Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Ten Easter Eggs in the Wild and TEE and me on Inkygirl

I'm on Inkygirl (Debbie Ohi's blog). Hop on over to see how my manuscript turned into a novelty book!

And here it is in the wild! I hope they have boxes of it in the back because I'm doing story-time and book-signing at 11 am Apr. 8th at the Mount Pleasant Towne Center. See you there!  

Friday, March 24, 2017

Reading Amy Krouse Rosenthal RIP

I've been reading so many good books and have to share a few. 

Amy Krouse Rosenthal died ten days after the publication of her Modern Love essay. Heartbreakingly beautiful. I am thankful for putting into words what I've often pondered myself. I remembered how much I loved her picture books. Imagine my delight at seeing how many more she'd published since Little Pea. It was such a treat to have a AKR read-a-thon. I think my favorite is I Wish You More. Requiescat in pace, Amy. I wish -- no, I pray -- you heaven now and forever more.

Other books gave me much enjoyment. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon was a delightful love story between a Haitian girl and a Korean-American boy. I enjoyed the conversations the kids had, reminiscent of the conversations Michael and I shared as we ate Ferdinand's ice cream in the afternoons on the campus of WSU. I laughed so hard over the depiction of the Korean family. I think some things are common to all immigrant families.

I love a good historical and The Mapmaker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy was a rich imagining of the life of Sarah Brown, daughter of abolitionist John Brown. McCoy alternates the Sarah chapters with the modern-day story of Eden, a woman struggling with infertility. The two stories intersect beautifully. The book asks what it means to be a woman, to be childless. I kept thinking how much these characters would've appreciated Pope St. John Paul's II apostolic letter On the Dignity and Vocation of Women.

It's been a tough week with relentless migraines. I hate losing writing days. I don't think Jules minds though. It's easier to rub her pretty belly than write. Praying for relief. Michael wonders how I manage to read but at times like these, when taking a shower seems like a major accomplishment, books like these make me happy. Thank you to all the writers who tell their stories. Never give up!


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Meets, Movies, and Music

How convenient! The three or four things I wanted to write about all start with an M. I have a fondness for alliteration. I'm finally caught up for a little while ... until the next deadline and it feels wonderful.

It's been busy with track season in full swing. Here's my girl! I'm so proud of her. I can no longer run so I take pleasure in the kids who do. This is what we do Wed. evenings. We miss Stations, soup, and choir practice, but we are able to pray and practice at home. We'll be singing Byrd's Mass for 3 voices again for Laetare Sunday.


Max is finished with robotics and they did so well in their competition, placing 20th out of 70+ teams. Each year they have improved. Right after, he participated in the intergenerational forum/debate. I was so impressed with the young men and women who competed and was very pleased with Max's points even though he did not win first place. Later he had a chance to speak with Senator Grooms and he complimented Max highly.


This Sat. we all slept in with robotics behind us. Rugby is still in session but we had a bye week. So Michael announced he'd like to take me out on a date! We went to see La La Land. The kids had already seen it and assured me I would love it and I wouldn't get a migraine. I've been doing so much better in Feb. so was game. It's been a couple of years that I've stepped into a theatre. La La Land is a modern love story but with the timeless theme of chasing our dreams and what it costs. It could be our story. It's a musical and reminded me of older movies of the 1940s. I may get sheet music for this. The theme song was beautiful but the song I choked up on was when Mia goes for an audition and has to make up a story. She talks about her aunt who inspired her. At first, her voice falters but then it turns into a song, strong and confident: "here's to the dreamers, here's to the heartache, here's to the mess we make." Indeed.

Coincidentally I read a few thoughts by Christopher West in the Catholic Miscellany. He said, "We’re often afraid to feel that deep “ache” of our hearts because we intuit that to feel it is to lose control of our nice, orderly lives. Yes, that is correct. In Christian terms, it’s called surrender or abandonment to God. Those who have the courage to feel the abyss of longing in their souls and in their bodies and open it up in complete abandonment to the One who put it there will, indeed, have “messy” lives … but messy in a beautifully hopeful way." 

I have always believed that our deepest regrets come from not pursuing the dreams God has placed upon our hearts. Falling in love complicates things. I've always believed that people are more important than things but to follow a person, you should have lifelong commitment, like marriage. For when it comes to dreams, it is far better to chase them together than apart. I think this is why my writing dreams are so sweet, because I am doing them with my family. As the children predicted, I did not get a migraine. Thanks be to God! Later we went out for Vietnamese Pho. Heaven!!! I've missed this so much. 

This is how I usually watch a movie: at home with a kitten purring on my lap :) I have to  entice them with their favorite toy because that's what they love best. We've watched many good movies but the big screen is a thrill, especially when there's beautiful choreography.

I've also been reading a lot of good books but I think this is enough for one post. But I must mention TEN EASTER EGGS. It's Lent, but if you wait until Easter, the books will be gone, even though the Easter season lasts 50 days. So if you have little ones in your lives, might I suggest it for their Easter basket? Happy Pi day :)

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Writing and the Spiritual Life

In my email box I receive some choice quotes from the Bible and from the saints on a particular topic daily for Nineveh 90. Fr. Heilman has been including a meditation and in the past few days they've been from the writings of Fr. John Hardon. I'd never heard of him but his meditations are so beautiful, I decided to look him up and what a treasure I find in his archives. I recently bought a book for Max: How I Stayed Catholic at Harvard by Aurora Griffin: 40 Tips for Faithful College Students and one of her tips includes daily spiritual reading and writing (mine usually includes the pets). She references an article online by Fr. John Hardon. I love how God makes me pay attention. There are no coincidences. So without further ado, some quotes from Fr. Hardon on Why Write?

We have in life to master our minds, to control our thoughts. Writing disciplines the mind.

Writing controls and enables us to master our thinking. With our thoughts in control, as we know, every thought leads to a desire. Every desire leads to an action. Every action leads to a habit. Every habit shapes our character. And our character determines our destiny. It all begins in the mind.

Cardinal Newman explains why more people do not write. The reason, he explains, is that “I have to read what I have written. I must look at myself as I really am.” Writing is a mirror of our minds. And what we see, we blink [at]. What fool wrote this? I must see the vagueness of my thinking, the inconsistencies of my logic, the triviality my life; and the experience is humiliating.

Writing cultivates the memory.

Writing provides us with a moral inventory. St. Ignatius Loyola stressed the importance of a daily review of our conduct and it put into written form.

...writing in the spiritual life is so important to cultivate the art of speaking.

Too often we speak without first thinking. But we cannot write without thinking.

...“why write?” For the practice of charity in sharing our souls.

Oh dear. So many quotations. I cut out a few. Do yourself a favor and read the article. God bless and happy writing!