Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Review and Giveaway of BOUND

I first met Carol Baldwin several years ago at the Write2Ignite Conference. So I was delighted to catch up with her at lunch last year during the Carolinas SCBWI (next time we'll have to take selfies). Over the years, I've noticed how generously she supports writers, young and old, and at all stages of their development. She has written an in-depth review of BOUND and is hosting a giveaway on her blog: https://carolbaldwinblog.blogspot.com/2019/01/bound-review-and-autographed-giveaway.html I hope you'll take a look. Thank you! Next week she will share some of our shoptalk.

Friday, January 25, 2019

New Beginnings

I've been blogging for a decade! And I remember how it started--I was soooo excited that Jen had a new picture book: I'm Nocturnal, How About You? There was so much more good news, I couldn't contain it.

And now I'm excited for my new in-person picture book critique group. Mo took the initiative this fall after several of us met at the Carolinas SCBWI conference. The lovely cards pictured below are from her MoMo Collection. We met in Dec. to figure things out and kicked off 2019 with a proper critique meeting. I am soooo impressed with the quality, depth, and diversity of stories. Here's just a small sampling of the published work of Muffet Frische (perfect name for a children's writer!) and Andrew Barton. We are mix of published and unpublished, experienced and new, old and young, writers and illustrators,  with a wealth of collective knowledge. It's a season of new beginnings and blessings!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Notes from the Marian Eucharistic Conference: Fr. Frank Pavone

We are praying to end the horror of abortion and for all who are at March for Life in the 50 States as well our nation's Capitol. And it's fitting to post my notes from Father Frank Pavone's lectures from last year's Marian Eucharistic conference. He formed Priests for Life and works tirelessly to protect the most vulnerable in our society--the preborn. He must meet with thousands of people each year and yet he remembered me from the time I met him in Chicago. So I was happy to give him a copy of BOUND, my small contribution to elevate the culture of life.  

Church and Politics

We have dual citizenship--heaven and earth--and have dual responsibility. We were created in the image of God; we belong to Him. You can be a prince, a lord, a king on earth but you are still subordinate to the King of kings, Judge, the Lord of lords--Jesus Christ.

In our Declaration of Independence, our Founding Fathers wrote about the right to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. These rights come from God. The government is there to secure these rights. 

The fundamental human right is the right to life. The Supreme Court took away the rights of the children in the womb on Jan. 22nd, 1973 and this is why the Church focuses on it and has made it a day of penance. The role of the Church is to equip people to govern responsibly. If you cannot have life, then all other rights are moot. The Church protects life from conception to natural death. You can't be right about healthcare or education if you are wrong about abortion. To deprive one class of people of all rights by killing them off is evil. Why have we learned nothing from the horror of the Jewish Holocaust? Or Slavery? 

Mary, The Eucharist, and the Pro-Life Movement

Mary, the Mother of God had an unplanned pregnancy. The level of fear and surprise is unimaginable. "How can this be?" she asks the angel Gabriel. The angel explains it is God's choice. We have free will and there would be no virtue without it. Mary says Yes to God. "Fiat mihi!" Let it be done to me according to Your will. 

God chooses YOU. He's known you from all eternity. In BOUND, Joy says, "God chose me to be a mother." He is her only defense.

Women get abortions because they feel they have no other choice--it's the coercive power of despair. We give hope. Mother and child belong together. Abortion destroys all relationships. 

Some women have 25 abortions because they have psychological problems, the guilt from the first. They feel unworthy. It's a master trauma, this cycle of pregnancy followed by abortion.

Rachel's Vineyard is a healing center for post-abortive women and also men. They are speaking out, telling others they regret their abortion. They are silent no more.

The biggest argument pro-choice people say is that it's fine for you not to believe in abortion, but don't shove it down my throat. But when someone's choice kills another, it *is* our business. We wouldn't talk like that if we saw a child being abused or other crimes. 

Eucharist is a Sacrament of Faith. The consecrated Host looks, feels, tastes the same. In the hymn, Adore te Devote, St. Thomas Aquinas shows that 4/5 senses get it wrong. But our ears know. "This is My Body." In the smallest fragment, you have the entirety of Jesus. The size of something doesn't impact what it is. Mother Teresa said, "As we affirm our faith in the Eucharist, it trains us to see Jesus in the sick, the poor, the baby in the womb."     

The Eucharist is the Sacrament of Unity. Jesus is drawing everyone to Himself, so we are drawing closer to each other. Everyone receives exactly the same Person, the Risen Christ. He consumes us. The Eucharist brings humanity together. Abortion is diabolical. It severs the central relationship between mother and child. The shockwaves of abortion spread throughout the family--mothers, fathers, grandparents, and siblings--and to the community.

Eucharist is the Sacrament of Love. It is the most misused word. Eucharist restores the original meaning of this word. St. John, the evangelist points to the Cross. God loves us. He makes a sacrifice of Himself. To Love is to give ourselves away for the good of the other person. Abortion uses the other person for your own perceived good. "This is my body." Same words of Jesus but complete opposite meaning. It's about my will/my choice/my right. 

We are winning. Young people tend to be pro-life. Their first picture is an ultrasound of them in the womb. 

I have spoken before how the end of abortion is the new civil rights issue. Abortion targets Blacks and minorities disproportionately. This week's Catholic Miscellany published Being Pro-Life in the Face of Worst-Case Scenario by Sr. Pamela Smith. I hope that is what BOUND has accomplished.   

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Pro-Life Promotion

Michael and I started a novena on Monday and Amazon read my mind about doing a promotion for BOUND. If you need to buy multiple copies for your class, youth group, or book club, now's the time to buy. It can't get any cheaper. I'm also giving the e-book away for 99 cents on all platforms until Jan 23rd. Please share!!!

Here's the prayer copied from Roman Catholic Man. Today is Day 3: 

INTERCESSION: Mary, our Blessed Mother, we ask you to intercede on our behalf for your Son’s grace to soften the hearts and souls of the citizens of America. We pray that our society will develop a Culture of LIFE conscience that respects LIFE through all stages of LIFE from natural conception to natural demise.

MEDITATIONS: Have I ever been too embarrassed to speak up when family members, neighbors and work place members discuss the emotional effects an abortion has on both women and men? Could my voice have made a difference to save a life? Could I have provided any assistance or direction to a person in need?



O Mary, bright dawn of the new world, Mother of the living, to you do we entrust the cause of life: Look down, O Mother, upon the vast numbers of babies not allowed to be born, of the poor whose lives are made difficult, of men and women who are victims of brutal violence, of the elderly and the sick killed by indifference or out of misguided mercy. Grant that all who believe in your Son may proclaim the Gospel of life with honesty and love to the people of our time. Obtain for them the grace to accept that Gospel as a gift ever new, the joy of celebrating it with gratitude throughout their lives and the courage to bear witness to it resolutely, in order to build, together with all people of good will, the civilization of truth and love, to the praise and glory of God, the Creator and lover of life. Amen (Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, 1995)

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Happy New Year!!!

Hello there! I hope everybody had a wonderful holiday and feeling rejuvenated in the New Year. Max has returned to Ave Maria but I'm still listening to and singing Christmas music, learning to play a couple of new carols. Our tree is up and I enjoy watching the cats play with the ornaments. Cards too. Perhaps this tree will last till Candlemas!

It's been so lovely to have a High Mass for The Epiphany as well. Our priest has been giving such wonderful homilies, I wish I could share them all with you. But the biggest reason I've not been blogging is because I'm playing with a new book idea! Right now I'm just happily exploring, writing down the shiny bits. I love this stage for all its possibilities and I'm clearing my plate so that I can dive deep. Already my crankiness level is increasing whenever the real world intrudes into the imaginary. 

I played Saint Name Generator and there was a bonus of an inspirational word. Yay!!! I got St. John Houghton, the first of the English martyrs during Henry VIII's persecution. He really confirmed for me the new idea I'm playing with. And my word was Voyage :) Every new book is a journey!!! But maybe I'll make a physical one too--India! God-willing! I chose a second word just for fun and it was GO!

So, how's the New Year shaping up for you? What new things will you plunge into? What do you hope for this year? I hope you all are staying warm--the frigid fingers from the North keep encroaching into the South. I leave you with: Hail Queen of Heaven, Star of the Sea. Our beloved Stella Maris.