He truly is I AM

He truly is I AM

2017 0404 BIS ImageIn today’s First Reading, the Israelites are complaining to Moses. Again.

Oh, those ungrateful Israelites. Shame on them!

Almighty God sent incredible plagues to thwart the Egyptians and split the Red Sea in two. He provided a way so His chosen people could leave the chains of slavery behind and enter the Promised Land. And still they grumbled and murmured against Him. I can practically hear them whining now: “We’re tiiiiiiired. We’re huuuuungryyyyy. This is awwwwwful. Are we theeeerrrre yet??” [Sounds like a few (or five) kids I know.]

Their lack of faith was not without consequence; the Lord sent deadly serpents to attack them. When they turned back to God and prayed for relief, He provided a way out. Only those who looked upon the bronze saraph mounted on a pole by Moses survived the serpents’ deadly attacks.

Yes. It’s easy for me to shake my head in disbelief at the immature and clueless Israelites. They grew weary and impatient and frustrated and doubted that God was making a way for them not only to survive, but to thrive.

Yet, if I’m honest with myself, am I any better than the grumbliest of grumblers in the desert?

Read the rest here.

photo credit: (c) blessed is she // used with permission

Leaning in to Lent

Leaning in to Lent

Lent Burger and fries 2017-03-21Hello. My name is Heather. And I have a problem with Lent.

Before you sharpen your pencils to compose a blistering letter to our esteemed editor recounting my heresies, I humbly implore you to please hear me out.

I know all about the regulations and practices and have heard countless suggestions for having the BEST. LENT. EVERRR. I understand that the Church, in Her wisdom, provides us with this designated time of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving as an opportunity and a gift. As one who enjoys opportunities and gifts, I am totally on board. Goodness – I actually like Lent, in theory, and often in practice – especially when I can continue consuming bacon and gelato and social media. I’ll even go on record as being pro-Lent. And yet, I have struggled with discerning and maintaining my personal Lenten observances.

My theory is that my difficulty with Lent was rooted in a skewed notion of what the season is actually intended to accomplish. As an example, let’s look at my approach to fasting.

Over the years, I’ve attempted to give up just about everything – sweets, screens, sanity – you name it. And I think I knew, at least in the back of my mind, that I was sacrificing something I enjoyed to become closer to God. But I don’t think that half-praying, half-crying, “Dear God, when will it be Easter so I can eat chocolate/drink coffee/indulge myself?!” several times a day for 40 days straight is what our Lord had in mind.

Read the rest here

Photo credit: Thomas Habr; used with permission.

{SQT} So Much Awesome, So Little Time

{SQT} So Much Awesome, So Little Time

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Sometimes life is so busy you don’t even have time to catch your breath and tell anyone what’s going on. Thank God for the opportunity, a day late (natch), to exhale for a minute (brushed my teeth – promise!) and share some of the incredible stuff that’s been happening in my little corner of the world.

 1. 

Recording with these ladies was a tremendous blessing. We laughed waaaaay more than is likely legal in the contiguous United States and abroad, yet we still managed to complete everything on our production schedule (thank You, Holy Spirit!). I’m so incredibly grateful to them for their generous friendship and I’m especially excited to spill even more beans about The Visitation Project in late April.

 2.  

And that’s a wrap for our first round of recording – time to celebrate! Bottoms up!

 3.  

The last few weeks have been so great, but honestly, also pretty stressful for me. There’s a ton of stuff I feel called to do, but I don’t want my family to suffer, you know? Although I worked outside the home the majority of our marriage, I’ve been a SAHM the past two-plus years, and it appears I’d forgotten the specific struggles working-outside-the-home Mamas face. My hat is off to those valiant women who work outside the home and still manage to hold everything together en casa. Ladies, I salute you, and pray God blesses the work of your (seriously full) hands.

 4.  

Taken at a local Lenten prayer retreat … So beautiful, meaningful, and necessary during this penitential time of the year.

 5.  

The Rock and Worship Road Show with Mr. Matt “I speak Elvish” Maher and the glowing Shaina.

 6. 

 The Enforcer and I took turns attending a days-long Lenten Mission led by our dear brother in Christ, Richard Lane. We even took the whole kit and kaboodle to Adoration and Benediction the second-to-last-night, and against all odds, there were no casualties!

 7. 

    
After so much awesomeness and no real sign of the jam-packed “to-do” list letting up anytime soon, I was grateful to steal away for a little while to our beloved local retreat house not once but twice this week – yesterday with just my babies and our friend with her babies, and today with the whole family. I’ve always felt it to be a place of genuine refuge, and today’s visit, albeit super brief, didn’t disappoint because (of course!) God is faithful.

Bottom line? No doubt I’m an incredibly blessed child of God. I pray for the grace to wholeheartedly glorify Almighty God, the Giver of all good gifts, through all the various times and seasons of my life.

Until next time,

Peace.

heather

Linking up with the ultra-rad homeschooling, Whole30ing, mic-dropping Kelly Mantoan at This Ain’t the Lyceum. See what other amazing people are writing about right here.

{7QT} On filling the void left by fb

{7QT} On filling the void left by fb

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So, I bit the bullet and gave up the ‘book for Lent. I mean, detachment is good. Deep breath. Repeat after me: detachment is good. Give something up, though, and it’s usually best to take something on, right? Like, a GOOD thing to fill up the hole left by the thing that, maybe, in its own Fbook-y way, has become, well, not-so-good. So while it seems reasonable that I should be filling my extra time with more prayer, family togetherness, extra Masses, plus this, and this, and definitely this, I present to you how I’ve actually been filling the fb void so far:

 1.

More blogging here. And, by more, I mean six posts published since Lent began. Which, by comparison, is double the posts I concocted in all of 2015 leading up to Lent. So, while I’m not posting here every day, it is more than usual, which I predicted. And I am glad! I just … truly didn’t intend to blog this much more during Lent, but there you have it. We’ll see if I can keep it up.

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 2. 

More tweeting. Yeah. I said I wasn’t going to shift my (hyper) focus from fb to Twitter, but what can I say? I’m an extroverted stay-at-home-Mom going absolutely crazy bananas over here some days. I neeeeeeed people and interaction and it’s not always possible to leave the house. And I can stop this Twitter business any time I want to. Really.  I need to just pray more, don’t I?

As usual, too many open tabs.
As usual, too many open tabs.

 3. 

More instagramming. Okay. This social medium is new and shiny to me. I just joined, um, this year (I know, I knoooow). But I haven’t been on horribly much. Really. Honest!

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 4. 

I’m trying not to work on the upcoming Catholic women’s conference too much. But shoot, man! It is going to be AWESOME!! I CAN BARELY CONTAIN MYSELF!!

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 5. 

I just accepted an invitation from Deacon Tom Fox to contribute to the long-running podcast Catholic Vitamins beginning in April (after Lent is over, people), and I couldn’t be more excited! A couple of times a month, I’ll be reflecting on real J  O  Y. Hopefully Dcn. Tom won’t regret his decision after the first broadcast. We’ll see. I will link to new episodes here, of course, so please stay tuned!*

Catholic Vitamins

 

*If you’re feeling particularly magnanimous this tax rebate season and would like to help me purchase some recording equipment, I am gladly accepting donations! RealCatholicMom {at} gmail {dot} com. Seriously. Please. And thank you very much.

 6. 

A super, secret and AMAZING project that is in pre-production as I type! I can’t say anything more here now, but will on March 3 – which is NEXT WEEK! AHHHHH!

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So … you’re probably saying to yourself, “Um, Heather, this is all well and possibly good, but this post seems a) pretty heavy on self-promotion and b) pretty light on, well, holy stuff.” Okay. You got me. Truly, you’re mostly right. You are. If I’m being brutally honest with myself about all the ways I’m filling my time, it does seem, on the outside, that it might not be any better for my eternal soul than all the time I was spending on FB before Lent began. But I assure you, my friends … God is working on me this Lent. I am processing and working and pondering upon things that are not intended for public knowledge – they’re really supposed to be just for me and Jesus right now. God alone knows my heart. He knows if (okay, when) I’m wasting – or abusing – my time. And I can’t say that I’m being The BEST steward of my time at all times, but I truly am trying. I’m trying to be more intentional about what I’m doing and when I’m doing it. I admit I have a long way to go. But thankfully, I don’t have to go much farther any longer to get here:

 7. 

My husband and I just received our keys for the Adoration Chapel nearest our house. I am so, so, so very much looking forward to spending more regular time here with Jesus again. No computer, no phone, no babies who need me – just Him and me. Because, at the end of the day, at the end of Lent, at the end of our life, there is only one thing that matters. And it is right here. At the foot of the Cross. I pray I have the courage and self-awareness to choose the better part this Lent and always.

Jesus, please help me. Saints and angels, hasten to my aid.

Adoration

Linking up with the ultra-rad homeschooling, Whole30ing, mic-dropping Kelly Mantoan at This Ain’t the Lyceum. See what other amazing people are writing about right here.

You got me right between the eyes, Pope Francis.

You got me right between the eyes, Pope Francis.

Wow.

I just read the Catholic News Service story about Pope Francis’ homily at his residence this morning. I was particularly struck by these words:

Being generous toward the church, but selfish and unjust toward others “is a very serious sin: It is using God to cover up injustice,” he said

And these:

Some people may regularly make financial contributions to the church, but, the pope asked, how generous are they toward their loved ones and their dependents? Are they generous and just to them, too, he asked.

People cannot “make offerings to the church on the back of injustice,” he said. “It is not a good Christian who doesn’t do justice to the people who depend on him” and who does not “deprive himself of something essential for him in order to give it to another who is in need.”

The parallels to social justice and fair and equal treatment with neighbor and employee/worker are clear … but what about for me as a wife and mother? Am I soooo very busy with my “important” church-related / faith-related deeds that I fail to show charity and justice, necessary time and attention, to my husband? My children? My parents? My friends and neighbors and extended family?

God is using His Holiness’ words to remind me that when I choose “The Church” or “My Ministry” over the needs of my family, I’m just like the Pharisees with their hollow cleaning of the cups all over again. It all looks well and good on the outside, while the inside is decayed and ineffective.

It’s a delicate balance, this earthly tightrope walk of vocation and avocation, but I’m sure God wants me to not be, as our dear friend would say, “so heavenly minded” that I’m “no earthly good.”

Goodness.

I have a long way to go in rending my heart this Lenten season.Thank you, Papa, for the reminder. Time to go change another diaper and play some Legos.

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