Saturday, March 18, 2017

Book Signing!


Hi Readers! I am having a book signing in Nashville, TN because Handmade Catholic Shop is a proud vendor for IHM Conferences! You will be able to view all our handmade products, and I will be signing books as well. 

Come to Aquinas College on March 25th from 12pm-6pm! Our booth will have a free raffle. It is a great opportunity particularly for homeschooling families and those who would like to learn more about this great method of education. I spent all my high school years with Seton Home Study School, and I highly recommend it! I learned so much about all different subjects, especially the Catholic Faith, and the program was very preparatory for college. 

There are so many methods of education, but when it can be kept in the home it is very formative. Receiving education amidst your family and from your parents growing up is so valuable. At the same time, so much can be learned just by reading books and articles on your own time. And even more can be learned through personal experience and getting through tough times in life. But, I am especially grateful for all those high school and college writing assignments because it helped a lot for becoming an author! 

Visit: http://www.ihmconference.org/tennessee/ for more information about the TN conference. Hope to see you there!

                                                                             ~ Therese

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Celebrating Birthdays


One thing that always bugs me is when people are depressed about their birthday and turning a year older. Growing a year older is a chance to look back on the previous year and thank God for the gift of the life He has given us and the graces that accompanied us amidst the sorrows and joys we have experienced. Birthdays are so special and unique and only come around once a year. They are particularly meaningful for those who are celebrating that person because a birthday is a day to thank God for the gift of that person's life.

I absolutely love birthdays and celebrating them! Birthdays are very important because we are given a chance to celebrate someone who means a lot to us in our lives--someone who has touched people's lives in ways they may never have imagined. It is the day we should really appreciate that person and show we care by spending time with them, giving gifts, and enjoying laughs over a great cake.

Granted I can understand someone not liking all the attention and fuss that a birthday can bring (but why not? ;) It is the one day a year that you don't have to make food or wash dishes or do all the usual chores that more often than not someone will pick up because it's your special day.

So next time you groan because your birthday is here, stop and think that it gives your family and friends the chance to celebrate YOU and rejoice in all the wonderful ways you have blessed them in their lives!

                                                                               ~ Therese


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Three Hail Mary's


Still on the fence with what to do for Lent? Were you over ambitious about what you could reasonably do? Are you suffering a lot already and don't want to add too much? Here is a great simple devotion that has extraordinary merit: the practice of the Three Hail Mary's. The Church has always praised devotion to Our Lady as one of the surest ways to grow in our spiritual life and enter eternal life. St. Alphonsus Liguori said: "A devout servant of Mary shall never perish."

In the 13th century, Our Lady appeared to St. Melchtilde, who was praying for her intercession at the hour of her death. In this vision, Mary asked St. Melchtilde to pray three Hail Mary's morning and night. Each Hail Mary would honor God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost respectively. Our Lady promised in turn to comfort her at the hour of death. 

Words of Our Lady: "The first Hail Mary will be in honor of God the Father Whose omnipotence raised my soul so high above every other creature that after God I have the greatest power in Heaven and on earth. In the hour of your death I will use that power of God the Father to keep any hostile power far from you. The second Hail Mary will be said in honor of God the Son Who communicated His inscrutable wisdom to me. In the hour of your death I will fill your soul with the light of that wisdom so that all the darkness of ignorance and error will be dispelled. The third Hail Mary will be in honor of God the Holy Ghost Who filled my soul with the sweetness of His love and tenderness and mercy. In your last hour I will then change the bitterness of death into divine sweetness and delight."

Pope St. Pius X approved this devotion to recite morning and evening three Hail Mary's in honor of the three great privileges the Holy Trinity granted to Our Lady with this simple prayer to conclude: "O my Mother, preserve me from mortal sin during this day (night)."

"To any soul who faithfully prays the Three Hail Mary's I will appear at the hour of death in a splendor so extraordinary that it will fill the soul with heavenly consolation." ~ Our Lady to St. Gertrude the Great

Have a prayerful Lent!

                                                                              ~ Therese
[Source: Our Lady of the Rosary Library]

Sunday, February 26, 2017

New Shop Website



Announcing the start of our brand new website!! We have expanded Handmade Catholic Shop and decided to launch our own site where people can purchase directly from us! On the new site you will find all the products you already love like scapulars, rosaries, veils, and crucifixes. But we also added chaplets, brand new statues, and one-of-a-kind vintage wall art pieces!

Of course you can also find all my books there too and receive personalized signed copies. There is also a brand new unique note card line that I'm super excited to share. All original photos perfect for every occasion!

We offer free shipping on all U.S. orders ALL the time! And if you sign up for the email list you get 10% off your order! We also continue to give quarterly donations to both the Catholic Church and American Troops overseas. Thank you to our customers!

Where did this new website come from? Well after spending about a year on online marketplaces (you can still find us on Etsy), I decided it was time for a change. I wanted to have a unique look/brand to really showcase the "Quality Religious Items Made in the U.S.A." It also gave me a great reason to launch new products and branch out into wholesale accounts. Just in time for ordering devotionals for Lent!

I hope you enjoy the new design and the ease of ordering gifts for your loved ones from my home to yours! And keep following me on this blog for all the day-to-day stories and adventures in the life of an author/entrepreneur!

Visit the new shop site here!

                                                                                       ~ Therese


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Catching a Monkey


They say that the best way to catch a monkey is to leave a jar of beans out for him. The monkey will stick his hand in the jar and try to pull out the beans. His hand, however, when clenched around the beans will no longer fit through the jar opening. The monkey, very desirous of the beans, will not let go of them, giving you sufficient time to catch the monkey.

It is good to apply this concept to our own lives. If we are so attached to something that we cannot let go of it, our attachments will hinder us from being able to grow. This could be a bad habit, material possessions, greed, etc. With the approaching season of Lent, it is a good time to assess our lives and see what things are really keeping us from growing as a person. It could be as simple as going through our closets, seeing if we can pass on some of the things we have accumulated this past year to give to the poor. Or perhaps we are bogged down in our work, and we need to detach ourselves from being so preoccupied with worldly cares. 

It is a challenge for most of us to just "let go" of things in our lives. With Ash Wednesday around the corner, it is a great time to see what we can manage to move on from in life. There is always something, and it is a good reminder that we will be so much happier if we just drop the beans back in the jar and pursue higher and more important dreams.

So don't be a monkey! Let go of the "beans" in your life.

                                                                             ~ Therese

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Magic of Music


I went to my first symphony orchestra concert last weekend and it was an unforgettable experience. There is something so powerful and moving about music that I never fully understood until hearing a full live orchestra. There were over fifty musicians from both string and band, which created a harmonious and magical sound. When you think about it, the power of a single note is really tremendous because it can convey a wide breadth of emotions when all the notes are put together.

Music, that can be called music in the truest sense, is a means of conveying beauty, truth, goodness, and other intangibles that lift your spirits and make you appreciate the higher things in life. Music, as one of the arts, stems from the soul of man because he is creating something that is connected to what is immaterial---for it is a very consoling thought that the concept of music and song is related to our final end, where all the Blessed praise God in harmonious notes for all eternity.

Now although all this can be said about music in general, it doesn't exactly apply to the concert I attended. While listening to the incredible performance made me think about these things, in reality I really just saw a John Williams concert of his classic soundtrack scores. But in the words of Darth Vadar, it was "most impressive." Multiple pieces from Star Wars were of course the featured songs, as well as scores from E.T., Jaws, Jurassic Park, Close Encounter, SupermanIndiana Jones, and others. It was also a nice touch to begin with the Star Spangled Banner, and I really appreciated a clarinet solo because I am a clarinet player myself.

It is fascinating to me when you put all these seemingly random instruments together that they can create a sound that makes the music come alive. I understand now why composers can be called "musical geniuses" because I think that is what they truly are. I suppose everyone's talents appear in that way when you don't possess that talent yourself, but I think the ability to compose scores is simply amazing. 

I hope all you readers are able to attend a symphony orchestra at least once in your life. It really blew me away!

                                                                             ~ Therese

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Winslow Boy


"Let right be done" is the motto of this 1999 film. I had never heard of this movie and only saw it recently as a recommendation from a friend. It is a hidden gem! Based on a true story, The Winslow Boy follows an English family at the turn of the century. The youngest son, Ronnie, is accused of a crime he hasn't committed, and the family fights to restore his good name.

Based on a play by Terence Rattigan, this story is filled with wit and humor. The dialogue is the best part of the film, or what I would say really makes the film. Every line is so cleverly thought out, and the cast is incredibly engaging.

Catherine Winslow, an activist for women's rights, is engaged to John Watherstone, which we find out early in the film. At the toast for their engagement, Arthur Winslow finds out about the unfortunate occurrence of his son being expelled from the Naval Academy. This leads to a fight of the entire family to bring his case to court.

With much reluctance from Catherine, who doesn't have confidence in Sir Robert, Arthur Winslow and his lawyer Desmond Curry (who's in love with Catherine) are granted a meeting with Sir Robert Morton. This scene is my favorite in the whole movie, where Sir Robert cross-examines Ronnie about his stealing the postal order at the Academy.

The rest of the film is about whether or not the Winslows can sue the crown and have a fair trial. The family receives much opposition because they continue to press the issue. They also are taking a financial hit, which even questions Catherine's ability to marry John, who is no longer supportive of their efforts to clear Ronnie's name. The consequent interactions between Catherine and Sir Robert are witty and an example of a classic budding romance!

It is also interesting to note as a piece of history that the Winslows were Catholic, although not mentioned in the movie, and quite possibly were suffering this injustice because of their Faith. Overall, The Winslow Boy is an intellectually stimulating and witty film, filled with a shining cast of characters, who put on a brilliant performance. I highly recommend it!

                                                                                 ~ Therese