Sunday, February 26, 2017

New Shop Website

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

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

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

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

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

Visit the new shop site here!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Catching a Monkey

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

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

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

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

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Magic of Music

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

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

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

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

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Winslow Boy

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

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

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

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

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

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