a lot of books on the topic but none of them contained practical suggestions that would help their family spiritually and psychologically. Instead, it was over the daycare carpool that they found what they needed.

Forced to be vulnerable with one another when a kid melted down at morning pick-up and refused to put on shoes (or even clothes!), they compared notes on parenting successes and struggles. Ellen could provide much-needed perspectives from child development to Molly, and Molly could provide Ellen with spiritual practices and pastoral guidance. Science was not enough. Spirituality was not enough. Together, they created actionable steps to help their families in ways that weren’t being discussed in parenting books. They each had a wisdom for the other that gave them the grounding and strength to parent the way they longed to.

It didn’t hurt that they (and their kids!) got along well too. Both deeply empathic “extroverted introverts” with a penchant for finding joy and humor in both their own, and other people’s, messy-beautiful stories they started to talk about writing a book…Bless This Mess was born. Many years later, Ellen and Molly are good friends and co-authors.

In Bless This Mess, readers will gain practical tools as they learn how to talk to their children about money, God, ethics, bullying, disabilities, sexuality, and their bodies. Parents will also glean insights on how to actually stress less, as well as practices for the whole family, like serving others and living a life of generosity and gratitude. Perhaps most important, readers will learn how to stop being so afraid all the damn time as we raise our kids in an increasingly chaotic and often scary world. With real-life examples, humorous personal stories, and strategies to address the challenges of raising a toddler, preteen, or teenager, Bless This Mess guides parents of children at all stages of their development.