I’m running away, y’all

I’m running away, y’all

airplane
As I type this, it’s so early that the sky is painted darker than liquid swirling at the bottom of an inkwell.

The birds aren’t awake.

Neither are my children.

Nor is my husband.

But I am.

I’m stealing a few moments in the pre-dawn stillness to type out a few things before I hit the road and then hit the coffee and then hit the friendly skies for a long-needed weekend away. On my own, I might add. Important detail, that.

My things are packed in a brand-new discount deal carry-on rolling bag because my old rolling bag is over 20 years old and has at least one bum wheel and I finally gave myself permission to replace it.

Last night after the kids went to bed, I (mostly) finished up one writing assignment and then I went and did something quite rash – I activated the auto-responder for my three email accounts.

“I’m away from my inbox,” the notice reads. “I’ll respond as soon as possible upon my return. God bless you!”

Activate? Yes. Save? Yes.

Some may be surprised to receive such a message from me; I’m still sort of surprised that I did it. I haven’t employed the “vacation mode” feature on an email inbox since I left the working-away-from-home world before our youngest was born in 2013. It’s been with a somewhat twisted sense of pride that anyone who needs to may get ahold of me via any manner of multiple platforms most all of the time, much to my immediate family’s dismay.

I have a difficult time turning off and tuning out. Call it “monkey mind,” call it FOMO (fear of missing out) – whatever you call it, unplugging doesn’t come naturally for some reason, and I’ve paid a price for it.

So, last night, after activating my vacation auto-responder, I turned the laptop off, took an uninterrupted shower, and went to bed at a relatively decent time anticipating my severely early wake-up call.

Sacrificing sleep this morning to be at the airport by 6 a.m. was totally worth it, though, because I’m headed across the country to spend time learning, laughing, and lounging with friends both old and new.

Did I mention I’m traveling by myself?

Before y’all decide you want to shoot me and my plane-hopping self straight dead, I’ve missed out on plenty other opportunities like this over the years. Were I in a season where I was hugely pregnant, or had a newborn, a contagious illness, an inconsolable child, an unemployed husband, an ailing parent, or the like, I would likely not be making this trip. But I’m not hugely pregnant. I do not have a newborn. I’m not contagious. My kids seem to be okay. My husband is gainfully employed. My parents, God bless ’em, are likely galavanting across the countryside somewhere on a trip of their own.

And so I’m leaving. And because I’m in the season I’m in, I don’t really feel that guilty about going. Thanks be to God.

+++

Recently, my Spiritual Director asked me what recharges my batteries. I didn’t have a quick response at the time. After several moments considering, I finally answered, “I need time with people who not only like me, but love me, and enjoy conversations about deep things and silly things and real things and want to hang out and eat good food and have a glass of something and solve problems and encourage and commiserate and collaborate and validate and cry and pray and laugh until our sides ache.”

And you know what amazed me? He said that I should go and do just that very thing at least a few times a month or, preferably, once a week. And even more stupefying – he really meant that I should.

Sure, Father – no problem, I snarkily responded inside my head. Once a week. Or a few times a month. Are you gonna watch my kids? And do the laundry? And take people to choir / volleyball / whatever practice? I wanted to ask. I think the astronauts in the space station orbiting Earth could see my eyes interiorly rolling at the prospect of regularly scheduled, fun (gasp!) time away from my responsibilities.

My laundry list of how and why Father’s scheme couldn’t possibly work in a million years began scrolling through my brain:

My husband. Five demanding young children. School stuff. Extracurricular activities. Volunteerism. Ministry considerations and tasks. Blah, blah, blah ad nauseum.

And yet, nowhere on that long list of why I should or shouldn’t do what he recommended was my name or my actual needs or my wants.

Typical.

I say, “typical,” because I have long been afflicted with what my friend Rebecca calls ‘self martyrdom.’ I, like many women I know, think that by putting everyone and everything else before myself, I will be holier, healthier, and happier.

Well, perhaps this model of constant sacrifice and dying to self works magnificently for some women, but in my particular case, the exact opposite is true. Neglecting my physical, emotional, spiritual, and psychological needs has NOT made me holier or healthier or happier. It has caused much heartache and many problems, the bulk of which I won’t go into now.

And so, with slight trepidation (because change weirds me out), enthusiastic encouragement from my spiritual director, and support from my husband, I’m slowly learning to consistently put myself on my extraordinarily long list of things and people to take care of. Simple, right? Simple conceptually, sure, but, for me, not necessarily easy.

Because … that list, don’t you see? The list. And the guilt.

When I first heard that the Blessed is She writing and creative team would be gathering for its first-ever retreat this Fall, my heart leapt at the opportunity to be with my co-workers in this amazing apostolate and then sunk at the specific obstacles that most assuredly would prevent me from joining in. Money. Time. Responsibilities. Money. Stuff.

And yet, not long after expressing my desire to attend the retreat to my hardworking husband, more details emerged that made getting there seem possible. And then my husband found a killer deal on airfare. And, blessed man, he bought my ticket. And, just like that, I was going.

Check out #bisteamretreat on social media this weekend to follow along!

And so, as fiercely as I love my husband and my children, I am most definitely running away for a few days. I can’t promise I won’t look back while I’m away, because that’s not in my nature. But I can promise that I am for sure leaving behind the guilt that often prevents me from fully enjoying myself. Hallelujah!

Oh – and I am going to work on finding a way to make a casual local gathering happen on a regular basis, because, holy heck, Batman – who can afford to fly across the country every time they need a break?? Certainly not I!

One last thing – even though I’m technically returning to the chaotic throes of family life on Sunday evening, my auto-responder says I’m away from my inbox until Tuesday, and I’m holding to that, since Monday I’ll be very busy yet again waking and feeding and clothing and chauffeuring and ushering off the school-aged kids, and later I have a very important appointment to bake brownies and snuggle on the couch for a good, long while with my preschooler, because that time with my baby boy sorta recharges my batteries in its own way, too.

Have a good weekend, y’all.

heather

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Wherein I rap today’s Gospel

Wherein I rap today’s Gospel

Blessed is She 090716

Okay. You got me.

There might be a slight bait and switch going on with today’s post title. While it is highly probable that somehow, somewhere on the interwebz there is raw footage of me actually beatboxing or rapping or otherwise making a fool of myself for the Gospel, I’m not unearthing said footage today (cue my mother breathing a sigh of relief).

Rather, I’m over at Blessed is She, rapping about today’s Gospel passage, which is, quite literally, an oldie but a goody about the contradictions of Christian life. I share a bit about the methodology I use to dive into Scripture, as well as acknowledge how crazy it often seems to live as Christ-bearers in today’s post-Christian society:

“When we live the paradoxical, counter-cultural realities of Christianity, however, we are promised fruit that remains. In Him—and not in the world—we are ultimately satisfied. In Him, we rejoice and leap for joy. The Kingdom of God is ours through Jesus. Let’s continue to feed on the Word as we journey this road with Him.”

Read the rest here, y’all, and let me know what you do to keep yourself immersed in and open to His Living Word.

God bless y’all,

heather

photo courtesy Blessed is She

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Choking Down Humble Pie

Choking Down Humble Pie

imageGood morning and happy Sunday! Today’s readings had me staring down the powerful (and I’ll just say it – intimidating!!) Litany of Humility prayer over at Blessed is She. As scary as some of the words of the LoH might be, true humility is not the same as humiliation and embarrassment; rather, authentic humility reminds us of right order – that God is God and I am not – and thanks be to God for this truth! Find today’s Scripture readings and my complete reflection here. Have a wonderful Sunday, friends. God bless you. 

heather

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What’s the truth?

What’s the truth?

August 4 2016 image @s_mckendrick

Lots of crazy stuff happening in the world today, right? “Crazy” seems like an understatement. I can’t believe the headlines and the feeds and the videos and the photos … it’s just too much.

Sometimes the noise from the media and society at large is enough to make me want to ditch this suburban existence and go off the grid to live in a yurt somewhere in rural someplace.

But then I wonder where I’d get my fancy coffee and a wifi signal and how we’d fit all the kids in such a tight space.

Details, details.

Even when everything seems to swirl around me at justtoomany miles per hour, there are, contrary to what the culture tries to shove down our throats, some absolute truths (and Truths) to which I cling, including:

God is good.

I am His.

I am loved.

Everything is grace.

The Catholic Church is my home.

Christ is present in the Holy Eucharist.

Mercy awaits all who enter the Confessional.

Being a wife and a mother is good, holy, and thoroughly exhausting work.

Heaven is real.

Music lifts my soul.

Almond milk lattes make me happy.

My husband is hilarious.

I love a good bass line.

Each of my children are wonderfully, fearfully made, and I’m lucky to be their Mom.

Jesus Christ is real and I need Him.

***

Today, I have the honor of contemplating today’s Gospel reading over at Blessed is She. Basically, I’m asking myself – and you – if I truly have the faith to believe that God is Who He says. And, if I do believe it, what am I so worried about? 

” … faith isn’t reserved for some moment in the future when we have a minute to spare. It’s for today—it’s for right now. God is on His throne today. Jesus is saving us today. We are His children today. Do we believe?”

God’s got this. He’s got me. He’s got you. If only we have the faith to believe.

Read the rest here.

God bless y’all.

heather

Photo credit: Shannon Lacy for Blessed is She

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Membership has its privileges

Membership has its privileges

Membership photo

It’s not every day that a person gets the opportunity to be in on the ground floor of something special – something anointed – something Holy Spirit driven.

About two years ago, the call went forth from the heart of Jenna Guizar: It’s time, her message seemed to say. It’s time to strengthen women in the Word. It’s time for us to seek and find Him. And each other. It’s time for building community. It’s time for Blessed is She.

Although I’ve written recently about saying, “no” to various tasks, ministries, and projects, I don’t make it a habit of saying, “no” to Blessed is She.

Why? You might ask. What makes BIS so special? 

So many things, my friend. So. many. But, in a nutshell, I stick with this ministry, this community, this God-shaped mission because, above all else,

Blessed is She is good.

It is true.

And it is beautiful.

Not familiar with Blessed is She? No worries! Please take a moment to familiarize yourself – and perhaps even more importantly, sign up for the daily devotions – each day’s Scripture verses and a beautiful reflection delivered 365 days to your inbox – for free.

Don’t worry – I’ll wait.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, they totally did. Blessed is She is proud to announce an amazing new membership option.

  • Monthly workshops offered by speakers teaching on matters of faith, life, prayer, Church teaching, and more. My good friend and The Visitation Project Co-Host Bonnie Engstrom will be giving the next workshop, on Forming Intentional Community July 22, and I am on tap to give a workshop in the Fall – stay tuned!
  • The popular Lent journal auto-shipped to your door
  • The popular Advent journal auto-shipped to your door

Priced separately, workshops are $15 apiece and journals are $20 each, so your membership fee of $9.99/month or $99/year means you’ll save at least $100 each year!

journal-on-table-2-1  virtual workshops

If I seem a teensy bit excited about the BIS Membership option, well, it’s because I am excited! Women striving to learn, know, and live our faith, steeped in the Word of God and the love of Jesus is something I can get behind. I hope you will, too.

Blessed is She has provided untold blessings in my life, and I can’t wait to dive into the latest offerings. Subscribe today, friends. I promise you won’t regret this “yes”!

God bless y’all,

heather

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