Sunday, June 26, 2016

Man's Best Friend

I am a huge dog person. Like really huge. I mean, how can you resist the face in this picture? Whoever coined the phrase "man's best friend" was right on the money. There is no animal quite like a dog. They understand you in a very special way, and bond with you with a loyalty so strong.

And this is my dog. Jenny. Fondly known as "the bear" for her extra furry coat and the way she lumbers about when she walks. She's a golden retriever, but we're all convinced there's some kind of Tibetan mastiff or Newfoundland in her somewhere. This dog. She is always there for me and my family. She greets you when you come in the house. She waits for you when you aren't home. And when you're late coming home, she sits at the door and watches for the car. 

Dogs have personality. For sure. This dog has a happy-go-lucky attitude. She can be lazy and sleeps all day and all night. She is particular--like not walking on the grass and only on the stone pathway--I don't even do that. She stares at you when you talk to her and literally smiles. All dogs wag their tails. But, this one is not so generous. You have to get her really excited and talk in the sweetest voice sometimes to get that wag out of her. And I really think this pup knows the entire English language. Plus, her hearing. My dad shares a banana with her at lunch every day, and she can hear that pop sound when you peel it from anywhere in the house. She has an internal clock that tells her exactly when she is supposed to eat--breakfast and dinner. 

Lately my buddy has been sleeping outside my door every night. I got Rocky Mountain spotted fever--like who gets that? And I've felt pretty darn terrible, but finally on the mend now. So, my faithful friend has been keeping me company all the time. (Unfortunately, this illness has put a delay on my book, so I'm looking more realistically at August. But, hey, that's life, and we have to accept what is thrown at us, even when we aren't ready for it).

But back to my dog. She is the sweetest, most loving dog with the funniest personality I have ever met. I'm so glad to call her my best friend. Of course, she's shy of strangers, but she sticks to her little family niche like glue. And barks in defense of anyone coming near them. 

I hope everyone has the chance to have a special dog in their life. They make life so much better.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Our Caring Fathers

Fathers and Daughters. 

Words can't adequately describe a person like your dad. He's the person who makes you feel home. Safe, secure, cared for, loved. Dads are the ones who pick you up when you're falling, who don't have to say anything for you to know they are taking care of you.

Dads in a way have a particular connection with their daughters. I think they watch over them in a special way. They try to make you laugh, bring a smile to your face. They want to be a part of your day-to-day life, as well as the really big decisions. They want to be sure you receive the best out of life and pursue your biggest and smallest dreams.

As we celebrate fathers today, let us be grateful for all those loving moments spent with our dads. They watch out for us and guide us like no one else does, always making sure we are provided for and taken care of. They are irreplaceable and we should show how much we care about our parents day in and day out. 

We should also remember our spiritual fathers, our Catholic priests, who have taken care of us spiritually. We must be truly grateful for how they have offered Masses, heard our confessions, anointed our sick, listened to our troubles and tried to help us through our trials in life. Their countless prayers and sacrifices offered on our behalf are worth more than anything.

So, Happy Fathers' Day to all the fathers out there, but especially to mine. Thanks for everything, Dad.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

My Etsy Shop

Announcing the opening of my small business on Etsy! The Handmade Catholic Shop! Rosaries come in 12 colors, and there are two kinds of scapulars with either brown or white braids. Veils also come in two styles and fabrics and crucifixes come in two designs and three different stain colors. Quarterly donations are sent to both the Catholic Church and American Troops overseas! 

Reason #1. I opened this shop because I wanted to do something that would be part of my Catholic Faith. And what better way than making Catholic gifts! I love making all the shop items, and it makes me so happy to know they will be used for the glory of God. 

Reason #2. Running an Etsy shop is a great way to connect with people individually. Instead of the "big businesses" that see people and customers as numbers, I love how small businesses allow you to really appreciate each person who comes to your shop! And by generating sales, I can send donations to the Church and packages to our American Troops. It is so great to be able to contribute to special places from the sales I make. 

Reason #3. I have always loved crafts. Manual labor is such a great way to unwind and relax after long days. After all, you can't sit on your computer 24/7! Even if that is for your job. So, I had learned how to make the scapulars and rosaries from a group of nuns years ago, and I make everything with great care. I love the process!

Reason #4. Running an Etsy shop part-time is a perfect balance for working as a writer. I never sit down and write for 8 hours a day straight. Part of my brainstorming is doing other things in between, and this shop is perfect for that! Working with your hands stimulates your brain so much. I find after I've worked on orders, I have so many more ideas for my books than before! Plus, working from home is always an added benefit. More time with family and no commute. 

Reason #5. It's just fun! I love writing and I love crafts. Now I can do both!

So, if you'd like to purchase anything or spread the word, my shop is having a grand opening sale next weekend June 18-20th (Saturday-Monday of Father's Day weekend)! Just use the coupon code GRANDOPEN at checkout! 10% off everything! 


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Enjoying the Journey

I wrote a post a couple weeks ago about pursuing our goals and really setting out to achieve them. I wanted to continue that post, but focus on a different aspect of our goals. And that is enjoying the process. 

Oftentimes, we give up on our goals and dreams because we only think about the end result. That is good, yes. But, we also have to love the journey to get there. We have to set goals that let us be happy trying to achieve them. Because even though thinking about the final result is often the motivator to reach it to begin with, it should not be the primary motivator. There is another important motivator for achieving our goals that we often forget. And that is being able to enjoy the whole process. The beginning, the middle, and the end. Otherwise, our dreams will not be goals at all, but merely empty fantasies. We have to work for what we love. We have to make sacrifices. To put in effort. To know that every moment we spend on our dream is worth it. 

We should be able to get up in the morning and enjoy the day-to-day aspects of reaching our goals. The nitty-gritty. The drudgery. Or if we don't actually enjoy that part, at least to feel like they are worth enduring for the sake of our dream. 

For example, let's say you want to become a professional piano player. And to be able to live that profession is the dream that will make you happy. If you don't enjoy getting up each day and practicing until your piano playing is perfect, than you shouldn't seek that goal to begin with. That day-to-day, in-and-out of trying to become a professional piano player should bring you joy. It will be hard. Sure. Pursuing our dreams is never easy. But, we're not here because it's easy.

We are here striving for our dreams in life because it says something. It says I want to do this because it is going to make a difference. It is going to make me happy. And it is going to please God. Those should be our primary motivators, the reasons we get up in the morning to follow our dreams. Those reasons make us able to get through the hard things because of love. And love means sacrifice, courage, determination, joy. 

And one day you will be grateful for all the blood, sweat, and tears. Because you will realize they were agents of your sanctity. You suffered, and you triumphed. St. Peter says in the Epistle for Mass today: "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will Himself perfect you, and confirm you, and establish you." And the fulfillment of your dream will have given something wonderful to God.

P.S. I am now at 200 pages in the mystery novel! Still shooting for next month sometime to publish it! Also, I just opened an Etsy Shop! Look for a post regarding that soon!