18 Apr 2015

Celebrating "Celebrate Teen Literature Day"!


Posted two days ago at String of Pearls:

It's still National Library Week, and I'm still running a giveaway here at the blog.  Leave me a comment anytime before midnight on April 18, and you could win one of two prizes: a signed copy of my first novel, Finding Grace, or a signed copy of my second novel, Erin's Ring.
This is a good day to talk about these two books, because today has actually been dubbed "Celebrate Teen Literature Day," and both of my novels fall into the teen/young adult (YA) category.  (Although don't let the YA tag deter you from reading them if you're a full-blown adult; I tried to write these stories in such a way that they could be enjoyed by readers from middle school to middle age.)

When I set out to write Finding Grace, I wasn't even sure it would ever be officially published as a book, with a glossy cover and professionally printed pages.  I thought that when I finished, I might run off copies for my boys, so that when they had children of their own, they could hand my homemade book down to them. (Then wonder of wonders, Cheryl Dickow agreed to give the manuscript the imprint of her company, Bezalel Books, and a work of fiction that I thought would only be shared amongst my family members was listed on the Amazon mega-site.  Life is amazing!)

I had no grandchildren when I began work on Finding Grace in August of 2007--but by the time I completed it in December of 2011, I had become a grandmother to identical twin girls.  I have five grandchildren now, and counting; and if any of them grow up to be readers, I hope they will enjoy and feel inspired by their Grammy's books.

Over the years during which I was raising my sons, in the '90s and '00s, I noticed a disturbing trend: the amoral secular mindset, with all of its anti-God, anti-organized religion ideas, was creeping into every corner of the entertainment world.  Moral relativism was becoming the order of the day--on TV, in movies, and in books.  As I have always been an avid reader myself, from the time I was a young, impressionable girl, I wanted to write something that might be a sort of antidote to that kind of poison--a book that might actually inspire teens to swim against the tide and fight the good fight.  Inspire them to achieve what has always been a difficult task, even before the world became so God-less: to become saints.

To read the full post, click here.

Assumptions tell a Different Story

Catholic Spirituality – Scripture and Tradition.
Forty years ago I was challenged by a Canoness. I had just finished a weekend course on personal prayer at the retreat centre that I ran in North London when the Canoness struck. She wasn’t just any Canoness, but a Canoness of the Holy Sepulchre. Her dedication to liturgical prayer had made her somewhat dismissive of personal prayer which she felt was all well and good for the laity, but not for semi-contemplative nuns like her, whose spiritual meat and drink was primarily and almost exclusively ‘the prayer of the Church’- the corporate expression of the faith of the community.

Shortly after I had founded the retreat centre, where I had given the course, I went to Franciscan Italy to prepare myself for the task ahead. I spent some time in the hermitage of Fonte Colombo high up on the hillside overlooking the Rieti Valley, where St Francis had completed his rule in 1223. It was here that I first came across the words of the great Franciscan reformer, St Bernadine of Siena. So that nobody would ever forget them, he had written these words in capital letters around the sanctuary where the liturgy was celebrated each day. They were meant to remind his friars of an important spiritual truth that they would teach to others. The words were written in Latin, but anyone with a smattering of the Romance languages would be able to understand them - “Si Cor non orat, in vanum lingua laborat.” – “If the heart does not pray, then the tongue labours in vain.” These words were a constant reminder for his followers for generations to come, and not just for Franciscans, but for Jesuits and for Carmelites, like St Teresa of Avila, and St John of the Cross, and for other orders too too, and for all who looked to them for inspiration and guidance.  read on.....

17 Apr 2015

A Novena and a Giveaway

The plight of the persecuted has never been more dire, yet most of the world has remained silent---a deafening silence!  My heart has been heavy with wanting to help those who are suffering the unimaginable.  They are constantly on my mind and in my prayers.  While I have tried hard to shield myself from the graphic photographs, just reading about the atrocities has flooded my mind with images that I can't forget.


Many nights thoughts and fears have consumed me. Perhaps fear is not the correct word. I do not fear, I know that the gates of Hell shall not prevail. I know that my God has already won. I know that Christ is risen, and in Him I shall never die. God always prevails and provides. However, the feeling of evil closing in around us has greatly saddened my heart.

Read more on Veils and Vocations.

16 Apr 2015

Dark matter and dark energy will probably be in the news — science news, anyway — quite a bit over the next few months. CERN's upcoming research, using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), pretty much guarantees that. (April 10, 2015)

The Dark Energy Survey, an international team of scientists, gave a second-year report on their five-year project this Tuesday. They are mapping the universe, tracing the effects of dark matter and dark energy: or whatever is pulling — and apparently pushing — galaxies and galactic clusters into position.

Other scientists, studying galaxies about 1,400,000,000 light years away, collected and analyzed data that may help us understand dark matter....

...The universe, although not yet perfect, is a place of beauty and order. Since part of our job is taking care of this world, learning how the universe works and developing tools is not just 'allowed.' It's part of being human....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Kokedama Ball and Prayer

A kokedama ball is one in which a plant is encased in a mud 

pie, which is then encased with moss, which is then tied with twine.

The plant, which should have grown into a much bigger plant, has been changed.
It is now a bonsai plant.
It will live and survive in this ball of mud, moss, and twine for the rest of it’s life.
No longer will this plant be able to grow to its fullest potential.

However, it is still a work of art, a miniature work of art which can only be defined by the size of the ball in which it lives
St. Therese of Lisieux talks about the beauty of God’s Garden.

Read More at:: Prayerfully Yours

Oh Mother...The Victory.


What victory is this, that all suffering that we suffer now will pass away, and every tear, every pain along with every joy, and shout of praise will bring to fruition the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God.

I have seen the victory, and it is wondrous.

In a moment at God's will I was shown the end....TO READ MORE..CLICK HERE!

Threads of the Resurrection (Luke 24:35-48)

The power of the Resurrection--the Risen Jesus made present in your own life.  Have you seen Him? Where? When?
These were the questions posed to me yesterday, and three life moments immediately came to mind.
The first--eighteen years ago..our 5 year old daughter had just been diagnosed with cancer.
We were standing out in the hallway, just feet from where she lay in her hospital bed, but not visible to her.
"The two disciples, recounted what had taken place along the way..They were startled and terrified."
Here we could talk about what had just happened, what was happening--how scared we were. Here we could finally break down, let out our pain.  Both of us, sobbing, collapsing, falling to the floor, alternating between strength and weakness, holding each other up. "I can't do this. We can't do this!" I cried. Our fear was so great--incomprehensible to a young parent--never a part of our overall plan.  Life was spinning out of control and we were no longer sitting at the wheel--if indeed, we ever really were.
"He stood in their midst and said to them, 'Peace be with you...Why are you troubled? 

15 Apr 2015

If not now when?

IF NOT NOW ...
WHEN?


Praying for Our Priests

Father John Hardon, SJ, writes about praying for priests. “Prayer and Sacrifice for Priests.”  Father Hardon says,

“In a single sentence, the most important reason we need the priesthood is: without the priesthood there cannot be the Eucharist. Without the Eucharist there would be no Sacrifice of the Mass, no Holy Communion, no Real Presence of Jesus Christ on earth, where He continues His work of salvation in the world.”

The article can be found at:: www.michaeljournal.org/pray for priests.  This article is well worth the read.
Please step back and read that sentence again.  What does this say to you?

Read More at:: Prayerfully Yours

An interview with The Priests at St. John’s Food Pantry: International singing stars with the hearts of servants

Originally published in The Catholic Free Press on April 3, 2015

**********************************************************************************

WORCESTER–March 27, 2015.

It was not your typical Friday at St. John’s Food Pantry in Worcester. As some five hundred of the city’s poor streamed in for a hot meal, three new faces greeted them. These men radiated warmth and kindness as they dished up generous portions of scrambled eggs with ham, Belgian waffles, and various meats and vegetables to grateful patrons.

Surprise guests

Most could not have guessed that they were being served by world famous singing stars The Priests. That very night the critically acclaimed group would give a concert at the Hanover Theater to a near capacity crowd.


Click here to continue reading. There are two videos of The Priests plus an audio version of the full interview.

Happiness Tips for When You're Blue

On the news this week it was reported that 11% of Americans were on anti-depressants. That’s sad! We were made to be happy, and we wish it for others, saying “Happy Easter, Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas.”  Why aren’t so many of us happy? Of course, we can blame the theological reason: original sin that stole heaven’s bliss from us. Still, some modicum of happiness is within reach here on earth. We know the joy that comes from a job well done, a surprise party, a newborn baby, a gorgeous nature scene, and someone loving you. Experiences like those leave us bubbling over with happiness. There are stretches of time when we are content, at peace and enjoy getting up in the morning. Joy evaporates, however, when tragedy strikes, stress builds up, or failure darkens our life. Sometimes we might feel blue for no identifiable reason. At such times we might cry, wish we hadn’t been born, try to drown our sorrows in alcohol, or hate getting out of bed. Click to continue

Why I Don't Like the Word Brat, But I'll Still Tell You to Read a Book That Uses It

Brat- noun

1. a child, especially an annoying, spoiled, or impolite child (usually used in contempt or irritation)
I was able to do some reading on our recent trip to Texas, and I woke up with a headache early in the morning one day, and read this book, pictured, cover-to-cover. It’s short and very readable. In fact, over all, I really liked the book, It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way, by Ginny Seuffert, published by Seton Press. This is the first book by Seton Press that I have read.

In the end, I was very glad I read this book. It helped some friends of mine to get their kids on track about an eating schedule, so that they’re no longer eating out of boredom, or always begging for snacks.  It also gave me clarity about confident, consistent parenting, such as ideas for bedtimes, and wisdom for frugal parenting (especially in their later, teenage years). These and other things were very helpful to hear discussed from a Catholic perspective.

Hearing encouragement about taking kids to Mass was also very helpful and on-par. She discusses ways to keep them in the pew for prayers, even after Mass, and how to get them familiar with the  responses in Mass. 

Read the rest at {Picture a Skyline}

A Flying Novena

Do you remember Flight 800?  It was the jet that exploded over the Hudson river in 1996.  I had a ticket on that flight!  My dream from when I was very small, maybe 3 years old, had been to study in France.  I learned everything I could about the language, nation, and culture. I pleaded with my mother to send me to a boarding school in France, like my heroine Madeline.  I collected every Madeline book and trinket and dreamed of one day strolling down the streets of Paris.  When I was a junior in college, my chance finally came.  I was required to study abroad for my major. My father booked me a non-stop flight to Paris and a three night hotel stay in Paris, so I could live my dream before heading to school in Reims. I could not have been happier!!  Then, the Sunday before my scheduled departure, I had a complete panic attack like no other panic attack in history. I was up the entire night wondering how I could explain to my parents that I couldn't board that plane. 


Read more on Veils and Vocations.

14 Apr 2015

Things about Jesus and Prayer...

Rising very early before dawn, he left
and went off to a deserted place, where He prayed.
Mark 1: 36
Even Jesus prayed.
The second person of our Triune God,
prayed.

 Jesus prayed.

He prayed in a deserted place.

Often, He would pray early in the morning or all night.

"In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed."
Mark 1:35
 
Read More at:  His Unending Love

A Few Random Thoughts


The Grace of the Resurrection

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Easter and had a blessed Lent! One year I was feeling sad at Easter because I felt like I could have done a better job taking advantage of the grace available during Lent. The Lord encouraged me however and told me, "There is even more grace available with the Resurrection!" So, if you are one of those persons who could have taken advantage of more  grace during Lent, you have another chance during this Easter season! 

Continue Reading @ Beautiful Thorns>

Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

Schools in Sierra Leone reopened today, having been closed since the Ebola outbreak in July. According to an NPR report, "more than one-third of the 10,000+ deaths have been in Sierra Leone."

When this year's harsh winter closed schools for several days in a row, some parents joked about how grueling it was to be trapped at home with stir-crazy children. Very few of us reading this blog can imagine what it's like to experience nine months of closed schools, especially amid a health crisis claiming thousands of lives.

Not that long ago, in 1991, Sierra Leone faced another horrifying crisis: civil war. A month ago, I had the opportunity to listen to a survivor of that war. Ishmael Beah, author of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, was forced to become a soldier in Sierra Leone at the age of thirteen.

Photo courtesy of Brookfield Academy
Ishmael visited my children's school, where his book is required reading for the ninth graders. Students, teachers, alumni, and parents packed the gym to hear him tell his story. Sierra Leone culture cherishes storytelling, and Ishmael carries on his country's tradition powerfully.

Please join me at Praying with Grace to share two lessons Ishmael taught that relate directly to our work as parents.

13 Apr 2015

In Quietness and in Trust

For thus said the Lord God,the Holy One of Israel,
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
A message from the Lord, right on time, as usual for Him.

I don’t remember now what prompted the memory of the phrase “in quietness and in trust”, but it was there, and I was compelled to find the reference.  I ended up reading all of Isaiah chapter 30.
Not five minutes later, I received a text with information that accelerated my pulse, and threatened my peace of mind.  And doesn’t the devil know just where to hit?  I had to take a deep breath, and talk myself down by reminding myself that my strength is found in quietness and trust, and my salvation is found in returning to the Lord, and resting in Him.


Read the rest of this post at New Things

Beatitudes of the Beautifully Weird

Blessed are the weird, for they shall see life as no one else can.

Blessed are they who don't fit in, for they have a special place to fill.

Blessed are they who are rejected because they are different, they reflect the true beauty of God.

Blessed are they who are alone because they are different, for through them shines the light of God.

Blessed are they who are not included, for they are close to the Heart of God.

Read More at:: His Unending Love


Protestants’ Reactions to a Catholic Writer

I am proud to proclaim I am a Catholic.
A saved, born again, Spirit filled lover of Jesus who expects to be accepted by Protestant lovers of Jesus because I am a sister in Christ.
BUT, my culture and way of expressions seems odd to Protestant ears.
So I am misunderstood.
Perhaps in the Body, the Protestants are the feet and mouth carrying the Good News and as a Catholic I am an ear.
I might not look like I belong but trust me, although I look foreign I AM part of the same Body.
May my small acts of unity reverberate throughout  the entire Mystical Body of Christ.

Theology of the Body Thursday #18: RFRA Out-of-context


There has been tons of debate and anger over the last couple weeks aboutIndiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In defense of this law, some people are trying once again to defend the Church’s teachings regarding homosexuality outside of the context of the overall Catholic view of sex.
In 1971, a Catholic laywoman coined the term “seamless garment” to describe the Catholic defense of life from womb to tomb. I would like to adopt this phrase in regards to our teachings on sex and sexuality. No part of our teachings on sex make any sense outside of the context of the whole. The Catholic defense of sex needs also to be seen in terms of a “seamless garment.”...

12 Apr 2015

Find God in the...


He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake;  and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
1 Kings 19: 11-13
Elijah found the Lord in silence.

Read More At: Prayerfully Yours

A Priest Saved My Life Tonight



The Priest says, "...This is my body."

And it is. 

"...This is my blood." 

And it is.

It is His body and His blood, He is truly present.

How can I describe what this feels like to be present when the Priest sets down the Eucharist on the altar after this moment. .

If one could be in the center of a......

Revolting Faith is No Match For the Divine Mercy of Jesus!

Phillipines statue of Jesus depicting Divine Mercy overlooking immense gardens
Live Divine Mercy with boldness, not with indifference!
Ever feel like you're a good enough spouse, a good enough parent, or have good enough faith? Ever stop trying to do better because you're good enough as you are? There's an obvious wake up call as we read Jesus' the words to Saint Faustina for the 9th, and most difficult, day of the Divine Mercy Novena: 

"Today bring to Me The Souls Who Have Become Lukewarm and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: 'Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.' For them the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy."
The powerful words beg reflection on times we've been indifferent or lukewarm in our relationships and in our faith, all the ways we've cheated loved ones and the Trinity when we should have honored them. Baring our souls and knowing the pain our indifference caused Jesus in His most difficult hour should make us it made me want to run and hide as Eve did when she found herself naked in the Garden of Eden; however, because of Jesus' Divine Mercy, we have no need to run and hide.

To read more about Jesus' Divine Mercy and what it means for you, please join me at Single Mom Smiling.  

Thank you and God Bless...

The Door of Mercy


'Before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy.'
Jesus to St. Faustina

Death at Garissa University, Sin, and Consequences

About 150 people stopped living on April 2, 2015, in Kenya: Thursday of last week. They were killed at Garissa University College.

Quite a few folks are upset about this.That's reasonable.

(From AP, via Al Jazeera, used w/o permission)
("Several ceremonies to mourn the victims have been held in Nairobi"
Al Jazeera)...
...The body count would have been higher, but the killers were very careful about choosing their victims. After collecting about 700 students, they only killed those who said they are Christians.

Don't expect a rant about those [hated group] who always commit [atrocity of the day]. I think that's as foolish as making excuses for members of [approved group] who behave badly....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

A Lukewarm Faith is Revolting

Souls of lukewarm faith caused Jesus more suffering than any other and can leave one looking back from darkness. Thank God for His Divine Mercy

The Novena Before the Feast of Divine Mercy began on Good Friday, and as I picked up the pamphlet following Tenebrae Service and began to read, I was struck by Jesus' words to Saint Faustina concerning those lukewarm and indifferent in faith,
"These souls cause Me more suffering than any others; it was from such souls that My soul felt the most revulsion in the Garden of Olives. It was on their account that I said: 'My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass Me by.' The last hope of salvation for them is to flee to My Mercy.
What a powerful statement! Just look at what Jesus says.
Those soul cause Jesus, "MORE SUFFERING THAN ANY OTHERS."
 
On Day 1, Good Friday, we pray for "All mankind, especially sinners." On Day 3 we pray for, "Those who do not believe in Jesus and those who do not yet know Him," and on Day 5 we pray for those who have left the church.

Those of us who have had a loved one deny our relationship or who have watched a loved one walk away despite our best efforts to Love can only begin to imagine how hard it must be for the Father to watch His children leave the church; yet, it is not those who have turned their backs denying their inheritance who have caused more suffering than any others, but those who say they believe while living their faith halfheartedly, those giving lip-service to the vows of faith while cheating the Lord when they think He's not looking or when a "better offer" pops up that caused Jesus the most suffering.

It was from such souls that the Lord's soul, "FELT THE MOST REVULSION..."
For the rest of the post on the Revulsion of a Lukewarm Faith and our gratitude for Jesus' Divine Mercy, please join me at Single Mom Smiling.

Thank you and God Bless...

11 Apr 2015

Divine Mercy Sunday and Prayers for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

The souls in Purgatory have always been dear to me.
Since they can no longer help themselves,
they rely totally on others to help them in their intense purgatorial sufferings.
It is only through
Acts of Mercy,
such as
prayer, Mass offerings, charitable works offered up, sufferings offered up,
that their sufferings are relieved
and,
frequently,
they are released from the bonds of Purgatory.

On Divine Mercy Sunday,
the infinite Love of God is released to His children on earth.
His Mercy flows to all of us
and,
can flow
through all of us
to those on earth who need our help
or
to those who have died and are waiting their release from Purgatory.

Read More at:  Prayerfully Yours

Ethnic Images of Mary


We are accustom to beautiful images of Mary picturing her as a white, European. However, she was from the Middle East and most likely looked Middle Eastern. Artist’s models and concepts of beauty are influenced by their culture. 

Now artists are emerging who are painting Mary as if she was born in their country because they can relate and connect better to the living Mary when their prayer is triggered by an image they are familiar with.

 The results are stunning, opening our hearts and souls to different qualities and graces of Mary.

continue reading

10 Apr 2015

When God Takes Over and Works in Our Lives, We Just Have to Step Aside, Trust and Let Him be God! And Lessons Learned.

My day started with a rude awakening
at 3 AM.
My tooth had been hurting,
and I had been to the dentist earlier in the day.
This was 3 AM,
and
my tooth was throbbing.
I don't remember pain like this.
Nothing seemed to help,
but,
at long last,
the Tylenol kicked in and took the edge off.
I slept fitfully until 5 AM.
The pain was raging again.
This time,
I showered
and waited for my dentist's office to open.
I had to miss Mass, but this pain was more than I could handle.
I was told to come right in.
The dentist would deaden the pain, and then we would see what he suggested.
The xray the day before had shown nothing was wrong with my tooth.
 
 
Read More At:: His Unending Love

Large Hadron Collider: There’s More to Learn

The world's largest and most powerful particle collider, CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC), is back in operation.

Scientists will be studying conditions like those just after this universe began: at about twice the energies they used back in 2013.

I'm excited at the prospect of learning more about the workings of matter and energy: and news about the LHC is already starting to get goofy.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

9 Apr 2015

Peace Be With You

A Reflection on John 20:19-31
A Reflection on John 20:19-31
On the evening of that first day of the week the disciples had returned to the Upper Room.
The doors to the outside world were locked, and the disciples were together, but they were still very much alone. They were alone in their thoughts and in their fears. They were separated from the very person that had brought them together originally.  Their teacher, who just days ago, had taught them both humility and service by washing their feet  and  then breaking bread and sharing the Passover meal with them in this very room was now dead.
The man they called “Master”...

'Unless I see the mark of the nails . . .' Sunday Reflections, 2nd Sunday of Easter, Year B

The Gospel of John (2003) dir. by Philip Saville- John 20:19-31  Today is now known also as 'Sunday of Divine Mercy' and in some English-speaking countries as 'Low Sunday'.

Gospel John 20:19-31
 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.  Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”  Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.”  Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”  Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah,the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Apostle St ThomasJusepe Martínez, c.1630 Szépmûvészeti Múzeum, Budapest [Web Gallery of Art]
I carry a scar on one of my hips from surgery when I was 17. I can't even remember which hip. But the scar is there, along with a couple of smaller scars from accidents when I was young. I hardly ever think about them. But they are there.

St Thomas's instinct was right: Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe. He knew that if the Lord was truly risen he would carry the scars of his suffering. And he carries them for all eternity. Full post here.

8 Apr 2015

Erin's Ring Giveaway

I was so thrilled to receive this photo recently, via text message, from my niece.  She's a 5th grade teacher at a Catholic school out in the Midwest, and she's having her students read Erin's Ring--my second YA novel, published by Bezalel Books in November of 2014.
I'd love to see Erin's Ring, a story about "the legacy of love and the power of faith," get into the hands of more kids like the ones pictured here (and their parents, too--it's a book for all ages).  Therefore, I'm hosting a giveaway on my blog.  In honor of National Library Week, which is April 12-18, I'm giving away one copy of Erin's Ring, along with one copy of my first Bezalel novel, Finding GraceHead on over to String of Pearls to find out how you can enter to win.

The sign of the Cross



To Love the Unlovable. To Pardon the Unpardonable. G. K. Chesterton

"To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable."
G.K. Chesterton

This is the Divine Mercy of God.
 
For though we are unlovable, 
we are loved.
 
For though we are unpardonable,
we are pardoned.
 
Therefore, we are entrusted to love  all
and
 forgive all.
 
This is
 Divine Mercy.
 
Read more at:  His Unending Love

Trusting God with St. Therese now in audiobook format


Audio-Cover
After three months of work, Trusting God with St. Therese is now available as an audiobook on Audible.com. My narrator, Betty Arnold, is a Catholic homeschool mom in California. Her family runs Pro Multis Media. Betty was great to work with and I think she did an excellent job with my book. Pronouncing all those French names was not easy!

If you sign up to be a member of Audible and make my book your first purchase, Betty and I both receive a small bonus that will help us continue to stay home with our kids. The audiobook is over seven hours long. If you have a long commute or like to listen to something during your workout, you can now grow closer to God at the same time!
Listen to a five-minute sample on my blog.

I Didn't Want to Read My Bible

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I wanted to live in the Hope of the Resurrection,
not in the reality of the trials that follow.
I sat in the big comfy chair in my living room ready to enjoy the predawn quiet, a cup of freshly brewed coffee with plenty of extra cream on the small table by my side and my Bible, journal, and sharpened pencil in my lap. I was ready to begin my "Coffee with Jesus," time as the boys and I call it. This morning I was to begin 1 Timothy, but I just couldn't bring myself to open The Book.

I'd never had this problem before. Oh sure, there have been more days than I care to admit to that I just skipped my Bible reading because I had other things I just had to do or because I had woken up later than I'd intended. Reality is, as much as I don't want to admit it, I know there will be more of those days where I'm just, "too busy," ahead.

But for me to have the time and just not want to start, to have woken up early enough, to have all the boys still sleeping in darkness, to have an extra couple of days off from my teaching job, and to just not want to read the Bible was unexpected and thought-provoking, and instead of reading, I found myself reflecting on Holy Week.

Please join me at Single Mom Smiling for my reflection on Holy Week and to discover why I didn't want to read the Bible - and why I knew I would anyway!
Thank you and 
God Bless…

Tearing the Veil before God's Presence

A woman attending my Bible study commented that she never knew the meaning of the veil of the sanctuary being torn at the crucifixion. The next Sunday, our pastor began his homily speaking of this veil. In the Jewish temple there was a veil separating the rest of the space from the Holy of Holies, the room where God dwelt. No one could enter the Holy of Holies except the high priest once a year on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The rest of God’s people were restricted to different spaces: the Court of the Women, the Court of Priests, and the Court of Gentiles. They had no direct access to God. The veil being torn in two has profound symbolism. By his death, Jesus made it possible for all of us, not only the high priest, to stand in the presence of God. Click to continue

7 Apr 2015

Imagine

Imagine a place you’ve never seen before, a place you might not have believed was real.  A place covered in a mist so thick that you cannot see your hands or your feet, yet, it’s solid and real.  Imagine a place of great suffering, filled with the cries of longing, moaning, and groaning, but a place of incredible joy!  Imagine a place where, before you entered,  you had seen the Face of God, and now, your longing for God causes such great pain, you fear your heart will break.  Imagine a place where the pain is so great, you know that if the skin was burned off your body, leaving only raw nerves exposed to the air, you would feel less pain.  Imagine a place where a fire burns so coldly that the pain caused to your body by a hot flame would be a welcome respite.

The time for merit is over when we die.  We know that God is a God of great Mercy.  What we often forget is that God is a God of Justice, too.  Justice must be met by each of us in our judgment.  One of the gifts of God’s Mercy, in the expiation of our sins, is Purgatory.  Purgatory is a place of final cleansing for our souls, so that one day, when we have paid our debt to our merciful and loving God, we will meet Him face to face, never again fearing Hell, but knowing that we are safe and in Paradise.  satan is no longer a threat to our immortal souls.  We rejoice!

Read More at::  His Unending Love

John Paul II: My First Pope Crush

Here he is.
"Karol Wojtyla-splyw" by Unknown [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
Yes. That's my beloved JP2. It's OK, you can love him too.

On April 2, the world marked the tenth anniversary of his death. Pope Francis encouraged us to keep up our conversation with the Polish pope, asking him to "intercede for us, for families, for the church so that the light of the Resurrection shines through all of the darkness in our life and fills us with joy and peace.” It makes sense to continue to talk to Pope John Paul II--to pray--just like we did while he was still living among us. Sunday's brilliant celebration of Easter reminds us that Jesus has conquered death. Death is no stumbling block for us; when our friends pass away, we know they live in Jesus Christ.

Read about three other popes and the love of Jesus Christ at Praying with Grace!