Growing Up In God’s Image – Excerpt

The following is an excerpt from Full Quiver’s upcoming publication on how to talk to your kids about sex, “Growing Up in God’s Image,” by Carolyn Smith. This is the author’s introduction at the beginning:

To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.”(1 Corinthians 12:7)

It’s been many years since that first talk with my oldest daughter about the facts of life, but I remember it very well. Like most moms, I was a bit nervous and consternated over what to say. Actually, I remember resenting that I had to talk with her so soon. I felt pressured because many of the children at school were already “knowledgeable.” Hearing something from a classmate was the last thing I wanted to happen. I didn’t want her to hear about “sex.” I wanted her to hear about the beauty of God’s gift of love. I was getting ready to tell her about a very special and holy love, the love that existed between her father and me. My husband, Jim, is truly God’s gift to me. So I went to the Source of the gift and asked Him, “Lord, what do you want me to say to her?”

I felt certain God wanted me to start at the beginning with Him. After all, He is Love itself. All love, especially this love, comes from Him. God created us to love Him and to love each other; therefore we should talk about His creation of Adam and Eve and His plan for marriage from the very beginning. What we have today is nothing new. It has existed since the beginning of time. And, in the One that we image, it has always existed! Thus, this theme became the beginning of the “facts of life” talk.

The second theme came to me many years later while away with my husband for a weekend. The gift came during Mass between the consecration and the communion. After Mass, I couldn’t wait to tell Jim! It left me absolutely in awe that God has given to married people a love that resembles His own in the Eucharist!

I was then able to share this with my fifth daughter, (and the sixth, seventh, and eighth) when I talked to her about the “facts of life.” Her reaction was everything a mom could hope for. She looked up at me and said in wonder, “Wow, THAT is really neat!”

The third theme talks about marriage as a sacrament. What God intended from the very beginning of creation was elevated to a new level of sanctity by His Son. God is intimately present to every couple through the sacrament. He is the very Center of their life and love.

Advanced Review Copies available upon request. Email me: info(at)

Copyright 2012 Carolyn J. Smith and Full Quiver Publishing

7 Quick Takes Friday – Writing News

Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday.

1. I’m nearly finished writing the first draft of “A Subtle Grace,” which is the sequel to In Name Only, my second novel. I love writing historical fiction because I enjoy researching history. This particular book, however, has been a difficult one to write because I’m dealing with many challenging issues: attempted rape, stalking, accidental death etc. When I’m finished the first draft, I will upload the cover photo and possibly an excerpt. A Subtle Grace is scheduled to be released sometime in 2013.

2. Two of my novels, Stealing Jenny and In Name Only continue to be in the top five of Amazon’s Religious and Liturgical Drama category. In Name Only has been in the #1 position since January. Stealing Jenny has been in the top five since January (reaching #1 and occasionally bumping In Name Only out of the #1 spot).

3. We are close to releasing Full Quiver’s newest book, Growing Up in God’s Image, which is a book on how to talk to your kids about sex. Author Patti Armstrong recently sent this wonderful review: This book guides parents to gradually expand a child’s understanding of life beginning with how the love of family reflects the love of God. Teaching the facts of life fully demands including the spiritual. Carolyn does a beautiful job explaining the physical changes that occur during puberty while including the responsibility to be true to God’s plan and purpose for our bodies. The life lessons are presented in clear language and will enrich not just the children, but the parents also reading this book as an aid. Thanks, Patti!

4. Last week’s 7 Quick Takes prompted more comments than I’ve ever had on this blog! Thanks to everyone for the wonderful anniversary wishes! We had a great anniversary and, to celebrate, I posted a short retrospective video on Facebook.

5. Disappointment… Two months ago, a writer from a major Catholic magazine contacted me and asked for a copy of Stealing Jenny for an article she was writing on Catholic fiction. She explained that she was reading many Catholic novels and she would let me know whether my novel would be mentioned. A week or so later, she emailed me to tell me that Stealing Jenny would indeed be one of the nine novels featured in her article and she asked for a cover photo to accompany the article. This magazine has a somewhat varying (and large) target audience so I was elated that Stealing Jenny might find some new readers. Imagine my surprise a few days ago when this writer posted a message on one of my Facebook groups listing the eight other writers whose novels would be mentioned in the article. Thinking it was an oversight, I emailed her and asked her why my book wasn’t included. She responded by saying that mention of my book must have been “cut for space requirements.” While I’m very disappointed, I do understand that, given that the majority of the authors included were female…and given that there were two other suspense novels (written by male authors) mentioned, my book was probably the logical one to be cut.

6. I’ve also ventured into the business of editing. I’ve now edited five manuscripts (working on two more as we speak) and I am thoroughly enjoying this facet of the publishing/writing world! I’m only able to take on one or two manuscripts per month, but if you’re interested, email me info(at) and I’ll let you know my availability.

7. Planning to self-publish? Want someone to help guide you through the maze of self-publishing? I’m now also a book coach/self-publishing consultant. For more information, feel free to email me info(at) for more information and rates.

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen’s Conversion Diary.

Copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Sunday Snippets – May 20

Join me and other Catholic bloggers at RAnn’s Place for Sunday Snippets where we share posts from the previous week.

My husband and I will celebrate 30 years of marriage on Tuesday! It’s hard to believe we’ve been married that long.

Here are my posts:

Saints and Scripture Sunday – Happy Mother’s Day

Awards Contest for Self-Published Authors: Are They Really Worth It? (latest post for Catholic Writers Guild)

Catholic Writers To Hold Conference in Texas Press Release for the Catholic Writers Guild

Down to Earth
(latest cartoon from Family Foundations)

7 Quick Takes Friday – Quotes on Marriage

Cartoon copyright Full Quiver Publishing/James and Ellen Hrkach

7 Quick Takes Friday – Favorite Marriage Quotes

Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday.

Since my husband and I will be celebrating our 30th anniversary this weekend, I’d like to share seven of my favorite quotes on marriage.

1. “Intense love does not measure; it just gives.” (Blessed Teresa of Calcutta) This quote so perfectly illustrates the sacrificial love of marriage and, indeed, of any relationship. I see this illustrated every day when my husband goes above and beyond to sacrifice for our family. I try to live this quote: every morning I wake up and think, “What can I do to make my husband’s life easier today?”

2. “Marriage is an act of will that signifies and involves a mutual gift, which unites the spouses and binds them to their eventual souls, with whom they make up a sole family – a domestic church. ” (Blessed John Paul II). Love is not merely a feeling; it is a choice. Every day I have an opportunity to choose to love my spouse. Sometimes it isn’t easy, but it’s always worthwhile.

3. “Be not afraid.” (Blessed John Paul II) As shown in the photo below, I certainly wasn’t afraid of what the future would hold for us. I was too happy at that moment to think of future difficulties and challenges. I had no idea what the next 30 years would bring. All married couples will face hardships and challenges. But they will also experience great joy to balance any hardships. Of course, couples who enter into a sacramental marriage (and who live their faith) have the additional graces to assist them in handling any challenges and hardships.

4. “The two shall become one.” (Genesis 2:24) There’s no better illustration of our unity and oneness than our children who are the walking “representations of our love.” (cr Blessed John Paul II).

5. “Be fruitful; multiply.” (Genesis 1:28)

6. “How can I ever express the happiness of the marriage that is joined together by the Church strengthened by an offering, sealed by a blessing, announced by angels and ratified by the Father? …How wonderful the bond between two believers with a single hope, a single desire, a single observance, a single service! They are both brethren and both fellow-servants; there is no separation between them in spirit or flesh; in fact they are truly two in one flesh and where the flesh is one, one is the spirit.”(24) Tertullian (cr FC Blessed John Paul II) I love this quote from Tertullian, who exquisitely describes the spiritual and physical joys of the one flesh experience of Christian marriage.

7. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Romans 4:6) Prayer is such an important part of a sacramental marriage. But having people pray for you is also essential. In that regard, I’d like to share my favorite anniversary gift: a beautiful card that my sister and some of the other Dominican Novices lovingly made for us. Each sister signed her name to one day in May with a note below saying that “In honor of this occasion, we will offer 30 days (plus one) of prayer with a different sister praying for you each day this month.” Wow.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary.

Text and photos copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach