Friday, July 31, 2015

Our Lady of Hope Prayer Group

Ester bakes a birthday cake for Don
Whenever people upset me, I always find solace in my prayer group, Our Lady of Hope Prayer Group.  I can't take too much negativity.  The people in the prayer group are joyful.  They love their faith with optimistic faithfulness.  They are just happy and confident.

When I can't take any more criticism, when my feelings are bruised, when I'm frustrated, I drag myself into Our Lady of Hope and find myself showered in healthy, strong prayer.  I am literally lifted up. None of us have much theology, but we know our faith.  We defend and love it.  We invite others to experience Jesus and the Church.  We live the Gospel.

It's home.  It's safe.  We are one family that prays for our parish.  I pray everyone has such  joyful, and caring support.  We thank God for the blessing of each other.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

An Artist's Prayer

The Crucified Christ by Fra Angelico circa 1395-1455

While perusing my news feed on Facebook, I came across a post by a brother Lay Dominican, Robert Curtis.  (My brother, by a different mother, but still my brother.)  He posted a poem he found in National Review, December 2014.  It's about another brother.  (See above parenthetical explanation.)  The poem is about Fra Angelico.  Fra Angelico was born Guido di Pietro. When he entered the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) he was given the religious name Brother John of Fiesole.  He was an artist.  He painted like an angel, hence the nickname Fra Angelico.  His painting was his prayer to God.  His work preached the Word.

Angelico’s Crucifixion
By Lee Oser

Tempura and gold on wood, circa 1445
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fifth Avenue
Here is faith’s erotic life.
Prayer’s unfallen touch, whose brushstrokes hold
Strange virtues even now to halt
And hush our steps beneath the Cross of Love:
Magdelen staggers at the foot,
Her hair and dress a flame, her back to us; 
In rapt obedience in her mantle’s
Quiet blue, Mary seems small for her fate;
By hours the painter would have prayed
Like Dominic, as if his knees were stone, 
Low as the earth His blood does stain,
Adoring heaven’s patience without pride;
Knowing that truth becomes a book,
Augustine reads, his mother simply sees; 
The Lord’s beloved disciple sways
As one whose heart for joy or sorrow broke;
Francis, Thomas, Elizabeth
Perfect the number of this hallowed guild,
Who light a place where loss is gold,
So bent by love we hesitate to breathe---
Or else might feel perversely pressed
To scatter those proud saints like little birds
And batter down those brutal boards
And glide away with head bowed like a priest.

·         Found in National Review, December 2014.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Personal Faith v. Show

I don't know.  I don't know.  There's a man in my prayer group that makes me feel guilty because I don't wear a huge crucifix around my neck, like he does.  I wear a Dominican scapular, under my blouse.  If I'm performing a liturgical duty, e.i., lectoring, or teaching, I wear a Dominican cross on the outside of my clothing.

My friend makes me feel guilty that I'm not wearing some obvious outward sign of my faith.  But I'm not comfortable doing that.  I think of my own feelings when I see someone coming towards me wearing a cross bigger than the pope's.  I'd cross the street.  I don't want to debate him or even talk to him.  I don't think God wants us to call attention to our faith.  He doesn't want us to wear our faith on our sleeve.

Although my friend tells me about all the people that applaud his proudly displaying his faith, I always think, "How many did you chase away?"  But I suppose, there's different strokes for different folks.  Some attracted by his obvious faith and I think some our attracted by my personal witness of my quiet faith.

Then why do I feel guilty?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Sign

What more to people want!  Jesus just fed the crowd with 5 loaves and fishes and they ask Him for a sign John 6: 30.

I guess it takes eyes of faith to see a miracle.

How many go to Mass and don't see the miracle right in front of them?  No wonder they don't see how many accidents they just missed.  How many times their child could have been harmed?  How many times they finally understood their loved one's need?

Revelation and redemption are one occurrence and we have it in the sacrament of the Eucharist.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Divine and Human Mercy

So I open my Liturgy of the Hours book to find, "A Sermon by Saint Caesarius of Arles," on Divine and Human Mercy.  How's that for a Godincidence!  (See yesterday's post on a Year of Mercy.)

Bishop Caesarius asks "How can a man ask for himself what he refuses to give to another?  If he expects to receive any mercy in heaven, he should give mercy on earth.  Do we all desire to receive mercy?  Let us make mercy our patroness now, and she will free us in the world to come.  Yes, there is mercy in heaven, but the road to it is paved by our merciful acts on earth.   ...Show mercy, then, while you are on earth, and mercy will be shown to you in heaven."

I link mercy to kindness.  I will try to be kinder.  The trick is how my "cloistered brothers" are to show mercy in an environment that views mercy as weakness, and weak is not what is safe nor smart to be.  They will need God's grace.  Please pray for my "cloistered brothers."

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Year of Mercy

Father Nic and my "cloistered brothers" brainstormed after Mass, today.  We are planning a year of mercy.  Some thoughts:

Make a prayer card and we all pray everyday.  Make it like a holy card, i.e., a picture on one side and the prayer on the other.
Have a monthly calendar with the names of each chapter member on each day.  Everyone pray for that person on that day.
Bring in speakers to talk on mercy, e.i., Catherine of Siena, Fr. Lataste, St. Augustine.
Make Lenten reflections and send it out to all in the Bethany family.
Have a penance service.
Read Pope Francis' Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.
Have a Chapter of Faults

This will begin on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception 2015 and end on the Feast of Corpus Christi 2016.

Personally, I'm going to work on the tone of my speech.  I'm not a priest in a confessional and able to pronounce the words of mercy to a sinner.  But I do have the power of mercy in my kind actions and speech.  Also, I have prayer by which I can save souls by securing grace for their conversion.  Hopefully, I can help some turn from sin and turn to God.  Pray for me.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Praying for the Dead

What good does it do to pray for the dead?

We pray for the dead because the Christian knows that the life we live in is not our permanent home. We were made for better things.  We were made to live with God.  Besides, as a Catholic I believe in the  communion of saints.  That means we pray for our dear departed ones, and they will pray for us.  I like to think of it as having intercessors.  In fact St. Dominic told his friars,  “Do not weep, my children; I shall be more useful to you where I am now going, than I have ever been in this life.”

Jesus says the same thing.  “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be” (John 14:2–3).

So the dead aren't dead.  They're more alive than we are now.  We keep in touch with them and they with us with our mutual prayers--communion of saints.  Additionally, praying for the dead, helps us grieve for losing our dear ones.  Praying is offering love.  Praying for the dead benefits ourselves.  It helps us feel that we are doing something.  And so we are.  We are offering prayers for the dead and therein aiding in our own grieving process.  That's the communion of saints.  And that's another reason I'm glad I'm Catholic.  The respectful, loving understanding of death is such a comfort when we lose someone dear.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Office aka Liturgy of the Hours

“No man is an island.”  We need community.  Even God, when we first encounter Him in the Bible says, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Gen 1: 26) Of Course our God is Three Persons and since we, his creatures, are made in His image, we also need others.  Hence Eve, but that’s a different story.

There are plenty of times that we pray privately--all day in fact. “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners.”  (Jesus prayer) But there are prayers that we pray in community.  The Mass is the best example.  The Liturgy of the Hours and the Rosary can be prayed both privately and in Community.  But the Liturgy of the Hours is special because it is prayed all day long, especially by religious communities.  So God is consistently being prayed to all day long by someone, somewhere, in the world.

Another great feature of Liturgy of the Hours, is that no matter how one is feeling, because I am praying the Office (Liturgy of the Hours), and the psalms, hymns, prayers, readings, and canticles, of the day and the time, may have the opposite sentiments of my current mood, I can feel comfort in the knowledge that my prayers are helping someone, and others are helping me. 

For example, today is a wonderful day.  A few days previous were beastly humid.  I was not getting a good, solid night’s sleep.  That heat wave broke yesterday.  Last night I slept wonderfully.  I woke up to the birds singing.  I also woke up early enough to go to the 7:00 Mass at the Abbey.  That’s a blessing.  My coffee brewed perfectly.  The scale said I lost a couple of pounds.  When I opened my Office, I saw Psalm 51.  Although I was in a joyous mood and was praising God, I pictured my “cloistered brothers” praying: 

Have mercy on me…in Your compassion blot out my offense.  O wash me more and more from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.  My offenses truly I know them; my sin is always before me…O purify me, then I shall be clean;…A pure heart create for me, O God,…Do not cast me away from your presence, nor deprive me of you Holy Spirit. 

See what I mean?

I can join their pleas to God.  My joining their lament strengthens the communal bond between myself and them.  I help them and they will help me.  That’s the beauty of community.  That’s the flower of the Liturgy of the Hours.  

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Some People Aren't Good Sports

Lesley A. Diehl, author of A Sporting Murder
Someone in the doctor’s office asked me what I was chuckling about.  I told them I was reading a funny book.  They read the title; “Sporting Murder doesn’t look like a comedy.”  It’s not.  A Sporting Murder by Lesley A. Diehl, is a crime novel.  The investigator, Eve Appel is the main protagonist.  She is the one I was chuckling about.  Her turn of phrase, wise-ass comments and unexpressed thoughts had me laughing. 

Eve’s circle of friends is a good group.  Her boyfriend, Alex, and girlfriend Frida are the professional crime investigators.  But Eve solves the crime.  There are others that help also: Madeleine—Eve’s business partner, Sammy—handsome Indian friend, Sam’s grandfather—always available to help, Grandy , who I gather is a grandmother, and Nappi, who often pulls strings that only a mobster king pin could.  I can’t forget Jerry, although Eve would like to (inside joke, read the book).

I didn’t mention David because he was out commission in this story, although without him they’d be no story.  David is Madeleine’s boyfriend.  He owns a ranch next to a jerk of a neighbor, Reed.  Both ranches are like “dude style” ranches that offer hunting.  Only David’s hunting is legal and Reed’s isn’t. 

A customer is found dead on David’s ranch, shot with David’s gun.  There’s more evidence and it all points to David.  So David is in jail.  Everyone is involved in some way in trying to prove that David is innocent.  The easiest way to do that is to find the real killer.

It could be a grieving mother who harbors a grudge.  It could be someone who wants to buy David’s ranch cheap.  It could have been a hunter.  Then again, it could be a crooked sheriff. 

The reader will be never be certain of the killer until the end.  The book is fast paced.  The character development is delineated well.  The characters are likeable, annoying, and so very much like everyone’s circle of friends that all will be able to identify.  The reader will love them and the book.  Although I received the book for free for review purposes, I didn’t promise to like the book, but I did.  I didn’t have to give A Sporting Murder a good review, but I consider my review positive.  It’s fun, interesting, and easy to read.

Here’s some supplemental information for the detailed minded:
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Author -- Lesley A. Diehl's Web Site:

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Lesley A. Diehl's Goodreads:

Lesley A. Diehl's Blog:

A Sporting Murder Goodreads:

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:

A Sporting Murder
 blog tour site:

Price/Formats: $4.95 ebook, $13.95 paperback
Cozy Murder Mystery
Camel Press
July 15, 2015

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I Call You by Name

Bible Sharing last night had a new person.  We were reading Sunday's Gospel, John 6:1-15 and the newbie noticed that "...Andrew, Simon Peter's brother..." was pointed out.  "Is it important?", she asked.  This question led to a discussion of names.

Throughout scripture, names are important.  I'll quote directly here:

Names are significant in the Bible, and they have a variety of functions.
For instance, a biblical name could record some aspects of a person’s birth. Moses was given his name because his mother drew him out of a river (Exodus 2:10). His name literally means “to draw out.” Jacob and Samuel also serve as examples (Genesis 25:6; 1 Samuel 1:20).
Biblical names sometimes expressed the parents’ reaction to the birth of their child. Examples include Isaac (Genesis 21:6) which means “laughter”, and Abimelech (Judges 8:31) which means “my father is king.”
Biblical names were sometimes used to secure the solidarity of family ties. An example of this is found in Luke 1:59 when John the Baptist was nearly given the name of his father.
Biblical names could be used to communicate God’s message. The prophet Isaiah named his first son Shear-jashub which means “a remnant shall return” (Isaiah 7:3). This was in line with God’s message to the Israelite people that they would be reduced to a mere remnant of what they once were, and would eventually return from exile to the promised land.
Biblical names were also used to establish affiliation with God. All the names ending with -jah or -el(and there are many of those) are saying “with the Lord” or “with God.” 
Then you have the giving of a new name. This was used to establish authority over another, or to indicate a new beginning or new direction in a person’s life. For instance, Pharaoh changed Joseph’s name to Zephenath-paneah when Joseph entered his service (Genesis 41:45), another Pharaoh changed the name of the Jewish king Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim (2 Kings 23:24). While in Babylonian captivity, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were forced to change their names to Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 1:6-7). Name changes indicating a new life direction include Abram to Abraham (Genesis 17:5), Cephas to Peter (Mark 3:16), and some would say Saul to Paul (Acts 13:9).

This is from Wes Woodell's The Overflow. Later on, in the session, someone remembered the affect of Jesus naming "Mary," when Mary Magdalene was crying because she found Jesus' tomb empty.  She immediately, recognized Who was speaking her name.  It was the same voice that she was conversing with before He said her name.  But the pronouncing of her name gave meaning to her identity.  And isn't this true with ourselves, also?  When we hear our names pronounced, we perk up.  We are pleased with the acknowledgement of our identity.  Personal identity that a name gives us is why names are important.  

Since my name is "Faith," I feel that I have a special understanding of the importance of names.  As a child, the name was too different.  It made me extremely shy.  As a college student, a clerical error gave me the opportunity to change it.  My first and second names were switched.  Coincidentally, at the time I was a fan of  F. Scott Fitzgerald.  This author's name gave me the inspiration to start identifying myself as F. Donna (Last name).  Everyone called me Donna.  

I was Donna for about ten to fifteen years.  During this time, I slacked off in my relationship with God.  I think of it as "losing my faith."  Not "losing as lost;" rather more like "slacking."  My relationship with God was put on hold.

This changed when I worked as a real estate broker.  My manager and mentor told me I was crazy to drop my first name.  The name, "Faith" is what made me stand out.  Of course, I knew that too well! But when you're a salesperson, name recognition is the name of the game.  So my business cards read Faith D. Flaherty.  Also at that time, God came knocking but that's a different post.  The point being, the name Faith was changed just at the time my religious consciousness was reawakened.  Coincidence?

All this discourse over the importance of names.  I contend that your name gives you a personal identity and uniqueness.  Our names affect us psychologically, religiously, relationally, as well as legally.  Names are so important that the Catholic Church recognizes the naming of a person in a beautiful sacrament--another cool reason I'm glad I'm Catholic.

The priest asks the parents, "What name do you give your child?"  (I picture all action in heaven stopping and ears bending down to listen.) Then the priest invites the parents and godparents to trace the sign of the cross on the person's forehead.  

The indelible sign of Christianity.  I pray, that like Mary Magdalene, we will hear Jesus call us by our very own name. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Fairytale Revision

My granddaughter likes books.  She can never get enough of being read to.  But we adults do get tired of reading to her.  Luckily, she pretends to read.  Until she had a little sister, we thought she was just looking at the pictures.  But she reads to her little sister now.

It's so damn cute!

My favorite recollections are when she changes the story to how she wants it to end.  One example is the story of Goldilocks and the three bears.  My granddaughter changes the ending where the three bears encounter Goldilocks and instead of the scene shouting "Busted!,"  she has Goldilocks waking up to little bear asking her, "Do you want a hug?"

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Widow's Mite

I came across a word I didn’t know.  The word was munificence.  I grabbed my iPhone and asked, “Definition: munificence.”  I received a definition for municipal.  “Mmmm…must be my Boston accent.”

I tried again.  “Munificence” in a loud syllabic emphasized voice.  This time iPhone gave me a list of websites to explore that had nothing to do with munificence.

Third time is a charm, right?  “MU-NI-FI-CENCE!!!!!” 

Not only did I get an audible definition, but also a visual:  Larger or more generous than is usual or necessary.

Ah!  “Give it away.  You can’t take all your toys with you.”  I get it.

But do others?  Munificence is more generous than usual.  That would mean not just giving for a charitable tax write off.  Giving money to the Girl Scouts and receiving cookies.  Buying a raffle ticket from Sons of Italy.

I’m not saying that these activities aren’t virtuous and praiseworthy.  They most certainly are, but you are getting something in return.  If one gave and didn’t want to receive anything back, that would be an example of magnificence. 

I’m not sure about rich people.  Are Melinda and Bill Gates munificent when they gave millions to help people in third world countries?  As wonderful as that may be, they are so rich they can afford to be generous.  Wouldn’t it be more munificent for a poor person to give from what little they have? Jesus tells us that the poor widow who gave only two mites was making the most magnificent gesture of munificence than any of us.  (Mark 12: 41-44)

No wonder the word “munificence” was unknown to me.

Don't Play with Fire

MEK drawing
Jorge explained Romans 12:19-21.

                       ...Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord.  but if they enemy
                       is hungry, give him food; if he is thirsty give him drink; for by so

                      doing thou wilt heap coals of fire upon his head....

Back in the day, way back in the day, even before Jesus' time, the nomads carried their fire with them.  Fire was that important.  Fire was too hard to start over, every time one wanted to leave or have light at night.  Hence when it was time to move on, the coals from the fire would be put in a heatproof container to carry.  Where was the container itself, carried?

     On the top of their turban (or whatever their head covering was called).

  Actually, the verse is telling us to be kind to our enemy.  Kill your enemy with kindness.  Think of the coals of fire as giving shame to your enemy.  The purpose of the Christian is to bring his enemy to repentance and better conduct.

Besides, the verse tells us that "vengeance" is God's.  Just be kind to your enemy and don't worry about how to extract justice from him.  That could be dangerous.

Don't play with fire.

Sunday, July 19, 2015


Recently, I received a postcard in the mail.  I can’t remember the last time I received a postcard.  Was it last summer?

Nowadays people post their vacations on Facebook.  Why bother to go out a buy postcards and stamps?  Worse is taking the time to write.  Remembering street addresses is the deal breaker.  If you don’t remember the address you can’t send the card.  Few people are organized enough to remember to bring their address book.

As a child, I started collecting postcards.  But that hobby got left by the wayside when I received a camera.

At one time there was a chain postcard game going on.  Send five cards and receive twenty-five.  I sent out what I was told, but only received one back.  Why am I the only sucker that follows those rules?

I think for old time sake, and also to be counter-cultural, I’m going to send postcards more often.  They’ll say “I miss you.”  I bet they’ll bring a smile on people’s faces.  Maybe they’ll even be put in the home’s place of honor—the refrigerator!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

I Said a Prayer for You

This morning I went to Mass at a neighboring parish.  I go a bit early just in case the parishioners pray a rosary and if not then I can do it privately.  I prayed it myself.  But while I prayed I observed the people coming in to Mass.  What kind of people go to Mass daily?  Do they look needy?  Do they look sad?  Do they look happy?

What are they thinking about?  Who or what are they praying?

There was one lady in particular that looked like she needed prayers.  Duh.  She came to Mass to pray!  Anyway, I prayed for her intentions.  Then it occurred to me to look at each person and do that.  All too soon that became impossible.  There were more than 30 people there and Mass began.

Then all our guardian angels brought all our intentions up to the altar.  Thank God I'm Catholic.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Am I Who I Think I Am?

Have you ever had the experience of being in the presence of someone, or even a group, where they think you're a jerk?  And damn it all!  You can actually feel yourself acting like a jerk.  And you can't stop it.

Why does this happen?  Does it happen to everybody?

Let's say it happens to some. It's a strange phenomena.  Perhaps we pick up the social cues and become what people want us to be.  I can't think of any reason why this is so, but if it is so, then the solution is to not hang around these people.  Stay away from them.

Think about it.  If people can bring you down, then people can bring you up.  The solution would be to hang around people who think you are better than you think you are.  You will act in such a manner as to fulfill their expectations of you.

I guess I'll experiment and let you know.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Shots Unheard

Shots Unheard on a Cold Night

In criminal investigations one has to be thorough.  This is what the main character, Detective Ellie March, personifies in Sorrow Lake, by crime writer Michael J. McCann.  Upon first meeting Detective March, the reader doesn’t warm up to her.  She’s a terrible mother.  But the reader will have to admit that she knows how to lead a criminal investigation. 

Conversely, March’s cohort, Constable Kevin Walker is likeable, immediately.  Even though, the plot puts Kevin in a compromising position, the reader emotionally supports him.  (No spoilers)

The crime itself is a good puzzle.  A well respected business man is found shot to death and left in a farmer’s field.  The investigation itself is a developing plot that unfolds as the reader follows the detecting procedures.  It’s quite scientific.  In fact, the details may be too much for some readers; nonetheless, the investigation demonstrates good police procedures. 

Michael J. McCann definitely has researched his story.  His characters are drawn well. The team of March and Walker is a good one.  A series of their collaboration looks to be forthcoming.  The novel is good and I recommend it as an interesting crime story, even though I was given book specifically to write a review; it is still my honest opinion.  Sorrow Lake will have you looking for another Michael J. McCann book.

Michael J. McCann's Web Site:

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Michael J. McCann was born and raised in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. He earned a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) with a major in English Literature from Trent University in Peterborough, and a Master of Arts in English from Queen's University in Kingston, ON.

He served as Production Editor of Criminal Reports (Third Series) at Carswell Legal Publications (Western), where he was also Co-ordinator of Law Reports, before joining Canada Customs, now the Canada Border Services Agency. While at CBSA he was a training specialist, project officer, and national program manager before leaving public service to write novels full time.

Mike now lives and writes in Oxford Station, Ontario. He is married to supernatural novelist Lynn L. Clark. They have one son.

Mike is a member of the Crime Writers of Canada and the Horror Writers Association.

He is an author of crime fiction and supernatural thrillers. His Donaghue and Stainer Crime Novel series includes Blood Passage, Marcie's Murder, The Fregoli Delusion, and The Rainy Day Killer. He is also the author of the supernatural thriller The Ghost Man. His most recent novel, Sorrow Lake, is the first book of his new March and Walker Crime Novel series set in eastern Ontario, Canada.

Sorrow Lake
 Book Summary:
Detective Inspector Ellie March of the Ontario Provincial Police is called in to investigate when a man from the village of Sparrow Lake is found shot to death, execution style, in a farmer's field in rural eastern Ontario.

Leading an inexperienced team of detectives, she probes beneath the wintry surface of the township to discover the victim had a dark secret--one that may endanger others in the community as well.

For young and enthusiastic Detective Constable Kevin Walker, the chance to work with Ellie March is an honour, until the situation turns ugly and unexpected betrayal threatens to destroy his promising career.

Video Trailer YouTube embed code:
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Price/Formats: $5.99 ebook, $19.99 paperback
Murder Mystery
Plaid Raccoon Press
April 30, 2015

Amazon buy link

There is also a $25 gift card/PayPal cash giveaway going on at:

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Msgr. Moran hit upon the subject that my study group is wrestling with -- God's omnipotence and evil.  This morning's Gospel was Matt 11: 20-24.  Jesus is reproaching towns that have rejected God, especially after all the manifestations of His presence in their midst.

Msgr. Moran said that God created a world of consequences--both good and bad.

That's the money statement.  Of course a loving God wouldn't create evil.  But the God who wants us to have "free will" would create consequences.  That's ingenious.  We are the ones who create evil by choosing things that carry us further and further away from God, resulting in evil.  IOW, we do it to ourselves or to others.

Born to bad parents would be the fault of the parents, not the baby.  But that's not the end of the situation.  That baby has free will and will have to make choices.  I pray that all children learn about God, and His love for us, and will always choose paths that lead to God.  Amen.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Life Goes On

Johnnie Come Lately by Kathleen M. Rodgers was my first military story.  In fact, I didn’t know it was a military story until the story focused on Cade, the son who joined the marines.  Then I remembered that Johnnie’s father died while on tour.     

I turned to the author’s page and read that Kathleen M. Rodgers had written stories and essays that have appeared in military magazines, as well as the regular main stream periodicals.  This is also her second novel. 

There’s nothing different about military stories except maybe if you are a military family you would relate with a deeper emotional level.  But that’s not necessary at all.  I understood Johnnie’s feelings, as a daughter, wife, and mother.  In fact, the author relates to all women.  That’s the beauty of the story.  Johnnie is real. 

The plot itself is twofold.  Johnnie's mother walked out of her life when she was small.  But she's still alive and traces of her are left here and there.  Juxtaposition with Johnnie's missing mother is her own personal life.  And that's what interested me because I could identify with her family life, infidelity, eating disorder, and trying to be everything to everybody.  

What I learned from Johnnie Come Lately:

Grandparents are necessary.
Don’t have sex till you’re married.
Stay faithful to your husband.
The tie between mother and child is in-dissolvable.
You don’t have to go to college to be a success.
You’re never too old to go to college.
Don’t freak out when your daughter dates a jerk.
Be kind to your neighbor.
Support veterans.

This is a good story.  I think young adults will really relate to the situations of Johnnie’s children.  D.J. is in college.  Cade is a recent high school graduate.  Lastly, Callie Ann is still in high school.  I would recommend this novel to high school aged and up.  I did receive this novel from Tribute Books for the purpose of writing a review, but the recommendation is my honest opinion.  It is a good story well worth your while to purchase and read.

Kathleen M. Rodgers' Web Site:

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Award-winning author Kathleen M. Rodgers is a former frequent contributor to Family Circle magazine and Military Times. Her work has also appeared in anthologies published by McGraw-Hill, University of Nebraska Press/Potomac Books, Health Communications, Inc., AMG Publishers, and Press 53. She is the author of the award-winning novel, The Final Salute, featured in USA Today, The Associated Press, andMilitary Times. Deer Hawk Publications reissued the novel in e-book and paperback September of 2014.

Her second novel, Johnnie Come Lately, released from Camel Press February 1, 2015. Barnes & Noble in Southlake, TX hosted the official launch on February 7, and Kathleen signed copies of both novels for three hours straight. In 2014, she was named a Distinguished Alumna from Tarrant County College/NE Campus.

She is the mother of two grown sons, Thomas, a graduate of University of North Texas and a working artist in Denton, TX, and J.P., a graduate of Texas Tech University and a former Army officer who earned a Bronze Star in 2014 in Afghanistan. Kathleen’s husband, Tom, is a retired fighter pilot/commercial airline pilot, and they reside in Colleyville, TX with their rescue dog, Denton. Kathleen is working on a new novel titled Seven Wings to Glory and is represented by Loiacono Literary Agency.

Johnnie Come Lately
 Book Summary:
Would life have been different for Johnnie if she'd been named after a woman rather than her dead uncle? Or if her mama hadn't been quite so beautiful or flighty? The grandparents who raised her were loving, but they didn't understand the turmoil roiling within her. And they had so many, many secrets.

Why did her mama leave? Would she ever return? How did her Uncle Johnny really die? Who was her father? Now Johnnie Kitchen is a 43-year-old woman with three beautiful children, two of them grown. She has a handsome, hardworking husband who adores her, and they live in the historic North Texas town of Portion in a charming bungalow. But she never finished college and her only creative outlet is a journal of letters addressed to both the living and the dead. Although she has conquered the bulimia that almost killed her, Johnnie can never let down her guard, lest the old demons return. Or perhaps they never went away to begin with. For Johnnie has secrets of her own, and her worst fear is that the life she's always wanted--the one where she gets to pursue her own dreams--will never begin.

Not until her ghosts reveal themselves.

Price/Formats: $4.95 ebook, $9.75 paperback
Military Family, Women's Fiction, Literary Fiction
Camel Press
February 1, 2015

Nota Bene:  The ebook normally retails for $4.95, but until July 31, 2015 the publisher is offering it at the specially reduced price of $2.99!

Amazon buy link:

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BAM buy link:

There is also a $25 gift card/PayPal cash giveaway going on at:

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Year of Mercy

MEK drawing
You have to help me think.  What can my Lay Dominican chapter do to celebrate a year of mercy?
Here's what we've come up with so far:

Have confession
A Chapter of Faults
Have the postulants write reflections
Have MEK create a symbol/drawing for a prayer card
Write a prayer for the prayer card
Pray the chaplet of divine mercy.
Have our retreat focus on divine mercy.
Make a calendar where each member of the chapter is named on a certain day and everyone prays for him.

What else can we do?  We have a whole year?

The Third Death

Today as I was praying and walking through the cemetery , I came across a gravestone that I couldn't see due to the overgrown bush ...