No more.

No more.

Today is the fifth anniversary of my consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary, but I don’t feel like celebrating. Honestly, today I wish I could just run and hide myself in Mary’s mantle, never to be seen or heard from again. Because I am horrified. Devastated. Grief-stricken. And angry. So, so angry.

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And yet. My Mama Mary is a fighter. She is gentle and loving, but she isn’t taking this wretched evil sitting down. Now way, no how. She shows me that she is crushing the enemy with her bare foot. She shows me she is interceding for her broken children, pleading for us all to return to her Divine Son in Spirit and in Truth. She is showing me that God wins.

.

So, today, I’m choosing to be my Mama’s girl. I will choose to be brave. I will not run. I will not hide. I will not leave. I will not give up. I will not allow the sorrow and the anger and the fear to drown out my voice, trample my faith, or usurp my free will. I will stay. And I will fight.

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Today, I join millions of my brothers and sisters on this Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass — the Church Militant, the Church Suffering, the Church Triumphant — offering what little I have as a sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise to a God Who is GOOD. Who still sits on His throne. Who is loving and merciful and just. And Who will not. be. mocked.

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I will pick up my rosary. I will offer my little sacrifices of praise and lamentation and fasting. I will ask for answers. I will demand change. And I will pray. Yes, I will pray. Because I am my Mother’s daughter. And the gates of Hell shall not prevail.

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+ Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve: to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen. +

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#Solemnity #BlessedVirginMary #Assumption #pray #hope #faith #justice #rebuildMyChurch #nomore #holyday #Catholic #Catholicwoman #bebrave #MamaMary #holydayofopportunity #GotoMass #ComeHolySpirit #JesusITrustinYou #totustuus

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Mea Maxima Cuppa: Prayerful, grateful, distracted

Mea Maxima Cuppa: Prayerful, grateful, distracted

This past month, I attended the second annual Northwest Catholic Women’s Conference near Bend, Oregon. One of the speakers, a mom of seven children, discussed her struggles to be fully present in her busy, day-to-day life.

I could relate.

I tend to get caught up in multiple projects, biting off more than I can chew. I think that’s how my phone ended up in the freezer that one time and how I accidentally triple-booked my family that other time.

Anyway, the speaker recently gained helpful perspective from a wise priest. He said, “Commend your past to Divine Mercy. Entrust your future to Divine Providence. Live holy the present moment.”

The priest’s words sounded familiar. Apparently, various iterations of this sentiment have been passed on for ages. In the calm of the retreat center, however, I received them in a new, heart-changing way.

I’ve been clinging to Jesus’s Divine Mercy for a long while now. I often rejoice in God’s love and mercy as I shed the baggage of guilt, shame, and regret in the confessional.

But I’m human, so sometimes I don’t truly let things go even after I’ve received absolution. Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Jesus puts my sins as far from me as the east is from the west, and yet I pick up the baggage again, allowing it to weigh me down. Commending my past to Divine Mercy means I must drop everything at the foot of the Cross and – this is key – leave it there.

Please read the rest here.

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Girlfriends, girlfriends, girlfriends!

Girlfriends, girlfriends, girlfriends!

This past weekend I met up with a whole posse of amazing Catholic women at the NW Catholic Women’s Conference in the breath-taking Bend, Oregon area.

Seeing women of all ages and seasons — single, married, religious, widowed, retired, students — gathered together to celebrate our common faith makes me really, really happy.

In fact, you might say that women’s events are my love language. 

It’s almost like Saint Elizabeth of the Visitation knew what she was doing when she became my Confirmation saint or something …

Anyway, event founder and superwoman Scout and her team did a fantastic job, and I hope that many kind and benevolent souls will step up to support this faith-building endeavor for 2019 and beyond.

High praise hands for speakers Sr. Maximilian Marie, Mary Lenaburg, and Lorissa Horn for inspiring, challenging, and informing!! I’ll be unpacking the truth bombs they threw down for weeks, if not months …

I feel extraordinarily blessed that, through a little thing called the Internet and a conference I used to run, I’ve found some amazing women who are now like sisters to me.

Some might think it’s weird that I find besties online, but then again, that’s where I found my husband, so at least I’m consistent!

However you find your people, community is so important. I keep praying that every person (women, especially) has or finds someone with whom they can have Visitation moments — times when they feel completely seen, known, and loved.

While we’re talking about community, have you listened to the wonderful Danielle Bean’sGirlfriends podcast from Ascension Press lately? She talks about all sorts of things you and I are interested in, and she welcomes some pretty fantastic guests, too (hint, hint).

I was first introduced to Danielle when a Moms’ group at church went through her Momnipotent study. I credit Danielle’s super-helpful content as well as the love and support of new friends for helping me navigate my first-ever postpartum depression diagnosis after our fifth child was born. Needless to say, I wrote my first-ever Amazon review for Momnipotent, and I’m a Danielle fan for life.

For those who are jonesing for the very first ever interview containing exclusive scoop about my first book Death By Minivan(now available for pre-order! /commercial – haha), and how in the world my husband and I felt called to large family life, this is the podcast for you! We had a really fun conversation, and I hope you’ll listen! I can’t wait to talk to Danielle again closer to the book release date.

More soon, friends. Hoping your summer is filled with a whole lot of peace and a generous helping of joy.

With joy and gratitude,

heather

P.S. Some photos from this weekend!

Mary and Heather NWCWC

Reunited and it feels so good … with fabulous keynote speaker and dear friend Mary Lenaburg at the NW Catholic Women’s Conference

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Finally met the amazing Lorissa Horn IRL — in real life! What an inspirational woman, speaker, and small biz owner. Can’t wait to work with her again!

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Sr. Maximilian Marie shared about how her serious boyfriend broke up with her because he thought he was called to the priesthood. He did not, in fact become a priest. His biological sister, however, did have a call to the religious life, and is part of Sr. Maximilian Marie’s order! Sometimes he visits his biological sister, and “It’s … awkward,” said Sr. Maximilian Marie with a smile.

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Gorgeous view from our retreat location in Powell Butte, Oregon

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Breathtaking sunset in the high desert of Central Oregon

So in love with the mountains. This is Mt. Hood, Oregon

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When there’s no baby

When there’s no baby

35162078_10214873928894596_3158134378106716160_o.jpgNote: I’ll be on Relevant Radio’s Morning Air program to chat about this article on Monday, June 18 between 6:15 a.m.-6:30 a.m. ET / 3:15 a.m.-3:30 a.m. (!!!) PT. If it’s any good, I’ll post the link here. 😉

For so many years, I’ve been in the thick of things — up past my neck — submerged in the tiny army that God and my husband and I created and is slowly destroying me in the most painful and beautiful ways, one blow-out diaper and temper tantrum at a time.

I was so overwhelmed by the chaos and the noise and the sheer exhaustion that I couldn’t see this moment coming.

The moment when the eldest is jonesing to get her drivers permit. When the second is a freshly-minted teenager in her own right. When the third is on the cusp of double-digits and the fourth doesn’t need much help keeping up with the eldest three.

And then there’s the fifth. Goodness, the fifth. The one child with whom I’ve been privileged and blessed to be at home. For whom I’ve been on hand to experience every milestone even if I was lousy at documenting it for posterity. Everything about this last child is etched within me; it resides in a place that is at once tender and raw and grateful and strong.

And this fifth child cannot wait to go off to the big school with the big kids. I don’t take it personally.

A part of me is elated and relieved and bursting with pride and giddy anticipation for what comes next. And another, deeper part of me is just plain … bursting. Unraveling. Overcome and undone by it all.

Read the rest here

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Holy Spirit nudges

Holy Spirit nudges

It began like most other days; I realized with great resignation that there were, as usual, many more items on my to-do list than hours and energy with which to complete them.

And then, somehow, I remembered it was the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, one of my all-time favorite Marian celebrations.

Encouraged, I did something I hadn’t done in ages: I asked Mama Mary to grant me extra grace in my vocation because, honestly, I needed all the help I could get. It had been a rough few weeks with no relief in sight. I hoped the Blessed Mother would take pity on her overextended child and throw me a spiritual bone or 12.

Wouldn’t you know it? The Queen of Heaven and Earth heard my cry and answered in the most gentle and powerful way. Throughout the day, I heard the Holy Spirit whispering simple promptings into my heart. The most peace, joy, and satisfaction that day happened when I heeded and obeyed God’s voice.

Now I know what you’re thinking: I experienced peace and joy by listening to and — gasp — obeying God? Yes; I get it. An amazing concept, right? But as I have likely proved via previous content in this space, I’m a bit slow on the uptake. Things just don’t quite sink into my stubborn head … until they do.

Read the rest here

photo credit: @Sunyu used with permission via unsplash
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