art, Uncategorized

Making a Molly

As a kid I was fascinated by the process of making cartoons. Although my mom started me early on E. H. Shephard’s drawings of Christopher Robin and Pooh, I grew especially to love the work of Charles Schultz and, a little later, Bil Keane.

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lines of action, rough features of little girl

 

My dream of becoming a cartoonist was interrupted by what I now think of as temporary insanity. I got it into my head that I didn’t want to be a “starving artist,” and opted for pre-med in college instead of design.

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closeup of blocked-in figure of Molly

 

About 15 years later and $200K poorer, I left my Internal Medicine practice to be a full time stay-at-home mommy. Now, when I’m not writing or illustrating or working on the Molly books,  I teach my kids cartooning.

 

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close-up of Molly with ink added

 

I get asked a lot if I’ll go back into Medicine when the kids are grown. And, when I think of all that debt, I feel guilty that I hated being a doctor so, so much! But the truth is, I seriously hope not.

 

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ink layer is next for Molly

 

So, I’m going to wrap up this brief post of procrastination and get back to squeezing in 100 Continuing Medical Education hours that are due Jan. 1 so I can continue to pay the AMA and remain legit.

 

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close-up of first watercolor wash: Molly’s purple habit

 

Each night I thank God for all my blessings, especially for my truly amazing and awesome husband who supports me and all my career whims. “What am I putting down as your wife’s job this year?” asks our accountant each January.

 

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first watercolor wash: Molly’s purple habit

 

And when I wake in the night sweating and trembling, fearing that I failed to wake up to my pager and missed a Code Blue, or that I am getting my 20th ICU admission of the (36-hr long) night, or any number of what can only be called post-traumatic-stress-disorder flashbacks that all physicians suffer as a result of residency training,

 

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final layer of watercolor for Molly and her purple habit

 

I close my eyes and picture colors, paints, pencil sketches, and brushes.

 

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Cartooning: Making Molly McBride

 

And breathe again.

art, It's sharing time!, Molly Comics, Mothers of Mollies, Uncategorized

Turkey Surprise

Thought about what to make with all your leftovers yet?

Tgivingcomic

Book Updates!, It's sharing time!, Mothers of Mollies, On Being a Good Friend, Recommended Reads, Uncategorized

Finding Patience: Winner In My Book

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.

FHC-Cover-Lifesavers-Font-233x300“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!!!

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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.”

Awww!

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:

Website: http://virginialieto.com

Link to book: http://amzn.to/2s5uR3Z

Social media links:

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/112075609426695922253

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2s5jgSi

Twitter: @virginialieto

Linked-In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/virginialieto/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/virginialieto/boards/

 

 

 

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Book Updates!, It's sharing time!, Recommended Reads, Uncategorized

Librarians, Teachers, Parents Take Note

Quite often my inbox hosts a message from a Catholic mama that goes something like this:
On Aug 10, 2017, at 8:42 AM, mfree@email.com 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!).

HA!!!!!

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.

Blessings!

Jeanie

*For more on that *cough* humble opinion, I have an article pending publication.

Book Updates!, It's sharing time!, Uncategorized

This Place Is a Real Gem!

Have you heard about Catholic Treasures?

‘Tis the season to stock up on your beach reads, no? So I have a GREAT idea. Check out this new online bookstore! “CT” officially launched March 28, 2017 with the promise: “Buy Catholic books directly at a lower cost than Amazon while supporting a faith-centered retailer.”Father Matt on the beach

“A traditional Catholic bookstore with an emphasis on spiritual classics written by saints and Catholic novels written by contemporary authors,” the site is very easy to use and clearly organized by subject, and there is a nice children’s section as well. I immediately spied some of our family favorites such as The Father Brown Reader and My Path To Heaven as well as, well, you know! (Yep, they’re running a great sale on MMPH AND MMPJ right now!)

Although Catholic Treasures is owned and operated by Tumblar House books, they have expanded into retail because, according to their site, “There is such a tremendous wealth of Catholic tradition that is passed down through books. We have a special passion for Catholic novels. There are so many great Catholic novels out there that deserve more attention!” I highly recommend Young Adult novel  Seven Riddles to Nowhere by A. J. Cattapan as well as The Birdface Series by Cynthia Toney. I spy a goldmine of authors on our family’s reading wish list! There are some Leslea Wahl, Carolyn Astfalk, AND Theresa Linden titles! Looks like I’ll be placing an order today.

Besides novels, dig around for all your favorite spirituality authors from the precious classics like Sheed and Sheen to contemporaries including Hahn and Kreeft. The site has a growing selection of films, too.

Other publishing houses represented at Catholic Treasures include Ignatius Press, Tan Books, Sophia Press, Pauline Books and Media and, of course, “Molly’s” home Gracewatch Media.

It's sharing time!, Mothers of Mollies, Promoting Vocations, Uncategorized

Holy Molly! Now She’s a Unit Study!

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.

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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.

art, Book Updates!, Uncategorized

Molly vs. Bully?

The sweetest piece of fan mail arrived today from Indiana. Tommy, a Catholic dad and campus security officer at a Catholic college, was very moved by Molly McBride and the Plaid Jumper. He wrote to me that reading about the school uniforms brought back some very clear memories:

         “I remember one incident when we were out playing, this big boy was mocking me, making fun of me behind my back. This was before I got my hearing aid–I was deaf. But this girl (God bless her!) jumped on that boy and knocked him down. Her name was Nancy, but I secretly called her my Joan of Arc. From then on nobody ever poked fun at me again. Nancy followed me throughout school, all the way up to graduation. I keep my graduation picture up in the computer room, and there’s Nancy to remind me of 3rd Grade so many years ago at Immaculate Conception School.”

 

And just like that, I could picture a flash of plaid as a brave, heroic girl named Nancy rescued poor Tommy. But in my mind, there were streaming locks of unruly auburn curls mixed with the mess of gray-and-navy. It looked something like this:Molly n bully “Maybe, Jean, you can write a Molly McBride story about bullies in school.”

God bless YOU, Tommy. I’ll see what I can do.

 

 

art

True Beauty

Warning:

This post ain’t gonna fly with everyone. I’m throwing tact out the window for a brief lapse into unadulterated opinion. Because that’s just what I do at 4 in the morning.

I still don’t get modern art.

Since parking at COSI looked too daunting with everything all torn up around there, the girls and I wound up at our favorite default field trip, Columbus Museum of Art. And it was the first time I’d say it was a complete fail.

The 2 special exhibits were “A DANGEROUS WOMAN: SUBVERSION AND SURREALISM IN THE ART OF HONORÉ SHARRER” and “Shakespeare in Prague: Imagining the Bard in the Heart of Europe.”

First off, let’s talk about this dangerous woman thing. I’ll touch briefly on the two least-offensive pieces of the exhibit first. The promo for this exhibit came from this first one, because, let’s face it, it’s the best the whole thing had to offer. By a landslide. Here we go:IMG_2013

 

And here’s the only other thing from this wacked-out exhibit I could put in my G-rated blog:

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A counselor friend once told me this little grief/anxiety coping-ditty about the importance of having someone to talk to: “Every time you share a burden with a friend, you cut it in half.”

Friends, I am seriously tempted to unburden the scourge I can’t un-see. Good news for you! I didn’t even photograph that crap.

In the wise-words of my Molly, “This is all stupid and indecent.” Unless, of course, 2 humping dogs at a highfaluting tea party or a rotund, unclothed woman sprawled in the aisle of a church during a Mass are your thing, I’m telling you, you can skip this one.

So I was really looking forward to the Shakespeare. Which turned out to be Nipple City. Seriously, lots and lots of nipples. Nipples even in places that didn’t need ’em.

Well, now, maybe I’m just exaggerating a little. There were a couple of “decent” (her words, not mine) things to look at here and there. Like this:

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and this:

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Notice the white dress was cut low enough that, if it had been on a mannequin, it would have, well, as I said. Nipples.

Desperate to wash our eyes out with something less noxious, we ran through some of the familiar parts of CMA. As we approached that room with the big wire sculpture featuring the humanoid form buried in it, I found I preferred to just look out the window. This was the view beyond the man caught in the cage-thing:

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Not even stopping for a $14 cookie in the never-disappointing Schokko Art Cafe, we made it back home in record time. For a field trip.

 

Book Updates!

Press Release: Molly Sequel Is a Grand Slam!

She’s out! And just in time for the Season of Purple. Molly McBride and the Plaid Jumper is officially available online and in stores and the reviews are “out of the park!” Check out Molly’s FB page for the totally awesome trailer curtesy of Peanut Butter and Grace Books.

https://www.facebook.com/peanutbutterandgrace/

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fpeanutbutterandgrace%2Fvideos%2F1924041587829698%2F&show_text=0&width=560

To purchase your Molly books, please click:  https://www.gracewatch.media/product-tag/molly-mcbride/  and have a most blessed Lent!

Book Updates!

Seeing PLAID

She’s back!

And she’s as stubborn as ever about her clothes. Molly McBride is still wearing her treasured purple nun’s habit, but now our faith-filled 5-year-old has a whole new wardrobe worry:

KINDERGARTEN!

And, of course, Mary Margaret McBride (better known as Molly to her adoring fans) will be following in Sissy’s, that is, Therese’s footsteps and enrolling at Holy Trinity Catholic School. And, of course, there is that little issue of the school uniform.

“Daddy, why can’t I wear my purple habit to school?” asks Molly on the night before kindergarten orientation. “It’s Catholic, right? In fact, isn’t it even MORE Catholic than a jumper?”

Join Molly, Francis, and all the kindergarteners at Holy Trinity Catholic School as they learn that, although appearances and uniforms have their place, it’s what’s underneath matters most.

Coming March 2017!

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