When people throw shade on your Jesus shine

When people throw shade on your Jesus shine


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,




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


Understanding the power of ‘no’

Understanding the power of ‘no’

First fan letter!
Thanks, Diane, for reading the new column over at the Catholic Sentinel! God bless you!

People who know me well would likely agree that I’m usually not good for much more than a “yes” and a laugh.

Which is just another way of saying that I am categorically very, very, horribly bad at saying, “no.” At least, that is, until recently.

Lately, I feel like I have been saying, “no,” to just about everything. And it’s been simultaneously horrifying … and liberating.

You might wonder: why have I been giving ye old smackdown to interesting projects, exciting engagements, and other sparkly distractions these days? Because, frankly …

Saying, “yes,” isn’t making me happier or holier.

That’s it.

I have been taking a long, hard look in the mirror for a while now – in a totally healthy, non-creepy, non-narcissistic way, promise! – because things have been breaking down physically, emotionally, and with relationships for a while because of my, well, addiction of sorts to what usually happened when I said, “yes.”

The sense of productivity, needfulness, and recognition that often followed my affirmative response to whatever came my way became an idol of sorts – something to seek, something to save me from myself and my circumstances, something to depend upon.

In other words, saying, “yes,” was, however subconsciously, filling a God-shaped hole in my heart that was meant for my Savior alone.

I found that saying, “yes” to so many things really meant I was saying, “no” to more important things. And sometimes God. And especially people. My husband. My children. And maybe, more especially, myself.

I am learning that I must say, “no” if I am going to have the energy to say, “yes” to time to care for myself so I am able to care for the people closest to me. I need to be able to give them my best yes.

And I wasn’t.

And in many ways I still am not.

I’m getting better at taking care of myself and my core responsibilities, but guys – it is. so. hard. to say no. I still (whyyyyyyyy??) care a little bit too much about what people think of me, especially when I tell them I can’t/won’t/shouldn’t/mustn’t do whatever it is they ask/want/expect of me.

Well, this weekend, I’m over at the Catholic Sentinel talking about this very thing, and about harnessing the power of ‘no.’

Which, by the way, is NOT a dirty word. Although it does still make me shudder and twitch a bit still. Just a bit.

I’m working on it.

God bless y’all,



31 Days of Unexpected Joy: Self-Care (Day 24)

31 Days of Unexpected Joy: Self-Care (Day 24)

Today’s guest post was written by my friend Melissa Cecilia, and is about something I’ve struggled with over the years, even before I became a wife and mother: self-care. Taking the time to nurture one’s physical, emotional, and spiritual being is key to a balanced life, yet it’s so easy for one – or all – aspects to be neglected, and, before you know it, everything’s out of whack. I hope you enjoy Melissa’s insight and tips on how to create everyday joys! Please feel free to share in the comments what you do to care for yourself.

After experiencing a rough summer and bumpy start of graduate school, it would’ve been easy for me to say, “Well, there’s nothing to be joyful about with everything that’s happened.” However, I know better than to go down that route.

I have a little rule for my life: do something you enjoy every day. It can be as simple as closing your eyes and not thinking about the stress while you listen to your favorite song. Don’t believe that it can help? Allow me to show you how it helped me.

I was in and out of the hospital for most of the summer. Yes, a pain (sometimes quite literally) but nothing that I couldn’t get through. During one late E.R. visit I was able to go outside around midnight and just look at the stars. There wasn’t too much light pollution so I was able to sit outside and marvel at the beauty that surrounded me. It was so wonderfully peaceful to simply sit outside, by myself, feeling the cool air as I tried to look for constellations and shooting stars.

Post-surgical procedure down time is hard for someone as active as I am. I don’t like sitting for more than half an hour. I don’t like not having something to do. I was in so much pain and was unable to do much physical activity for weeks at a time. Instead of dwelling on it, I occupied my mind. I read some of my favorite books (as well as re-read my own novels). I worked on a gorgeous summer-themed jigsaw puzzle. Sometimes even watching a favorite movie would help bring a smile to my face when I wasn’t feeling that great.

Those were just some things I did for myself; how I find joy in the little things. Are you feeling stressed out and stuck? Take a walk in one of your favorite places. This could be around your neighborhood, a park, or even a shopping mall. The idea is to physically remove yourself from the thing that causes you to stress out.

Unable to go out and finding it hard to think of something to do? Make yourself a cup of tea (or the beverage of your choice), go on Spotify or Pandora and discover new music. Have a mini dance party and don’t care about what anyone says. Sing along to your favorite song. Not big into music? Re-read your favorite book – or at least your favorite parts of your favorite book. Even painting your nails can have a positive effect on you. Trust me, I speak from experience.

Self-care is so often neglected, mostly because it can feel like you’re feeling lazy or unproductive. I believe it contributes to our inability to see the good things in our lives. If you’re a busy lady, don’t feel bad about taking five minutes to yourself every day. Sometimes you have to create your own little moments of joy, and that’s perfectly okay.

Heather’s note: Want more? Check out The Visitation Project’s audio episode about self-care here.

About today’s guest writer:

Melissa “Emmy” Cecilia is a Young Adult / New Adult author and freelance writer living in Los Angeles, CA. She holds a B.A. in Religious Studies and is currently studying towards an M.A. in Biblical Theology from John Paul the Great Catholic University. She enjoys swing dancing, hiking, being a budding photographer, and getting lost in the world of literature. In her spare time you can find her blogging over at Journey of a Catholic Nerd Writer.

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