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Know when to fold ’em, at least temporarily

As  I mentioned last week, I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. I love, love, love that I get to meet up with friends I don’t get to see in real life, and this week in particular some of those friends have provided incredible support via Facebook private message. A few notes arrived exactly when I needed them most. That’s when I look at Facebook with stars in my eyes. But — and it seems there’s always a “but” with Facebook — it is a constant distraction for me, so much so I felt I needed to take a short break to get through a few tight deadlines.  Read more

Father Paul Keenan, rest in peace

It is somewhat shocking to report the sudden and unexpected death of yet another influential Catholic writer, Father Paul Keenan, a wonderful New York priest who was both a successful Catholic radio personality and a prolific Catholic author. Father Paul was a fellow columnist for Catholic New York, and during the recent papal visit we joked about the fact that we are usually facing each other on those pages once a month.

Father Paul was most recently the host of the weekly inspirational radio program “As You Think” on The Catholic Channel on Sirius Satellite Radio, but he was perhaps best known for the 14 years he spent as co-host of “Religion on the Line” on WABC-AM Radio. I was lucky enough to be a guest of Father Paul’s on “Religion on the Line” back when my first book, Parenting a Grieving Child, came out. I had never done a radio show, no less a live, call-in show, but Fat Read more

In memory of a fellow Catholic writer

I learned today that long-time Catholic journalist and author Ann Ball died of a heart attack on Sunday. I knew Ann only through phone conversations and her wonderful Web site, and all I can say is that she was a very cool Texas gal who managed to run a security company and churn out Catholic book upon Catholic book all at the same time. She has some really great stuff out there on the saints and Catholic gardening, cooking and crafts.

It’s funny, but I had planned to email Ann to tell her about my Mary Garden attempts (since this is a subject featured on her home page) and to show her my Our Lady of Guadalupe garden statue because I knew she would love it. Instead I will just have to put a flower in front of Mary on Ann’s behalf. Read more

An interview with Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle

I recently had the opportunity to interview Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, author of the newly released Catholic Saints Prayer Book: Moments of Inspiration From Your Favorite Saints (Our Sunday Visitor). So grab a cup of coffee and sit down to enjoy a conversation with this award-winning writer.

First a little background:

Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, a Catholic wife and mother of five children, is an internationally known best-selling author and award-winning journalist. Donna-Marie knew Blessed Mother Teresa for nearly a decade, during which time they both kept in correspondence and met in various locations. Blessed Teresa wrote Donna-Marie 22 letters and wrote the foreword to Donna-Marie’s book, “Prayerfully Expecting,” as well as quotes for her other books.

Donna-Marie was invited by the Pontifical Council for the Laity in Rome to be one of 250 delegates worldwide to attend an International Women’s Congress in Rome recently.

She has a regular national radio segment called, “Mom’s Corner” at “Catholic Connection” with Teresa Tomeo on Ave Maria Radio (EWTN). In addition to her books, Donna-Marie’s writing can be found in many Catholic magazines, newspapers, and on the Internet in her many columns, as well as on her Web site and blogs.

Donna, your newest book, Catholic Saints Prayer Book, was just released. Can you tell me about this book and how it came to be?

My book, Catholic Saints Prayer Book: Moments of Inspiration From Your Favorite Saints, is a compilation of 32 saints; complete with biographies, patronages, quotes and prayers beseeching the saints’ assistance. It’s a sturdy hard-covered book that is a great size (approx. 4 ¼ in. by 6 ¼ in.) to tuck in the briefcase, diaper bag, purse, or set on the night stand or coffee table. It’s about 80 pages long and is adorned with some beautiful art work, which enhances the text. I think this book is suitable for anyone, young and old alike. Confirmation students may find it to be helpful when they are trying to discern a saint’s name.

I approached the Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Company, asking if they would like me to write a saints’ book in the size and format of my other book that was published with them, Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers. I thought that a saints’ book would be a nice addition to complement their book series. Our Sunday Visitor liked the idea and asked me to write it.

What makes this saint book different from other saint books?

I think one difference is in the size. It’s a compact take-along book, which I think makes it easily accessible.  Additionally, all of the prayers are original except the St. Michael prayer, which was certainly perfect enough already (written by Pope Leo XIII)!

Was it difficult to narrow this book down to 32 saints when there are so many wonderful saints to choose from?

Yes, it was difficult in one sense to narrow down the saints to choose that would fit into this book. I originally had chosen 34 saints and two had to be cut out for size. However, I prayed as I laid out the Table of Contents and chose the saints that would “speak” from the pages. I hope that I may have the opportunity to write Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5! And maybe more! There are so many incredible saints for us to beseech. I love them all and turn to many of them for assistance.

Which are your favorite saints’ stories?

I have many favorites! I love the story of St. Catherine Laboure because I have a special devotion to the Blessed Mother and the Miraculous medal. Of course, we know that the Blessed Mother appeared to St. Catherine Laboure and asked that she have a medal struck and gave her every detail in which to accomplish it. After some time of investigating and discerning, the Church had the medals made under the name of the “Immaculate Conception” medal. So many miracles began to occur immediately that the medal took on the name of the “Miraculous medal.” Read more

Thank you!

It’s late and I’m exhausted, but I have to take a few minutes to say thank you to all of you who came out to my book release and signing party on Saturday at The Book House. You made the day very special — and you bought every last copy of my book that was on store shelves, plus all the books I was hauling around in my trunk. I am awed and humbled by your love, support and friendship.

I know that Saturdays are busy days and you could have been doing lots of other fun things. Some of you drove hours just to shell out money for a book and eat some fruit and cheese. I am honored that you would carve out time from your very full lives to share in this celebration with me. Thank you.

A day in my life

People are often intrigued by the fact that I write from home while caring for my children simultaneously. I think they have this romantic notion that I am in a quiet room of my own, penning my thoughts while my children study Latin or curl up with the latest issue of Ranger Rick. I’ve decided to chronicle one day in my life (yesterday, in fact) so that you can get an idea of what it’s like to be a write-at-home-stay-at-home mother. Here we go:

6 a.m.           Chiara wakes up (for the third time since going to sleep last night) because her tummy hurts from constipation, due in part to our potty training efforts.

6:30 a.m.     Noah stops by our room to suggest we check out the sunrise through the hall window.

7 a.m.           Tell Olivia she’s going to miss the bus if she doesn’t get out of bed. Start the lunch-making, snack-making process.

7:10 a.m.      Argue with Chiara that Goldfish and Hershey bars are not breakfast. Compromise by letting her have a chocolate Yoplait yogurt, not exactly known as a cure for constipation.

7:15 a.m.      Argue with Olivia that movie-themed books packaged with necklaces do not count as literature and will not be ordered through the school book order. Compromise by letting her order one movie-themed book packaged with a necklace. Read more

What’s one more blogger?

So I’ve decided — finally — to dive head first into the world of blogging. Everyone else seems to be in the pool already, so I figure I might as well test the waters. I have to admit that this blogging thing seems a lot like talking to myself, except for the part where I have to come up intelligent topics and craft ideas into pithy prose We’ll see how that goes.

For now, you should know that I will write about all sorts of things. Sometimes I’ll write about spiritual stuff because that’s a big part of who I am, but expect to see lots of conversations about motherhood, writing, friendship, and whatever else piques my interest. I will warn you up front that I have a special devotion to ranting about certain lifestyle sections of The New York Times, where they love to paint those of us living in upstate New York (known as “out there” in NYT-speak) as a bunch of goobers who wouldn’t know a chèvre from a Chevy. Read more

Thank heavens for washable paint

So this is what happens when Mommy takes up blogging. While I was checking email, Chiara decided to turn herself into a work of art. No, she did not just finish up surgery. See her beautiful painting behind her. She also spent about 30 minutes taking a neon-blue Post-It pad apart one sticky sheet of paper at a time. I think that means I’m about to turn into a pumpkin and should get back to my Mommy post pronto. More tomorrow…