A few links to restore your faith in humanity

September 10, 2012 | 13 comments

It’s filming week! You can check out my Twitter feed to see how all that is going. Meanwhile, I thought this would be a good opportunity to do a post rounding up some of the amazing folks I ran into when I was at the CNMC last week. It was so inspiring to meet all these people doing such great work that I just couldn’t keep it to myself:

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I’m already cheating since this is not someone I met last week, but you just HAVE TO read this post by a mom who just found out that her newborn baby has profound hearing loss (her second child to have this diagnosis). It’s one of the most life-affirming, heartwarming things I’ve read in a long time.

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Ora et Labora et Zombies

The big buzz at the conference was that a guy named Ryan Trusell was handing out copies of his Catholic zombie apocalypse novel, which is delivered as a series of hand-written letters. I was going to do a whole post about it, but the Anchoress beat me to it and said everything that I was going to say, including the part about Trusell being one of the people meant to refresh the world. I actually knew Trusell before he began this new project, since we had a brief but memorable snail mail correspondence starting a couple of years ago. The letters he sent me were so powerful and profound and touching that I cried for a very long time after reading them, and occasionally pull them out to re-read and savor. God has given him a special gift, and I’m thrilled to see he’s sharing it on a wider level. You can find out more about his zombie letters here.

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Lunch with Gail Coniglio, Marcy Klatt, Teresa Tomeo, and Michael Russell

Author and radio host Teresa Tomeo is leading a pilgrimage at the end of this year (along with my fellow Style, Sex and Substance contributor Anna Mitchell) with the theme of Feminine Beauty of the Arts, which will reflect on the meaning of true feminine beauty, as seen in class works of art. (Love that unique idea for a pilgrimage!) Also, since God gives Teresa 30 hours in her days, she also has a great new book out called Wrapped Up: God’s Ten Gifts for Women.

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Marian Technology has an amazing smartphone app coming out that walks users through the process of discernment. I got to meet up with one of the creators and play with it on his iPhone. It’s one of the coolest, most well-thought-out apps I’ve seen in a long time. Keep your eye on the Marian Technology website to find out more about how to get it for your smartphone.

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My tradeshow wanderings happened to lead me to cross paths with author Shannon M. Deitz, and I’m so glad they did, because I got to learn about her memoir Exposed: Inexcusable Me…Irreplaceable Him. In the book Shannon opens up about her experience as a rape survivor, as well as her path through partying and abusive relationships. I just love the last line of the book description, which says that “not only does this book expose the awful truths of physical and emotional abuse, but it also exposes the truth that, no matter how deeply our wounds may run, we will always be worthy of God’s healing grace.”

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With Sr. Anne, a.k.a. the Nunblogger

If you’re looking for a speaker on any topics related to modern technology and the Christian life, I highly recommend my new friend Sr. Anne Flanagan. Her order, The Daughters of St. Paul, was founded for the intention of evangelizing in the world of communications, and she has a lot of great insights in that area. When she interviewed me for her blog, she had the notes on her iPhone, and recorded our conversation through a snazzy iPad app. Passers-by kept doing double-takes to see this nun and her cutting-edge gadgets.

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Joe happened to be with me when I made my way over to the Dappled Things booth, and I was curious to see what he would think. He’s always had a great love of poetry, and even studied it in college, and has a discerning eye for that type of writing (read: he’s kind of a poetry snob). He flipped through one copy, his eyes lit up, and he immediately signed up for a subscription, in addition to buying pretty much every back issue they had with them. He read one of the issues cover-to-cover that night, and has been raving about it ever since. You can get your subscription here!

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I’ve been feeling drawn to do less reading during prayer time (for various reasons that I’ll elaborate on later), and so I was delighted to come across the booth of Alexandra International, which had gorgeous icons and other religious art imported from Russia. I got the stunning piece pictured above, with a glass “door” that I open when I pray.

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I hadn’t heard of the documentary Rise and Dream until I talked to some of the promoters at the conference, but now I can’t wait to see it. It’s about impoverished children in a volatile region of the Philippines who find hope and inspiration by learning the traditional instruments of their culture, then performing in front of a crowd of thousands. You can watch the trailer here.

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With author Ellen Gable

I crossed paths with author Ellen Gable after one of her talks and was lucky enough to get a copy of her novel Stealing Jenny, which has been getting rave reviews on Amazon. Then after she walked away I realized I forgot to get her to sign it! Arrgh. Anyway, I’m excited to have it, and this one may even tempt me out of my nonfiction ghetto.

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I hope you enjoyed “meeting” these folks virtually as much as I enjoyed meeting them in person! (Also, I apologize if I forgot anyone. I put together this post by going through business cards in my purse, and I undoubtedly lost a few in transit.)

Hope everyone has a great week! And if you’re having a bad day, just remember: at least there aren’t cameras following you everywhere and filming it.


  1. Eva

    Although one way to stop me having a bad day (ie yelling at the kids from 5am) is to picture that Im being filmed for a reality show. I get quite well behaved then!

      • Eva

        We should write a parenting book!

  2. JonMarc Grodi

    The Zombie letters sound cool – going to have to check that out!

  3. Jenna@CallHerHappy

    Thanks, Jennifer! I love “meeting” new Catholics in media; it makes me feel hip. In the know.

  4. nancyo

    I love “meeting” the people you met at the conference. I was following along on Twitter throughout, and wishing I could be there in person. Your photos and descriptions are the next best thing! Hmmm, I dunno, if a reality crew were here, that would mean that (1) I would have cleaned my house stem to stern before they arrives, and thus would have a spiffy house right now and (2) the accountability of being followed and filmed would be a powerful incentive to staying on task.

  5. Smoochagator

    That “Deaf Like Me” post KILT ME DEAD with its awesomeness.

  6. priest's wife

    I appreciate your conference updates- from someone who cannot get there (and I think my introvert-ness is so severe I would hang out in my hotel room anyway)

  7. Dennis P McGeehan

    Sounds like it was a great time at the convention. I hope to attend next year and actually meet some of the people I chat with on-line.

  8. essays

    Quite nice!

  9. TracyE

    I LOVED Stealing Jenny!! What a page turner!!!!!! I’ve decided I’d like to make it to the CNMC next year…we shall see if God agrees with my plan or merely chuckles….that happens alot!

    • Ellen Gable Hrkach

      Hello Tracy and thank you so much for your comments regarding my book, Stealing Jenny! And thank you, Jen, for mentioning it and posting the photo of us at the conference! Tracy, I hope you can come to the conference next year!

  10. Steve Martin

    Thanks for the links and great stories.

    But my faith was never intended for humanity…but for God alone.

    There’s a lot of ‘good’ people in this world, who do a lot of good. But there is no fixing this place. The life of the world and our lives are not progressing, but are being brought to an end.

    We actually need a Savior. Thanks be to God that He has provided us One.


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