Book Review: Faith Under Fire

Posted by on Sep 12, 2016 in reviews | 0 comments

Faith Under FireI picked up Matthew Archbold’s book, Faith Under Fire: Dramatic Stories of Christian Courage with the intention of reading about Mother Antonia Brenner, who was featured in my own book last year and continues to fascinate me. My intention with this kind of book was to read around the chapters, reading one story today, maybe another tomorrow. I thought it would be a good bedstand book.

It didn’t happen that way. As I was flipping through the pages my eye caught Lauren Hill’s name. If you don’t know who she is, get the book today and turn to chapter six. Do it.

Lauren is my hero. We both loved basketball. We both longed to play in college. She got her dream.

You might remember seeing something in the news about this courageous young woman sometime last year. She was the high school basketball player diagnosed with cancer. When her condition worsened, the head basketball coach at Mount St. Joseph’s University arranged it for Lauren to achieve her dream and play basketball in college.

I wept. Her story is remarkable — and not because she achieved her dream. What a courageous young woman, to turn the disease, and the granting of her wish, into an opportunity to raise awareness and research funds for this childhood disease.

I was drawn to the story because college basketball was once my dream. But then, I was moved by Lauren’s trust in God that her life, however short, had a purpose for education and inspiration.

This is just one of many examples of lives lived courageously for the Glory of God’s Kingdom. You can savor it, one story at a time, or you can gobble it up like I did, and read it in two or three evenings. You’ll be inspired.


Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Servant (July 29, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1632530945
ISBN-13: 978-1632530943
Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches

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Book Review: The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion

Posted by on Sep 5, 2016 in reviews | 0 comments

The Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion

I’m back again in the book review mode, and it’s a pleasure to share this one with you because, guess what? I share a few reflections  with you in this book, and I’m honored to be in the company of some stellar catechists and writers such as Danielle Bean, Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, Sonja Corbitt, Elizabeth Ficocelli, Allison Gingras, Pat Gohn, Lisa Mladinich, Elizabeth Scalia, and Carolyn Woo, Mark Hart, and Jeff Young!

What a pleasure to be working with anything that Lisa Hendey and Sarah Reinhard produce…this is truly a gift for moms in any season…whether you’re dashing out the door to get the kids to school on your way to work, or staying up waiting for a teen to get home…or like me, praying for kids launched and in the world of work and new relationships. There’s something for everyone here.

I know this is going to be a part of my mornings, but it can fit anywhere in the day. The point is, as moms, we pray. We pray a lot — and this little companion has reflections to lift us up, console us, amuse us, and help us develop a habit of daily prayer. It’s like having a girl friend along to pray. Unless you’re one of the guys writing the reflection, then it’s like…no…it’s not like having your boyfriend along, but it is great to have a dad’s perspective every once in a while, too.

Order a few copies…one for yourself, and a couple to share with sisters or friends.


The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion
A Book of Daily Reflections

Edited by: Lisa M. Hendey
Edited by: Sarah A. Reinhard
Price: $16.95
Format: Paperback
Pages: 544
Trim size: 5 x 7 inches
ISBN: 978-1-59471-661-4
Imprint: Ave Maria Press
On-sale now


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Mirror mirror in the puddle

Posted by on Sep 3, 2016 in Weekly Photo Challenge | 4 comments


Spent the morning in Pensacola to visit with a dear friend I haven’t seen in years. It was a delight to have lunch with her young family, and seen how the kids are growing! Precious!

Here’s a little game of mirror mirror in the puddles outside the restaurant.

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work. and more work.

Posted by on Sep 2, 2016 in work | 4 comments

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I didn’t mean for this to be a Labor Day post. I really have been enjoying watching the construction of a pier in our back yard, and I’ve enjoyed speaking to the men building it over the course of several weeks as they’ve moved in and through our property, and as I’ve gotten in their way to go and investigate in this final phase.

In short, I’m impressed with their work ethic. I sit around on my butt typing. It’s a strenuous day if I have to get up twice for coffee because the first (or third) cup got cold.

These guys are working in the sun in 90 degree weather. Woof. Can’t do it. Yet they do. It’s their livelihood.  But it’s something else. Talking with them and cutting up during breaks has been delightful. Today, in particular, they were taking a break by sitting on the end of the pier and looking around. They weren’t talking, just looking…perhaps admiring the view.

I saw in their look a little something of what I feel when I stand on the porch — surveying the water, the waves, the pelicans and other birds that fly by. I enjoy this new world, or at least, this part of the world that is new to me. Each sweep of the horizon is like a prayer — a moment of joy captured by my eyes. The camera lens comes later, but it never captures the prayer.

I could see in these guys pride in a job well done. They enjoy the labor, the sweat and the physicality of moving heavy wood planks, and dodging waves, and ultimately, creating something that complements the landscape. There’s beauty in this different kind of ballet, the kind that swings hammers and balances logs.

Human work proceeds directly from persons created in the image of God and called to prolong the work of creation by subduing the earth, both with and for one another. Hence work is a duty: “If any one will not work, let him not eat.” Work honors the Creator’s gifts and the talents received from him. It can also be redemptive. By enduring the hardship of work in union with Jesus, the carpenter of Nazareth and the one crucified on Calvary, man collaborates in a certain fashion with the Son of God in his redemptive work. He shows himself to be a disciple of Christ by carrying the cross, daily, in the work he is called to accomplish. Work can be a means of sanctification and a way of animating earthly realities with the Spirit of Christ. CCC2427

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thoughts on this feast of St. Rose of Lima

Posted by on Aug 23, 2016 in Weekly Photo Challenge | 6 comments

A rare shot of the pelicans, undisturbed by Otis.

A rare shot of the pelicans, undisturbed by Otis.

I alluded to the fact of not quite explaining our move to the Gulf coast recently, yet I’ve posted picture after picture of some of the amazing views of our new life in Mobile. There’s a story, of course, and it kind of begins with my book, My Badass Book of Saints, which features St. Rose of Lima in one of the chapters, and ends with building a dream cottage on the water.

Or maybe, that’s where the story begins.

We’ve settled into a life of retirement, and although I always promised myself that when I retired I would sleep until noon, it’s impossible to sleep past 6:00 AM around here. First of all, the sun finds my eyes at just about 5:55 AM. It wakes me enough to clamp a pillow over my face, but I’m lucid enough to hear the Angelus bells ring at the little church nearby, so I’m out of luck. Or in luck. Or actually, blessed to be called to prayer. Ain’t no going back to sleep after that.

It’s a tough life. I highly recommend it.

The church is named St. Rose of Lima, and were it not for St. Rose, I’d still be teaching college, and we’d still be telling Otis to quit chasing squirrels. It happens that while on a weekend getaway to the area, we were looking for a church and picked St. Rose because, well, I’d just finished writing about her. My husband was looking for a church and when he saw the name he thought he’d surprise me.

Boy, did he surprise me. It turns out, there was a for sale sign in the area, and before we knew it, we were moving into this house he built in a year. There’s more, but I’m kind of holding onto that for a while.

In the meantime, I’m writing books instead of teaching college. And Otis? Well he gave up squirrels. Now he’s chasing pelicans.

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