Friday, March 19, 2021

St. Joseph Consecration Day

I've been doing the Consecration to St. Joseph and today is Consecration Day! I've enjoyed reading and praying with the book by Fr. Calloway especially during the Year of St. Joseph and I encourage you to pick it up if you haven't already. It is a bit hefty. If it takes you longer than 33 days to get through it, I'm sure St. Joseph won't mind.

I didn't get to post about what I was reading as much as I would have liked, but seeing as it is St. Joseph's feast day, I did want to post about a couple of things I found especially interesting. 

One is the relic known as Santo Anello. Apparently this is the wedding ring that St. Joseph gave Mary. The ring is in the Cathedral of San Lorenzo in Perugia, Italy where it is housed in a beautiful reliquary. Married couples as well as those about to be married are invited to touch their wedding rings to the Santo Anello to receive a blessing.  


File:Cattedrale di Perugia, reliquiario del Santo Anello.jpg - Wikimedia  Commons 

Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cattedrale_di_Perugia,_reliquiario_del_Santo_Anello.jpg 

 

The other thing I found interesting was in the chapter on "Sleeping St. Joseph" which discusses the value of sleep:

"God loves sleep. He made it. . . Being a workaholic is never a good things. . . You are not wasting your time when you rest. Sleep is pleasing to God. God will speak to you and refresh your soul when you sleep."

I know there are seasons of life when getting a full night's sleep isn't possible, but if there isn't a compelling reason to be up in the middle of night, make getting a good night's sleep a priority. God made us to both work and rest. 


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Thursday, March 18, 2021

Be the Polaroid in a Photoshopped World

 


 

 

Youth minister Doug Tooke recently gave a talk on “The Perfection of Imperfection.” In it he discussed how our quest to be perfect can lead to blame and shame. When we think that holiness means that we must be perfect, it can lead to self-criticism and despair. He challenged listeners to “be a candid Polaroid in a Photoshopped world.”

Social media increases this emphasis on being perfect. I can’t even tell you how many times scrolling through Facebook becomes a near occasion of sin for me. As someone who has always struggled with insecurity (pride) and envy, it is hard for me to see all the posts of people whose lives seem so much better and more successful than mine. It is not even a case of my not being happy for their successes. I am truly happy that my friends are doing well. It simply triggers my internal voice that points out (loudly and repeatedly) all the ways my life is not going well, even though I know that, behind the surface, those posting their highlight reel on Facebook have their own challenges. And yes, I confess pride and envy every single time I go to confession. I will probably be struggling with this until the day I die.

As a professional writer and editor, I need to present a professional persona on social media. That is the case for people in many careers. We need to show the world that we have it all together so that people will want to work with us. The modern world has made it so that each of us is a “brand” that needs to be cultivated and advertised. This emphasis on being a marketable product takes away some of our humanity. We can’t show our flaws or our imperfections. We enhance our selfies using filters to make ourselves look better. We take pictures of carefully curated sections of our homes so it looks like our living spaces are always clean and neat. We only share our moments of success so that no one knows about the hard times we might go through.

I’m certainly not telling you that you need to share all your personal troubles with everyone on social media, but we all need people we can be real with. In order to have true friendships and quality familial relationships, we need to be willing to open up and share our vulnerable spots. We need to admit that we are human and have flaws. We need to acknowledge our struggles and sins.

In his talk, Tooke talks about being willing to be imperfect with our children when passing on our faith. It is okay to let your children see you struggle sometimes. I think that this is especially true with teenagers. They need to know that even adults don’t have it all together. They need to see us admit we are wrong and ask for forgiveness. They need to see us pray for help in our moments of weakness. When our teens come to us with questions that we don’t have the answer to, we can admit we don’t know and offer to look for the answers with them. We don’t always have to be right. We can admit that we are works in progress just as our children are. We can acknowledge that, more than anything, we need God.

In a world full of airbrushed and filtered perfection, be willing to be the snapshot, especially with those closest to you. We humans are beautifully imperfect. It is through our cracks that God’s mercy and grace are able to shine through.

This post was inspired by Doug Tooke's "The Perfection of Imperfection" Talk in the OSV Talks series, a series of topics from prominent Catholic leaders to spark discussion, explore new or re-explore old approaches, and inspire creative thinking, all from the heart of the Church.

Image by Abigail Ross from Pixabay

Monday, March 08, 2021

Treasures: Visible and Invisible Blog Tour!

 


 

 

I'm thrilled today to be hosting the blog tour for Treasures: Visible and Invisible.

The writers at CatholicTeenBooks.com always amaze me with the quality of their stories. All of the writers are experienced novelists in their own right, but when they come together to collaborate on a short story collection, they truly shine.

Their latest effort Treasures: Visible and Invisible features eight stories that move through history from 4th century Ireland to a dystopian future. What ties the stories together? A shamrock-shaped stone that St. Patrick found which helped give him the idea of explaining the Trinity as a clover. As the stone touches various lives through the ages, it brings with it a measure of protection and the ability to work miracles through St. Patrick’s intercession. Each of the stories can stand on its own, but when taken together, they present a compelling portrait of the power of prayer and the mystery of God’s ways.

Treasures: Visible and Invisible makes for great reading for St. Patrick Day (or any time of year!) for teens and older.

Check out the book trailer:  


 

(This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Purchases made after clicking through a link help support this site. Thank you!)

Here is a quick summary of the eight stories:

Treasures: Visible & Invisible

by Theresa Linden, Susan Peek, Antony Kolenc, Amanda Lauer Carolyn Astfalk, Leslea Wahl, T.M. Gaouette, and Corinna Turner.

·         A teen boy sets out to save a friend from pagan druids, but maybe he’s the one who needs saving.

·         Between a baffling scripture verse and a visit from Heaven, a young monk is in for the surprise of his life.

·         A young girl seeks a mysterious treasure that holds the key to granting a nun’s dying wish.

·         Honora is desperate—then a peculiar clover and a mysterious young man change everything.

·         William's weekend job is a little gift from heaven, but now his family needs a real miracle.

·         When threatened by mobsters, Grace receives help from a surprising source.

·         Alone and afraid, a young girl finds friendship in a stranger. But could this boy be trouble?

·         Kyle was determined to save the precious relic – but now his whole family is in danger.

And some impressive author bios:

THERESA LINDEN is the author of award-winning Catholic fiction, including the West Brothers contemporary series and the Chasing Liberty dystopian trilogy. One of her great joys is to bring elements of faith to life through a story. She has more than a dozen published books, three of which won awards from the Catholic Press Association. Her short stories appear in several anthologies, including Secrets: Visible & Invisible, and Gifts: Visible & Invisible. Her articles and interviews can be found on various radio shows and in magazines, including EWTN’s The Good Fight, The National Catholic Register, Catholic Digest, Today’s Catholic Teacher, and Catholic Mom. Her books are featured online on Catholic Teen Books, Catholic Reads, FORMED, and Virtue Works Media. A wife, homeschooling mom, and Secular Franciscan, she resides in northeast Ohio with her husband and children. You can learn more about her at www.TheresaLinden.com.

 

SUSAN PEEK is a wife, mother, grandmother, Third Order Franciscan, and bestselling Catholic novelist. Her passion is writing stories of little-known saints and heroes. All her young adult novels have been awarded the coveted Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval and are implemented into Catholic school curricula not only across the nation, but in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand as well. Saint Magnus the Last Viking and The King's Prey: Saint Dymphna of Ireland were both Amazon #1 Sellers among Catholic books. The King's Prey was also voted one of Catholic Reads TOP 10 BEST CATHOLIC BOOKS OF 2017 and was a Finalist for the 2018 Catholic Arts and Letters Award. Crusader King was featured as one of the 50 Most Popular Catholic Homeschooling Books in 2013. Susan lives in northeastern Kansas, where she can usually be found with her nose in a book, researching obscure saints to write about. Visit her at www.SusanPeekAuthor.com.

 

ANTONY BARONE KOLENC is the author of The Harwood Mysteries, an exciting historical-fiction series for youth published by Loyola Press. He is a long-time member of the Catholic Writers Guild, and his novels all have the Catholic Writers Guild’s Seal of Approval. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps after 21 years of military service. A law professor who’s had his works published in numerous journals and magazines, Kolenc now speaks at legal, writing, and home-education events. He and his wife, Alisa, are the parents of five children, and have been blessed with three wonderful grandchildren. To learn more about The Harwood Mysteries and its author, visit www.antonykolenc.com.

 

AMANDA LAUER loves writing books—particularly Young Adult Historic Fiction—that portray the Church in a positive light and depict God’s children endeavoring to become the best version of themselves every day. A journalist and proofreader by trade, Amanda embarked on her novelist career with the award-winning and best-selling Heaven Intended Civil War series. A World Such as Heaven Intended earned the 2016 YA CALA award. Currently Amanda has several more books in the process of being published.

 

In addition to writing novels, Amanda works in the film industry writing and copy-editing screenplays. She was awarded Best Writer 2020 (Red Letter Awards) for her work as a co-writer on the movie The Islands. To learn more about Amanda, who’s lucky and blessed to be living in a world such as heaven intended, visit her web site: www.AmandaLauer.com.

 

CAROLYN ASTFALK writes from the sweetest place on Earth, Hershey, Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband and four children. In addition to her contemporary Catholic romances (sometimes referred to as Theology of the Body fiction), including the young adult coming-of-age story Rightfully Ours, she is a Catholicmom.com contributor. She is a member of the Catholic Writers Guild and Pennwriters. When she is not washing dishes, doing laundry, or reading, you can find her blogging about books, faith, and family life at www.CarolynAstfalk.com.

LESLEA WAHL is the author of the award-winning Catholic teen mysteries The Perfect Blindside, An Unexpected Role, Where You Lead, and eXtreme Blindside. The characters in this short story, Luke, Celia, Austin, and Grandma Grace, appear in her newest adventurous novel, A Summer to Treasure. Leslea’s journey to become an author came through a search for value-based fiction for her own children. She now not only writes for teens but also has become a reviewer of Catholic teen fiction to help other families discover faith-based books. Leslea lives in beautiful Colorado with her husband and children. The furry, four-legged members of her family often make cameo appearances in her novels. Leslea has always loved mysteries and hopes to encourage teens to grow in their faith through these fun adventures. For more information about her faith-filled Young Adult mysteries, please visit www.LesleaWahl.com.

 

T. M. GAOUETTE is the author of the Faith & Kung Fu series for young adults, as well as The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch and For Eden’s Sake. She also contributed to the last two Catholic Teen Books anthologies, Secrets: Visible & Invisible with her short story “Sister Francesca” and Gifts: Visible & Invisible with “Just Jesus.” Her novels have received the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval (except new releases for which the seal may be in process). Born in Africa, raised in London, England, Gaouette now lives on a small farm in New England with her husband, where she homeschools their four children, raises goats, and writes fiction for teens and young adults. A former contributor for Project Inspired, Gaouette’s desire is to instill the love of God into the hearts of her readers. You can find out more at www.TMGaouette.com.

CORINNA TURNER is the author of the I Am Margaret and unSPARKed series for young adults, as well as stand-alone works such as Elfling and Mandy Lamb and the Full Moon (for teens) and Someday (for older teens and adults). She has just released The Boy Who Knew (Carlo Acutis) the first book in her new Friends in High Places series about friendship with the saints. All of her novels have received the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval (except new releases for which the seal may be in process). Liberation (‘I Am Margaret’ Book 3) was nominated for the Carnegie Medal Award 2016 and Elfling won first prize for “Teen and Young Adult Fiction” in the Catholic Press Association 2019 Book Awards. Several of her other books have been placed in the CPA Awards and the Catholic Arts and Letters Award.

Corinna Turner is a Lay Dominican with an MA in English from Oxford University, and lives in the UK. She has been writing since she was fourteen and likes strong protagonists with plenty of integrity. She used to have a Giant African Land Snail called Peter with a 6½” long shell—which is legal in the UK!—but now makes do with a cactus and a campervan. You can find out more at www.IAmMargaret.com.

 

Visit other stops on the blog tour:

March 5           Bonnie Way                            The Koala Mom                     

March 6           Leslea Wahl                            Ministry Thru Mystery

March 7           Carolyn Astfalk                      My Scribbler’s Heart

March 9           Erin Broestl                             Eight Hobbits

March 10         Corinna Turner                        UnSeen Books Blog

March 11         Amanda Lauer                        AmandaLauer.com

March 12         Sarah Damm                           SarahDamm.com

March 13         Barb Szyszkiewicz                  FranciscanMom                      

March 14         Theresa Linden                       Things Visible & Invisible

March 15         Steven R. McEvoy                  Book Reviews and More

March 16         Lisa Hendey                           LisaHendey.com

March 17         Catholic Teen Books              Catholic Teen Books

 


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