EWTN Bookmark – A Subtle Grace

Three members of the Catholic Writers Guild were interviewed by Doug Keck for EWTN’s Bookmark last year at the Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show near Chicago. I speak about my fifth book, A Subtle Grace. Ann Margaret Lewis speaks about her book, The Watson Chronicles and Margaret Realy talks about her Catholic gardening books.

Seven Quick Takes – Miscellaneous Links and Anniversary Fun

seven-quick-takes-friday-2-1024x727Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at This Ain’t The Lyceum for SQT Friday.

1. Catholic Writers Guild
I’m over at the Catholic Writers Guild Blog today talking about finding inspiration in the little things.

2. Latest Post at Catholic Mom
My latest post at Catholic Mom is entitled, “NFP Improves Marital Communication.”

Photo courtesy Tim Baklinski at Two Trees Photography

Photo courtesy Tim Baklinski at Two Trees Photography

3. Interview at Carolyn Astfalk’s Blog
Special thanks to Carolyn Astfalk for the wonderful interview over at her blog!

photo copyright James Hrkach

photo copyright James Hrkach

4. A Chase in the Woods
Enjoy this entertaining video made by my second oldest son (and starring the three youngest sons). It was shot back in 2007 when at least two of my boys were shorter than me!

5. Anniversary – 33 Years!
It’s hard to believe it’s been 33 years! We’ll be celebrating by going to Mass and then out to breakfast. If you click on the link below, I uploaded a short slide show with photos and audio from our wedding 33 years ago. I thank God every day for our life together.
Wedding Slide Show

6. Reading Shelf
Hush, Hush by Michelle Quigley (review coming soon)

7. Anniversary Cartoon

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

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

Copyright 2015 Ellen Gable Hrkach

SQT – Favorite Marriage Quotes

seven-quick-takes-friday-2-1024x727Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at This Ain’t the Lyceum for Seven Quick Takes Friday.

Since my husband and I will be celebrating our anniversary next week, 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. ” (Saint 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.” (Saint 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 33 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 Saint John Paul II).Easter fam cropped

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 Familiaris Consortio Saint 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 one of my favorite anniversary gifts: a beautiful card that was lovingly made for us by Dominican Novices back in 2012 when we were celebrating our 30th anniversary. 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.

Text and photos copyright 2012/2015 Ellen Gable Hrkach

SQT – The Month of May

seven-quick-takes-friday-2-1024x727 Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at This Ain’t the Lyseum for Seven Quick Takes Friday.

I have always enjoyed the month of May. It happens to include some family birthdays, a holiday, my wedding anniversary and, of course, May is the month of Mary.

Here are a few of the reasons I love the month of May:

1. May is Mary’s month. When I was a child in Catholic school, each May the entire school and parish took part in the May procession. One 8th grade female student was chosen as May Queen to crown the statue of Mary. When my mother was 13, she was chosen to be May Queen at St. Richard’s School in Philadelphia. Years later, when we were living in Philadelphia and attending the same parish and school, my sister was also chosen to be May Queen in 1971. The photo below is of my mother as May Queen (1947).

2. May is usually a great weather month. After the long winter we had, I look forward to May’s spring weather.

3. May is a month of birthdays. I’ve shared before that my youngest son was my favorite birthday present 16 years ago. Besides my son’s birthday and my birthday, there are numerous other relatives who have birthdays in May.

4. May is the month of our anniversary. One of the reasons my husband and I chose May for our wedding 33 years ago is because it is the month of Mary, but also because May usually brings good weather. Again, ‘usually’ is the key word here. It rained the entire day of our wedding so most of our photos had to be taken inside. However, as the reception was winding down to a close, the photographer approached us. He said that the weather was clearing and asked us if we would like to pose for a few photos outside. When we walked outside, we were astonished to see a huge patch of bright light in the distance. It’s not evident from this photo because it was around 8:00 p.m., but the weather had turned quite beautiful. I took it as a sign from God that truly “bright days were ahead.”

5. May is the month of Mother’s Day. I have always tried to honor both my mother and mother-in-law. My mother has been gone for nearly eight years, but I still remember her daily in prayer. We usually treat my mother-in-law to dinner at a restaurant. As a mother myself, I have always enjoyed receiving home-made, creative gifts from my sons and have treasured these special mementos. The photo below is of me and my mother.

6. May includes a three-day weekend. Up here in Canada, the third Monday is Victoria Day, which is a holiday similar to Memorial Day in the USA. We usually celebrate by barbequing and enjoying a day off. It’s the unofficial start to summer (I say unofficial because up here in Canada, anything is possible in terms of weather…I have seen snow flurries on one or two previous Victoria Day holidays).

7. Mother’s Day Cartoon

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

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


Photos and Text Copyright 2015 Ellen Gable Hrkach

7QT – Book on #Sale, Lent Movies & Other Cool Things!

seven-quick-takes-friday-2-1024x727Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at This Ain’t the Lyceum for 7 Quick Takes Friday!

1. Angela’s Song Only .99!!
Angela’s Song by AnnMarie Creedon is only .99 until tomorrow! Head on over to Amazon to pick up your Kindle copy for only .99!AS Front Cover Final9-19

2. Catholic Writers Guild
I’m over at the Catholic Writers Guild blog today speaking about the importance of being needed.

3. Ecce Ancilla Domini
My post in honor of the Feast of the Annunciation two days ago and on the importance of saying yes to God’s will sparked a lot of comments.

Image copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach Please do not use without permission

Image copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach Please do not use without permission

4. Do You Believe
Have you seen the new faith-based movie, Do You Believe, yet? It’s from the same producers and writers of “God’s Not Dead.” I thoroughly enjoyed it. Do You Believe

5. The Passion of the Christ
Our family watches this movie every year, on Good Friday, when we return home from the Good Friday service. Powerful, hard-to-watch movie.Passion

6. Reading Shelf
A Catholic Gardener’s Spiritual Almanac by Margaret Rose Realy.

7. Kidding Cartoon

image copyright 2011 James & Ellen Hrkach Please do not use without permission

image copyright 2011 James & Ellen Hrkach Please do not use without permission

Copyright 2015 Ellen Gable Hrkach

7QT – Enter to Win FREE Books!

seven-quick-takes-friday-2-1024x727Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at This Ain’t the Lyceum for 7QT Friday.

I’ve got several free books to give away!!! (North American readers only, please!)

1. A Subtle Grace Giveaway
It’s the one-year anniversary of A Subtle Grace’s release. I’m giving away one free print copy as well as one free Kindle copy. Please leave a comment below before Friday, March 20th and I’ll enter you to win one of the free books. (If you’ve never commented on my blog before, I will have to approve your comment. Be patient! I’ll be traveling this weekend with little access to internet. I will approve comments on Sunday!)A Subtle Grace front cover Nov2013

2. From the Hub to the Heart Giveaway
Leave a comment (before March 20th, 2015) to win a free print copy of this wonderful book by Andrew LaVallee and Leticia Velasquez!! It’s an ideal book for Lenten reading that encourages fasting.Kindle small

3. Catholic Conference 4 Moms Video PackageCC4MomsAd
Conference Package is $39.99. Enter code word Hook to get $10 off and purchase the package for $29.99 (which includes all kinds of bonuses!!)

4. Dynamic Women of Faith Conference
I’ll be traveling today to Toronto to speak at this conference tomorrow. I’ll also be selling and signing copies of all my books!
DWF2015PNG

5. Milan, Italy
Eight years ago this week, James and I were on a whirlwind tour of England, France and Italy (My husband and I, along with another teacher and his wife, were chaperones for 48 high school students). Memorable trip! The photo below is of us in front of Santa Maria delle Grazie where we were able to see Leonardo’s Last Supper, which was one of the highlights of our trip! (We almost didn’t get inside because we didn’t purchase our tickets in advance…the other chaperone begged and pleaded and we were finally allowed to purchase tickets!!)

photo copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach Please do not use without permission

photo copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach Please do not use without permission

6. Reading Shelf
Pope Francis, Life and Revolution

7. Less Cost Cartoon

Image copyright James and Ellen Hrkach. Please do NOT use without permission.

Image copyright James and Ellen Hrkach. Please do NOT use without permission.

Copyright 2015 Ellen Gable Hrkach