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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31 Days of Unexpected Joy: Everyday (Day 10)

31 Days of Unexpected Joy: Everyday (Day 10)

Y’know, nothing warms a tired Mama’s heart more than being able to take a day off from the grind and still be able to post some absolutely wonderful words … written by someone else. 

Ladies (and gentlemen), I am pleased to re-present this post about finding joy in the everyday from my friend, Laurel Muff. Thank you, thank you, dear lady!! For more wonderousness, please go check out more about Laurel’s world at ‘Muff’in Dome!

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Another load of dishes, another load of laundry. Another dirty diaper, another clothing change. Another cup of milk, another peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Another toy placed into the toy bin, another sock thrown into the hamper. Another sleepless minute rocking a fussing child, another drawn out hour as dinner and crankiness are juggled.

It’s easy to see life in this constant cycle of similar events day after day after day.

It’s easy to get caught in the monotony of it all and get really worn out.

It’s easy to see it as a burden with the never-ending list of chores and to-do lists.

But I want to do so much better.

The life God has given is my one and only. I want to live it wholly, from the depths of my heart. I want to live it in a beautiful way, even the very simple moments.

Each season will have its ups and downs — some weighing heavier on the scale in one direction or another. But I can make the choice to find joy in each day. Yes, even in my sufferings, I can choose joy.

Every person served, I can find the face of Christ. In the difficult tasks, I can “fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the Church.” (Colossians 1:24) The entire Church is lifted up through every good act!

Even my most hidden acts, do affect others. With great intention, I can make each one for His glory.

Glorifying Christ in the dishes? In the diaper changes? In the sleepless nights? In the listening to the same tale over and over? If that’s a possibility, I want to make it so!

It makes the yoke easy and the burden light (Matthew 11:30) to live one’s life with this in mind. It helps one come out of the funk in the monotony, out of the depression in the tiredness, out of the complaints in the trials.

It makes life worth living. It makes life beautiful.

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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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{SQT} It’s never too late to Lent!

{SQT} It’s never too late to Lent!

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Since I’m usually running behind on most things (hellooo, recovering perfectionist/adrenaline junkie/busy mom of five/late bloomer), I thought there might be others who are struggling with what they can do this Lent and scrambling to choose easy yet edifying resources. I realize Lent has been blogged about to death already. But, if you’re like me, and you sometimes think, “I’m so late to the party, I might as well stay home,” this post is for you. While my list isn’t exhaustive, I’m not listing anything I wouldn’t do, haven’t done, or am not attempting to do right now. ‘Salright? ‘Salright.

7. ONLINE RESOURCES: Lenten goodies on the interwebz, part one

Best Lent EverWord on Fire

  • Lots of friends are signed up for Matthew Kelly’s Best Lent Ever program, and if it’s like the rest of Kelly’s offerings, it’s bound to be excellent and transformative.
  • Although not Lent-specific, Blessed is She offers daily readings and devotions directly to your email box. The great news is, once you’re hooked on the practice of meditating upon the daily readings this Lent, you can continue the practice all. year. long. Winnnnning!
  • Fr. Robert Barron from Word on Fire will send you daily emails this Lent to keep you on track, too. Really good stuff, and it’s free!

6. JOURNALS & MEDITATIONAL HELPS: 

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  • Blessed is She Lenten Journal – While the paper versions sold out, the super good news is you can still download a digital version for under $15! The other good news is, I think there will be another journal available for Advent. Woo hoo!
  • The Little Black Book – Maybe your parish already stocked up on these bad boys and is offering them for free. If not, you can order one (or many) for waaay cheap in regular or e-book format. About five minutes a day is all it takes to read the scripture and short meditation, and I love that it fits easily into a small purse or, let’s be real, my diaper bag.

5. BOOKITY-BOOKSYou know – the kind you read. 

consoling the heart of jesus

loved as I am

walking wtih purpose

I like to have a few titles available to read for Lent just in case one is awesome and I race through it or if, for some reason, God isn’t calling me to read one selection just now, or, frankly, I find I just don’t like one I’ve chosen. You may notice that the following titles aren’t even explicitly about Lent. And that’s okay. Pick what speaks to your heart. Here’s my short list:

  • Consoling the Heart of Jesus by Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC. This do-it-yourself retreat has, sadly, been sitting on my bookshelf for months. I have picked it up a few times, yet never dove in. After being completely transformed by the 33 Days to Morning Glory consecration process in 2013, however, I know I can trust Fr. Gaitley’s material to bring me closer to Jesus and His Church.
  • Loved as I Am by Sr. Miriam James Heidland, SOLT. I’ve been putting this off for several months now because, as I skimmed the first few pages, I realized I wasn’t reading the words of a typical memoir; rather, I was reading words that were going to challenge, pierce, and potentially convert me. Sounds like a good choice for Lent to me.
  • Walking with Purpose by Lisa Brinninkmeyer. The author’s last name might be tough to pronounce, but it’s easy to get ahold of this well laid-out book from Dynamic Catholic. It’s only $5.95 for shipping (U.S.), and there’s a free downloadable study guide here. Whether I’m able to do it this Lent or not, I’m reading this book. Oh yes, I am.

4. OTHER STUFF: Things I found helpful and/or pretty aka Lenten goodies on the interwebz, part twoglory of god bis

  • Lacy over at Catholic Icing always has amazing resources for families with children.
  • Kendra at Catholic All Year has a big, fat post chock full of Lent-y goodness right here.
  • Bonnie has some Sheenazingly beautiful graphics at her site. Not specifically Lent, but apropos all the same. Plus, she’s coming here next month (see below). Y’all better come!
  • Sarah wrote one of my most favorite posts on repentance (don’t be afraid; it’s probably not what you’re thinking – it’s about self-care and it’s completely awesome).
  • Last but not least, Sterling created this awesome worksheet – 40 days of suffering – that she kindly offered permission for me to share with y’all. It is BRILLIANT in its simplicity: indicate a person, organization, or cause for whom you’ll be offering up your suffering for each of the 40 days of Lent.

3. COMMUNITY Do something more, different, or new this Lenten season.

Power of PrayerRichard Lane Mission

  • Is your parish or one nearby having a Lenten retreat? Even Jesus had to take time away in the desert! Make plans now to attend!  Here’s one for women in the Pacific NW featuring my friends Bonnie Engstrom from A Knotted Life and Sterling from Beauty in Belief. I hope to see you there.
  • Here’s a Lenten mission for the whole family with my brother Richard Lane. I guarantee it will be Holy Spirit-filled!
  • Many parishes offer a light soup/supper and/or Stations of the Cross, especially on Fridays (that’s tonight, by the way). Find one in your area, and make it so. If nothing like these events are happening in your (Arch)Diocese, perhaps you’re being called to organize something for next Lent! Think about it.

2. CHURCH Go hang out there more.

  • Go to Confession. Too afraid? Tell the priest. There is an ocean of Divine Mercy awaiting you in the confessional, my friend. What better way to celebrate Jesus in all His resurrected glory than in a state of unblemished grace?
  • Add an extra daily Mass at least once a month, twice a month, once a week, or as often as you are able.
  • Adoration. Find the Adoration Chapel nearest you and go. to. there. as often as you can. I’m trying for a couple times a month, but hope to get to once a week. And, finally:

1.  FRIENDLY ADMONITION Here’s where I beg.

I implore  you: please, for the love of God and all things holy, do not attempt to do all of the things on this list. Lent isn’t about checklists, remember? It’s about rending our hearts and being in closer relationship with Christ. Put down the mental and/or physical checklist and pray. Ask your Heavenly Father to speak to your heart, and choose to do only one thing, like Mary in the Gospel.  And stick with it.

Peace!

heather

#7QT: Needing prayer + beauty in the mess

#7QT: Needing prayer + beauty in the mess

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There are so many things I want to write about in this space, but I just can’t. Yet.

The earth is moving, the sand is shifting, the color of the sky is deepening, and all that I survey is primed for change.

God is moving very powerfully and very quickly in our lives right now, but I still stand before y’all as a sinner – a fellow sojourner – a sister – a person in the need of some serious prayer.

And, when all is said and done, we need a miracle. We need grace to change, to move, and to act according to God’s will.

We cannot do it on our own.

So. We need a miracle. A legit supernatural intervention. We would so VERY much appreciate your prayers.

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This little beauty landed on our patio door just before lunch yesterday, and stayed a good, long while. Undoubtedly this winged creature was rightfully intrigued and compelled by its biological instinct to hunt down the love bugs that have returned for their biannual frolic before the temperature gradually shifts downward. Anyway, Sweet Butterfly Friend was lovely, and we enjoyed her company while it lasted.
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My dearest friend told me today that scientists have discovered that, prior to hatching, butterfly cocoons are filled with an oozy goo. It’s almost as if the caterpillar is completely liquified before being built up into its glorious new butterfly creation. She noted how perhaps our family’s time here has been our liquid time, preparing us for our impending metamorphosis. I choked up as I sincerely and unironically thanked her for being the protective covering around my ooze. It was a beautiful moment.

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Fr. J, my military chaplain friend stationed in Alaska, sent me this shot of the Northern Lights early Thursday morning. It took my breath away.
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More from Alaska …
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And another …
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Practicing detachment – from things, from people, from expectations, dreams, and desires – is challenging for me. It occurs to me that change, while inevitable, forces us to detach to one degree or another.

As St. Francis would tell his fellow brothers each morning, “Let us begin again.”

Indeed. Let us begin the new season of change.

 

Por más Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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