I have new reading suggestion for anyone who’s ever considered writing a book: Chapter After Chapter by Heather Sellers. Whether you’re a seasoned author or just starting out, you’ve got to read this. It’s not a technical how-to book like the other one I was raving about in #1 here, but rather offers advice and encouragement about the process itself.
It’s like if you could sit down and have a cup of coffee with a friend who knows all about writing books, and have her give you just the right mix of tough love, practical suggestions and shouts of “you can do it!” All aspiring authors need this on their bookshelves.
After this week’s post about churches as places of help, a reader sent me this fascinating article from National Geographic about people who have endured harrowing escapes from North Korea. Evidently among the defectors there’s a saying: when you get to the other side, “head for a cross.” (On page 5 of the article.) In the brutal world of North Korean refugees, who are often exploited by drug dealers and underground prostitution rings, Christian churches are havens of safety. The whole article is a must-read.
I had to change one of my passwords last week, and I realized that it was kind of a symbolic moment. It’s one of those passwords that I’d started using years ago, and had had so long that I’d forgotten who or what had originally inspired it. When I changed it last week I remembered that it’s the name of a famous atheist, and I’d originally chosen it because I’d loved his work. Funny how sometimes remnants of old ways of life hang on in the strangest places.
On another conversion-related note, I went to a wedding last week and had a delayed ah-hah! moment. Like most of the weddings I’ve ever attended it was completely secular, and it followed the typical format of people standing when the bride walked down the aisle, some readings, the vows, etc. Something seemed familiar about it, and I realized: this is like the Mass! Everyone stands at the beginning of the service, there are three readings, then a homily, then the vows (at a wedding Mass), then everyone stands at the end. I’d always thought that people just randomly came up with that format, so it was neat to recognize the roots of wedding ceremonies.
An email I sent to my husband last week, about ten minutes after my mother-in-law, Yaya, arrived (“D.” is our five-year-old son):
I can tell this is going to be a good visit. I’m laughing so hard right now I can barely type. Yaya wanted to watch Fox News, so she turned on the TV. It came on to the International Rosary on EWTN (which, admittedly, probably does look a little strange with all the soft-focus shots of people gazing at the sky and chanting something in a foreign language while holding beads) and it’s stuck at a really loud volume. D. really wants to change the channel himself but is overtired and having trouble with the new remote. She’s trying to be patient but just cannot stand for it to be on this boring and weird show. So what I’m hearing from the living room is the droning sound of the Hail Mary in Japanese punctuated by Yaya yelling “WHAT IS THIS SHOW?! TURN THE CHANNEL! PUT IT ON FOX NEWS! FOX NEWS!” over a soundtrack of D. screaming and canned angel music.
I keep thinking about these custom coffee stencils that Cheeseslave was talking about a while back. I don’t even drink coffee these days, but I feel like I need them. For something. Anyway, they’d make a great gift idea for anyone looking for gifts for graduation, teachers, Father’s Day, etc.
For those of you who are doing the Novena to the Holy Spirit, I just realized that someone has put all the prayers on Youtube. Cool idea. I know a lot of people prefer audio-visual stuff to reading, so I thought I’d collect them all in one place. Here are the links: Day 1 (Spirit); Day 2 (Fear of Sin); Day 3 (Piety); Day 4 (Fortitude); Day 5 (Knowledge); Day 6 (Understanding); Day 7 (Counsel); Day 8 (Wisdom); Day 9 (Fruits of the Holy Spirit).
Have a great weekend, everyone!
I look forward to reading your posts!
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