It's sharing time!, Recommended Reads, Uncategorized

Sequels Are Here! Give Gable and Gaouette For Christmas

Two of our family’s favorite Catholic Teen/YA series are sporting shiny new sequels just in time for stocking-stuffer shopping! Ellen Gable’s Charlotte’s Honor, follow-up to her Julia’s Gifts, as well as T. M. Gaouette’s Guarding Aaron (Book 3 in the Faith and King Fu series I wrote about here) will not disappoint!

 

Charlotte' Honor Cover image
Gable’s second installment in her “Great War, Great Love” trilogy is a tender and moving romance set in the field hospitals of war-torn France.

 

For the fans of historic fiction, it is with great pleasure that I recommend Charlotte’s Honor, a beautiful, tender, and moving story set in the field hospitals of France during World War One. Charlotte, to whom we were first introduced in Julia’s Gifts, is a strongly-positive role model for our daughters. She endures trials that most of us cannot imagine facing today, yet the genuine manner in which the characters react and respond rings true for all time. I would place Charlotte’s Honor high on any list for a historical fiction, mother-daughter generational, or virtue-based book club. Of course, Gable’s tales are perfectly delectable as personal pleasures curled up alone by a cozy, fire or packed along with your winter break beach reads!

The perfect mix of historical detail and romance, this second installment in the planned “Great Love, Great War Trilogy” makes a delightful stocking stuffer for any aged 13-and-up (due to some descriptions of the medical aspects of war injuries) ladies on your list.

From the historic Great War abroad to the war kids face today, I now present to you Guarding Aaron:

Guarding Aaron Book Cover
T. M. Gaouette’s 3rd installment in the Faith and Kung Fu series will not disappoint!

 

Wow, this author just keeps cranking out stuff that I firmly believe every Christian teen MUST READ. In this third installment of the Faith and Kung Fu series, Tanner is back in town. She and her friend Faith both have feelings for series hero Gabriel (who serves as a sort of “guardian angel” to a kid named Aaron in this story). But rumor has it Gabriel wants to become a priest. Faith’s overwhelming jealousy causes her to make a few very poor decisions that lead to a series of violent and life-altering events for the group.

I love how there are so many descriptions and scenes illustrating the kids’ faith and its influence on their daily lives. In particular, Gabriel’s deep trust and reliance on God’s plan for him is inspirational to readers of all ages. But Gaouette masterfully manages to mix in plenty of action-packed scenes for these characters that the Faith and King Fu series’ fans have grown to love (like Tanner Rose, Faith, Gabe, Christian, etc.)! And cleverly woven into the parties and the punches are just so many important issues. Characters experience and explore everything from bullying and believing in yourself to chastity and true charity. Guarding Aaron’s a winner, full of action, emotion, and didn’t-see-THAT-coming moments for both girls and guys. Moms and dads would enjoy these books, too.

More book reviews are coming, so stay tuned for updates on Astfalk, Beckman, Linden, Wahl, and more!

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

As We Forgive Those

I wonder, how many others might begin reading this book and think it will be another Marian theology study? While Forgiving Mother: A Marian Novena of Healing and Peace is an extremely well-written Marian theological resource, it is much more. Yes, Steinhage-Fenelon explores the role of Mary in our personal lives for the purpose of teaching us about charity and forgiveness. Yes, she offers plenty of solid, supporting content, both biblical and Church doctrinal, to illustrate each of her ideas. Yes, she provides us with a beautiful Marian novena to pray as a part of the enlightenment brought forth by her thesis statement.

What I didn’t realize is that the title is missing an “A.”

This book isn’t about how Mary, Mother of God, is a forgiving mother. This book, while remaining a beautiful treatise on Mary’s forgiving nature, is the tale of how the author came to forgive her mother. It is a sort of self-help book for anyone who has suffered abuse, of any kind, at the hand of someone who was supposed to be a provider of love and instiller of trust. While there is a lot of literature out there about surviving child or partner abuse, I know of no other source as powerful as this one, because Steinhage-Fenelon has meticulously provided very practical, step-by-step advice, along with the logic of Marian theology and the power of prayer, to bring her readers to begin the process of healing. I would venture to say that Forgiving Mother can even serve as a source of healing for the repentant abuser, as well.

Forgiving is hard. Even forgiving little stuff is hard if you don’t know how. We none of us can accrue enough tools to help us get better at forgiveness. I highly recommend Forgiving Mother not only for people who are looking for help working through past trauma, but for EVERYONE, because we can all use some help learning how to truly “forgive those who trespass against us.”

What are you reading? You can share your favorite books by tagging your social media posts with #OpenBook and linking up with us at Carolyn Astfalk’s “My Scribbler’s Heart” blog as well as CatholicMom.

And so does Sissy!
art, It's sharing time!, Molly Comics, Mothers of Mollies, Promoting Vocations, Uncategorized

What Do Kids Give Up For Lent?

And so does Sissy!
Molly McBride has this Lent thing all figured out!
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.

IMG_2179
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.

 

IMG_2193
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.

 

IMG_2194
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.

 

IMG_2195
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

Time For Bed

Time For Bed
When Momma says she’s going to bed now…

 

 

Yep. That’s about right.