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.

Update on Bury the dead: Y’all done brought it!

Update on Bury the dead: Y’all done brought it!

Earlier today, I asked for your help, and y’all done BROUGHT it. I mean, for reals and for trues. I stand in awe of our awesome God and the amazing things we can accomplish as believers when we stand united in prayer and purpose. PRAISE HIS NAME!!

Here is an update on the situation, from Mary herself:


*** UPDATE AS OF 4:28 PM EST, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2016***

You all are amazing! Just amazing. I have absolutely no words left. I am typing through tears. I had to pick Jerry up from the floor. You fabulously wonderful people have given $4,200 plus dollars in the last several hours. I walked away from the computer to go to the grocery store and post office and I come home to yet another Christmas miracle for the Lenaburg Family. We have more than enough to get back to Oklahoma for Jerry’s Dad’s funeral early next week and to pay for extended parking and other traveling expenses. There is more than enough to cover Jerry’s leave without pay as well. Whatever is left, we will apply to the debt that remains from Courtney’s time here on earth. I should have known that when Courtney is involved, she doesn’t mess around. My daughter is an incredible intercessor. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for your love and most generous support. We are humbled beyond belief … God is GOOD, ALL THE TIME.


praise-hands-edwin-andrade

So thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! While these dollars and cents don’t erase the pain, they sure do ease some of the burden for this faithful family. I am so humbled and grateful for your response.

And, just for fun, here’s what I texted Mary when I heard that y’all helped them FAR surpass their goal:

Thank YOU Jesus!! Thank YOU!!! You are worthy! You are powerful! You are mighty! We thank You!! We praise You! We adore You! You are worthy! Of ALL the honor, glory, and praise!!

That’s how I felt, and that’s how I feel, and that’s the truth, and I’m stickin’ to it.

God bless y’all. REALLY.

heather

P.S. Anyone who has struggled with grief knows that it is an ongoing process of the heart, mind, and body. Ongoing prayers for the entire Lenaburg Clan are, of course, encouraged and appreciated. Amen and amen. <3

Photo by Edwin Andrade. Used with permission via Unsplash.com

Bury the dead: an opportunity to help

Bury the dead: an opportunity to help

mary-lenaburg-father-in-law-don-lenaburg-family-1024x1024I can only imagine what it’s like to grieve the death of a close family member during the holidays. But two family members? That just seems like cruel and unusual punishment. And yet that’s exactly what’s happening to my friends Mary and Jerry Lenaburg right now.

As if burying their beloved daughter Courtney two years ago wasn’t enough, the Lenaburgs recently returned home from visiting Jerry’s parents in Oklahoma only to hear that Jerry’s father passed away suddenly last night.

One of the Corporal Works of Mercy is to bury the dead, and that’s exactly what Mary and Jerry would like to do. Unfortunately, with their most recent trip to Oklahoma, they’re tapped and don’t have the funds to return for the funeral.

This is where you come in, friends. Can you help? I know it’s a crazy time of year to be asking. But I also think it’s crazy to think that my friends might not be able to go to their father’s funeral because of money. I firmly believe that we serve a mighty God Who is capable of far more than we can possibly imagine. But we have to cooperate with His generosity to make this whole thing happen.

Will you join me in helping the Lenaburg Family?

For more information about these crazy circumstances, please read Mary’s post. There’s a link at the end of the post to donate toward  the considerable travel expenses from Viriginia to Oklahoma, but if you don’t have time to read the whole thing, here’s the link to donate for your convenience.

Thank you so much for generously donating as you’re able, but I know the Lenaburgs are especially grateful for your prayers. As I grieve with my friends, I also have great anticipation of what Our LORD will do amidst these challenging circumstances. May He be praised now and forevermore.

God bless y’all,

heather

Photo (c) Mary Lenaburg. Used with permission.

Logging Off and Kneeling Down

Logging Off and Kneeling Down

911prayer-itIn all my years of voting, I have never once cried about it. I am extraordinarily grateful to live in a country and a time in history where I am allowed – and encouraged – to vote. But I admit I cried when I took up my mail-in ballot earlier this month. I cried for our nation. I cried for my children. I cried because I am just so exhausted by the moral wasteland that is current American politics.

Once I stopped crying, I ate two cookies, even though I wanted to eat 10 cookies, because old habits (emotional eating) die hard.

With sugar from the chocolate chip cookies still surging through my veins, I wiped the tears from my eyes and the crumbs from my mouth and I decided to do the only genuinely constructive thing I felt I could do: I decided to pray.

Please read the full article here.

Image used with permission via Ignitum Today
Blessed Am I: An update and an invitation

Blessed Am I: An update and an invitation

Happy Thursday, friends! It’s been an especially busy and fruitful season for ye olde Real Catholic Mom. Not necessarily for this here blog, as you may have noticed; this poor thing tends to be relegated to the sidelines whenever Mom’s dance card is full with family, conference, retreatconference, retreat, and convention. Woof.

As much as I absolutely love traveling and sharing The Good News with other women and experiencing incredible, Holy Spirit-infused Visitation moments (#myjamforlife), there’s something rather precious and sweet about having nothing (okay, well, almost nothing) on my calendar leading into the holidays except for “normal” Wife-of-one-and-Mom-of-five stuff, which, quite honestly, is plenty for any soul, especially a former (ugh! I cannot tell a lie!) current Martha-holic like me with uniquely challenging and beautiful children like ours. I feel like these blessed blanks on my calendar are God’s way of gently guiding me closer to hearth and home, allowing Him to expertly guide this busy ship to shore for a bit of leave.

My challenge: To honor the blanks and not rush to fill them to overflowing like the recovering human doing that I am.

But y’all must know by now that I wouldn’t be who I am if I didn’t share a bit of what’s coming up, and they are good things, friends – very good things. To that end, here are my personal invitations to you and yours:

living-abundantly-workshop

Please join me LIVE for my very first online workshop with the wonderful Blessed is She ministry next Wednesday. The workshop, called Living Abundantly Through Forgiveness and Healing, streams live at 6 p.m. PST // 9 p.m. EST or can be downloaded after the event closes if the live time doesn’t work with your schedule. My prayer is that you’ll leave the session encouraged and strengthened to completely release any nagging bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness behind so you may close out this glorious Year of Mercy with a renewed sense of healing and wholeness.


Speaking of slowing down and digging deep … Advent is coming. I know, I know. But! As with everything, it is an opportunity to draw closer to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. From the Blessed is She website:

You want to dive deeper into the season of Advent, you desire to lay aside the busy-ness this season can become, and you yearn for a deeper relationship with our Lord. Here is your chance. Here is your time to grow closer to Him, to learn more about Him, and to fall more in love with Him. “Together, let’s prepare our hearts and our very lives for the coming of the Baby.” // Elizabeth Foss, author of By the Manger in the Morning Prayer Journal

***Please note: Clicking through to the BIS website via the above image or the hyperlinked title financially benefits, in a small yet meaningful way, my friend and fellow prayer warrior/speaker/writer/uplifter, Mary Lenaburg. Thank you kindly for your generosity!


For local friends, I’ll be at St. Cecilia Parish again this year for their Women With Spirit Advent Recollection on Tuesday, December 6th at 7 p.m. Stay tuned for more details!


Finally, dear friends – would you please pray for me? The Holy Spirit has really been working on my heart these past few months, and even more intensely these past few weeks. I want to be able to be still (neither my best nor my most natural posture) to listen to and, more importantly, cooperate, with His leading.

Until next time, please know of my prayers with and for you.

heather