Monday, July 21, 2014

Who Said Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend?

Every detective series has some endearing quality to hook the reader, or the series would have been a one shot deal.  The detective story, The Hard Way, has many endearing facets, which is why the Laurel and Helen mysteries are so successful.  The author, Cathi Stoler has introduced an interesting main character, Helen McCorkendale.  She’s so believable, you recognize her.  Why she’s that lady you see around town.  She is always dressed fashionably, and is busy doing something interesting.  You’d love to be friends with her.

Guess what.  You can.  The book is The Hard Way, by Cathi Stoler, and you and Helen can have a cup of coffee and share one dessert with two spoons.  That’s how Helen is.  Helen will also tell you about her boyfriend Mike.  They recently moved in together.  Laurel is Helen friend, accomplice, and Mike’s daughter.

The Hard Way is about Helen helping out another friend, Jimmy.  Jimmy Scanlon just opened up a casino in Las Vegas.  He named it January because the theme is “cold.”  That’s cold colors, a frozen bar, and all around “cool”.  As a promotional gimmick, a contest offered a free weekend at January.  What’s weird is that the winner didn’t want to come.  She eventually changed her mind and came, only to be murdered.  The Hard Way is a who done it.

The suspects are: Jimmy’s competitor—Drummond, someone in the mob, maybe even one of the diamond exhibitors staying at the January.  I’ll help you out.  The killer isn’t one of them, but that’s the closest to a spoiler, you’ll get.  There’s a traitor in Jimmy’s circle of confidants and friends.  Then there’s an international jewel theft ring.  And oh, the murdered victim wasn’t an innocent casualty.

An interesting aside is Laurel’s love life.  Laurel is Helen’s partner in crime, so to speak.  Laurel was interested in a New York cop.  Evidently, due to circumstances,  Aaron Gerrard (the cop) can never understand, why Laurel betrayed him.  He has turned his back on her; he won’t listen; he is finished with her.  This case has them working together, again.  This interplay is very interesting. 

Interpol becomes involved.  Diamonds are stolen.  People are killed.  Helen is in danger. 
The pace is so fast that you can’t read fast enough.   You’ll enjoy every minute of The Hard Way.  In fact, you’ll soon be reading the other two Laurel and Helen New York Mystery series, because The Hard Way will make you a fan.

Prices/Formats: $4.95 ebook, $14.95 paperback
April 15, 2014
Camel Press

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival

It's Sunday again.  This means I link my blog to a blog called This That And The Other Thing.  I encourage you to click on that link and read what's happening.

On This That and The Other Thing, we are discussing the religious sisters in the parishes we grew up in.  My parish had Sisters of the Notre Dame de Namur.  But I didn't go to the parish parochial school, St. Monica's .  My parents said the public schools were better.  But I think the real reason was because you had to pay to go to the parish school.  Today, the parish has both religious sisters and lay teachers.  In fact, I taught there at one time.

This week wasn't as busy as last week, but I had a good week.

Monday -- I wrote about a surprising recipe I found in a cook book.

Tuesday -- I posted about the Pope's upcoming journey to South Korea.

Wednesday -- I've been blessed with some wonderful friends.

Thursday -- The present times call for much prayer.

Friday -- I wrote a short story.  (It is fiction.)

Saturday --  What I learned from a jar.

Hope you enjoy my posts and all the others at This That And the Other Thing.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Lesson Given by a Jar of Pickles

A jar of pickles taught me a lesson today.  I couldn't open it.  So I passed it around and everyone tried to open it.  Eventually, it opened.

Think about it.

The person who finally opened the jar wasn't stronger than anyone else.  It was everyone trying again and again and again.

Everything that went on before, did it.

Think about it.  Don't give up.  Keep at it.

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Memory that Still Haunts

No one knew it was us.  Watching from our hidden perch, up in our tree house, my brother, Ronnie, and I, held our breaths.  Mean Mrs. Northrup walked to her mailbox.

The dump had caught on fire, that morning.  Ronnie and I had ridden  our bikes, to go watch the firemen put out the fire.  Much to our surprise, and Ronnie’s delight, snakes galore came slithering out.  We caught hundreds of them. Well, maybe not hundreds, but lots of them.  Ronnie draped twenty two snakes over a stick. 
Thanks to Creative Commons License
     We didn’t want to waste this natural treasure.  We thought of cooking them, but then what?  We rode around and showed all our friends.  But after a while, the snakes were kind of dead, and weren’t as good, anymore.  Before they all died, we had to put them to good use.
     Of course we had to scare someone.  But who?  Someone who deserved it.  Mrs. Northrup immediately came to mind.  She lived on the corner.  No one liked her because she was always yelling at everybody—even grownups.  She wouldn’t let us cross her property, even when late for the school bus.  She wouldn’t return our baseballs, when they landed in her yard.  She kept her lights off on Halloween, so no one would go trick or treating to her house.  She was the neighborhood witch.
     And there we were, belly-down in our tree house.  We had shoved all twenty two snakes in her mail box and then put its flag down.  We watched and waited. 
     Once in a while we’d giggle because our stomachs were jumping around with excitement.  We couldn’t stop smiling.  We wiggled and giggled. 
     We didn’t have long to wait.  Ronnie jabbed me and pointed.  Mean Mrs. Northrup walked to her mailbox. 

We stopped breathing. 

She opened the mail box and looked.  She jumped back and yelped.  Then she moved even farther away and clutched her heart.  She kept walking backwards while shaking her head, back and forth.  Eventually, she turned around and ran to the neighbor across the street. 

We could hear her sobbing.

I tried to remember which of us spoke first.  But it was too long ago.  I remember Ronnie had covered his ears, and hid his head.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of Mrs. Northrup.  I just sat there a very long time, staring...just staring.  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Call to Prayer

call to prayerCardinal Seán O'Malley

Chairman, USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities
It is a great blessing to be joined in prayer with thousands of Catholics nationwide. The Call to Prayer is a reminder for all of us that we rely on God for everything; it is an invitation to grow in faith and love as we pray and fast together for the protection of life, marriage and religious liberty. Everyone can make a difference for the good of the Church and society through participation in this important campaign. Please join me and so many others in holding up the power of prayer.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is asking people to pray, do penance, and sacrifice, for the sake of renewing a culture of life, marriage, and religious liberty in our country.  Life, marriage, and religious liberty are good for society; they are not just the values of the Catholic Church.  The well-being of society rerquires that strong marriages and families, life, and our religious liberties are promoted and protected.

Our culture does not promote family values.  In many ways our government does not support our religious values and hampers our exercise of our religious freedom.  We live in a threatening environment.

So the USCCB has asked all people of good will to join together in prayer.  You can participate by:
1.  Host or attend a Eucharistic Holy Hour on the last Sunday of the month.
2.  Daily Rosary.
3.  Suggested Prayers of the Faithful, at Mass.
4.  Abstain from meat on Fridays.
5.  Pray

Lots of information on the Call to Prayer website.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Anam Cara

Every once in a while, someone buys a new four volume Liturgy of the Hours set.  Then they give me their old one volume Christian Prayer Book, for my "cloistered brothers."  They use the one volume.  This is what happened, today.  As I flipped through the prayer book, to take out any old pictures, newspaper clippings, or pressed flowers, I came across a scrap of paper.

Anam Cara

According to Celtic spiritual tradition, the soul shines all around the body like a luminous cloud.  When you are very open--appreciative and trusting--with another person, your two souls flow together.  This deeply felt bond with another person means you have found your anam cara, or "Soul Friend."  Your anam cara always beholds your light and beauty, and accepts you for who you truly are.  In Celtic spirituality, the anam cara friendship awakens the fullness and mystery of your life.  You are joined in an ancient and eternal union with humanity that cuts across all barriers of time, convention, philosophy, and definition.  When you are blessed with an anam cara, the Irish believe, you have arrived at that most sacred place: -- HOME--.

I have been blessed with many anam caras in my life.  What would be perfect would be to find a spiritual director who would be my anam cara.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

All the Martyred Saints of Korea, Rejoice

    "Peace be with you." (Luke 24,36)
    Pope Francis, Servant of the Servants of God, will visit South Korea in August. This visit has great significance for both Korean Catholics and Korean society as a whole. Less than a year after his inauguration, Pope Francis chose Korea as his first pilgrimage to Asia, a decision which has humbled and brought great honor to the Korean Catholic Church.
    The Korean Catholic Church has struggled to gain its fruits of the Gospel, going through vast hardships and persecutions, which could be an inspiring exemplar for the churches of the world in trouble and despair. We believe that, for these reasons, the Lord moved Pope Francis to use Korea as a light for the world in their walks of faith. However, as parents tend to care about a child in trouble more than any others, the Pope also may have more concerns and love for Korea; including a long history of sufferings within the Korean church as well as a geopolitical position situated in the center of international conflicts. 

    In his 'Evangelii Gaudium (Joy of the Gospel)' Pope Francis is inviting us to go forth beyond our own church walls in order to reach all the ‘peripheries’ in need of the Light of the Gospel without fear. Korea has experienced rapid economic andsocial development, and now is struggling with the conflicts surfacing from increased social polarization. The Church must go beyond itself to meet the world in all its joys and sorrows with the Gospel. The Korean Church is being invited to go into the world with the Gospel as the head of Asian churches, and to follow God's direction by turning the world away from the hunger for material growth and development.
    The Popes of modern times have had their pastoral aims on the peace of the world. The Korean peninsula is a dangerous threat to the peace of the world but also a hopeful prospect to bring the new era of peace. A harmony between South and North Korea is critical in order to stabilize the Korean peninsula and to bring peace to East Asia and the rest of the world. The Pope has expressed his strong desire for Korean society and Church to be the outpost for world peace.
    With Pope Francis' visiting Korea in August, the Korean church should pray unceasingly for the blessing and the work of the Holy Spirit for the peace of the world.

President, The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea
Most Rev. Peter KANG U-il
Rise up in splendor Logo■ Design Concept

The logo which symbolizes flames and a boat, signifies the Biblical saying, "ARISE, SHINE"(Isaiah 60,1), and means the request to rise up like waves and to enlighten the world like flames.

The colors red and blue of the dynamically burning fire symbolize the divided Korea, which should take a key role in the whole Asia. The harmonious shapes and colors of flames in union embody the wish that the South and the North of Korea become one and achieve Peace and Unity.

The ship in the shapes of waves and blades means the Church in Korea which is founded on the sacrifices of the martyrs. The light blue color indicates Divine Mercy as wide as the sea. As a whole, it means that we should rise up like waves in order to bring unity and hope where division and despair are prevailing.

The faithful of the Catholic Church in Korea which is founded on the bloods of numerous martyrs want to follow the spirituality of martyrdom of the ancestors. Following this spirituality, we want to be a light for ourselves and for neighbors and to transfer the light of faith further to theuniversal Church, especially to the poorest and most marginalized.