All in Good Time by Carolyn Astfalk Cover Reveal

All in Good Time

Coming Soon! With three rambunctious, young children, Melanie Lombardi can’t see beyond the day-to-day struggle to maintain her home and her sanity since her husband’s sudden death. A second chance at romance isn’t on her radar.
Brian Perella is done with dating, resigned to being the fun uncle and never the dad. Until he meets Melanie and her brood of lively kids on the sidelines of a Little League game.
But when Brian uncovers a co-worker’s secret, it re-ignites a temptation that Melanie can’t know about. It’s his secret to keep until an unexpected diagnosis brings everything to the surface, jeopardizing his future with Melanie and her children, who, when threatened by an unknown stalker, may need him now more than ever.
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An Open Book #openbook Sept 2019

An Open Book 800W

Today I am joining with Carolyn Astfalk and CatholicMom.com for An Open Book.  Here is what I’ve been reading and planning to read!

 

Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Amazon Synopsis: Anna Karenina ( is a novel by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, published in serial installments from 1873 to 1877 in the periodical The Russian Messenger. Tolstoy clashed with editor Mikhail Katkov over political issues that arose in the final installment (Tolstoy’s negative views of Russian volunteers going to fight in Serbia); therefore, the novel’s first complete appearance was in book form in 1878. Widely regarded as a pinnacle in realist fiction, Tolstoy considered Anna Karenina his first true novel, after he came to consider War and Peace to be more than a novel. Fyodor Dostoyevsky declared it “flawless as a work of art.” His opinion was shared by Vladimir Nabokov, who especially admired “the flawless magic of Tolstoy’s style,” and by William Faulkner, who described the novel as “the best ever written.” The novel remains popular, as demonstrated by a 2007 Time poll of 125 contemporary authors in which Anna Karenina was voted the “greatest book ever written.”

My review: I just started reading this and I may be doing so for the next few months.  Review to come.

Forgiveness

The Power of Forgiveness by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

Amazon Synopsis: “The only way to peace is forgiveness.” -Pope Saint John Paul II

As Catholics, we know that God s forgiveness plants peace in our hearts. We also know that there s grace that flows from the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Even so, we often struggle to forgive those who have hurt us, so we don t experience the peace that forgiveness can bring.

The Power of Forgiveness includes reflections on the topic of forgiveness, inspirational stories of saints, simple prayers, and questions to help you meditate and pray. By opening ourselves to forgiving others, we participate in God’s mercy and begin the process of healing.   Part of the Companion in Faith series.

My review: Forgiving those who hurt us is not easy.  But when Jesus taught us the words to the Lord’s prayer, He said, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  Jesus didn’t include any exceptions.  Therefore, we are called to forgive others, no matter how much or how deeply they hurt us.

The Power of Forgiveness is a terrific booklet with reflections on forgiveness, inspirational stories of saints, prayers, and questions that help the reader to pray and meditate on forgiveness and opening our hearts to God’s mercy. It is only through opening our hearts to God’s mercy that we ourselves can begin to heal.

Highly recommend.  5/5 stars.

The Father's Son web image

The Father’s Son by Jim Sano (now available from FQP)

Amazon Synopsis: Despite a traumatic and difficult childhood, 39-year-old Boston sales executive, David Kelly, seems to have it all. While building a life of achievement, material success, and professional respect, an unexpected friendship with Tom Fitzpatrick starts him on an emotional and courageous journey that allows him to confront the truth of his past and the impact it has had on the relationships in his life. The Father’s Son is a highly engaging and masterfully written story that will make you think about faith, family, friendship, forgiveness, redemption, love, and truth, and may prove to profoundly impact how you look at life itself.

My review:  My review will be rather biased since I am publishing this book. But David Kelly’s story is a compelling one.  Highly recommend.

Eden's Sake

For Eden’s Sake by T.M. Gaouette

Goodreads Synopsis: Barely out of college, Isaac trades the quiet of his family ranch for the excitement of the big city with his dream job at an up-and-coming advertising agency. Until his perfect new world is shattered by bad choices, a pretty girl, a moment’s temptation—and a late night walk that quickly spirals out of control. Reeling with the horror of a mistake that can’t be undone, Isaac struggles to get his soul in order. Can he forgive himself? Can he make things right with God? What about Rebecca?

With both their lives desperately upended, and life-changing consequences no matter what they choose, Isaac must face his painful past, finding strength from God to do the right thing . . . and somehow convince Rebecca to do the same.

My review: What starts out as a careless night of drinking turns into a life-and-death situation. Isaac can’t undo his carelessness but he can do all in his power to prevent a young woman from making another mistake.  For Eden’s Sake is a well-written and compelling story about the consequences of sin and the grace of redemption. Thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend! 4.5 out of 5 stars.

 

When Adult Children Fall Away From the Faith

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Copyright Josh Hrkach Used with Permission

My latest Catholic Mom column: We recently spoke with four older couples about the challenges of parenting adult children, especially those who have fallen away from the faith. One mother shared her sorrow that her son not only has left the Church, but is actively antagonistic towards the Catholic faith and to her. A father of four adult sons talked about the frustration of finding out that his older son (who spent years serving as an altar boy and who had once considered a vocation to the priesthood) has stopped attending Mass. One couple shared the sad situation of their daughter’s same-sex relationship. Another couple was heartbroken that their daughter now considers herself “transgender.” All four of these parents, faithfully practicing Catholics, asked “What do we do now?” and “Where did we go wrong?”

I’m not an expert, but I do have some experience with parenting adult children who have abandoned their faith. Regarding blame: Recognize that our world has gone astray. Our adult children are being bombarded with messages contrary to the faith. Unless we have kept our children in a box their entire lives, they will come to know many more people who are living a hedonistic lifestyle than living a virtuous one.

Here are some suggestions that my husband and I have come up in dealing with adult children who have abandoned their faith.

  1. Unconditional Love: Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin

This might seem like an obvious one, but I know some parents who’ve shunned adult children because they’ve stopped going to Mass or are engaging in immoral lifestyle choices.

My gut reaction to that is, “How are they ever going to learn to change if they don’t have your example to follow?” Also, how are they going to experience God’s unconditional love without a parent’s unconditional love? You can love without encouraging immoral lifestyles. If a son or daughter is cohabiting and they visit your home, separate sleeping arrangements should be in order. If you have younger children, this shows them that you don’t agree with their lifestyle choices, but still love them and welcome them into your home … a home that does not condone cohabitation.

  1. Pray for Your Children Every Day

This is also obvious, but a parent’s prayer for his or her child is a powerful one. Our Lady is a powerful intercessor. St. Monica (whose son, St. Augustine, made immoral choices) prayed for her son’s conversion (and it eventually happened!). My husband and I recite the Rosary for our adult sons every day (one decade for each son). Jesus said, “Ask and you will receive.” Storm heaven for them. It is God’s will that our children spend eternity in heaven. We may not live to see their conversion, but we’ll be able to rejoice in heaven with them.

  1. Fast and Sacrifice for Your Children

Fast and sacrifice for your children. When you’re going through a difficulty, offer it up for your adult children, especially those who have fallen away from the faith. Fast on Wednesdays and Fridays (I do the Ash Wednesday-Good Friday fast of eating two small meals, no meat, and the third meal not larger than the two smaller ones combined.) I’ve seen amazing results with fasting because it’s like lighting a fire underneath our prayers.

  1. Look for Opportunities to Dialogue (But Don’t Nag or Preach!)

This can often be awkward. Most adult children of faithful Catholics know what their parents are going to say, but sometimes it still needs to be said. Take the opportunity whenever you can to reiterate your unconditional love for them and your disagreement with their choices to live a life contrary to the Catholic faith. However, avoid engaging in conversation if you know they might be antagonistic, especially in front of other family members. And don’t nag or preach.

  1. Be a Virtuous Example 

You can teach your kids all about the faith, especially in the areas of marital sexuality, but if you are not living that faith, these truths may be lost or ignored. This also goes for even more basic virtues like patience, fortitude and hope.

  1. Find Supportive Parents Who Are Going Through The Same Thing

Find a support network. I’m a member of a Facebook group called “St. Monica’s Moms.” A support network can give us consolation, especially when we remember that we’re not alone in our struggles. We can also pray for other parents going through this and ask for advice or suggestions on how to handle a specific situation.

  1. Be Hopeful

 I know adult children who converted very late in life; I’ve witnessed imperceptibly slow conversion resulting from an adult child’s experience with steadfast parents. Be hopeful. Never underestimate the value of our prayers.

Parenting adult children who have fallen away from their faith is challenging.  Love them unconditionally, pray and fast for them, look for opportunities to dialogue, be a good example, have a support network and remain hopeful that they will return to the faith.

This video is also helpful for parenting young adults who have fallen away from the faith:

If My Child Has Fallen Away From the Faith…

Copyright 2019 Ellen Gable Hrkach

The Father’s Son by Jim Sano #nowavailable

The Father's Son web image

The Father’s Son by Jim Sano is now available on Kindle and in Print.

Amazon Synopsis:  Despite a traumatic and difficult childhood, 39-year-old Boston sales executive, David Kelly, seems to have it all. While building a life of achievement, material success, and professional respect, an unexpected friendship with Tom Fitzpatrick starts him on an emotional and courageous journey that allows him to confront the truth of his past and the impact it has had on the relationships in his life. The Father’s Son is a highly engaging and masterfully written story that will make you think about faith, family, friendship, forgiveness, redemption, love, and truth, and may prove to profoundly impact how you look at life itself.

Reviews:

More and more baptized Catholics are walking away from the Church. Many have simply never been evangelized. Many have simply never been given a proper opportunity to encounter Jesus. Many have simply been hurt in their lives, some even by the Church. If we are serious about evangelizing them we will need to fully embrace Pope Saint John Paul II’s call for a new evangelization: “new in ardor, methods, and expressions.” The Father’s Son is a beautiful example of answering that call. For those of you who are striving to evangelize baptized Catholics – especially men – I would recommend getting this book into their hands. It is a story that will resonate with those who are dealing with wounds in their lives and might be what they need to set them on the path towards happiness, which ultimately will lead them into a relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church.   Michael M. Lavigne -Assistant Cabinet Secretary for Evangelization and Discipleship, Secretariat for Evangelization and Discipleship, Archdiocese of Boston

 I admit that I am a bit of a sucker for an engaging conversion story, but Jim Sano provided not only a book that I had to exercise great discipline to put down, but into the story of this young executive’s journey of faith he weaved a clear, relevant and attractive description of the Catholic Faith and its power to transform.  Today it seems all too easy to drift away from the Faith that had perhaps once been ours, and then to suffer the consequences of that neglect.  Here is a book that leaves its reader not only longing for more of the story, but wondering if the same hope and healing might be possible for them too.  Read this book, and get it into the hands of somebody you know who might need to remember what it means to be a son or daughter of a good father.   Ron Bolster -Assistant Professor of Theology, Director of Catechetics at Franciscan University

 Jim Sano’s The Father’s Son weaves a wonderful story around childhood misconceptions that lead to misshaped adult values, and how providence can lead people into our lives to set things straight. In this case, God leads sales executive David Kelly to Tom Fitzpatrick, who becomes both a friend and spiritual mentor, which in turn takes David on a journey that unravels the truth of his past and restores the faith he had abandoned. Definitely a book you’ll want to share with anyone who needs gentle nudging toward putting faith in God.   Michelle Buckman, author of CALA winner Rachel’s Contrition

 Questions galore filled my head as I kept reading with anticipation each chapter of The Father’s Son. Because David seems so together in most areas of his life, it kept gnawing at me. Why can he not commit? Why is there a chill running through the family’s relationships? It did not seem to fit. Tom is the catalyst who brings out David’s best, and worst, too! This novel “makes you laugh, makes you cry, and keeps you waiting.” Now, that’s a good book.   Florence Henderson

To get your copy, click here.

#FREE on #Kindle Emily’s Hope #NFPWeek

My first book, Emily’s Hope, is free on Kindle until Friday!

Emily's Hope

 

Amazon Synopsis: Emily’s Hope is the gripping story of one young woman’s physical, emotional, spiritual journey from high school to adulthood. Interspersed throughout the story are flashbacks to Emily’s great-grandmother’s troubled life, with a climax culminating in the surprising revelation that Emily and her great-grandmother are connected more deeply than by ancestral ties alone.  Based on a true story.

Reviews:

“I would encourage everyone to read this book, certainly young women.” David Beresford, Catholic Insight Magazine

“While this book is definitely about Natural Family Planning, it is also about the love of husbands and wives, the love of parents for their children and the agonizing moral choices we sometimes face. It is also about real people…and about being witnesses to a culture of life in a world overshadowed by the culture of death.” Kristie Wellman, One More Soul Magazine

“There is so much to love about Emily’s Hope: the innocence of young love, the beautiful, miraculous, healing power of love and the beauty of sacrificial married love and its life-giving splendor. This story is not a fantasy, but is a tender and sensitive portrayal of what makes love real and lasting.” Jean M. Heimann, blogger, Catholic Fire and author

To download Emily’s Hope for FREE on Kindle, click here:

NFP Week July 21-July 27, 2019

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National NFP Awareness Week – JULY 21 – JULY 27, 2019

Love, Naturally!

Natural Family Planning

Cooperating with God’s design for married love

“Celebrate and reverence God’s vision of human sexuality.”

NFP Articles:

Rebuilding a Culture of Life 

NFP and Resolutions for the New Year

Humanae Vitae and the Benefits of NFP

Responsible Parenthood and NFP

 

My Last Period FB

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

Here's to 20 yearssm

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

 

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Ella’s Promise Cover Reveal

The third book in the Great War Great Love series, Ella’s Promise, will be released on November 1, 2019.

Synopsis: When she joins the war effort during the Great War, American nurse Ella Neumann doesn’t see allies or enemies. The daughter of German immigrants, all she sees are human beings in need of care. A promise to herself and a promise made to her by an enemy officer become the catalyst for the life she plans to lead after the war. But a handsome Canadian soldier may complicate her plans. In this third installment of the Great War – Great Love series, join Ella in a tale of promises, betrayal and unconditional love.

front cover