God Messaging: Will You Accept the Friend Request Book Review

“God Messaging: Will You Accept the Friend Request” by Dana Doyle is a beautifully written and inspiring collection of essays in which the author shares reflections and personal experiences. Each chapter begins with a Scriptural quote and a personal experience and reflection.

The author is a Catholic school teacher and she blogs at “Catholic Working Mom.”

In Chapter One, she talks about how angels appear sometimes as a disabled child or a burly man with tattoos or a long-haired teen. In successive chapters, we hear about the author’s aunt, how the power of prayer is underestimated and why it shouldn’t be, how having a child-like faith is an asset. We also hear about sexual abuse, pregnancy complications, the importance of the Eucharist (and all sacraments) and she shares how she and her husband came to embrace NFP and the teachings of the Church on marriage.

I highly recommend this wonderful book!

“God Messaging” is available on Kindle or in print.

Copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Three of My Favorite Scripture Verses


I was tagged by Elizabeth at Startling the Day in a meme which starts with the question: “What are your three favorite Scripture verses?” I have listed three, but I could probably list 20 or more. These, however, are three of my favorites:

ONE

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13

I have this Scripture verse taped to the bottom of my computer monitor. Often, I feel overwhelmed with the day-to-day activities of being a wife and mother, as well as the duties of my (three) part-time jobs at home. Sometimes it seems like there could be 48 hours in a day, and I still wouldn’t be able to accomplish everything on my “to do” list. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I know I can look down at that simple little piece of paper with the short verse and feel less stressed.

TWO

This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you….It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.” John 15: 12-17

This particular passage was the Gospel at our wedding mass 29 years ago. Both James and I not only felt called to marriage, but also called to be open to life. We saw that one of the “fruits” of our marriage would be the children God would create through us. Never did we realize that in our openness to life, we would be called not only to create life, but also to face the loss of seven precious babies through miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy, as well as the near loss of my life with one of the pregnancies.

THREE

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body .” Genesis 2: 24

This has always been one of my favorite verses because it describes the origins of marriage.

Dana, Elizabeth and Sue, I’d love to know what your three favorite Scripture verses are! So I am tagging you in this blog post. When you post your “Three Favorite Scripture Verses,” tag three other bloggers and include the link back to this post!

Dana from Catholic Working Mom

Elizabeth from Will You Be My Voice

Sue from Sue Elvis Writes

Copyright 2011 Ellen Gable Hrkach

An Inspiring Catholic Historical Romance Novel


Special thanks to Dana Doyle of “Catholic Working Mom” for this incredible review of my second novel, In Name Only:

Ellen Gable’s book In Name Only is truly the best work of Catholic fiction that I have ever read. Mrs. Gable draws her readers into the story right away. It’s not one of those books that take several chapters to get rolling. The author masterfully develops her characters, so that the reader has a clear understanding of their appearance, personality and traits. Throughout the course of the book, one develops a sense of knowing these characters and caring about what will happen to them. Mrs. Gable keeps you turning the pages!

To read the rest, click here:

http://danardoyle.wordpress.com/2011/04/30/an-inspiring-catholic-historical-romance-novel

NFP: The Sacredness of Sex

Today’s post was written by Dana Doyle, who blogs at Catholic Working Mom. Thanks so much, Dana, for sharing your journey to NFP!

My husband and I have not always practiced Natural Family Planning. When we were married in 1989, we attended marriage preparation classes sponsored by our archdiocese. NFP was never mentioned. At a couple’s retreat, prior to our August wedding, there was an NFP pamphlet on one of the tables in the group meeting room; however, attention was never drawn to this resource. I remember sneaking into the room while it was unoccupied to take a brochure, feeling embarrassed by the topic.

Being a young Catholic, I thought that birth control was one of those issues in the Church where one was free to make his/her own decision. As I have become educated about my faith, I learned that this view on contraception as being a “personal choice” could not be farther from the truth. When one of my students recently asked, “How many of the Church teachings do I have to believe to still be considered Catholic?” “All of them,” I answered. I believe this to be true.

Well-meaning people made sure that my fiancé and myself had “precautions” packed in our luggage for the wedding night. It was billed as the “responsible” thing to do.

Years later, laying on a table in the operating room, having just given birth to my second child, my obstetrician asked me if I wanted my tubes tied. When I didn’t answer, he said, “This is your last chance. Speak now.” He was asking me if I wanted to be “fixed!” I thought to myself, “Nothing is broken.” It kind of put a damper on an otherwise perfect moment. I had respected my doctor as a skilled physician with a wonderful, supportive bedside manner. He was also a well-known member of one of the communities’ Catholic churches. This confused me greatly.

It wasn’t until I entered my thirties that I began searching for truth myself. It was then that I stumbled upon a cassette tape called, “Contraception, Why Not?” by Janet Smith. This professor clearly explained the Church’s teachings on the sanctity of marriage, as well as God’s plan for marriage and sex. She explained the two-fold purpose of intercourse between a husband and wife – how the unitive and procreative aspects must both be present in order for intercourse to be that sacred renewal of the sacrament of marriage that it is intended to be. I was stunned. I had never thought of sex as being sacred! I asked my husband if he would mind trying NFP with me. He agreed, and we’ve never looked back.

The wonderful thing about becoming aware of your body’s signs of fertility, as a woman, is that it cannot only help you to avoid pregnancy, but it can help you to become pregnant, too. Many people think that if they use NFP that they will have lots and lots of children – that does not have to be true. Due to health issues and financial limitations my husband and I prayerfully decided to avoid pregnancy for several years after our second child was born. With NFP, though, we say to God that He has the final word about the matter. We do not lock Him out of the bedroom. God can be trusted in ALL things. He loves us completely, and knows what is best for us. Can He be trusted with our fertility? Absolutely! He created it!

If you haven’t exactly embraced the Church’s teaching on contraception in the past, please think about trusting God with your fertility this Lent. NFP has some terrific side effects. It builds a deep respect and trust between married partners. A couple practicing NFP will naturally develop the cardinal virtue of temperance. If, after prayerful discernment, they choose to avoid pregnancy for the time being, they must exercise self-control on the days when the woman is fertile. It may seem that it would be a long, frustrating stretch. In reality, however, it usually amounts to about eight to ten days each cycle for the average couple. This period of abstinence requires placing the other person’s well being above your own. This is what true love is all about! It is my prayer that you will give NFP prayerful consideration. This “Yes,” to God and to His gift of life will surely bring abundant graces and blessings to your marriage!

Photo and text copyright 2011 Dana Doyle