The Book of Which I’m Most Proud Tuesday, Jun 14 2022 

A question I’ve been asked over the years is which of the books that I’ve written is my favorite. This is a question that is as impossible to answer as which child is my favorite. Each book is special to me. I’m proud of all of all of them for different reasons.

Each was written with an intent to fill a need. Each book was sent out into the world with a mission to offer information and consolation to a particular audience. Most have won awards and sold consistently well over the years. And now I’m very excited about a new book coming out this year, which I will tell you about at the end of this post.

Mentoring Heroes was my first book. Published in 2000, this book centered on my recognition through newspaper articles I’d written that successful people attributed their progress to the mentors who helped them along the way. I also recognized that women’s lives are complicated and multi-layered with family, household, and work responsibilities, and therefore, more challenging in finding ways in which to be mentored. Mentoring Heroes was widely used in university Women Studies programs and by clubs and groups. Today, I know that the book is dated in the way that it was printed–with copper plates and blue-line editing as opposed to today’s digital print method–and due to men participating more in household responsibilities and technology offering more ways in which to be mentored. Yet, the overall benefits and need for mentoring remains relevant.

The Rosary Prayer by Prayer, Grieving with Mary, and Fatima at 100. Fatima Today were inspired by a devotion to the Virgin Mary. These were the types of books I wanted to write since childhood. Praying with Mary should always lead to a greater devotion to her son, Jesus. Mary is our heavenly mother, and like a good mother, she loves us dearly, promotes peace among all creation, and encourages us to care for one another as Jesus does. Praying with her offers a sense of calm in a world where this type of alliance is greatly needed.

With the The Rosary Prayer by Prayer readers can pray along simply by following pages showing the placement on the rosary, the prayer to be prayed, illustrations by Joseph Cannella, and a reflection. Grieving with Mary is a best-seller that aligns praying with Mary in a wide variety of ways during times of loss. And Fatima at 100. Fatima Today is a little booklet that reviews Mary’s messages in Fatima, Portugal in 1917 and how those messages remain vital in attaining peace.

Seven Principles of Sainthood Following Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and Saint Theodora and Her Promise to God are books about a woman who immigrated to the United States to teach children and young woman. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, also known as Saint Theodora, and a small group of sisters opened schools throughout rural Indiana and Illinois in the mid to late 1800s, a time when Catholic schools were greatly needed and in which this band of women faced great obstacles. The sisters also opened a school for the higher education of women when women had little-to-no choice for such an opportunity. Seven Principles was written for adults and Saint Theodora and Her Promise to God was written for children. I was inspired to write these books after attending Saint Mary of the Woods College, the school Saint Mother Theodore founded, as well as her canonization in Rome, Italy.

Young in the Spirit was published in 2013 when I was closing in on one of those big decade birthdays (I was 60 in 2014-Yikes!). Big birthdays spark contemplation on where we came from, how we arrived at a particular point in time, and where we anticipate the future to bring us. One of the areas of contemplation for me was in regard to my faith—how it changed through the years and what I could offer the Church now. Those thoughts are at the heart of Young in the Spirit.

Hans Christian Andersen Illuminated by The Message was part of a series initiated by my publisher, Greg Pierce. The series offers a unique way to promote prayer by pairing Scripture verses with passages from classic writings. I chose Hans Christian Andersen in remembrance of my mother and her childhood book, a 1936 edition of Anderson’s Fairy Tales, the same book from which my mother read to me.

Navigating Alzheimer’s, The Alzheimer’s Spouse, and Inspired Caregiving was born from a need recognized by Pam Sebern, the director of a memory care home where my husband resided in his last years. Pam asked for books to help families understand dementia and better care for their loved ones while caring for themselves along the way. She felt that the books available at that time were too medical and needed a perspective from one who lived the experience. As my husband suffered from symptoms from Alzheimer’s disease for more than 15 years, and I was an author with substantial writing experience, Pam believed I could fulfill that need.

Navigating Alzheimer’s covers the basics of Alzheimer’s and ways in which we can work with our loved one. It offers family members and caregivers a clear overall of the changes they’re likely to notice. The Alzheimer’s Spouse also covers the basics of the disease but from the perspective of the spouse. Alzheimer’s touches every aspect of both spouses in devastating ways. Inspired Caregiving provides readers with a daily/weekly boost of inspiration. Each weekly reflection follows a rotation that includes a photo, prayer, thought, activity, stretch, affirmation, quote, and bit of humor to offer guidance, encouragement, improved self-talk, and maybe a smile. All three of these books are recommended by memory care facilities across the country.  

My next book, which currently is in publication, is less serious. I believe readers and I are in need of opportunities that promote peace, beauty, love, and inspiration. For this reason, my newest book, tentatively called The Gifts of Public Gardens, showcases vivid photos of nature that I have taken at public gardens paired with short, thoughtful poems. My intent is for readers to escape into the positive, wonderous gifts around us. I will keep you posted on when this book will be available.

If you’ve read any of my books, please post a review on Amazon. Readers rely on these comments to find books best suited to their needs.

Never Departed Monday, May 23 2022 

A beloved uncle of mine passed away this month. Uncle Walt was 81 years-old and suffered from a couple of health problems for decades. We would love to have had him longer, but his death was not completely unexpected. Therefore, his memorial was celebratory and honored him with some tears and lots of stories and laughter.

When someone suffers from illness, it’s not unusual to look at their death as a relief. We find a bit of comfort in knowing our loved one is no longer in pain, and for those who believe in heaven, that they are in a better, happier, and easier place from that point through eternity.

Yet even these expected deaths prompt deep pondering about our relationship with the deceased. We reminisce the good times. We also take note of our own passing in the unforeseen near or far future. It’s a wakeup call, a reminder, that no one lives forever. At some point, we too will cross to the other side. And no one knows when that time will come.

When I dream, I encounter friends and family who are both living and dead. These people typically are moving around in the same dream. I see some of them so often, I don’t miss them in this life as much. I’m comforted by their presence in my dreams and also my own death. It helps me to believe in the continuity of life, in one form or another.

Following is a free verse poem I wrote about my experience with such dreams.

*

Never Departed

Moving back and forth

between the living and the dead

friends and family,

past and present.

They’re all with me at the table

communicating when awake

and in my dreams,

sharing signs, words, and visions.

The ability to be together,

simultaneously

in this life and the next,

is comforting.

*

Photo: Hibiscus, Colon, MI, 8/2/21

*Take a look at my books: Grieving with Mary and Inspired Caregiving.

Do You Want Peace? Thursday, May 12 2022 

If you had the power to bring peace and justice to absolutely everywhere in the world, would you use that power? Would you at least make an attempt to promote peace?

Well, you do have such power, and it isn’t very complicated. More than 100 years ago, the Virgin Mary gave us a peace plan that she promised would work. And she provided clear instructions for us to follow.

Over the course of six months from May 13 to October 13, 1917, Mary appeared to three shepherd children, Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta in Fatima, Portugal. The plan is simple but does take some effort on our part. Basically, it is to build a relationship with Mary’s son, Jesus. If Jesus is our first thought before we act, we would be kinder, gentler, and loving. The more of us who do this, the more peaceful our world becomes.

One way in which to grow closer to Jesus is to pray the rosary daily. Throughout the rosary, we meditate on the life, works, and death of Christ. The repetition of prayers is calming, which allows us to think clearly. We end feeling more relaxed and positive.

Mary warned that if we did not strive for peace, an already greedy, angry, and selfish world would become worse. At that time, World War I was in progress. Undoubtedly, we did not heed the warning. We know that a greater war did in fact occur, and we have continued with conflicts ever since then.

At the time of the apparitions, Lucia was 10 years old, Francisco was 9, and Jacinta was 7. The Fatima children were quite young yet followed Mary’s instructions to the very best of their abilities. If they could do it, so can we.

For more information on Mary’s peace plan, see my booklet, Fatima Today, available for only 99 cents from ACTA Publications. To learn how to pray the rosary or understand it better, see my book, The Rosary Prayer by Prayer.

The Little Black Dog Wednesday, Apr 6 2022 

When my Grandpa McCarthy passed away, we found a little folded piece of paper in his wallet with a poem printed on it. My grandmother knew I loved poetry, so she gave me the paper.

The poem is meaningful to me on so many levels. It is beautifully written, and its message is thought-provoking. I can’t help but to ponder the scene when reading it. Mostly, the poem reminds me of my grandparents and their love for their German Shepherds.

Here is that special little poem.

The Little Black Dog

I wonder if Christ had a little black dog,

All curly and wooly like mine

With two silky ears and a nose round and wet,

And two eyes, brown and tender, that shine.

I’m sure if He had, that little black dog

Knew right from the start He was God,

That he needed no proof that Christ was divine

But just worshipped the ground that He trod.

I’m afraid that He hadn’t because I have read

How He prayed in the garden alone;

For all of His friends and disciples had fled –

Even Peter, the one called a stone.

And oh, I am sure that little black dog,

With a heart so tender and warm,

Would never have left Him to suffer alone,

But creeping right under His arm,

Would have licked those dear fingers, in agony clasped;

And counting all favors but loss,

When they took Him away would have trotted behind

And followed Him quite to the Cross.

– –Elizabeth Gardner Reynolds–

*I’m currently working on a couple of books on poetry. One should be out within about a year.

Breastplate of St. Patrick Thursday, Mar 17 2022 

We’ve experienced disturbing issues for years now. The constant onslaught can make us feel helpless. But we never are. There’s always something we can do.

For example, we can donate to the needs of the desperate people of Ukraine and all those who are hungry using reputable organizations. We can pass on clothes and household items we are not using or literally open our doors to the homeless and displaced.

And prayer is always an option and so very powerful. Today, being St. Patrick’s Day, is an especially good day to pray the prayer of St. Patrick. Most often, I simply pray the “Christ, be with me…” part, but the entire prayer isn’t that long. I also change the “me” to “us” and the “every man” to “everyone.”

Try it for yourself. You may be very surprised at the protection you feel for yourself and others.

Peace be with you.

*Have you read The Rosary Prayer by Prayer or Grieving with Mary? Please write a review on Amazon if you have.

Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem Tuesday, Mar 15 2022 

While pilgrimaging in Israel and Italy in 2019, I followed the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, a processional route symbolizing the actual path Jesus walked to Calvary. Catholic churches typically display images of this path around the church so parishioners may walk and pray while meditating on Jesus’ Passion. I’ve walked this many times in churches, and it’s always meaningful. However, it’s nothing like walking the actual path in Jerusalem.

Following are photos from my pilgrimage in regard to the Stations of the Cross. When looking at the tree with thorns, notice how long those terrifying spikes are and remember that they were formed into a wreath and pressed into Jesus’ skull.

+ + +

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

  1. Jesus is Condemned to Death
(Site Where Jesus Was Condemned to Death. Jerusalem)
(Thorns as Used in Jesus’ Crown, Jerusalem)

2. Jesus Carries His Cross

(Via Dolorosa. The Path Jesus Walked to His Crucifixion)

3. Jesus Falls the First Time.

(Location Where Jesus Fell the First Time. Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem)

4. Jesus Meets his Mother Mary

(Location of the Fourth Station of the Cross, Where Jesus Met His Mother. Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem)

5. Simon Helps Jesus

(Site Where Simon Helped Jesus Carry His Cross. Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem)

6. Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

(A Woman Wiped Jesus’ Blood and Sweat from His Face. Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem)

7. Jesus Falls the Second Time

(Jesus Fell a Second Time on This Site. Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem)

8. Jesus Comforts the Women of Jerusalem

(Jesus Comforted the Women on His Way to the Cross. Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem)

9. Jesus Falls the Third Time

(Jesus Fell Three Times. Image in the Church of Condemnation. Jerusalem)

10. Jesus is Stripped of His Garments

(Before Jesus Was Crucified, He Was Stripped of His Garments. Jerusalem)

11. Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

(Jesus Was Nailed to a Cross. Jerusalem)

12. Jesus Dies on the Cross

(Alter Over Site of Jesus’ Crucifixion. Jerusalem)

13. Jesus is Taken Down form the Cross

(Pieta, Vatican, Italy)

14. Jesus is Buried

(Stone of Anointing Where Jesus’ Body Was Prepared for Burial. Jerusalem)

+ + +

Meditate on Christ’s Passion with the book, The Rosary Prayer by Prayer, available from Amazon and ACTA Publications.

Mary’s Peace Plan is Today’s Peace Plan Friday, Feb 25 2022 

Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine has everyone on edge. Putin’s been taunting the country for weeks reminding the people of previous days of terror. His unpredictability and bullying make us wonder how far he will go. Could the invasion of one small country lead to an all-out world war?

We can’t turn our backs on the Ukraine, or anywhere else. From a selfish standpoint, what effects one, effects all, in one way or another. In addition, we know the Ukrainian people. In this technologically, interconnected world, we know people across the globe through online chatting, news coverage, and business dealings. We may even be neighbors, coworkers, or related to them.

The Virgin Mary says there is a way to prevent war. World peace is possible, and Mary explained how it could be achieved. She clearly spelled out a plan in 1917 in Fatima, Portugal through a series of apparitions to three young shepherd children: ten-year-old Lucia dos Santos, nine-year old Francisco Marto, and seven-year-old Jacinta Marto.

Mary’s peace plan consists of specific instructions, but overall, her point was to pray, and to pray unceasingly. In particular, she instructed to pray the rosary every day.

“The rosary is a path to peace because it promotes peace within us, and that peace reflects on everyone we encounter. The rhythmic sequence of prayers is very calming and allows us to meditate more fully on the life of Jesus. It draws us closer to Christ because it is Christ-centered. And where Christ is, there is peace.” (Excerpt from Fatima at 100. Fatima Today)

At that time, the world was at war (WWI), and Mary warned that if we didn’t change our ways, a greater war would result. We know, in fact, that a greater war (WWII) did occur resulting in the loss of more lives and destruction.

Mary’s peace plan is as important today as ever. We don’t have to sit by and watch the pain and destruction across the globe while hopelessly ringing our hands. We can take action in a real way, because prayer works.

We can pray in our own way or pick up those rosary beads. Praying the rosary only takes about 15-20 minutes. Isn’t that investment of your time worth personal and world peace?

*For more information on how to pray the rosary, read The Rosary Prayer by Prayer available from Amazon.comACTA Publications, and my website. 

How to Pray Wednesday, Jan 19 2022 

Believers have it easy. When we truly believe in a loving God who cares for us, we’re assured that when we ask for something and give our worries and wants to God, God will respond in a way that is best for us. We have no need to fret. We are in God’s hands.

So, is there a special way in which we need to pray, to talk to God? The answer is, definitely not. Our prayers are heard however we communicate with the Lord.

Devotion may be shown using words spoken, thought, or read; executing or pondering sacred art or music; holding sacramentals, such as medals and rosaries, to prompt our prayers; meditating in sacred spaces; and through simple acts of charity and love.

For example, adult coloring books are popular ways to destress. When coloring in a book that offers religious words and artwork, we can use the activity as a tool to pray.

After writing the book, Saint Theodora and Her Promise to God for the Sisters of Providence of Indiana, I was asked to write a shorter version of the book for a coloring book. While coloring, we can use this book to think about Saint Theodora, also known as Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, and how she prayed and discerned her calling. We then can consider how God calls on us and how we respond to that call.

Try it for yourself. Talk to God, and then listen. God will answer. We just need to pay attention.

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

*Unsure of how to pray the rosary? Here’s an easy and inspiring way. Just turn the pages of The Rosary Prayer by Prayer and follow along.

We Are the Light in 2022 Wednesday, Dec 29 2021 

We glow. Yes, we are radiant. Science says that all living things, including humans, absorb, reflect, and transmit light.

Albeit, that glow is faint. We’re not going to light up a moonless night simply by walking down the street. Our radiance cannot be detected by the human eye. In fact, it’s a thousand time less intense than what we are capable of seeing. However, this doesn’t mean that our light is insignificant as this emission is similar in hertz to that of cell phone systems.

Due to chemical reactions, our bodies release energy, produce heat, and emit small numbers of photons, which are particles of light. Our body glow intensity varies throughout the day. The lowest point is thought to occur around 10 a.m. and peak around 4 p.m. The fluctuation is likely linked to our metabolic rhythm.

Most of the light emission occurs around the face because that is where we absorb the most. When we are unwell, the strength and pattern of waves alter.

Christian Scriptures say that Jesus is the light, and we may obtain light by following him. “Again, Jesus spoke to them saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light’” (John 8:12).

We follow Jesus by spreading love and being loving, because God is love. Acts of love, kindness, justice, and peace can be performed in small ways. Sharing our resources, being grateful for what we have, seeking justice and equality for everyone, treating others as we hope to be treated, checking on the lonely, mentoring co-workers, seeking to understand others with differing ideas, and offering hope to those who are struggling are some things we may do for the people we encounter each day.

No one can deny that we need peace, justice, and love in our world, which all are intertwined. Striving toward that goal is key to a happier, more peaceful 2022.

*Photo: Maui, 2005

You can see my website here.

SEASON OF HOPE AND PEACE Wednesday, Dec 22 2021 

It may not be obvious in the midst of this ongoing pandemic, political differences, and environmental turbulence, but the hope of Christmas truly is ours. We can maintain hope for peace and happiness in this world.

The angel declared this message to the shepherds in the field. The angels said, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).

That Good News was, and is, Jesus and the gift of salvation. And did you notice that the angels said that gift is given to all people? Every one of us is a beneficiary of God’s goodness, no matter our profession, financial status, age, ethnicity, gender, or social status.

Jesus is always with us, and good things are in our lives, if not today, in the near future. God never turns away from us. The key is for us not to turn away from God.

*Photo: Paintings in the Chapel of the Angels, Israel

*We meditate on the incarnation of Jesus throughout the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary. You can contemplate these mysteries and pray the rosary easily with the book, The Rosary Prayer by Prayer.

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