Tuesday, January 29, 2008

article in today's paper in WOMAN section

New Milford woman heads to Rome: Author is 1 of 250 select guests attending upcoming conference held by the Vatican

(Online edition)

Photo caption: Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle, of New Milford, has written a Catholic prayer book. She has been invited by the Vatican to attend a conference in Rome next month. (photo by Steven Valenti Republican-American)

(The photo used in the actual newspaper has a nicer smile!)

Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle's newest publication, "Catholic Saints Prayer Book" has landed her an invitation to Rome.

Or, maybe it's the other three books she's written that got the attention of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

Or maybe it's the two books that are scheduled to come out later this year.

Actually, it's probably all of the above.

Either way, in February the New Milford author will head to Rome to attend the international conference, "Woman and man, the humanum in its entirety."

She will be one of 250 guests from five continents attending the meeting. The letter from the Pontifical Council states that the objective is to "review the progress made over the past 20 years in the field of the advancement of women and the recognition of their dignity." (Continued here.)

Monday, January 28, 2008

The car accident - part two

I'll try to give you a bit more information...

Part Two:

While my daughter and I were shivering in the car, now pulled off the road, we weren't certain about the extent of our injuries and waited as quietly as we could for help to arrive. It is precisely at times like these that we are reminded that we have control over virtually nothing in the grand scheme of things in life.

As I sat facing forward in the driver's seat, I could see a "monster" truck to the left of my car and instinctively knew that the young man who was approaching my window was the man who hit us even though I had not seen him hit us since he came up from behind.

"I'm sorry!" he said.

"It's okay." I responded in a sort of a daze. "I have to shut my window, though, I'm cold," I said as my body trembled. I knew I couldn't get into a conversation at that point. I was in survival mode for myself and my daughter.

Just then, a kind soft spoken man came to my window and then opened my door. He talked to me and asked my name, my age, my birth date, my daughter's name, my social security number and other things as well. I was able to roll the answers off my tongue between shivers. I surprised myself that the information seemed to come forth coherently. He then explained that he was an EMT and worked at the hardware store just yards away from the scene of the accident. The other EMT who worked at that store was now at my daughter's side of the car talking with her.

We were also, of course asked about out injuries and what was going on. We were told that the ambulance had been called and should arrive to us shortly. The man explained to me that he was going to have his partner get in the car seat behind me and hold my head still with his hands until they could put me in the brace. Based on my complaints and everything apparent to them, they did not want me to chance moving my neck. I explained several times that I am a mother of five and am used to taking care of everyone else. It was because of this, I think, that they chose to hold me still, knowing I wanted to care for my daughter, but that I shouldn't move. I was so deeply grateful to have these men there at the scene so quickly. I felt comforted amid the fright I felt because these men knew what they were doing and took the time to care for us.

This was certainly one of the most difficult moments I had ever been through as a mother in all of the 31 years of my mothering. This was the first time that I was unable to help one of my children when they were hurt because I had to remain still. I think that pain far outweighed the incredible pain in my neck and head. I couldn't hold my daughter to comfort her, I couldn't kiss her or caress her or anything but speak to her when not speaking to those working on us. The most I could do was to reach and touch her a couple of times before I was worked on and taken from the vehicle to be strapped on the body board.

(I'll try to write part three soon)

The recent car accident

This will be part one:

A couple of days ago I told you about my car accident with my daughter. I put a short quick post up on this blog to request prayers. That's all I could do at that point. THANK YOU everyone for your concern and prayers for my daughter and for my speedy recovery. We are supposed to leave in a week for Rome! If you can still spare a few prayers, please continue because we have a ways to go in our recovery.

Since I left you all "hanging" and without details of the accident, I'll give you a little more information now. Please be patient with me because It's not easy to type this out and I have to get rest, too.

Friday afternoon I picked my daughter up from school and proceeded to do a couple of errands. It was my husband's birthday too. We were on our way home and traveling slowly down a certain street because of the many crosswalks. I noticed that the car in front of us didn't stop to allow the woman who stood at the crosswalk cross the street. I slowed down to a stop and motioned for her to cross if she'd like to. She nodded and started across the street. We waited while she walked across. Suddenly I was deeply shocked to feel intensely a sharp painful blow to the back of my head and neck as if someone had taken a huge baseball bat and slammed me there! It was incredibly searing and excruciating. My mind couldn't comprehend in that instant what had happened. However, my daughter's face told it all to me. When I saw her pain and her fright too, I realized in the next instant that it had happened to her as well and that meant we were just hit from behind. We were in a car accident. The blow was from the force of the "monster" truck" which had been speeding down the street behind us (we found out later) and made no attempt to slow down or stop because the driver was oblivious to us there. We took the full impact since we were standing still.

I was freezing and in pain. I didn't know at that time that the back of my car was gone - a formerly big strong Mountaineer. The freezing twenty degree air rushed in our vehicle and partnered with the shock that we were already experiencing; causing us to shake profusely. In those 2 or 3 minutes that followed, it seemed that no one knew what had happened. I reached to open my window and pleaded with a passing driver to call the police that we were hurt. The woman who was crossing the street came to our windows and asked us, "Are you all right?" "No, we're not all right, please stay with us." I asked her. She did. I wanted her to tell the police what had happened.

I reached my right hand towards my daughter, trying not to move my neck or body too much and took her hand to pray together. "Please dear Lord, help us. Blessed Mother Mary, please be with us. All of you Angels and Saints be with us and pray for us."

Someone asked me to move my car off the road, I don't recall who. People were surrounding my car, on my daughter's side and mine; all talking at once. I suddenly remembered to call my husband. I was in shock. I tried to pull my cell phone from my purse. I dialed his cell number. No answer. This is not the time to not answer your phone, I thought. I dialed his work number. I knew that he was leaving about that time to come home. We were going to go out to dinner for his birthday.

I got the answering machine. "Sweetie, we had a car accident!!!" I said into the phone and then placed it on my lap because everyone was talking to me and my husband hadn't answered the phone. After a few minutes, I realized that I should pick up my phone and I saw the word, "connected" on the screen.
"Are you there?" I asked the phone, hoping my husband was listening by some miracle and not just his machine.
"Where are you?!" my husband asked me.
I told him where we were. "Be careful," I added. I knew he would be tempted to speed to get to us and we certainly didn't need two accidents!
He said, "I'm on my way."

All we could do then was to stay still, pray and try not to move our necks while we shivered in the cold, hoping for medical help to arrive soon.

(I will try to continue the story soon.)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

For writers and writer wannabees...

Check out this post at Catholic Mom.com

Or check out the RBTE Catholic Writer's conference 2008 workshop where authors (including myself) and journalists will be involved. Here's a bit of the information you will find there:

World Wide Web--Writers, editors, agents, and other publishing professionals from around the world are gearing up for the first annual Catholic Writers’ Conference Online, which will be held May 2-9, 2008, and is sponsored by the Catholic Writer’s Guild and Canticle magazine. The conference, which will be conducted entirely through the Internet, is free of charge and open to writers of all levels. It will feature online seminars, chats, and forums throughout the week on a variety of topics. Sample topics and presenters include:

"Balancing Your Life and Writing," by best-selling author Donna-Marie O’Boyle
"Can Your Query Pass the Seven-Second Test?" by Canticle editor Heidi Hess Saxton. Heidi will also be presenting "The Good Writer: Seven Important Habits."
"Ethics of Memoir Writing," by magazine editor and freelance writer Meredith Gould. She will also present "Self-Publishing as a First Resort."
"Funds for Writers," by Hope Clark (her website, www.fundsforwriters.com, has been in Writer’s Digest’s 101 Best Websites seven years running)
"Marketing Basics," by Carolyn Howard-Johnson (speaker, editor and author of The Frugal Book Promoter and Frugal Editor) and Karina Fabian (award-winning writer and editor of Infinite Space, Infinite God)
"Pitching and Working with Agents," by agent Terry Burns
"So, You Want to Write a Book?" by journalist and NCR correspondent Tim Drake
"Virtual Book Tours," by CWG Guild President and sci-fi writer Karina Fabian

In addition to attending seminars, aspiring and published authors alike will have outstanding opportunities to attend moderated chats from important industry contacts, including Vinita Hampton Wright (bestselling author and editor of Loyola Press), Ami McConnell (senior fiction editor at Thomas Nelson), Bert Ghezzi (veteran author and acquisitions editor of Word Among Us Press), and Lisa Hendey (founder of CatholicMom.com and Catholic Moments podcast). Other moderators include Tom Grace and Tim Powers.

Are we letting our light shine?

I just read a beautiful story at Catholic Exchange...

Light or Darkness: Which Do You Bring?

Is 8:239:3 / 1 Cor 1:10-13, 17 / Mt 4:12-23 or 4:12-17

Some years ago there was a new eighth-grade class at the local parish school, and they were trouble!Negative and sniping, they were down on everything and everybody, most especially themselves.Nobody wanted to teach this class, until finally old Sister Ambrose volunteered.

She was a wise old nun, so she did something very simple.She gave each student a list of their classmates."Next to each name," she said, "write down all the good things you know about that person.Don't exaggerate or make up anything.Just write the good that you see and give me your papers on Friday."And so they did.

Over the weekend, Sister read the students' comments and then typed for each one a full page of all the good things the class saw in him or her.On Monday she handed them out.

The students were astonished."Is this me?" asked some. "I didn't think anybody noticed," said others."Wow, I can't believe I'm this good!" said still others.And so it went.

Years later, when the class had scattered to the four winds, many of them returned for the funeral of one of the boys who had been killed in Vietnam. After the burial they were clustered around old Sister Ambrose when the dead soldier's father came along.

"Thank you, Sister, for all your help to my boy," he said."He grew up fine, just as you hoped, and he made us very proud.Now I want to return to you something you gave him long ago in the eighth grade."

With that he pressed into her hand a yellowed piece of paper, folded very small to fit into a wallet, and falling apart now from being folded and unfolded, read and reread many times.It was the list Sister had typed for that shy boy so many years before!

Silently and tearfully each of his classmates reached into their wallets or purses and produced their own worn and yellowed sheets, which we falling apart from being folded and unfolded, read and reread many times across the years.

And old Sister Ambrose, now leaning heavily on her cane, sighed and whispered a silent prayer, "Thank you, God."

A small kindness cast its light like a beacon across many years.It pierced the darkness, and nothing could put it out.

May our light shine, and bring light to all we meet.And may it never grow dim. Amen.(Catholic Exchange)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Article from yesterday's front page

Author's 'journey' to include Vatican

By: Emily M. Olson 01/25/2008

Donna Marie Cooper O'Boyle's journey as an author has really progressed since she published her first book, "Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers," in 2005. With Blessed Mother Theresa as her inspiration, this devoted parent is sharing her faith and her experiences on the road-both in person and online.

She writes a blog almost daily, communicates with hundreds of readers and speaks at retreats, spiritual study groups and at book-signings around the state and in New York. As life-changing as the experience has been thus far, nothing prepared her for the invitation she recently received to visit the Vatican for a women's conference with a program based on the writings of the late Pope John Paul II.

After the successful release of her first publication through Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, Mrs. O'Boyle wrote "Heart of Motherhood" and "Prayerfully Expecting," which have also been well-received. This year, Mrs. O'Boyle has three more books being released: "Catholic Saints Prayer Book," which she will speak about and sign copies of at a promotional event in Chicago in May; "Unlikely Saints," a biography and memoir of her relationship with Mother Theresa, and a study book on motherhood that is still untitled. It is intended to be used by spiritual study groups in churches and other religious organizations.

Despite her newfound fame, the mother of five has remained humble and believes she is doing God's work, guided by the spirit of her mentor and friend, the late Mother Theresa, who inspired her to write her first prayer book.

"There's a saying in the Bible that tells us, 'Don't hide your light under a bushel.' I think I'm shining that light by doing the Lord's work, and what's happened is just amazing to me," Mrs. O'Boyle said. "It's not really about me, though ... I always remember that what's happening here is about helping other people."

So when she received a letter from the Vatican inviting her to attend a conference celebrating the writings of Pope John Paul II, she was thrilled, nervous and excited. Mrs. O'Boyle will leave for the Vatican Feb. 2 with two of her daughters in tow, joining a congregation of 250 other guests for an international conference that is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the apostolic letter "Mulieris dignitatem," written by Pope John Paul II in August 1987. Hosted by the Pontifical Council for the Laity at the Vatican, the event will be held at the Hotel Palazzo Carpegna. The theme of the conference is "Woman and man, the humanum in its entirety."

"To be invited to participate in this conference is such an honor. I'm so blessed," Mrs. O'Boyle said during an interview Wednesday morning. "We'll be taking part (See story here.)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Car accident

My daughter and I were in a car accident today and are just home from the hospital. I'll tell more soon. We were hit by a truck and the back of my car is partially gone. We both have whip lash and are now recovering at home. Please say a little prayer for us.

My days have been filled with...

My days have been filled with meetings with interviewers and photographers coming to my home to document the news about my upcoming trip to the Vatican. It's been like a whirlwind around here trying to accomplish all of that plus get the many events set up for my upcoming book, Catholic Saints Prayer Book which will be released in March. I've been completing writing assignments, attending functions, helping my daughter study for exams, fighting off the migraine head ache that has decided to linger for over a week, and even involved in a debate/discussion with some fellow Catholics regarding Catholicism and a woman's role. Oyvay! Lord, give me strength, please! And He does.

I'll pass along the article to you from the front page of today's paper a little later on when I can get the link to it.

I'll be leaving in a little over a week for Roma! I'm taking two of my daughters with me to take it all in. I am excited about the International women's congress that I will be attending on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter, Mulieris Dignitatem, On the Dignity and Vocation of Women and will be immersed in three full days packed with conferences run by The Pontifical Council for the Laity.

Please say a little prayer for me as I prepare for this mission and also for our safety, please. I will keep you all posted and plan to take tons of photos that I will post when I get back.

God bless your day!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Lord, help us!

Schenectady, NY, Jan 24, 2008 / 11:32 am (CNA).- Religious leaders in favor of abortion gathered on Tuesday to bless an abortion clinic in support of the Roe v. Wade ruling, the Supreme Court decision that mandated legalized abortion nationwide. One Catholic leader described the ceremony as “two-faced”.

Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Linda Scharf described the purpose of the event at a new 18,000 square-foot building to the Albany-based Times Union, saying, “It’s a blessing to demonstrate the support of the clergy.”

She said that clergy had long supported Planned Parenthood and the right “to make a personal decision based on their moral beliefs.”

"The clergy were instrumental in getting abortion services legalized in the United States and right here in Schenectady," she added. "I know a member of the clergy who was part of an underground who directed young women to safe abortions before Roe v. Wade."

Governor Eliot Spitzer, Lt. Governor David Paterson, and first lady Silda Wall Spitzer also affirmed their support for Roe v. Wade in a statement.

According to the Albany Times Union... (please read story here).

Happy Feast of St. Francis de Sales!

Happy feast of St. Francis de Sales!

"Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit.
Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

New Milford woman invited to the Vatican

This is the story in today's paper:

NEW MILFORD -- Devout Catholic author Donna Cooper O'Boyle believes motherhood is one of life's highest callings. She finds it disturbing when that dignity is in any way diminished or demeaned.

O'Boyle has written three Catholic-oriented books in the past three years aimed at empowering mothers to see the solemnity of their duty. Her fourth book, titled "Catholic Saints Prayer Book," will be in bookstores at the end of March.

The author is also delighted to be one of 250 people on five continents whom the Vatican invited to attend a three-day international congress in Rome early next month, which will focus on the dignity of women in today's world... (Continued here.)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Busy, busy, busy!

Lots going on. I'm getting ready for Rome. It's exciting. I'll be leaving soon and have a lot to do before I go. In addition to all of the busyness, there is the added interviews from the media to spread the news about the trip and also my new book coming out in March. I've also been trying to get articles and some writing finished up.

Am I crazy? I'll also be filmed tomorrow night as an extra in a movie. I must be crazy!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Fun Quiz to win this book!

To win one of the first copies of my upcoming book, Catholic Saints Prayer Book published by the Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Company and scheduled for release in March, you must answer these three questions correctly. The first person who answers all three questions correctly will win a signed copy of this book!

1) Who is the Saint who was drawn to a life of holiness because of dead bodies?

2) Who is a Saint whose birth place is unknown?

3) Who is the Saint who was scheduled for an amputation and through prayer and a vision from Jesus was healed and no longer required the operation?

Send your answers in an email to me at DMCooperOboyle(at)aol(dot)com with the words, "Saint quiz" in the subject line, please or to P. O. Box 773, New Milford, CT 06776. You may only enter this contest one time.

I will announce the winner on March 15th, feast of St. Joseph, husband of Mary!

Good luck!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Book Contest!

Get ready for my newest book giveaway contest! I'll be posting the directions for this contest very soon. It has to do with my new book published by Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Company coming out in March, Catholic Saints Prayer Book! Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

My daughter's voice!

I heard my daughter's voice this morning for the first time in twelve days (who's counting??)! We only spoke for a minute - that was a tease. She surprised me and called me early to give me a phone number that I will be able to reach her at occasionally. I just tried and the call did not go through. It's not easy to get a call through to India. It reminds me of years ago when I called Mother Teresa at her Mother House in Calcutta. It took many attempts to get a call through. Hopefully, the Indian phone system may be a little more modernized now.

Have a BLESSED day!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

"Mom's Corner" tomorrow for EVERYONE!

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more Tomorrow morning, Tuesday, January 15th at 9:15 to 9:30 AM Eastern Standard Time on "Catholic Connection" Ave Maria Radio, Teresa Tomeo and I will be discussing our upcoming trip to the Vatican! We will let you in on our roles in the International Women's congress to be held in Rome very soon.

Here's an article that I wrote about the twentieth year celebration of Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter, Mulieris Dignitatem, On the Dignity and Vocation of Women.


The Twentieth Anniversary Celebration of Mulieris Dignitatem
By Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle

This is an exciting time for women in our world. Twenty years ago, our late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, wrote the extraordinary letter, Mulieris Dignitatem, “On the Dignity and Vocation of Women.” The Pontifical Council for the Laity is now encouraging the lay faithful worldwide to observe a celebration of this Apostolic Letter in the coming year of the twentieth anniversary by reflecting on the meaning of the document. Each continent has its own specific theme regarding the Apostolic Letter.

Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter (given on August 15, 1988) was written to encourage women in their vocations, to highlight the essential feminine genius that they provide to their families and the world, and to restore spiritual and physical motherhood to a culture that was quickly losing sight of the dignity of women and mothers.

Living in an era where the unborn baby may not be safe within his own mother’s womb, with debates raging over the nature of marriage, and confusing messages directed at women about where she should find her place in society - all point to the timeliness of this observance.

The Pontifical Council of the Laity has asked the Catholics of North America to consider the document specifically in light of one overarching theme: The Dignity of Women in a Technological and Consumeristic Society.
Interestingly, Pope Benedict spoke recently about “the materialist ideologies that say: It is absurd to think about God. It is absurd to observe God’s Commandments. It is something from a bygone era…. Only consumerism, selfishness, and fun are worth something. That’s life.” He said, “Again it seems absurd, impossible to oppose this dominant mentality with all its media and propaganda power. It seems impossible to think about a God who created man, who became a child, the real would-be ruler of the world.”

The poignant words to women at the closing of the Second Vatican Council should compel us to do something to help better our understanding of a woman’s role and dignity. “The hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of women is being acknowledged in its fullness, the hour in which women acquire in the world an influence, an effect, and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at this moment when the human race is undergoing so deep a transformation, women imbued with a spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid humanity in not falling.”

We know that all of salvation history depended on the faithfulness of one young woman in Nazareth and her courageous “yes” to the Lord. Our Church has held women throughout history with the deepest respect, despite what our world might have us believe. Women of the third millennium have an amazing opportunity to reap the benefit of the graces poured out on them now for a clearer understanding of their dignity and vocation as they reflect upon Pope John Paul II’s affirming and beautiful words for them. Women of our time “can do so much to aid humanity in not falling.” It’s time to open our hearts to God’s message to women and act upon it imbued with the spirit of the Gospel, spreading love, understanding, and peace with our own “yes” to a world in desperate need.

A website has been created in order to provide a comprehensive resource for those interested in ways to reflect on this timely anniversary.
Dignityofwomen.com will point to the Apostolic Letter, Mulieris Dignitatem, relevant books, speakers, study guides, and other initiatives that will bring the beauty of this document to as many people as possible, while continually integrating suggestions, additions, as well as a bulletin board of events to access over the coming year. The website suggests ways in which to get involved with this Vatican initiative including: procuring a study guide and taking time to discuss the document, compiling book lists related to the document and discuss different aspects or topics relating to the reflection of these authors, planning a day of reflection in the parish or larger community whereby talks and prayers can bring to light the beauty of the Pope John Paul II’s understanding of authentic femininity, and a larger project might be the creation of a congress or conference, in which the ordinary is invited to participate. This would reflect the collaborative nature of the Church: joining the hierarchy, or Petrine dimension, with the women, who image Marian dimension, and bear spiritual fruit by means of the spousal reality.

“Through prayer and discussion, women everywhere will reveal their feminine genius in the way they celebrate this anniversary - ultimately giving glory to God, Who delighted in creating women in His image” (from the Dignity of Women website).
You may send your suggestions or submissions of resources to the link provided at the website or to Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle at DMCooperOBoyle@aol.com. Please join with us in prayer so that this will be a very fruitful observance. May our Blessed Mother watch over this worldwide celebration for the dignity and vocation of women and bless us with her graces in all of our efforts to understand the richness of the feminine vocation.


I hope you'll join Teresa Tomeo and me tomorrow morning to learn more about this celebration. Feel free to tune into "Catholic Connection" at Ave Maria Radio and perhaps call in to the show or comment here to this post with any questions or comments.

God bless you!

Entering the New Year with Hope, Grace, and Prayer

You can check out my New Year article at Catholic Exchange today.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

"Mom's Corner" Coming Up for Everyone not just Moms!

On Tuesday morning, January 15th at 9:15 Eastern Standard Time I will be on the air with Teresa Tomeo doing our "Mom's Corner" segment on "Catholic Connection" Ave Maria Radio. This segment is not just for Moms or parents but for everyone. We'll be letting you in on a wonderful and amazing conference that we will be attending in Rome! Stay tuned. I will be posting the details about the segment later today. I hope you'll be able to join us on Tuesday morning.:)

God bless!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Book Review: The Pearl of Great Price

The Pearl of Great Price: Gospel Wisdom for Christian Marriage

Published by Liturgical Press, 2007
Author: Julie McCarty
Review by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle

Julie McCarty invites us to take a look at the gospels with “married” eyes to understand how married and engaged couples can pray and reflect on God’s words together. Along with the Liturgical Press Publishing Company, Mrs. McCarty has put together an excellent tool for Christian couples—truly a pearl of wisdom and inspiration for those couples willing to pause together in prayer with open hearts so that they may discover a deeper meaning and love in their commitment to one another. Through The Pearl of Great Price, the author bids couples to abandon their fears of discussing and sharing their deepest thoughts, hopes, fears, and failures and instead to embrace the intimacy of prayer united together as one.

The ancient prayer, lectio divina or “sacred reading” is utilized in this resourceful book. The couple is encouraged to “bite off a little chunk of Scripture and chew on it.” Mrs. McCarty alleviates the reader’s possible fears of discussing Scripture and praying together with a writing style that will ease away tension.

After explaining ways in which a couple can apply the full gospel to married life in her introduction, the author said, “You are not alone if at this point you feel a certain panic arising in you. Me? Take out a Bible and pray with my spouse? Are you kidding? Some couples can barely mumble a rote prayer together before meals, let alone hold hands and say something spontaneously aloud to God.”

By providing Scripture verses, reflections, simple discussion questions, and a closing prayer for each segment which should take twenty to thirty minutes of time, Mrs. McCarty supplies the tools necessary to get couples engaged in active and productive discussion with the goal of enriching their marriage or engagement.

This diminutive book will fit in one’s purse or pocket to be pulled out during quiet moments. However, don’t let the size of the book fool you! Plenty of wisdom and discussion starters for couples are packed between the pages. The Pearl of Great Price can be reflected upon individually. However, it is designed to be studied and shared as a couple.

Mrs. McCarty encourages couples to bare their souls to one another. She said, “What makes the strongest marriage is a total sharing of selves—bodies and minds, hearts and souls—and this comes about best in an atmosphere of listening, love, and respect for each other.”

Check out Liturgical Press and Amazon.Com for more information and to order.

To learn more about the author, go to her website.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Book giveaway contest coming up!

Get ready for my newest book giveaway contest! I'll be posting the directions for this contest very soon. It has to do with my new book published by Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Company coming out in March, Catholic Saints Prayer Book! Stay tuned!

Lisa Hendey's New Year's Podcast

Don't forget to check out Lisa Hendey's latest podcast for the New Year here. You'll also find out more about the Catholic Exchange and Cheryl Dickow's Scripture study program.

Things I've been pondering...

Recently I remarked that I had a lot that was being pondered in my heart and mind but no time to express it in words. Well, if you would like a glimpse, just go to my "Everyday Blessings" column at Catholic Mom.Com to read my reflection.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord the other day

I really like Fr. Tom's homily on the SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD which we just celebrated the other day.

He said:

"Today’s feast gives us one of the most familiar scenes of our Christmas readings – that of the three Magi coming to see the child Jesus. We sing the familiar hymn, “We Three Kings,” and we all know the story well. We all know how many gifts the wise men brought – three. But, today, I want to propose that there are actually six gifts in this Gospel story.

We all know the scene; three men in their rich oriental clothing, bearing three gifts. Our eyes are riveted on the gold. Our noses respond to the scent of frankincense and myrrh. They bow before the Son of God. But, in the midst of this great show, the Magi are slipping something in, on the quiet, that we might not see if we don’t look closely enough. It is something that they share. They have it tucked up in their sleeves, right next to their hearts. Even though the gold, frankincense and myrrh get all the press, this is actually their finest offering – even more precious than the gold. It is the fourth gift – the gift of their faith – the trust they place in a baby, their recognition of a Savior..." (Continued here.)

She arrived safely!

My daughter, Jessica's third flight landed safely in India. I received an email from the program director with the news. So, needless to say, I have exhaled my sigh of relief. I was told that the students are now involved in orientations. After the orientations, they will travel by train to their host families where they will live; attending school by day. Soon, they will need to purchase their Indian clothes which they will wear throughout their stay. I'll keep you posted. THANK YOU so very much for your prayers!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Planes, Trains, and Elephants!

A lump grew in my throat as I poured my daughter's cup of tea down the sink yesterday morning just after she left. It would be the last cup of tea that I could make for her for more than four months. She didn't have time to drink her tea as she bustled around the house, gathering everything she would need for her trip to India that she was too tired to pack the night before; checking off the two lists I had made for her of what needed to be done and what needed to be packed. Still, with all of our plans and preparation, notoriously we are always running around at the last minute in a bit of a panic.

But, after all, this wasn't just any trip. It was a trip that would take my daughter away from us for a big chunk of time--a trip in which Jessica needed to prepare ahead with notarized documents for power of attorney, many inoculations, prescriptions for medications, passport, visa, and plenty more things and details. She would need to take anti-malaria medicine a few days before leaving and everyday while there in India and for a couple of weeks after she arrives home.

I admire Jessica's courage, open mind, and energy to embark on such a trip as a "study abroad college student." However, my mother's heart is concerned about the travel and what lies ahead being so far from home for so long in a foreign country such as this where disease may be rampant and foods, though enjoyable to her, may reek havoc to her small delicate body. Will she get homesick? What if she gets sick? She did get sick in Bangladesh. And then, of course, there was the monsoon in Bangladesh while she was there that took over 1,000 lives and no word from Jessica for days when the electrical power was out there in many places. All kinds of questions spin through my brain, however my heart places her in Jesus' arms and under Mary's mantle. I will envelop her in prayer unceasingly as will the family and friends.

The actual traveling part of Jessica's trip involves three flights - one to Washington, DC to meet up with the small group of eight or so students going to India, another flight to Germany, and the last one to India. After she arrives in India she will take a five hour train ride, a bus and then the last part of her trip by elephant! I am still awaiting word about my daughter's safe arrival at her destination in India. Her journey will continue until Monday sometime.

Last night when all was quiet, I sat on Jessica's bed to say some more prayers in addition to prayers all day for her and her fellow group of students. I felt blessed and comforted to be able to pray from a special prayer book that belonged to my dear friend, Fr. Bill. I didn't hold back on any prayers to our dear Blessed Mother, prayers for protection from the mighty Arch Angels and our beloved Saints. You can bet that I am waiting to exhale my big sigh of relief when I get word of my daughter's safe arrival in India- please God.

If you feel so inclined, dear reader, please say a little prayer for my brave daughter, for her trip, and her extended stay in India - a place I hope to go to someday because of my affiliation with and love for Blessed Mother Teresa and the poor in Calcutta.

(photo is Jessica about to leave early in the morning with her pillow under her arm to catch a little nap on the way to the airport)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Catholic Exchange's Woman's Study

Catholic Exchange is sponsoring a woman's study that begins January 7th. It is in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter, Mulieris Dignitatem, On the Dignity and Vocation of Women.

From the website: "Are you interested in participating in a bible study but don't always have the time to attend a regularly scheduled meeting?

Would you like to connect with women around the world and share insights, support, encouragement, and opinions?..."

Hurry because this is starting soon! For more information go to Catholic Exchange.

New Catholic Movie Review Blog!

I am so excited that a faithful group of Catholic bloggers have taken up the task of forming a movie review group to help all of us! You can visit the blog, Catholic Media Review here. Go take a look, there are already a bunch of films reviewed which include: "National Treasure," "Juno," "I Am Legend," "Bella," "Enchanted," and "The Water House - Legend of the Deep."

This blog certainly promises to be an outstanding resource for Catholic and Christian families!

Jean Marie of Catholic Fire one of the co-founders of the Catholic Media Review group has this to say, "We will do our best to examine each film in the light of Catholic teaching and to warn parents about films that will present a danger to our youth. We also want to encourage people to see those films which we believe will have a positive impact on our society. Some of the outstanding films that I personally have seen include: The Passion of the Christ, Amazing Grace, Into Great Silence, and Bella. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we as Catholic Christians could make an major impact on the type of films that come out? We have this power simply by purchasing tickets to those films that are of excellent quality. You can count on us to keep you informed."

Check out the blog to meet the reviewers and read the reviews. Please pass on this valuable information to help keep families informed!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Pondering in my heart...

My dear friends,

There are so many things that this blogger is pondering in her heart today and these past days. I just have to find a bit of time to write them down and post them for you!

God bless you as you embark upon a new year!

Feast of the Solemnity of Mary

"Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time. For the first time in the plan of salvation and because his Spirit had prepared her, the Father found the dwelling place where his Son and his Spirit could dwell among men. In this sense the Church's Tradition has often read the most beautiful texts on wisdom in relation to Mary. Mary is acclaimed and represented in the liturgy as the "Seat of Wisdom." — Catechism of the Catholic Church 721

In addition to this day being a beautiful feast day of our Blessed Mother, it is the day that begins the new year of 2008. Today is a day filled with graces and blessings.

Many challenges and blessings lie ahead for us in this new year. How will we embrace this new year? Hopefully, with resolutions to allow our hearts to be changed by our Creator and be instrumental in changing other's hearts. The opportunities will surround us. Will we open our hearts to God's love so that we can spread His love to others?

Here is a link to article that I wrote about the Blessed Mother Mary and Motherhood at Catholic Exchange.

(The image of Mary and her baby son, Jesus in this post now adorns my kitchen wall. I just received this painting the other day. It had adorned my dear friend, Fr. Bill Smith's dining room wall for many years. I am so thankful to have it.)