{SQT} When a shirt is more than just a shirt

{SQT} When a shirt is more than just a shirt

St. Francis of Assist purportedly said, “Preach the Gospel always. When necessary, use words.” I think I’ve previously expressed my disdain for this quote, because–hello!–two words: brown habits! Whenever people saw the good works of Francis and his brethren, of course they knew their good works were accomplished in service to the LORD, because they sported attire specifically reserved for those … in service to the LORD! They didn’t have to say anything.

For us modern lay folk, it’s slightly trickier. We can, within reason (and prudence and modesty), wear whatever we like while we’re living our Christian lives and fit right in with the rest of society. There’s usually nothing about our fashion sense that suggests we’re any different than any other human on the planet.

Unless … we make an intentional choice to do something a bit … different.

Being me means I am naturally attracted to the different; at my core, I’m slightly rebellious. Now, since reverting back to the Catholic faith, my rebellion has significantly mellowed, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have my ways of “sticking it to The Man.” Want to know the secret sauce behind my current counter-culturalism? Here’s my confession:

Hello. My name is Heather, and I am a dynamically orthodox Roman Catholic. I love Jesus, Mary, the saints, and the sacraments. I’ve been married to one man for 16 years, I’m open to life, my Minivan is covered in faith-centric bumper stickers, and … I wear blatant, flagrant, obnoxiously faith-related t-shirts nearly every day. 

So, let’s talk shirts, shall we? I wear them because I enjoy the conversations they illicit. I suppose it’s one way I’ve chosen to delve into the New Evangelization–as a sort of me-shaped billboard for the LORD. I guess it also means I have to remember to behave myself since I’m repping the Faith on the regular. Hahahaha.

Today, I am going to share a few of my favorites shirts with you in hopes that maybe you’ll consider joining me in this growing New Evangelization revolution.

Now, hear me out: Perhaps you aren’t quite ready to wear a Jesus Freak T in public every day like yours truly, but maybe you’re ready to wear one under your hoodie for a jog, or to a service project, or as a nightshirt. Baby steps. And don’t worry–I’m praying for you. Soon enough, you’ll be wearing your faith on your sleeve (actually and proverbially) all the time, too. By the way: If anyone knows who the patron saint for clothing-as-evangelization is, please let me know.

I realize there are many wonderful companies out there selling faith-based t-shirts, and I’m sorry I can’t highlight them all. I’m featuring those I personally wear and can confidently recommend because they come in an array of sizes and are super comfortable–Mama ain’t got time to wear scratchy or stiff shirts!–and because purchasing these shirts benefits sisters in Christ who also happen to be small business owners.

1. From Catholic Threads: BE BRAVE IN THE SCARED

Many of my readers know Mary Lenaburg, a remarkable woman and phenomenal speaker. This original design from the amazing Lorissa Horn of Catholic Threads isn’t just powerful and uplifting–the t-shirt is also a fundraiser to help pay down the remaining $57,000 (you read that correctly) debt incurred by the Lenaburg family while caring for their severely disabled daughter, Courtney. Shirts are currently available via pre-order only, which ends November 21st, so order now! This beauty will arrive in plenty of time for Holiday gift-giving for you and all your philanthropic friends wanting to help this family regain financial stability. P.S. The talented team at Catholic Threads has other amazing shirts (I have several!) … but you must buy this one first. Please and thank you. 😉

2. Rambling Mom: KEEP CALM & SAY A HAIL MARY

The past several months have been rough, with many loved ones suffering natural disasters, chronic disease and other difficulties. One dear friend was recently diagnosed with cancer, and I wanted to send her something to lift her spirits. When I saw Rambling Mom sporting this shirt on Instagram, I knew I’d found just the right gift. While the shirt I ordered wasn’t in RM’s shop last time I checked, word on the street is she might be able to make something just for you in a color you’ll adore; shoot her a message!

3. From Someday Saints: STRONG BRAVE LOVED

My friend Gina and I have known each other for several years now, and she continues to astonish me with her creativity and grace. Gina’s latest offering via her Someday Saints Design Etsy shop is a beautiful t-shirt I. just. love! Not only does it come in a lovely blue color, it conveys a wonderfully poignant message. Don’t tell my teen and tween, but they’re both receiving this t-shirt as Christmas gifts because these are three things I want them to know and believe about themselves. Annnnd I might have ordered one for myself because I might need a reminder sometimes, too! Check out the shirt and all Gina’s other lovelies in her shop today.

4. From Catholic Women Rejoice: REJOICE AND BE FREE

Once upon a time, in 2012, I started a women’s conference called Catholic Women Rejoice. For our fifth anniversary, we asked the fab gals at Catholic Threads (yes! they are that awesome) to design a shirt that was as comfortable as it is stylish. And, boy, did they nail it! This is my go-to sleep shirt, bum-around-the-house shirt, and clean all the things (again) shirt. My eldest daughter, who helped with the conference, lives in hers, too. I also have another, more fitted version for out-in-public appearances. If you’re interested in either shirt, I have limited quantities available. Send me a message indicating which version you’re interested in–slouchy or structured–and your size.

5. From Brick House in the City: ALL THE OPTIONS

I’m not even sure where to start; there are so many amazing (beautiful + comfortable) shirts in wonderful Lauren’s shop, it’s difficult to choose! I have the Everything is Grace shirt in honor of my girl St. Therese of Lisieux, the Love Begins At Home shirt because it reminds me of St. Teresa of Calcutta, and I bought the Cradle Catholic onesie for my sweet baby goddaughter’s Christmas gift. Currently, the Fiat and the Totus Tuus tees are on my Christmas list. Luckily, Lauren is offering a special code (BOGO10) for 10% off your order when you purchase two or more shirts. Hint, hint, Honey. 

Also? Decide which beauty you want soon, because TOMORROW (11.12) is the last day to pre-order guaranteed sizes and flavors of shirts in time for Christmas. Don’t be left empty-handed on The Big Day!

6. From Elly and Grace: NOT TODAY SATAN

I have to admit: My NOT TODAY SATAN shirt from Elly and Grace is a favorite to wear in my particularly heathenistic hometown of Portland, Oregon. Especially in the airport, where there are LOTS and LOTS of people. Ha, ha. I wear it when I need some extra Resurrection attotude, which is often when I am traveling alone for gigs, so this particular shirt has been getting more mileage lately. The funny thing is that I often get compliments on this shirt from perfect strangers–the lady in the bank, the lady at the coffee shop, the lady in the grocery check-out line. Apparently, allll the ladies like this shirt. But it could be that there are other prayer warriors out there like you and me who need the little bit of somewhat cheeky encouragement this shirt affords. Lots and lots of other choices in a broad range of sizes available on the E+G site!

7. Please feel free to comment with your favorite faith-based apparel, and I will update this post with your recommendations as my #7!

Of note: None of these are affiliate links. I just like (and wear) the shirts. 😊 Happy shopping, y’all!

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7 Quick Takes about my stalker (-cough-Mother Teresa-cough-)

7 Quick Takes about my stalker (-cough-Mother Teresa-cough-)

— 1 —

A funny thing happens when you finally decide to name a particular holy person (<ahem>BlessedTeresaofCalcutta<sniff>) as the patron of an event you’re planning. I don’t remember reading the fine print regarding such an alliance in the Catechism, but apparently, naming aforementioned holy person and using one of her quotes as your conference motto

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gives aforementioned holy person license to stalk bless you with her presence. Randomly. And without warning. On the regular. For example:

— 2 —

There I was, mostly minding my own business, feeling particularly discouraged about some pretty serious things, a few of which directly related to the conference, and there, out of the complete blue sky, was a direct message from someone I don’t know particularly well and hadn’t heard from in months. Clicking on the message, I saw this:

Oh, wow! It's Mother Teresa!
Oh, wow! It’s Mother Teresa!

“From my friend Steve,” read the DM, “I remembered my [New Year’s] promise to you … to help you become the best version of yourself … I promised to send you art …and this is as good as I can do right now.”  Uhhh. Ohhhkay.

I stood there in stunned silence, tears welling up in my eyes. As I gazed upon Mother’s weathered face and into her holy eyes, I whispered, “I see you, Mother Teresa,” and I could almost hear her saying, with a bemused chuckle in her voice, “I see you, too.”

— 3 —

Fast-forward a few days, and my friend (with whom I shared the story of the randomly beautiful Mother Teresa painting in my FB) says, “Have you looked at the parish calendar yet? Tomorrow is September. Just wait until you see!”

Teresa Calendar

I had to laugh. Of COURSE her picture was featured this month. Of COURSE her Feast Day was coming up. If I even knew, at one point, that her Feast Day was in September, I’d completely forgotten amidst the whirling dervish that has been my life as of late. I started joking with my husband that Mother Teresa was like Roz from Monsters, Inc.: “I’m keeping my eye on you.”

— 4 —

And then, as I was looking over my writing schedule, I noticed that I’m hoping to submit something for Dianna about faith-building resources. “Hey,” I thought to myself, “What about that book two different people gave us last year that we haven’t even read yet?” I picked it up and looked at the cover. Sho’ nuff.

Left-hand side sporting the sari. Yup.
Left-hand side sporting the sari, y’all. Yup. That’s Mother.

— 5 —

And then, I’d promised to bring our neighbors dinner because her father died recently, and they were returning on Monday from his out-of-state memorial services. I’d really been looking forward to hearing Fr. Gaitley speak that evening in the next state, but quickly realized I wouldn’t be able to deliver the meal AND make it on time for the talk with an hour and a half drive to get there. It was then that I suddently remembered the Glory Story about Mother Teresa, who learned the “Gospel on five fingers,” as her mother explained it: “(1) You (2) did (3) it (4) to (5) me.” My stalker happens to be an excellent “brass tacks” kind of catechist. It was, what you parenting types might call, “a teachable moment.”

If you can't feed

— 6 —

And then, yesterday, we had our “30-days-to-go-until-the-conference” core team meeting. I kid you not – this text (which I apologize is tough to read) came through in the middle of our meeting:

The text reads: "USCCB: CallToPrayer: May the witness of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta teach us that we belong to one another."
The text reads: “USCCB: CallToPrayer: May the witness of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta teach us that we belong to one another.”

— 7 —

There you have it – pretty much 7QT about Mother Teresa – a blessed soul who, once invited, loves to show up to the party and hang out with you. All the time. In various and sundry ways. These experiences have honestly made the Communion of Saints come alive for me in a way I’d never experienced (at least on this level) before.

Oh – before you leave, and in honor of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta – I humbly invite you to prayerfully consider donating to help this young man obtain a service dog that will greatly aid in his quality of life. Because, as Mother has shown me over the last two weeks, we really do belong to one another.

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Por mas Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7QT: It’s All Good!

7QT: It’s All Good!

Oh, hi! I’m here for the 7 Quick Takes link-up! What’s that, you say? The 7QT link-up was two (almost three, but who’s counting?) days ago? Oh. Ah. Well. Hm.

Hohhkaaaay … Well, no worries! I am gonna do it anyway, especially since this week’s theme is, “It’s All Good!”

'Nuff said.
‘Nuff said.

— 1 —

Sign up for daily devotionals today!
Sign up for daily devotionals today!

I’m super excited to be part of the new Blessed is She apostolate, with daily devotionals rolling out tomorrow! Just between us, I feel a little like an interloper, writing posts alongside some super established and amazingly talented individuals. Be that as it may, the real star is the Word of God, which truly is both living and effective. I have no doubt lives will be transformed through regular meditation and contemplation of Sacred Scripture through this endeavor. Come on over to Twitter tomorrow night at 9 p.m. EST for a live chat celebrating the launch! #blessedisshe

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— 2 —

Pacific NW peeps: Catholic Women Rejoice is having its 3rd annual conference September 27. The organizers (all super sweet and holy) are generously offering a Labor Day Special that ends, you guessed it, on Labor Day! From the CWR Facebook page:

Now through Labor Day, register 3 ladies and get the group discount of $35 per ticket! Normally the group rate is for 5 tickets, but grab two friends and get the group rate for just 3 tickets!

Head on over to the website and sign up. I promise you won’t regret it!

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— 3 —

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Speaking of conferences, the first-ever Catholic Women’s conference in Alabama is coming up October 4th! Called to Love was recently featured in the Archdiocesan newspaper, in the blogosphere, on the radio, and I’ve heard tickets are going fast! Register before the Sept. 4 deadline here!

— 4 —

The fact that RealCatholicMom.com is now an actual thing had to make my list because it just makes me so very, very happy. I’ve got a new graphic for my Vintage RCM posts. woohoo!

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And also, things are rolling along with the new Celebrating Real Catholic Women series. I have some really exciting interviews coming soon, so … squee … stay tuned!

— 5 —

I think this Fall may go down as The Season of All the Guest Posts and Link-ups for Real Catholic Mom. In addition to posts at Blessed is She, I’ll be guesting over at my friend Krystin’s blog about homeschooling, and at The Kennedy Adventures about faith-building resources for our families. I also have aspirations to link up soon with Amanda over at Worthy of Agape for her awesome What Marriage is Teaching Me series, and with Gina at Someday Saints for her inspired Embrace the Ordinary project.

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Who knows? Y’all might just get sick of me and fire me from the interwebz.

Time will tell.

— 6 —

Okay, so this guy is amazing, and his absurdly transcendent talent makes me happy. See for yourself.

— 7 —

Our son’s godsister turned us on to Drag & Gary this past Friday, and even though I have a bizarre sense of humor, I think you’ll thank me for suggesting you watch this clip featuring the incomparable Matt Maher.

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I laughed until I cried. My children asked what was wrong with Mommy. You’re welcome. 🙂

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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