I am very excited to share that Bella has landed on Goodreads.com. I am familiarizing myself with the Goodreads author portal and will make updates very soon! Those of you with an account on Goodreads, please take the time to give Bella a star and a review. Click here
I look forward to the 2023 Catholic Women’s Conference, where I will sell and sign books alongside my fellow Catholic Writer’s Guild authors. If you are in the area or know someone who is, pass along the registration information. The speaker line-up is fantastic!
This year’s theme, Light Shines in the Darkness (John 1:5), is the perfect pairing for Bella’s story and her theme of walking in God’s light.
INTERVIEW: Cath-Lit-Live Podcast
I recently chatted with award-winning author, speaker, and educator A.J. Cattapan. Not only was this my first face-to-face interview, but it was my first live podcast. I will be sincere and share that I had an enormous amount of butterflies in my stomach. Amy was excellent and made me feel very comfortable. However, the emotion of sharing my story was powerful. As you will see, I had difficulty holding back tears, but happy that I could be 100% authentic. You can find Amy’s published works, and website at www.ajcattapan.com.
Every January, I attend and help facilitate a four-day women’s retreat, which always promises to leave me spiritually refreshed and rejuvenated. I love beginning the year with fellowship, prayer, and one-on-one time with God. Even though much of my week is leading prayer and helping to keep the team on track, God still manages to sneak in and gift me with blessings beyond compare. Every year, I return home on a spiritual high ready to take on anything and everything. I am often so spiritually energized that I cannot get enough of God. That, my friends, is a glorious feeling that I hope for all of you.
As we prepare our hearts for Lent, I invite you to go deeper into your prayer time and perhaps embark on an activity that will ignite the fire in your heart for more of God. Some suggestions are journaling, Ignatian Contemplation, Lectio Divina, and Eucharistic Adoration. If you would like more information on different forms of prayer and ways to connect deeper with God, please contact me via the contact form.
I look forward to sharing more of Bella’s news as spring approaches. I ask you to keep Bella’s Beautiful Miracle in your prayers as I continue to shine God’s Light and Love into the hearts of those who read her story and share in the adventures of faith!
Psalm 62:5 For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.
Advent brings the opportunity of drawing near to God in a special way. Waiting for something can often bring anxious emotions to light, a lack of patience, and unrest. However, this time of year brings us into a time of hope within the waiting. Advent invites us to renew our relationship with God and prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
As we prepare to enter into this glorious season, I pray that you may receive the Grace and desire to reorient your hearts to the Lord. I ask my Father in Heaven, to draw you near with the blessing of attentiveness, and a renewing spirit within you.
Updates from Bella
On November 7th, Bella turned two months old! In the blink of an eye, the time has rushed by and we now look to the Christmas Season. Advent is one of my favorite times of preparation going into the holidays. It’s a time of longing for Christ, and the unending Joy on that Holy December day. The one time in my life when I actually enjoy waiting for something is during the Advent Season.
Advent can also be a time of checking in with my relationship with God and the way I have been living. In other words, using this time as a way to reflect on my desires, and if they are lined up with where God is calling me.
That being said, Bella and I have been very busy! I am happy to report that our craft fairs have been successful. There are two more weekends scheduled before Christmas. Make sure to check the schedule on Bella’s homepage.
Seal of Approval Announcement
I am very excited to share that Bella’s Beautiful Miracle, has been given the Seal of Approval from the Catholic Writers’ Guild! I cannot even begin to describe how much this has blessed my heart and Bella’s mission of bringing the Love of Jesus to as many hearts and homes as God will allow.
The Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval is not a literary award. The purpose of the Seal of Approval is to help Catholic bookstores and venues in their determination of the Catholicity of a work. This reassurance from a professional organization can assist authors in marketing and promoting their works. Books are also judged by their editorial integrity as well.
Christmas Shopping with Catholic Mom.Com, click the link for a wonderful gift guide!
I have learned a lot through my marketing mentor over the past couple of years, even about big words like algorithms. Amazon, Goodreads, and similar sites use the power of reviews, clicks, and likes to bring the item into a recommended list. “Items you may like” categories are populated based on the reviews of similar products.
How can you help? Well, I’m so glad you asked! RATE & REVIEW! The greater the number of yellow stars, ratings, and comments Bella’s Beautiful Miracle receives, the more often online retailers will bring it to the attention of their shoppers. It doesn’t have to be much, even a word or two saying how the story touched your heart or that of your child. Through your review or comment, you are helping to share in our ministry of shining the light and love of God to the hearts of many. Thank you for your part in being the light! Matthew 5:16
Author Interviews: I have been blessed to participate in a few online interviews. I will post them as they are available.
Inspire Christian Writers Anthology coming soon: I will have a short story published in the 2022 Inspire Christian Writers Anthology. The link will be posted as it is available.
Saint Joseph, The Foster-Father Saint, is the first in the Adventures with the Saints Series. Maria Riley takes the young reader on a journey into God’s word. Using honest and factual situational instances, Maria eloquently describes the foster care process through adoption. Throughout the story, the genuine love of family is highlighted between Joshua, the foster child, and his soon-to-be forever family. How Maria guides the young reader into this family is endearing and easily understood, appealing to a third-grade reading level.
Aside from the feelings of comfort Joshua receives once he joins this family in foster care are gems of inspiration and events which educate and enhance the knowledge of God and His love. Valuable lessons are woven throughout each chapter, which benefits not only Joshua but also his new siblings. These instances are portrayed in adventurous ways and have a powerful effect.
Many aspects of family life during the adoption process are depicted honestly and give the reader a look into the child’s heart. This is likely due to Maria’s deep love for all her children, even though they didn’t come to her the same way. Maria and her husband were foster parents and adopted three of her four daughters through foster care.
“You are a gift from God, and I thank God every day for giving me the precious gift of you.”
As the “adventure” unfolds, Maria brings the reader into the biblical story just after the birth of Jesus. It is in this endearing moment when the importance of God’s love for all His children is brought to the forefront. The many educational opportunities within this story are perfect for the intended reading level and beyond. As an adult, reading the story with child-like faith brought me deeper into the loving relationship between St. Joseph and baby Jesus.
The effects the adventure has on the three children differ depending on their ages, and this compares wonderfully to how God’s word affects us all in different ways. As a mom of three adult children, being reminded that my children are not only mine but belong to God was eye-opening. Children may outgrow the parent/child relationship; however, when a child is brought up in the love of God, spiritual growth is never-ending. This valuable lesson for parents is hidden within the creativity of Maria’s writing.
My favorite parent moment happens in the last chapter when Molly, their mom, enters the scene after the children have expressed their feelings to one another. Upon listening to the children honestly express what they had been up to that afternoon, Molly does not discount any of it. Instead, she responds with excitement, joy, and genuine interest in hearing about their conversations with the beloved saint.
As the first in the series, Saint Joseph, The Foster-Father Saint, is a blessing for all families, not only those involved in foster care! St. Joseph, The Foster-Father Saint, releases in November 2022, with more series installments in a few months.