Thursday, June 15, 2017

It's Summer Reading Time/Flesch-Kincaid Test


Summer is the perfect time to take a good book outside!


Mornin, everyone!  Pardon my absence, but daily life and some new copy editor jobs have a way of getting in the way of a good blog post! Hope everyone is having a lovely start to the summer season. Here in Michigan, we try to eke out every ounce of summer we can. Our summers are amazingly beautiful here...how can they NOT be with the crystal-blue shorelines of our Great Lakes and the towering pines of our gorgeous forests? Michiganders are proud of our state and its beauty. No other state compares! Both peninsulas are breathtaking, but the Upper Peninsula (simply "the UP" to we Michiganders) is especially lovely in summer.

Lovely, cold, Lake Superior. The Great Lake Gordon Lightfoot once sang about: Gitche Gumee!

If you were a seagull and lived on Lake Superior, you'd chill out on a rock in the sun, too.

Me and my floppy hat, lovin' the peace and quiet of the UP. 
Believe me, I watched and watched...no such luck on our trip. I can dream.


A Michigan sunset in the northern Lower Peninsula. Yummy.

I'm still hoping our family can get "up north" this summer, but if not, I'll have to live through memories of summers past.  Nothing beats a time of relaxation in the calm, warm weather and nature of a Michigan summer, but packing along summer reading books for those downtimes or the occasional rainy day is a must.

Which brings me to...summer reading!  I know my readers have plenty of summer reading, whether it's mandatory or not! Most Catholic schools have summer reading lists, and I'm pleased to see that my three books are on them across the country. For many, Olivia and Josh and the rest of the gang are becoming their good companions.

For teachers and parents, don't forget that I have free PDF discussion guides I can email you that go along with the books. Feel free to email me at Nancy (at) harveyhousepublishing (dot) com and I'll get those right out to you! Like, immediately, so you can start discussing all of Olivia's adventures with Hayley and her grandma and Chad and all of the shenanigans (Grandma's word, not mine) that they can get into! And of course, Josh and good old Pie, who forge an unlikely friendship as Josh starts 8th grade.

For teachers, principals and librarians who need to know the more technical side of things, on the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level scale, Olivia and the Little Way scores 4.3; Olivia's Gift scores 4.6; and The Gate scores 6.1.  Usually the Olivia books are taught in grade three/four in many Catholic schools, and The Gate in grade six. 

It doesn't matter where you go this summer; even if it's your own back yard, you can still enjoy summer reading! Happy reading!




Petoskey stones are fun to collect. But you have to be near Petoskey to do it. 



Monday, March 20, 2017

Adult Coloring Book for Lent



Bezalel Books has a beautiful coloring book for adults this Lent. Written by Kathryn Mulderink, OCDS and with captivating illustrations by Father Victor KyNam, this coloring book will help you relax and meditate on the Stations of the Cross of our Lord. I encourage you to check it out: Bezalelbooks.com or https://www.amazon.com/Stations-Cross-adult-coloring-book/dp/1936453347/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1490025438&sr=8-6&keywords=stations+of+the+cross+coloring+book








Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Pro-Life 'Tween Novel: Olivia's Gift

"Parents looking for a book that...promotes wholesome Christian values and the Catholic faith will want to get their hands on Olivia's Gift. Pro-life values are subtly underscored in a moving chapter...and Olivia's turning to her favorite saint for help ultimately leads her to do the right thing, after taking a few wrong turns along the way. Even better, her example influences her friends to become better persons themselves."

                                                                —San Antonio Today's Catholic



Recipient of the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval


Catholic Press Association Award Winner


Winner of Royal Dragonfly Book Award, Children's Chapter Books





It wasn't my first intention to write Olivia's Gift as a pro-life novel, but as the story unfolded in my mind and heart, I knew the Holy Spirit was asking me to have this important theme running throughout the story. It's done in an age-appropriate way, with opportunities for parents and teachers to expand as much as they need to. Taught in Catholic schools, home schools, and parish classrooms, Olivia's Gift challenges and educates young readers as Olivia encounters people on her family vacation who teach her what the gift of life truly is. With a pro-modesty theme as well, it is a wholesome Catholic story for all ages. I wrote a discussion guide for teachers and parents to use alongside Olivia's Gift. If you are interested, please email Guide (at) Harveyhousepublishing (dot) com and I will email you the PDF free of charge. A visit to the same website will provide more information about this Catholic 'tween novel.




Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Christmas Prayer



A Christmas Prayer


Lord, in this holy season of prayer and song and laughter, we praise you for the great wonders you have sent us: for shining star and angel's song, for infant's cry in lowly manger. We praise you for the Word made flesh in a little Child. We behold his glory, and are bathed in its radiance. 

Be with us as we sing the ironies of Christmas, the incomprehensible comprehended, the poetry made hard fact, the helpless Babe who cracks the world asunder. We kneel before you shepherds, innkeepers, wise men. Help us to rise bigger than we are. 


Amen.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Feast Day of St. Therese of the Child Jesus



Prayer to St. Therese

O little St. Therese of the Child Jesus, who during your short life on earth became a mirror of angelic purity, of love strong as death, and of wholehearted abandonment to God, now that you rejoice in the reward of your virtues, cast a glance of pity on me as I leave all things in your hands. 

Make my troubles your own - speak a word for me to our Lady Immaculate, whose flower of special love you were - to that Queen of heaven "who smiled on you at the dawn of life." Beg her as the Queen of the heart of Jesus to obtain for me by her powerful intercession, the grace I yearn for so ardently at this moment, and that she join with it a blessing that may strengthen me during life. Defend me at the hour of death, and lead me straight on to a happy eternity.

Amen

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Delightful Moments in Everyday Life

My good friend Anne Reeves, Ana Designs author, photographer, baker, creator and designer extraordinaire who blogs at http://anadesigns.blogspot.com/, loves to talk about delight. What is delight? For her, delight is all about using your senses and your heart to enjoy and appreciate beauty in our world, even when the news and things going on around us and in our towns, families, parishes, and workplaces don't exactly show delight.  She reminds us that it's always there, in the smell of a new rose in your front yard, cleaning off the dirt from a freshly picked cucumber (as I just did from my oldest son's bountiful garden!), the first sip of coffee in the morning (no other sip is as good as the first one), even a smile from a stranger. You may have to look high and low, but delight can always be found no matter where you are. Simple things, simple joys, simple little delights that we can enjoy alone or with the people around us.

If you look around at your day-to-day life, I bet you can find some delightful things about even the murkiest day. I managed to find a few delightful moments in my day yesterday, and yesterday wasn't exactly a stellar day for me! But by the end of the day, I could count several delightful moments God had given me, and I was thankful.

Anne and I met for lunch a couple days ago before her big move to Seattle, because delightful moments spent with good friends are all the sweeter. We enjoyed catching up with one another, saddened by the fact that she would be a four-hour plane ride away from now on, yet still talking about beautiful things, things that make you smile and bring you delight, like her newfound love of Seattle, her art, how you can buy and plant spring flowers there in February, and my writing. We first met while members of the Junior League of Birmingham, Michigan and hit it off right away, and have been talking about delightful things ever since.

What is delight? It doesn't have to be huge, like a trip to Hawaii, or an expensive purse you buy. It can be as sweet as when another good friend (Kelly, I'm looking at you!) calls St. Therese your "gal pal."  Or when you and your sons laugh so hard together that your sides ache! It can be a simple, funny moment you'll remember for a long, long time, like when Anne and I became "mitten sisters."  One day we met for coffee right before Christmas at a coffee shop and fell in love with adorable knit coffee cup cozies that double as fingerless gloves that were for sale near the register. We decided then and there to buy them and Anne declared us "mitten sisters" and each time I wear them I think of Anne and that day we met for coffee on a chilly winter day.  She and I are both "girly girls," and love anything pretty, floral, and pink. Knowing my love for St. Therese, she even bought me a lovely medal of her in Paris. It is very special to me. I had it blessed by a priest and I wear that medal around my neck, along with my Miraculous Medal, every day! See the blog post I wrote about that back in 2009 here. It's a delightful little story!

Anne taught me to look for little delightful things in each day, and I thought of her today when I was at a stoplight. The air was lovely, so everyone had their car windows down, enjoying the day. I let out two loud sneezes. Embarrassed,  I looked over at the lady in the car next to me, who also had her car windows down. I knew she must have heard me, so I smiled at her sheepishly. She grinned back and called over from her car to mine, "BLESS YOU!" I gave her a huge smile back and yelled back, "THANK YOU!"

I had a grin on my face the whole way home.

That's delight.


Friday, September 9, 2016

Foul Mouths: the New "Thing"

There's a Facebook post that's gone viral. Well, what Facebook post hasn't these days? But this one takes the cake. It's a note from a mom of six children to her husband as she goes off on a girls' weekend with friends, a much-needed respite, of that I am sure. Most of the moms I know (myself included) have all needed a little break from the demands of hearth and home! The note about how to take care of the kids while she was away would have been cleverly written and funny, if not for that fact that  it was peppered with the most foul language you've ever read. From a mom. About her children. Really? Really? Is that how a mother should talk about her children? So disgusting. Yes, we moms have all had moments where we've wanted to pull our hair out, come on, admit it. Those nights where they won't go to sleep and you can't even see, you are so exhausted. Those days when a trip to the dentist for a filling sounds like a vacation. 

But the language was so bad that it killed the whole funny out of the note for me. I've said this for years: The funniest comedians are the clean ones. Why? Because it takes more intelligence. One has to work harder when one removes the filth from a comedy act. They actually have to use their brains and sense of humor because they don't have the bad language there as a safety net or to pad material. It's just all funny stuff.


I can't help but wonder what her six children will think when they read that note ten years from now. Embarrassment? Shame? Maybe none of those things, maybe pride, who knows? The point is that swearing and foul language... I don't know, you don't really expect or like it when it comes from your mom, do you? I mean, it's never good from anyone, and when you're in those experimental, angsty teen years, it happens, but hearing that kind of language from a mom is just...icky. 


But the language. Oh, it was bad. And I'm no prude, but it was just out of control. F-bombs every sentence, four-letter words, you get the picture. And oh, didn't the mommies out there just eat it up with a spoon. They loved it—every last, foul word of it.


Okay, so there's that. Read it, forget it, and move on. Think of whatever is pure and lovely. Okay, I can do that. Except I can't, because this foul language culture is sadly the norm nowadays. Don't believe me? I hope you're sitting down for this: It's entering the Catholic book world. A new release in Catholic nonfiction has the word "badass" in it its title. It's described as an "edgy, honest, and often audacious book of Catholic spirituality." 


Is there no end to the filth, truly? We've reached a new low. It's crude.


So, I guess when you have a mother of six ranting in a trying-to-be funny letter to her husband about her #$%@ing children and all the $%&* rest (use your imagination; this is a clean blog), then the next step would certainly be...a Catholic book. But do we all want an "edgy" book about Catholic spirituality? The holy lives of the saints aren't enough for us?  And it really doesn't matter what's inside. No matter how well written, I can't get past the title. 


Moms swearing up a storm, foul words in Catholic book titles. 


Sigh. So unlike Blessed Mother. 


So, so unlike her.


God made us for so much more than this.




Thursday, September 8, 2016

When Parents Have No Say

What happens when parents have no say in their children's moral teaching? What happens when well-meaning parents send their children to a Catholic school and that school fails them by forcing their children to watch a graphic sex-ed video as part of the curriculum? Not only that, if they don't sit through the course, they will get expelled from this school that is supposed to uphold Catholic moral teaching. Parents of students at Father Ryan High School in Nashville, TN are facing this difficult choice right now, and they need our prayers, as does the confused administration at the school.  Apparently what parents say carries no weight with this administration. A petition by TFP Student Action is available to sign here. I hope you sign this petition to stop this atrocity and slap in the face of Catholic parents. They need 15,000 signatures and as of this writing, there are about 6,500. Can you just imagine your child sitting through this trash at school? My heart goes out to these parents, but it's not enough. Sign the petition and spread the word!

Remember that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. 

Enough is enough!


Below is the press release from TFP Student Action:


Sept. 6, 2016:  Going against the will of many parents, Father Ryan High School -- a Catholic institution in Nashville, Tennessee -- is forcing students to sit through a graphic sex-ed course or get kicked out of school.

The explicit material covers contraception, fornication and prostitution in lewd detail.

Concerned parents describe it as:
  • Spiritually harmful.
  • Near occasion of sin.
  • Teaches all about contraception.
According to LifeSiteNews.com, school administrators "told parents that students cannot be opted out from the course, suggesting that when parents send their children to school they hand over their right and duty as primary educator."

But even public schools let parents opt out.

Parents are upset because the purity of their children is at stake.  That's why TFP Student Action invites you to sign your prayerful protest to the school, urging them to scrap the inappropriate course.

Susan Skinner, a Catholic mom whose son goes to Father Ryan High School, said:  "I just don't think my 14-year-old boy needs to see [graphic images] while a girl sits next to him in class. We were told this gets taught or you opt out of the school.  I'm trying to raise Godly children," she said. 

Sign the petition.  Share the petition.  Fight for purity.




Sunday, August 28, 2016

Do Not Grind Your Teeth





WOW, thank you so much, Father Jason Worthley, for this timely video that I am sure was inspired by the Holy Spirit. For all of you teeth grinders out there, have a listen. If you are a Catholic dentist, please listen as well and share with your patients!

Father Jason Worthley blogs at http://fatherworthley.blogspot.com/


Pray more, grind less!
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