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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I’m a Girlfriend!

I’m a Girlfriend!


So … That headline might be sliiiightly misleading. 

No need to call my Archbishop – I haven’t done anything crazy like dump my husband or become polygamous. 

What I did however, was recently join the incomparable author/speaker/Mom-of-many Danielle Bean on her podcast called – you guessed it – Girlfriends

I figure since I was on her show, I am now an honorary girlfriend. Fun!

Listen in and let me know what you think. Happy Summer!

God bless y’all,

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Vintage RCM: The Catholic Mom’s “Drop-Kicked Into Reality” Prayer

Vintage RCM: The Catholic Mom’s “Drop-Kicked Into Reality” Prayer

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Originally published after Edel ’14, the truths and sentiments behind this prayer are timeless. While Edel’s impact on my life resonates so much more deeply than these few sentences can convey, here’s my offering of support for my sisters once we’re back in “the real world.” The best, my friends, is yet to come. <3

The Catholic Mom’s “Drop-Kicked Into Reality” Prayer

Dear Lord Jesus, King of rowdy, stubborn children, Redeemer of questionable smells and short tempers, Savior of misplaced shoes, boo boos, messy kitchens, blowout diapers, endless dishes (and laundry and more laundry), double-booked activities, practices and lessons, burned food, cold coffee, clogged toilets, and uniquely depleted Moms, I earnestly pray that the grace received through our Edel experience sustains me as I build my domestic cathedral in the hidden recesses of my home. May I reach out to my Edel sisters for unconditional support and encouragement because, after all, they *know.* May I please, dear Jesus, not allow my sister to drown in plain sight when I sense she is in need. But most importantly, Lord, may I seek You, before and above all else because, when everything is said and done (or necessarily left undone), YOU’ve got this, Lord – You’ve got me, my family, and allllll the beautiful messiness that is my life in the palm of Your hand because You love me as if I were your one and only. I offer all I say and do for Your glory through the intercession of the best Mom around, our Blessed Mother Mary. In Jesus’ Name – Amen!

+Venerable Edel Quinn, Pray for Us!+

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Vintage RCM: Called to Love

Vintage RCM: Called to Love

imageToday’s post originally appeared at Fleeting Photography last summer as a promo of sorts for the first Called to Love conference in Mobile, Alabama. I hope you enjoy.  -H

It all began with a picture. This picture.

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Actually, it was a painting. But my goodness; what a painting it was! Albertinelli’s Visitation literally stopped me in my tracks. As I gazed upon the Blessed Virgin Mary and her cousin, Elizabeth, I saw in the women’s embrace what I, instinctually, and at a very visceral level, hoped for myself, and for every woman I knew and even those I didn’t: unconditional love, acceptance, and support for one another. Tears streamed down my cheeks. “This,” I breathed to myself, “is what women need; this is the icon of genuine Christian sisterhood.” It was a revelation. As I shopped in the teeny Catholic bookstore in a suburb of Portland, Oregon that day, there was no way I could know that a painting would inspire and change my life.

My husband began a men’s conference in the Portland area in 2008, and every year, women would call to register their sons, husbands, and friends. Without fail, the question earnestly and repeatedly arose: “When is the women’s conference?”

It is truly a testament to God’s sense of humor and His omnipotence that I was the one who started a Catholic women’s conference in Portland. What I couldn’t have possibly known when I finally committed to putting together Catholic Women Rejoice for the summer of 2012 is that my husband would be living and working a contract position thousands of miles away for the five months leading up to the event date while I was pulling frequent all-nighters, working two jobs, and trying to hold things together with four children to care for. All the while, God showed me in ways big and small, “This is Mine. I got this. And you.

On July 14, 2012, the Feast of soon-to-be St. Kateri Tekakwitha, over 200 women converged on Resurrection Parish in Tualatin, Oregon to be encouraged, inspired, and supported in their Catholic sisterhood. In my mind, the painting that inspired me years before had come to life before my eyes that day. I cried several times throughout the event. I get choked up just thinking about it now – God is so, so good! Other than a hiccup with food service and the inconvenience of a very hot day, it was a resounding success. Now in its third year, CWR is still very close to my heart.

Our upside-down life with no husband and father finally came to an end when David accepted a full-time position with Archangel Radio here in the Mobile area and we dropped our nets to follow Christ’s call – away from friends, family, and all known things. It wasn’t long after our fifth child was born that one of my fellow parishioners approached me: “You started a women’s conference in Portland, right? You know, we really need one here.”

I laughed.

Slowly but surely, the wheels began turning, and Called to Love was born. It is still obvious to me that God’s quirky sense of humor insisted that I would have the blessing and privilege of working with such an amazing team of women to provide an opportunity to encounter Christ in one another here in my new home.

Because the Holy Spirit is in control, I know it is going to be phenomenal! The day includes Mass with Archbishop Rodi, breakfast, talks with Teresa Tomeo and Sr. Miriam James Heidland, catered lunch, live music from Kelly Pease Lombardi, Adoration, Confession, Catholic vendors, gift bags; a chance to pray, worship, and just be and rest in the gift of our Catholic sisterhood and the gifts that God gives us.

Wow – I can hardly wait. It’s going to be amazing! But you know what will be even more amazing? To see you there. I can see the picture in my mind’s eye right now, a smiling face greets you with these words: “Welcome, beloved of Christ. It is so very good that you are here.”

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The day Love showed up

The day Love showed up

Today was just going to be one of those days. I’m sure you know the sort.

The baby crawled into bed with me at way-too-early o’clock and proceeded to kick me like he was auditioning for The Rockettes for the next hour.

My back let me know in no uncertain terms while I was changing said baby that it would go out on me without any provocation WHATsoever.

There was no coffee in the house – zilchnot even instant (and exactly how was I supposed to manage my domestic church, let alone fight the zombie apocalypse, without any caffeine???)

The cute new toaster burned my toast and, adding insult to injury, somehow managed to indiscriminately catapult the aforementioned charred slice into the dust bunny village on the floor between the refrigerator and the counter. Woof.

The dishwasher, in complete and utter disregard for my wishes to the contrary, flatly refused to load itself (what was its damage, anyway??).

Everyone wanted my snack (despite the fact that they’d already been fed, and I’d finally managed to scrape the last 1/16 cup of vanilla yogurt into a bowl for myself).

And, to top it off, my attempt to pleasantly yet firmly instruct the children to sort, fold, and put away their freshly-laundered clothing was apparently akin to torture that sent at least half of the beleaguered tykes into an ongoing screeching ritual so cacophonous that even a howler monkey would have grabbed his earplugs and headed for the hills.

But wait – there’s more! Other songs on this broken record included: Who Was Staring at Whom, She Smashed My Finger, Spilled Milk Dripping on the Hardwood Floor, and The Inconsiderate Booger Wiping Incident.

Then …

Something happened.

Somehow my desperate prayers (half-hissed through clenched teeth ranging in content from “help me bear this gracefully,” to “get me the heck out of here!“) were answered in an unexpectedly precious way.

Towards the latter part of my craptastic afternoon, I heard a quiet knock upon my bedroom door. Standing there, wearing who-knows-what ensemble undoubtedly inspired by the movie The Croods, was my first-born son. “Mommy?” he queried. “Yes,” I responded, half-listening as I smoothed the comforter down over the foot of my bed. “This is for you,” he said, as he handed me a slightly wrinkled piece of paper.

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Ohhh …”  I breathed, half whispering to this sweet, precious boy, who has long been an effective balm for his mama’s weary heart, and half addressing The One Who knew exactly what I needed at exactly this moment in time. “Thank you so, so, so much. I love you, too.

I hugged my son for longer than was probably comfortable for him, but if he was bothered by it, he mercifully didn’t let on.

Because of this precious moment with my little man – one fleeting piece of kairos in an otherwise jumbled-up mess of a chronos sort of day – I realized that perhaps it was not just one of those days after all; maybe it was something much, much better …

… a day when Love showed up.

 

“This is the day the Lord has made – let us rejoice and be glad.”

-Psalm 118:24

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