Author Archive

God Will Provide. God Will be Glorified: The Morning Our Lives Changed Forever

God Will Provide. God Will be Glorified: The Morning Our Lives Changed Forever

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You never know how you’ll respond to an emergency until you’re in an emergency. That morning, I learned — not how would respond to an emergency, but —  how God will respond with and through us, if we allow Him to do so. My natural tendencies, I think, would be to overreact and dramatize. Yet, with the gifted words “God will provide. God be glorified” playing through my head, I remained cool, calm, collected, and filled with peace. I turned to prayer. I was assured and able to reassure.

 

(This post is the second in a series. To read the first post, click here.)

 

More men piled into our family room, and I realized I wore a set of pajamas I’d never, ever consider wearing outside the house. Pushing my embarrassment aside, I followed the police officer into the kitchen to answer his questions. Where had Ray been the evening before? What had done? Might he have used any drugs?

 

With the officer’s queries addressed, I returned to my children, who had moved from the family room to the adjoining living room. They sat on the sofa, skillfully distracted by one of the firemen.

 

“M’am.” Another fireman appeared at my side. “We’re attempting to revive your husband,” he said quietly, so the children wouldn’t hear. “We’ve defibrillated him twice. Each time, his heart has restarted, but it won’t maintain the rhythm.”

 

I nodded and closed my eyes.

 

God will provide. God will be glorified. 

 

“We can’t load him onto the ambulance until he’s stable,” the fireman continued. “We’ll keep trying. When we do move him, we’ll need to bring him through the front door.”

 

I nodded, slow on the uptake.

 

“You might want to take the children to another room.”

 

I stared dumbly up at the man.

 

“So they don’t see him when we bring him through, m’am,” he clarified. “It might be upsetting.”

 

I nodded, and, after a moment’s hesitation, ushered the kids back to our tiny master bedroom.  We sat together on the bed and began to pray more Hail Mary’s.

 

Before long, the child-entertaining fireman appeared in the doorway.

 

“They’ve loaded your husband onto the ambulance,” he informed me, “and are taking him to St. Vincent’s Hospital. You can go to the emergency room there.”

 

As quickly as they had arrived, all the strange men were gone from our home. I sent the kids to get dressed and hurried to change into something more presentable. I called my parents. It wasn’t even four a.m, but they answered. I told them what little I knew, and asked them to meet me at the emergency room.

 

I texted a friend who had an early adoration shift on Thursday mornings to ask for her prayers. I texted others who I knew rose early to pray. Another friend, Erin, having woken in the middle of the night, randomly sent me a Pinterest link. I responded with our news, adding her to our prayer chain, and asking her to spread the word of our need for prayer. I realized the dog had escaped during the commotion and, when a neighbor appeared to see how he could help, sent him on a mission to locate the dog. The kids and I piled into the car and headed to the hospital.

 

God will provide. God will be glorified. The words persisted. The peace remained.

 

We arrived at the emergency room and were escorted to a private waiting room. My parents joined us. A staff person delivered Pop Tarts and apple juice to the kids. A doctor entered the room.

 

“I’m Dr. K–, the cardiologist on staff this morning,” he said. “Your husband was defibrillated a total of eight times: three while he was still in your home, twice in the ambulance, and three more times in the emergency room. His LAD artery, commonly known as the “widow maker,” was 100% blocked. I was able to clear the blockage and place a stent. Your husband’s heart is now operating at near-normal levels.”

 

There was a “but” behind his words, and I understood it perfectly. Ray had been without oxygen for a long time. Having worked with developmentally disabled adults after college, I knew what a lack of oxygen could do.

 

“Mrs. Engelman,” the doctor asked, “do you have any idea how long your husband wasn’t breathing, before you started chest compressions?”

 

I reviewed the early morning events with the doctor. I had heard those terrible breaths, but I thought it was sleep apnea. I had waited several minutes, maybe more, before responding. Not only that, I had learned upon the 911 operator’s instructions that I’d been doing the compressions wrong. For those several moments, I hadn’t even been effectively pumping air into his lungs.

 

“Three minutes? Five minutes? Ten?” I couldn’t be sure.

 

The doctor probed. I looked at my phone, knowing only that I’d woken at three on the dot. Twenty minutes had transpired between my waking and placing the 911 call, immediately after which I’d begun the faulty-but-better-than-nothing chest compressions. How many minutes, though, between Ray’s last breath and that phone call?

 

Ultimately, it didn’t matter. The result was the same. Ray’s heart might be functioning, but his brain, deprived of oxygen for that indeterminate length of time, was not. He was not waking up, and not responding to stimuli. They were not sure whether he even had enough brain capacity to maintain the most basic of bodily functions. They were also unsure whether his kidneys and other organs might have been damaged, as well.  

 

“We have your husband on life support,” the doctor said. “All we can do now is wait and see.”

 

“And pray,” I added.

 

“Yes, you can absolutely do that,” he said. “That’s the most important thing.”

 

I breathed a sigh of relief. There’s a lot to be said for the knowledge that your loved one is in the care of someone who believes in the Higher Being, and in the power of prayer.

 

My parents left to take the kids home. I waited, alone. I made phone calls to Ray’s family and contact our parish to request a visit from the priest. Ray was moved to cardiac ICU. Medications were administered that would keep him asleep, also helping to ensure the best possible outcome. Capitalizing on research that had been popularized only months prior, Ray’s body was cooled to several degrees below its normal temperature to help aid in the healing of his brain. I held his cold hand, knowing that he did not feel the cold. Still, my heart ached for him. “He’s always hated being cold,” I told one of the countless nursing staff who flocked around his bed.

 

Our priest arrived. He spoke with me briefly and administered extreme unction.

 

“We assume that he had contrition for his sins,” the priest explained when I expressed concern at the length of time since Ray’s last confession. “And we trust his sins will be forgiven.”

 

Ray’s life still hung in the balance, but his eternal life was assured.

 

God will provide. God will be glorified. 

 

Slowly, Our Lord’s providence began to unfold.

 

 

Stay tuned for installment three in this series.

 

Related posts:

God Will Provide. God Will Be Glorified. Part 1

At this Most Difficult Hour, 7 Things I’m Grateful For

A Peace That Surpasses All Understanding

Patience

God Will Provide. God Will Be Glorified: The Night My Husband Suffered a Near-Fatal Heart Attack

God Will Provide. God Will Be Glorified: The Night My Husband Suffered a Near-Fatal Heart Attack

The night began much like any other. We ate dinner. My husband, Ray, took our oldest to an activity. I cleaned up the kitchen and got the younger kids to bed. Our 8-month-old, fondly known as “Little Man” refused to sleep. Ray drove him around in the car until he finally nodded off in his car seat. Once they were back home, Ray went to a friend’s house for a quick visit.

I was watching the first episode of Call the Midwife when Ray returned. He finished the episode with me, I kissed him goodnight, and headed to the back of our little house to get ready for bed. I washed my face, brushed my teeth, took out my contacts. For whatever reason, I felt compelled to go back and give Ray another kiss before going to sleep. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was, perhaps, the most important kiss of my life, the last kiss I would share with that version of my husband.

A light sleeper, I was vaguely aware when Ray got out of bed several hours later. I didn’t think anything of it and strove to go back to sleep. Little Man, still in his carseat in the corner of our room, had other plans, however. Daddy’s movement had woken him, and he was ready to nurse. I noted the time: three o’clock, on the dot. I rose from bed and carried the baby to the family room.

To my surprise, Ray was lying in the middle of the family room floor, in the exact spot where he always cracked his back. That man can fall asleep anywhere, I chuckled to myself.

Unconcerned, thinking he’d simply dozed off while trying to twist his vertebrae back into alignment, I settled into the rocking chair and began to nurse our son. A few minutes passed, maybe more.

KKKRRRETTTCCHH. The sound tore from Ray’s lungs, unlike any I had ever heard before.

Wow, I thought. That must be sleep apnea. I’ve never heard Ray do that before.

Making a mental note to talk with Ray about it in the morning, I rested my head on the rocking chair’s cushion. Sleep apnea being fairly common, I relaxed, still relatively unconcerned.

KUK – KUK – KUK. Turned to a stacatto, Ray’s strange breathing stuttered across the room.

Holy moly. That’s bad. We need to schedule a doctor’s appointment — tomorrow!

Ray was forty-three, though, and seemingly healthy. Other than the ongoing back pain, he’d not complained of any ailments. Still, as I sat there in the quiet, child contentedly suckling at my breast, I realized that I couldn’t see Ray’s chest rising and falling. The lighting was dim, though, and he was several yards away. Would I be able to see the gentle movement of his lungs?

I couldn’t hear his breathing, either. Again, though, he was all the way across the room. Should I be able to hear him? I wasn’t at all sure that I should, and I was loathe to disturb the near-slumber of a nursing babe. Paranoia would be a sorry excuse for the hours of wakefulness that would likely ensue.

Still, the worry persisted. I watched Ray carefully, ears straining for the slightest hint of an exhalation. Finally, I raised the child to my shoulder and stood from my chair. I padded over to where Ray rested on the floor and, using my bare foot, nudged him gently in the side.

No response. That was no surprise, though, given how soundly the man could sleep. I nudged him again, harder this time.

Still, no response.

This time, I didn’t hold back. Using the flat underside of my foot, I pushed hard on his hip bone. His body moved ever-so-slightly, but Ray showed no sign of waking.

In that instant, I understood that my husband, my best friend, the father of our children, and the sole provider for our family, lay lifeless before me. In the same instant, peace surpassing all understanding descended upon me.

God will provide. God will be glorified. 

The words, I know, were not my own. Rather, they were a gift of the Holy Spirit, whose spouse, the Blessed Virgin Mary, I envision urging Him on. (“Stephanie’s one of mine,” I imagine Mary saying to Him. “Please go take care of her.” And He did.)

The gift-words continued as I hurried to my phone and dialed 911. God will provide. God will be glorified. 

The litany played, and comfort and peace remained, as I set our son on the floor a few feet away, as I straddled my husband and began chest compressions.

The 911 operator’s voice pierced the silence from where my phone lay nearby on the floor, set to speaker mode. I gave her the necessary information and told her I had already started compressions.

God will provide. God will be glorified. The surreal background music lilted beneath the sound of her instructions. “I need you to count with me while you do each compression. One. Two. Three. Four …”

“One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight,” I recited obediently, pumping Ray’s chest with each count. “One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight.”

What good is it to count numbers, I realized fiercely. I should be praying. Maintaining the beat as I’d been instructed by the voice issuing from my phone, I changed the words that corresponded.

Hail. Mary. Full. of Grace. The Lord. Is with. Thee.

I don’t remember whether I completed the full prayer, or whether I simply repeated the angelic salutation again and again and again. I know only that I prayed, reaching out to the Mother in whose care I trusted completely, begging her intercession for my husband, myself, and my family.**

The older children came scampering into the room, woken by the sound of the 911 call.

“Mommy! Mommy!” One of them cried. “What’s wrong?”

“I don’t know,” I answered calmly. “Get on your knees. Pray.”

With no further questions, the children fell to their knees in a semicircle around their father. “Hail. Mary. Full. of Grace.”

The operator’s voice crackled across the line. The fire truck was nearby.

“Zach,” I ordered our eleven-year-old son, “go unlock the door and make sure the front porch light is on.”

He did as he was told. Concerned that the firefighters would not be able to see our unlit drive on the darkened street, the child, who was afraid of the dark, who generally refused to be alone after night-fall, ran down the acre’s length of our front drive in the pitch-black of night, clothed that cold November morning in nothing but shorts, to stand on the street and flag the firetruck down.

Hail. Mary. Full. of Grace. Before I knew it, a man stood behind me.

“I can take it from here, m’am.”

Still, I pumped, afraid that leaving Ray for even a moment would deprive him of the oxygen I knew he needed.

The man touched my shoulder. “I can take care of him, m’am.”

I rose reluctantly and gave up responsibility for my husband’s well-being. I took a few steps back, and the children rushed into my arms.

“Mommy, is Daddy going to be okay?” one of them asked.

God will provide. God will be glorified. The words, having been silenced by the commotion of the last few minutes, rose again.

“I don’t know,” I answered with certainty. “But you have a Father in Heaven who loves you very much. He will take care of you, and He will take care of Daddy.”

I didn’t know how, or what it would look like, but I knew my words were true. God would provide. And, somehow, some way, God would be glorified.

****

Has God provided for you or your family in remarkable ways? Have you witnessed Him glorified? Please share your stories in the comments!

 

Stay tuned for the next installment of the story very soon: The Morning Our Lives Changed Forever

 

**That morning would have been the worst morning of my life, had it not been for the “peace that surpasses all understanding,” which was given to me in Christ Jesus. Moreover, I believe that I was the recipient of that unimaginable grace not because of anything I’d done or any wonderful faith I’d practiced. I believe it was thanks to my consecration to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In having given myself completely to Mother Mary, that she might make of me a worthy offering to her Son, Jesus Christ, I believed — and continue to believe — that I would be placed under her very special protection. Similar to the Wedding at Cana, she didn’t tell Him what to do, but trusted that, at her request, He would take care of it. He did, and, rather than distress, I experienced indescribable peace. Thanks be to God.

That’s my little push for Marian Consecration, which I hope you’ll prayerfully consider for yourself if you’re not already consecrated. If you are, I encourage you to renew that consecration. I’m renewing mine now, and it’s been the most profound, fruitful consecration I’ve done to date!

I’d also offer up this simple prayer, given to Fr. Dolindo: Jesus, I surrender myself to you. Take care of everything!

 

Related posts:

At this Most Difficult Hour, 7 Things I’m Grateful For

A Peace That Surpasses All Understanding

Patience

The Story of My Conversion

The Story of My Conversion

The story of my conversion to the Holy Catholic Church begins, I suppose, when I decided God didn’t exist. A high school student raised in the Methodist church, I had never integrated faith into my daily existence. I generally begged off church on Sundays and wanted nothing to do with Sunday school or youth groups.

Spend enough time apart from God and church, and eventually something’s bound to give. The tales of distant and selfish gods learned in high school studies of Roman mythology, coupled with a love for science, led me to a decision that religion was a crutch for needy people. Like the gods of the Romans, the God in whom I’d been taught to believe was a fictitious character, created to give weak people the strength they lacked.

I was neither weak or needy, I decided, and thus I did not need this imaginary higher being. Of course, since I already barely attended church, prayed, or even gave thought to God, this didn’t really constitute much of a change. I did, however, develop an interest in understanding world religions, and I decided to start with the religion most opposed to the faith in which I’d been brought up: satanism. I bought a satanic bible, read a few pages, and tucked it beneath my mattress with plans to return to my studies at a later date.

Fast forward many months and a realization struck me. I wasn’t happy, and that wasn’t like me. I thought long and hard, and traced my discontent back about a year to the moment I’d determined God’s inexistence. The knowledge hit me like a ton of bricks and was the first real step to conversion. If my happiness was dependent on belief in God (even though I was neither weak nor needy, of course) mustn’t God exist? Just like that, I was catapulted back into accepting His higher being. Remembering that satanic bible tucked beneath my mattress, however, I enlisted the help of friends to get rid of it – interestingly, throwing it into the St. Joseph River where its waters join the St. Mary’s River in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

Recognizing that God was real and vital to my wellbeing, I began to converse with Him relatively often, particularly in times of need, generally in car-drive conversations. Still, I was lucky to make it to church for Christmas and Easter. I did not read the Bible or speak Christ’s name aloud. For years, I coasted along with this shallow and lukewarm spirituality. I went to college, began a career, moved across the country, and got married (Ray and I were careful to choose the “least Christiany” wedding vows available!) I general, I allowed God into my life only as needed, while avoiding any outward display or mention of Him or His Son.

I was married and living in Colorado when my sister Suzanne called to inform me that she and her husband were going through the process of conversion to the Catholic Church.

“Those people are crazy,” I informed her. “They worship Mary, and do all sorts of weird things like kneeling and crossing themselves. What on earth are you thinking?”

She had been considering sending her kids to Catholic schools, she explained, and wanted to understand what they would learn in religion class. She bought a few books on the subject, and after reading them was convicted that the Catholic Church was the one true Church Christ had intended. She explained Christ’s words in John 6, when He gave His flesh to eat. “Many of his disciples didn’t want to hear it,” she said. “They walked away from Him. Instead of calling them back and explaining that he wasn’t really asking them to eat His flesh, Jesus doubled down. ‘My flesh is real food, and my blood is real drink,'” she quoted.

Suzanne told me that Catholics did not worship Mary. They loved her, looked up to her, and, since she must be so incredibly close to her Divine Son, they asked for her intercession – along with the intercession of all the saints in Heaven. She explained that the kneeling was in respect for the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and that the sign of the cross was a remembrance of baptism.

I wasn’t sold, but she was my big sister. I promised to read the two books she wanted to send me (Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn and Surprised by Truth by Patrick Madrid,) and I kept that promise. Unable to deny the reason and logic held within their pages, yet still leery of a Church I’d so long maligned, I agreed to go to a Mass with Suzanne when I was home next.

Ray and I both went to that Mass, and Ray and I both resisted. The proceedings were too foreign, too ritualistic, too uncomfortable. Plus, regardless of what scripture said about Christ’s urgent directive to eat His flesh and drink His blood, I was not prepared to actually do so. And that whole “Mary” thing remained an obstacle as well.

Two years later, Ray and I had moved back to Indiana and welcomed our first son. With any consideration of the Catholic Church firmly behind us, we’d decided we to raise our children in a church, and had shopped around at a few local churches. None were a fit, so we put the matter on hold for the time being.

A short time later, I began to notice a strange tugging every time I drove past the Catholic parish in our suburban town. I ignored it for weeks, but it grew stronger. It was as if some invisible force was pulling me toward the church building. Finally, I caved. Having left Ray happy at home watching the baby, I stepped through the doors of one of the ugliest Catholic churches in the country – and immediately knew I was home. Even before the Mass began, I felt a sense of calling within the walls of that building that I’d never felt before. Not only was God real, He had suddenly revealed that He had a will for my life. The rising and kneeling, the genuflecting, the motions, the ritual … it was all still foreign, all still strange. I knew now, however, that I was meant to partake and participate.

“For the first time in my life, I feel like God is telling me to do something,” I informed Ray when I returned home that Sunday morning and told him I was going to join the Catholic Church. “And I think I’ll go to hell if I don’t do it.”

It was, of course, a misunderstanding of God’s mercy. Yet, in many ways, my infantile understanding of responding to His call was true. For, truly, when we know what He is calling us to, yet fail to do it, are not our very souls at risk?

By the grace of God, I heard that call. By the grace of God, I responded. By the grace of God, I am a member of the Body of Christ – the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church, founded on the rock of Peter and sustained by the very Blood of Christ. In His infinite love, I am called to the Supper of the Lamb. Though I am not worthy to receive Him, He has healed, is healing, and will heal my soul. And, more than anything in this life, I look forward to one day praising Him, with the angels and saints, in His heavenly kingdom.

All of that I found in the fullness and Truth of the Catholic Church. I give thanks for the sacraments she offers – especially the opportunity to partake daily of the sacrament of the Eucharist and frequently in the grace and mercy of confession. I give thanks for the Mass, the Scriptures, the prayers, the communion of saints, and the community of believers. I thank God for calling me home, and I pray that one day all will be unified in the one true Church.

 

This post contains affiliate links.

Moving Past Trauma – A Story to Tell

Moving Past Trauma – A Story to Tell

Nearly every time I speak at a conference or retreat, a participant urges me to write my story so more people will hear it. For various reasons, however, I’ve held off on fully sharing that story here on my blog. Part of it was timing and part of it was lack of time. Much of it was a struggle to approach challenging topics in an open and honest way, and some of it was timidity of getting a little too personal. Finally, a lot of it was (despite what those people at my talks have said) a little voice whispering in my ear, “No one really wants to hear your story, anyways.”

Last week, however, I complained to my publicist and friend Cathy Knipper of A Word in Progress, “I know I need to blog more often and be more active on social media. I just never know what to post about!”

Cathy (who, incidentally, was among the first people I notified of my husband’s heart attack. I didn’t even really know her at the time, but, since she had arranged a television appearance that day, I emailed her to let her know that the appearance would most definitely not be happening!) was quick to answer my dilemma.

“Stephanie,” she said, “you’ve got a story to share, and it’s something people need to hear – how to move forward past a traumatic, life-changing event.”

Wow. Yeah. I guess I have done that. And I guess I do have a thing or two (or 200) to share about it. I talk about it all the time in my speaking engagements, in fact, but my focus isn’t on how I did anything, but rather how God did everything. 

That message, though – that God will give you strength, comfort, peace, and even joy when you need it most – comes with a caveat of sorts: He will take care of everything – but we humans need to first establish a relationship of trusting security in order to let Him.*

As you’ll read in the coming days, weeks, and even months, the story that many people are somewhat familiar with – the story of my husband’s heart attack and subsequent brain injury – was accompanied by seven incredibly precious words, words which began to circle my mind the moment I realized my best friend and husband was lifeless on our family room floor: “God will provide. God will be glorified.” Those words, I believe, came directly from the Holy Spirit, and they were accompanied by a serene calm that I immediately recognized as the “peace which surpasses all understanding.” (Phil 4:6) It was a peace born of trust, and I knew immediately that the words were Truth with a capital T. I didn’t know how, but I knew they would be fulfilled, that I had nothing to fear, my children had nothing to fear, my husband had nothing to fear. We were all in the hands of the loving Father, and there’s no better place to be.

Since then, the Father has proven those seven words true again and again. “God will provide,” they proclaimed, and He has provided. It may not be the sort of provision the world wants – our family doesn’t have the material goods other families have, we don’t take the nice vacations other families take, this momma doesn’t have the husbandly help other mommas have – but it’s the type of provision every soul needs. And, I hope and believe, He has been glorified. I get ahead of myself, though. If I say too much, I might use it as an excuse to bail on writing the full story. And one thing I know, one thing I trust, is that God is meant to be glorified through this story.

So stick with me for these coming months as I share my story. Our story. My husband’s, my kids’ (to the extent all are comfortable with), and, more importantly God’s. Again and again, as I watch it play out before me, my jaw drops in awe. “God, you are seriously ridiculously good to me,” I often tell Him, “but I’ll take it!”

My hope is that, in reading this story, your jaw will drop at His amazing goodness as well. I hope you’ll see how broken I’ve been, how broken I still am, and know that, “If Stephanie can have total trust in God, with all her faults and foibles, then I can too!” I’m a former atheist, a former semi-hedonist, a still-working-on-the-selfishness, -moodiness, and all sorts of other -nesses.

His love and mercy is available to us all, and I’m simply one very imperfect example of how He will come down to meet us where we’re at, to give us just what we need, in the hopes that we will turn to Him and let Him love on us so that we might love Him back.

That’s the secret to moving past a traumatic, life-changing event, but it’s not exactly easy. My story, then, is the experience of moving past – the God moments, the miracles, the total screw ups and the amazing successes – plus everything that led up to it – from forsaking God, to accepting Him, to full conversion, to deep relationship.

Now, after having put off sharing it here on the blog for nearly six years, I’m gonna tell it. Stay tuned. And, please, leave a comment about your own personal journey and hesitancies, as well as any questions you have that you’d like me to answer in upcoming posts!

 *It is possible, through God’s extraordinary mercy, to receive these graces without having firmly established the relationship beforehand. I think it’s best to hedge our bets, though. Plus, there’s no more important relationship we could possibly build!

Making the Most of Summer with a Rule of Life

Making the Most of Summer with a Rule of Life

When the kids begin their summer vacations, every mother’s world is slightly rocked. Yes, we’re happy to have them home. However, the increased demands of running kids to and fro, cleaning up after sandy, muddy, wet bodies constantly moving through the house, and efforts to limit screen time can be a bit overwhelming, especially when combined with mom’s full-time job or work-from-home side hustle! The good news is, the craziness can be contained with a thoughtfully ordered schedule, carefully prioritized and fluidly followed. In fact, a schedule can help moms make the most of their summers. And, when this schedule becomes a “rule of life,” it can  make a mom — and a whole family — both happier and holier.

I first became familiar with the “rule of life” concept through Holly Pierlot’s book, A Mother’s Rule of Life. Overwhelmed by the demands of homeschooling and motherhood, Holly began to feel resentful of her husband’s freedoms, and found herself stuck in a spiritual quagmire until she brought order into her days the monastic way. Just as the great founders and foundresses of religious orders have done for centuries, Holly established her priorities and created a firm yet flexible schedule by which she planned her days.

Inspired, I determined my own rule of life based on Holly’s 5 P’s:

  1. Prayer – developing and strengthening your relationship with God. This is the first priority, from which everything else flows, the firm foundation upon which one builds the rest of their schedule and relationships.
  2. Person – taking care of yourself! Just like we are told to put on our own oxygen masks first before helping someone else with theirs, we must take care of our own needs – from showering, to working out, to enjoying our favorite recreations – before we can take care of the needs of others.
  3. Partner – spending time with and cultivating your relationship with your spouse. Just as our marriages were established before children came along, our marriages must come before the children today!
  4. Parent – loving and caring for our children. Yes, this is the fourth priority — not the first, second, or third. Kids have a way of making themselves come first, and moms have a way of caving. Children are happiest and best-cared for, however, when their mothers are mindful of keeping priorities 1, 2, and 3 ahead of them!
  5. Profession – doing whatever it is we do to provide for the needs of our families. This includes work inside the home (cleaning, laundry, etc) and outside (making the big bucks).

 

Holly includes great advice and input in her book, which I can only touch on here. The gist is: keep the first thing first, the second thing second, and so on. Prayerfully determine the things you’re called to do within each priority, and write them down. Then, create a schedule, starting first with the non-negotiables, like your work schedule, running kids to camp/summer school/summer jobs, etc. Next, you determine when you will fulfill the prayer aspect of your rule, next, the person, and so on and so forth.

I’ve done this several times throughout the intervening years, with varying levels of success. Some aspects have lingered (I continue to wake early every morning for spiritual reading and prayer, and to walk the dog each evening (my recreation) while praying the Rosary), while others have wasted away (I’m terrible about getting to bed at a reasonable hour, and struggle to work out as often as I should!) Regardless, I can tell you that the times when I have successfully followed my rule were among the most joy-filled and memorable, and when my house was cleanest and my family best attended to!

Hence, my goal is always to get back into a rule. The trouble is, the demands of life are frequently changing, and summer is even more fluid than the rest of the year! Still, as I face the next two and half months with a bucket list that’s almost as long as my to-do list, I’ve been feeling more and more like I need to take life back into control!

Enter Fr. Chad Ripperger on a Youtube video I watched last week. Fr. Ripperger shares that a rule of life (AKA a regimen or an horarium) helps us to develop the habits necessary to advance in the spiritual life. The rule of life becomes even more important for those who lead a very busy life (and most of us moms do!), and it is vital to building virtue and to eventually attaining transforming union with God.

“If I want to do what I want to do, when I want to do it,” Fr. Ripperger says, “I’ve dedicated my life to spiritual dissipation.”

I certainly don’t want to dedicate my life to spiritual dissipation, nor do I want to provide that example to my kids! Instead, I’d like for us all to be on track toward transforming union with God!

Thus inspired, I’m re-establishing a rule of life. Having learned from past failures, I’m doing these three things differently than I have in the past:

  1. I’m getting the whole family involved. I’m not the only stakeholder in this rule, so I’m asking the input of each family member, allowing them to weigh in, helping them create their own rules, and publicizing my rule. I’m also making sure they understand that mom’s chauffering capacity is limited (“RIDE YOUR BIKE!”) and that no one is going to drop everything to make last minute plans happen!
  2. I’m delegating tasks like crazy. There’s no reason kids should be laying around watching TV or playing video games while Mom’s running around like a chicken with her head cut off!
  3. I’ve got an accountability partner. My friend Tina (whom you might know from our short-lived but possibly-restarting Cenacle Sisters Youtube channel) told me about the Fr. Ripperger video and we’ve decided to do this together. We meet next week to review our schedules and will continue to touch base throughout the summer.
  4. I’m broadcasting the notion to the world (or at least my little readership here!)

So, what do you say? Would you like to create a rule of life for your summer, as well? If so, please feel free to “broadcast it to the world” here in the comments section. I’ll be sharing my rule on Instagram (follow me here) and you might choose to share yours too. If these rules are going to make us happier and holier, why not share them and encourage others to do the same!

 

Photo credit: “Summer” by Matteo Angelino

Some links are affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

5 Reasons I’m Grateful for 2020

5 Reasons I’m Grateful for 2020

2020 got one heck of a bad rap. Okay, it’s well deserved. But, we’re meant to be a people of thanksgiving, so I’d like to take a moment to focus on what I’m grateful for from this past year — and to actually recognize that there are many things to be grateful for which are unique to 2020 precisely because it was a difficult year.

As St. Paul tells us in one of my favorite scripture passages, “we also celebrate in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

Thus, without further ado, here are five reasons I’m grateful for the year many hail as the worst year ever – 2020:

1. A New Prayer Cenacle

I had been thinking about doing this for eight years. Maybe more. Yes, I had the mom’s group at my church — a wonderful group of ladies I thoroughly enjoy. I found myself longing for something smaller and deeper, however, and I hoped for something that might involve the entire family.

The feeling that I needed to just do it kept mounting, and, together with my dear friend Tina, we finally took the plunge. Our little cenacle started as four moms, praying the Rosary together once a week followed by uplifting, faith-filled conversation that goes well beyond the surface. We added bi-weekly nights together with our families, including dinner, fellowship, and a group Rosary led by the children. We’ve added another mom and her family, and will be adding still another at our next meeting. Hailing from three different parishes, we are six moms, six fathers, and nineteen kids. With two babies on the way!

Aided by a babysitter and Tina’s kid-friendly house and amazing hostessing skills, in the past five months, we’ve shared some of the best discussions I’ve had in my entire life. The deep spirituality of these women leaves my mind spinning. I feel immense gratitude that I can be in the presence of such positive examples, and it was the events of 2020, when prayer became more important than ever, that finally tipped the scales and got it all started.

2. My “One Word” was Nothing Short of Prophetic

Surrender. That was my “one word” for 2020, and boy did it serve me well. Schools shut down and I said, “I’d asked for less chaos in our lives, Lord. This wasn’t quite what I had in mind, but… thank you.” Churches closed, and – while literally bawling my eyes out after receiving the Eucharist for what I knew would be the last time for a while – I said, “You will make good come from this, Lord.” Speaking engagements and personal history projects canceled and I said, “I trust in you to provide, Lord.”

Surrender was exactly what I needed, and the example my family needed. It’s what our Lord asks of each of us. This year He gave us all ample opportunities to practice it — or not. I was incredibly blessed to have the grace of already having the word on my lips, the concept in my mind, the prayer on my heart. Jesus, I surrender myself to you. Take care of everything. 

3. The “Pray” Novena App

In a normal year, I probably pray twelve novenas, maybe fifteen, max. Not this year. This year, I discovered the Pray app, and I prayed not fifteen, not twenty, but twenty-seven novenas.

Most noteworthy? Perhaps the Our Lady of Sorrows novena, in which I asked Our Lady to reveal to me my deepest fault (following advice from Fr. Chad Ripperger). On the day I finished the novena, my deepest fault was revealed. It struck to the core and was one of the best spiritual exercises I did for the year. I also prayed a novena to St. Joseph for provision, and got a call from a new client the next day. And, of course, I prayed the Surrender novena several times. It brought me peace and increased surrender each time!

This was all thanks to the Pray app. It provides a wealth of novenas, sends reminders, keeps track of what novenas you’ve prayed and when. Available for both Apple and Android, I loved it so much a sprang for the “canonization partner” upgrade so I’d have access to more novenas. I highly recommend you download it. (And, no, I’m not getting anything in return for my endorsement!)

4. More Time with Family

It doesn’t matter how many kids you have, how helpful your spouse might be, how much you love your job, or what sort of awesome community you’re a part of. Life in the 21st century has a tendency to get off the rails with busy-ness. That’s absolutely how things felt in early March, when I had five kids who often needed to be five different places, a hubby who needs help getting to work, a business to run, a house to clean, groceries to shop for, yadda, yadda, yadda.

And then it all came to a screeching halt. No school. No CYO sports. No meetings. No… anything. Seriously, I looked around and saw my entire family at home day after day, night after night, and I said, Thank you, Lord. While, okay, I admit to absolutely hating trying to support kids during elearning, and oviously not having the Mass was awful, the rest of it was… a breath of fresh air. I intentionally set my work aside, for the most part, and focused on my family. We played games, we took walks, we prayed, we talked. It was lovely, and I’ll forever be grateful for those months in which bonds were forged which will never be broken.

5. The Winnowing Away of that Which is Unimportant

In difficult times, we must choose that which is most important to us. 2020 was a year for such choices. I gave some things up. Time spent that wasn’t aiding in my path to sainthood. Money spent that wasn’t adding to our financial well-being. There’s more winnowing to do, but it’s progress, and I’m grateful for the necessity to have made it.

How about you? What are you most grateful for in 2020? Please share in the comments!

The Healing Power of Faith

The Healing Power of Faith

A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak. She said to herself, “If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured.” Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, “Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.” And from that hour the woman was cured. (Matt 9:20-22)

The Healing Power of the Eucharist

A young woman was in a terrible car accident when she was in college. It left her with a brain injury and paralysis, among other challenges. Several years after the accident, she attended a healing Mass. The priest read the story of the woman with a hemorrhage (Matt 9:20-22) and encouraged the faithful in attendance to believe that, if God willed it, they too would be healed. He then made a Eucharistic procession around the church and invited the sick to touch the tassels of the veil with which he held the monstrance, trusting in the healing power of Christ through the Eucharist. This young woman was hesitant but, encouraged by her mother, reached out her right* hand to touched the garment which held the Eucharist. The right side of her body was healed.

It was this young woman’s mother to whom I spoke when I was struggling with the challenges of living with brain injury in our family. “I pray the Rosary every day,” I told her. “I spend time in scripture, I journal. These are the things that always used to help me stay on track. But it’s not enough now. I still feel totally overwhelmed. I’m impatient and I anger easily. I don’t even recognize myself at times. What else can I do?”

“How often are you receiving the Eucharist?” the woman asked.

I went to Mass every Sunday, of course, and I tried to make it to daily Mass at least once a week. But I had every reason in the world, as a busy mother and brain-injury-caregiver, to not go every day!

This wise woman told me to find a way, however, and I did. Well, okay… not every day, but much more often than I had been going! The effects were remarkable. I noticed that the days I went to Mass seemed more fruitful and productive—completely obliterating the “I don’t have time” excuse! More importantly, I saw a change within myself that was nothing short of miraculous. I grew more patient, more compassionate, more loving, more peace- and joy-filled.

Like the hemorrhaging woman, I needed healing, and that healing was made available to me when I approached our Lord in the Eucharist with faith in His healing power.

Healing that Saves

While physical healings such as the woman with the hemorrhage, or the young woman I described, are a dramatic show of God’s power, love, and mercy, they are not always God’s will. Spiritual healing, however, is, for it is in spiritual healing that we become more like Christ and more pleasing to our Creator.  It is through spiritual healing that we grow closer to God and, as such, that we experience the peace and joy that only Christ can give. It is in this peace and joy that we bear witness to the world and bring other souls to Christ, as well.

As to my own family’s story, I can witness this: God, in his all-loving and all-knowing goodness has not seen fit to give my husband, Ray, the physical healing for which I’ve prayed. Yet, He, in His merciful kindness, has given us spiritual healings beyond telling. Ray has a childlike faith he might never have attained in his former brilliance of mind. My children have seen the words “God will provide” proven in dramatic and very tangible ways. They’ve witnessed answers to a volume of prayers that might otherwise have taken a lifetime to accrue. And I, while still far, far from perfect, consider the journey of the past five years and recognize in myself a growth in grace and virtue that only hardship could have wrought. And in all these things I rejoice, knowing that these spiritual goods are far more important than any temporal, physical thing.

I wonder, after the woman had been healed, did she look back on the previous twelve years and lament her trials? Or did she rejoice in the lessons she learned through them? Did she wish she’d never been sick and desperate for healing? Or did she give thanks that her healing stood as witness to grow the faith of others? Two thousand years later, her story is still being told, and it’s a story that would never have been written had she not endured the challenge of twelve long years and, still, reached out a hand in faith.

Whatever challenges you are facing, whatever sufferings you are called to endure, reach out to Christ, truly present in the Eucharist. Hear His words, as true for you today as they were for the woman thousands of years ago: Courage, daughter. Your faith has saved… is saving… will save… you.

*I may have the specific side of the young woman’s body wrong here. Whichever side it was – right or left – with which she touched the veil, the same side was healed!
Seeking the Face of God

Seeking the Face of God

I was struck today by Christ’s words in John 14:9, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” I thought of Christ’s face, pierced by thorns, spat upon, sweat-laden, as He died on the cross. We’ve seen that face — depicted in artwork, portrayed in movies, and on the Shroud of Turin, which science has shown truly represents the Holy Face of Christ. It is a face of love, gentleness, self-sacrifice, and mercy.

Christ and God are part of the Divine Trinity. They are mysteriously One, yet not one-and-the-same. The Father is not human, His Face is beyond our imagining. The Jews believed that, if they looked upon it, they would die. Yet, what we see written on the face of Christ — love,  gentleness, self-sacrifice, and mercy — are written on the face of God, as well.

Shortly after I’d meditated upon John 14:9, a friend sent another scripture verse. In 2 Chronicles 7:13-14, the Lord tells Solomon, “If I close heaven so that there is no rain, if I command the locust to devour the land, if I send pestilence among my people, if then my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and heal their land.”

It seemed like no coincidence that those two scriptures should come across my path this morning. Our God is merciful, loving, and just. In the midst of this “pandemic,” He asks that we humble ourselves, pray, turn from sin, and seek His face. In His loving care, He has given us even more than His Word in the scriptures. He’s given us His Son, Jesus Christ, that we may better know Him, and better seek Him. Even when we can’t receive His Body and Blood in the Eucharist, we have this. The very Face of the Son of God, who is God.

Ours is not an angry God. The bad things He allows to happen are due to the freedom of will He has so generously given all mankind. Even when we must suffer consequences from that freedom, He is merciful and loving. He will never give us more than we can bear. His yoke is easy and His burden light, when we seek His face. As the trials of these days lengthen and grow heavier, may we put our trust in Him and seek His face, knowing that He will hear us. He will pardon our sins. He will heal our land.

Thanks be to God.

Awesome Gifts for Everyone on Your List

Awesome Gifts for Everyone on Your List

If you’d rather avoid the mall craziness, allow me to assist by providing gift-giving recommendations that will pretty well cover everyone on your list — even the most difficult people to shop for will love these gifts!

The perfect gift for every jewelry-loving female, shopping at Sunny D’s Marketplace on Etsy is an exercise of sheer delight. Artisan Sunny Dugas combines classical elements of our faith – from crosses to crucifixes, miraculous medals to descending doves – with creative bead work. The result is timeless, beautiful, and inspiring. Best part? It’s affordable too, with items ranging from $10 to $75. This means that — ding! ding! ding! —  St. Nick can even put Sunny’s creations in a feast day shoe or Christmas morn stocking!

Since meeting Sunny at a conference in Chicago, her Etsy shop has been my go-to place for faith-filled jewelry. I wear one of her creations nearly every day, and invariably receive compliments on them.

True proof of my love for her shop: I ordered three more things when (disclaimer) she offered to send a free item in exchange for a favorable review on my blog. Several friends have something gorgeous to look forward to!

Male, Female, Young, Old... Everyone Wears Socks!

Anyone who knows me knows I’m pretty much a total tight-wad (out of sheer necessity if nothing else!) That’s why one and all should be shocked at the fact that I walked out of last year’s Awaken Christmas Boutique with $140 worth of saint socks.

Yes. I kid you not. I spent $140 on saint socks. And it was worth every penny. I bought St. Joseph socks for my pastor and associate pastor, both of whom are named Joseph. I bought St. Michael socks for my boys’ St Nicholas day gifts, Our Lady of Lourdes socks for my girls, and St. JPII socks for my nephew John Paul. I bought St. Therese of Lisieux socks for my friend who’s devoted to her. When I learned she already had a pair, I got her something else and kept the socks for myself! And I’d already bought myself some rosary socks – of course!

These things are comfy, they’re versatile, and they’re SAINT SOCKS! What more must I say?

Teens Who Love to Read

In today’s moral climate, I find myself experiencing a large dose of trepidation with every book my kids bring home. I often sneak onto Amazon to read the summary and reviews, hoping to surmise if it’s another of those books that’s sneaking some un-wanted agenda into my kids’ daily reading. Even with that due diligence, the only way to be 100% sure is to read the book myself — which I hardly have time for!

Fortunately, there are resources to help narrow down the mine-field and find the clear path through
to great reading. Catholic Teen Books is one such resource. I’ve read many of their books and never been disappointed. They are my go-to when finding books for my own children.

A few favorites:

  • For middle school boys: AJ Cattapan’s Seven Riddles to Nowhere
  • For middle school girls: Carmela Martino’s Rosa Sola
  • For young women who love romance: Carolyn Astfalk’s Ornamental Graces
  • For anyone who enjoyed The Hunger Games: Corinna Turner’s I Am Margaret series
  • For anyone who wants to learn what true heroism is: Treachery & Truth by Katie Jones
  • For high school boys: Battle for His Soul by Theresa Linden (Winner of the 2017 Catholic Press Assoc. Award!)

The

For the Person Whose Memories You Cherish

Finally, for the person who has everything — including countless memories — why not memorialize those memories with a personal history written by yours truly?

During this extremely fun and rewarding process, I spend time with the individual to learn the stories of their lives. The joys, triumphs, sorrows, and challenges – you name it! The interview process alone is a gift, since pretty much everyone loves to talk about themselves! That’s hardly the extent of the gift, however. I take those stories and craft them into a well-written, beautifully formatted  hard cover book, complete with photos. It’s a treasure that will be cherished for generations to come!

“Love the book!” and “The book is awesome!” are recent reviews, but “myself and my family will forever be connected to you” was the one that really touched my heart.

If you’d like to learn more, check out my personal history website, and feel free to message me via the contact button here, on Facebook, or on the website above ^^.

 

This post includes affiliate links.

 

 

That time I landed my dream job and quit a year later

That time I landed my dream job and quit a year later

Seemingly ages ago, I began a series of posts titled “That Time I Went to Lourdes and…” They chronicled the events following on our trip to Lourdes (as you might have guessed, which involved  hitting rock bottom and finding my Simon of Cyrene.) The last post ended with me applying for a job, and broadly hinting that that was my Simon of Cyrene. However, the Lord works in mysterious and unexpected ways. When I wrote those posts, I had no idea how very much life was about to change.

The quick version of the end of that story is: I got the job. I [mostly] loved the job. Everybody suffered. I quit the job.

There’s a beginning to a new story that I want to share too: I started something pretty amazing. Oh, wait. I didn’t start something amazing.

Confused? Here’s all of that in more detail:

I got the job.

I was pretty confident after the first interview that I would, so this was no surprise, to be honest. I cried for weeks, but I knew it was what I was meant to do.

I [mostly] loved the job.

In so many ways, it was my dream job. If I was going to leave my family every day and go to work, about the only way I could imagine doing it was in a Catholic environment. This position allowed me to write about matters of faith – and get paid to do it! I got to market Catholic organizations I believed in, promote pilgrimage as a way to grow closer to Christ, and be a part of a ministry I believed in. Best of all, I was blessed to work with a group of devout Catholics. Office “gossip” centered around Theology of the Body, the saint of the day, and the best local homilists and confessors. Our days started with prayer, our phone conversations ended with “God bless,” and the acceptable response when faced with a decision was, “Let’s pray about it.”

I confess to having always wondered how working moms could be away from their kids so much, and I knew this would be a struggle for me. What I didn’t know or understand was the value of “finding myself” as a successful, goal-driven woman again. I had failed to appreciate the value of adult conversation on a daily basis – especially for the wife of a brain injury survivor who has very little to contribute to most conversations! It was a pleasant surprise to discover an “upside” to being a working mom.

However, loving a job and loving certain aspects of working didn’t quite overcome the many challenges.

Everybody suffered.

There’s a reason why most mothers with large-ish families don’t work outside of the home. Every kid has needs, and the more the kids, the greater the demands on a mother’s time and energy. No matter how wonderfully helpful your kids are (and mine are pretty great), there are certain things they can’t do. Like scheduling and attending doctors’ appointments, helping with homework, communicating with teachers, and spending one-on-one quality time showing maternal love. And this doesn’t take into account the myriad of things a wife is called to do for her husband, which were compounded in our situation by a brain injury that prevents Ray from driving or managing a myriad of responsibilities that he would have otherwise overseen.

The kids’ grades and health went into a rather steep decline – at least for a few of them. I saw scores on report cards that caused my jaw to drop and my blood to boil, and it felt as though I had a different sick kid everyday. My oldest, who had never missed more than two days of school in previous years, missed a whopping 22 days last year! We had pink eye, sinus infections, flu viruses, and – for the love of all that’s good – LICE!

(Okay, lice had nothing to do with me working, but still… it was one more day added to a year filled with way too many absences.)

Ray’s general wellbeing suffered as well. Left to his own devices from 8 to 5 every day, he stayed in bed until three most afternoons, and spent exorbitant amounts of time absorbed in online materials that were bringing him down rather than building him up… in a big way.

Last but not least (and my spiritual director would gently chastise me for putting this last), my spiritual, mental and physical health suffered too. I was up until midnight most nights, and the alarm sounded at 5:30 each morning. I didn’t work out, I didn’t socialize, I no longer attended my mom’s group at church or my book club meetings. The idea of writing another novel became a pie in the sky dream that I would never have the time to achieve. Promoting the novel I had already written was impossible, and my preparation for speaking engagements was frightfully haphazard. Worst of all, no matter how much I enjoyed aspects of being in the office, I agonized over the time I was losing with my family – time I could never get back.

And the truth of the matter is, there were challenges in the work environment as well – ones that I won’t go into but – honestly – it was those office challenges that had me in a state of absolute heartache one night. It wasn’t the first time I’d felt this way, but this was the night that I finally pleaded just before I went to bed: “Lord, I know this isn’t what you want for me. Please show me how you want me to provide for my family.”

Not surprisingly, He did, and He wasted no time in doing so.

I quit the job.

I woke at 4:00AM with a concept buzzing through my head. I didn’t yet have a name for it, but it wouldn’t leave me alone or let me go back to sleep. I got up, did a little research, and knew that this was something I would enjoy doing, and something that would be incredibly meaningful for families. It would give me the flexibility I needed, and – with a lot of hard work – would provide a good income for my family.

That was in early March. In May, life events made it extremely evident that I could no longer work full-time, so I went part-time. My employer was amazing, but I knew it couldn’t last. Working part-time didn’t provide enough income, and I felt that I was losing money by not focusing efforts on my new business. In June, one day after I would have celebrated my one year anniversary with the company, I handed in my resignation.

I won’t lie. Quitting my job was going out on a limb in a big, big way. It didn’t help when the air conditioner broke and we discovered a rather large hole in the roof the very same day I handed in my notice. The very same day. But God had shown me what He wanted me to do, and I had to step out in faith.

I accepted the broken A/C and dilapidated roof as God’s way of saying, “Failure is not an option.” If this was His will, he would be my rock in making it happen.

I started something pretty amazing.

By this time, it was mid-June. I had given that 4:00AM inspiration a name – Inkwell Personal Histories. I had formulated a plan, found a graphic designer, created a website and the requisite social media accounts. I had pitched the idea to my first potential client – and he loved it. I told a few other people and they loved it too, so much so that several of them had joined an already growing list of clients.

So what was that idea? In a nutshell, we write people’s life histories, taking their most treasured memories and weaving them into well-written and enjoyable stories. We compile each person’s stories into a beautiful hard-bound book that will be cherished for generations to come.

Inkwell’s vision is “To positively impact the future by chronicling the past.” We aim to celebrate the seemingly ordinary people who are extraordinary to those who love them – everyday heroes who have quietly made an impact on family, friends, and communities.

I didn’t start something amazing.

God did. Without Him, none of this would have happened. He’s already blessed the effort in amazing ways, and continues to reveal new and exciting opportunities. Not only can I help families connect through their understanding of loved ones’ histories, I can also give peace to the dying when they are  able to leave behind a tangible piece of themselves. This can help those who have impaired memories to regain some of what they’ve lost, and help those who have lost loved ones to compile memories posthumously. Parents can gift their graduating senior with memories of their lives so far, with encouragement to continue to pursue their dreams. With the guided autobiography classes I’ll soon start teaching, individuals can begin to write their own histories, and enjoy the cathartic benefits of examining the past through a fresh lens. Best of all, I’ve already started ghost-writing a novel of faith for an amazing Christian woman, and plan to make “Journeys of Faith” a cornerstone of the business.

God may have started it, but He’s shown me again and again that it’s success is dependent on His grace and my hard work. I’m incredibly excited – and slightly awed – to move forward in this journey. God only knows where it will lead!

P.S.

If you’re interested in learning more about Inkwell Personal Histories, you can do so at www.iwpersonalhistories.com. And please (please, please!) follow Inkwell on social media: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Of course, feel free to reach out via email as well! (stephanie @ inkwell writes.com, without the spaces)

 

Go Top