Sunday, April 14, 2019

What God Thinks


So here we are at the start of Holy Week and preparing for the solemn feast of Easter. Some of us may feel satisfied with how our Lent went and some of us may feel disappointed. I think that when we are on the disappointed side, we forget how God thinks. Because what He looks at is if we did our best in the moment. We have all heard the phrase "if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans." Well it's the same as what our plans were for Lent. We make plans to accomplish certain resolutions, but life happens. 

Maybe we didn't get that extra penance or spiritual work in, but we persevered in our daily duties with a smile. Maybe we ate dessert when we gave that up, but it was to cheer up a friend with an ice cream. Maybe we weren't as patient as we wanted, but we were undergoing physical suffering that was offered to God that tried our patience. Whatever it may have been, what God thinks is the intention of our hearts. It doesn't matter what someone else thinks or what we even tell ourselves sometimes, but only what God sees.

I love these words of Mother Teresa, "People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway. What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway. Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway. In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway."

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Our Tastes


Something I found interesting this Lent is how certain things are penances for one person but not for another. Do you think that means our tastes/preferences reflect our personality or something that is uniquely you? Are tangible aspects of ourselves rooted in our souls? I found this a thought provoking concept that I don't really know the answer to, but it makes one wonder.

For example, one thing I chose to do was give up ketchup. Many will laugh at this penance, but for those who don't know my food habits, ketchup will find itself on pretty much anything I am eating. I don't know why I like this condiment so much, but it if it is missing, my food experience is truly subpar. 

So this image of a hamburger with pickles and ranch dressing/dip may look like I am complaining by saying it was difficult to eat, but for some reason a hamburger without ketchup is a challenge for me. Does that seem petty? Well yes, yes it is when put in perspective, but I chose something that I would find difficult but not impossible so as to focus more on the love behind the sacrifice. 

Did I fail at times the last couple weeks? Yes, yes I did, but that made me realize I am too attached to things of this world and need to keep trying, which I think is also a valuable lesson. On the flip side, it also showed me that there is variety out there. I found myself trying/experimenting with other flavors I wouldn't have otherwise tried and it turned out I enjoyed! 

So what is my point about ketchup? I think our tastes show how truly unique each individual person is and the infinite value we are to God. And that should be a reminder as we approach Holy Week, that Christ gave His life for us and thought of you individually on the Cross.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Overcoming Overwhelm


Have you ever seen Father of the Bride with Steve Martin? A true classic in my book. If so, you will recall well this scene when George is overwhelmed by all the wedding preparations, turning his house into a place for the ceremony, and above all "losing" his daughter to her new husband, and can't take one more frustration like not having the right amount of hot dog buns in the grocery store.

George: "I want to buy eight hot dogs and eight hot dog buns to go with them. But no one sells eight hot dog buns. They only sell twelve hot dog buns. So I end up paying for four buns I don't need. So I am removing the superfluous buns. . . . Some big shot over at the weiner company got together with some big shot over at the bun company and decided to rip off the American public because they think the American public is a bunch of trusting nitwits who pay for things they don't need rather than make a stink. Well they're not ripping off this nitwit anymore because I'm not paying for one more thing I don't need. George Banks is saying no! {Grocer: Why don't we just calm down now sir?} I'll tell you why we don't calm down, because you're not excited. It takes two people for a we to calm down, doesn't it?"

Overwhelm literally means to "drown or bury beneath a huge mass, feeling a strong emotional effect from an event, or to defeat completely." I often wonder why the smallest things in life seem to be the ones that upset us the most, but when you think about the fact if you are overwhelmed and you can't go lower than being "defeated completely" the smallest of frustrations can quite simply be too much. 

I think the answer to this question can be found in George Banks realization of hitting a low point when ending up in jail for splitting open the hot dog packages in the grocery store. It is ALL about perspective and taking a step back. Separate in your mind what is important and what is not and let some things drop off. Remember what you want to value in this moment when you look back on it at the end of the year. Find quiet moments for gratitude and a lifting of your heart to God. And above all . . . breathe. By the way it's nice to know they now sell hot dog buns in quantities of eight ;-)

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Me Time


I think this phrase "me time" has been given the wrong connotation. People associate that phrase with a selfish form of relaxation--a relaxation that neglects certain duties or obligations. What people fail to think about is the healthy meaning of taking moments for ourselves so we can take a step back. 

It is important to have time, be it ever so short, in every day that is some form of peace. For many this is one's prayer time, for others it could be exercise, still more talking to a friend, or reading a book. In some way, it is the time of day we utilize a coping skill that helps us deal with stress. In taking those moments, we can tackle our duties with more calmness than if we plugged through with no break.

"Me time" is not selfish--it is taking a moment to better our mental health, which is as real or more important than physical health sometimes. We need to have part of each day dedicated to rejuvenating our minds that so often are going in a million directions at once. It is in a way a form of being "unplugged" from our problems for one moment so that it does not consume us.

So this week, take a moment out of every day for you. Make that time the best way to lighten your heart and help you to breathe, especially when it's a hard day. It's a real confidence builder because it reminds you that God is at the center of it all, and He wants us to have calm and peaceful hearts.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

St Joseph's Silence


Every year I love writing about this great saint. He is my very favorite and has never let a prayer go unanswered for me. St Joseph is a very powerful intercessor for any need and a model for all families in all virtues. I love that we get to celebrate his feast on both March 19th and May 1st.

I wanted to focus on his great silence . . . I believe that there are no words recorded in Scripture that St Joseph spoke. He is mentioned of course, but I don't think there are any words by him. I find it interesting that there were none recorded, but maybe he was a man of few words.

I can imagine this great saint being so absorbed in the love of Jesus and Mary that he could hardly help from being in a constant state of mental prayer. He must have been wholly at peace despite any hardship or suffering because there were beside him the two holiest beings that ever walked the earth. That doesn't mean that life was easy...quite the contrary...but the knowledge of God's constant presence must bring tranquility.

Can't we imagine our own lives like this? That God is present in all our life situations as to never leave us alone? We may not see Him in the physical sense like St Joseph, but He is there just as lovingly all the same. And in the silence of His presence, we can be silent ourselves just like St Joseph, absorbed in the peace of our God.

May St Joseph keep our families close to his most pure heart and draw us deeper into the preparation of Lent.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Captain Marvel


So I usually only write a movie review for a film that truly blows me away . . . while this wasn't what would become a "classic" in my opinion . . . it was something that I will most likely enjoy more every time I rewatch it.

I think what struck me about this movie the most was I had no expectations of what it should be. Isn't it the case that so often we walk away more satisfied if we haven't had any preconceptions of what a movie (or anything else for that matter) may do for us? 

The story was both original and suspenseful with satisfying character development and a nice dash of humor. The encouraging message of owning your identity and the importance of becoming who you are meant to be was a powerful thought. I also enjoyed the throwback to a 90's setting.

If you're looking for a lighthearted, action-packed, nice special effects, and entertaining film, I feel Captain Marvel will fit your bill. Brie Larson shines as Carol Danvers, a woman searching to be a true hero for all.

Best quote: Nick Fury: "You know anything about a lady blowing up a Blockbuster? Witnesses say she was dressed for laser tag."

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Miraculous Novena of Grace


A dear friend passed along this beautiful prayer! The Miraculous Novena of Grace can be prayed March 4th through March 12th or November 25th through December 3rd. Great way to begin Lent!

Prayer to St. Francis Xavier
Attributed to Father Marcello Mastrilli, S.J. (17th century)

"Most amiable and loving St. Francis Xavier, in union with thee I reverently adore the Divine Majesty. I rejoice exceedingly on account of the marvelous gifts which God bestowed upon thee. I thank God for the special graces He gave thee during thy life on earth and for the great glory that came to thee after thy death. I implore thee to obtain for me, through thy powerful intercession, the greatest of all blessings--that of living and dying in the state of grace. I also beg of thee to secure for me the special favor I ask in this novena. (Here you may mention the grace, spiritual or temporal, that you wish to obtain.) In asking this favor I am fully resigned to the Divine Will. I pray and desire only to obtain that which is most conducive to the greater glory of God and the greater good of my soul."

V. Pray for us, St. Francis Xavier.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:

"O God, Who didst vouchsafe, by the preaching and miracles of St. Francis Xavier, to join unto Thy Church the nations of the Indies, grant, we beseech Thee, that we who reverence his glorious merits may also imitate his example, through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen."

Add an Our Father and Hail Mary three times in memory of St. Francis Xavier's devotion to the Most Holy Trinity, and a Glory Be ten times in thanksgiving for the graces received during his ten years of apostleship.

History/Promise: The Novena of Grace, which begins March 4th and ends on the 12th, the day of the canonization of St. Francis Xavier, owes its origin to the Saint himself. At Naples, in December, 1633, Father Marcello Mastrilli, S.J. was at the point of death. The Saint appeared to him and, bidding him renew a vow he had made to labor in Japan, said, "All those who implore my help daily for nine consecutive days, from the 4th to the 12th of March included, and worthily receive the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist on one of the nine days, will experience my protection and may hope with entire assurance to obtain from God any grace they ask for the good of their souls and the glory of God."

The Father arose, instantly cured. So well has the Saint kept this promise that this devotion in his honor became universally known as the Novena of Grace. Its efficacy is not restricted to the dates mentioned. It may be made very appropriately from November 25th to December 3rd, the feast of St. Francis Xavier. Though any prayers can be said in honor of the Saint, the foregoing are generally recommended. 

~ from My Prayerbook by Fr. Lasance

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Catholic Fairy Tale Kingdoms

Angela Marie's latest novel! Available on Amazon!

Hey readers! I had the opportunity to interview fellow Catholic author, Angela Marie! If you're looking for fairy tale romances with faith based plots, you've come to the right place! Owning most of her books myself, I can attest to their originality, suspenseful plots, dynamic characters, and happily ever after endings! Check out what inspired Angela Marie to become an author, her favorite books and characters, and advice to aspiring writers! Click here to view her books and see her book trailers here!

1. What inspired you to become an author?

My eldest sister always wrote fictional stories when we were growing up. Even before we started using the computer to type, she would have stacks of notebooks filled with humorous and exciting handwritten stories that she would let us read.  I looked up to my eldest sister and wanted to imitate her, so I began writing stories too.  And I enjoyed thinking up new characters and plots so much, that I’ve been writing ever since!  It was my eldest sister who strongly encouraged me to look into self-publishing options after I wrote the first five volumes of the Catholic Kingdom Series as a birthday gift for her in 2013.  Now my eldest sister and I make a great team; she helps me to think of ideas for new stories, along with giving me invaluable input for scenes. She and my youngest sister–my #1 fan–also provide me with indispensable “prayer support.”  None of my writing endeavors would go so well without the continued kind intercession of Our Lady of Good Success, St. Vincent Ferrer, St. Jude, St. Michael, the holy angels, and so many others!!

2. What is your favorite book that you have written and why?

Impossible to answer!  I honestly like them all, in their own way.  The Catholic Kingdom Series began my self-publishing efforts, so that makes it rather special. Night Falls Over Sol took a “darker” direction that I thoroughly enjoyed–such a fun mixture of “drama” and humor in that one!, while To Fynde a Husband started out as a little “something” that my youngest sister and I were going to write together.  We came up with the initial characters and the first couple of chapters, and then I got stuck, and I had to set aside that project to work on something else; I later returned to it with my eldest sister, the two of us surprising our youngest sister with a completed book for her birthday.  I really enjoy how that unique, lighthearted tale turned out.  Once Upon a Time Stories marked a new phase in my writing.  I’m extremely pleased with those first two parts and how my writing improved with each new volume of the “fairytales retold” series.  The five books of the Evangelistae Kingdom Chronicles comprise my most “epic” story.  The Catholic Colonies was something quite different from anything that I had been writing up until that point and it was neat doing a “mysterious” plot; I loved the strained relations and conflict between two of the main characters.  Lastly, I consider my most recent standalone novel, The Prodigal and the King’s Daughter, to be my “masterpiece,” Dei gratia.  You’ll soon see why!  It will be officially available on Amazon in mid-April of this year. 

3. Who is your favorite character from your novels and why?

That’s really hard; I have so many characters, and they all have their different personalities.  They do fall into certain categories though, and I have to say that I find it the most fun to write the blunt, tactless, short-tempered type of characters, such as Ross (from Once Upon a Time Stories), Macaire (The Evangelistae Kingdom Chronicles), and the Prodigal.  Why?  I think because they add another level of emotion to the scenes, and get to say some of the best lines.  That being said, I love it when all of the different characters interact and react to each other.

4. What is your favorite book that you have read and why?

This is much easier to answer!  My favorite fictional book is Enemy Brothers, by Constance Savery (1943).  I love everything about it: Miss Savery’s excellent style of writing, the plot, the characters, and Dym is my absolute favorite fictional character ever,–never to be topped.  Honorable mention goes to Bond and Free by Jean Connor (1913).  That one’s a gem!

5. Who has been the most influential author in your writing?

My eldest sister, first and foremost!  Then, some of the greatest Catholic authors of the 1800’s and early 1900’s: Eleanor C. Donnelly, Fr. Francis J. Finn, Mary T. Waggaman (Shipmates is another gem!), Meriol Trevor, Fr. Lasance, and the Very Rev. J. A. Keller, D.D. (with special mention of Jean Connor for Bond and Free).  Also, Constance Savery: specifically for, Enemy Brothers,Reb and the Redcoats, and Emeralds for the King.  My sisters and I love to read a lot of “old books.” What I read affects how I write, so I’m always careful about what literature I look at when working on a project.  I often turn to the authors that I mentioned for inspiration.  And, speaking of inspiration, Therese, it was hearing about your latest novel, Act of Hope, which providentially inspired me with an intriguing idea for a plot that led to the writing of The Prodigal and the King’s Daughter.  Thanks bunches!

6. How does your Catholic Faith contribute to your writing?

My main reason for entering the self-publishing business was to counteract the many bad, immoral books available on the market with wholesome, enjoyable, and truly Catholic fiction.  There are so many fantasy books that create their own worlds, “religions,” and use magic, excluding Our Lord from the story.  While I know that a book does not need specific mention of the Catholic Faith to be good and moral, I prefer to be a Catholic novelist in the fullest sense of the word.  So, the True Faith contributes everything to what I write!  I am most happy when creating fictional lands set in the “real world,” and being able to share the beauty of Holy Mother Church through situations based on actual supernatural events in the lives of the saints, with a full awareness of God and His Divine Providence, Our Lady, the angels, the spiritual realm present everywhere around us, Purgatory, and the preternatural activities of the devils.  This beautiful quote from Fr. Finn is my main inspiration to write books that are wholly, traditionally Catholic, while still providing a fun and thrilling reading experience: One of the greatest things in the world is to get the right book into the hands of the right boy or girl.  No one can indulge in reading to any extent without being largely influenced for better or worse. 

7. What advice would you give to someone who wants to be an author?

Why do you want to be an author?  If you love to write, then write!  If you think that others would enjoy reading your stories,–that they’re really good and worth printing, and you want to share them with a wider audience, then self-publishing is a great way to make your books available to the public without any hassle.  I have found CreateSpace, now KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), to be the most reasonable, free, and easy to use service provided at the moment; the major plus for me is being able to have full control over my own works.  There’s no harm in trying to show your manuscript to a big publishing company, too, if you want to go with that route.  On a more serious note, I would add: Every word that we authors pen and publish will be marked down either for or against us at our particular judgment.  For the sake of your immortal soul, never write anything that would offend your guardian Angel, ever at your side.  And last of all,–(and this is simply a personal quibble of mine): When formatting a book document, always justify your main text!

Thank you, Angela Marie, for your inspiring interview! Look for her next novel in April!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Pre-Lent


In the traditional liturgical calendar, there is a season called Septuagesima, or 70 days until Lent. When I first discovered this, I was intimidated by the extended length of the Lenten season. There is an extension of Lent? Isn't Lent long to begin with? There is such a thing as a pre-Lenten season? I admit I had all of these questions in my mind because I didn't understand. 

The more I thought and prayed about this beautiful season called Septuagesima, the more I realized the wisdom of these liturgical days. When we come upon Ash Wednesday with no thought of Lent or Easter before this day, we are completely unprepared. How many of us say, I still don't know what to do for Lent, or I guess I'll have to do the same as last year because here Lent is already?!

The purpose of Septuagesima is to prepare our hearts and minds for this great season of Lent. This season reminds us of the significance of being prepared. This is a very important aspect of our lives...and of our deaths. We want to be prepared for when we will meet the face of God...whenever that is...and also to meet Him at Easter with peaceful hearts...hearts willing to sacrifice for Him.

Let us use this old season of Septuagesima...sadly lost in the new calendar...to truly make this Lent our best yet, by preparing beforehand and knowing truly how to please Our Lord this season. Think about it? What goes wrong when we aren't prepared? Everything! 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Lady of Lourdes


Tomorrow is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. This title of Our Lady is a particular favorite of mine. I am drawn to St Bernadette's simplicity and grace that attracted the Blessed Virgin to appear to her. Our Lady's message remains the same in all her apparitions...prayer and penance. I love how Mary and Bernadette prayed the rosary together in these visions. I love how Our Lady came to heal as well, allowing miracles to take place at the Grotto. I love the significance of the visions of 15 days...15 decades of the rosary. And above all the Virgin's saying to Bernadette, "I do not promise you happiness in this life, only in the next."

The visions at Lourdes give so much cause for hope...the care of Our Lady for poor sinners and those who are sick. Mary, in revealing herself as the "Immaculate Conception," shows her deep union with God being without sin. Her love for us extends magnanimously by her purity and grace. Our Lady of Lourdes calls us to higher virtue and sanctity, while at the same time, has compassion and pity on those who invoke her aid.

St Bernadette lived a hidden life from the world following these apparitions. Her humility is astounding and her joy and peace in the midst of suffering even more so. St Bernadette declined the miraculous springs of the Grotto, and united herself intimately with Christ on the Cross through intense sufferings of tuberculosis. 

I hope to have the privilege of going to Lourdes one day. The Virgin's title of Lourdes holds a special place in my heart. Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Sneak Peek!


So . . . when is this novel really coming out? I am VERY excited to share that Act of Hope is now complete! It is available for purchase on my blog here or on Amazon. I would love to hear your thoughts about the cover design, and check out a sneak peek of the first chapter!

Chapter One of Act of Hope (Copyrighted by Therese J. Roberts)


“I decided to send him a letter,” she said thoughtfully and looked out the window of their apartment. The traffic was backed up all along the highway in Los Angeles, California. The young woman noticed a little red car in the row near their building.
“What?” Ruth said to her cousin.
Penny Adams turned her head slowly repeating, “I’m going to send him a letter.”
“A letter,” Ruth mused. “No one writes letters anymore. You will be wasting your time.”
“Maybe not,” Penny murmured.
Ruth sighed.
“Don’t you like the sound of an old-fashioned fan letter? One you get in the mail?” Penny asked with a note of excitement in her tone.
Ruth finished pouring her coffee. “I do, certainly. Matt Snow is another story.”
Penny looked out the window again. The traffic had not moved. She stared at the same red car.
“I have to get to work now,” Ruth said as she prepared for her evening shift as hotel manager. She could conveniently walk to work.
“I hope you have a good night, Ruth,” Penny responded absentmindedly.
“And don’t even think about turning on that news again,” Ruth warned her. “It’s obviously doing you no good.”
Penny sighed as Ruth closed the door of their apartment. Penny, who never listened to her cousin, turned the television on once Ruth left the room. She flipped the channels until she found a broadcast that offered an update.
Addie Morn, the red-haired, petite woman who often reported Hollywood news, related, “Millions of fans all over the world were devastated at the news of the near death of Matt Snow. Policemen have the driver of the taxi in custody, who bowled through Snow’s limo this evening. The heartthrob actor had been heading to a multi-million dollar opportunity of starring in the final chapter of the saga that made his name famous, Cold News.”
An image of the series popped up on the screen. It was a familiar picture to Penny. “We have been waiting for hours on an update from the hospital after Snow was rushed into surgery, and now we have it. Watch this harrowing clip from Matt Snow’s manager, Ivan Clark.”
Penny leaned forward on the window seat as the voice of Mr. Clark pealed through in a gruff tone. He was tall, thin, and very polished. “There’s not much to say. We are afraid the unthinkable has happened. Snow may never act again.”
Penny’s eyes widened.
Addie Morn commented soberly, “Definitely a bold statement from Snow’s manager, if I ever heard one. The details of his injury have been kept secret, but we’re sure to find out. Everyone in Hollywood is asking the same question . . . is this the end for the great Matt Snow?”
Penny clicked off the television and leaned back on the pillow. “Matt Snow . . .” she whispered. Then she walked with determination to the desk in the corner and pulled out a sheet of stationery. It had roses along the edges. She scribbled the pen on a piece of scrap paper to get the ink to run down to the tip and then commenced writing her letter to the injured actor.

Dear Matt Snow,

My cousin says you will not appreciate an old-fashioned fan letter . . . but I want to prove her wrong. I know that your following is great and your messages so frequent that a simple note written on a piece of paper may seem meaningless, but what if it is not?
What does one write to their favorite actor at such a difficult time? I can say I’m sorry and feel your great loss, but those are simply words. No one can feel what you are feeling. No one can say they understand.
I saw on the news that your accident was very severe. You must be thinking a thousand thoughts right now of how life will be different. Don’t think, Matt. Just live each moment one at a time. You will get better. I know you will because I asked God to make you better. Don’t give up!

Signed your friend,

Penny held her writing instrument in mid-air. “Hmm . . .” she said meditatively. “How should I sign this?” Penny suddenly smiled to herself and finished her letter. She knew someone who worked at the hospital that was going there the next morning. Penny sealed the envelope and made her way to the entranceway of their apartment. Her neighbor down the hall received a knock at her door.


Early the next morning, a young priest in a long black cassock was standing outside an occupied hospital room, watching a motionless patient inside. He had given the famous actor the Last Rites the night before on his way into surgery. The emergency operation pieced him back together but there was no question—the legs were paralyzed—at least for the time being.
“Father Charles,” a short, middle-aged woman with curly blonde hair suddenly said.
There was no answer.
“Father?” she repeated.
The young priest with dark hair roused himself. “I’m sorry, Pat.” He turned and tried to focus on the nurse in front of him.
“You have done everything you can for him, Father,” Pat Covington said encouragingly.
The priest nodded.
“Have you had any sleep?”
Father Charles shook his head.
“Maybe it’s time you did.”
Father nodded again. “Thank you, Pat. Please let me know if there’s any change in him.” He walked away slowly.
Pat entered the room and closed the door behind her. She approached the bedside and checked the vitals of the unconscious patient. She read the previous nurse’s chart noting his stable condition post-surgery. The actor had been in and out of fits of pain with no obvious improvement in his legs.
Pat returned the chart beside the hospital bed and looked over the patient. He was scratched up badly and had a broken arm, ribs, and shoulder. His usual perfectly arranged dark hair was a complete mess. Pat administered more pain medicine through his IV, which brought no more than a slight movement from the patient.
After finishing up and writing notes on his chart, Pat left a hand written letter in a sealed envelope on the side table. Upon closing the door again, Pat nearly crashed into Ivan Clark, Snow’s manager. “Excuse me,” she said.
“You’re excused,” he returned rudely. “What’s going on in that room?” he demanded.
“Same as it was an hour ago and the hour before that,” Pat said, trying to be patient with the overly polished man before her.
“Well, what’s the doctor’s verdict about it?” Ivan raised his voice.
Pat said testily, “The doctor is down the hall,” and pointed in the opposite direction. She walked away with that statement.
Ivan Clark barely glanced in the room of the actor and flew down the hallway in the direction of the doctor. Upon finding him, Ivan presented the same question, “What’s your verdict?” he demanded with his arms crossed.
Dr. Morgan stiffened. “I said I would speak with you half an hour from now. I’m in the middle of taking care of another patient,” he said as he took a chart from one of the nurses at the station and began looking it over.
“A meeting in half an hour is not good enough. Our production team was supposed to be underway yesterday,” Ivan practically yelled.
The doctor seemed almost amused. “If you think that actor is going to get up and start filming in half an hour, you are kidding yourself. In fact, he may not get up at all.”
“So, that’s your verdict?”
Dr. Morgan looked away and lowered his voice. “I said I would speak with you in half an hour.” He suddenly turned back to the manager. “And you said there is no family?”
It was Ivan’s turn to look amused. “Matt Snow left his family twenty years ago at the age of fifteen to become an actor and never looked back. He doesn’t know or care where any of his family is now. Does that answer your question?”
Dr. Morgan shrugged. “It seems that this would be an important time to bring them back together. If Mr. Snow has no family, does he have any kind of religion or faith?”
“Snow’s god is fame and money,” Ivan said flatly, his eyes cold.
“That actor is going to need someone . . .”
“As far as I’m concerned, no one needs him any longer,” Ivan said.
The doctor shook his head in amazement as the manager walked away down the hall.
Ivan turned the corner and bumped into a hoard of reporters. “Back off you leeches!” He brushed past them and went into an empty waiting area. The phone started dialing as he held the receiver to his ear. “Get me Craig Evans,” he demanded.


The eyes of Matt Snow started flickering later that afternoon. The room around him felt like riding a merry-go-round. He moaned and waited to open his eyes again until the carousel slowed down. His eyes fell on a little boy sitting on a chair beside him. The actor swallowed and whispered hoarsely, “Do I know you?”
The eight-year-old boy smiled at the question directed to him by his favorite actor. “No, you don’t, Mr. Snow.”
Matt stared at the ceiling and whispered, “Where am I?”
“You almost died!” the boy said with eyes wide open. He was holding a small notebook and pen, waiting for the right moment to ask.
Matt’s eyes returned to the boy. “What’s your name, kid?”
“Billy,” he said softly to his hero. “I’m William Matthew Covington.”
Matt nodded as well as he could. “It’s nice to meet you . . . William Matthew Covington.”
“Did you pay attention when I said my middle name? Just like your first name!” Billy said, hardly containing his excitement.
Matt said, “I noticed.”
Billy glanced down at his notebook again and fingered the outside.
Matt turned his head slightly. “What have you got there, little guy?”
“Well . . .” Billy hesitated. “It’s a notebook . . . for my favorite actors to sign.”
“How many signatures do you have?” the man with dark hair wanted to know.
Billy looked into the deep brown eyes of the actor. “You will be my first,” he said simply.
Matt tried to hide a smile. He glanced down at his broken right arm that rested in a cast. He moved the fingers of his left hand. “Well, if you don’t mind a crooked signature?” He leaned toward the boy and then suddenly felt his handicap. The actor’s eyes grew large. “My legs!”
Billy looked worried. “Oh my gosh, are they . . . gone?”
Matt no longer noticed Billy. “My legs!” he cried out again.
“Oh no, something’s wrong,” Billy said. “I better push the special button.” The call button for the nurse started blinking and the boy’s mother came in a few seconds later.
“What’s going on?” Pat said quickly. Matt was breathing heavily. “Billy, wait for me outside the room,” she said to her son.
“But, Mom . . .”
“No but’s.”
Billy closed his notebook and walked to the door, exiting quietly.
“Mr. Snow, please calm down. You are not helping yourself.” She checked his vital signs.
“Calm down? Calm down? I can’t feel my legs! They won’t move!” His eyes were flashing.
Pat hesitated. “I know, Mr. Snow. You were in an accident. You are lucky to be alive.”
“Lucky? You call this lucky? I can’t get up!” Matt yelled in frustration.
Pat sighed. “Mr. Snow, with physical therapy you may easily regain the use of your legs. Please, calm down.”
Matt’s eyes moved restlessly around the room. He swallowed hard. “My life is over.”
“No, it’s not.”
“My . . . my manager . . . where is he?” Snow suddenly asked.
Pat looked away. “You’re going to be all right.”
“Where is Ivan Clark?” the actor demanded.
“I don’t think now is the time to discuss this. The doctor wants you to rest. You are still considered in critical condition.”
The reality of the situation started to dawn on the actor. “I’m alone then.”
Pat glanced over at the door where a young boy was peering through the glass, all his attention on his hero. “I wouldn’t say that.”
Matt followed her gaze. The boy’s face lit up at the recognition by the actor and he waved. Matt looked up at the ceiling again.
“You also have a letter beside you from a person who seems to care a lot about you,” Pat added.
“From two million fans to two single fans,” the actor murmured to himself.
“You are going to be all right,” Pat repeated, trying to reassure him.
Matt was still staring at the ceiling.
“Read the letter, Mr. Snow,” Pat said and left the hospital room.
Matt hesitated before picking up a single page with delicate script filling the space. He tried to focus on the words and read:

Dear Matt Snow,

My cousin says you will not appreciate an old-fashioned fan letter . . . but I want to prove her wrong. I know that your following is great and your messages frequent that a simple note written on a piece of paper may seem meaningless, but what if it is not?
What does one write to their favorite actor at such a difficult time? I can say I’m sorry and feel your great loss, but those are simply words. No one can feel what you are feeling. No one can say they understand.
I saw on the news that your accident was very severe. You must be thinking a thousand thoughts right now of how life will be different. Don’t think, Matt. Just live each moment one at a time. You will get better. I know you will because I asked God to make you better. Don’t give up!

Signed your friend, Hope

Matt fingered the page thoughtfully.

Enjoy readers!!!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Chocolate Surprise



I'm calling this dessert "Chocolate Surprise" because I honestly had no idea it would turn out this good. Just looked like a regular cake, but this ingredient combo really hit the spot and surprised me with the melt-in-your-mouth texture. It also happens to be flourless--a great choice for your gluten-free friends!

Ingredients:

~ 1 1/4 cup chocolate chips
~ 1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter
~ 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
~ 1/2 t salt
~ 2 t vanilla extract
~ 3 eggs
~ 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9" round baking pan. Melt the chocolate chips and stick of butter in a saucepan on low, stirring constantly until blended. Pour into a mixing bowl and add sugar, salt, and vanilla. Beat in the eggs and mix with cocoa powder. Add to pan and bake for 15-20 minutes on a middle shelf. Allow to cool and then transfer onto a plate (may crumble a little). Add your choice of vanilla or chocolate icing to the top, or mix powdered sugar and water for a thin glaze. Enjoy!

P.S. Stay tuned next week readers for a sneak peek of my new novel!!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Praying for Life

Available at handmadecatholicshop.com

The anniversary of Roe v. Wade is approaching, and I wanted to share this beautiful devotion. During this time when we remember to protect life at all stages, we need to especially pray for all moms who are expecting, and the chaplet of St Gerard is a wonderful set of prayers for them!

St. Gerard is a special patron of mothers because of one particular story. Not long before his death, a young girl sought to return a missing handkerchief of St. Gerard's. The saint told her to hold onto it in case she were to ever need it. Long after St. Gerard died, the girl married and was expecting. She was close to losing her baby with an unexpected early labor, but pressed the handkerchief of St Gerard to her stomach and the baby was born healthy. 

Chaplet of St. Gerard: On the first three beads, pray one Our Father. On the second three beads, pray one Hail Mary. On the third three beads, pray one Glory Be.

Conclude with (for expectant mothers):
“Great St. Gerard, beloved servant of Jesus Christ, thou art a perfect imitator of our meek and humble Savior and a devoted child of the Mother of God. Enkindle in my heart one spark of that heavenly fire of charity that glowed in thee and made thee a beacon of love. Glorious St. Gerard like thy divine Master thou bore without murmur or complaint the calumnies of wicked men when falsely accused of crime and were raised up by God as the patron and protector of expectant mothers. Preserve me from dangers and shield the child I now carry. Pray that my baby may be brought safely to the light of day and receive the Sacrament of Baptism. Amen.”

Conclude with (for motherhood/special favors):
“Most Blessed Trinity, I, Thy child, thank Thee for all the gifts and privileges which Thou hast granted to St. Gerard, especially for those virtues with which Thou didst adorn him on earth and the glory which Thou imparts to him in Heaven. Accomplish Thy work, O Lord, so that Thy Kingdom may come about on earth. Through his merits, in union with those of Jesus and Mary, grant me the grace for which I ask (mention your request). And thee, my powerful intercessor, St. Gerard, always so ready to help those who have recourse to thee, pray for me. Come before the Throne of Divine Mercy and do not leave without being heard. To thee I confide this important and urgent affair. Graciously take my cause in hand and do not let me leave without experiencing in some way the effects of thy intercession. Amen.”

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Setting a New Standard


At the beginning of the year, we usually have those moments where we feel disappointed we haven't lived up to our goals. Some resolution probably fell off the list on January 2nd already. That's ok. It's more important to be realistic and optimistic than to set a standard of perfectionism. 

The standard we set for ourselves should be, were we pleasing to God today? Yes maybe things on our list didn't get done. Maybe we look at our life and see too much room for improvement. At the end of the day and the end of our lives, St John of the Cross says we will be judged on love.

It's good to have generally high standards, but not at the cost of losing ourselves in standards. God's standard for us is His holy will. If we are striving for that daily, then even when we have bad days they can still be good ones from trying.

Let's set a new standard that involves accomplishing small goals and doing more of what makes us and God happy.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

The Trust of the Three Kings


Little Christmas is one of my favorite days. I love the Three Kings. They inspire me with their trustful confidence in the sign of the star and their humble surrender and love at finding the King of Kings in the manger. 

I often think about royalty and fantasize about what that kind of life would be. Every girl romanticizes a Prince Charming of sorts on a white horse. Yet these three kings were so different from the modern fairytale.

They traveled long distances perhaps at great discomfort to themselves. Maybe they left families behind in search of the newborn King. They brought gifts of great price and sacrificed their time. They are called wise men and believed in God's message, falling down immediately to adore Him. 

Our Lord's manifestation on Epiphany revealed His governance over all earthly power. That manifestation as a little child should bring us great comfort, knowing that He wishes to reign in our hearts in all sweetness.