Tuesday, June 11, 2019

BOUND

What joy to see BOUND on the shelves of my library!!! Of course, I'd be even happier if it were checked out. My friends, spread the word. I have prayed that BOUND may find its way into the hands of young women and men, and parents of special needs children, and especially those who really need to read it, who will be transformed by it. I am no marketeer, but a simple writer. Please help me. Ask for it at your library because self-published books will hardly ever get on the radar of librarians. Recommend it for your classroom (13+) or book club. Invite me to come speak with you about it. If you loved it, share it with a friend, write a review. And my heartfelt thanks to all who've done so much to promote it already. It's been nearly a year since I published it and although I told myself I would learn to market, it is a painfully slow process. I did a few experiments in advertising but I don't know what I'm doing. And I confess that I would rather write new stories that are roiling in my head.

I feel an urgency about getting BOUND in as many hands as possible because it is unabashedly pro-life. And we need the ordinary people to stand up for these most vulnerable amongst us--the babies. I've been so thankful to see many states passing "heartbeat" laws to protect babies and their mothers from the horrors of abortion. But other states, Democrat-led, are enshrining abortion as a fundamental right and go as far as to advocate infanticide. However, most people oppose abortion during the last three months of pregnancy when the baby can live outside the mother's womb. I find it strange that people try to make exceptions for rape or incest. Abortion punishes the baby, not the rapist. Of course, it's a great burden upon the woman to conceive a child in this way and carry it to term. Ryan Bomberger has written a very cogent argument for preserving life in all cases: I am the 1% used to defend 100% of abortions.


This is why I wrote BOUND. I took one of the worst-case scenarios and made a case for the dignity of the human person because each of us is fearfully and wonderfully made. We each have a unique role to play. 

Consider that 71 million baby girls have been aborted in China and India since the 1980s simply because they are girls. These missing girls are now missing women, women who would be wives, mothers, teachers, doctors, artists, etc. The men are already feeling this loss. In the US alone, we are missing over 61 million children since Roe v Wade (1973), some of whom would be middle-aged by now. These are our brothers and sisters, our aunts and uncles, our friends. And the carnage continues at the rate of about one every 30 seconds. Worldwide it is a staggering 1.5 billion. I know this is too big a number to comprehend, like numbering the stars, but every one is utterly unique and irreplaceable. This is a huge loss of life--it is unjust, like slavery, like the Jewish holocaust. We must end it.   

This is the season of Pentecost! Come Holy Spirit and enkindle in us the Fire of Thy Love. Send forth Thy Spirit and renew the face of the earth. Listen to this beautiful Gregorian Chant: Veni Creator Spiritus

 

Monday, June 3, 2019

Letting Go, Moving on

Our priest gave a wonderful homily for Ascension. The Risen Christ was with the Apostles for 40 days and He prepared them to receive the Holy Spirit. We, too, shouldn't feel abandoned by God. He is with us! Here in the Church, in the Eucharist, and in the Holy Spirit. 
This Sunday, he preached on letting go. We have a tendency to stay in our old habits and old ways. My life for the past two decades has been dictated by the needs of my family. No longer can I use them as an excuse for procrastinating and not writing the stories God has placed upon my heart. Our younger child is moving on...we wouldn't be here without the help and prayers of faithful family and friends and teachers. Thank you, one and all.





 

 
 

 
 
We love you so much Dagny and are so very proud of you! I can't wait to see what God accomplishes in your life. I want you to always remember that true happiness will lie in surrendering to His Holy will. I let go of you a couple of years ago and into the hands of our Blessed Mother and now I especially ask her most chaste spouse, St. Joseph, to guard and protect you from all evil. God bless you in this next chapter of your life! For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart. ~ Jeremiah 29:11-13
 

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Senior Celebrations

Our cats are having a blast with the graduation cap and gown! They love hiding in it and pouncing upon each other. Endless entertainment! They're also enjoying batting about the Ave Maria balloons! An old era coming to an end, a new one beginning. 



Here is Dagny receiving an award for the visual arts. It comes with a monetary prize! How lovely for her to be able to buy some art supplies to take down to Ave Maria. Yesterday we had the Baccalaureate Mass at Blessed Sacrament. We are so grateful for the Catholic education our children have been able to receive. Because of all the things to know and keep, this faith is the one true thing that will inform everything else. May all these kids grow in faith and virtue! God bless them all and their teachers.   

 
 

Saturday, May 25, 2019

How Our Garden Grows

The kids aren't the only ones around here growing. Look at our garden!!! Michael was inspired to start hydroponic gardening after touring Vertical Roots. We had to dismantle our old gardening space because of termites. As much as I find them fascinating, I don't want them anywhere near our house. They'd eat it! Also, we had lot of trouble with all sorts of worms and bugs eating our plants. Michael is an engineer so you can see the appeal of a system that you can control and regulate. There's a lot of information on it online but we are old school and like having books to consult. Hydroponic Food Production by Thomas Resh is the most comprehensive one we found. 

Michael set up an Aerogarden first (to start plants from seeds). Then he set up buckets and bags filled with pebbles that would support the plant and hooked them all up to a tank of water with nutrients and a pump that would cycle the medium several times a day (it's on a timer). He strung up line to which the plant can take support from as it grows. We are already harvesting cucumbers and squash and soon tomatoes and okra, maybe even eggplant. Obviously, we can't grow root vegetables in this system but having our garden on the porch keeps it safe from the critters. 

This system takes quite a bit of babysitting--the pH (acidity) has to be adjusted and now that it's hot, we have to add about 5 gallons of water daily to the tank due to evaporation. Every 2-3 weeks the medium has to be drained because the nutrients get used up. The expense has been about the same for this as building the fence/raised beds for the garden in the backyard. But playing with hydroponics has been a lot more fun and we think we can tweak the system to produce year round. We'll probably set up something indoors for the winter. 










  
 

We have another bucket system that's quick and dirty for the lettuce. Basically, you start the lettuce in the Aerogarden, then transfer it to a mesh cup that fits in the lid of the bucket. You prepare the medium, balance the pH, and let it be. The roots keep growing down as the water evaporates and you just cut the tops of the lettuce as you need them. You can set up a bucket every week for continuous leafy greens.  


Just like the kombucha brewing has become automatic that we no longer have to take notes, we hope our hydroponic gardening will become more automated. The only danger is that if the electricity fails, our plants could die--it's a risk we take with high-tech gardening. I love that Michael is willing to spend the time experimenting. I love all the fruits of his labor! On our walk the other day we saw these grapes growing--we might have to start our own to make some wine!


Monday, May 20, 2019

Growing, Growing, Gone


Here's Max having a last cuddle with Jules. Time seems to both dilate and constrict in relation to the kids. They are growing up so fast, we only have adults in the household now. And Max is already gone to DC for his internship at the Dept. of Education. I'll be very interested in what he learns there because I've spent quite a bit of time overseeing and supplementing our kids' education and coming to the conclusion that home-schooling might be superior than even Catholic schools. 


And here's my darling girl--18 now--I'd forgotten she always had a thing for coloring until this birthday card arrived from my dear friend Colleen (why yes, the Colleen in Bound is modeled after her and another friend!) I was so happy Max was here to celebrate her birthday and Mother's Day, too. We had trick candles for her birthday but she did manage to blow them all out after much smoke and sparkles and laughter! 






And here are the girls, all dressed up for prom. So lovely!


Tuesday, May 7, 2019

My Most Beautiful Art

My daughter! A friend made this beautiful portrait of her (and yes, it will be framed!). She's been the best gift of all to us and also to her big brother. I have no words to describe all the emotions and longings of my heart...from the very moment we knew of her existence (I suspected I was pregnant while on a hiking trip with my girlfriend) I was in love. And how she's grown!!! Best of all, she is a beloved child of God. My dear Dagny, may God bestow all His blessings upon  you, grant all the desires of your heart, and make you a saint. I love you so much.   

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Winners

Everybody who left a comment on A Conversation with Michael Seagriff is a winner! Thank you, Michael. I know it will be a great blessing to each of you.

It's May and my Max is home from Ave Maria for a short time before he leaves for an internship in DC again. What a homecoming--the dog is deliriously happy but the cats are nowhere to be found.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Hoppy Easter!

Some of you probably know that I sign my book with a Hoppy Easter! If only I could draw cute bunnies, I would. I had a wonderful time at my reading and book-signing at Barnes & Nobles in Mt. Pleasant, Holy Sat. The police officers drew in the big crowd and I piggybacked after them. They're the BEST!

This beautiful weather (and my neighbor's pretty flowers) makes me hop and skip and the lingering sadness goes away for a while. It has been an unusually somber Easter for us with Notre Dame in flames on Monday of Holy Week and just a month prior, another fire at St. Sulpice. I subscribe to Catholic news agencies and GetReligion published an excellent piece on the increase in vandalism and desecrations of Catholic churches. Alas, he points out that it's not reported. Newsweek reports that officials do not know the reason why. Oh please! France is a secular state; they have turned their back on their Catholic heritage. And just as God used Israel's enemies to punish them for turning their backs to Him, unless we repent and return to our dear Lord Jesus, we too shall perish at the hands of our enemies. Arise, O sleeping Catholics! And come home to Holy Mother Church! When the French president spoke about rebuilding ND, I wondered, for what purpose if it isn't to worship in? As a convert, I feel the loss of faith very, very deeply. Where is the France of the Little Flower? Of Bernadette? Of Catherine Laboure? Of Rene Goupil? Of Joan of Arc? Wikipedia mentions 147 of them and these are just the ones who are known! Oh pray for us, all ye angels and saints! My own response is to pray, pray, pray unceasingly for conversions. And look at these beautiful gifts from the Holy Land from my sister to keep me focused!


After all the beautiful liturgies of the Sacred Triduum and Easter Masses, it was a shock to come home Sunday afternoon to the news of the bombings of Catholic churches and hotels in Sri Lanka. They were killed solely for their faith. I consider them martyrs and their blood will be the seed of the church's growth. Already the West has a declining population of religious--priests from Africa and Asia come here to evangelize. Fr. Dwight Longenecker has a good article about it. 

My mother always said we are an Easter people. Even at Christmas, she kept in mind why He was born. To suffer and die for us--the perfect Lamb; to save us all from our sins. And He will be with us until the end of time. He assured us of this on Holy Thursday when he gave us His own Body and Blood and instituted the priesthood. And so I share this beautiful motet with you: Ave Verum Corpus by Josquin, which we had the delight to sing! We only recently learned to sing the chant and although I love both the Byrd and Mozart versions, you can almost hear the chant in the Josquin. I hope we get to sing this again. 

We're having a wonderful Easter break, sleeping in daily, cooking, harvesting the first of our lettuce, reading, writing, watching movies. I pray you all have a very happy Eastertide!


  
 
Ah vanity, vanity! It makes me post these extra pictures :) It *is* a hoppy Easter!