Living in the weeds and other updates

Living in the weeds and other updates

woman-outside-a-window-staring-into-a-roomThis is just going to be a relatively quick entry – and I apologize for that. I am quite behind with a number of things (hello, unfinished Christmas cards staring me in the face) and, of course, posting here is one of those things.

I won’t attempt to fool you or myself by promising regular entries from here on out; we all know that’s a pie crust promise  – easily made, easily broken.

What I can promise: I am praying for you. Each and every one. You are dear to me – even those of you whom I’ve never met face-to-face and I dare say that’s the majority. Your patience with me as I work out with fear and trembling what I should say – what I am able to say – in this space and your acceptance when I finally get around to actually saying it has done my heart such good over the years. And for that, I am so very grateful.

May I ask a favor? If you think of it, would you please, in turn, pray for me? I could sure use it. Due to a strange mix of circumstances, I’ve been feeling rather low and quite overwhelmed since the end of November/beginning of December, and the usual remedies don’t seem to be working. Thankfully, Christmas was beautiful. For that pocket of grace, I give thanks.

But on balance, things have been hard – so very hard. Unfortuntely, I am no stranger to the vice grip that can be clinical depression, although I am not sure if I’ve ever written about it in much detail before. Whatever the case, I find myself, yet again, researching and attempting and crying and fighting and starting and stopping and trying once more. ‘Tis the human condition overall, is it not? Sometimes, however, even the normal difficulties of daily life are magnified a million times over when one is trudging through the weeds of it all.

What I know to be true is this: my faith in God continues to be the most precious gift I have and will ever possess. Even when things are at their bleakest, I believe that God is here with me, holding my hand and counting my tears and encouraging me forward one step at a time in ways both seen and unseen. I thank you for your prayers. Truly, I do. They are precious to me and mean more than I could express.


In all honesty, I didn’t plan to write this much about my struggles today, but I think I am going to hit the “publish” button anyway, if only so that any of you who struggle with depression, anxiety, loneliness, or any of the accompanying symptoms may be encouraged by knowing you are not alone.

Let me say it again: You are not alone

Also? There is no shame in seeking help, whether via professional counseling, conversation with a trusted friend or priest, or via medication as prescribed by a medical professional. A resourceful friend reminded me of this wonderful book about Catholics and depression, and I whole-heartedly recommend it to you without reservation. If, God forbid, you are struggling in the most difficult of ways, help is available 24/7 via telephone: 1-800-273-8255 or via online chat. You are unique and precious and unrepeatable, and this world needs you. I believe this with all my heart, my friend.


And now, if you’ve hung on thusfar, you will rewarded with the originally intended main topic of this post: Fr. Michael Gaitley is coming! To our state! Next month!

fr-gaitley-retreat-poster-photo

A little bit of history might be in order so as to explain my enthusiasm.

Fr. Gaitley’s books 33 Days to Morning Glory and Consoling the Heart of Jesus had a profound impact on my life, as well as many others’, I’d imagine. Over the past four or five years, I’ve made numerous attempts, via official and unofficial means, to lure invite Fr. Gaitley to Oregon (and even Alabama) with no luck. Thank the good LORD for the persistance of my friend Betsy at St. Cecilia Parish. At her suggestion, we both submitted two separate yet official inquiries to his office last year in an effort to gang up on convince him that the Pacific Northwest is beyond ready to receive the message he stewards. I don’t presume to know the mind of the Holy Spirit, but apparently, he agreed that the time had come. Because Fr. Gaitley is indeed coming. I believe the fruit of this retreat will be manifold for our local church, and I praise God for what He is doing in the world, in our community, in me. Seen and unseen. Weeds and all.

God bless y’all,

heather

Photo credit: Priscilla Westra used with permission via unsplash.com

Whatever you do, PLEASE read this!

Whatever you do, PLEASE read this!

I know, I know. I’m the world’s worst blogger! I wrote every. single. day. last October, and then … I think I must have hit some sort of mental block posting quota.

Mea culpa. 

Never fear – I will (hopefully) be posting more regularly soon, but for now, you may be wondering what in the world would compel me to break my 9+ week blogging drought?

33 Days to Merciful Love cover.jpg

BOOM.

Y’all.

Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. ORDER THIS BOOK. NOW. PLEASE. Pretty please.

33 Days to Morning Glory was such a huge game-changer for my spiritual life, I can only imagine what amazing fruit will come from Fr. Michael Gaitley’s latest offering.

While you can read the book and do the at-home or with-a-friend or with-a-group retreat at any time, the first “official” retreat begins March 1 and ends with Consecration on Divine Mercy Sunday. I cannot imagine a better way to spend those 33 days! Click here for more information.

And, what’s more, the Marians of the Immaculate Conception (Fr. Gaitley’s order) are offering this book for a small donation plus $5.25 – the shipping cost – for a limited time!

To clarify: this is NOT an affiliate post. I’m not making anything when you order the book. I simply want each and every one of you to know about it. Also, if you’re reading this and hear the Holy Spirit’s prompting to prayerfully participate yet genuinely cannot afford $5.25, would you please let me know?

God bless y’all and may Lenten blessings abound!

In Christ and His Mercy,

heather

P.S. I’m speaking at a sold-out retreat this weekend in the area – if you could say a quick prayer for me and the women attending, I would be so grateful! xo –h

{SQT} It’s never too late to Lent!

{SQT} It’s never too late to Lent!

seven-quick-takes-friday-2-1024x727

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: 

ONLY-ONE-THING-cover

  • 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