How our family life went to the dog(s), part one

How our family life went to the dog(s), part one

With five children in three schools, plus activities, appointments, and work, my husband and I didn’t think our lives were crazy enough. So, we bought a dog.

Meet Lola Rose Renshaw! The cutest, fluffiest, sassiest puppy in all of the motherhood. Good thing she’s cute.

Not just any dog, mind you. I may be biased, but I think our Lola Rose is the cutest little puppy ever. And it’s a good thing, too. Because I know for a fact that she’s been (more or less) absolved of a myriad puppy sins based on sheer cuteness alone.

While I don’t subscribe to the “fur baby/fur Mommy” culture that’s exploded in recent years, I understand how and why hyper-attachment to furry companions is a real temptation.

Read the rest here!

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When people throw shade on your Jesus shine

When people throw shade on your Jesus shine

lady-at-cwr16

Hi, friends!

It’s a new day and a new week. I’ve been trying to get caught up on allllllll the things (including a new blogging/writing schedule! Hopefully coming soon!) after the incredible Catholic Women Rejoice conference, traveling to Minnesota for the wonderful Blessed is She team retreat and shortly thereafter to Alabama for the amazing Called To Love conference, and then I started my very first Whole30 eating regimen (no dairy, gluten, sugar, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum) because woah, Nelly – my health / #selfcare – and then I promptly got sicker than a dog.

Full stop.

My friends, it ain’t easy to rejoice and be free when you’re lying on your back, unable to move.

All I can say is: Please pray for my husband, who has been tirelessly (okay – that’s not exactly true – he is really, genuinely exceptionally and understandably! tired) holding onto the down-ish parts of the completely disheveled fort-like residence (read: he’s been minding the children, shuttling the children, cooking most of the meals, doing nearly all the myriad domestic things) while I’ve been away+away+convalescing. OY. That poor man. Oremus: Mike’s hard lemonade him patience, O LORD. Amen. 

Today, thankfully, is a new day. I feel better; I’m not burning up with a fever, my nose isn’t leaking like a faucet, and I don’t frighten my preschooler with my cough (or my pathetic sick face) anymore.

To celebrate, I decided to “treat” myself to an iced coconut milk latte this morning. And then I tasted the drink. Not yummy. At all.

Oh, well. There’s been plenty in the world for which to offer up bad coffee lately, yes? I’m thinking Hurricane Matthew, this recent announcement, and the impending Presidential, erm, political process, to name a few. There have been other, more personal things, too, like my sister being in the hospital unexpectedly for not one but two emergency surgical procedures over the weekend. Thank God she appears to be on the mend! Then there’s the birth of amazingly cute babies, and spunky bitty babies for whom we’re still praying, friends experiencing difficult career transitions, friends struggling in their marriages … the list of intentions is endless. I’m sure God is all, “Woah. That list, Heather,” when He sees me coming.

And thennnnn there’s the fast-approaching (uhhhh …. THIS WEEKEND) retreat with Sr. Miriam. That’s a whole ‘nother story for another day. Suffice to say, I obviously didn’t schedule enough time to be a human being rather than a human doing and it has caught up with me. Again. 

I dunno about you, but I have plenty to keep my mind occupied from this very next second until Kingdom come, but … in the latest issue of the Catholic Sentinel, I talk about what to do when you’ve just had an amazing get-away with Jesus and His people and then … real life sets in. As it does.

So, there you are, minding your own business, basking in the Holy Spirit-induced glow of your latest retreat, conference, or super-godly gathering, and BAM — real life hits you square in the nose. And then the jaw. And then the gut. A few times. And a big stomp on the baby toe juuuuust for good measure. Just to ensure that not only are you really down for the count, but you’re humiliated, too, because it was the baby toe of all things.

Read the rest of my regular Mea Maxima Cuppa column here, and, for the love of sweet Baby Jesus and all His many stable animal friends, please don’t let anything – not hurricanes, not head colds, not unemployment, not grouchy partners, not ANYTHING – steal *your* Jesus shine, my friend. He is with you. He is with me. And that’s the good stuff that will stick, if only we allow it.

God bless y’all,

heather

 

 

Photo credit: the amazingly talented Ann Cereghino at the 2016 Catholic Women Rejoice conference. Book her today!

 

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The day I cried, “Mercy”

The day I cried, “Mercy”

stressed

My “to do” list is longer than it has probably ever been in my entire life, so why don’t I just write a blog post about it rather than actually tackling my tasks? Ha, ha. You think I’m joking.

So, you may remember a game from your school playground days called, “Mercy,” or maybe it went by the name, “Uncle.” Pretty much the same game, just different names. You don’t remember it? Well, God bless your socks off – you are one blessed individual. Seriously.

Whatever it’s called, “Mercy” was basically a test of feats of physical strength or pain tolerance or cruelty or lying to one’s self about what was actually going on. Or something. Anyway, two (usually) boys would just go at it, forcing each other’s fingers, arms, legs, etc. into unnatural and contorted positions until one of them just couldn’t handle the pain any longer and cried out, “mercy,” and the game would be over.

The first person who admitted he couldn’t take it any more was the loser.

Now, there’s no way a teacher in today’s schools would allow something like this to go down. And, honestly, I think the only times I saw it as a kid was when a teacher was otherwise occupied on the far other other side of the playground. But still.

What does this cruel school-aged activity have to do with me? Great question.

Well, right now, I sort of feel like I have put myself into a situation where I’m playing a game of “Mercy” with myself. Specifically, my desire for a strong home life and a strong “outside-the-home” life are battling it out over here, and it’s slowly but surely crushing the life out of me.

Things are shifting over here, and I think – no, I know – that I need to make some wholesale changes and take things in a radically different direction. But here’s the problem – I don’ t really know how. And yet, I don’t want to cry, “mercy,” because I don’t want to lose – and I don’t want anyone around me to lose, either.

Especially my family.

See, here’s the truth: I want to be a good mother. And a good wife. I really, really do. But I am struggling with how to actually, practically be a good wife and mom given my current life circumstances and commitments. Some days, man – I just feel like I am not cut out for this mothering gig. I know my husband and my children are a gift. I know they are.

But the truth is also that I have this radical zeal – this desire – to serve God in His Church in so many other ways. He put desires on my heart and talents in my toolbelt. And I just feel completely ill-equipped many days to be the sort of mother they need and deserve while spinning all the other plates that are currently in the air.

And sometimes I wonder what sort of mother I’d be if I put down some of the “other” plates that I find so personally fulfilling. Would I have enough? Be enough? And sometimes I sort of wish all the plates would crash so I could just start over. True story.

My youngest son’s godmother posted this article on my BFF’s FB timeline today and I just read it and cried.

I have read many books, many blog posts, said many prayers (including the Divine Mercy Chaplet novena that just ended yesterday), and talked with many people about finding that ever-elusive work/ministry/home “balance.” I’ve also sought guidance via spiritual direction, a counselor, and even asked around for a Mom mentor (a position that has yet to be filled!!). And some good has come from all this praying, reading, talking, and searching. But I still haven’t been able to figure it all out. Yet.

So, maybe this quickly-typed blog post that no one will ever read is my cry for help – my shout of, “Mercy!” – as difficult and humiliating as it may be, before my fingers … or my toes … or my soul … gets crushed.

Hi. My name is Heather, and I have way too many things going on. Mercy.

P.S. Don’t worry, dear friends and readers – I am not suicidal, chronically depressed, or even remotely in despair. Just going through a rough patch of yet more transition that is tougher to navigate than I expected. I would greatly appreciate your prayers, words of wisdom and encouragement, but especially your prayers. I am one of those crazy souls who is very much helped just by knowing that I am not alone. Peace! <3

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Easter’s Over … Now What? {New Post}

Easter’s Over … Now What? {New Post}

East800px-2008-06-18_Fettreif-Schoggihaseer Mass has ended and everyone is still alive. The big meal was prepared, eaten, and is (mostly) digested. Fancy dresses and suits have hopefully (but perhaps not likely) made their way into the dirty clothes hamper. Family members and friends have said their goodbyes and headed home, and the chocolate bunny is wondering where his ears and tail went. Oops.

ALLELUIA, EVERYONE! We made it! Easter is over!!

Well, hold on. Not exactly.

Read more of my very first contribution (bells, whistles, fanfare, hooplah!) for CatholicMom.com here!

Happy Easter and ALLELUIA, y’all!

heather

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St. Monica, pray for us!

St. Monica, pray for us!

Dear St. Monica,
troubled wife and mother,
many sorrows pierced your heart during your lifetime.
Yet, you never despaired or lost faith.
With confidence, persistence, and profound faith,
you prayed daily for the conversion
of your beloved husband, Patricius,
and your beloved son, Augustine;
your prayers were answered.
Grant me that same fortitude, patience,
and trust in the Lord.
Intercede for me, dear St. Monica,
that God may favorably hear my plea
and grant me the grace to accept His Will in all things,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.
Amen.

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