Nobody reads poetry anymore

Nobody reads poetry anymore

various spring flowers planted in old chair
Nobody reads poetry anymore

Not really

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An assigned selection here

A referenced snippet there

Of story and

Truth and 

fantasy tellers

from years long

long

long

gone
Nobody reads poetry

anymore

Not really

which makes it 

so very tempting

and easy

and freeing

to pour everything out

line by 

line 

over time

A couplet here

A stanza there

Truth wrapped up in letters and

Unleashed in barely controlled torrents of telling riddles
It is safe to do

Safe to be

Allow

Place

Pour

Lie down

All the things

that would remain

unspoken

unclear

untended 
No one reads poetry anymore

Not really

Yet some

still 

Dream and 

wish and 

hope and

think and

write

it

anyway

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For the love 

For the love 

woman writing with a pen at a table with a cup of coffeeOnce upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, there lived a little girl who loved to write simply for the sheer joy of writing.

She began by scratching out simple words and phrases in crayon, then illustrated short stories and poems using small stubs of pencil, and eventually penned dramatic plays and lengthier essays and various works of fiction.

Highly praised and robustly encouraged by family and educators alike, she wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote.

One day, after the little girl had grown into a young woman, she realized that the joy of writing had completely disappeared. The thrill was gone. The love had died.

Whether because writing was now a compulsory prerequisite for educational advancement or whether she was distracted by other obligations and amusements, the bliss of writing for its own sake withered and faded like unharvested grapes at season’s end. 

And she stopped writing. Just like that.

It wasn’t until many years later, after many babies and many moves and at the insistent encouragement of someone who was an acquaintance at best, that the woman seriously considered putting her thoughts down in black and white again.

Could she still do it? Did she have anything to say? Would anyone care?

Ever so cautiously, she decided to give it a try. Slowly but surely, the words came out to play once more. And then they stopped for a spell, and then returned yet again. The desire and the energy and the time and the courage to write ebbed and flowed, but it seemed the initial spark of joy she experienced as a little girl had never been completely extinguished after all. 

The woman realized that she still had something worth saying, even after all those years of creative dormancy. And she further resolved that she would really, really strive to write for the greater glory of God rather than caring so much if anyone read or approved or encouraged or applauded.

And so … she wrote.

And so … she writes.

+++

For your reading enjoyment, from time to time, I’ll publish something in the spirit of that young girl. It’ll be tagged #forthelove if you care to follow along.

It likely won’t be fancy, nor groundbreaking, nor award-worthy, but it might just be … something. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, I want to know: 

What do you do for the love of it? What brings you joy? Is there something you used to do but gave up when life circumstances changed? Let me know what you like to do not because you have to but simply #forthelove. 

God bless y’all,


Photo via VisualHunt

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When the Holy Spirit whispers

When the Holy Spirit whispers

 Today began like most other days – I awoke with the resignation that there were, as usual, many more things on my to-do list than hours and energy with which to complete them.

And then I remembered that today is the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary – one of my most favorite feasts of all time.

In the relative stillness of my heart, I boldly asked for extra grace from Mama Mary today because, hey, I obviously need it, and hey also, she doesn’t have anything better to do, amIrite?

Wouldn’t you know it – the most grace – and joy! – came from doing a few pretty minor things that the Holy Spirit whispered onto my ‘to-do’ list … things that weren’t necessarily my idea but His.

Finding joy in listening to what God asks and actually obeying His wishes? I know. What a concept. 

But as I have likely proved via ample evidence a la this blog specifically and random musings on social media in general, I’m a bit slow on the uptake. Things just don’t quite sink into this stubborn head of mine … until they do.

Whisper #1: Be with Me.

Even though I wasn’t dressed in my Sunday best, I’d actually changed out of my pajamas, brushed my hair, and my face was clean-ish … and the littlest offspring had honest-to-goodness shoes on their literal feet … so I decided we would all go to daily Mass. If the only thing we did was go to Mass today, surely that would be something, right?

As is my custom during the proclamation of the Gospel, I closed my eyes and held an impossibly wriggly child, hoping His Word would somehow seep into the marrow of my being, healing and soothing and resurrecting each of my dry bones.

Sure enough, as Father read these words, tears welled up in my eyes:

“And Mary said:
‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.'”

In a special way, today I heard these words as if they applied specifically to me:

My soul proclaims and rejoices.

He has looked with favor upon me, His lowly servant.

He has done great things for me.

Holy is His Name – I praise Him.

It was impossible to ignore the personal, practical application of the text, even as I unsuccessfully wrestled the 3-year-old boy who has, of late, been uncharacteristically clingy.

The proclamation continued:

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.”

Underneath the currents of the literal meaning of these words, I also heard:

He has shown mercy to me.

He shows mercy to my children.

He lifts me up.

He fills me up.

He comes to help me.

He remembers the promises He has made to me.

He remembers the promises He has made to my children.

Tears of joy.

The lesson from Whisper 1? I love you, Heather. I always have. I will never forsake or abandon you. I give you myself. Forever.

This experience, coupled with the graces received by receiving Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, propelled me into …

Whisper #2: Celebrate Life.

I reasoned that I had to go to the store anyway, so why not pick up a few extra things to drop off for a friend’s birthday? After all,  I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate this Feast than by celebrating her life, especially as ridiculous scheduling and sickness and life has kept me from seeing her IRL as often as I’d like.

Whisper #3: ___________.

I’m not gonna go into too many details about this whisper because it’s still in-process. I did what I felt the Spirit was asking, but I don’t think the eagle has landed, so to speak. Suffice to say – maybe someone will feel encouraged and uplifted today because I took a moment to consider her needs as more important than my silly, superficial to-do list.

Lessons from whispers 2 & 3, respectively? Be His hands and feet. However and whenever He calls.

The rest is really just silliness – every single bit of it. The very best to-do list is the one that is crafted by the Holy Spirit. Hands down and chin up.

God bless y’all.

heather

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Made in my own image

Made in my own image

Call it a mid-life crisis; call it a wake-up call.

Call it whatever you’d like, but I’ve been doing some pretty serious self-reflection and soul searching lately, and it’s been rather … unsettling.

An Incident occurred a week or so ago and caused me to weep, cry out to God, and reflect. And ponder and argue and wrestle. And cry some more. Far from the run-of-the-mill navel-gazing to which I occasionally fall prey, this situation – in light of many other situations – stopped me in my tracks.

It’s been during this time that I realized something that I’ve likely known for a while but was only able to articulate two days ago:

I have not been living as though I am made in the image and likeness of God. I have not been living according to His holy and perfect will. 

Rather, I have been living in the image and likeness of my own ill-conceived creation – of who I think I should be – and especially of who I think others want or need me to be. I have been living mostly according to my own excruciatingly imperfect will.

And it has hurt me.

Quite a bit.

I have over committed and under delivered. I have fallen behind and not followed through. I have engaged with others without engaging first with God. I have created a mirage of perfect availability through my social media interactions, yet allowed flesh-and-blood relationships to falter.

In short, I have been living in a prison of my own design, a false reality where so many more things than necessary rely upon me and my superhuman goodnesss and my superhuman wholeness and my superhuman abilities … all of which don’t truly exist anywhere except in the bent recesses of my wounded mind.

Even more disturbingly, I realized that I have forgotten to sit, to submit, and to surrender to Him Who calls me to be made free and holy and whole.

I realized that I have been trying to save myself. 

Without even fully understanding what I was doing, I put myself in the place of the One Who holds my life in His hands. I have put my own idea of who He wants me to be ahead of who He actually created me to be.

It’s pride, plain and simple, and it’s not without consequence. It’s a rare sort of ugly, friends, to live out of the unwitting belief that you’re in charge – that it’s up to you – that your way will save you.

+++

I had the honor of writing the reflection at Blessed is She today, and I focused on the paradoxes of the faith – in giving we receive, in serving we lead, in dying we live – but events over the past weeks allow me to see the readings in a different light.

In today’s Gospel, James and John ask Jesus to give them something to which they have no rightful claim. Jesus responds to them: “You don’t know what you are asking.” And they insist that, indeed, they can take it – whatever “it” is. I can visualize their zealous, righteous indignation now: “We can do it, Lord. Whatever. BRING IT ON.” They press Jesus with their own agenda, their own plans, asking Him to accept them. And because He loves them, He allows these two with whom He’s journeyed to choose their own free will over His perfect version.

I’ve done that, too.

I’ve chosen my will over His. My vision over His. My desires over His. Like a petulant preschooler, I have insisted on eating a lollipop when what I really need is bread. I have thrown a fit in favor or endless hours of screen time when what I really need is to read a good book or write a good story. I have asked for a party with lots and lots of people when what I really needed was silence. With Him.

At its heart, this isn’t about me being too busy or too ambitious or too enthusiastic or too anything, really. It’s also not about me being undisciplined, unintentional, or unwieldy, although those things are definitely symptoms of a larger issue.

The truth is this: I can no longer survive by going my own way anymore – the way I think or the way others think. My way hurts. It hurts me, and it hurts others. And it has to stop.

May I have the courage and the strength to pray and believe and live:

Lord Jesus, not my will but Thine be done. Now and forever. Amen.

God bless y’all.

 heather

 

 

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Life is Beautiful Giveaway Winners!

Life is Beautiful Giveaway Winners!

Giveaway winners (2)

Happy birthday, Catholic Church! It’s Pentecost, y’all, and you probably know by now that I loooove extending a good celebration. So, let’s find out who receives the wonderful and amazing items from the First Annual Life is Beautiful Birthday Giveaway Extravaganza, shall we? Yes – we shall! Squeeeeeeeeee!! Here we gooooo!!!

Be A Heart print

@gracefulmom wins Ecce Fiat Magnificat watercolor from Be a Heart

 

Organic Mamas Shop bracelet

@katiesciba wins $25 shop credit from Organic Mama’s Shop

 

Happy Nest TeetherHappy Mama Bag

@mrs.amanda.c wins Teether + $15 credit from Happy Nest Home Goods

Call Her Happy Custom Rosette Necklace

@mrscandance wins Custom rosette necklace from Call Her Happy

 

Rakstar Designs Digital Downloads

@kristenfussner wins Downloadable print from RakStar Designs

My Little Felt Friends guardian angels

@stanzibecht wins Customizable Guardian Angels from My Little Felt Friends

rosary

@sylbass wins Handcrafted Rosary from Lore To Rosaries

How-to-Make-a-Miracles-of-Jesus-Felt-Activities-Bible-Quiet-Book-with-Pattern-and-Instructions-Cover

@teamshalom14 wins Miracles of Jesus activity book from Faith and Fabric

lovey

@rooney.sara wins handcrafted Cotton Lovey front Baby My Love

Printable Prayers Fruit of the Spirit

@leymariew wins Fruits of the Spirit from Printable Prayers

Printable Prayers Stella Maris

@beetakingfotos wins Stella Maris from Printable Prayers

Printable Prayers Adopted Too Fictional Friends

@jkwagner09 wins Adoption cards from Printable Prayers

 

Stephen Sylvester headshot

@becca_rightwhereiam wins Brand spanking new EP from The Sylvester Band

Annerys Homemade chain bracelet

@melody_lyons wins Chainmail-style bracelet from Annery’s Handmade

Punch and Peg St. Ann and babyPunch and Peg St. Ann and baby 3Punch and Peg St. Ann and baby 2

@gracekellysmom1 wins St. Ann + baby Mary from Punch and Judy Pegs

Happy Catholic Box confetti

@rosiehill425 wins June edition of the Happy Catholic box from The Happy Catholic box

Honeychild Forest print

@_lizetharenas wins Lovely print from Honeychild Forest

 

Handmade Embroidery necklace

@maryelizabethsh wins Cup of Love embroidered necklace from Handmaid Embroidery

In The Loft Mary holding Jesus

@kmgillio wins $5 credit from from In The Loft

Audrey Assad-Inheritance Cover

@sammyfamy wins Inheritance CD from Audrey Assad

love is my vocation

@anistonruss wins Two 8 x 10 prints from Hatch Prints

CWR grid

@daintycate wins One ticket to Catholic Women Rejoice from CWR

Catholic Threads

@radler1972 wins Joan of Arc t-shirt, thermos, and multi-colored bracelet from Catholic Threads

Hail Mary

@stivisoa wins Hail Mary poster from Meg Florkowski Creative

If you are one of the blessed winners, please send me an email with “Birthday Giveaway Winner” in the subject line and we’ll get your birthday gift to you as soon as possible. Many blessings to you and congratulations yet again!

God bless y’all,

heather

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