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

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


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



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.

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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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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!




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.



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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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.



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. ūüėČ

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!


31 Days of Unexpected Joy: Gifts (Day 26)

31 Days of Unexpected Joy: Gifts (Day 26)

So, I think there are two kinds of people in this world: those who like surprises, and those who do not. Guess which I am?

Yes, yes, I love surprises. And so, tonight, it is my absolute (and unexpected!) joy to share a very, very beautiful and fun surprise with you. I thought I was going to be posting about the unexpected joy of order tonight, but God (and my sweet friend Meg) had other ideas.

I will not apologize in advance, but I will warn you: a sizable photo dump ensues from the marvelous spiritual art care package I received via snail mail mere minutes ago. I knew I was in for a treat when I saw the return address label:

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I haven’t known Miss Meg for very long, but she messaged¬†me when she saw my “Life is Beautiful” post on FB, I believe. Meg¬†wrote to tell me that she¬†was so moved by my words that she wanted to¬†offer me a gift from her shop to commemorate¬†my birthday. I thought she was so very sweet. And then I plum forgot to follow up with her on her offer. How very me of me.

Anyway, we did finally connect, and I was so impressed by the items I received (The Memorare, below, as well as The Hail Mary Prayer and ABCs) that I asked her if she’d be interested in collaborating for the (at the time) upcoming Catholic Women Rejoice conference.

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Thankfully, she said, “Yes,” and not only created the cover art for our program, she provided signed mini-prints of the cover art for each of our attendees!

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I was so impressed by Meg’s¬†generosity of spirit, her humility, and her openness to the promptings of the Holy Spirit that I invited her to work with me¬†on next year’s conference, too. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with!

Anyway, back to the care package … I was like a kid in a candy store – ripping at the package:

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I knew Meg was working on a Liturgical calendar, and … she sent it!!

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I’m planning on sharing more about the calendar itself next week, so you’ll just have to wait. ūüôā However, in true Meg form, she sent other amazing goodies as well! Here’s the front view:


And the back view:


And close-ups, clockwise from the upper left!

Flowers/St. Faustina quote bookmark:



Houses/Mother Angelica quote bookmark:



Butterflies+flowers/C.S. Lewis Humility quote bookmark:



Geometric stained glass/Divine Mercy (Diary of St. Faustina quote) bookmark:



Periwinkle+leaves flowers/Edith Stein bookmark:



Prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas for a Holy Life card

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Fortitude card:



And, last but not least, an Act of Consecration card with Miraculous Medal:



It is so wonderful to see someone with such amazing gifts using those gifts to glorify God and to encourage others. I was just overwhelmed by the generosity and beauty before me … and simply humbled.

Please go check out my friend’s shop. I promise you won’t be disappointed, whether you purchase a gift for yourself or for someone else.

Until tomorrow, may God bless y’all with abundant joy.


PS – BTW, Meg neither asked for nor knows that I’m writing this post,¬†but I hope that an uptick in her orders by generous souls such as yourself will make her glad that I did. ūüėČ –hr