This post is about Dr. Peter Kreeft. Sort of.

This post is about Dr. Peter Kreeft. Sort of.

Last weekend, I had the blessed opportunity to (very nearly, due to overcrowding) sit at the feet of one of today’s most renowned Catholic philosophers. Admittedly, I’ve never read any of Dr. Peter Kreeft‘s numerous books. That will hopefully change if my ever-lengthening Christmas list is honored. But after last Saturday’s event, I am duly convinced that Dr. Kreeft is on to something quite profound regarding the (modern) spiritual life.

I sat there, scribbling furiously in my attempt to keep up with each nugget of wisdom. There were many. I kept running out of room and had to flip back in my notebook to blank pages more than once. I soon wondered why I didn’t write at the beginning of the notebook in the first place.

Crappy note-taking skills aside, I believe I was able to understand the overall gist of what Dr. Kreeft was saying, despite being neither a theologian nor a scholar.

This post is not going to be very satisfactory for those looking for me to spill everything I can about the lecture, and for that, I do apologize. Especially to Wendy, Amy, and Carol. I’m still trying to figure out how to do that in a coherent way. I did, however, attempt to preserve some of the highlights over on my Twitter feed, using the hashtag #DrKreeftSaid.

I truly do hope to be able to come up with a post that will both express my takeaways from the experience as well as do Dr. Kreeft’s brilliant mind justice. I’m just not there yet.

Meanwhile, I expect some of what I learned will seep into my next speaking gig, which is tomorrow, December 10th from 9-11 a.m. at St. Cecilia Parish in Beaverton. So, for those of you who are local, I’d love to see you! If you can’t make it, no worries – please say a prayer, though. I would really appreciate it!

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God bless y’all,

heather

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Fear not! Advent help is here! (+ giveaway)

Fear not! Advent help is here! (+ giveaway)

Advent begins in six. days. Y’all. SIX.

I wish I was joking. But I’m as serious as a profound case of Vitamin D deficiency right now. SIX. 

Personally, I’m sure I will be scrambling to get some half-way decent Advent decorations up on Sunday afternoon before we have company over for dessert, and it won’t be pretty:

Where’s the Advent wreath? Why is it bent into the shape of a trombone??!

Why does this purple candle look like someone took a bite out of it? It’s a candle, people, not an apple!!

What have I told you about opening up Day 24 of the Advent Calendar on Day One of Advent??!

Okay – WHO STOLE BABY JESUS FROM THE LITTLE PEOPLE NATIVITY SET??!

(Side note: While I cannot vouch for the rest of the comedian’s content, this particular video about house cleaning before company comes is SPOT ON and hiLARious. My belly jiggled like Santa’s I was laughing so hard.)

(Side note #2: Those of you who read through this post ’til the end will be rewarded. 🙂

There is good news, though, friends. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the impending holiday season, there is always good news. The good news in my world this year is that I don’t have to scramble for something to help me draw closer to the manger as I await the Christ Child this year. I am so very, very excited to dive into Scripture with the incomparable Elizabeth Foss, who wrote Blessed is She’s amazing Advent Journal.

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Used with permission by Gina @ Someday Saints

Not only is this journal beautiful to behold, my friends, but its contents … ahhhhhh! The contents I’ve allowed myself to peek at are like a warm cup of cocoa with your snuggie pulled to your chin sitting in your most comfortable chair on a chilly day with no one bothering you. It’s that good, y’all. Better, even. I can.not. wait to start. In fact, I am giving myself a teeeeensy weeeensy longer sneak peek tonight. Not too much. Just a taste. Because I, for one, want to savor and remember and really live the most important part of this season – that Jesus was born for you. And for me.

This Advent, I want to be overwhelmed by a huge God who came as a tiny Babe and Who knows me intimately*.

Will you join me? Today is THE last day to purchase in the U. S. for your journal to arrive in time for Advent.

So … no more anxiety about Advent, okay? Let’s breathe deeply the present of this time of waiting. Let’s journey together and breathe Him in.


*Be overwhelmed by a huge God Who knows you intimately. -Elizabeth Foss



Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through this post to purchase the Blessed is She Advent Journal, a small portion of the proceeds go to my friend and fellow writer/speaker Mary Lenaburg. Thank you!


And now, as promised, here’s even more good news for you who’ve made it this far! Any RCM readers (please be sure to subscribe on the sidebar of my home page!) who click through and purchase the BIS Advent Journal through Mary Lenaburg’s affiliate links in this post (see above) between now and tomorrow, November 22nd at 5 p.m. PST will be entered to win their very own pack of original Blessed is She Jesse Tree Calendar cards! I used my own cards as a daily meditation last year with my family each day of Advent. So good!! Comment away, friends! One randomly selected winner will be announced*** on Wednesday, November 23rd.

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***UPDATE 11/23/2016: Congratulations to Sofia B.! She won the Blessed is She Jesse Tree cards. Happy Advent one and all!

 

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Blessed Am I: An update and an invitation

Blessed Am I: An update and an invitation

Happy Thursday, friends! It’s been an especially busy and fruitful season for ye olde Real Catholic Mom. Not necessarily for this here blog, as you may have noticed; this poor thing tends to be relegated to the sidelines whenever Mom’s dance card is full with family, conference, retreatconference, retreat, and convention. Woof.

As much as I absolutely love traveling and sharing The Good News with other women and experiencing incredible, Holy Spirit-infused Visitation moments (#myjamforlife), there’s something rather precious and sweet about having nothing (okay, well, almost nothing) on my calendar leading into the holidays except for “normal” Wife-of-one-and-Mom-of-five stuff, which, quite honestly, is plenty for any soul, especially a former (ugh! I cannot tell a lie!) current Martha-holic like me with uniquely challenging and beautiful children like ours. I feel like these blessed blanks on my calendar are God’s way of gently guiding me closer to hearth and home, allowing Him to expertly guide this busy ship to shore for a bit of leave.

My challenge: To honor the blanks and not rush to fill them to overflowing like the recovering human doing that I am.

But y’all must know by now that I wouldn’t be who I am if I didn’t share a bit of what’s coming up, and they are good things, friends – very good things. To that end, here are my personal invitations to you and yours:

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Please join me LIVE for my very first online workshop with the wonderful Blessed is She ministry next Wednesday. The workshop, called Living Abundantly Through Forgiveness and Healing, streams live at 6 p.m. PST // 9 p.m. EST or can be downloaded after the event closes if the live time doesn’t work with your schedule. My prayer is that you’ll leave the session encouraged and strengthened to completely release any nagging bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness behind so you may close out this glorious Year of Mercy with a renewed sense of healing and wholeness.


Speaking of slowing down and digging deep … Advent is coming. I know, I know. But! As with everything, it is an opportunity to draw closer to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. From the Blessed is She website:

You want to dive deeper into the season of Advent, you desire to lay aside the busy-ness this season can become, and you yearn for a deeper relationship with our Lord. Here is your chance. Here is your time to grow closer to Him, to learn more about Him, and to fall more in love with Him. “Together, let’s prepare our hearts and our very lives for the coming of the Baby.” // Elizabeth Foss, author of By the Manger in the Morning Prayer Journal

***Please note: Clicking through to the BIS website via the above image or the hyperlinked title financially benefits, in a small yet meaningful way, my friend and fellow prayer warrior/speaker/writer/uplifter, Mary Lenaburg. Thank you kindly for your generosity!


For local friends, I’ll be at St. Cecilia Parish again this year for their Women With Spirit Advent Recollection on Tuesday, December 6th at 7 p.m. Stay tuned for more details!


Finally, dear friends – would you please pray for me? The Holy Spirit has really been working on my heart these past few months, and even more intensely these past few weeks. I want to be able to be still (neither my best nor my most natural posture) to listen to and, more importantly, cooperate, with His leading.

Until next time, please know of my prayers with and for you.

heather

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Thanksgiving for Advent

Thanksgiving for Advent

This Advent has been … odd. Is that the right word? Odd? Yes. Sure. Let’s go with it.

It was Thanksgiving one day, then I turned around for a second, and WOOSH! – it was the first Sunday of Advent! What in the actual heck?

I ascribe at least some of my radical disorientation to being displaced. Traveling away from home over the holidays will do that to you, unless you are super organized and have everything for the impending holiday season located, unpacked, and situated just so before you leave so it’s all waiting for you upon your return.

If you are a human who actually does that, I salute you.

I am not one of those humans.

I am grateful we only forgot my contact lens case, my glasses, and all of the 4-year-old’s pants at home.

But I digress.

Our family traveled for a good chunk of time over snowy mountains and through forests and desert on Thanksgiving day to celebrate with my family. It was a long drive with lots of excited (read: loud and obnoxious) kids over some precarious roads, but the trip wasn’t the worst ever.

Here (below) are most of us on the way out of Dodge. See how we’re all (mostly) smiling? That lasted about another 20 minutes or so. My husband is trying to make the sign for “turkey” with his non-driving hand. I think.

Renshaws on the road

The most precarious part of our journey wasn’t over the mountain itself, but through the small towns with super icy roads once we reached the other side. Thank God for studded tires!

Snowy

Look! Pretty fake stuff at my Mom and Dad’s house!

Trukey

I think it was -9 degrees on Black Friday. Holy brrrrr, Batman!

Snowy again

Something I wasn’t expecting to see (check out the date on this bad boy) at a place I wasn’t expecting to be (for four hours) with my son on Black Friday. #urgentcare #misnomer

Urgent care

Thank You, Lord (and Mom and Dad!) for date night with my main dude. It was very, very, very, very, very, very, very (infinity) much needed.

Date night

Sir K with his tube. For a Southern-born lad, he handled the freezing temps pretty well. For the first 20 minutes.

K with tube

The loud and rowdy cousin table at dinner Saturday night … we’re missing a few in frame, but don’t worry. We knew exactly where they were. Mostly.

Cousin table at dinner

And, just like that, Advent was here.

St. Thomas

And then we drove back through the (not-quite-as) icy small town roads, through the desert, through the forests, over the mountains, and finally back home on the first Sunday of Advent.

Despite being pretty bone tired from our the drive, we began dutifully digging through the bin in the garage marked “Advent,” hoping to at least find our calendar and wreath for that first evening.

A funny thing happens when you move cross-country twice in under three years with a big family and lots on your mind, apparently. Things get displaced. Or worse.

Here’s the sad excuse for an Advent wreath I found in my Advent bin in the garage. Apparently, candles don’t take too well to lots and lots and lots of changes in heat.

Advent wreath

I finally found the calendar, too, about ten boxes later. It was NOT, I repeat, NOT in the Advent bin. NBD. #rageface #whyGodwhyface

The thought crossed my mind, and it wasn’t the first time, either: “If only I could get more organized, Lord. Then I’d have a peaceful, holy Advent, and I’d be ready for Christmas.

Last Monday was spent kvetching about my presentation the next night at my old parish. You know that whole Gospel passage about a prophet not being welcomed in his own home? Yeah. That Scripture passage had gotten in my head and wouldn’t leave me in peace and I was, frankly, freaking me the freak out. I shared my specific sentiments with a priest friend, who wrote back: “Well, by all means, then, I will pray for you.”

It turns out his prayers (and those of other dear friends in the know) reached God’s ears and were answered. By no means a flawless talk, it was, nevertheless, not too shabby. The crowd was smaller than expected but quite attentive and very receptive, which was wonderful.

So, fast forward one talk and several days of more real life throughout the rest of the week later, and WOOSH! – it’s the second Sunday of Advent.

Holy moly.

I wrote a little more about what – or, rather whom – might be attempting to keep us away from where we should be this Advent for CatholicMom.com. The article was borne of a great deal of inner turmoil – I just talked about this very topic on Tuesday night! Why can’t I just get the words out on the page?? – and I hope it speaks to someone who is looking toward the manger this Advent season but is having a hard time nonetheless.

You’re not alone.

Pax,

heather

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{SQT} Writing, Advent, radio, conferences, and (yes!) slowing down

{SQT} Writing, Advent, radio, conferences, and (yes!) slowing down

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Today’s installment of Seven Quick Takes Friday should be known as the  #HASHTAG version, because, sweet fancy Moses, this post is rollin’ in ’em. Let’s dig in, shall we?

31 days of unexpected joy

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#write31days

For the past 30 days, I’ve been writing about the same topic – unexpected joy – every. single. day. as part of the aptly-named 31 days. Wowza. It’s been a huge leap of faith for me to participate – an exercise in creativity, discipline, and sheer guts, and I am dang proud (and, truthfully) more than a little surprised that I’ve actually made it this far. I’ll show you what I purchased for myself to commemorate this feat as sooooon as it arrives. So excited! Meanwhile, please check out all of the posts here.

TVP on itunes (2)

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#TVPRadio

Since last I participated with SQTF, The Visitation Project has made its debut on iTunes! We are super excited, and can’t wait to share more episodes with y’all. We’d love it if you’d bless us with some happy reviews. Please and thank you so much!

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#BISAdvent

People get ready – Jesus is coming! Friends, the season of Advent is, as of today, LESS THAN ONE MONTH AWAY. Stop screaming (please – you’ll hurt your nice singing voice) and get ye over to the huge blessing that is the Blessed is She shop, where they are pre-selling an Advent journal with devotions by none other than Catholic recording artist Audrey Assad. There’s also some amazing Jesse Tree calendar (with some Scriptural reflections by yours truly and other fabulously talented writers) that will inspire you on your journey toward Bethlehem. Buy the bundle (journal + calendar) and save!

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#DiveInLiturgicalCalendar

Speaking of calendars, my friend Meg has created this gorgeous liturgical wall calendar for 2015-2016 that will knock your socks off! Each day offers the Mystery of the Rosary, Advent ountdown stickers,  Saint of each day, liturgical season color coding, Advent & Lenten Meditations, two Novenas,  and much more. If you’ve been itching to live a more liturgically Catholic lifestyle, this is the calendar for you, and at 12″ x 18″, it will surely be a focal point in your home. I can’t wait to use mine!

My second post is up at CatholicMom.com on Monday. It's a doozy.

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#CatholicMom

Speaking of writing about the same topic for 31 days, I plan to write a wrap-up piece about my experience to be published on the CatholicMom.com website this coming Monday if I don’t collapse beforehand. UPDATE: read all about it here.

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#CWR2016

It’s hard to believe, but tonight (Friday) marks the first organizational meeting for next year’s Catholic Women Rejoice conference, our 5th (!!) annual. I’ve joked that conference planning is a bit like pregnancy + childbirth – it’s simultaneously hellacious and rewarding to live through. Within a few (several?) months, you’ve forgotten the bad parts and are ready to do it all again. Please keep watching the blog and especially the Facebook page for more details. It’s gonna be great!

Retreat feet.

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#projectslowdown

Okay, so this hashtag isn’t really a hashtag, but dang if it shouldn’t be. I’ve been going at a pretty brisk clip in a lot of areas for quite a while now, and I am starting to feel it in a variety of ways. I went on a silent retreat at the end of September, and while it wasn’t horrible, it was really hard because it became quite clear that I am living a much too stressful existence right now, and something has to give, or my brain and body will eventually give out. I am going to be talking to Jesus and Mary quite a bit in the next season about being more intentional about this.  And, yes, I get the irony of talking about allthethings (above) and talking about slowing down (here). I’ve never pretended to be someone who makes sense. 😉

Alright, then – I think that’s it for now! Thanks to the amazing Kelly for hosting yet again; please check out all the other fantastic SQTF entries here. Until next time, God bless y’all!

heather

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