31 Days of Unexpected Joy: Beauty (Day 8)

31 Days of Unexpected Joy: Beauty (Day 8)

A thing of beauty is a joy forever.

-John Keats

Keats may have coined the phrase, but I first heard it from Mary Poppins. Anyone else??

My relationship with beauty is somewhat, um, complex. I don’t think I ever truly appreciated beauty it in all its various and sundry iterations until recently. The topic is probably best saved for an more in-depth post on another day. That being said, I do have a great appreciation for beautiful art, especially sacred art, which has had a profound impact on me and my ministry.

Fast-forward to today, and I am blessed to share something beautiful with you, dear readers, and offer you something unexpected – an opportunity to partake in the beauty shared! What joy!

Saints for all Occasions notecards are based on a collection of vintage holy cards belonging to Fr. Eugene Carella and meticulously curated by Barbara Calamari and Sandra DiPasqua of novena.com.

One of the great things about these notecards, other than their striking beauty, is that there are an assortment of saints suitable to send for various occasions. Is your daughter going off to college? Give her St. Joan of Arc, patroness of bravery.

St Joan of Arc

Or send St. Monica, Patron Saint of Mothers to your Mom as a pick-me-up. Or you could send (Feast Day alert) St. Teresa of Ávila (invoked for healing), St. Thomas Aquinas (Patron of Students), St. Vitus (Patron of Laughter – who knew?), St. Julian (Patron of Hospitality),

St. Julian

and many more. Each of the 20 cards features a different saint and comes with envelopes in a gorgeous foil-stamped box.

Saints for All Occasions

Can’t wait to get your hands on them, can you? Well, please be sure to follow this blog if you don’t already and comment below for your chance to win your own box of notecards! The first 50 commenters* on this post, will also receive the novena app (for iPhone) for free, through the kindness of Sandra diPasqua, who is probably one of the most generous people I’ve never met in real life! Thank you so very, very much, Sandy!
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I’ll announce the notecard winner on October 15th, in honor of St. Teresa of Avila’s Feast Day. Purchase now on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Until tomorrow, God bless y’all!

heather

*One entry per individual, please.

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The Power of a Praying Woman {BIS}

The Power of a Praying Woman {BIS}

August 2015
Photo courtesy of Corynne Hogan @ www.corrynneolivia.co

Good morning, friends!

I realize it’s been a while since I’ve disciplined myself to fill this space with anything meaningful. Lots going on, lots going on.

These days, it’s easy to be tempted toward discouragement. There’s so much darkness in the world – even in our own backyards –  yet at each turn I’m reminded that, in and of myself, I am powerless to fix any of it. Still, we are reminded by St. Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians in today’s First Reading that we can truly live if we “stand firm in the Lord.” Stand firm …  what does that mean for us as Catholic Christians living in modern society? How are we bringing the light of Christ into – and despite – the darkness of the world? Truly, are we that much different than members of the early Church, forging our identity as Christ-followers in the face of a culture that mocks and despises him?

Our Gospel reading from St. Matthew tells us that we do not know the day or the hour that the Master will come. We are called to be watchful and ready for Him. Are you ready? I can honestly say that I’m not there yet, but I am really striving to be! Some days it’s all I can do to be sure that my shirt isn’t on inside out and the kids are fed. But I keep forging ahead, one flip-flopped foot in front of the other, one imperfect prayer at a time.

I do sincerely believe, though,  that we often underestimate the power of our humble prayers, faithfully offered. Isn’t that what God really wants? For us to return to Him time and time again in the quiet conversation of our hearts that says, “I’m not perfect, Father, but I am here – I keep showing up – and I offer You all that I am, warts and all”? St. James tells us that the prayers of a righteous person are very powerful. So, are my prayers enough to help change this world I live in – to change myself? I choose to hope this is true.

Speaking of powerful prayers, today the Church celebrates the Feast of St. Monica, a notorious intercessor whose son, Augustine, was brought back to the Faith in large part because of her steadfast prayers for his conversion. I am honored to share my thoughts about today’s readings and Monica’s life over at Blessed is She today. I hope you’ll ponder and pray with me, for nothing shall be impossible for God. Not the messiness on my kitchen floor or the brokenness of my life … not even my eternal salvation, found in Him alone.

God bless you!

heather

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{SQT} So Much Awesome, So Little Time

{SQT} So Much Awesome, So Little Time

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Sometimes life is so busy you don’t even have time to catch your breath and tell anyone what’s going on. Thank God for the opportunity, a day late (natch), to exhale for a minute (brushed my teeth – promise!) and share some of the incredible stuff that’s been happening in my little corner of the world.

 1. 

Recording with these ladies was a tremendous blessing. We laughed waaaaay more than is likely legal in the contiguous United States and abroad, yet we still managed to complete everything on our production schedule (thank You, Holy Spirit!). I’m so incredibly grateful to them for their generous friendship and I’m especially excited to spill even more beans about The Visitation Project in late April.

 2.  

And that’s a wrap for our first round of recording – time to celebrate! Bottoms up!

 3.  

The last few weeks have been so great, but honestly, also pretty stressful for me. There’s a ton of stuff I feel called to do, but I don’t want my family to suffer, you know? Although I worked outside the home the majority of our marriage, I’ve been a SAHM the past two-plus years, and it appears I’d forgotten the specific struggles working-outside-the-home Mamas face. My hat is off to those valiant women who work outside the home and still manage to hold everything together en casa. Ladies, I salute you, and pray God blesses the work of your (seriously full) hands.

 4.  

Taken at a local Lenten prayer retreat … So beautiful, meaningful, and necessary during this penitential time of the year.

 5.  

The Rock and Worship Road Show with Mr. Matt “I speak Elvish” Maher and the glowing Shaina.

 6. 

 The Enforcer and I took turns attending a days-long Lenten Mission led by our dear brother in Christ, Richard Lane. We even took the whole kit and kaboodle to Adoration and Benediction the second-to-last-night, and against all odds, there were no casualties!

 7. 

    
After so much awesomeness and no real sign of the jam-packed “to-do” list letting up anytime soon, I was grateful to steal away for a little while to our beloved local retreat house not once but twice this week – yesterday with just my babies and our friend with her babies, and today with the whole family. I’ve always felt it to be a place of genuine refuge, and today’s visit, albeit super brief, didn’t disappoint because (of course!) God is faithful.

Bottom line? No doubt I’m an incredibly blessed child of God. I pray for the grace to wholeheartedly glorify Almighty God, the Giver of all good gifts, through all the various times and seasons of my life.

Until next time,

Peace.

heather

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!

PicMonkey Collage

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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Vintage RCM: Where Are *My* Roses??

Vintage RCM: Where Are *My* Roses??

Howdy! Today’s post is from exactly five years ago, on the Feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux 2009. Ironically, I just got back from a weekend trip back to Oregon, where I stayed at the very same convent which is the setting for this Vintage edition of RCM. Enjoy!

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Today is the Feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, a Doctor of the Church. I have grown to love her “little way,” since most days I feel (okay, act) pretty little, myself.

Anyway, I have heard wondrous stories of people experiencing the fulfillment of Thérèse’s promise to “let fall a shower of roses.” And, earlier today, I was wondering – quite unattractively, mind you – where are MY roses?

Alright, so it’s totally selfish. I get it. Patience is a virtue and all that. But my husband and I said the St. Thérèse novena over the past nine days, and I was wondering, not if, but WHEN my roses would show up.

Today also happens to be my spiritual director’s feast day. She said they don’t celebrate birthdays in her religious order, but they do celebrate their feast days, so I thought I’d drop off a card on my way to an appointment.

Turns out, she had taken her feast day off, lucky lady. I dropped off the card and, since she wasn’t there, I had a few extra minutes to say a quick prayer in the on-site chapel.

My eyes fixed on the tabernacle straight ahead, and I had to smile.

There, on either side of the tabernacle holding the Precious Blessed Sacrament of Jesus Christ, were two vases holding the most gorgeous, perfect, vibrant pink roses I have ever seen.

Now, I know those roses weren’t originally intended for me, and yet they were meant for me so I could see the absolute folly of my silly demand for roses. Thérèse was showing me, in her simple yet profound way, that my consolation always has been and always will be waiting for me in the tabernacle. She used “my” roses to adjust my attitude and point me in the right direction.

Thank you, fair Maiden of Lisieux, for the heavenly reminder. May Jesus be praised now and forevermore.

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