Chance Encounter With a WW II Nurse

At a vendor fair last Friday, I had the privilege of meeting a woman who served as a nurse for the British in World War II.   Needless to say, it was the highlight of the evening.  I didn’t get her name, but she is in her 90’s and lost her brother during the war in 1941.Photo copyright Ellen Hrkach

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NFP Cartoons – #HumanaeVitae50 #theologyofthebody

This year we’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, On Human Life, Pope Paul VI’s encyclical re-affirming the Church’s 2000-year teaching that artificial birth control is “intrinsically evil.”  A wonderful way to share these beautiful teachings is through humor.  These are some of the #NFP cartoons we’ve created over the past 15 years.

Image copyright 2013 James and Ellen Hrkach (Please do not use without permission)

Image copyright 2013 James and Ellen Hrkach (Please do not use without permission)

copyright 2013 James and Ellen Hrkach (Please do not use without permission)

copyright 2013 James and Ellen Hrkach (Please do not use without permission)

Image copyright James and Ellen Hrkach

Image copyright James and Ellen Hrkach

Intimate Sharing

Cartoon copyright James & Ellen Hrkach/Full Quiver Publishing

Cartoon copyright James & Ellen Hrkach/Full Quiver Publishing

Image copyright James and Ellen Hrkach Please do not use without permission

Image copyright James and Ellen Hrkach Please do not use without permission

Copyright James and Ellen Hrkach Please do not use without permission

Copyright James and Ellen Hrkach Please do not use without permission

All images are copyright by James and Ellen Hrkach. Please do not use without permission.

Theology of the Body Fiction #HumanaeVitae50 #anti50shades

Full Quiver logo

Want to read some wholesome, wonderful stories that support human dignity?

This year we’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, On Human Life, Pope Paul VI’s encyclical re-affirming the Church’s 2000-year teaching that artificial birth control is “intrinsically evil.” There’s no better way to learn about Theology of the Body than to read a great novel! These books are also life-affirming! I’d like to share some of my favorite Theology of the Body fiction!

(Pardon the shameless self-promotion of my own books in this list!)

Emily’s Hope (Ellen Gable, 2005, FQ Publishing) (mature themes)

Passport (Christopher Blunt, 2008, Pelican Crossing Press) (mature themes)

Midnight Dancers (Regina Doman, 2008, Chesterton Press) (mature themes)

In Name Only (Ellen Gable, 2009, FQ Publishing, 2010 IPPY Gold Medal Winner)      (mature themes)

Stealing Jenny (Ellen Gable, 2011, FQ Publishing)

Finding Grace (Laura Pearl, 2012, Bezalel Books)

Angela’s Song (AnnMarie Creedon, 2012, FQ Publishing)

Rapunzel Let Down (Regina Doman, 2013, Chesterton Press) (mature themes)

Vingede (Friar Tobe #2) (Krisi Keley, 2013, S & H Publishing)

Don’t You Forget About Me (Erin McCole Cupp, 2013, FQ Publishing)

A Subtle Grace (Ellen Gable, 2014, FQ Publishing) (mature themes)

The Lion’s Heart (Dena Hunt, 2014, FQ Publishing, 2016 CALA Award Winner)          (mature themes)

A World Such as Heaven Intended (Amanda Lauer, 2014, FQ Publishing)

Working Mother (Erin McCole Cupp, 2014, FQ Publishing)

Stay With Me (Carolyn Astfalk, 2015, FQ Publishing) (mature themes)

Dying for Revenge (Barbara Golder, 2016, FQ Publishing, Finalist Next Generation Indie Book Awards)

Dying for Compassion (Barbara Golder, 2017, FQ Publishing)

Discovery (Karina Fabian, 2016, FQ Publishing)

Image and Likeness: Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body (Cupp and Gable, editors, 2016, FQ Publishing)  (mature themes)

Rightfully Ours (Carolyn Astfalk, 2017, FQ Publishing)

Julia’s Gifts (Ellen Gable, 2017, FQ Publishing)

Theresa Linden’s West Brothers Series  (Published 2015-17)

To check out many of these books, go to the Full Quiver Publishing website!

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When You Fast by Andrew LaVallee #VBT

8X5-WHEN_YOU_FAST-frontI’m taking part in a Virtual Blog Tour for Andy LaVallee’s new book, When You Fast: Jesus Has Provided the Solution.

Available from Live the Fast (11.99 includes shipping)

Paperback on Amazon (9.99)

Kindle Edition  (2.99)

Synopsis:  Published on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe December 12, 2017

There are many references to fasting in Scripture. In Saint Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 5, Jesus puts the solution in front of us when he says, “When you fast.” He doesn’t say “If you fast,” but “When you fast.” As Christians, we’re supposed to imitate Jesus. Jesus fasted before every major event in His life.

Jesus also tells us that “nothing is impossible for us.”

Fasting was so important that Jesus taught it to His disciples to be used as a special deterrent against evil. These are the same evils that plague our world today: the attack on life, the attack on the family, the attack on our religious freedoms, and the attack on Christianity as a whole. It’s especially important to recognize that our actions and our participation can change all of this evil. This is why we are being told by Jesus that “nothing is impossible for us.”

In this short booklet, you’ll learn how fasting is a spiritual weapon. You’ll also learn the basics of fasting, what saints, prophets and popes have had to say about fasting, and testimonials of people whose lives have been changed through fasting.

Reviews:

“The power of fasting with prayer is biblical (Matthew 17:20 from the St. Joseph Bible, New Edition). Jesus said that there are certain demons that cannot be cast out but through prayer and fasting. The two are a powerful team and Andy LaVallee, through his book, provides us with means to accomplish this goal.” Kerri and Jim Caviezel

When You Fast isn’t just one of the best and most thorough books on fasting. In a word, it’s inspiring. Author Andrew LaVallee shares both the physical and spiritual benefits of fasting, from calming our own anxieties to bringing peace to our troubled world. From healing family rifts to opening another’s heart, mind, and soul to the idea of conversion. When You Fast can be a key—can be your key—to a closer relationship with God.”    Susan Tassone, Author of St. Faustina Prayer Book for the Conversion of Sinners

“Andy LaVallee has provided the method, the motive and the means for the spiritual discipline of fasting. His book explains why fasting is important and encourages many to take part in this vital aspect of spiritual warfare in the world today.”
Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Pastor, Speaker, Blogger and Author of Mystery of the Magi: the Quest to Identify the Three Wise Men

Andy’s First Book:  From the Hub to the Heart

Andy’s Bio: Since 1969, Andy LaVallee, has been working in the bakery industry and in 1977, he started LaVallee’s Bakery Distributors. LaVallee’s is New England’s premier provider of artisan breads and other bakery offerings to clients such as the InterContinental Boston, the Four Seasons, Boston College, and the Chateau Restaurants.

LaVallee’s is known by their customers and colleagues for their excellent product mix, legendary customer service and business model based on servant leadership. With Live the fast Breads, Andy brings his knowledge of top-end; highly-nutritious artisan breads and applies them to the ancient practice of prayer and fasting. We have selected multigrain rolls for this endeavor. These breads are made with no GMO, unbleached and untreated flour, with no additives and preservatives and with flavorful, nourishing ingredients that will help one maintain and finish a bread and water fast. He and his team desire to spread this practice — so beneficial on a number of levels — to greater New England and across the United States.

In recent years, during trips to Medjugorje, Andy grew to a deeper understanding of the practice of prayer and fasting, a practice that is common in this small village. He realized that he had a unique role, perhaps even a duty, to provide high quality breads to those in America who were interested in prayer and fasting. Andy has consulted with Sister Emmanuel Maillard who wrote “Freed and Healed by Fasting,” Fr. Charles Murphy author of “The Spirituality of Fasting” and others knowledgeable about the practices of a healthy fast and the ingredients of fasting breads. He has also steeped himself in the teachings of the late Father Slavko Barbaric, who integrated into his many noble works, was his role as a humble practitioner and educator of prayer and fasting.

Along with our educational resources and opportunities to build community, we are excited to invite you to Live the Fast!

An Open Book – February 2018 #openbook

Open Book

I’m joining with Carolyn Astfalk and Catholic Mom for An Open Book.  I’ve been writing (working on Charlotte’s Honor, Book 2 in the Great War Great Love series) more than I’ve been reading this past month.  But here are two books I’d like to showcase for this month’s “Open Book.”

8X5-WHEN_YOU_FAST-front

When You Fast: Jesus Has Provided the Solution by Andrew LaVallee

Synopsis: In this short booklet, you’ll learn how fasting is a spiritual weapon. You’ll also learn the basics of fasting, what saints, prophets and popes have had to say about fasting, and testimonials of people whose lives have been changed through fasting.

Reviews:
“The power of fasting with prayer is biblical (Matthew 17:20 from the St. Joseph Bible, New Edition). Jesus said that there are certain demons that cannot be cast out but through prayer and fasting. The two are a powerful team and Andy LaVallee, through his book, provides us with means to accomplish this goal.”  Kerri and Jim Caviezel

 

A Subtle Grace front cover Nov2013

A Subtle Grace (O’Donovan Family #2)

Free on Kindle today through Friday!

FINALIST: 2015 IAN Book of the Year, Historical and Romance

“The plot tugs at the heart and gets the heart racing. Reading ‘A Subtle Grace’ was like riding a Victorian-era wooden roller coaster: a luscious historical setting that provides a tantalizingly dangerous thrill ride.” Erin McCole Cupp, author, Don’t You Forget About Me

1896, Philadelphia. In this stand alone sequel to “In Name Only” (2009, FQP), “A Subtle Grace” continues the story of the wealthy and unconventional O’Donovan Family as they approach the dawn of a new century. At 19, Kathleen (oldest daughter) is unmarried with no prospects. Fearing the lonely fate of an old maid, her impatience leads to an infatuation with the first man who shows interest. The suave, handsome son of the local police chief seems a perfect match. But will her impulsive manner prevent her from recognizing her true love? A disturbing turn of events brings a dark shadow that threatens the life-long happiness she desires.

To download it for free, click here: A Subtle Grace on Kindle

A Subtle Grace #FREE on #Kindle Feb 7-9

A Subtle Grace front cover Nov2013For the next three days, A Subtle Grace (Kindle edition) will be FREE (February 7-9, 2018) on Kindle!

FINALIST: 2015 IAN Book of the Year, Historical and Romance   “The plot tugs at the heart and gets the heart racing. Reading ‘A Subtle Grace’ was like riding a Victorian-era wooden roller coaster: a luscious historical setting that provides a tantalizingly dangerous thrill ride.” Erin McCole Cupp, author, Don’t You Forget About Me 
Synopsis: 1896, Philadelphia. In this stand alone sequel to “In Name Only” (2009, FQP), “A Subtle Grace” continues the story of the wealthy and unconventional O’Donovan Family as they approach the dawn of a new century. At 19, Kathleen (oldest daughter) is unmarried with no prospects. Fearing the lonely fate of an old maid, her impatience leads to an infatuation with the first man who shows interest. The suave, handsome son of the local police chief seems a perfect match. But will her impulsive manner prevent her from recognizing her true love? A disturbing turn of events brings a dark shadow that threatens the life-long happiness she desires.

Dr. Luke Peterson (the family’s new physician) also makes quite an impression on Kathleen. His affection for her leads him to startling revelations: about Kathleen, about his practice and, most importantly, about himself.

Will (oldest son) believes God may be calling him to a religious vocation. Eventually, he discovers the hidden circumstances of his humble beginnings compelling him to embark on a pilgrimage to Rome.

Reviews:

“This is one of my favorite contemporary works of Catholic fiction. The storytelling is masterful, the characters fascinating, and the writing is of high literary quality. People are imperfect—past, present, and future—but each is given the opportunity to grow, change, learn, and be redeemed. In this story it’s shown how the greatest mistake of our lives can be turned into one of the most amazing blessings and even be a source of hope for others. A Subtle Grace has all of the elements that good Catholic fiction should.” Trisha Niermeyer Potter, Prints of Grace

“In A Subtle Grace, Gable shows us through her characters, what happens when an individual lives his/her life based on principles rather than on passions. She clearly conveys the differences between love as a feeling vs. love as a choice, illustrating the consequences of each. Themes of redemption, forgiveness, discerning one’s vocation, healing, hope, and joy, all contribute to make this a story that tugs at the heart. A sequel to In Name Only, A Subtle Grace works well as an independent, stand-alone novel. You will definitely want to read both. A Subtle Grace is excellent read for historical romance fans. Those who enjoy Christian romance and suspense novels will find this story particularly enjoyable. This is a winner!”  Jean Heimann, author, blogger

A Subtle Grace is the sequel to the lovely book In Name Only, yet A Subtle Grace can be enjoyed independently. Of course, readers of the first book won’t want to miss this one! The story kept me so interested that I hardly realized this was, in fact, a lengthy book. A Subtle Grace is a novel to stir your heart, your emotions, and your soul. I highly recommend it!” Therese Heckenkamp, author, Frozen Footprints

Click here to read an excerpt and more reviews.

To download the book for FREE click here.

Authors Should Always Be Prepared – Or The Strangest Place I’ve Ever Sold a Book

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As I’ve said before, authors should always be prepared by having copies of their books with them (especially in the car).  An author never knows when the opportunity will present itself to sell a book!

I’ve sold books to the insurance man, the animal control officer, at family functions and churches. I’ve sold books to people on the beach and at the grocery story.

But, by far, the strangest place I’ve ever sold one of my books was at a local club/bar.

Now, I never go to bars or clubs, but on this particular night about eight years ago, my husband was performing with his jazz fusion band. During one song, he actually plays two different guitars. My husband is a very talented guitarist (see video).

That night, as I watched my husband perform, I noticed a tall fellow swaying to the music and staring at my husband. When the song finished, the band took a break. The tall man ran off in the direction of the stage. I followed close behind. The tall man spoke to my husband with the adulation of an adoring fan.

“Man, you’re the best guitarist I’ve ever seen! The way you play those two guitars…it’s just incredible! You’re better than Mick Jagger,” and he went on to list three or four other famous guitarists.

Now, my husband has enough humility for both of us. So he didn’t respond to the praise. Instead he looked my way and said, “This is my wife, Ellie.” My husband’s newest fan turned to me. “Your husband is the most incredibly talented guitarist I’ve ever seen or heard.”

“Isn’t he amazing?” was my response.

“He sure is.” We chatted for a few moments, then, out of the blue he said, “He’s so good, you should write a book about him.”

I burst out laughing. “Well, actually, I have written a book. It’s a novel called Emily’s Hope and it is loosely based on my life…and my husband is a major character in the book.”

“Really?”

“Yes, really.”

“Do you have any copies with you?” I responded, “Of course.”

Admittedly, this 40-year-old tipsy man probably was not the target audience for my first novel. And…my husband felt I took advantage of a fellow who was drinking, and perhaps I did. But, well…a sale is a sale.

Humor aside, I’ve often wondered about this fellow who walked into the bar to have a good time and walked out with my novel in his hands. I would’ve liked to have been a fly on the wall when he started writing a religious novel with Theology of the Body themes. I hope he’s doing well.

(Re-edited) Copyright 2018 Ellen Gable Hrkach

God’s Beautiful and Natural Design #HV50

HV50 Man Cannot“The fact is, as experience shows, that new life is not the result of each and every act of sexual intercourse.” Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae

This year, Pope Paul VI’s encyclical, Humanae Vitae (On Human Life) turns 50.  Humanae Vitae re-affirmed the Church’s 2000-year teaching that artificial birth control was immoral and “intrinsically evil.” To celebrate this milestone, I’ll be re-posting many of my NFP/Theology of the Body-themed articles.

God’s natural and beautiful design is that women are only fertile for a short time each month. Taking into account ovum life (48 hours at most) and sperm life (up to five days depending on the type of mucus in the woman’s body), there are approximately seven days in each cycle that a woman is fertile. Other factors include each woman’s particular level of fertility: the type of mucus, their age (the younger they are, the more fertile) and the man’s level of fertility (sperm count and quality of sperm).

Contrary to popular belief, the Catholic Church does not teach that a couple must actively seek pregnancy each and every time they engage in marital relations. But she does teach that intercourse must at least implicitly retain its procreative meaning and be open to life. Contraceptives destroy the conjugal act’s procreative aspect. Therefore, if the couple has serious need, and spacing or avoidance of pregnancy is desired, they may use Natural Family Planning, that is, have relations only during the infertile time.

Natural Family Planning is safe, healthy and effective and works as good, if not better, than most of the popular birth control devices and without the unhealthy side effects of contraceptive devices and drugs.

Let us pray each time we approach the marital bed: “I promise to be faithful to you. I come here freely, I love you totally and I am open to creating children with you.”

For more information on NFP:

www.serena.ca
www.ccli.org
www.woomb.org
www.creightonmodel.com

Copyright 2018 Ellen Gable Hrkach