Friday, December 01, 2017

Book Review: The Christmas Angel Project

Abby Wentworth died suddenly of a brain aneurysm while only in her 40s, but not before she had completed her Christmas presents for her closest friends - the fellow members of her book group. While her friends grieve the loss of a woman who lived life well, they decide to use the Christmas Angel ornaments she gave them as inspiration to start a new project - being "Christmas Angels" themselves.

The idea is for each of them to bring some good to the world. As each woman uses her personal talents and gifts to make a difference, she will learn some valuable lessons about herself and her life, aided by yet another secret gift Abby left behind.

The Christmas Angel Project is a lovely, inspiring novel by award-winning author Melody Carlson, perfect for enjoying during the Advent or Christmas season.


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Christmas Novena

It is time once again for the Christmas Novena which begins on the Feast of St. Andrew (November 30th) and goes through Christmas Eve. Some say to pray the following prayer 15 times a day each day; others have it once a day. However you decide to pray, humbly ask God for whatever your heart desires most this Christmas.


The Christmas Novena

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment
At which the Son of God was born
Of a most pure Virgin
At a stable in Bethlehem
In the piercing cold.
At that hour vouchsafe, I beseech thee,
To hear my prayers and grant my desires.
(Mention your request here.)
Through Jesus Christ and his most Blessed Mother. Amen.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Finding Inner Peace

One of my editing clients is Deacon Eddie Ensley. A fellow writing friend referred him to me a couple of years ago when her schedule became too full to help him and I have been truly blessed to work with him. His most recent book is Finding Inner Peace (and who among us couldn't use more of that?) Here is the official description:

In this calming book, Deacon Eddie Ensley shows how to tap into what St. Paul describes as the peace that passes all understanding. Through guided meditations based on Scripture, and beautifully told personal experiences that recount his own path to peace following a tumultuous youth, Deacon Eddie invites us to discover how Christ truly anchors us in his peace. With compassion and understanding, he shows us how prayer can help us make peace with fear, anxiety, anger, suffering, and even death. Ultimately, we move from being peace seekers to peacemakers as we share Christ s mercy, love, and compassion with all.

Purchase this book on Amazon and help support this blog: http://amzn.to/2iTO2YX 

And if you (or someone you know) happens to need editorial services for a project big or small, please contact me at pfmacarthur@comcast.net

Thank you!


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

This came in the mail to me on a card from Glenmary Home Missions

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

God, source and giver of all things,
we give you thanks on this
Thanksgiving Day for the beauty of the whole of creation.

We give you thanks for the blessings
of family and friends: both those
gathered around this table and those
who are present only in our hearts.

We give you thanks for this food,
prepared by loving hands, and
for the graces you provide to nourish
our bodies, minds and hearts
so that we might better serve you.

Help us to be faithful stewards/
of all that has been given us.
May we reflect that which
we have received to all we meet,
especially the less fortunate in our midst.

Amen.

Monday, November 20, 2017

A Reminder to Be Thankful

Today featured one of my reflections in the The Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion. It served as a good reminder for me today. Maybe one of you reading can use the reminder as well:



If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is "thank you," that would suffice.- Meister Eckhart 

St. Ignatius of Loyola recommended that everyone make an examination of their day on a daily basis which consists of five steps: asking God for the light to see oneself clearly, giving thanks, reviewing the day, facing one’s shortcomings, and looking ahead to the day to come. For whatever reason: genetics, brain chemicals, hormones, etc., I am not naturally an optimistic, upbeat person. The clouds often loom; my cup is usually half-empty. I often wish I wasn’t that way, but it has been part of my lifelong cross. 

This evening ritual forces me to be thankful on a daily basis, to find the good things that I don’t always see or acknowledge, even though I should. My relationships are definitely one of those things. It can be easy to take the people we share our lives with for granted. I am extremely thankful for my family and friends, both the ones I see in real life and the ones I interact with through the gift of social media. I am especially thankful that there are people who care enough about me to pray for me. Hopefully, there are people out there who are thankful for me as well. 

Dear God, thank you for my wonderful friends and family. Please help me to always appreciate the gift of the people you have placed in my life. 

Question to Ponder: What and who do you have to be thankful for today? Be sure to take a moment to count your blessings and offer gratitude to God.






Friday, November 17, 2017

Amazon Black Friday Deals

As you may be aware, I am an affiliate of Amazon which means that when you click through the links to Amazon on my site and then purchase an item, I receive a small percentage of the sale. With Black Friday coming up, Amazon is having loads of specials. If you plan to do some Christmas shopping soon, please consider clicking through this site to get to Amazon: http://amzn.to/2AXc8cX.

Also, if you don't have Amazon Prime, you can try it for 30 days free - that means free 2-day shipping on many items as well as access to loads of free music, e-books, and movies. I love being a Prime member and with a free 30 day trial, you have nothing to lose. Sign up today: http://amzn.to/2zNll9w

Thank you for reading this blog and for your continued support!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Blog Tour - Julia's Gifts by Ellen Gable

Today I'm pleased to be hosting the book tour for Julia's Gifts, the new romance by Ellen Gable.



Do you enjoy Hallmark type stories? If so, you’ll love Julia’s Gifts, a new historical Catholic romance by veteran author Ellen Gable. As the story opens in December 2017, Philadelphia resident Julia Marie Murphy is twenty years old and buying a pocket watch for her beloved. The only problem is that she doesn’t know who that person is yet. Meanwhile, Major Peter Winslow is fighting for Canada in France in World War I. 

In March 1918, both Julia and her best friend Ann sign up to be medical aid workers and are sent to France to help the war effort. All too quickly they are immersed in the horrors of war. Major Winslow arrives to interrogate a German officer at the hospital where Julia is working on her first day and finds her painfully slow at her task. Their initial meeting is far from pleasant, but as life continues to throw the two together, their feelings toward each other soften.

Gable has done a first-rate job of describing the painful injuries and horrors of war. Julia’s Catholic faith is an important theme in the book, but it is woven into the story and does not come off as preachy. While the ending is never in doubt, this is a sweet romance perfect for enjoying on a lazy afternoon. Julia’s Gifts is the first book in the Great War, Great Love series. After reading this one, you’ll be looking forward to Gable’s next books!
 
Excerpt:



December 17, 1917

The bustling streets of Center City Philadelphia shimmered with electric lights, heralding that Christmas was near. Julia Marie Murphy lifted her head and gazed upward. The night sky was filled with snow clouds, the air brisk. She pulled on her gloves and buttoned the top of her coat. Her thoughts turned to her future husband. Dear God in heaven, please protect my beloved. 
Tens of thousands of American men had already enlisted to fight in this “Great War.” The gentlemen that Julia knew seemed anxious to join, and Julia thanked God that her three brothers were too young to fight.
In a few short weeks, it would be 1918.  All of her father’s friends and acquaintances expected the war to end soon, hopefully before the middle of the year.  But 1918 held far more significance for Julia.  This would be the year that she would turn 21. 
She approached Lit Brothers department store, admiring the display windows that were outlined with colored electric lights. Julia was thankful that it was Monday. If it were Thursday, the ban on electric lights (in support of the war effort) would mean the windows would be dark.
Julia stared, transfixed, through the window at the tall display. Shimmery red fabric hung from a back wall, a beautiful sterling silver pocket watch lay on top of a cylindrical pedestal.  Her eyes widened when she saw the price tag: $12.25, almost 20 percent of her annual salary. But it was beautiful and every man needed one. The price notwithstanding, this would be a perfect gift for her beloved. Yes, it was extravagant, especially during wartime. Yes, there were less expensive items she could purchase. It didn’t matter. This was the ideal gift.
After purchasing it, she took it to the engraving department on the second floor. Behind the counter, the tall, lanky middle-aged man with a handlebar mustache smiled. “What would you like engraved on this?”
“To my beloved, next line, all my love, Julia.”
His eyebrows lifted.  “I’m certain the gentleman would prefer to have his Christian name engraved on this lovely timepiece.  Don’t you agree?”
“Well, yes, I imagine he would.  But I don’t really know his name or who he is yet.”
The man’s mouth fell open and he stuttered.  “I’m..I’m…s…sorry, Miss. I…I don’t understand.  You’ve bought an expensive pocket watch for someone you don’t know?”
Julia sighed.  She shouldn’t have said anything. 
“Please just use the words I gave you.”
The man nodded and regarded Julia with an expression of suspicious curiosity, a look one might give a person in an asylum.
“How long will it take?”
“For the engraving?  Ten days.  Sorry, Miss, but you won’t have it in time for Christmas.”
“That’s all right.” Julia turned and walked a few steps and heard the salesman mumble, “Now there’s an odd girl.  Buying a gift for someone she doesn’t know. Tsk tsk.”
Sighing, she checked her own wristwatch and hurried out of the store to begin the three-block walk to her trolley stop.  If she didn’t get there in time for the five p.m. streetcar, she would be waiting half an hour.
This year Julia was determined that she would meet her beloved, the man for whom she had been praying these past four years. Why hadn’t she met him yet?  Some of her friends were already married. Her beloved was out there and she would find him.  Yes, 1918 would also be the year that she would meet her beloved.
Each December, Julia wondered what she would buy her beloved for Christmas. Last year, she searched different stores but found nothing special. She finally discovered — and bought — a brown leather pocket journal at a specialty store at Broad and Bigler Streets. She didn’t know whether her beloved would be the sort to write in one, but it seemed like an appropriate gift, especially since it had a delicate leaf embossed on the cover. The year before, she had bought a sterling silver Miraculous Medal because her beloved would be Catholic.
That first year, her mother suggested that she begin praying for her future husband.  After a few weeks of doing so, Julia felt inspired to do more. It had been the week before Christmas, so she decided that she would buy or make him a Christmas gift each year until they met.  With no job and no money that year, Julia knit him two pairs of socks, one blue-green and one green-brown, with finely-made yarn that her mother had given her.
The fact that she had made or bought gifts, and had spent hard-earned money for her future husband, had not pleased her father as he thought it too impractical and sentimental. Her mother, however, had declared that it was a beautiful gesture. Of course, if Mother knew how much she had spent on the most recent gift, she was pretty certain her mother wouldn’t be happy. 
  
Eager to read more? Purchase Julia's Gifts on Amazon and help support this site: http://amzn.to/2ztoThJ

Ellen Gable is an award-winning author, Marketing Director for Live the Fast, self-publishing book coach, speaker, publisher, NFP teacher, book reviewer and instructor in the Theology of the Body for Teens. However, the roles she loves the most are being wife to her husband and mother to their five sons, ages 18-30. Originally from New Jersey, Ellen lives with her husband of 35 years, James Hrkach, in Pakenham, Ontario Canada.


If you are interested in checking out the other spots on the blog tour, please visit:


November 1  (Open Book)   Plot Line and Sinker
November 2   Mary Lou Rosien, Dynamic Women of Faith
November 4  Karen Kelly Boyce
November 5  Christopher Blunt
November 6 Carolyn Astfalk, My Scribbler’s Heart Blog
November 7  Jean Heimann, Catholic Fire
November 8  A.K. Frailey   Sarah Reinhard
November 9  Allison Gingras, Reconciled to You
November 10  Barb Szyszkiewicz, Franciscan Mom
November 11  Plot Line and Sinker  Remembrance Day/ Veterans Day post
November 12 You are here!
November 13  Mike Seagriff, Harvesting the Fruits of Comtemplation
November 14 Lisa Mladinich, Amazing Catechists
November 15 Theresa Linden
November 16  Barbara Hosbach
November 17  Barb Szyszkiewicz    Catholic Mom
November 18 Cathy Gilmore, Virtue Works Media
November 19 Erin McCole Cupp
November 20 Virginia Lieto
November 21 Elena Maria Vidal  Tea at Trianon
November 22  Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold Miller
Prints of Grace, Trisha Niermeyer Potter
.

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