What’s in a Name?

In July and August, I attended five Catholic conferences, selling and signing my books. I had the opportunity to meet many new friends. At one conference alone, I spoke to over 300 people as they passed my table. The question that people most often asked was not “How do you find time to write” or “How do you come up with ideas for your cartoon” or “Are you working on any new novels.”

The one question that people most often asked was “How do you pronounce your last (married) name?”

This is probably the main reason that James and I decided that I should use my maiden name (Gable) as a pen name. Hrkach is decidedly a name which people have a hard time pronouncing, mainly because there are not enough vowels (Hrkach is Croatian in origin). Despite that, however, it is actually an easy name to pronounce (once you know how) and when people have asked me, I give the same answer: “It is pronounced Her cash…and then I add, “as in…my money.”

It may be unusual, but I love my last name and I’m very proud to be part of the Hrkach family.

copyright 2010 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Your Personal Apostolate by Michele Elena Bondi

Your Personal Apostolate: Accepting and Sharing the Love of God
Michele Elena Bondi
Joseph Karl Publishing

“God is at work in you,” says Michele Elena Bondi, author of Your Personal Apostolate: Accepting and Sharing the Love of God. She continues…“Each of us has a personal apostolate or a mission, that we fulfill throughout the course of our lives…an apostolate begins the moment a person is created and comes to fruition over time…Our mission is fulfilled in every moment…critical to our success is our willingness to accept, return and share the Love of God.”

With such philosophies, this book has the potential of touching many hearts with its message of service and love (and I’m certain it already has).

Each chapter begins with a relevant and beautiful biblical quote, then a teaching, followed by a personal reflection (including the author’s experiences with family life, a difficult divorce and the traumatic story of how she happens upon the scene of an accident) and finally, information and questions for the reader. The chapters include essential topics such as “We Are Loved,” “Following the Holy Family,” “Accepting God’s Love,” Loving God Back,” “Sharing Jesus’s Passion,” and many more.

This wonderful, award-winning book is filled with so many great quotes, not only from Scripture but from saints and others as well as from the author herself: “Before each of us was even born, we already began impacting the lives of others…” is so true and really is the basis for the respect and love of human life from the moment of conception. Fr. John Hardon’s quote “No human act is sterile. We are writing history for eternity,” is one of the many other powerful quotes the author utilizes.

I highly recommend this wonderful, inspiring and beautiful book to everyone, but most especially to those who wish to understand their own personal apostolate or mission.

It’s available on Amazon Kindle and in hardcover:

Copyright 2010 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Another Great Review for In Name Only

Many thanks to Therese Heckenkamp and Traditional Catholic Novels for this outstanding review of In Name Only.

In Name Only reads true to life, with crosses, temptations, blessings, redemptions, and happiness. Despite how it sweeps you in, this is not a light and airy romance novel; it has substance and does not skirt serious issues, nor rely on graphic “love” scenes to hold your attention. Indeed, it depicts true love. The preciousness of life—particularly of the unborn—is emphasized. In addition, In Name Only illustrates the weakness of human nature, the far-reaching consequences of giving into temptation, and the power of forgiveness. Serious issues involving abortion, chastity, conversion, and marriage are dealt with skillfully. Due to such mature themes and subjects, please note that this is not a novel for young teens. One other warning: You may need a box of tissues. But your heart will glow at the story’s end. In conclusion, this is the the best book I’ve read in a long time. It has all the qualities that make for an outstanding, memorable novel—and it’s Catholic as well! I highly recommend it!

To read the entire review: click here:

Be An Amazing Catechist: Inspire the Faith of Children

Be An Amazing Catechist: Inspire the Faith of Children
by Lisa Mladinich
Our Sunday Visitor

Lisa Mladinich’s new book “Be an Amazing Catechist: Inspire the Faith of Children” is an extraordinary booklet filled with colorful illustrations and photos interwoven with helpful tidbits, relevant biblical quotes and various references and websites. In fact, it has everything a Catholic catechist would need all in one book. Chapters include topics such as “Sharpen Your Knowledge,” “Mine for Gold,” “Run a Tight Ship,” “Sense and Sensibilities,” “Use that Bible,” and many more. The author includes a chapter on teaching kids with disabilities (written by Mary Lou Rosien) and another chapter which talks about utilizing puppets (Mladinich is also the creator and performer of original catechetical puppet scripts available at new.catholicmom.com/kids/puppet-ministry).

“The call to be an amazing catechist is really a call to conversion,” the author writes. This beautiful quote sums up this “amazing” book for catechists. Prayer is a common thread in all of the chapters and an essential element of being a catechist.

“Teaching is a great way to learn,” is quoted at the beginning of the book and, as a homeschooling mother, I agree wholeheartedly with this philosophy. I love this book and will be using it not only in homeschooling, but also in my parish’s children’s liturgy program.

“Be An Amazing Catechist: Inspire the Faith of Children” is ideal for use by all catechists: whether you’re a novice teacher with no experience or whether you’re an experienced educator. This booklet may be small, but it is huge in information and packed with many, many ideas for teaching the faith to children of all ages. I highly recommend this remarkable book to anyone who teaches the faith to children: homeschoolers; parish CCD teachers, experienced educators and anyone interested in teaching the faith to children.

Copyright 2010 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Beautiful Papal Quote on Marriage and Family

Our present Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, continues to uphold the beautiful Catholic teachings on marriage and family:

“In the Christian vision…marriage, which Christ raised to the most exalted dignity of a sacrament, confers greater splendor and depth on the conjugal bond and more powerfully binds the spouses who, blessed by the Lord of the Covenant, promise each other faithfulness until death in love that is open to life. For them, the Lord is the center and heart of the family. He accompanies them in their union and sustains them in their mission to raise children to maturity. In this way the Christian family not only cooperated with God in generating natural life, but also in cultivating the seeds of divine life given in Baptism. These are the well-known principles of the Christian view of marriage and the family.”

Pope Benedict XVI
Family: Spiritual Thoughts Series, USCCB Publishing

Couple Open to 20th Child

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s openness to life is receiving much criticism from the secular world. The Duggars and their family star in TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting.” Their 19th child (baby Josie) was born by emergency C-Section after Michelle developed pre-eclampsia. Their openness — despite criticism and pressure from many — is a refreshing change from the anti-life, anti-child attitude so prevalent in our world today.

The fact is…they’re living debt free and they can afford (and want) their children.

“Before we had a heart change about children, I thought it was very strange for people to have more than 3,” Jim Bob said. “We don’t expect people to understand.”

This change of heart came early in Michelle and Jim Bob’s marriage.

Michelle was taking the birth control pill, but got pregnant despite it. Yet after she miscarried between her second and third month, the Duggars’ doctor told them that the miscarriage had probably occurred because she had conceived while still on the pill.

The pro-life Duggars ceased taking the pill, studied the Bible, and decided that God considered children to be gift to be embraced rather than a burden to be avoided.

“People think we are overpopulating the world,” said Jim Bob. “We are following our convictions.”

The Duggars live debt-free in Tontitown, Arkansas, in a home that they built for themselves.

To read the entire article on LifeSiteNews, click on the link:


copyright 2010 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Hope, Faith and Trust

My latest column is up at Catholic Mom:

“Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.” This quote by George Iles could well have been the catalyst for my first novel, Emily’s Hope, which is based, in part, on my own spiritual trials in the journey towards motherhood.

Our first pregnancy 24 years ago resulted in the conception of twins. A first-time mother, I never expected anything but a child (or two) in my arms. Sadly, we lost those babies early on. Two healthy pregnancies, resulting in the births of our oldest two sons, were soon followed by two very difficult miscarriages. After that, I was hesitant to become pregnant again because I wanted to avoid the emotional and physical roller coaster of another loss. I became filled with despair, then fear, both of which can rob a soul of hope and trust.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article:


copyright 2010 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Too Many Conferences, Too Little Time

Cost for attending five conferences in two different countries, four different states: thousands of dollars.

Physical cost for attending five conferences in less than three weeks: exhausting.

The opportunity to meet many like-minded authors and fellow Theology of the Body enthusiasts: priceless

It’s been a whirlwind of activity these past three weeks and it isn’t over yet. I leave tomorrow for Green Lake, Wisconsin to attend and exhibit at the CCL Convention. It’s been an exhausting time and I am beginning to feel my age. But it has all been worthwhile because I have met so many wonderful new friends!

If you’re attending the convention, please stop by my exhibit table and say hello!

Copyright 2010 Ellen Gable Hrkach