7 Quick Takes: The I-Stink-At-Discernment & More Edition

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes: The I Stink At Discernment & More Edition

— 1 —

It’s official. I ultimately decided that leaving the BlogHer Network was in my best interest. This wasn’t an easy decision. I had exchanged several gracious, back-and-forth emails with a manager over there who was nothing but supportive of my blog, my pro-life views, and my writing.

Likewise, the candid yet charitable dialogue following my initial post about Komen, BlogHer, etc. impressed me. On Facebook and elsewhere, there were women who did not share my opinions yet were open to them. All the conversation that ended up happening in my humble, little space was a beautiful thing. There was no vitriol hurled in anyone’s direction – just candid and even compassionate talk. I am so grateful for this because I haven’t always experienced that kind of charity in the online world.

However, after lots of waffling and talking with my husband who kept asking, “Do you really need all of this drama?” – um, with three little girls who have perfected the art of histrionic melodrama, the answer is an emphatic no – I chose to leave the Network.

I want to thank everyone for their support. I also have ideas percolating about the possibility of starting a Christian blog publishing network, but I have to decide if this is the right season in my life for all of this.

I also want to stress that this was a very personal decision. I know there were some other Christian bloggers who were a part of BlogHer who were discerning their next move as well after I wrote about feeling like I needed to take a stand. We all have to do what’s best for us. As I mentioned in the combox after the original Komen post, I had and have no intention of making other Catholic and/or pro-life bloggers who are in the Network feel like they are conscience-violators if they stay involved. BlogHer is powerful; it needs diverse voices. It just felt right for my own voice to step away from that particular platform. I’m pretty sure I made the right decision because as soon as it was official, I felt at peace and like a load had been lifted.

— 2 —

All of this brings me to the topic of discernment. I stink at it. Stink really isn’t a strong enough word, but this is mostly a G-rated blog. It’s easy enough to choose between something that’s good and something that I know isn’t good for me or my family, but what about when I’m faced with deciding between two things that aren’t inherently bad and may even both be good for different reasons?

We could take the creation of a Christian blog network as an example. Some amazing, Godly women have approached me about helping with the development of such an entity. It excites me. It really does. I also know that this would be a good, powerful thing.

Yet, my husband has been really encouraging me to take a step back from all the “extras” in my life. He reminds me over and over that it isn’t only okay to be “just” a mom and wife, it’s my vocation. I’ve had to turn down some recent writing opportunities because I don’t want to wake up years from now in an empty home suffering from pangs of regret about not soaking up these years of young motherhood more. I also don’t want to be a hypocrite who encourages my fellow mamas to give their children focused attention while shooing a little one away from my laptop, so I can finish telling others how they need to cuddle with their babies.

Blogging was supposed to be primarily a hobby, but sometimes lately it can feel more like a job. In fact, if I’m completely honest here, my decision to leave BlogHer was not completely noble or based upon my passionate pro-life views. My husband has been inviting me to consider approaching my blog as more of a website – not a space where I feel like I MUST write every single day or even blog three times a week (a rule I gave myself somewhere along the way). I know BlogHer understandably has guidelines for publishing frequency so that its advertisers will be getting regular traffic, so I felt like it might take a little pressure off me to leave the Network and to just see my blog as a space to write when my life allows rather than a revenue source.

The irony is I never intended to be a Catholic writer. I was a secular health journalist hoping to write a novel someday, but God kept nudging me along and giving me opportunities to write about my faith, and I’ve found my faith needs to be more of a verb than just an adjective. Writing helps me put my faith into action. Yet, I still really do  long to write that novel.

You may be seeing why discernment is so challenging for me. I go off on these ridiculous tangents. I brood. I over-analyze. It’s the melancholic in me.

Anyway, I gave a speech recently, and a beautiful, generous friend of mine told me I need to keep using the gifts God has blessed me with to do His will and to spread the Good News. Her encouragement was a gift, but it confused me, too, because sometimes I think I ought to be more hidden – or more content with the hidden life of motherhood instead of seeking to do more or be more. See, I’m a person with big ideas who is surrounded by little people who care more about little things. Can I do both – pursue big ideas and still tend to all these littles in the way they deserve? Some women can, but I’m not so sure I’m one of them.

Lena shared some of Mother Angelica’s thoughts on discernment. Someone asked her a question something like this, “How do you know if you are doing God’s work? Mother Angelica responded, “…does it give honor and glory to God? Is it for the good of the family? What are the fruits?”

Well, writing another book, speaking and sharing my heart and faith, launching a Christian online publishing community – all of these things could certainly glorify God and bear good fruits, but will my involvement in them be good for my family? I don’t have the answer yet. I’m still trying to find balance.  I can’t make my sole identity “mother.” I am first and foremost a child of God. This is my highest calling, so how do I best serve Him while still keeping my sanity?

I’m hoping Lent and more quiet time with the Lord will provide some clarity.


— 3 —

Uh, at this point if you’ve actually stayed with me, you’re probably asking yourself, “Aren’t these supposed to be quick takes?”


— 4 —

Behold basic info button 1 7 Quick Takes: The I Stink At Discernment & More Edition

Have you registered for the Behold Conference yet? It’s not too late. The registration deadline is March 1st. Click on over here for more info. I’m counting the days until March 10th partly out of excitement and also out of slight panic because I still have no idea what I’m going to wear, and now it’s Lent and I really shouldn’t be stressing over finding chic but comfy shoes. I should have hired Hallie (the beguiling fashionista, of course, already has her outfit for the big event) to be my personal stylist. Maybe next time, and I do hope there are lots of next times. I am so looking forward to sharing my heart and my story as well as to be in the presence of so many amazing women. The conference is going to rock!

— 5 —

B is for ballerina in a bucket.

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How’s that for random?

— 6 —

Gratuitous baby shot.

thomas 1024x768 7 Quick Takes: The I Stink At Discernment & More Edition

I have become a total slacker when it comes to taking photos with our nice camera. I pretty much only capture shots with my smartphone these days. This means the photos are frequently blurry but also very real (no extravagant poses or fiddling with camera settings to make for more breathtaking photos). 7 Quick Takes: The I Stink At Discernment & More Edition

— 7 —

In keeping with the Star Wars theme that always seems to finagle its way into my QTs, I’ll close with this photo of my ballerina (who can identify Yoda only because of her big sister’s obsession and is 100 percent girl). Please note Darth in the background. One of my husband’s uncles sent my 7-year-old Star Wars decals for her bedroom wall. She wasted no time in decking her and her sisters’ room with them.


darth and mary 768x1024 7 Quick Takes: The I Stink At Discernment & More Edition

Have a wonderful weekend!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary! And while you’re over there, congratulate her for completing her memoir manuscript. I can’t wait for her book to be published.

Enter the Conversation...

16 Responses to “7 Quick Takes: The I-Stink-At-Discernment & More Edition”
  1. Candace says:

    Oh Kate! I am so melancholic it is not even funny!! When you look at the personality type chart with the 4 types, I am OFF THE CHARTS with melancholy. Ugh. I so get what you are saying about BlogHer!! I have said no to a myriad of things (mostly church/community) type things in the past few years just due to needing nothing to add to my load. For me, thankfully, since I’m such a small blog, BlogHer is not an added stress for me. :) But I totally commend you for saying NO. That in itself is an accomplishment for us types, isn’t it?!? ha!! So, if you are ever lacking for blogging material, I would LOVE for you to write more about our scary personality and how to combat the negative/critical/depressive feelings and moods!! Have a great weekend!!
    Candace recently posted..Dayspring: Everyday Joy

    • Kate Wicker says:

      I have a daughter who is so very melancholic. I’ve been wanting to write posts about how to handle a melancholic personality. You’ve given me great blogging fodder. Now I just have to find the time to make sense of my thoughts (and weirdo personality). :-)

  2. Deanna says:

    Discernment is not easy. Especially when we have so many of our own ideas! I stink at it too. Have a great weekend:)
    Deanna recently posted..7 Quick Takes, Meatless Meals

  3. Diapeepees says:

    Deep Thoughts in Quick Takes.

    So many of your thoughts are the same as all of ours.
    Discernment — there can be so many possibilities, and even when we depend on God, we still need to come up with an answer (and we beg Him to make it crystal clear, because sometimes we are just fogged out!)

    Then the question of how much should we do vs. how much should we not do.

    The balance of devoting all as mothers and remembering we can’t hide behind our motherhood either…

    Lots, lots, lots…
    Diapeepees recently posted..Good Friday!

  4. Jessica says:

    It must have been hard to make such a difficult decision regarding blogging. But it sounds like God was guiding you and something better will come of it.

  5. The main thought that occurs to me as you debate those big ideas is: remember that you don’t have to do them NOW. You can plan for them now, maybe you could encourage other people to do them now, but you can do them later. No wonderful an idea is, I try to make myself step back and wait a while to see if the idea stays with me. I think about it, research it, debate it, consider it, and eventually make a decision that yes, I will do it. But even then, it doesn’t mean I do it right away. It just means that when the opportunity offers, I’m ready to go. But I don’t have to do anything NOW.
    bibliotecaria recently posted..Roundup December 2011

  6. My son loved the picture of your daughter and says he’d like to kiss the owie on her forehead, lol.

    I have found recently that weekly features make it much easier for me to blog without putting a lot of effort into it, lol. I made a goal to blog 10 times in January, and ended up doing 4 bread recipe posts, 4 Monday posts of random stuff I liked from Pinterest, 1 NPN carnival post, and 1 post showing off something I was going to embroider anyway. Oh and 1 post about a commercial that annoyed me. Anyway, I basically only did 2 real posts in the entire month, yet I had more views that any other month before that ever. Go figure!
    Crunchy Con Mommy recently posted..Homemade Pizza Crust and Sauce Recipes!

    • Kate Wicker says:

      I’m definitely checking out your homemade pizza crust recipe. I still haven’t found a recipe that I’m crazy about.

      And oh dear. That does look like a boo-boo on my ballerina’s forehead. Tell your son he’s very sweet to think of her. Fortunately, it’s only a butterfly tattoo.

  7. Dorian Speed says:

    Kate, I am right there with you re: discernment and taking on too many things at once. I’m getting maybe a little bit better?

    I thought you might enjoy this post I stumbled across a few days ago – How to say No . . . especially to things you want to do. A snippet – “I wouldn’t want to return to a world of limited options and pricey information any more than I’d like to return to a world of scarce, expensive calories. But I think we all need a little help dealing with our new circumstances and saying no to things that we want to do.”
    Dorian Speed recently posted..Kairos, Chronos, and Smhzmshzhsmhhzzsh…

    • Kate Wicker says:

      Thanks so much for this, Dorian. I’m definitely going to check it out.

      My dad also just said something simple but wise to me on the phone earlier today. He said that it’s okay to be passionate about more than one thing so long as you know how to prioritize.

    • Kate Wicker says:

      Dorian, the link didn’t work for me. I tried to Google to find the post, but I didn’t have any luck. Any chance you can leave a comment with the URL to it?

  8. Mark S. says:

    Hi Kate! Great post. Discernment. It’s been my life, it seems, over the last 3 years. Intense discernment for the permenant diaconate. I think I needed the 3 years to learn that for me it’s about the tiny whispering voice that I could only hear when I started to pray by being quiet and being in God’s presence wherever I was. He has had a lot to tell me. I wish I had learned to listen earlier and still struggle at times. But He really does lead me and most comes from a certainty He shares in the stillness. I REALLY KNOW how hard it is to find still time. I simply had no other choice but to make it my priority and perhaps my only form of prayer outside of Mass. He taught me and I am learning. He’s there for you too. Always. Just a whisper away. Peace and all goodness to you and your family. Mark

  9. I don’t think discernment is meant to be easy, but the struggle, fear, insecurity, as well as the hope, excitement, and enthusiasm are all part of the process, or the journey.

    I suppose we need to pray for the grace to embrace the entire process, having faith that it will lead us somewhere.


    (btw, cute ballerina in a bucket!)

  10. Sarah says:

    Thank you for sharing so honestly. I had not become aware of your blog until Hallie talked about the Behold conference (which I am so excited to be attending!) and I found your page. I am loving it so much, and am eager to read your book and hear your talk at the conference.

    I too struggle with discernment, though I am a writer on a much smaller scale than you. Your paragraph, “Her encouragement was a gift, but it confused me, too, because sometimes I think I ought to be more hidden – or more content with the hidden life of motherhood instead of seeking to do more or be more. See, I’m a person with big ideas who is surrounded by little people who care more about little things. Can I do both – pursue big ideas and still tend to all these littles in the way they deserve? Some women can, but I’m not so sure I’m one of them.”
    touched my heart in such a special way, because I too, dream of putting more into my writing, but feel torn because I see how it can often interfere with my primary vocation.
    I don’t want to “make it big” perse, but I want to find the time and space to explore the ideas that swirl in my head. Ideas I think are worth exploring.

    Something that I’ve always found helpful in discernment is the Ignatian discernment exercise that a spiritual director in grad school gave me. It’s part of the spiritual exercises that St. Ignatius wrote, and it helped me tremendously when I was discerning marriage to my now hubby. Perhaps something to consider?

    Your ballerina is lovely!
    Sarah recently posted..7 Quick Takes — I Don’t Get It

  11. lena says:

    your little ones are absolutely precious! praise God that you are moving in faith. i would encourage you to take your husband’s lead.

    michele quigley recently posted a related post – http://www.family-centered.com/living/2012/02/16/becoming-a-woman-of-grace/

    “One of things I have been struggling with is the idea of being “hidden”. Of how my calling as a woman called to model Mary should (I thought) mean that I simply live a humble, hidden life.”

    it had me recall the closing remarks of Mother Angelica’s direction on discernment. she went on to explain that we cannot wait for a moment of revelation – we must act in faith. on several occasions she has noted what faith is — “Faith is one foot on the ground, one foot in the air, and a queasy feeling in the stomach.”

    another great piece of direction came from a FSSP priest while at a private evening retreat for 7 women. i have hesitated to repeat his words, in fear that they may be taken out of context. i encourage you not to react but to the let the words penetrate your heart. keep in mind that father spoke in chairty of God and our soul.

    the woman all had the same question, disguised in many forms….”What is God’s will for me?” father listened and directed. still the message was not resonating with his audience, myself included. finally, father sternly responded (as a dad correcting his child would), “You want to know God’s call for you? It’s your husband, your children, and everything else can go to HELL!” WOW! the room was filled with silence. i did not react but meditated on what was said. sure there may have been a softer way of putting it but sometimes we need to hear it for what it is.

    it became very clear to me what father meant by those words — we need to be about the business of our vocation. by doing so everything will be sanctified. if we are not about the business of our vocation then everything will go to Hell — there goes the family, there goes society.

    i pray that the blessed mother will lead us during this lenten season. may she wrap us in her mantel and mold us in her ways so that we can be presented before Him for all eternity.

    Ad Jesum per Mariam,

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