Small Success Thursday – My First!

Trying out another new linkup today and I must say that I LOVE the idea of this particular linkup! All of us have small successes to celebrate, if we will only open our eyes to look beyond the failures. Here are three of mine from this week.

Small Success #1 – I’ve Been Praying More

I’ll admit. It’s been a little hit or miss lately. Regular readers will understand why. But, the fact of the matter is that prayer saved my life (figuratively) and, I believe, my husband’s (literally). Therefore, the importance of returning to that solid prayer foundation, even while we’re still in a  little bit of crisis-mode, has been weighing heavily on my mind.

Pray the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and the end of war.-3The conference I went to at the end of July convicted me on one thing. We must pray the Rosary. Every day. By ourselves, in community, with our families. However, whenever. We must do it. And yet we don’t do it. Even this “Rosary girl” had fallen into a bad habit of going to bed at night even if I hadn’t prayed my daily Rosary. My greatest small success of the last two weeks, therefore, is that I’ve prayed at least five decades every day, sometimes with Ray, sometimes with the kids, sometimes by myself at midnight because I refuse to go to bed if I haven’t done it. It’s amazing how that practice helps to bring peace into my home and my life.

Probably as an outgrowth of my renewed Rosary habit, I made it to Adoration last week, I went to Reconciliation, and I’ve gotten up early every day to read the daily Mass readings, pray, journal, and otherwise spend quality time with my Beloved. The hardest part is tearing myself away.

While I’m still woefully imperfect, these practices make me a much better wife and mama.

Small Success #2 – Of the Professional Sort

It’s been a good week professionally, too. I learned that my proposalScreen Shot 2016-08-11 at 5.36.12 PM
to speak at the National Catholic Educational Association’s (NCEA) annual conference next April was accepted. They apparently receive a lot of proposals, so I’m pretty geeked that mine made the cut. My topic will be “The Power of Fiction to Change Hearts and Minds.” Please let me know in the comments if there’s a fiction I should read as I prepare, especially (but not limited to) any Catholic fiction.

I also spent three glorious hours Wednesday night, staying up until 1:30 in the morning, working on character development and the plot outline for my next book. I think I’m on to something, and that feeling is pretty amazing.

Small Success #3 – I’m Finally Getting Organized

Having Ray home has given organization a new urgency, since brain injury survivors thrive with routine and a schedule. For the last few weeks, I’ve been relatively successful at providing a daily schedule, and sticking to it. This week, I’ve used my old-fashioned Franklin Planner to keep track of important tasks and appointments. Far fewer things are falling through the cracks, and I feel much less overwhelmed. Last weekend, this extended to my pantry, when I finally broke down and organized it (and found tiny bugs eating the dog food. Lovely).

It feels SO GOOD to open that door and be able to see the floor. It feels even better to know that I’ve killed all those slimy nasty little insects.

These are just a few of my #smallsuccesses of the past week. Please share yours in the comments! And, for more small successes from other great bloggers, visit!

7 comments on “Small Success Thursday – My First!
  1. Leslie says:

    Here’s a list of some fiction books that really impacted me…

    1. Still Alice by Lisa Genova – taught me a great deal about the impact that Alzheimer’s Disease has on the patient and the family

    2. The Hawk and the Dove series by Penelope Wilcock – provided a lot of insights into monasticism and living in community; great lessons for people in any walk of life

    3. The Fault in Our Starts by John Green – a wonderful young-adult novel with insights into living with a terminal illness

    4. The Mark of the Lion Series by Francine Rivers – historical fiction from the time of the beginning of Christianity with insights into what it means to remain true to your beliefs

    5. The Choice by Nicholas Sparks – this novel has a strong pro-life message

    As I said, all of these impacted me and challenged me, in some way, to become a better person

    • stephanie says:

      Thanks so much, Leslie! I’ve read a few of these (Mark of the Lion and Still Alice) and completely agree with you. I’ve been meaning to read The Fault in Our Stars, and will add the others to my list as well. I’d never heard of The Hawk and the Dove series, so am especially happy to know about those!

  2. Great post. I took away the same conviction from the writer’s conference. I’m behind you in my resolution, but you encouraged me with your post. Recently I showed A Single Bead to a local theology teacher and promised to loan it to her when I’ve finished. We’d been discussing adding fiction, such as yours, to her classroom library. We may put some copies in the school library.

    • stephanie says:

      Virginia, thank you so much for commenting, and THANK YOU for sharing “A Single Bead!” It’s so exciting to think of students reading it and – I hope – picking up their long-forgotten First Communion rosaries as a result!

      I wonder how many people walked away from the conference with the same conviction? Hopefully, we are all doing our very best to follow through. I’m blessed to know that my post encouraged you in your resolution.

  3. Emily Davis says:

    Great successes!
    I try to pray the Rosary in the morning, while I am putting on my face. I need to add it back at night as well.

    I just heard Father Collins speaking at a homeschool conference about Our Lady of Lourdes. She always did a sixth decade for the souls in purgatory. I am in search of a six-decade rosary.

    Oh and I used to be a Franklin Planner girl. Now I’m into Erin Condren. YAY for organizing.

    Anyway – Blessings,

    • stephanie says:

      I’m a quick face-putter-on-er. I can’t pray the rosary in the four minutes it takes! Maybe if I labored over it a bit more, the results would be better. 😉

      I usually do it when walking. I find my concentration is generally very good, especially since I’m away from the house and can’t obsess over the laundry list of things I ought to be doing.

      Love the sixth decade. I’ll add that. For a period of my life I was doing 15 decades Monday through Friday, but I’m not there right now. It’s a pinnacle I hope to attain again someday. I was a noticeably nicer person.

      Just curious – which decade do you usually add for the sixth?

      • Emily Davis says:

        I just pray a prayer for the souls in Purgatory (in place of the Mystery) and pray a complete decade for them. Ending with the normal Rosary prayers.

        If you have friends or relatives with loved ones who have passed, you could pray a decade for one person a day.


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