Monday, April 20, 2015

Four Generations!!!!

I'm so honored that Baby's first Easter book is TEN EASTER EGGS!!!! What a delightful photo. I expect next year she might be chewing on the book! Will it last until she learns to count?!!! Oh, the suspense.

I've not seen four generations together very often. But it is a beautiful blessing! Thank you, Mary, for sharing with me.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Happy Birthday Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

I have grown to love him very much and along with Pope Francis, pray for him daily. B16 brought much clarity into my life and thank him for all the wonderful books he has written. Here's a quote from him: Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed. Each of us is loved. Each of us is necessary.

Happy 88th dear Papa B16. Here is a photo collage from Msgr. Pope that makes me laugh:

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ten Easter Eggs and Me in the News

My young friend snagged the last copy of TEN EASTER EGGS at B&N a couple of weeks ago. But not to worry, there are copies at Walmart and Target and of course, Amazon!

It's lovely to know that TEE has done so well. It's risen to among the top ten books in Southern California according to SCIBA (scroll down for children's illustrated). I was in the local news as well. What a fun write-up and I'm learning to do some self-promotion. Introvert-writers, be not afraid!

And although Easter holidays are coming to an end this Divine Mercy Sunday, remember that the Eastertide lasts a wonderful 50 days! So enjoy!!!

We've had a lovely Easter break with visits from family and friends, lots of sleeping in, watching movies, and enjoying our beautiful spring weather. I've done a bit of scribbling in my notebook but I'm starting to really, really miss it and I don't know about you, but I get rusty when I don't write for a few days. I suppose it's the same as playing the piano. A few days off and your fingers are just not so limber. I have been working on my Mozart though and hoping for some cross-pollination.  

So how was your spring break? Do share!

Monday, April 6, 2015

He is Risen!

Easter Vigil is my most favorite night of the year, for it is the night, when all is dark and the paschal candle is lit and the light spreads throughout the church and we remember how we were freed from sin and death. It is the night we welcome the catechumens into the sacred mysteries. It is the night we renew our baptismal promises.

Consider these questions:

Do you renounce Satan?
And all his works?
And all his empty show?

I do, I do, I do.

We must turn away from sin before we can become children of God. For each of us, this can take a varying amount of time. It depends on how deeply we are mired in sin, how much of Satan's lies we believe, and how enamored we are with his glam and glitter. I admit that after I lost my faith, I was so deep in sin that I couldn't even see that I was in the pit. It was really the pureness of our children that gave us the glimmer of light. And the closer I get to the light, the more clearly I see the darkness within my soul. But I tell you, it's never too late to come to the light. There is nothing you have done that is not forgivable. So come and be cleansed in the waters of life.

The next three questions lead us to Light.

Do you believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth?
Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered death and was buried, rose again from the dead and is seated at the right hand of the Father?
Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting?

I do, I do, I do, most wholeheartedly. For without these beliefs there is nothing else.

Jesus Christ is Risen Today! Alleluia! One day we shall rise with Him too. May you have a joyous Easter.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sacred Triduum

Lent is over. Was the journey in the desert fruitful for you? I cannot express how many blessings have rained down on our family. I am thankful to God for all of them. It's been a little awkward for me to share TEN EASTER EGGS with kids during Lent, but since I did my visits to Catholic schools, I was able to speak about the real meaning of the Easter egg, how it signifies Jesus dead and buried in the tomb. The kids love the book, counting the eggs and chicks, and coloring pages.

Today we begin the Sacred Triduum, where Christ celebrated Passover with His Apostles and instituted the priesthood. He remains with us in humble Bread and Wine. Tonight, His Passion begins. Tomorrow, Good Friday, He hung on the cross. Pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities. God is dead. This could only be possible had God taken on human flesh. Word made flesh!

For this He came down to earth. God so loved the world ... Give it a listen while you look these beautiful paintings by Bouguereau. They capture the serene joy as Mary gives us Jesus and the utter desolation at what had to be done to save us. Wishing you a most blessed Triduum and a very happy Easter.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Making Movies!

This is incredibly time consuming -- going through photos and videos -- but Max enjoys making these. He's talked about making a trailer for my novel when it is published and I love that my kids are interested in the work I do. The older they get, the more I can share with them. I still remember the days when they were just wee little kids and we'd write and *edit* together. Max drew cars on many of my notebooks and stories, Dagny flowers or babies. Oh, and parking lots! We used to joke about Max becoming a civil engineer because he would design elaborate parking lots on scrap paper. The kids would have hours of fun driving and parking their Hot Wheels cars. I reminisce too much. This is what he worked on all weekend:

This was the video he made the year before:

And the year before that, Max and Dagny collaborated on a book report of The City of Ember by Jeanne du Prau. Dagny did the storyboard and Max did all the shooting and editing. They had so much fun doing this project and they learned so much about the importance of storyboarding before shooting! When I did a series of writing workshops for fifth grade, I daresay this was the favorite.

Here's their movie!


As always, I learn so much from the kids. They are a wonder to me, how they dive into new projects, fearlessly. I love their confidence, their willingness to put in the hard work, their joy and their enthusiasm. Every time I get discouraged with my own lofty dreams, I remember what amazing things our children do, and I too remember the virtue of fortitude and perseverance!

Years ago, Michael made a movie of the kids doing a carwash. It is classic! I was taking a writing class at night and I'd return home at 9:30 pm to find the kids on the table, dancing, with the music turned high. It was rock and roll. If I ever find it, I'll have to post it here. This is one of the useful things about blogging. You can save stuff here that you want to remember. Left to our own devices, the archival system fails or we lose it or ... yeah, I might as well admit it, we're getting old.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Busy! Robotics, Retreats and More!


So it's been busy since this year began. Robotics took up much of the time for my guys, but what a blast they had. Something really kicked in for Max this year and I can say he owned it. There's such a huge learning curve and this year he was invested. He's also playing rugby. Dagny started playing lacrosse. Why, you might ask, do we keep so busy? Well, I find that our kids do better when they are physically active and mentally challenged. Home is too relaxing. We have intentionally made it so ... but maybe it has backfired. In any case, they are thriving.
A couple of weeks ago, I finally made a trip to the bookstore to see whether TEN EASTER EGGS was on the bookshelves but it wasn't :(  What a disappointment. But they will be ordering it. My friend, Amy's book, RED BUTTERFLY, wasn't there either, so I asked for it. Folks, you can help keep our books in the pipeline by asking for them at the shops or at the library. I saw some other friends' books and that made all the difference in the world! To see them in the wild!!!
Right now, I'm reading THORNBIRDS by Colleen McCullough. It's a re-read in honor of her death. I find it interesting to read it as a Catholic now and a grown up and as a writer! What a wonderful book with characters who burrow themselves into your heart, who are as real as the people you know.
So back to busyness. We had the wonderful opportunity to have a Lenten retreat at the very beginning with Fr. Mitch Pacwa. I will never read or listen to Isaiah 53 the same way. It cuts me to the core, how our blessed Lord bore everything for the love of us, wounded for us, to make us whole. The perfect sacrifice. The Jewish laws forbade human sacrifice, yet this was the only way, so I can only imagine how shocking this must've been to people Isaiah was preaching to. I could sit here and meditate upon salvation history and not understand why God loves us wretched creatures so, for even a mother does not love her child this much. I thought I knew what love was, but it pales in comparison. 

Michael and Max went to a men's conference. I am so glad they have opportunities like this to build Godly men for they have the responsibility to lead their families to holiness. Grace flows through them and if they abdicate their responsibilities, well, you can see the result all around you -- broken families, children going astray, loss of morals. We build strong men and we'll rebuild the family.  

We are halfway through Lent and that means lots more choir practice. I didn't post my usual picture with the mice torturing the cat ... but I've done very little spiritual reading aside from my daily Mass readings. I try to get to Mass as much as possible since when I'm busy, I need my Jesus the most. And I got to thinking, how funny we Catholics are ... we go to Mass, listen, and sometimes have terrible homilies, or none at all, but we go because we love to be present at Calvary. We are indeed at the foot of the Cross at every single Mass and if we are in the proper state we receive the Body, Blood, Soul, Divinity of Christ in that consecrated Host. What awesome power priests have been given. A priest's hands are like no other. Every time I receive the final blessing, I know it could be my last. And I go in peace to do the work I must do.
The math never adds up. It's a mystery.
My mood has lifted now that the weather has warmed up. The first few games I was freezing in my fat coat watching the kids play. But now, it's such a pleasure to bask in the sunshine. The kids are also better :) And although I've not been able to concentrate on the new book that's been percolating since I went to Storymasters, I am jotting down notes for it and working on shorter things. There is a time and season for everything. I have a difficult time working on a novel when my attention is scattered on many small things. The small things are important too. So for now, shorts. They are my comfort zone. Perhaps I retreat to this as a safety net.
I love all the new growth of spring. I know it's been a hard winter for many of you. May the sunshine warm your hearts and souls and bring you joy. And may your Lenten journey bring you great blessings.

I'll leave you with this beautiful hymn: Transfigure us, O Lord.