7 Quick Takes Friday – September 28

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

Here are my Quick Takes:

1. In Name Only Review
Special thanks to Trisha Potter for this amazing review of In Name Only.
2. Growing Up in God’s Image
Growing Up in God’s Image: A New Approach to the Facts of Life talk has continued to sell well on Amazon. The Kindle version is now available.

3. Only Eight Days to the Release of Angela’s Song!
Angela’s Song, a Catholic novel by AnnMarie Creedon will soon be released by my publishing company, Full Quiver Publishing. Check out the novel’s website for more information.

4. Kayak Rides
I’m thoroughly enjoying a weekly kayak ride with my husband (who, as a newly retired person takes his boat out daily, weather permitting). Admittedly, I have to get in line because other members of the family want to accompany him as well. The weather remains warm and the scenery is breathtaking.

photo copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

5. Waiting at the Window
This whole school bus thing is new to me, since in the past our high school attending children just drove to school with Dad. I dutifully wait at the window until they get on the bus. I figure if they have to wait, then I should wait with them.

Waiting for the school bus in front of our house…photo copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

6. More Books on My Reading/Review List

I Believe: The Creed and You by James Forsyth

The Road Home: A Journey of Faith by Joan Levy Earle

7. Many Hands Make Light Work – Cartoon

cartoon copyright Full Quiver Publishing/James and Ellen Hrkach

Copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach

“Better by the Dozen Plus Two” Book Review

A few months ago, I noticed a “shout out” on Linked In or Facebook (can’t remember which) that James and Kathleen Littleton were looking for reviews of their book “Better by the Dozen Plus Two.” The title of the book immediately brought to mind one of my favorite books, “Cheaper by the Dozen,” so I offered to read their book and write a review.

The Littletons are to be greatly admired. In this day and age, when abortion is frequent, when contraception use is widespread, a faithful Catholic family who has been open to a large number of children is to be admired and respected. Like the authors, my husband and I were also open to a large number of children. Unlike the authors, however, we have more babies in heaven (seven) than we are raising. Still, we face the same issues they face on a daily basis.

James and Kathleen insist on Daily Mass for everyone in their family and they are strict when it comes to internet, television, movies, books, etc. As a parent, I especially appreciate that parents need to be too strict rather than too lenient in light of the sordid things that can be found on the internet.

I found this to be an interesting read, although as a faithful, Daily Mass attending, non-contracepting Catholic, that’s probably not a surprise. I enjoyed their writing style, although if I compared this book to Cheaper by the Dozen, there isn’t the same sort of laugh-out-loud humor and many of the chapters are dry and informative.

I received the book for free from the authors (thanks so much!). This book is available on Amazon in print or on Kindle.

Copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Limited Time: Stealing Jenny Kindle Edition Only .99!

For a limited time only, Stealing Jenny, Kindle Edition is only .99! Stealing Jenny has over 60 five star and four star reviews on Amazon. It’s been in the top ten of theReligious & Liturgical Drama Category since November of last year and has spent most of that time in the top five. In June and July of this year, it was #1. To download the Kindle book, click here.

Sunday Snippets – September 22

Image copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

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

Because of several deadlines, I was only able to post once this week:

7 Quick Takes Friday – September 22 Leave a comment at this post to be entered to win a print copy of Growing Up in God’s Image: A New Approach to the Facts of Life Talk which made it to #2 in Religious Education books earlier this week.

7 Quick Takes Friday – September 21

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

It’s a dreary, cool, rainy Friday here in Ontario. I haven’t posted to my blog this week because I was working with four different deadlines.

Here are my Quick Takes for this week:

1. Growing Up in God’s Image Made it #3 This Week!
Growing Up in God’s Image:A New Approach to the Facts of Life Talk, my company’s newest book on how to talk to your kids about sex, reached #3 in all “Religious Education” print books this week and has been in the top ten in several categories on Kindle. I’m giving away one free print copy! To be entered, leave a comment below before September 28th! For more information, to read an excerpt and reviews, check out the book’s website.

2. Angela’s Song
Full Quiver’s upcoming release is called Angela’s Song by AnnMarie Creedon. I’ve been working hard on the final edits and the manuscript is now at the printer. I’m also working on the Kindle edition and it should be ready in time for the October 7 release date. For more information, check out the novel’s website.

3. Interesting Article on Waiting Until Marriage to Have Sex
Waiting Till the Wedding Night: Getting Married the Right Way Excellent opinion piece by a news journalist regarding his decision to wait until marriage to have sex.
“Let me preface this column by saying this: my wife…and I not only waited sexually in every way (no, we didn’t pull the Bill Clinton and technically avoid “sex” sex,) but we didn’t shack up as live-ins and most importantly, we courted each other in a way that was consistent with our publicly professed values. We did it right…

4. Another Great Article on Pre-Marital Chasity
The Journey Towards Marriage- Relationships before marriage from the perspective of a newly engaged couple On September 8, 2012, the feast of the Nativity of Our Lady, His Imperial and Royal Highness Archduke Imre of Habsburg-Lorraine married Miss Kathleen Walker at St. Mary’s Church in Washington, DC. This is an excellent article by the royal couple on marriage preparation and their decision to wait until marriage to have sex.
“We decided that the relationship we are building will one-day be sealed by the gift of our sexuality, a gift protected and nurtured by the knowledge that we have already made a final commitment in the freedom that comes from knowing that sexual intimacy takes place in a permanent, respectful and loving friendship. The limitation of sexual activities to marriage is thus not to be understood as interdiction, but rather as a positive option, in which two persons are able and willing to give themselves to each other, and even to sacrifice for the good of the other.”

5. Why Do Catholic Women Reject Their Own Church’s Teaching on Contraception?
Why Do Catholic Women Reject their Church’s Teachings on Contraception: Now We Know Excellent post from LifeSiteNews on why many Catholic women do not follow Church teaching on birth control and the importance of priests giving homilies about the Church’s teachings on sexuality.
“The latter can be deduced from the fact that 72 per cent of women surveyed said they rely mainly on the homily at Sunday Mass for learning about the faith, and yet just 15 per cent of that group fully accept the Church’s teaching on sex and reproduction. The weekly Mass homily, the authors say, “seems to represent a lost opportunity when it comes to conscience formation on the contraception issue.”

6. Books I’m Reading and Reviewing
I’ve got a huge pile of books waiting to be reviewed, but here are three I will be reviewing over the next few weeks:
Sarah Reinhard’s “A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy: Walking with Mary from Conception to Baptism.” Look for my review on October 14 and I’ll be giving away not one, but TWO copies of this wonderful book.

Better by the Dozen Plus Two by James and Kathleen Littleton

Bread Upon the Water by Deanna Klingel

7. “Cease Fire”
I’d like to end today’s Quick Takes with one of our classic cartoons (2007):

Don’t forget! If you want to be entered to win a free print copy of Growing Up in God’s Image, leave a comment below!

Cartoon copyright Full Quiver Publishing/ James and Ellen Hrkach

Sunday Snippets – September 16

Image copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

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

Here are my posts:

Theology of the Body in a Nutshell

7 Quick Takes – More Conference Highlights

“Fools, Liars, Cheaters and Other Bible Heroes” Book Review

Stealing Jenny Photo Endorsement #2

Networking and the CWCL

Theology of the Body in a Nutshell

My latest columns at Amazing Catechists and Catholic Mom gives a thumbnail of the Theology of the Body:

If we look at the four components of God’s love for us (free, total, faithful, fruitful) and compare God’s love to marital love, we can discover how to live the Sacrament of marriage as the ultimate expression of spousal love.

Free: We need to be able love our spouse freely. If we ask for conditions, that’s not love. If we force our spouse to do something, that’s not love. If we cannot say no to our sexual urges, then we are not free.

Total: The love for our spouse must be total. We can’t say, “Well, I’ll give you everything, honey, except for my fertility.” Total means total. (Re: CCC 1643).

Faithful: Obviously, faithfulness means we must only have intercourse with our spouse and no other. But if we want to be truly faithful to our spouse, we must be faithful in word, action and thought.

Fruitful: Marital relations must be fruitful, open to children, each and every time. That doesn’t mean we will conceive (or want to conceive) a child with every marital embrace. It just means we need to be open.

Birth control, in fact, destroys all four of the essential components (free, total, faithful, fruitful). Birth control violates not only God’s plan in fruitfulness, but it also encourages an “I can’t say no” mentality to sex. When an action, device, medication or operation is purposefully used to remove fertility, a couple cannot give themselves totally, no matter how much they love each other. Contraception says, “I give all of myself to my spouse – except my fertility.”

Natural Family Planning allows a couple to love each other as God loves: freely, totally, faithfully and fruitfully. Couples using NFP chart the wife’s cycle and, if avoiding pregnancy, they abstain in the fertile time. If they are planning a pregnancy, they engage in relations during the fertile time. They are not using devices; they are fully giving of themselves and they are open to children with each and every act of marital relations.

NFP allows us to love our spouse as God loves us: freely, with no reservation, faithfully and open to children. Marriage can be a holy vocation when a couple loves as God loves: freely, totally, faithfully and fruitfully.

Want to live the highest expression of your marital love? Use NFP and be open to life.

For more information about the Theology of the Body:

For more information on NFP:

Copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach

7 Quick Takes Friday – Conference Highlights Part II

Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at Camp Patton for 7 Quick Takes Friday (Jen is busy filming a television show).

Today I’d like to share more highlights from the Conference in Dallas, Texas. (Here is Part 1 of the Conference Highlights).

1. Teresa Tomeo
I had a great chat with Teresa Tomeo during the book signing for her new book, Wrapped Up: God’s Ten Gifts for Women.

2. Pat Gohn
Pat Gohn is one of my favorite podcasters! She has a beautiful speaking voice and an enthusiastic sense of humor! This photo was taken at the CWG Booth.

3. Amazing Authors Part 1
Authors T. M. Wallace, Ann Frailey and AnnMarie Creedon were some of the many volunteers helping out at the CWG Booth.

4. With Author Gerard Webster (and his wife, Anne)
Someone I always look forward to seeing at the annual conference is Gerard “Jerry” Webster, award-winning author. He always puts a smile on my face and is just a fun person to be around.

5. Amazing Authors Part 2!
We were blessed to have many volunteers helping out at the booth, as well as wonderful Catholic writers. Ann Lewis (award-winning author and president of the CWG, in the middle of the group) organized the conference. It was my first time meeting Rebecca Frech, blogger and mother of seven (far left). Author Karen Kelly Boyce is always a delight and booth volunteers Barbara Patterson (far right) and Kelly McClintock (in front) helped make the booth a success. It was also great meeting author Erin McCole-Cupp and writer Donna Doherty (in second photo below – along with AnnMarie Creedon).

6. Hotel was Cool!
The Arlington Sheraton was definitely a beautiful place to stay, very state-of-the-art and posh.

7. Dallas
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to do any sightseeing in Dallas (like the Texas School Book Depository…) but I did get to see Dallas from the sky and spent a lot of time at the DFW Airport!

For more quick takes, visit Camp Patton!

Text and photos copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

“Fools, Liars, Cheaters and Other Bible Heroes” by Barbara Hosbach

“Saints are sinners who kept on going.” As I was reading Barbara Hosbach’s new book, I was reminded of this quote by Robert Louis Stevenson. “Fools, Liars, Cheaters and Other Bible Heros” is a delightful book that tells the stories of biblical characters who all responded to God’s call. With a title like that, whose interest wouldn’t be piqued?

From the book blurb: Fools. Liars. Cheaters. Who would expect the likes of these to be invited to the heavenly banquet? But in his parable comparing the kingdom of God to a wedding feast, Jesus tells us that the king invited “both good and bad” (Matthew 22:10). He not only invited people with social standing, but the poor, the disabled, and anybody else his servants could find (see Luke 14:21, 23). Quite an assortment of guests!

This is a great read for anyone interested in learning more about the characters of the Bible, first from the Old Testament: the lesser known Mephibosheth, Naaman, Rahab, Gideon and the better known Rebecca, Leah, Miriam, Ruth and Esther (to name a few). From the New Testament, we hear more about the not-so-well-known Man at the Pool, Mary mother of John Mark, Lydia and Priscilla, again to name just a few. My favorites were the lesser known characters, although I also learned something about the more famous Biblical personas.

Each chapter includes a story about a biblical character and is followed by questions for reflection and discussion.

Beautifully written, I highly recommend this unique and delightful book for those who want to learn more about the “fools, liars, cheaters and other bible heroes.”

This book is available on Amazon and through Franciscan Media.

Copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach