Thought about what to make with all your leftovers yet?
Thought about what to make with all your leftovers yet?
National Vocations Awareness Week 2017 begins Sunday, November 5, and it’s been a really exciting time here at the “McBride” residence. I had the pleasure of writing a piece again this year for Peanut Butter and Grace, and that article is here. Additionally, I had the privilege of appearing live on Catholic TV’s This Is the Day show with Bonnie Rogers and Kevin Nelson. We discussed my favorite topic: fostering religious vocations through children’s literature!
Looking back, I was lucky. I treasure so many beautiful childhood memories, especially visits from my 2 nun-aunts, Sister Carla and Sister Mary Elizabeth. My mom used to say, back then, every Catholic family strived to raise at least one child to hear the calling to the religions life.
My grade school principal was a religious sister, as were several of the teachers and staff. These days a Catholic school kid can go a whole 12 years of school (or more, if you count pre-school and kindergarten) without ever meeting a religious other than his/her parish priest.
This makes me so sad. How will we continue to have religious sisters and brothers, as well as ordained priests and deacons, in the future of the Church when this generation of children never sees any? And so I write the Molly McBride series with the hopes that my colorful little character will influence other spunky little kids to consider the calling.
Besides reading books about religious to your kids, you can head over to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ page for a long list of suggestions for families. The following prayer is from the same site:
“O Holy Family of Nazareth, community of love of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, model and ideal of every Christian family, to you we entrust our families. Open the heart of every family to the faith, to welcoming the word of God, to Christian witness, so that it become a source of new and holy vocations. Touch the hearts of parents, so that with prompt charity, wise care, and loving devotion they be for their sons and daughters sure guides towards spiritual and eternal values. Stir up in the hearts of young people a right conscience and a free will, so that growing in wisdom, age and grace, they might welcome generously the gift of a divine vocation. Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that all of us, contemplating and imitating the assiduous prayer, generous obedience, dignified poverty and virginal purity lived out in your midst, might set about fulfilling the will of God and accompanying with far-sighted sensitivity those among us who are called to follow more closely the Lord Jesus, who has given himself for us (cf. Gal 2:20).”
Isn’t it great when you make a new friend?
The other day I realized that the author of one of my youngest’s (yep, the “Molly” prototype) favorite new picture books is a Seal-mate! I got to chatting with Ginny Lieto, fellow Catholic Writers’ Guild member and winner of the Guild’s Seal of Approval for her children’s picture book Finding Patience.
“For children, it is difficult to wait for anything! Wouldn’t it be nice if your child or grandchild exhibited a little patience? Help is on the way! Adventures of Faith, Hope, and Charity–Finding Patience is a book for children ages 4-8; an age when patience seems non-existent! This book offers parents and educators a practical, yet entertaining way of introducing and reinforcing patience through the power of prayer. It is through prayer that Faith, learns how God works within her, in His time, to help her grow in patience.”
Like my Plaid Jumper, Finding Patience has a back-to-school setting (and uniforms!). It is a great read-aloud to kids ages 3-4 and up, and I think most 8-9 year-olds would even enjoy reading it on their own. This engaging story has darling illustrations by Carole Hahn Panzer and comes complete with every kid’s favorite thing: puppies!
I do have to say, there was a part that really grabbed me emotionally. Barely moved into a new house in a new town, the main character Faith had a hard first day at her new school. Due to her shyness she sat alone in the cafeteria during lunch. This is the scene when she gets home that first day;
“Faith sobbed, ‘Nobody likes me!’
‘No, no,’ replied Mama. ‘They just don’t know you yet.’
‘I want to go home,’ cried Faith, ‘to be with my friends.'”
The first day I showed up for cafeteria duty at the real “Molly’s” new school, I realized she’d been sitting there eating alone almost daily. That really hurts a Mama’s heart! But things got better for both “Molly” and Faith. It’s hard to not leak a spoiler, but trust me when I say that the end of Ginny’s super-sweet book is very clever! WTG, GF!!!
Ginny is such an interesting woman. (I’ve met a ton of amazing folks in the Catholic Writers’ Guild!) Like my hubs, she hails from the Garden State. She left New Jersey for North Carolina, and now, besides writing, blogging and public speaking, she teaches theology online at Saint Joseph’s College in Maine. Like mine, Ginny’s life has taken some wild career turns. In a former life she was an accountant. “I believe that God’s plan for me is far better than anything for which I could conceive,” she writes in her blog. Like a lot of great writers, she draws upon a rich, sometimes unpredictable, source of life experiences that includes career changes and big moves. But her leaving NJ was difficult. Blessedly, she has great faith and a strong support system. Ginny recalls the words of her husband Nick fondly, “I’ll go anywhere as long as I am with you.”
Adventures of Faith, Hope, and Charity–Finding Patience is an absolutely wonderful debut children’s picture book by my new friend, the very talented Virginia Lieto. Seriously, that woman could write the phonebook and make it interesting! Follow her blog, FB page, twitter, everywhere you can find Ginny’s wisdom.
And definitely buy this book. Then share it with a good friend, just like my “Molly.”
Ways to follow Virginia Lieto:
Link to book: http://amzn.to/2s5uR3Z
Social media links:
On Aug 10, 2017, at 8:42 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:Hello Jean,
Would you please forward to me a list of your recommended books by Catholic authors? I would like it for my own reference, as well as to offer it to the librarian at St. (pick one!) School. Also, do you have a resource (list, website, etc.) for comparisons, like instead of reading that, read this book. I would love to encourage my Catholic school librarian to promote worthwhile books to the students (not that Dork Diaries and the like are not worthwhile. HaHa!).
Well, my friends, there is not one place (yet) that can list all of the amazing page-turners out there written by faithful Catholics. But I have the following really useful list to get you started.
First off, as far as an “instead of this read that” kind of thing, keep your eyes on Cathy Gilmore’s Virtue Works Media, because Cathy’s big dream is to provide exactly that type of service. For example, instead of The Hunger Games, check out Corinna Turner’s I Am Margaret from Chesterton Press, or instead of the Twilight books, look into Jennifer the Damned by Karen Ullo (Wiseblood Books.)
Now, an absolute MUST-TELL-MY-SCHOOL-LIBRARIAN! is what’s going on down in Florida with Lizette Lantigua’s Good News Book Fair, a new and rapidly-growing traveling book fair for schools and parishes. Take a look at some of the photographs on her site, because Liz’s displays of books, posters, toys, etc. are beautiful and can even be customized for your organization. (IMHO, Good News Book Fairs should completely replace Scholastic in our Catholic schools.*)
And not to be outdone by Florida, five Texans have come up with Catholic Reads, an online service that offers a free subscription to newsletters with book reviews and hefty discounts on the reviewed titles. Similarly, author-run Catholic Teen Books offers reviews, teaching tools, author info, links, and more if you’re in the market for YA books.
Worldwide, one of the things we are doing in the Catholic Writers’ Guild is revamping our website to make it easier for readers to evaluate our titles and authors by age group and genre. Fresh from the CWG’s blog is this very helpful article which highlights some of my family’s favorite books: this article that would be VERY helpful to pass on to librarians and teachers: CWG Blog Post: List of books .
Whew! I’m glad I finally stole a few minutes to put all this in one place. And, friends, I really appreciate your sharing this post. So, so many people will benefit from the information I’ve listed here.
*For more on that *cough* humble opinion, I have an article pending publication.
Sure, Molly McBride is a children’s book character and this blog mostly addresses stuff about kids and parenting and why we no longer go to the Columbus Museum of
crap I mean ART, and great children’s fiction books, etc. But sometimes I want to throw in some stuff for my GFs (and dad’s, too, of course!) Today I’ve got not 1, not 2, but THREE inspiring books just for us for grown-ups.
First up is I Once Was Blind, But Now I See with Kimberly Cook. Kimberly refers to the subject of this autobiography she co-wrote with Charles Picirilli as her “own personal Padre Pio” and, I don’t want to give away too many spoilers, but, yeah. You’ll see why after reading it! I Once Was Blind is the faith journey of a man who falls in and out of faith many times, but each time he comes back to the Church, he comes back even stronger. This man’s temptations and struggles have ranged from as mundane as cigarettes to as shocking as the occult. But the clear, humble descriptions of Charles’ personal battle with each of the hurdles he experiences is truly inspiring. Be prepared for miracles!
Next I’d like to tell you about Broken Brain, Fortified Faith by Virginia Pillars. This award-winning account of a mother’s “lessons of hope through a child’s mental illness” was difficult for me to put down, but my family started getting REALLY LOUD about dinner. (The burned pork chops were totally worth it.) This is one of those stories that won’t let you go. It takes you into some pretty dark places but blessedly shows you the light that is our God. Pillars’ writing is straight-forward, and the book moves at a good pace. Mental illness is hard to talk about, and that leaves many people feeling alone in their silence. Broken Brain, Fortified Faith is like a comforting friend who understands and shares that pain.
I’m gonna plug my brother’s book for my third recommendation because it totally fits in with these inspiring, faith-strengthening grown-up reads. Dreams Of My Eagle has knocked the socks off both me and *cough* the Holy Father! (Nope, I am not EVEN name dropping.)
William David Schoonover (my big brother Bill) went through hell and back. Twice. The first time he was alive. Donna, his wife of 34 years, died an agonizing death of metastatic colon cancer. She was only 57, a full-blooded Cherokee Native American “non-religious” Hospice nurse, but she had a deathbed conversion while holding a rosary. A ton of mystical stuff happened surrounding her death, stuff I totally witnessed, Friends. Also, Bill discovered some manuscripts. Donna had been secretly documenting her dying patients’ near-death experiences for much of her career. This hair-raising, goose-bump inducing tale of golden eagles that appear, pure elemental gold dust that appears and disappears, and Donna’s personal words made its way to Rome. And back. And Pope Francis’s own personal notes are scrawled in one precious copy of Dreams Of My Eagle that is now locked up for safe keeping somewhere in Southern Ohio.
Twice, you ask? Oh, that. Shortly after Dreams Of My Eagle got published and Bill was doing the book tour thing, he dropped dead. He was coded on the street for 20 minutes before paramedics arrived and transported him to Kings Daughters Medical Center in Ashland, KY . There he went from blue-black dead to the induced hypothermia protocol to funeral plans in the making, to . . . now working on his second book. Rumor has it, the first line of this new book might read something like, “They froze me for 3 days, but it was warm in Heaven.”
Coincidence? Power of suggestion? You decide.
Want to share with us some more inspiring reads that’ll renew our faith? Please comment below!
Calling all homeschoolers! Here’s an AWESOME unit study for the kids. God Bless Writer/Teacher/Catholic-Mom-Blogger Ginny Kochis of Not So Formulaic and her two junior staff writers (6.5-year-old B and 10.5-year-old G) for not only reviewing Plaid Jumper, but putting together this incredibly creative and FREE unit study.
To quote just a few words of the abundant wisdom in Ginny’s post:
“The second installment in the Jean Schoonover-Egolf’s Molly McBride series, Molly McBride and the Plaid Jumper follows the titular heroine as she discovers there’s more to a person’s vocation than the clothes she wears. Discussions with her family, friends, and a trusted Pastor help Molly understand an important truth: God has designed each of us in a unique, unrepeatable way. That is the truth of our vocation, and what we wear on the outside can’t change that. My girls fell in love with Molly’s spirit, immediately identifying with her costume habit (pun intended).”
Be sure to leave a “thank you” to the Kochis Club in Miss Ginny’s comments.
Blessed am I. So, so blessed am I. For God put in my life such a wonderful group of friends. Yes, some of you are friends whose faces and words have been entirely the glowing-rectangle type, but I call you friends, nevertheless.
Today I opened my large glowing rectangle (laptop) to discover my interview by one of my heroes Amy Brooks has been published! (Squee!!!) Check it out:
First thought: Man! Am I really that chatty? Amy, seriously, I apologize for taking up so much of your time, lol!!
Second thought: My goodness I’ve had a weird life! Never saw THAT comin’ when I was 16.
Once again I am just sooooo touched, even if it’s the cybernate kind of touching, by the strength of this community of faith-filled workers for Jesus.
Special thanks to Amy Brooks, mom, author and business woman, empress of the Prayer, Wine, Chocolate super power that is taking the world by storm. She ROCKS, and, besides the link above, you can check her out here: