Tuesday, October 28, 2008

So long, farewell...


The November-December issue of "Canticle" is about to hit your mailbox! Congratulations to all those whose articles made the "final cut"!

Thanks to all of you who worked so hard to make the magazine a thing of literary beauty. Be sure to stop by "Extraordinary Moms Network" -- join our monthly Carnivals, if you're still looking for a way to broaden your list of publishing credits!

Also, be sure to check out the next Catholic Writers' Conference Online, which will be held February 2-9, 2009. We are now accepting registrations for this free conference (which drew over 300 participants and 30 editors and writing professionals from across the U.S. last year).

This will be the final posting of "Silent Canticle," as it was primarily an instrument to communicate with my contributing writers from the magazine. If you would like to join my newsletter list, or just want to stop by and say hi, drop me a line at hsaxton(at)christianword(dot)com.

God bless you!
Heidi

Sunday, September 14, 2008

EMN Writer's Contest: "Weird Mom Stories"


Looking for a way to make a little money on your blog?

Contribute to Extraordinary Moms Network's next Carnival, and you could win $50!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Writing Opportunity ... Anyone at Woodstock?

Dear Writers,

Literary Cottage is currently seeking entries for an anthology to be published by Adams Media. Adams Media pays $100 and one copy of the book. Literary Cottage offers prizes of $100, $75, and $50 to top three stories respectively. For Woodstock Revisited, we are seeking fifty true stories (850-1100 words) written by people who attended the 1969 Woodstock Festival. This anthology will document the event itself, but will also provide a portrait of America as that tumultuous decade came to a close. Stories should be historical within the context of 1969 and yet unique to your experience. Stories must be TRUE, 850-1100 words, vivid, and substantive. Please carefully review the details and sample story provided on the "Woodstock '69 Guidelines" page available on http://www.literarycottage.com/HURRY - DEADLINE: SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2008

Please, please pass on the word regarding Woodstock Revisited, as we need fifty solid stories from people who attended the festival in 1969. You can write an "as told to" story if you have friends or family who attended.
THANKS!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Sue Brinkmann, OCDS, takes over Canticle in 2009


I'm happy to announce that Sue Brinkmann, OCDS, will be taking over Canticle when I hang up my "editor badge" at the end of the summer. The Nov/Dec 2008 issue will be my last. I am grateful to God that someone as kind and accomplished as Sue is ready to step in!

For the first issue (Jan/Feb), she has asked that anyone interested in submitting a story to send a query to her at sbrinkmann@lhla.org.

I would also like to thank the many fine writers who contributed to the Sept/Oct 2008 issue in addition to our regular columnists:

* Leticia Velasquez: "Faith in the Public Square"

* Kate Wicker: "Seven Sorrows of Our Lady"

* Anna Abbott: "The Red Umbrella League"


* Sue Brinkmann: "Malvern Retreat Article"

* Tiffani Burnett: "Little Flower and Guilliam-Barre Syndrome"

* Theresa Cavicchio: "Total Consecration to Mary"

* Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur: "How to Preserve Your Family's History"

* Charlotte Ostermann: "Like Logs on a Fire: Teresa of Avila on Contemplation"

* Bonnie Shoemaker: "Spinning on a Prayer"

* Elizabeth Yank: "Frazzled ... Secrets of Homeschool Success"

* Deb Richards: "Getting the Most out of Scripture Reading"

* Laura Yeager: "Loving the Mentally Ill"

Thank you, dear friends, for sharing your gifts and wisdom with us!

Sept/October issue: Correction

In the September issue, the name of Bonnie Shoemaker's daughter (who took the photograph accompanying the article "Spinning on a Prayer") is Taylor Lewis.

Thanks, Taylor, for doing such a spectacular job!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wish List and Prayer Requests: Please pray...

For Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur, whose post today reveals that she is under greater-than-usual stress in her life. (In some ways, death of a computer can be every bit as traumatic as other kinds of death!) Please say a prayer for her today.

For yours truly. Yesterday I started a 54-day Rosary Novena for God to reveal His plans for my future. I can't share details at the moment, but it would mean a great deal if you would consider journeying with me for a day or two ... or as many days as God leads.

Also, I still need a "Cooking with Grace" recipe for the Christmas issue... any takers out there?
Taken ... thanks.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Thanks, Faith and Family!

At the Catholic New Media Celebration, Kate Wicker showed me that Faith and Family magazine recently gave a "shout-out" to Women of Grace, publisher of Canticle magazine, in a recent issue.

Although Canticle isn't mentioned, I was delighted that the F&F organization was willing to support the ministry in this way. Special thanks to Daria Sockey, who compiled this particular edition of "Midsummer Treats & Treasures."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Customer Service Comments/Concerns

I've had several requests for contact information for LHLA/Canticle regarding customer service issues (including mailing list/unsolicited phone calls). The Canticle list is being used by another Catholic magazine publisher, and several have received unwanted phone calls.

There have also been a number of issues concerning subscriptions, and the ability to get through to customer service to place an order in a timely fashion.

Please direct your questions/concerns to Rita Perstac, VP Operations, at rperstac@lhla.org. I know she is working on a survey tool to collect your feedback on the quality of your "Canticle experience," but if you'd prefer not to wait, you may contact her directly at this address.

Feel free to copy me as well: hsaxton(at)christianword(dot)com.

Thanks!

Heidi

Silence is ... inevitable

If any of you have been trying to reach me about articles, etc., I wanted to let you know I've been unable to access my e-mail since last Friday. And I won't be able to get it again until next Monday.

Please bear in mind that I am now working on the Nov/Dec holiday issue, which includes an eight page Christmas supplement. If you'd like to write for Canticle and are looking for a foot in the door, I'm often scrambling for a good Christmas recipe (and short story with pictures to go with it) for this issue. Just a thought.

Blessings, Heidi
Heidi

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Canticle July 2008 ... Hot off the Press!


Congratulations to the wonderful writers whose articles appear in the July/August issue of Canticle (in mailboxes across the country NOW!).

Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle has a cover story on the International Women's Congress in Rome.

Johnnette Benkovic contributed "Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Her Scapular, Her School."

Elena Maria Vidal presents "Modest, Not Frumpy: Beauty and the Blessed"

Gretchen Garrity, with "Faith Lessons from a Garden."

Theresa Caviccio has a piece on St. Pauline Visintainer, Patroness of Diabetics.

Sarah Reinhard reflects on "Laundry on the Line."

Jean Heimann offers "A Working Miracle"

Ann Abbott writes "Bitterness in a World of Sugar" about the slave trade in the Dominican Republic.

Columnist Suzanne Baars writes about "The Exhausted Parent."

"Media Moments" columnist Genevieve Kineke contributed a moving account of Focolare founder, recently deceased, Chiara Lubic.

Lynn Cassella-Kapusinski's guest "Solitary Genius" column is for single adults who are recovering from their parents divorce.

Judy McCloskey (CatholicMil.org) presents "Incidence of Car Fatalities High Among Returning Veterans"

Kate Wicker contributed "In Search of God's Graces."

Elizabeth Yank wrote "Hey, Mom! Say a Prayer for Me!"

Susan Brinkmann offers a reflection on the Holy Father's recent visit.

Mary Jo Anderson presents "The Feminization of Poverty and Moral Truth"

Esther Baily contributed "Cooking with Grace" column ... Tropical Fruit Salad. Yum!

Finally, yours truly has an interview with Sister Ann Shields, SGL, about heaven.

If you'd like to order a copy, call 800-558-5452.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Rest in Peace, Ann Ball

Today after a week offline, I came across this death notice about Ann Ball. She was a generous soul, and her books on the saints have touched many lives.

I wonder which of them were at the gates to meet her ...?

Rest in peace, dear Ann. We will miss you.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

CWCO: Morning Prayers to Share, Day 7

Day 7: Envy

“Jealousy is the tribute mediocrity pays to genius.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen

As I was preparing today’s morning prayer, I came across this essay that expresses, far better than anything I could say, how to safeguard against the vice of envy. He writes:

“Remember that the writing game is not a competition. The fact that your friend got published does not decrease your chances of being published too. Your association with your published friend may even help your career, but only if you put friendship before career.

"Unfortunately, you must also remember that there’s a good chance you won’t be published, not ever. I’m sorry to write those words, but it’s just a matter of reality. Not every writer gets published, and that’s a good thing. Not even every good writer gets published, and that’s a shame. If you, unjustly and unfairly, fall into this group, does that mean you lost, or that you’re a loser, that you should take up macramé instead, that you should have been envious after all?

"No. As long as you are a writer, writing because you love to write, you’re a winner. The real joy is in the writing itself. Being published is wonderful, but the true high is in the creation, not in the marketing.

"If you don’t believe that, then perhaps you’re not a real writer after all.”

Today’s virtuous antidote is trust. Trust that, however long you’ve been slaving away at a particular project, God has not forgotten you. (That’s not to say you will get it published right away, but sometimes the most important things we write are for our eyes alone.)

And so … without further ado, go read "Writer's Envy”!

Jesus, I trust in You!

Then please join me in praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet for the intentions of the Holy Father as well as the intentions of all those attending this conference. The chaplet concludes:

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

CWCO: Morning Prayers to Share, Day 6

Speaking of busy hands... why not head on over to CatholicMom.com and sign up for the give-away that is going on right now. A LOVELY amethyst Mary necklace! (Good thing today wasn't greed or envy, right?)

Day 5: Sloth

“Show me your hands. Do they have scars from giving? Show me your feet. Are they wounded in service? Show me your heart. Have you left a place for divine love?”
Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Writing is hard work. Not just the simple act of putting pen to paper, or fingertips to keys. No, I’m talking about the effort that is required to shape each thought, turning it and placing it for maximum impact … and then sitting back and bracing oneself for the aftermath.

As every writer knows, to write well is to expose oneself to the universe. To write deeply, thoughtfully, and well is not unlike preparing to bring a child into the world (so I’m told). There is the thrill of first discovery – the signed contract, perhaps – followed by an interminable period of preparation. Writers don’t have to give up caffeine, but there are other considerations. Has anyone ever been asked to write about suffering or loss, or (God forbid) good parenting or patience, and not had the heavens rain down ample anecdotal material?

God doesn’t care about our hitting the bestseller lists nearly as much as He cares about the state of our souls. The labor may take place while we’re alone in the office, sitting before the computer … but the lessons transpire in almost every OTHER room of the house. Courage!

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.


(Prayer is popularly attributed to St. Francis of Assisi)

Please join me now in praying: Our Father…

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

CWCO: Morning Prayers to Share, Day 5

Sarah at "Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering" has posted this week's Catholic Carnival, dedicated to Carnival hosting. Please check it out ... and consider whether you might be interested in hosting a Carnival, too!


Day 5: Lust and Gluttony

“Love is a mutual self-giving that ends in self-recovery.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen

“Catholics who acknowledge the wisdom of the late Holy Father’s Theology of the Body see an inescapable connection between the body and soul, the tangible and spiritual. This sacramental mindset is God’s gift to good writers, as it liberates us to express truly – yet not lasciviously – the ‘stuff’ of life.” (from “The Good Writer” presentation by Heidi Saxton at CWCO. To order the book, click here.)

Thought for the Day: How does my desire to consume – whatever bodily appetite these urges are meant to satisfy – need to be moderated? Do I have any inordinate attachments that prevent me from giving myself 100% in service to God and His Church, to my family, and to the world around me?

Hymn: “From Prayer That Asks” by Amy Carmichael
(to the tune “Faith of Our Fathers)

From prayer that asks that I may be sheltered from winds that beat on Thee
From faltering when I should aspire, from stumbling when I should climb higher.
From silken self, O Captain, free Thy soldier who would follow Thee!

From subtle love of softening things, from easy choices, weakenings.
Not thus are spirits fortified, not this way went the Crucified.
From all that dims Thy Calvary, O Lamb of God, deliver me!

Give me the love that leads the way, the faith that nothing can dismay,
The hope no disappointments tire, the passion that would burn like fire.
Let me not sink to be a clod. Make me Thy fuel, O Flame of God!

(“From Prayer that Asks” from the Collected Works of Amy Carmichael. All rights reserved.)

Please join me now in praying: Glory be to the Father…

Monday, June 02, 2008

CWCO: Morning Prayers to Share, Day 4

Day 4: Anger

“All quarrels, disagreements, wars, strifes, and dissensions begin with a false declaration of independence--independence from God and independence from fellowman. A man without God is not like a cake without raisins; he is like the cake without the flour and milk; he lacks the essential ingredients of happiness.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
John 13:35

In our defense of truth, do we have a tendency to cut off love at the kneecaps? We must never forget that the enemy we are fighting is not our brother. His soul is the prize to be won, and yet we can never lose sight that it is God who woos, God who wins, and God who claims the prize for the sake of Love alone.

We may disagree with one another, but we still need one another.

When in doubt, close your mouth and pray.

Please join me now in praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet for the intentions of the Holy Father as well as the intentions of all those attending this conference. The chaplet concludes:

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

CWCO: Morning Prayers to Share, Day 3

Day 3: Greed

“Leisure is a form of silence, not noiselessness. It is the silence of contemplation such as occurs when we let our minds rest on a rosebud, a child at play, a Divine mystery, or a waterfall.”
Archbishop Fulton Sheen

In the Gospel reading for May 4 (when this was originally posted), Jesus is praying the high priestly prayer of John 17. One passage is particularly striking:

”I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them. And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.”

Notice the posture of openness and generosity – rather than selfishness or greed. To truly have the “heart and mind of Christ,” this is the attitude we need to have not only with our possessions but with other, less tangible gifts as well. “Everything I have is Yours, Lord, to do with as You see fit.” There are times when these words stick in our throats … When we want to be doing “A” and it is abundantly clear that we are needed to do “B,” for example (moms especially know what I mean here).

Today as we rest from our ordinary activities – the ones that make us feel “useful” and “important” in the world, perhaps, as well as those that are not inherently bad but simply unnecessary – we do well to ask ourselves, “Have I given everything I have, everything I am, back to the one who gave it to me first? Do I seek my family’s good before my own, and His glory above all?”

Please join me now in praying: Glory be to the Father...

Saturday, May 31, 2008

CWCO: Morning Prayers to Share, Day 2

Day 2: Pride

“The proud man counts his newspaper clippings, the humble man his blessings.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen

“The only way to become a better writer is to become a better person.” Brenda Ueland


Today (May 3) is my son’s First Holy Communion. When we became his foster parents in 2002, Craig and I knew we were going to change the lives of Christopher and his sister … But we didn’t realize just how much they were going to change us.

Our leap into parenting was less like an invigorating dive into a pool than a hapless blundering into a steaming-hot shower. In Raising Up Mommy I observe that all my impurities rushed to the surface, pride being chief among them. The vocation of motherhood is full of opportunities for humiliation, and humility is the primary antidote for pride. Oh, how I needed it!

Today as we begin the conference, I’d like to encourage you to take stock of the stumbling block of pride, and its holy antidote, humility. In the life of the writer, this unseemly vice can come out in a variety of ways, even before the first contract is signed. How do you respond to “constructive criticism”? Do you strive to do the best work possible, regardless of how many people are going to read your efforts? Do you get so engrossed in your own creativity that you tune out everything else going on around you – including the friend that needs a silent listener?

Mother Mary, yours was a calling largely hidden from the world: to carry the Word made flesh underneath your heart. Pray for us, that we when people look at us, they would see Jesus.

Please join me: Hail Mary...

Friday, May 30, 2008

CWCO: Morning Prayers to Share, Day 1


The Catholic Writer's Conference Online is now over ... but it was such a wonderful event, I wanted to share some of the highlights with you, so you'll be encouraged to sign up next year! Even better, perhaps you'd like to sign up for the conference e-book, which is available May 30. To order your copy of the book, click here.

This week I'll be posting the morning devotions that I shared each morning of the conference. Feel free to post any intentions you might have in the "comments" section of the post.

Author and writing coach Brenda Ueland once observed, "To become a better writer, become a better person." For Catholics, this means growing in virtue, and weeding out vice.

Every morning this week we will be taking a look at one or two vices, which I explore in greater depth in my talk "The Good Writer" (forum). I developed this talk based on the work I did while creating Raising Up Mommy. To order the book, go to http://www.christianword.com/.


May 2: Beginnings

“Life is like a cash register, in that every account, every thought, every deed, like every sale, is registered and recorded.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen

We begin this conference (+) in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As we do so, I’d like to invite the Holy Spirit in a special way to hover over us. May He bring to light opportunities for virtue, as well as the insights intended especially for each of us, so that we might accomplish the work God wants us to do.

And so, please join me in this “Holy Spirit Prayer,” which we used at editorial meetings at Servant Publications … for creativity, for insight, for wisdom.

Holy Spirit, Font of Light,
Focus of God’s glory bright,
Shed on us a shining ray.

Father of the Fatherless,
Giver of gifts limitless,
Come and touch our hearts today.

Source of strength and sure relief,
Comforter in time of grief,
Enter in and be our Guest.

On our journey grant us aid,
Freshening breeze and cooling shade,
In our labors, inward rest.

Enter each aspiring heart,
Occupy its inmost part
With your dazzling purity.

All that gives to us our worth,
All that benefits the earth,
You bring to maturity.

With Your soft refreshing rains,
Break our droughts, remove our stains,
Bind up all our injuries.

Shake with rushing wind our will,
Melt with fire our icy chill,
Bring to light our perjuries.

As Your promise we believe,
Make us ready to receive
Gifts from Your unbounded store.

Grant enabling energy,
Courage in adversity,
Joys that last forevermore. Amen.

Catholic New Media "Girl's Night Out"!


There have been whispers throughout cyberspace about who's going to be attending the upcoming "Catholic New Media Celebration." And I'm so looking forward to meeting you!

If you don't have any plans for the Saturday evening before the conference (after the Eucharistic Conference Mass concludes the day's activities, please join CatholicExchange's Mary Kochan and me for a special "Girl's Night Out" (kids and husbands are welcome).

WHERE: Johnny Carino's Country Italian Restaurant in the Camp Creek Marketplace.

WHEN: Saturday, June 21 at 6:30 p.m.

WHO: Writers/contributors for "Canticle", "CatholicExchange" and "CatholicMom.com" (and husbands and kids who want/need to come along. Mary's husband will be there ... so will my kids!)

WHAT: Delicious Italian Dinner (dutch treat) to meet-and-greet before the conference! Anyone who is unable to get the kids to cooperate, feel free to join Heidi and Sarah for tea and chocolate pound cake afterwards at our post-dinner location...

2450 Old National Pkwy , College Park, GA, US, 30349
Phone: (404) 684-9898

RSVP: Heidi Saxton (hsaxton(at)christianword(dot) com. Mary has asked for a final count by Saturday, June 14 (give or take a day).

I can't wait to meet you ... at last!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Novena to the Sacred Heart


Dear Sisters in Christ: I'd like to extend an invitation to you, to join me in praying this Novena to the Sacred Heart, which begins today and ends 5/30. I have several opportunities in front of me right now ... and not a lot of resources with which to do it, at least not in hand. Please pray with me, that the way will be illuminated for me. Thanks for your prayers!


O Lord Jesus Christ, to your most Sacred Heart I confide this intention. Only look upon me, then do what your love inspires. Let Your Sacred Heart decide. I count on You. I trust in You. I throw myself on Your mercy. Lord Jesus, you will not fail me.

We put all our works at Bezalel at your feet and ask for Your blessings.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in You.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I believe in Your love for me.

Sacred Heart of Jesu, Your kingdom come.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I have asked you for many favors, but I earnestly implore this one. Take it, place it in Your open heart. When the Eternal Father looks upon it, He will see it covered with Your Precious Blood. It will no longer be my prayer, but Yours, Jesus. Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in You. Let me not be disappointed.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Prayer Requests from Our Canticle Community

At "Embracing Motherhood," Donna posts a request for the parents of a twenty-two year old girl who was murdered at her college dorm. Donna new this girl well, and asks for your prayers for the girl's family.

Cheryl Dickow (my publisher at Bezalel Books) asks for prayers for her grandfather, who died today. Please remember Norbert Makowski, a faithful and loving Catholic father, and his family who misses him so.

Pat Gohn requests prayers for the family of Steven Curtis Chapman, Christian recording artist, whose five-year-old daughter Maria was killed when an older brother accidentally struck her with the family car.

I'd also ask for prayers for the parish of Danielle Bean, which was recently vandalized. (Danielle is the editor of Faith&Family ... but sisters in faith don't let little things like market share get in the way of supporting one another, right? :-)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Good Books on Writing

At my presentation/chat on Canticle, which was held at the Catholic Writer's Conference Online, someone asked the question, "What books do you recommend for writers, to help them learn their craft?"

It was a great question (thanks, Pat Gohn!). And so ... here are a few writer's resources for you to check out.

For "Canticle" writers: ***Subscribe to the magazine! (Seems obvious, but not universally practiced. Yes, I know money is tight ... and that means if you don't financially support the publications you want to write for, they stand an excellent chance of folding!) So subscribe ... and, like many of our faithful subscribers, don't forget to purchase separate subscriptions for friends and family. You know who you are, Superstars!



Heidi's Resource Shelf

On the writing craft:
The Soul Tells a Story, by Vinita Hampton Wright
On Writing Well, by William Zinsser
You Can Write a Column by Monica McCabe Cardoza (Writer's Digest Books)
Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott
On Writing, by Stephen King

Eats, Shoots, and Leaves by Lynne Truss

Desk top resources (always in arm's reach):
The Bible (RSV/NAB)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Documents of Vatican II
The Associated Press Stylebook
The Chicago Manual of Style
The Christian Market Writer's Guide (by Sally Stuart)
The 2008 Catholic Press Directory

Resources particularly relevant to me (yours will differ, depending on what you're working on right now):
Back issues of "Canticle" (every issue going back as far as I've edited it)
Mulieris Dignitatem
Voices of the Saints (my favorite saint book by Bert Ghezzi)
The Adoption Resource Book (for my adoption blog)
Podcasting for Dummies
Under the Neem Tree (for a novel I'm working on ... slowly)

What resources have you found most helpful?





Monday, May 19, 2008

Prayer Request: Prayer for comfort in sudden loss.

Dear Canticleers: At Pat H's request (Pat is a regular contributor to "Canticle") I am relaying my post to her in response to a special, heartbreaking request of hers. She wanted me to share my post to her, and her response to me. Please remember Pat and her family in your prayers.

Hi, Pat.

I always have time for you. And you don't need to worry - ever - of anyone having such thoughts about you. I won't post your news on the prayer request board, if you'd prefer not to make the knowledge public. But please know that I will be praying a rosary just for you.

Please do everything you can to take care of yourself, eating and resting and praying and exercising. Brush away the negative thoughts like so many buzzing insects. The truth, my dear sister, is that ALL of us have messy family problems, and that is why we need each other!

Dear Lord Jesus, please be with my friend Pat tonight.
She is hurting. She is sad. She may be angry, too.
Wrap your comforting presence around her, and hold her tight.
Guide her every step, so long as she needs it.

Holy Mary, Mother of us all, stay close to Pat,
and to her beloved sister, who is no doubt watching, too.
Pray for her, and for all those who have lost loved ones
Suddenly and without warning ...

Dear Father in heaven, help us to take comfort
that nothing surprises you ... and that
you make all things beautiful
in time.


Pat's response: Heidi,I thought that maybe the new bed was helping me awake refreshed and in such good humor this morning, and then I read your post. No...it had nothing to do with latex firmness; it was the prayers of a very dear friend. Have a wonderful, blessed day, and thank you SO much. Also, at my request,please, post the script to your email and prayer and this--my response. That way, no details are necessary. But testifying to God's love is always fruitful. Ohhh, the POWER of prayer and genuine sisterhood! Love and prayers, Pat

Monday, May 12, 2008

Congratulations, Pat!

Lisa at CatholicMom.com posted an announcement today that our regular contributer Pat Gohn graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville with her Masters in Theology ... Way to go, Pat!

You have so many gifts to offer God and the Church, an "embarrassement of riches," as a priest friend of mine once said. Congratulations on this great accomplishment, and we look forward to reading more of your hard-won wisdom in the near future!

Blessings, Heidi

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Too Tired to Write? Don't forget to journal!


Today at Storycrafters I have a guest post about my experiences as a new mother. Even when I was bleary eyed, I took time every few days to put down a few thoughts. Now those mommy journals are indispensable.

I've noticed some moms, like Kate Wicker, who manage to combine journaling and blogging. More power to them. I think when I was in the early throes of motherhood, I would have been too embarrassed for the entire world to see my incoherent babblings. But Kate is a natural.

Anyway... If you need some encouragement this week to keep up with the "writing thing," stop by and check out my guest post! Blessings-- Heidi

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Power of Prudence


This week on the Catholic Writer's Conference Online, I've been spending one day on each of the seven habits that good writers need to cultivate (which, interestingly enough, correspond to the "celestial virtues" I talk about in Raising Up Mommy).

When I got to greed, of course, I talked about how important it is to be willing to give of your talents even if you do not receive immediate financial compensation for them.

Then my husband called to say that our tax bill was due, and could I please transfer some money into the account? I looked at my business balance ... hmmm. Well, Lord?

There is a fine line between greed and fiscal responsibility. Frankly, I'm not there yet. And as I sat there, contemplating how to bring in some extra cash in a short amount of time, two things happened.

First, PayPal sent me an alert that someone had placed an order. I clicked ... It was the largest single order I've had to date. Gratefully, I autographed the books and sent them out.

Then the phone rang. A woman on the West Coast was calling me to find out how much it would cost for me to speak to their homeschooling mom's group. I quoted her the same price that I had recently charged another women's group. Her gasp was audible, and I misunderstood the source of her consternation. "I know it sounds like a lot, but when you factor in the cost of childcare..."

She laughed at me, and told me that her church had recently been charged five times the rate I'd quoted her to bring in another speaker, plus expenses. (She told me who, but my lips are sealed.) "You really should be charging at least three times the rate you quoted me. You're short changing your family, and you're shortchanging your ministry. You are a nationally known speaker and a published author. You've been on EWTN, which means you are now INTERNATIONALLY known ... you should never go ANYWHERE for less than _____."

I gulped, and asked her if she'd be my agent.

Now, it could be that the woman was just telling me what I wanted to hear, and that it was just a coincidence that her phone call tailed my husband's.

Or, it could be that God was trying to tell me something.

"A workman is worthy of his hire" (Luke 10:7). In ministry, it's important to be open to all the opportunities God has for us, and yet prudence is also a vital -- and necessary -- component. It does not honor God if we are so busy "ministering" that we neglect our own families.

It's a balance I'm still trying to strike. Thanks to this kind caller (who is probably kicking herself for not giving me that little pep talk AFTER she negotiated the deal with me) ... I know that it's OK to set the bar a little higher.

Monday, May 05, 2008

To Delete ... or Not to Delete?

Michelle at Scribbett came up with this particularly insightful post about how to handle obnoxious comments in cyberspace. I thought I'd pass along the good advice.

Blessings...

By the way, Sarah and I are making the road trip to the Catholic New Media Convention in Atlanta, and plan to hook up with Kate Wicker along the way. Anyone else care to join us? I'm thinking a "Canticle tea" would be lovely!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Attention Writers: Join us in Atlanta!


I'd like to alert you to an opportunity coming up on June 22, 2008 at the Atlanta Convention Center. Admission to the Catholic New Media Celebration is free to the first 600 registrants. This event will be held on Sunday, the day after the Eucharistic Conference (which is also free of charge).

Lisa Hendey writes:

"The Catholic New Media Celebration is going to be an unprecedented event in the history of Catholic media. The CNMC is a day to Learn, Share, and Explore how New Media can help the Catholic Church in the New Evangelization. The CNMC is a day to Learn, Share, and Explore how New Media can help the Catholic Church in the New Evangelization."

I am planning to attend and will be arriving in Atlanta on Friday, June 20 to enjoy the Eucharistic Congress and will stay through Monday. Please consider attending this free event - I'm confident that it is going to be a huge success and know you'll want to be a part of it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Friends Old, New ... and Virtual


This past weekend at a retreat in Greenville, Michigan I had the opportunity to reconnect with an "old" friend, my publisher Cheryl Dickow of Bezalel Books, and a friend and fellow Bezalel author I'd never actually had a chance to meet in person before, Kathryn Mulderink.

It was an unforgettable experience, sharing the weekend with these women of faith.

You know, we really need a "Canticle retreat"!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Last Chance: Register for Catholic Writer's Conference Online!


Just a reminder that the Catholic Writers Conference Online registration ends FRIDAY! This is a free conference, with speakers from all areas of Catholic publishing--from the writer to the publisher--covering all areas of writing--from idea generation to query to contract and beyond. Sign up at http://conference.catholicwritersguild.org/.

Here's a list of presenters and their presentations.

Ami McConnell: Trends In Fiction
Audrey Shaffer: Branding and Your Marketing Platform
Barry Michaels: Feature Article--Ideas and Queries
Bert Ghezzi: Ins and Outs of Publishing
Brian St Paul--Crisis & Inside Catholic: Meet the Editors of InsideCatholic
Carolyn Howard-Johnson: 10 Ways to Let Agents Know You are an Amateur
Carolyn Howard-Johnson: Marketing Basics (with Karina)
Colleen Drippe: Driving Writers Crazy--The Editor
Heidi Hess Saxton: The Good Writer: Seven Habits of Good Writers
Heidi Hess Saxton: Meet the Editor of Canticle Magazine
Hope Clark: The Shy Writer
Hope Clark: Funds for Writers
Karina Fabian: Worldbuilding
Karina Fabian: Marketing Basics (with Carolyn)
Karina Fabian: Virtual Book Tours
Karina, Michelle Buckman, Terry Burns: Contract Essentials
Lea Schizas: Writing the Short Story
Mark Shea: How Faith Connects to Everything
Maya Bohnhoff: Show Me, Don't Tell Me--Character and Dialog
Maya Bohnhoff: Plotting Through Writer's Block
Melenie Rigney: Ethics of Memoir Writing
Melenie Rigney: Book Modeling
Meredith Gould: Self-Publishing as a First Resort
Michelle Buckman: Writing For Teens
Michelle Buckman: The Right Details
Patrice MacArthur: Art of Blogging
Patricia Punt: Writing for the Inspirational Market
Patti Armstrong--Ascension Press: Hooking Your Reader
Pete Vere: Canon Law and the Catholic Writer
Sister Maria Grace-Pauline Books: Pitch Session--Pauline Books
Steve Saffel: Working With a Book Editor
Steve Saffel: Using E-Media to Promote
Sylvia Dohram: Character Development and Dialogue
Terry Burns--agent: Pitching and Working With Agents
Tim Drake: So You Want to Write a Book?
Tim Powers: SFF and Catholicism
Tom Grace: Crafting the Catholic Thriller
Vinita Wright: Making Friends With the Creative/Spiritual Process
Woodenee Koenig Bricker: Writing With Faith But Without Bias

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Prayer Request: Heidi's Mom

Update: Today (Thursday) Mom called. She is home. Apparently it was a mild heart attack, which those with a history of stroke and diabetes are sometimes subject to. They are adjusting her medication, and we hope to see her shortly after Mother's Day. Thanks for your prayers!

Today I received word that my mother was hospitalized on Sunday with heart problems. They are still running tests to determine what needs to be done.

Please add Sandy Hess (and my father, John Hess) to your prayer roster. Thanks!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Mother's Day Writing Contest!


Is there a woman in your life who has been like a mother to you ... though she is not the woman who gave birth to you? It could be a godmother, favorite aunt or teacher, sister, or friend.

During the month of April, "Behold Your Mother" will be hosting a contest to honor these special women. Send me your tribute (with her picture) by April 20, and I will post it during the first week of May. If your tribute is selected, I will send you a free copy of Behold Your Mother or Raising Up Mommy (or you can choose to send it to the honoree).

Thanks in advance for helping me spread the word!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

May 2008 Issue is UP!


Congratulations to the authors whose articles are going to appear in the May/June 2008 issue.

Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle (Donna posted this one when she actually got her issue in the mail!)
Michaelene Fredenburg
Sylvia Dorham
Patricia Hershwitzky
Maura Buete
Susan Brinkmann
Patti Mansfield
Anna Abbott
Diane Spotts
Deb Richards
Jacqueline Rapp
Kathryn Landreneau
Sister Mary Catherine Vulkmanic
Mary Jo Anderson



Please post this cover on your blog or website -- help us spread the good word about Canticle! When you do, send me your link and I'll post it here. (Send it to hsaxton(at)christianword(dot)com.) Blessings ... and thanks!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Can your query pass the Seven Second Test?


These and other pressing questions will be answered in my presentation: "The Good Writer: Seven Healthy Habits of Successful Writers" during the Catholic Writer's Conference Online May 2-9.

Registration is FREE (donations accepted), but you must register by April 25.

You haven't registered yet? Why ever NOT? Please ... just click here! You can go for an hour, or spend the whole week online.

Go ... enjoy!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Canticle update...

Hello! Just back from vacation, and wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know that in the next few days I will have the cover and "name list" for the May/June issue. Right now I'm pulling together the July/August (universal Church) and Sept/Oct (back to school) issues.

We will be doing another special insert for the November/December issue -- a Christmas themed 8-page spread, in case you have a Christmas-related article you'd like to submit. (Perhaps one tied to a spectacular Christmas recipe?)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Why are Catholics leaving the Church?

Recently on Inside Catholic, a significant report was published on why Catholics are leaving the Church. What made this report so significant, in my view, was not simply that 35000 people were surveyed ... but that 35 of some of the most respected figures in Catholic circles broke the uncomfortable silence and spoke out on the subject.

One of these was "Global Watch" contributer Mary Jo Anderson. And so I invite you to check it out!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

From Denise Bossert ... For those who want to write

Dear Heidi, I received this in an email from a dear friend and fellow Catholic freelance writer. It is so good that I wanted to share it with others - especially Catholic writers. I have battled my own will and desire to publish, and probably will again, if not with writing, with some other "good" that I seek to do. Blessings on your writing and all those whose lives you touch, both readers and writers. May Our Lord's name be ever praised.

Here is a passage from the book, The Deceiver:"[Satan] is devoured by pride . . . . He freely injects into us this poison which is his trademark, polluting even the good things we do in life. He pushes us to excell above others, to enforce our talents and strengths, to organize our lives based on the desire for worldly success, seeking always consent, approval, and applause from others. Satan exerts himself without our awareness, to take us away from God, feeding the cult of our 'selves' in the secret of our hearts. . . . All for Jesus, through Mary, D.E.B.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hurry ... only 3 days left!

Are you planning to order Heidi's new book "Behold Your Mother: Mary Stories and Reflections from a Catholic Convert"? You have just three more days to take advantage of the free shipping offer (for all books shipped in the continental U.S.). To take advantage of this offer, click here.

This makes a great Easter or Mother's Day gift!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"Tender Mercies" article: more on Rudolph Hoess/Auschwitz

As I prepared to post this article on CE on Mercy Sunday, I came across this chilling link, courtesy of the New York Times, a photo album by one of the camp's commanders that reveals what daily life was like for the officers. What a startling contrast to that of the victims inside the camp!

What I appreciate about seeing this is recognizing that those who were running the camp were by all appearances ordinary people -- not snarling monsters devoid of soul. They had wives and children, took holidays and vacations. They picked blueberries and enjoyed picnics. And, together, the committed one of the greatest atrocities in human history, with millions of innocent lives exterminated.

In my article (published in the Lent issue), I reflect on how the mercy of God is so vast, so far-reaching, that any soul that craves that mercy can find it. In this album, we are reminded just how destructive the power of evil -- though not so powerful nor far-reaching as God's Mercy -- can be for those who do not seek out that Mercy.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Writers Tips: Online Book Promotions

I recently hired Cheryl Malandrinos at "Pump Up Your Book Online Promotion" to do a virtue book tour and other online promotional efforts for my new book Behold Your Mother as well as its related blog.

In preparation for the tour, she had me sign up with a number of online social networks, some of which I'm still trying to figure out. Yesterday I posted an old chestnut on "Gather," the story of how I got started writing. Thought you might enjoy it. Click here.

For those of you who are already published authors and have been promoting your book online, would you mind sharing some of the social and search engine groups that you've found particularly effective? (For example, one of the groups she recommended was "Me.Dium," but it seems awfully complicated. Have any of you subscribed?

Thank you, Jean!

Jean Heimann at Catholic Fire sent me this lovely bouquet today ... It was just what I needed, with everyone in our house down with the flu!
I'd like to pass this on to some lovely ladies (and one rugged man) who make my job at Canticle so much fun. I've also added the blogs of our columnists and regular contributers as a special feature here on SC. Also to Tom Sullivan, who hosts a blog about his son Gabriel, who is battling leukemia. (If you don't like flowers, Tom, being the fearsome warrior you are, pass them along to Carol.)
Hugs and blessings!


Friday, March 07, 2008

Subscription renewal feedback... update

Dear Canticleers:

Today I got a message from Rita Perstac, the VP of Operations at LHLA/WoG/Canticle, saying that they are in the process of upgrading the system that captures renewals and alerts subscribers. (At present, the date of last issue is on the label of the magazine.)

She has asked me to have any questions regarding subscriptions directed to her at rperstac(at)lhla(dot)org or jspencer(at)lhla(dot)org. They will be happy to help you until the system becomes more automated.

Thanks for your patience and perseverance!

Heidi

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Don't Forget to Vote...

The Catholic Blog Awards are collecting votes right now. Click here to vote for your favorite blogs! (And thank you to whomever nominated SC for "Best inside information" blog)

Changing the subject for just a moment ... I was alerted to the fact that some of you have been trying to resubscribe (or check your subscriptions) and had trouble getting through on the 800 number. I was told today that two of their three CS reps were out for medical reasons, and poor Jennifer had to hold down the fort alone. Thanks for persevering ... and for patience!

Tom is fixing the online store so you will no longer be charged S&H for your subscription. Thanks, Tom!

Prayer Requests: Update on Melissa Hackney


Kathleen Miller (The Daily Grotto) sent me this update on Melissa, the young woman who is battling cancer.

Kathleen says that Melissa will have the bone marrow transplant on Tuesday, March 11th at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time. Friends of the family have asked that everyone please pray a rosary for her at that time

Friday, February 29, 2008

Favorite Letter of the Week

There I was, a cup of my favorite tea in hand ... and suddenly, it was all over the screen.

Here ... read this.

THANKS, Sarah!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Special post at "Streams of Mercy"

Although I've temporarily stopped posting at "Streams of Mercy" until the Mary blog gets going full steam, I came across this post today at Catholic Converts about an apostolate called "Catholics Come Home" that is reaching out to those who have become alienated from the Church with impressive multi-media presentations. This movie particularly touched me. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

New Saints Blog!

Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle has started a new blog dedicated to the saints.

Check it out here.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Letter of Thanks

Today I received an e-mail a subscriber, and it moved me so much I just had to share it with you. Letters like this remind me why we're working so hard to let people know about Canticle ... The little magazine is truly changing lives! (Do you know any widows who might particularly benefit from our Lent issue? You can order individual copies of Issue #38 by calling 800-558-5452).

Good morning Heidi,

Thank you so much for the beautiful March/April issue of “Canticle.” I serve as Director of Adult Faith Formation and Family Life Ministries at _____ Church in Kansas City, Kansas and I am long overdue to send a note of thanks for the magazine. It is a joy to share it in “Women of Grace” groups when in session and other groups such as parent groups, sacrament preparation classes, RCIA and many others.

I especially want to thank all who produce “Canticle” for the articles addressing the needs of widows. Our parish Grief Support group is filled with many wise, grace filled women and I have used thoughts from various articles in the past to share with them. Every month, our meetings begin with lunch (so many will not eat well at home because they don’t like to eat alone). After the meal, we celebrate birthdays and have a speaker or informal discussion. I always have a faith-based topic or article to start the discussion but this particular month was a struggle. Normally, I would be ready several days in advance but this month was different. I prayed for guidance and even though I still wasn’t sure of our direction for this month, I was at peace. I knew that my prayer would be answered. Tuesday, the day before our meeting, “Canticle” arrived in my mailbox. My eyes immediately were drawn to the headline “Stations of the Cross for Widows” and I knew that, yes indeed, my prayers were answered.

Our pastor, _________, and I read the “Stations of the Cross for Widows” together for our Grief Support Group. He introduced each station with a prayer and I read the reflection. We have had extraordinary gatherings with these adults before but nothing like this. The response was amazing – it touched the hearts of everyone. The beauty of the Stations combined with Dr. Chervin’s inspiration was a wonderful gift to these women and men this Lent. Someone understood them! Someone else had been there and that someone was Our Blessed Mother. How grateful we are for Dr. Chervin’s words and to “Canticle” for presenting them to us.

Thank you again for the work and dedication of all the staff to produce a faith filled publication that teaches women how to be Women of Grace. May God bless you all and please know that you can count on our continued prayers and support. We also are happy to join you in promoting “Canticle” magazine.

With gratitude from your sister in Christ,

Thursday, February 21, 2008

January and March 2008 ... spread the word!



I'd like to congratulate our contributers to the first two issues of 2008 for their excellent work. Please consider posting the cover image on your blog or website along with a bit about your article ... help us spread the word!

These issues feature the writings of ...



January-February 2008

  • Marie Pitt-Payne: "Waltz of Love"
  • Genevieve Kineke: "Choosing Well ... with Good Reason"
  • Gina Switzer: "Re-Discovering the Sacramental Imagination"
  • Katherine Towne Sherwin: "Precious, but Prudent? A Reflection on Opposite-Sex Friendships"
  • Anna Abbott: "'Hooking Up' With God: The Problem of Casual Communion"
  • Jessica Mayo: "A Subtle Sin: Lust and the Womanly Heart"
  • Theresa Cavicchio: "Grandparenting for God"
  • Susan Ekins: "Taking Care of Me"
  • Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur: "Prayer as a Tool for Christian Unity"

March-April 2008
  • Denise Bossert: "Judith: An Image of Feminine Valor"
  • Ronda Chervin: "The Stations of the Cross for Widows"
  • Gretchen Garrity: "Giving Lent a Try"
  • Laura Yeager: "Grace-Filled Speaking"
  • Lisa Hendey: "Knit Together in Love"
  • Deb Richards: "Hope in the Desert"
  • Pat Gohn: "Longing to Have Them Home"
  • Karen Edmisten: "Seconds and Sacrifice"
  • Sarah Reinhard: "Smells Like Roses to Me!"
    Judy McCloskey: "Fear's Growth Potential"
Thanks again for all your hard work!

May Issue: A Pro-Life Story

In the May issue of Canticle, Kate Wicker paints a vivid picture of Diane Tandy, a pro-life midwife who saves the life of a preborn child and the child's mother every single day. When asked how she manages to get these women to change their minds, Diane says:

“We all tend to want to walk in and flood these women with our knowledge and our enthusiasm, but the bottom line is, you have to wait and listen,” she says. “Each of these girls has unique problems and a unique trigger point that will make them go from thinking about abortion to ‘I can do this.’ I wait and listen and then put my arms around them and convince them that they’re going to be okay. Honestly, I never know what to say. It’s never me. It’s the Holy Spirit working through me.”

To order your trial subscription (first issue is FREE), call 800-558-5452.

New at ChristianWord.com!

My husband worked until the wee hours to update our website ChristianWord.com, which now has the capability of receiving orders via PayPal or credit card. (Isn't he smart?!)

We are now offering an even sweeter deal on Behold Your Mother: Order as many copies as you like for $10/book, and we pay all shipping costs (in the continental U.S. only).

In addition, the first six people to get in touch with me and offer to review Raising Up Mommy will get your own autographed copy, absolutely free. Just drop me an e-mail at hsaxton(at)christianword(dot)com and give me your physical address, name to be included in the autograph, and the name of the website or other publication where you will be posting this review.

Thanks!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Prayers Answered


Today my friend Christine Trollinger, who is a regular contributer at "Canticle," sent this exciting answer to prayer!

Thank you Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta...Gabby my year old Bichon Friese dog was suppose to have surgery this morning for Cherry eye. Last night I asked Mother Teresa to intercede for Gabby and fix her eyes without need for very expensive surgery that I really cannot afford. I touched Gabby's eyes with a relic card the Nun's sent me. This morning her eyes were clear...I took her into the Veterinarian this morning as scheduled to double check that a miracle healing had indeed taken place. He confirmed it. The tear duct's had re-anchored themselves and she just has to have eye drops for the next few days. Thank You Abba Father and Blessed Mother Teresa.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

2008 Catholic Blog Awards...

The nomination process has begun! To nominate your favorite blogs, click here.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

"Behold Your Mother" Book Blog


Those of you who follow my "Streams of Mercy" blog may be a bit startled to discover that I've decided to suspend it for a time ... in order to start up a new blog, dedicated to Our Lady in thanksgiving for the publication of my new book about her, entitled "Behold Your Mother: Mary Stories and Reflections from a Catholic Convert."

I invite you to come and join me at "Behold Your Mother." And please get in touch with me if you have something special to contribute ... Write to me at hsaxton(at)christianword(dot)com if you have ...

* a favorite true "Mary story" (I've posted one there already)
* a question about Mary
* a favorite Mary image you'd like to share
* an answer to prayer, in which you invoked intercession of Our Lady
* a favorite Marian feast tradition
* a favorite Marian resource, prayer, or novena (especially one associated with a particular feast day).

It is my sincere prayer that this would not be one more way for me to fill up cyberspace with my own writing, but be a forum for all "Mary girls" to share their love and collective experiences about our Blessed Mother. I look forward to seeing you there!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Feedback...

I was wondering what readers thought about the "Easter insert" that we included in the Lent issue. (We're thinking of running it Lent and Advent.) In particular, I'm wondering ...

This Lenten issue is the first time we've decided to print an "Easter" insert (we're thinking of doing it for Easter and Christmas). I was hoping some of you might offer your first impressions:

Do you plan (as we intended) to remove the insert after you've read it and give it to someone else who might be interested in the magazine? Or are you going to just enjoy the magazine, intact?

What is your impression of how the insert "fits" with the rest of the magazine? Does it strike you as having a different focus/purpose? Or just more of the same?

Any other feedback?

If you don't want to go on record, go ahead and e-mail me privately: hsaxton (at) christianword (dot) com.

Thanks!

"Most Tolerant Writer" Award...

This year this little-coveted award (given to those who respond to my editorial missteps with an extraordinary level of grace) goes to ...

Lisa HENDEY
Lisa HENDEY
Lisa HENDEY

(Well, it WAS the Lent issue, so maybe she was just offering it up...)

Your *blushing* editor,

Heidi

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Hot off the Press!!!


I'm delighted to report that Bezalel Press will be bringing back into print my book on Mary, which I've retitled Behold Your Mother: Mary Stories and Reflections from a Catholic Convert.

This edition is even better than the first one for one simple reason: In the interim, I became an adoptive mother myself! If you know someone who struggles to think of Mary as her spiritual mother, please consider buying this for her as an Easter or Mother's Day gift.

To sweeten the deal, I offer a special pre-pub deal here.

Happy Lent!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Novena for Cancer Victims -- and a prayer request

Kathleen Miller at "The Daily Grotto" has asked me to pass along this urgent prayer request for Melissa Hackney, a young woman battling breast cancer. The details are here, along with a wonderful novena to St. Peregrine, patron of cancer patients.

This is a beautiful prayer, both for this brave young woman or for any other loved one who is fighting for his or her life due to this awful disease.

St. Peregrine, pray for us!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Catholic Writer's Conference on Catholic Moments

Lisa Hendey interviewed Karina Fabian (chair of the Catholic Writer's Conference Online) on her podcast here.

Have you registered yet? It only takes a moment ... and the conference is free. So now, while you're thinking about it, go get your calendar and mark off May 2-9. Then click here to register!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Excellence Award - Sites to help you write



I was touched and delighted when both Kate Wicker and Elena Maria nominated "Silent Canticle" for the Excellence Award (Kathleen made her original nomination for both SC and "Mommy Monsters," and I posted her award -- along with the rules of the award -- here).

Rather than name ten more "Excellence Worthy" mom blogs (and there are at least that many), I'd like to give this award to a number of sites that I've found especially helpful as a writer. The "blogs behind the blog," if you will. They are:

AdoptionBlogs.com: A never-failing source of article ideas (and real-life advice) on adoption and foster care.

People of the Book: News and other tidbits on the publishing world -- including a master list of contact information for various Catholic publishing houses. (Jim Manney of Loyola Press, author)
Catholic Writer's Guild: This networking group for Catholic writers is co-hosting (with Canticle) the first-ever Catholic Writer's Conference Online May 2-9.

Catholic Online: The entire site is a "must browse," but I find their "Feasts and Angels" listing particularly helpful.

Dignity of Women: A helpful website for those who want to better understand the Church's teaching on the role and vocation of women.

Online Newspapers.com: An online resource for newspapers from all over the world. The online listing of Catholic diocesan papers is here.

The Vatican: Includes translations of papal encyclicals and Church documents (including the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" and "Code of Canon Law") as far back as you'd care to read.
Index is here. The New American Bible online is here.

Writings of the Early Church Fathers: Although the site was compiled by a Protestant organization, the documents themselves are a helpful resource for anyone wanting to better understand Church history. Another excellent resource for early Church documents here.

Virtual Book Tours: This is a useful service for published authors who would like to help their publisher sell books. It's not free ... but it is a creative and much-needed service in today's publishing market.

Christian Writer's Marketplace: Written by the author of the indispensable resource Christian Writer's Marketplace, Sally Stuart, this blog gives up-to-date information and news items of interest to writers.

Have you found other websites particularly helpful? Please add a comment!

Veritas suggests "Catholic Education."

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Prayer Request: Suicide


I received an urgent prayer request today from Pat Hershwitzky, a regular "Canticle" contributer. Her friend, Phil, committed suicide by shooting himself ... right in front of his wife, Marian. She is understandably in shock. It sounds as though this comes at the end of a life full of darkness and depression. Pat covets your prayers on behalf of both these individuals, and asked that I share with you my initial response to her request:
I'm so grateful our spiritual leaders now understand the dynamics behind a suicide, the mental anguish that mitigates the circumstances and enables us to entrust that soul, too, to the mercy of God.

Dear, Sweet Jesus: Take this troubled sheep, Phil, into your Sacred Heart. May he rest, safe and without a care, in your tender arms.

Blessed Mother: You watched your Son die violently before your eyes, and can identify with this sorrowful widow. Intercede powerfully before the throne of grace for this couple, that he will be at peace ... and her sorrow will turn not to bitterness, but to love perfected.

Please pray for Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle

Donna-Marie and her daughter were in a car accident, and need your prayers and love sent her way. She says her guardian angel was on duty, because EMP workers were right nearby, and neither of them came away with anything more serious than whiplash (though *ouch*).

For more information, go to Donna-Marie's blog here.

Here's an update.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

On Golden Pens ... and Empty Pockets

I recently encountered this resource for those who are interested in becoming stronger bloggers. Enjoy!

If you want to get fur flying (or at least a spirited discussion going) in a writer’s group, ask the Million Dollar Question:


“Should a writer allow his or her work to be published
without receiving monetary compensation for it?”

Very quickly, two camps emerge: Those who are trying to pay the bills with their craft, and those who write for reasons that are less tangible, but (at least to them) just as less important: serving God and His Church, or cultivating a “writer’s platform” – a consistent readership that demonstrates to prospective publishers an author’s ability to market his or her own books. Still other writers are simply trying to hone their skills, or express their views on a particular issue.

Much of the time, I tend to fall in the second category – as do many people who publish their work online, either on blogs or websites such as Catholic Exchange. Our labors are rewarded with something less tangible than a paycheck. The payoff varies from one individual to the next. Most days I consider writing a form of ministry; and yet, part of me enjoys other “perks” as well: seeing how many (and/or what kind) of comments are posted in response to an article, how many (and whose) blogs have me on their blogroll, or how much traffic my blogs generate.

This kind of sleuthing can backfire: Occasionally I’ll scan the blogroll of a site I visit regularly and obsess over why my blog isn’t listed on their blogroll – and feel as though I’m in high school all over again, upset at not being invited to the “right” parties. (A friend of mine – who is listed on almost every Catholic blogroll I’ve ever encountered – wisely counseled me to concentrate on producing good-quality content, and the rest would come in time.)

Sometimes my writer’s angst manifests itself on a more pragmatic level. Like many freelance writers, I depend on a handful of long-term clients, from which I generate most of my income. The other day I panicked when it looked as though I might lose one of my larger clients due to budget cuts. As I took stock of the situation, I began to wonder if I had been unwise to put so many eggs in one basket – if it had truly been God’s will, rather than my own, that I invest so much of my time this way. Happily, the situation resolved itself in my favor … but still I wondered if it might be wise to diversify my time more, so I wasn’t so dependent on that particular source of income.

As I pondered the situation (“praying about it” would be stretching it a bit), I noticed an e-mail from a second client – someone who had used my services regularly a few years back, but stopped when he was promoted to a different position within the organization. He wanted to check on the status of an invoice for a project I had done for them two years ago, generating fees of nearly two thousand dollars. It turned out that my computer system had switched over around that time, and I’d lost track of that particular invoice. He promised to process the payment immediately.

I could feel a gentle tap on my heart as I tapped out a quick e-mail of thanks to the editor. See? You don’t have to worry, that still small voice reminded me. You just keep doing your best work where I’ve planted you, and leave the finances to me.

Throughout the Gospels, we read of men and women who were given certain talents and held accountable – for better or worse – for how they used those talents. Those who hid the talents in the ground were chastised; those who used their talents to the best of their ability were blessed with their Master’s favor. While this spiritual principle does not always translate into a steady stream of cash, this much is certain: The Master we serve has promised that, if we are faithful, He will supply all our needs.

Do you have a “way with words” that you would like to develop? Are you interested in learning more about the publishing industry – how it works, and how you can be a part of it? Or would you simply like to learn more about current communication technologies – blogs and podcasts and virtual booktours? Join us for the first annual Catholic Writer’s Conference Online, hosted by the Catholic Writer’s Guild and “Canticle” Magazine. The conference, which will be held May 2-9 and conducted entirely on the Internet, is free of charge – but registration is required. For more information or to register, click here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

See you at the conference?

Karina Fabian, Ann Lewis, and I have been working to put together the first-ever "Catholic Writer's Conference Online," which will be held May 2-9. For more details, click here.

This is an excellent opportunity for all writers who want to "polish" their skills; in addition to forums targeting those who want to write books and magazine articles, editors will be hosting chat rooms in which you can actually pitch your ideas and get useful feedback. (I will be hosting forums on writing query letters and good writing habits, as well as a chat where you can pitch me ideas for "Canticle".)

Best of all, it's free! Early registration is highly recommended, as sessions will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. You can sit at your computer all week ... or just for an hour here and there, as suits your schedule. To register or for more information, click here.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Welcome, Sue Brinkman, OCDS!

Susan Brinkmann, OCDS, author and journalist, has joined Living His Life Abundantly & Women of Grace as Staff Writer.

Susan is a member of the Third Order of Discalced Carmelites and comes to us from "The Catholic Standard and Times," the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, where she served for six years as a Correspondent. She has won numerous national awards for her work and has published several books, including two historical fiction novels, a book on Carmelite prayer entitled Lord Teach us to Pray and a book on the fraudulent research of Alfred C. Kinsey entitled The Kinsey Corruption, published by Ascension Press.

Sue has devoted her life and talents to building up the Church and tearing down the culture of death, and is pleased that the Lord has called her to LHLA/Women of Grace to continue this vocation. Susan is single and writes for us from her home in Horsham, Pennsylvania.

Songs to Love Life By...

Elizabeth Schmeidler (songwriter and recent contributer to "Canticle") sent me this link to the top "pro-life songs." She writes: "I'm so glad the word is spreading ... I think we have momentum here!"

From your mouth to God's ears, dear Elizabeth. Enjoy, all!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Best Movies/Books Posted on "Streams of Mercy"


The other day a friend of mine was having a tough time with her young children, and (not being close enough to hug her in person) I suggested she go out and get my new favorite movie, The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio. Well, one thing led to another ... and (long story short) I have now compiled a list of ten books and movies that have made a lasting impact in my life. I invite you to check it out. For your convenience, I have put all these resources in a "Recommended" list that links directly to Amazon.com (I just became an "Associate.)

Normally I'd have posted something like this at "Mommy Monsters," but I have a review on there right now that I want to keep at the top for another day or two. So click on my "converts" blog ... and enjoy! And if you have a chance, why not share your own "top 10." If you do, be sure to leave a comment here so we'll know to check it out!

A Reason to REJOICE!

Today as I was proofing the Lenten issue of Canticle, I was reminded of an e-mail I received a few weeks ago from Denise Bossert, who regularly contributes her articles to our magazine.

This year she received an unexpected gift at Christmas: Her husband slipped her a note in the middle of Mass, which said that he had been going to RCIA classes without her knowledge, and that he was preparing to enter the Church at this Easter Vigil! She writes:

This, from a husband who said (rather vehemently) that he would never become Catholic.

I had no idea that while I was reading When Only One Converts, he was studying the Catechism. He made my RCIA leader (from two years ago) - who is now his RCIA leader - promise not to say anything until he was sure.

This is a miracle that I prayed for, at every Mass and during my hour of Adoration (Friday mornings between 3 and 5 AM). I will not ramble further. Just to know that I came home in 2005 - the daughter of a Presbyterian minister and the (annulled) former wife of a UM minister. And I had been told by my Baptist husband that I would never share the joy of Our Eucharistic Lord with him. In fact, my defense of the faith (when directed at him) was a great annoyance. I could convert. And he relented and said our daughter could join me. But he never would. And that was a
promise.

It was an ache that didn't go away. I have written inspirational articles for many venues, but the one I longed to see come home had assured me that my words and efforts were a pure waste of time when it came to him.

And I suppose they were, until you factor in grace.

Christmas miracles do happen even today. I know, one of the greatest miracles happened in my family.

Yes, God is good. All the time. Please remember in your prayers the Bossert family as they prepare for her husband's big day!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Story Time!


Today on Mommy Monsters (my adoption blog), I've posted some tips on how to share your child's adoption story, including a useful resource for parents who aren't confident in their story-telling abilities. Since this is a blog for writers, I thought you might find this particularly relevant in your life no matter how God brought your family together.

Happy reading!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

About the next issue...


Yes, you heard it here first, ladies!

If the March/April issue of "Canticle" feels a bit heftier than usual, it's because it will be ... eight pages, to be exact. We are going to be including a special "Easter insert," with articles to help you get more out of the Easter season. We've designed it so you can pull out the insert (when you're done with it) and give it to a friend or family member who might benefit: a new convert, someone interested in the Church, or a neighbor who never seems to return your issue when the postman puts it in her box by mistake!
We are offering "trial subscriptions" now to those who call in and request them (800-558-5452). We will send the first issue free, along with an invoice that you can pay to get the next issue, or write "cancel" and return. What a deal, eh?
The photograph with this post is from a feature story in the next issue by Lisa Hendey on the "spirituality of knitting." Some knitters have discovered that knitting can be a great way to pray and serve at the same time. (Food for thought: Why not consider ordering a few extra copies to give to the crafty people in your life?)

Monday, January 07, 2008

Light Crossing... and Writerly Advice

Today I got an e-mail from one of my contributing writers, Deb Richards, who had some constructive comments on my "Wifely Insurrection" column. I share it with you here in hopes that it might help someone else as well ... particularly the part about writing "ahead" of where we live, where we know the truth to be. Deb writes ...

I read your "insurrection" column and loved it! I hope you see the true humor in it. And thanks for putting yourself "out there" like that! It will help others. Also, it reminds me that always, always, we write beyond the place we are able to fully live. We "know" the truth; we see it. It's part of what leads us forward by faith. Writing keeps us accountable!

Tips, Hints, and Wishes...

I couple of months ago I encouraged some of you to join "Helium" as a way to turn writing into actual cash. This week I sold an article through Helium Marketplace, to an online magazine called JollyJo.org. Here's the link. If you'd like more info about Helium, send me a line. (It wasn't a load of cash, but considering how much writing we do for free, every bit helps, right?)

Karina Fabian is hard at work on the Online Writer's Conference that will be held the week of May 9. We have a number of excellent presenters already ... For more information, or to register (it's free ... donations accepted), click here.

This week I came across two great online resources you might like to know about. First, the Catholic Media Review, which is a great source of information not only about movies but television and other blogs as well. They directed me to the second resource, CRI (Catholic Radio International), which has started a new show called "Cover to Cover." This weekend I listened to the autobiography of Emaculee Ilibagiza, Rawandan genocide survivor, entitled Left to Tell. I'd been meaning to read it ... and thanks to this site, I got to listen to it for free!

Last but not least (if you're still reading), I need an article about Pentecost and the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer for the May issue of "Canticle." Any takers?

Friday, January 04, 2008

Moments of Beauty


Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur has come up with an inspiring project, which she calls "Moments of Beauty." Read more about it here.


So the next time you step outside, or into the playroom, and find a moment worth sharing, whip out the old Brownie (or whatever the Digital equivalent might be) ... and pass along the blessing.


I'll post one here, to get you started. Thanks, Patrice!

Catholic Media Review

With equal parts creativity and intelligence, six stellar bloggers have responded with faith and constructive outrage to the recent atrocities coming out of the USCCB media office: The Catholic Media Review (CMR). For more information, click here.

Warm, hearty congratulations to these pro-active Catholics!

Jean at Catholic Fire
Letitia at Causa Nostrae Laetitiae
Scott at Good News Film Reviews
Julie at Happy Catholic
Christine at The World ... IMHO
March Hare at The Mad Tea Party
I thought you might like to know about this -- Adah was our "Woman of Grace" in the January 2008 issue of "Canticle." Please remember Adah and her family in your prayers.

Dear Heidi,

I'm not sure if Katie Wicker advised you that our dear angel, Adah Gerardo, died on December 27th surrounded by her family. I wanted to let you know how very touched Adah was by the Canticle article. She cried tears of joy as I read it to her. Also, it is a wonderful legacy for her family. Many thanks for bringing joy and comfort to the last days of this beautiful woman's life.

Eileen Pankow

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A (paying) writing opportunity for you!

Today I received a notice from Rhonda Hogan, compiler/editor of the "When Miracles Happen" series by Guideposts Books. Each book in the series will be a collection of 40 true stories that describe how someone’s life was changed in an extraordinary way. Each book will be a wonderful exploration of the many different ways that God intervenes in our lives.
Upcoming titles in the series and submission deadlines for each are as follows:

Miracles of Nature, 1/20 -- this one can include the wonder of nature as well as storm stories, mountain stories, river stories, and the like. Try NOT to make it so much about "rescues" since we already have a Miracles and Rescues book. And try NOT to do animal stories, since we already did Miracles and Animals.

Miracles in Tough Times,
2/11 -- this can be about staying close to God in spite of losses, such as the loss of loved ones, money, health. It can also be about marriage difficulties, racial conflicts, teens/homeless living on the street, single parents, social alienation, and much more.


Submitting a Story for When Miracles Happen

We are accepting submissions of stories anywhere from 1,200 to 2,200 words in length. Each story should be a first-person narrative written in a simple, dramatic, anecdotal style with a spiritual point that the reader can "take away" and apply to his or her own life. The story may be the writer's own or one written in the first person for someone else. Each story should be authentic and genuine, and any concrete facts should be true and verifiable. NOTE: Any article submitted will be considered in final form and approved by the author and the person featured in the story, except for minor editorial corrections as necessary to comply with standard grammatical rules and Guideposts' in-house style. Rights and fees will be negotiated upon acceptance of manuscript.

For additional details, send me an e-mail and I'll forward the full e-mail to you.

Happy writing!