Sunday, September 30, 2018

Staying Little

"If a little flower could speak, it seems to me that it would tell us quite simply all that God has done for it, without hiding any of its gifts." ~ St Therese

St Therese always had the goal of remaining little. She wanted to be a great saint, but by doing small things with all the love in her heart. She is such a heroic saint, but easily imitable. When you think about how difficult it is to be consciously offering each moment of our day to God, all the sufferings, joys, and events, you realize just how amazing St Therese really is.

St Therese is famous for her little way of "trust and self-surrender" which teaches us to give our wills to God and know that He will take care of everything. Her spiritual childhood is made up of "very ordinary things." We forget how powerful those ordinary things can be. She says "to pick up a pin for love can covert a soul." Picking up a pin? How simple that is and yet God looks only at the love behind it.

When our trials seem to feel heavy, it helps to remember God is only asking for our love and trust. He cares for us like a loving Father and will never abandon us, but carries the cross alongside, feeling all our pain too.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Sky Is Falling

"The Sky is Falling" are iconic words of Chicken Little but are an idea we adopt to mean our world around us is falling apart. A contrast to the peaceful look of leaves falling from trees in a quiet wood to show that all things are made new. Even though things are falling, we can have tranquil hearts that are stable in the storm.

I find that the sky often feels like it's falling when big decisions come around or tragic events happen in our lives. Why do those moments have to be so much more different than the simple parts of what make up our day? But they are. We can try to simplify them but they are going to be bigger and matter more. We can only change our approach to them. 

God gives us the grace at the time, not before and not after, both for the big and little things that matter as much to Him as they do to us. We just have to lean harder on Him when we are climbing taller mountains. If it is weighing on us heavily, perhaps we aren't praying enough. God is always right there with His love and care. 

Padre Pio says, whose feast day we celebrate today, "In this life, Jesus does not ask you to carry the heavy cross with Him, but a small piece of His cross, a piece that consists of human suffering."

Sunday, September 16, 2018

An Interview from A. J. Avila

Ever wanted to know what it's like behind the wall of writing? I was recently interviewed by fellow author, A. J. Avila! She wrote four supernatural Christian novels: Rain from Heaven, Amaranth, Cherish, and Nearer the Dawn. All net profits from sales of these books are donated to charity. You can visit her website here and her books are available on Amazon. A truly wonderful and generous new author friend! Here is the repost from her blog . . . interview questions from A. J. Avila to Therese J. Roberts.

What are you books about? 

I am both a Catholic fiction and mystery novelist. I have written four books, The Story of a Sailor, The Christmas Picture, and The Amanda Case Files No. 1 and No. 2. My next novel, Act of Hope, will be available soon, followed by the third installment in The Amanda Case Files mystery series. My Catholic books are stand alone novels and focus on characters in need of redemption, while my mystery series are lighthearted and fun puzzles that keep you guessing to the end.

Where do you get the ideas for your books? 

The ideas for my Catholic books I really believe are the fruit of prayer. I find inspiration before the Blessed Sacrament and ask my guardian angel to help me write! As far as the mysteries, I grew up reading the Boxcar Children and graduated to Agatha Christie, as well as followed Nancy Drew, Hitchcock, pretty much every Hallmark movie mystery, so I have had my share of inspiration to create my own puzzles and clues!

What inspired you to write your first book?  

I have been writing stories ever since I was eight years old. My love for writing grew over the years, particularly after studying literature at Christendom College. Once I graduated, I realized there was a real need for solid Catholic fiction that should be at the same time both enjoyable and relatable. Books have always been a major part of my life, and I wanted to write stories that encouraged readers in their own lives to go after their dreams.

How do you incorporate your Catholic faith into your writing?

In my Catholic stand alone novels, I like to create likable dynamic characters, who also have a great love for their Faith. There is always a character who is a priest, and you can find characters who pray and attend Mass. These novels focus on the big questions about what truly matters in this life and how that helps you reach eternal life in the next. At the same time, the stories are meant to be easy to read and applicable to anyone.

How did you come up with the main characters for your series?

Liz Henley in The Amanda Case Files has a brother and a sister, just like myself. Her father was a detective and my father was a police officer. I wanted a character who had a strong motivation for finding answers, as Liz's father mysteriously died while investigating a case --a question that carries through all three books. So as my father was also a cop, it makes mysteries more real to me.

Do your characters seem to “take over” when you write?

Definitely! I am never positive how the story is going to end and find that my characters usually decide that for me. As you compose dialogue, it is easy to imagine your characters as real, and coming up with how they will act starts to make more sense as the story progresses. A character will develop certain habits when you write and I am often surprised how that influences the outcome.

If you could spend time with a character from your book who would it be? Why would you choose that person?

I think I would choose Sam from The Amanda Case Files series. He is the main character's brother and is always good for a laugh. He tries so hard to help Liz with her mysteries, but more often than not can get in the way of investigations. At the same time, he is very dependable and likable, and loyalty to his family comes first in his life.

Which of your books is your favorite? Why?

The Christmas Picture is by far my favorite because it touches on important themes of family, life, love, and sacrifice, as well as addresses the question of suffering. This novel also flowed on the pages very easily, and the story seemed to write itself. The main character, Lucy Harris, is given the chance to go back in time and stop an event that caused her brother's death. Jim Harris, her loving brother, is a dedicated doctor, faithful friend, and staunch Catholic. He would be the type of person who would come through for anyone anytime. I think his likeableness is what makes the story so suspenseful as the reader can't put the book down before finding out what happens to Jim.

Thank you, A.J. Avila, for the wonderful opportunity to be interviewed by you!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Introducing Teddy

Guess who just joined Therese? Hi, my name is Teddy and I love nothing more than laying in the grass outside or chilling on the couch indoors. Therese has a theory that I'm a mix of a flat coat retriever and border collie. My fur and shape is definitely a retriever, but I have different ears and white spots on my feet, as well herd my owner when she walks me. 

I really like chewing bones, tennis balls, ropes, rubber toys . . . and rugs and t-shirts. Don't be too hard on me though because I'm a rescue dog and was surrounded by all these crazy animals at PetSmart. I didn't belong there. I needed a nice comfortable home where someone would love me.

Then I met Therese. It's a little cheesy to say it was love at first sight, but there you have it. I saw her from my crate and she looked at me and said "Teddy!" and I knew we were meant to be together. Now I have a shiny blue color and leash and a black and white tag with my name on it (just like me!) 

I love other people and dogs and kids. I'm a real family dog and like to keep my owner company. She likes having me around when she taps those buttons on her square box. (She says she's typing up the end of the next big story, shh!!) Maybe one day that story will be about me!

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Top Five Things to Do in Pittsburgh

#1 St Anthony's Chapel

Little known secret is Pittsburgh houses the largest reliquary in the world after the Vatican! St. Anthony's Chapel has over 5,000 relics to treasure. Here you can light candles and pray before St. Anthony's tooth!

# 2 Duquesne Incline

Take a trip to the top of the city and see some of the most breathtaking views of Pittsburgh! The stunning skyscrapers, classic yellow bridges, and beautiful rivers are amazing. You may even find a souvenir or two to take home from the heights!

# 3 PNC Park

Home of the Pirates! If it's baseball season, you have to go to a game! A beautiful stadium with views of the city and the river, PNC Park is perfect to satisfy your sport needs. Watch fireworks go off with every home run, taste delicious refreshments, and enter a 50/50 raffle!

# 4 Point State Park

See the Ohio, Monongahela, and Allegheny Rivers come together at the gorgeous fountain "where the three rivers meet", a battle site of the French and Indian War. You can even ride a riverboat to tour the famous waters and see the Steelers stadium.

# 5 Klavon's Ice Cream

If you are looking for a sweet treat, this old time parlor is a must see! By far the best home made ice cream I have ever had with real whipped cream and hot fudge. You have to try the turtle sundae!

Thank you to my dear friends for showing me all of Pittsburgh! A trip to remember forever!