“Through the Open Window” book review

Through the Open Window is a charming novel about a librarian named Lucy who decides to take the challenge and write a 50,000 word novel during November’s “National Novel Writing Month.” She meets Mike, a handsome hobby writer and full-time artist who runs the writing group. Throughout the month, and as her word count increases, we journey with Lucy as she experiences various emotions from disappointment and grief and finally, to love.

First-time novelist Anne Faye creates a delightful world with real and endearing characters. This is a wonderful book for teens and for anyone who enjoys a pure, inspirational romance.

For more information, check out Anne’s blog at: http://annefaye.blogspot.com/

Copyright 2009 Ellen Gable Hrkach

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Seven Little Souls In Heaven

My first published article was a story entitled “Five Little Souls in Heaven,” which appeared in the “Nazareth Journal” in May of 1995. It was the story of my journey through the difficulties and challenges of being open to life and discovering that it didn’t always mean having a baby in my arms. Since that article was written, James and I have welcomed two more sons into our family, but we have also experienced two more pregnancy losses.

The joys and challenges of raising five sons have been well worth the uncertainty, heartache and grief we’ve experienced through the years. All of our children, those who were born and those whose lives ended before birth, were prayed for and loved, right from the moment of conception.

Since it is our job as parents to help guide our children to heaven, it is an immense comfort to know that these seven unique and irreplaceable souls now wait for me there. Although I would have preferred to have them in my arms, I can think of no better way than to be greeted in paradise by Jesus surrounded by these seven precious souls who were conceived in love.

Copyright 2009 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Remembrance Day/Veterans Day 2009

The three fatherly figures in my life served a total of 16 years in various branches of the armed forces. My father (Frank Gable 1928-1978) was in the United States Marine Corps from 1946 to 1950, spending most of that time in post-WW II Europe. He also served in the U.S. Army from 1950 to 1954 and fought in the Korean War. My father-in-law (Tony Hrkach 1925-1995) served in the U.S. Air Force during WW II. He was shot down over Yugoslavia (ironically enough, his father’s birth country), parachuted to safety only to spend many long months in a POW camp. My stepfather, Joe Power, served and fought in the Korean War.

A common thread with each of them is that none were/are comfortable speaking of their wartime experiences.

As a mother of five sons, I can’t imagine the heartache of sending a son or sons off to fight for his country. It is also difficult to fathom saying goodbye to my husband so that he could fight in a war far away.

Which is why I want to remember my fathers in a special way today. I honor Frank Gable, Tony Hrkach, Joe Power and all veterans for so generously serving so that we all might be free.

Copyright 2009 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Why NFP?

Part of the reason I wrote Emily’s Hope (www.fullquiverpublishing.com) was to share my journey of love and loss. The other reason was to share the Church’s teachings on sex and marriage.

My husband and I are teachers of NFP, or Natural Family Planning. NFP is a safe, healthy, effective and morally acceptable method of birth regulation. We have been teaching NFP for 25 years for the Couple to Couple League, who last year required all teachers to complete an extensive re-training program. We teach this method because one of the best ways to promote NFP is to teach it.

Embracing the Church’s teachings in this area was not easy for me. And this particular issue caused our first heated argument when James and I were engaged. Like many Catholics, I wanted the “freedom” to be able to use whatever I wanted in the area of contraception. Since we were living 500 miles apart at the time, James and I debated back and forth for many weeks. In a letter to me, James wrote, “The way I picture it, when we consummate our marriage, it should be you, me and God. That’s all. Why should any contraceptive company and their business plan and their advertising strategy have anything to do with our intimacy? When I think of me using a condom, it means that I’m actually holding back a part of myself. And if you were using a diaphragm or the pill or something, you would be keeping a part of yourself from me. When we give ourselves to each other, it should be a total gift, not a partial one…”

At the time, I remember thinking, “Why is he making such a big deal out of this?” Eventually, it finally dawned on me. It was a big deal. James wasn’t trying to convince me to give in to his sexual appetites. On the contrary. He was trying to help me to understand the truth that artificial contraception separates a couple and is not good for marriage.

NFP is safe, morally acceptable and effective. In 27 years of using NFP, we have never had an unplanned pregnancy. NFP is healthy and allows a couple to understand their bodies and fertility better. It encourages communication between the spouses. NFP is also ecologically friendly and does nothing to harm the environment.

For more information on NFP check out the following websites: (www.ccli.org, www.serena.ca , www.creightonmodel.com/, www.woomb.org/)

Copyright 2009 Ellen Gable Hrkach