Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas Hope


One of my favorite messages of Christmas is hope. More often than not things do not go the way we planned or wanted, so we have to take life as it comes. We all find this really hard sometimes because everyone wants a sense of security and stability, and when we find ourselves in situations where we have no control it can be overwhelming.

Christmas, as the celebration of Christ's birth, reminds us that God is our only true security. In joy or sorrow, wealth or poverty, sickness and health, God is the one constant in our lives. He alone is unchanging, which is why we need to hold onto Him in difficult times, instead of questioning why He allows things to happen, trusting that all will be well.

The virtue of hope stems from joy. Feelings of happiness come and go, but true joy can remain in the midst of suffering because we are happy with whatever God does. If that is the underlying sentiment in our hearts, it produces hope because we have confidence in God that "all things work together unto good for those who love Him."

Christmas is my favorite holiday because we rejoice and have hope in the Christ Child, Who became a baby for us. God's love is most visible through the Incarnation because it is the event which brings Christ into the world--and ultimately leads to Our Lord's triumph in the Cross and Resurrection.

May we all treasure this holiday time with family and friends, and not let it pass us by year after year. We can all get so absorbed in the cares and frustrations of life that make holidays more difficult, but this Christmas will only come once. 

Merry Christmas!

                                                              ~ Therese 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Christmas Traditions


It's that time of year! You have to pull out all the old Christmas classics and watch them like they are new movies. I just went to see my favorite Christmas film, Miracle on 34th Street (1947 version!), at a local theatre that plays old movies. It never gets old! Everyone's favorite scene in the court room with Mr. Gailey triumphing with his packages of letters is one of the most clever ideas I've seen done in a story. What are your favorite Christmas films?

Traditions are so special, especially the ones associated with holidays. Every family has their unique way of celebrating. One debate that seems to be the most controversial is real or fake tree! But no matter what your preferences are Christmas time has the most beautiful and special traditions. My favorite decorating tradition is putting up our Christmas village. We have a whole collection of St. Nicholas Square pieces. We started with just a little house and added one year after year, until our finished setup takes up an entire room and is quite a picturesque town!

And what about Christmas songs? There are more songs about Christmas than a person can even count. My favorite is "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Christmas songs really get you in the spirit for celebrating and bringing people together. And, of course, the best traditions of all are attending Christmas Mass, whether it be Midnight Mass or morning Mass. Today, Gaudete Sunday, reminds us of the true joy of the season, that is the coming of Christ.

Let us cherish our traditions because they have been handed down to us and remind us that we celebrate this holiday year after year to rejoice in the Savior of the World.

                                                                                         ~ Therese

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Christmas Picture


It's here! The Christmas Picture! Curl up next to a warm fire with your copy of my new novel. This one has been my favorite to work on. It is a Catholic novel with themes about trusting in God amidst suffering and trials, forgiveness of others and ourselves, hope in miracles of Christmas, and valuing family and friends. A message we all need to hear time and again to remember what Christmas is all about.

A brief summary: Lucy Harris has long forgotten about Christmas, family, and God after losing her twin brother, Jim, in a fatal accident. She is given a chance to change that event when she is transported back in time a few days before that tragic Christmas Eve. Lucy tries throughout the novel to save her brother by several different plans and schemes. She also encounters some familiar figures like her old boyfriend, Michael, whom she hasn't seen in five years, as well as some new people like the choir director Maggie and a little girl in a hospital, who both teach Lucy important lessons. You'll have to read the novel to find out if she is able to save Jim and if her character changes by the end of the book!

The Christmas Picture is available on Amazon at amazon.com/author/theresejroberts for $2.99 Kindle edition or $7.99 paperback. Or you can get a signed copy for $8.00 on Etsy at handmadecatholicshop.etsy.com. Get yours for the holidays! And check out the "look inside" feature on Amazon for a sneak preview of the first chapters!

Here's to more brainstorming for the next book! Still trying to decide what my next one will be--probably the second installment of The Amanda Case Files to be available sometime in the Spring. Happy reading everyone!


                                                                                        ~ Therese

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Unprepared for Holidays


Many people say they aren't ready for Christmas, let alone Advent which is here today! Time seems to get away from us. We are all caught up in our own lives with so many concerns and obligations. Naturally when major holidays are upon us, we tend to feel like we just want time to stop so we can catch up and be "ready" for the days to come.

It can be hard to get excited when we feel we aren't ready for holidays, but one of the important messages of the Advent season is hope. The Lord will come and will not delay. Our whole attitude of waiting with expectation tells us that even though we aren't ready, we all still have that longing for Christ at Christmas. In fact, I think that feeling "ready" at all is simply a disposition to be open to whatever God has in store for us in the moment.

It is easy to say that we should be prepared for the holidays and ready when they arrive. It seems a hard task for most of us. Frustration and stress surround us in our daily lives, despite the joy and peace of the holidays. When that happens, we must remember that each day is a gift. There is the old adage "time stayeth not." So if we let these holidays continue to pass us by because we are not ready for them, we will be missing out on the special moments we are given. 

I love lighting each of the four Advent candles in the weeks before Christmas because it reminds us to be patient. We forget that we really have been waiting since March 25th, the feast of the Annunciation when Christ's Birth was first announced. Let us have the spirit of Our Lady this Advent and say as she said, "Be it done unto me according to Thy word."

                                                                                              ~ Therese

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Apple Mill Bakery



Apple Mill Bakery LLC is a brand-new family owned business! Their slogan: "Homemade. Made from Scratch. Everyday. Just the way it should be" says it all. At the heart of their baking is bringing you quality foods for affordable prices by using only the freshest ingredients. Say goodbye to processed food, and say hello to pastries like your mom bakes!

I ordered their rugelach cookies which arrived safely and quickly. The cookies melt in your mouth! They are soft and flaky with a delicious cinnamon taste that makes you want to eat the whole tin in one sitting. To top it off, the cookies come in beautiful tins with a classic style. There are six kinds of cookies/bars that all look very tasty.

I highly recommend this new business and encourage all the readers out there to try their goodies for upcoming holiday celebrations. Not to mention, their desserts are perfect for year-round occasions! Their products include cookies, pies, breads, cheesecakes, and more. Local and online prices!

There is nothing like supporting a business where the owner loves what they do. Small businesses show us time and again how a true passion and dream can be turned into a reality through the support of others. So, follow on Instagram or Facebook, and check out their website: applemillbakery.com!

And have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

                                                                                     ~ Therese

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Month of the Poor Souls


November is the month we especially remember the Church Suffering, or the Poor Souls in Purgatory. The Church gives us special devotions for each month of the year as well as days of the week to strengthen our Faith and focus on important truths. (Note: there is some variation as what is assigned for each).

Months: 
January: Holy Name of Jesus
February: Holy Family                                 Days of the Week:
March: St. Joseph                                       Sunday: Holy Trinity/Resurrection
April: Blessed Sacrament                            Monday: Holy Ghost/Poor Souls
May: Blessed Virgin Mary                            Tuesday: Holy Angels/Apostles
June: Sacred Heart of Jesus                       Wednesday: St. Joseph
July: Precious Blood of Jesus                     Thursday: Holy Eucharist
August: Immaculate Heart of Mary              Friday: Passion/Sacred Heart
September: Seven Sorrows                        Saturday: Our Lady/Immaculate Heart
October: Holy Rosary
November: Poor Souls
December: Immaculate Conception

This month we are encouraged to offer extra prayers for our deceased relatives, friends, and all the faithful departed that they may soon enter into eternal rest. This practice helps us grow in charity and generosity by doing good works for those who are in most need of our prayers. When those souls are granted their reward, no doubt they will remember us in prayer before the throne of God. Let us remember the Poor Souls year-round, but especially in this month of November particularly dedicated to them. 

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescant in pace. Amen.

                                                                                  ~ Therese



Sunday, November 6, 2016

America's Game


There's nothing like the game of baseball. It's the one sport that really hits home and resonates with every American. Everyone lives for moments like a grand slam at the bottom of the ninth with two outs and two strikes. The World Series is most exciting when you reach game seven. I'm not a Cubs fan, but they sure deserved their victory this Series. 

There's something about the stadium experience that reminds you of being a kid. The hot dogs, ice cream, popcorn, and cracker jacks, wearing your teams shirts and hats, singing at the seventh inning stretch, and cheering for the home runs are some of the greatest moments. Every moment, every smell, every cheer is all part of that thing called baseball.

One of my favorite memories is being at a Yankee game (my favorite team) and sharing their shutout game. Or the time we had free tickets in box seats and could actually see the players. Loyalty to a team gives you hope. It makes you believe against odds and in a sense follow something bigger than yourself.

Baseball is America's game. It's part of our past and part of our legacy, and will continue on as long as there are people who love the game.

                                                                                        ~ Therese

Sunday, October 30, 2016

New Shop Products



Some updates on Handmade Catholic Shop!

First, thank you to everyone out there who has purchased from the shop! Your orders have enabled us to make two quarterly donations to the Church so far, and we also reached 50 sales last month, so we sent out a large care package with lots of black baseball caps and warm socks for our soldiers, along with hand-written letters to thank those who are deployed! Thank you for your purchases that make these gifts possible!

Second, we have some new products! We just listed new rosaries to our shop! You can now choose from gray/silver, navy, turquoise, white, and green, in addition to the other seven colors we already have. We also particularly chose to add a rosary for Our Lady of Fatima for the upcoming 100th anniversary of her apparitions. There are 12 centerpiece options to choose from as well!

Third, our future thoughts. We recently added chapel veils, available in two styles, both white and black. In the next couple months, our goals are to add the following products: Catholic stationery, cross-stitch bookmarks, Christmas ornaments, and wooden crucifixes. They are all still in the works, but some will be added by Christmas and others will be added in the new year. 

Lastly, our shop growth. It's always amazing how God leads. This shop started out as a simple hobby, just making a few scapulars and rosaries on the side. Then I thought of chapel veils and added them. And all of a sudden I had all these ideas for more products. It got me thinking, perhaps God wants this as a full time business. I would appreciate your prayers that the business grows, and I am able to give glory to God through making these sacramentals and providing them for all who come to the shop.

Side note, I am still writing, but the shop has taken more of my time lately. I have half of my next novel, The Christmas Picture, finished, and hopefully it will be done in December or January. I have two books planned for 2017, one in the Amanda Case Files Series and the other a royal romance novel. So, look forward to those!!

That's all the updates for now! Thanks for reading! 

                                                                                           ~ Therese

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Friendship


I was looking for a good picture about friendship, and I saw this shot I took of chocolate chip blondies. Does that go with friendship? Well maybe not, but it gave me the thought of friends being sweet and as exciting as a great dessert. ;)

Friendship is one of the best things in the world, and true friends are a rare find. When you have one, you should never take it for granted. Having someone in your life who you can talk to about anything is invaluable. A good friend wants what is best for the other. They will the highest good possible for their friend.

For myself, I've been blessed with many amazing friends. Friends who have been there for me in times of trial, friends who have shared similar interests together, friends who have supported me in whatever ideas I tried to put into action, friends who have spent the greatest times together making memories, friends who have most of all remembered me in prayer and have been united with me in the Faith.

Having a friend is the most precious gift. To have good friends, you also have to be a good friend, meaning you have to make sacrifices sometimes. This may mean calling your friends out once in a while if they are wrong about something significant, and helping them to continue on the right path. Or it might simply mean being there no matter what for your friend when they need you.

Sometimes we might feel really alone, when our friends don't always come through. That is the best moment to remember our friends in Heaven--the saints. They are our true friends too, and desire above all else that we enter Heaven to be with them. We should concentrate always on becoming close to the company of saints. I heard once that the reason we are particularly devoted to certain saints is because they actually are very close to us and pray for us often.

Lots of times when we move away or develop other interests, we lose touch with certain groups of friends. Sometimes this just means we are growing and going in a new direction with our life. But more often than not, we are just making excuses for not taking the time to stay in touch. We shouldn't pass up good friends lightly and make the extra effort or go the extra mile to preserve our friendships.

Here's a great quote that sums up a true friend by William Shakespeare: "A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow."

                                                                              ~ Therese


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Family Vacations


Everyone lives very busy lifestyles, and coordinating schedules can be nearly impossible sometimes. When each person has a million things to do, it seems like quality time together rests on the bottom of the to-do list. Free time for one person is hard enough, try combining ways for everyone to spend time together.

Family time is really important. Setting aside time for family and friends means the people in your life are your priority, rather than the work in your life. One great way to do this is going on vacations together. Getting away from stress and day-to-day worries by spending time in a relaxing place is the best medicine. Not only is it a good way to release from work, but more importantly it is a great way to be with family.

Maybe you can only do this once or twice a year, or maybe you can't get somewhere because of work or finances. But whatever you can do to spend time even at home, it's important to make sure you have that time together. Life is too short not to make time for family. Family is everything. 

What I take away from every vacation spent with family is that each person in my life is irreplaceable and special to me. Spending extra time together reminds me that I wouldn't trade those moments for anything. The people you share your life with makes you the person you are. If you have kids in your life, their joy is contagious. If you have elderly parents, you are able to take care of them like they did for you. If you live with your siblings, you share a lifetime of memories.

God puts you in a particular family for a reason because they will help you get to Heaven and you can help them get there too. Be grateful for the people around you, even if close quarters can sometimes cause friction. Not everyone is close to their family, but family is family. They should always be in your thoughts and prayers, and if you can, spend as much time with them as possible.

Make time for those important moments. They pass by too quickly.

                                                                                   ~ Therese

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Little Flower


Everyone loves St. Therese of Lisieux. She is the favorite saint of millions of Catholics, and her Little Way is known throughout the world. The saint has granted countless favors to men and women, assisting them in their sufferings and helping them grow in love for God.

Her teachings on sanctity have made her recognized as a Doctor of the Church. So many see her ideals of growing in heroic virtue through the everyday ordinary moments as the perfect way to advance in union with God. 

It is amazing that a young cloistered nun hidden away from the eyes of the world can become the saint that everyone asks for help, only some short years after her death. Her witness has inspired so many and proves the invaluable worth of an individual soul, who can accomplish so many extraordinary things for God.

My favorite thing about St. Therese is her peace and joy in the midst of so many sufferings. She endured very heavy trials and persevered in fidelity to the Faith. She shows that the Cross is the way to Heaven, and we are called to embrace the difficulties we experience in life as opportunities to become holy and save souls.

I want to share a poem of St. Therese that helps us remember to take one day at a time, one moment at a time, not thinking too much of the future.

~ My Song for Today ~
by St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face

My life is but an instant, a passing hour.
My life is but a day that escapes and flies away.
O my God! Thou knowest that to love Thee on earth
I only have today!

Oh, I love Thee, Jesus! My soul yearns for Thee.
For just one day remain my sweet support.
Come reign in my heart, give me Thy smile
Just for today!

Lord, what does it matter if the future is gloomy?
To pray for tomorrow, oh no, I cannot!
Keep my heart pure, cover me with Thy shadow
Just for today.

If I think about tomorrow, I fear my fickleness.
I feel sadness and worry rising up in my heart.
But I'm willing, my God, to accept trial and suffering 
Just for today.

O Divine Pilot! Whose hand guides me, 
I'm soon to see Thee on the eternal shore.
Guide my little boat over the stormy waves in peace
Just for today.

Ah! Lord, let me hide in Thy Face.
There, I'll no longer hear the world's vain noise.
Give me Thy love, keep me in Thy grace
Just for today.

Near Thy divine Heart, I forget all passing things.
I no longer dread the fears of the night.
Ah! Jesus, give me a place in Thy Heart
Just for today.

Living Bread, Bread of Heaven, Divine Eucharist, 
O sacred Mystery! That Love has brought forth
Come live in my heart, Jesus, my white Host,
Just for today.

Deign to unite me to Thee, Holy and Sacred Vine, 
And my weak branch will give Thee its fruit, 
And I'll be able to offer Thee a cluster of golden grapes
Lord, from today on.

I have just this fleeting day to form
This cluster of love, whose seeds are souls.
Ah! Give me, Jesus, the fire of an Apostle
Just for today.

O Immaculate Virgin! Thou art my Sweet Star
Giving Jesus to me and uniting me to Him. 
O Mother! Let me rest under thy veil
Just for today.

My Holy Guardian Angel, cover me with thy wing.
With thy fire, light the road that I'm taking.
Come direct my steps, help me, I call upon thee
Just for today.

Lord, I want to see Thee without veils, without clouds,
But still exiled, far from Thee, I languish.
May Thy lovable Face not be hidden from me
Just for today.

Soon I'll fly away to speak Thy praises
When the day without sunset will dawn on my soul.
Then I'll sing on the Angels' lyre
The Eternal Today!

(Taken from The Poetry of St Therese of Lisieux)

Happy Feast of St. Therese!

                                                                                 ~  Therese

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Leaf Season


Everyone has a favorite season. Each one offers a completely different feel. Spring gives the new flowers, summer the warm sun, fall the leaf colors, winter the snow. In a calendar year we experience the four seasons, and it reminds us of the beauty of God's creation and the passing of time. It also keeps life interesting, and the seasons hail the coming of important days throughout the year.

Fall is definitely my favorite season. The cool, crisp air, the wearing of sweaters, the trees changing colors. Everything about it is so refreshing and exciting. Not to mention the best holidays are around the corner like Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is always such a relief after really hot summer days. I always look forward to the cooler weather and calm breezes that fall brings. 

Fall also has many food traditions and customs. Apple cider, apple pie, apple crisp, apple turnovers . . . did I mention fall brings apples?? One of my favorite traditions growing up was going to pick apples in an orchard. It was so much fun to choose all the different kinds and climb the trees, or even better be lifted by someone taller to reach them. 

Then there's pumpkin carving, pumpkin pie, pumpkin seeds. And of course leaf season! Red, orange, and yellow leaves all in the brightest forms. As a kid I always jumped in the piles of leaves my parents raked up, or pick out the best ones and save them in a book.

Fall used to mean back to school for me like it does for so many. Now that I'm out of school, I like fall even better. Haha, just kidding, sort of. :) But sometimes that means new clothes or new shoes, or just old favorites that make you feel warm. It also makes you think of fall break and going home for the holidays.

Fall to me is just filled with so many traditions, good foods, and beautiful weather and countryside. And as the days get colder and darker, today marks exactly three months till Christmas, awaiting the coming of Christ's birth. Let us be grateful for all the little moments in life and the joys that life has to offer. Sometimes it's just the simple things that make us happy.

                                                                                                ~ Therese

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sully


Based on the true events of January 15, 2009 in New York City, Sully is a movie about the heroic moments of the crew on U.S. Airways Flight 1549. 

In my opinion, this film was really well done. I remember when this event happened in New York City, but it kind of goes out of your mind after all the news is over. I am really glad someone made this into a major motion picture to capture those heroic moments of Captain Sully and his crew. 

One of my thoughts going into the movie was how will they turn a few brief moments in the air into a great film? Well the filmmakers and actors achieved that excellently. I think the most effective means of doing so was splitting those moments into flashbacks of the actual event leading up to the full-blown scene of the plane landing in the Hudson. 

I also think the plot was well designed by having different perspectives of the event. From the cockpit, to the passengers, to the bystanders, to the rescuers, to the airport towers, the plane landing was captured from every angle. This was a very well-used plot device, as well as the film's good casting and witty dialogue. They also made the cast look a lot like the real people, which is always a nice thing too.

My favorite character was the First Officer Skiles. He didn't get as much credit as Sully, but his job was equally important, and I liked his clever comments throughout the film. One of the best lines was at the very end of the movie when one of the investigators asks him what he would do differently if he had to go through that plane ride again. Skiles says, "Yes, I would do it in July." 

There's something about seeing an event turned into a movie that brings the situation to life if you haven't experienced it. For myself, I appreciate much better the incredible way in which Sully saved all those 155 lives that day in 2009. It is great to see the stories of unsung heroes, who should continually be remembered for their bravery. 

I would recommend this film as a tribute to the miracle that happened that day.

                                                                                          ~ Therese

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Never Forget


We can all remember where we were the day of September 11, 2001. It was a day that everyone will never forget. I was only in elementary school, and I remember being sent home early. I remember the chaos and uncertainty and sadness of it all. Our country had been attacked, and many lives were lost.

There are so many amazing stories of that day, as well as tragic ones. There were some who escaped the tragedy, and surely thank God every day for that miracle. But many did not make it out of the towers, and we remember them very specially in our prayers. We also remember their families, who are still suffering from that loss.

We never forget the heroes who ran into danger in order to save lives. The New York City policemen, firemen, and emergency responders. They knew the risks and the cost, but they went in anyway. They saved many lives, and some lost their own in the process. 

That day was a tragic day for our nation, but at the same time, some of our darkest hours can also be the greatest moments for our heroes. Our country continued on that day. We saw the sacrifices and bravery of so many. Despite the tragedy, people pulled together. Despite the loss, many were saved. It taught us to guard our freedom and liberty more closely, and to stand together with our country against her enemies.

We will never forget the sacrifices of countless individuals on that September 11th fifteen years ago. We pray for those who were lost, and we remember those who gave their lives.

                                                                                               ~ Therese

P.S. Don't forget our active duty military still fighting in the Middle East, and send your letters to the Troops!



Sunday, September 4, 2016

Waiting


Waiting. That is one of the hardest things for everyone to do. Yet, it seems like one of those things that impacts all parts of our lives. We have to wait in traffic, we have to wait on lines, we have to wait for food to cook, we have to wait on people, we have to wait on important decisions.

It can be so difficult when we just want to have things now. We want answers to problems, or immediate gratification from something we are trying to accomplish. I know I am the worst at leaving projects unfinished because I just want to see that end result. And we wonder why can't things in our lives just move a bit faster?

But, why are we in such a rush for everything? We live in an age that wants everything yesterday. Things have to be done faster, more efficiently, and more advanced than ever before. Progress is good, yes, but the rat-race mentality can get to us sometimes, and you wonder why so many people are overly stressed.

Waiting, when we accept it well, is a wonderful way to grow in patience. St. Teresa of Avila says, "Patience obtains all things." Surely we have experienced this in our lives, that when we waited for something it was all the better upon receiving it. I think waiting also goes along with the virtue of perseverance. You are willing to make sacrifices and keep trying in order to obtain what you desire. 

When we become so impatient during times when we have to wait, I think we are focused too much on the future. Having to wait for someone to give exact change at the grocery store, can make us ask questions like doesn't that person know I have somewhere to be and my time is valuable? You almost want to give them the extra money, just so you can check out sooner. 

But what about God's timing? He is the author of time. We have to remind ourselves that part of His providence is His timing. God cares about each moment of our day. They are all significant. Maybe he wants us to wait in lines because if we got out a moment sooner, we could have been in an accident. Okay, maybe it's not always that drastic, but God is active in our everyday lives, and sometimes He just wants us to wait. 

Ultimately, our whole lives are a kind of waiting. We are waiting in anticipation of what we hope will be ours one day, that is eternal life. And that will be one unending day. No more waiting. Only the eternal "now." Maybe all those times we have waited will be the most valuable to God because instead of getting frustrated, we used them as opportunities to grow in hope, trust, and love of God. 

So next time you are stuck behind someone driving really slow (one of the most frustrating moments of my days) just choose to be patient and say a little prayer that you can accept all the trials sent to you as from the hand of God. 

                                                                  Have a great Labor Day weekend, 
                                                                                                      Therese

P.S. Do you like my backwards clock? ;)

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Giving Back


Giving back. This is such an essential part of our lives that we tend to forget or undermine. The motivation behind sharing with others is our own gratitude. If we are grateful for what we have been given, then we are willing to give to others. When God blesses us, it is important to share those blessings. God loves a cheerful giver.

We say that because we work so hard for what we receive and accomplish that it's impossible to part with it to share with someone else who hasn't worked for it. That is a falsehood because we could be that person who doesn't have anything. It is only because God is good that we have anything at all. We can never have so little that we cannot share something with others. Even if it isn't our wealth. We can share our love, our joy, our time. There are many ways we can sacrifice and give of ourselves that really pleases God. 

There are so many wonderful charities we can support who really appreciate our offerings. I can recommend a couple religious orders who are in need of donations. One is the Benedictines of Mary in MO (http://benedictinesofmary.org/home). They just shared a new video with requests for funds for their new church. I've been there before and they are a wonderful, joyful, traditional community. Another place in need of funds is the Carmelites in PA (http://www.friendsofcarmeljmj.org/) The Sisters are trying to build a whole new monastery because their old one is falling apart. Anything you can do to help either Community, I know will be greatly appreciated!

Finally, I wanted to share that thanks to all your purchases on our Handmade Catholic Shop, we just sent our first donation to our local parish from the 10% profits of our first three months. Thank you to all our customers who have supported the shop. It's thanks to your orders that we can send funds to Catholic Churches. We are also only about ten sales away from sending our care packages to the American Troops through operationgratitude.com. It takes about two months for them to get the boxes overseas, so they will probably have our packages around Thanksgiving, which will be really nice. 

Again, let's remember to share what God has given us with others. If we can share monetarily, that's great. But more importantly, through our prayers and sacrifices we can help others as well. At the heart of every gift should be joy and gratitude. 

                                                                                         Happy Sunday, 
                                                                                                 Therese

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Amanda Case Files


It's here! The Amanda Case Files No. 1: Old Manor Mystery!! Five long months of writing, editing, proofreading, formatting, and designing, and it's finally done! Only $9.99 paperback and $4.99 Kindle edition on Amazon!

I really enjoyed writing this book. It was fun to lay out a mystery, plant clues, and make characters look suspicious. I've always loved watching mystery movies or reading mystery books, but I never imagined how much I would enjoy putting one together!

There are a lot of characters in this book. Lots. Nearly eighteen are named and most of them are significant to the story. I threw in several plot twists and some red herrings, which will keep you guessing throughout the story.

My favorite character is probably Sam. He's a funny, laid back, typical teasing brother. My favorite chapter is the banquet toward the end, where all the suspects are gathered together and fear another murder. 

I already have ideas for more books in this series. It will probably be a 3-5 book series. Maybe the second one will take place at a hospital or a bed and breakfast. You can also look forward to another novel, my Christmas book in December!

Here is an excerpt from The Amanda Case Files!

PROLOGUE
_______________


    A long, horrifying shriek peeled across the great halls of Anderson Manor. The sound was deafening and echoed very deeply, creating a moment tense and eerie.
   The young heir to the estate came running out of his study. “Where are you?” Timothy Anderson called.
    The reply revealed she was presently in the front parlor room.
    Tim arrived quickly, only to be abruptly taken aback by a motionless body on the designer carpet. A thick kitchen knife was plunged firmly through the chest of the dead man. Tim recognized the victim immediately as the manor’s faithful gardener, Geoffrey Reid.
    Tim spoke first saying, “Not again. He makes the second person in two weeks . . . ”
    “I no longer believe the first one was suicide,” Margaret Anderson answered.
    “Someone is after the treasure,” Tim whispered.


Hope you enjoy the story, and be sure to spread the word! My author page link is: amazon.com/author/theresejroberts!

                                                            Good luck guessing the killer ;) 

                                                                            ~ Therese

Sunday, August 14, 2016

A Writer's Style


A writer's style is as different from one to another as their handwriting. It is always unique. You may be similar to other authors, or imitate your favorites, but your style of writing will always be unique to you. I think opening a book is like opening a window into the author's life. A book will say something very definite about its author--and that's a good thing. It makes stories perpetually interesting and original.

I've had several people ask me, "how did you write a book?" I think that's like asking an artist how they make a painting, or an athlete how they win a race. It's hard to explain per se. Obviously through a lot of time and prayer. But I would say, two things invariably go into your profession. Talent, as given by God, and practice, as what you put into it. The way to get better at writing is to keep writing.

They say the worst reason you can set about writing a story is to make money. Because that will come through in your book. You won't put your heart into it. Your thoughts and goals will be centered on dollars and sales. That's not why you should publish a book. The most important thing about writing a book is telling and sharing a good story.

How you go about putting that story on paper will be different for each writer. For myself, I never know how the story is going to go until it's finished. My goal is five pages a day, or twenty-five pages a week, or one hundred pages a month. So, even if I have no idea what to write, I sit down and write those five pages--whatever they turn out like. Some rough outlines for your plot will help, and sketching traits of characters, but really it's about putting yourself into your characters' situations and thinking, what would I do next, or how would I like this situation to turn out if I was there?

That's just about how you write. Then your style will be unique to yourself. I'm one for a lot of dialogue. I hate reading pages and pages of descriptions, so I tend not to write like that either. Not to say there are merely vague generalizations, but I like to let the reader picture scenes for himself and fill descriptions with his own thoughts of what it looks like. And as far as a story goes, I feel like sometimes it just writes itself. I am constantly adding things as an afterthought, and somehow it works into the book like it was meant to be there.

So, then how do you write a book? By writing a page. And another page. And another page. Perseverance is the key, as well as good characters, good plots, and good endings.

Look forward to my post next week about my new book! 

                                                                                          ~ Therese

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Chewy Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies -- No Bake


Looking for a great recipe that is semi-healthy (for a cookie), tastes great, and easy to make? Well, these treats are awesome. They are chocolatey, chewy, no bake cookies that will make it hard to eat just one, and they can be made so quickly! Makes about 30 cookies!

Ingredients: 

8 tbsp. butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups quick 1 minute oats (add 1/2 cup extra 
if you like cookies less chewy and more firm) 
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Melt butter, milk, cocoa powder, and sugar in a pot 
on the stove at medium to high heat.
Stir thoroughly for about two minutes, or until mixture is smooth.
Remove from heat and add oats and vanilla.
Stir until everything is mixed well.
Form into 1 inch rounds with ice cream scoop. 
Drop on a pan with wax paper or silver foil. 
Let chill in the fridge for one hour.

                                                                               Enjoy the snack!
                                                                                         Therese