Big Announcement: I’m Writing a Book!

Big Announcement: I’m Writing a Book!

Holy moly, y’all–I’m writing a book!

Although I’ve penned columns, blog posts, articles, reflections, devotions, studies, retreat and conference talks, fables, countless unpublished short stories and plays, academic papers, haphazard grocery and overflowing to-do lists (those count for something, right?!), an award-winning poem (when I was 9 years old, LOL) and even a chapter in this book, I’ve never written my very own, real life book.

Until now.

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like you to meet the little book that could: It’s called…wait for it…Death By Minivan. It arrives in the Fall of 2018 from the superlative and very brave folks at Our Sunday Visitor (please pray for them all, especially my long-suffering editor), and I! Am! So! Excited!

I’ll provide information about pre-ordering the book as well as some pre-order freebie goodness (‘cuz y’all know I LOVE me a good giveaway) in this space soon (see the end of this post to sign up!).

But for now, Death By Minivan, a book by me (!!!)–is on its way.

It’s not a memoir. It’s not even a “how to.” It’s for you Real Catholic Moms out there who have good days and dark days. Some days you’re on top of your game, and some days you drag yourself out of bed. But most days, you stop whatever you’re doing to clean bottoms and make lunches and say prayers even when you don’t feel like it. Because, as the Chief Minister of Interruptions for your household, that’s just what you do.

Death By Minivan is for you road warriors who drive the minivan (or any other vehicle) day after day after day to run errands, go to work, drop off one child for sports practice, pick up another child from religious education, and try to get everyone together for dinner at least, because this is what your path to holiness looks like, petrified french fries on the floor be darned.

Death By Minivan acknowledges the (sometimes ridiculous) sacrifices the vocation of motherhood entails, yet encourages you to cultivate and celebrate the many amazing fruits that come from offering yourself with love to your children–your very own “least of these.”

Death By Minivan is a book that, I hope and pray, will encourage, inspire, and uplift all you sweet Mamas who don’t always have it all together but are giving everything you have to live the life that God has given you. Because, my dear sister in Christ, like me, you may not win any “Mom of the Year” awards. But. You are worthy. You are enough. You are loved.

Please sign up for my email list to get the latest and greatest about the book (and so much more) delivered directly to your inbox!

 

Until next time; God bless y’all.

 

 

 

P.S. A huge shout-out to my dear sister from another mister Christy Stephens, the genius behind the minivan drawing. She will be providing illustrations for this project, and I am so excited to see what her pen produces!

P.P.S. Would you please pray for me during the writing process? May God’s will be done in this work. Thank you so very much!!

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{SQT} When a shirt is more than just a shirt

{SQT} When a shirt is more than just a shirt

St. Francis of Assist purportedly said, “Preach the Gospel always. When necessary, use words.” I think I’ve previously expressed my disdain for this quote, because–hello!–two words: brown habits! Whenever people saw the good works of Francis and his brethren, of course they knew their good works were accomplished in service to the LORD, because they sported attire specifically reserved for those … in service to the LORD! They didn’t have to say anything.

For us modern lay folk, it’s slightly trickier. We can, within reason (and prudence and modesty), wear whatever we like while we’re living our Christian lives and fit right in with the rest of society. There’s usually nothing about our fashion sense that suggests we’re any different than any other human on the planet.

Unless … we make an intentional choice to do something a bit … different.

Being me means I am naturally attracted to the different; at my core, I’m slightly rebellious. Now, since reverting back to the Catholic faith, my rebellion has significantly mellowed, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have my ways of “sticking it to The Man.” Want to know the secret sauce behind my current counter-culturalism? Here’s my confession:

Hello. My name is Heather, and I am a dynamically orthodox Roman Catholic. I love Jesus, Mary, the saints, and the sacraments. I’ve been married to one man for 16 years, I’m open to life, my Minivan is covered in faith-centric bumper stickers, and … I wear blatant, flagrant, obnoxiously faith-related t-shirts nearly every day. 

So, let’s talk shirts, shall we? I wear them because I enjoy the conversations they illicit. I suppose it’s one way I’ve chosen to delve into the New Evangelization–as a sort of me-shaped billboard for the LORD. I guess it also means I have to remember to behave myself since I’m repping the Faith on the regular. Hahahaha.

Today, I am going to share a few of my favorites shirts with you in hopes that maybe you’ll consider joining me in this growing New Evangelization revolution.

Now, hear me out: Perhaps you aren’t quite ready to wear a Jesus Freak T in public every day like yours truly, but maybe you’re ready to wear one under your hoodie for a jog, or to a service project, or as a nightshirt. Baby steps. And don’t worry–I’m praying for you. Soon enough, you’ll be wearing your faith on your sleeve (actually and proverbially) all the time, too. By the way: If anyone knows who the patron saint for clothing-as-evangelization is, please let me know.

I realize there are many wonderful companies out there selling faith-based t-shirts, and I’m sorry I can’t highlight them all. I’m featuring those I personally wear and can confidently recommend because they come in an array of sizes and are super comfortable–Mama ain’t got time to wear scratchy or stiff shirts!–and because purchasing these shirts benefits sisters in Christ who also happen to be small business owners.

1. From Catholic Threads: BE BRAVE IN THE SCARED

Many of my readers know Mary Lenaburg, a remarkable woman and phenomenal speaker. This original design from the amazing Lorissa Horn of Catholic Threads isn’t just powerful and uplifting–the t-shirt is also a fundraiser to help pay down the remaining $57,000 (you read that correctly) debt incurred by the Lenaburg family while caring for their severely disabled daughter, Courtney. Shirts are currently available via pre-order only, which ends November 21st, so order now! This beauty will arrive in plenty of time for Holiday gift-giving for you and all your philanthropic friends wanting to help this family regain financial stability. P.S. The talented team at Catholic Threads has other amazing shirts (I have several!) … but you must buy this one first. Please and thank you. 😉

2. Rambling Mom: KEEP CALM & SAY A HAIL MARY

The past several months have been rough, with many loved ones suffering natural disasters, chronic disease and other difficulties. One dear friend was recently diagnosed with cancer, and I wanted to send her something to lift her spirits. When I saw Rambling Mom sporting this shirt on Instagram, I knew I’d found just the right gift. While the shirt I ordered wasn’t in RM’s shop last time I checked, word on the street is she might be able to make something just for you in a color you’ll adore; shoot her a message!

3. From Someday Saints: STRONG BRAVE LOVED

My friend Gina and I have known each other for several years now, and she continues to astonish me with her creativity and grace. Gina’s latest offering via her Someday Saints Design Etsy shop is a beautiful t-shirt I. just. love! Not only does it come in a lovely blue color, it conveys a wonderfully poignant message. Don’t tell my teen and tween, but they’re both receiving this t-shirt as Christmas gifts because these are three things I want them to know and believe about themselves. Annnnd I might have ordered one for myself because I might need a reminder sometimes, too! Check out the shirt and all Gina’s other lovelies in her shop today.

4. From Catholic Women Rejoice: REJOICE AND BE FREE

Once upon a time, in 2012, I started a women’s conference called Catholic Women Rejoice. For our fifth anniversary, we asked the fab gals at Catholic Threads (yes! they are that awesome) to design a shirt that was as comfortable as it is stylish. And, boy, did they nail it! This is my go-to sleep shirt, bum-around-the-house shirt, and clean all the things (again) shirt. My eldest daughter, who helped with the conference, lives in hers, too. I also have another, more fitted version for out-in-public appearances. If you’re interested in either shirt, I have limited quantities available. Send me a message indicating which version you’re interested in–slouchy or structured–and your size.

5. From Brick House in the City: ALL THE OPTIONS

I’m not even sure where to start; there are so many amazing (beautiful + comfortable) shirts in wonderful Lauren’s shop, it’s difficult to choose! I have the Everything is Grace shirt in honor of my girl St. Therese of Lisieux, the Love Begins At Home shirt because it reminds me of St. Teresa of Calcutta, and I bought the Cradle Catholic onesie for my sweet baby goddaughter’s Christmas gift. Currently, the Fiat and the Totus Tuus tees are on my Christmas list. Luckily, Lauren is offering a special code (BOGO10) for 10% off your order when you purchase two or more shirts. Hint, hint, Honey. 

Also? Decide which beauty you want soon, because TOMORROW (11.12) is the last day to pre-order guaranteed sizes and flavors of shirts in time for Christmas. Don’t be left empty-handed on The Big Day!

6. From Elly and Grace: NOT TODAY SATAN

I have to admit: My NOT TODAY SATAN shirt from Elly and Grace is a favorite to wear in my particularly heathenistic hometown of Portland, Oregon. Especially in the airport, where there are LOTS and LOTS of people. Ha, ha. I wear it when I need some extra Resurrection attotude, which is often when I am traveling alone for gigs, so this particular shirt has been getting more mileage lately. The funny thing is that I often get compliments on this shirt from perfect strangers–the lady in the bank, the lady at the coffee shop, the lady in the grocery check-out line. Apparently, allll the ladies like this shirt. But it could be that there are other prayer warriors out there like you and me who need the little bit of somewhat cheeky encouragement this shirt affords. Lots and lots of other choices in a broad range of sizes available on the E+G site!

7. Please feel free to comment with your favorite faith-based apparel, and I will update this post with your recommendations as my #7!

Of note: None of these are affiliate links. I just like (and wear) the shirts. 😊 Happy shopping, y’all!

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< king up with Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum for {SQT}!

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Clinging to the Cross

Clinging to the Cross

Once upon a time in the future, I’ll be a more organized writer person and know exactly when things I’ve written will post on other sites ahead of time. Apparently, today is not that day.

Some time last year, I looked ahead to today’s Gospel and wrote a devotion for CatholicMom.com about perseverance in clinging to Jesus and the Cross. As is often the case (I blame the Holy Spirit), the words I wrote in the past hit me right between the eyes in the present.

>>Please clickhereto read my brief reflection.<<

If there’s anything the roller coaster of 2017 has taught me, it’s that, if everything else in my life was completely stripped away, Jesus would remain. He is constant. He would never forsake nor abandons me. He simply beckons.


The only “sales-y” message I genuinely look forward to receiving is my daily email from the EWTN religious catalogue. Sure, they have some beautiful religious articles and books (aka Heather’s kryptonite), but they always include a quote from my favorite Saint-in-waiting, Mother Angelica. Here’s today’s gem:

“God is simple. He doesn’t have multiple ends. He doesn’t say, “If I do this, she’s going to do that,” and “If I do that, she’ll be humble.” No. Those are all merely effects. God has one thing in mind: To make you run to Him in all your needs.”

That’s what I’m talking about, friends. Let’s run to Him with our needs, tired and weary as we may be. He wants to hear from us!

God bless y’all!

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How our family life went to the dog(s), part one

How our family life went to the dog(s), part one

With five children in three schools, plus activities, appointments, and work, my husband and I didn’t think our lives were crazy enough. So, we bought a dog.

Meet Lola Rose Renshaw! The cutest, fluffiest, sassiest puppy in all of the motherhood. Good thing she’s cute.

Not just any dog, mind you. I may be biased, but I think our Lola Rose is the cutest little puppy ever. And it’s a good thing, too. Because I know for a fact that she’s been (more or less) absolved of a myriad puppy sins based on sheer cuteness alone.

While I don’t subscribe to the “fur baby/fur Mommy” culture that’s exploded in recent years, I understand how and why hyper-attachment to furry companions is a real temptation.

Read the rest here!

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Freaks are family, too

Freaks are family, too

Growing up in a multi-racial adoptive home, I often felt l didn’t quite fit in — my nose was too big, my voice was too loud, my dreams were too crazy. So I did lots of stupid stuff to try to fit in. Eventually, I realized the differences within my family were opportunities for sanctification, not despair and annihilation. 

Even today, I get the feeling my particular brand of extroverted evangelism isn’t exactly what folks are hoping for as they’re paying for their jumbo-sized toilet paper pack at Costco. Hahahahaha. #truestory See Twitter. It isn’t uncommon for me to feel like a sojourner in a strange land.

Do you ever feel like an outsider? Do you wonder if you’re worthy enough to claim a seat at the table? Wonder if you’ll be seen and accepted and loved just the way you are? Me. Too. A lot.

But. No longer! The GOOD NEWS of God’s Word breathes truth and life into my doubt: I can be a misfit and a Jesus Freak all day long in the eyes of the world, and sometimes even in the eyes of my community, but with Christ as my brother and Savior, Almighty God as my good Father, and Mama Mary as my loving Mother, there will always, always, ALWAYS be a place for me in God’s Family as beloved daughter.

And so it is with you, my friend. Be not afraid to be *who you are.* Why? Because He made YOU. He wants a relationship with YOU. He loves YOU. Beautiful, messy, courageous, timid, amazing YOU. 

Sister, we may never be everyone’s cup of tea or glass of sangria, but that’s okay! We’re alive here and now for a particular reason according to His glorious purpose. You matter in an unspeakable, unshakable way to the Sovereign King of the Universe. And that, my dear sister in Christ, is what REALLY matters.

💃😎🙌

Speaking of not fitting in, if you are a fan of hip hop/rap, Lecrae has a hard-hitting track that has been on repeat over here for about two weeks now. Even if you dislike rap, the lyrics are worth checking out. But you should listen to it at least once, too, IMHO #newthingsareokay #outsiders #anomaly

If you’re so inclined, head on over to Blessed is She and read the rest, which includes today’s Scripture readings for Mass.

God bless y’all!

photo used with permission from BIS. 
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