One Beautiful Dream – Giveaway!

One Beautiful Dream – Giveaway!

Jennifer Fulwiler, Heather Renshaw, and Kelly Wahlquist at Catholic Women Rejoice 2015
I owe a lot to Jennifer Fulwiler. She and Hallie Lord concocted The Edel Gathering several years back, and because of their “yes,” this weary, overwhelmed Mama of five (with undiagnosed PPD) had the time and space to let her hair down and dust off her latent charisms of “dancing on chairs” and “rapping the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song.”
Edel 2014. We bad.

At Edel, I laughed until I cried, cried until I laughed, and met a gaggle of amazing kindred spirits, several of whom are part of my tribe to this very day. I remembered that I like to dance, sing, laugh, and that it is OKAY TO HAVE FUN, dang it! For some reason, I’d forgotten all about who I was and what *I* liked doing beneath the never-ending avalanche of laundry and demanding chaos of large family life.

It was Jen who encouraged me to keep writing and to resurrect my blog. And, while keynoting at our Portland women’s conference the next year, Jen recorded a clandestine clip of me doing my MC thang. She emailed it to her booking agent, saying: “You need to get this person on the Catholic speaking circuit TODAY.” It sounds sort of audacious, but that’s the kind of person Jen is—she dreams big, and inspires others to do the same.

Which leads me to the reason for this post. I’m so grateful to Jen, whose amazing second book, ONE BEAUTIFUL DREAM, launches TODAY!  I hope you pick up a copy for yourself and your friends and allow Jen Fulwiler’s special brand of encouragement to uplift and inspire you to follow your dreams just like she did for me.
But, better yet, wouldn’t it be awesome to WIN a copy? Just in time for Mother’s Day, I have one for YOU or someone you love! Woooooo hoooooo! ???
Follow @realcatholicmom and @jenniferfulwiler for a chance to win THIS BOOK in time for Mother’s Day!

Simply head on over to my giveaway post on Instagram and tag as many friends as you’d like in my feed. You MUST be following me and Jen on Instagram to qualify–I’m gonna check and double-check! The contest ends on Friday, May the 4th (be with you), and I’ll pick and announce a winner on Sunday, May 6th just in time for my birthday. Man, I love giving good stuff away!!

Oh, and … If I look tired in this picture, it’s because I am. LOL ? Motherhood and chasing my blue flame isn’t easy. There are only 31 days until my first book is due to the publisher. THIRTY-ONE. And I’m really feeling the squeeze. There are super early mornings and late nights and lots and lots of prayer and coffee. But I’m happy. Blessed. Clinging to Jesus. That’s the way any of this works–bottom line–I cling to him. Personally, my one beautiful dream is to do all the things I want to do while still getting enough sleep. So.

Okay! That’s it for now–don’t forget to enter the giveaway. Open to U.S. residents over the age of 13 only.

PS: Congratulations again, and lots of love, Jen! Can’t wait ’til the next party! ??????
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For the smile is the beginning of love

For the smile is the beginning of love

Our eldest just received the Sacrament of Confirmation, and the chrism oil smeared across her teenaged forehead transported me back to when she received the same glorious-smelling oil on her bitty baby head at baptism. Incidentally, teenagers don’t tolerate their mothers huffing their sweet-smelling heads as well as infants do. Truly, truly I say to you: The days are long, yet the years are short.

Now, as a young Mom, my skin crawled whenever someone observed my spirited youngsters and felt compelled to offer this gem: “Treasure every! single! minute!” I’d force a smile and bite my tongue to keep from pelting the well-meaning stranger with a litany of grievances. Did she expect me to cherish every blow-out diaper, each sleepless night, all ear infections and colicky episodes? How about the countless tantrums and the myriad other exhausting maladies of young motherhood?

Today, comments about how full my hands are don’t irk me like they used to. When the cashier at the store is mortified that I have the audacity to mother five—FIVE!!—children and declares: “That’s too many kids!” I’m neither shocked nor angry, and I’m certainly not losing any sleep over her ridiculous opinion. Rather, I laugh heartily and ask: “Which one would you like me to take back?”

Read the rest here

photo credit: Marie Sylvester

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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.

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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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Update on Bury the dead: Y’all done brought it!

Update on Bury the dead: Y’all done brought it!

Earlier today, I asked for your help, and y’all done BROUGHT it. I mean, for reals and for trues. I stand in awe of our awesome God and the amazing things we can accomplish as believers when we stand united in prayer and purpose. PRAISE HIS NAME!!

Here is an update on the situation, from Mary herself:


*** UPDATE AS OF 4:28 PM EST, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2016***

You all are amazing! Just amazing. I have absolutely no words left. I am typing through tears. I had to pick Jerry up from the floor. You fabulously wonderful people have given $4,200 plus dollars in the last several hours. I walked away from the computer to go to the grocery store and post office and I come home to yet another Christmas miracle for the Lenaburg Family. We have more than enough to get back to Oklahoma for Jerry’s Dad’s funeral early next week and to pay for extended parking and other traveling expenses. There is more than enough to cover Jerry’s leave without pay as well. Whatever is left, we will apply to the debt that remains from Courtney’s time here on earth. I should have known that when Courtney is involved, she doesn’t mess around. My daughter is an incredible intercessor. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for your love and most generous support. We are humbled beyond belief … God is GOOD, ALL THE TIME.


praise-hands-edwin-andrade

So thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! While these dollars and cents don’t erase the pain, they sure do ease some of the burden for this faithful family. I am so humbled and grateful for your response.

And, just for fun, here’s what I texted Mary when I heard that y’all helped them FAR surpass their goal:

Thank YOU Jesus!! Thank YOU!!! You are worthy! You are powerful! You are mighty! We thank You!! We praise You! We adore You! You are worthy! Of ALL the honor, glory, and praise!!

That’s how I felt, and that’s how I feel, and that’s the truth, and I’m stickin’ to it.

God bless y’all. REALLY.

heather

P.S. Anyone who has struggled with grief knows that it is an ongoing process of the heart, mind, and body. Ongoing prayers for the entire Lenaburg Clan are, of course, encouraged and appreciated. Amen and amen. <3

Photo by Edwin Andrade. Used with permission via Unsplash.com

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Bury the dead: an opportunity to help

Bury the dead: an opportunity to help

mary-lenaburg-father-in-law-don-lenaburg-family-1024x1024I can only imagine what it’s like to grieve the death of a close family member during the holidays. But two family members? That just seems like cruel and unusual punishment. And yet that’s exactly what’s happening to my friends Mary and Jerry Lenaburg right now.

As if burying their beloved daughter Courtney two years ago wasn’t enough, the Lenaburgs recently returned home from visiting Jerry’s parents in Oklahoma only to hear that Jerry’s father passed away suddenly last night.

One of the Corporal Works of Mercy is to bury the dead, and that’s exactly what Mary and Jerry would like to do. Unfortunately, with their most recent trip to Oklahoma, they’re tapped and don’t have the funds to return for the funeral.

This is where you come in, friends. Can you help? I know it’s a crazy time of year to be asking. But I also think it’s crazy to think that my friends might not be able to go to their father’s funeral because of money. I firmly believe that we serve a mighty God Who is capable of far more than we can possibly imagine. But we have to cooperate with His generosity to make this whole thing happen.

Will you join me in helping the Lenaburg Family?

For more information about these crazy circumstances, please read Mary’s post. There’s a link at the end of the post to donate toward  the considerable travel expenses from Viriginia to Oklahoma, but if you don’t have time to read the whole thing, here’s the link to donate for your convenience.

Thank you so much for generously donating as you’re able, but I know the Lenaburgs are especially grateful for your prayers. As I grieve with my friends, I also have great anticipation of what Our LORD will do amidst these challenging circumstances. May He be praised now and forevermore.

God bless y’all,

heather

Photo (c) Mary Lenaburg. Used with permission.

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