Celebrating 200 posts with a giveaway!

Celebrating 200 posts with a giveaway!

Hello, friends!

Along with being a Christian, married to my husband, parenting my kiddos, and owning some pants from x number of years ago that still sorta fit me sometimes, this here blog is one of the most steadfast things in my life.

And looky here – I recently published my 200th post! For a soul as inconsistently consistent as I, that’s nothing to sneeze at. So, to celebrate, I’m offering a fun little giveaway with the help of an amazingly talented and creative friend who is likely 100x more consistent and 150x more generous than I.gina-2

While she’s been on etsy several years, Gina Fensterer from Other Side of the Fence had a grand re-opening of sorts recently, adding home altar sets – including prayer cloths, candles, and printables – to her wares.

Gina told me she decided to open shop after she made a few prayer table cloths for her family: “I thought it would be fun to make special cloths for others, in combination with prints and candles,” she said. And, “After sharing the idea with women in a few online Catholic social media circles, I took the plunge!”

Soon, Gina says she will have preorders available for Advent and home altar sets for the entire liturgical year. How cool is that??

In between projects, Gina kindly agreed to make one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite (soon-to-be? I hope so! Saints), Mother Angelica, into a beautiful print to give away to one lucky reader. Isn’t it just lovely???laugh-a-lot-win-this-print

“Try to laugh a lot,” Mother Angelica said, “because life is funny and everybody today is too serious. The only tragedy in the world, my friend, is sin.”

If you’d like to win this custom print, simply put your name in the combox, below, and tell me something that cheers you up when circumstances threaten to knock you down. From all entries received, I’ll randomly select and announce the winner on Monday, September 19th.

Oh! And as if the giveaway wasn’t enough, beginning today, Wednesday, Sept. 14 and ending next Tuesday, Sept. 20, Gina is kindly offering an exclusive coupon code just for Real Catholic Mom readers – use LaughALot15 when you check out for 15% off anything in her shop!

Thank you so very much, Gina, for praising God with the gifts He’s given you, and thank you, dear readers, for hanging with me, as inconsistent as I may be. <3

Love,

heather

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Going deeper … {Fabulously Featured @ Catholic Sistas}

Going deeper … {Fabulously Featured @ Catholic Sistas}

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Over the past year or so, I’ve become acutely aware of the push and pull that surrounds writing publicly about personal things. Because, let’s face it – whether two or 10,000 read what I write – it’s out there nonetheless. How much sharing is too much? What happens when you don’t share enough? Certainly, some experiences are intensely private, and are simply not intended for public consumption, so they remain a mystery to the outside world. Other times, details of challenges come flowing out, and I hear that others have helped or encouraged by what I’ve shared.

It was with this balancing act in mind that I finally sat down to write my About page a few months ago. While I’m happy with how it turned out, I’m still considering – what is the “why” behind my writing? What is my voice? What do I, Heather Renshaw, have to offer that is not already done so brilliantly by so many others? I feel God calling me to go deeper, to get more personal, and yet I am also hesitant because, whenever we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we open ourselves up for more potential criticism and rejection. And that can be painful. And as much as I try to fool myself into thinking that I simply don’t care what others think (I’m not listening … tra la la la!), that’s just a big, fat lie.

Here’s the thing, y’all – I want to be very honest, because, at my core, I am a truth-telling storyteller. I want to help people with my words. As a Mom, I tell my kids to be brave and strong and true – and I need to live that by my example. But sometimes the truth is difficult. And painful. And complicated.

Anyway. I will keep pondering these things – both in my head + heart – and perhaps they may end up on a blog post somewhere, too.

On a MUCH lighter note, the kind and generous Martina from Catholic Sistas asked some fellow writers to spill the beans about our blogs, and my responses are featured today! Head on over there to check out even more of what I had to say about this whole crazy blogging thing and some other fun stuff, too.

Love and peace,

heather

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{7QT} On filling the void left by fb

{7QT} On filling the void left by fb

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So, I bit the bullet and gave up the ‘book for Lent. I mean, detachment is good. Deep breath. Repeat after me: detachment is good. Give something up, though, and it’s usually best to take something on, right? Like, a GOOD thing to fill up the hole left by the thing that, maybe, in its own Fbook-y way, has become, well, not-so-good. So while it seems reasonable that I should be filling my extra time with more prayer, family togetherness, extra Masses, plus this, and this, and definitely this, I present to you how I’ve actually been filling the fb void so far:

 1.

More blogging here. And, by more, I mean six posts published since Lent began. Which, by comparison, is double the posts I concocted in all of 2015 leading up to Lent. So, while I’m not posting here every day, it is more than usual, which I predicted. And I am glad! I just … truly didn’t intend to blog this much more during Lent, but there you have it. We’ll see if I can keep it up.

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 2. 

More tweeting. Yeah. I said I wasn’t going to shift my (hyper) focus from fb to Twitter, but what can I say? I’m an extroverted stay-at-home-Mom going absolutely crazy bananas over here some days. I neeeeeeed people and interaction and it’s not always possible to leave the house. And I can stop this Twitter business any time I want to. Really.  I need to just pray more, don’t I?

As usual, too many open tabs.
As usual, too many open tabs.

 3. 

More instagramming. Okay. This social medium is new and shiny to me. I just joined, um, this year (I know, I knoooow). But I haven’t been on horribly much. Really. Honest!

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 4. 

I’m trying not to work on the upcoming Catholic women’s conference too much. But shoot, man! It is going to be AWESOME!! I CAN BARELY CONTAIN MYSELF!!

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 5. 

I just accepted an invitation from Deacon Tom Fox to contribute to the long-running podcast Catholic Vitamins beginning in April (after Lent is over, people), and I couldn’t be more excited! A couple of times a month, I’ll be reflecting on real J  O  Y. Hopefully Dcn. Tom won’t regret his decision after the first broadcast. We’ll see. I will link to new episodes here, of course, so please stay tuned!*

Catholic Vitamins

 

*If you’re feeling particularly magnanimous this tax rebate season and would like to help me purchase some recording equipment, I am gladly accepting donations! RealCatholicMom {at} gmail {dot} com. Seriously. Please. And thank you very much.

 6. 

A super, secret and AMAZING project that is in pre-production as I type! I can’t say anything more here now, but will on March 3 – which is NEXT WEEK! AHHHHH!

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So … you’re probably saying to yourself, “Um, Heather, this is all well and possibly good, but this post seems a) pretty heavy on self-promotion and b) pretty light on, well, holy stuff.” Okay. You got me. Truly, you’re mostly right. You are. If I’m being brutally honest with myself about all the ways I’m filling my time, it does seem, on the outside, that it might not be any better for my eternal soul than all the time I was spending on FB before Lent began. But I assure you, my friends … God is working on me this Lent. I am processing and working and pondering upon things that are not intended for public knowledge – they’re really supposed to be just for me and Jesus right now. God alone knows my heart. He knows if (okay, when) I’m wasting – or abusing – my time. And I can’t say that I’m being The BEST steward of my time at all times, but I truly am trying. I’m trying to be more intentional about what I’m doing and when I’m doing it. I admit I have a long way to go. But thankfully, I don’t have to go much farther any longer to get here:

 7. 

My husband and I just received our keys for the Adoration Chapel nearest our house. I am so, so, so very much looking forward to spending more regular time here with Jesus again. No computer, no phone, no babies who need me – just Him and me. Because, at the end of the day, at the end of Lent, at the end of our life, there is only one thing that matters. And it is right here. At the foot of the Cross. I pray I have the courage and self-awareness to choose the better part this Lent and always.

Jesus, please help me. Saints and angels, hasten to my aid.

Adoration

Linking up with the ultra-rad homeschooling, Whole30ing, mic-dropping Kelly Mantoan at This Ain’t the Lyceum. See what other amazing people are writing about right here.

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Inspiring things for now + later {Link-up with #5Faves}

Inspiring things for now + later {Link-up with #5Faves}

Linking up today for the first time EVAH with #5Faves, hosted by sweet Jenna!

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And awaaaay we gooo! From left to right:

1) Three words come to mind when I look at the crazy-awesome logos created for my under-construction site and this here blog by my amazingly talented new friend Erica at Be A Heart: Beautiful. Incredible. Mine. It’s enough to make a girl cry from joy.  Shhh … don’t tell anyone!

2) My pal Fr. J. recently traveled for a vacation + pilgrimage to Hawaii. Man. Some dudes have all the luck. Well, between the two of us, DH and I are celebrating some special stuff in 2016. So … I am hoping … and praying … and wishing … we can return to the place of our honeymoon next year. It is nice to reminisce …. and ponder the possibilities. #DreamBig

3) There are so many reasons I’m inspired by the #BISsisterhood right now – the daily devotions, the instagram photo challenges, the blog link-up – it truly is alllll good. If you’re in need of an authentic female Catholic community online, I invite you to check it out.

4) It takes courage, sometimes, just to live life – laundry, tantrums, misunderstandings, lack of motivation, soup on the floor and poop in the pants, having tough conversations, illness, feeling unappreciated/unloved/unseen, going to Adoration when I’m tempted to just go to sleep, staying off Facebook and skipping the chocolate. St. Teresa’s words inspire me to have courage for all the things (big and small) that come my way.

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Annnnnd ….

5) Who wouldn’t be inspired by these happy smiling faces? A fun moment where everyone was contently slurping their smoothie at the mall last weekend. #BirthdayBonanza

Until next time.

heather

 

 

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What do you people WANT from me??! No, really.

What do you people WANT from me??! No, really.

If you’ve been following me here at Real Catholic Mom for a while, you know that I am quite possibly the world’s spottiest blogger. I start and I stop, I write and then I don’t. I took a mighty long break. And then I took a shorter break. And now I’ve posted something original four (now FIVE!) times in the last week or so. It seems like I’ve been able to write more frequently for whatever reason (praise the LORD!! and Glory to God!).

But I don’t want to just write what I feel like writing in the moment, although that’s cool, too. Honestly, I thrive on collaboration and interaction (ENFP, yo) and I love the idea of being part of a little community, writing things that might be inspiring to you.

So … What would you like me to write about? Take a look at the sidebar (Discuss amongst yourselves) and you’ll see what I usually write about. Maybe you want to hear more about those things, but maybe you want to hear something completely new and different.

Okay – there are a few caveats (because, reality): I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to roll with your suggestion, nor can I say for sure whether you’ll actually enjoy what I have to say, nor can I promise I’ll be writing on that particular topic in the super near future. But I want to try.

Seriously. I’d love to know your thoughts. What is on your heart? How is the Lord moving in your life? Leave a comment and let me know.

Peace,

heather

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