A Big Announcement #WorthRevisit

Just over 5 years ago, my first article was published at CatholicMom.com. Since that first “Tech Talk” June 12, 2012, I’ve written well over 500 articles for the website: mainly book reviews, Tech Talks, and recipes for the year-round Meatless Friday feature.

In March of 2015, that volunteer opportunity turned into my dream job.

It’s exciting to be able to work for one of my very favorite websites, and to be working WITH a veritable army of amazing contributing writers.

I’ll still be doing a little writing for CatholicMom, but most of my work is behind-the-scenes. I’m like Stage Crew, but for the Internet: checking props, hauling scenery and signaling the director to bring up the lights and start the music.

Best of all, I’m working from home, which means I can be available for Mom Duty at any time, I can get to daily Mass, and I don’t have to wear uncomfortable shoes. That’s a vocational WIN right there.

I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be a stagehand for a website that’s been a big influence on my life for quite a few years.

CM joins HCFM -f

Yesterday, there was a big announcement at CatholicMom.com: it’s been welcomed into a big family at Holy Cross Family Ministries. Translation: more power for the website, a larger and possibly multilingual international audience, and the opportunity for me to continue doing what I do (within my own time zone, even–I’ve been living in Eastern Time and working in Pacific for over two years)!

I’m grateful for the opportunity to write and work at CatholicMom.com, and I look forward to what the future will bring.

worth revisit

I’m linking up with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for #WorthRevisit Wednesday, a place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link up with fellow bloggers!

Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz

Introducing the Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion

One of the cool things about writing for CatholicMom.com is the group of terrific contributors. Every single one brings something different to the table, and it’s wonderful to be a part of this group.

Even more wonderful is the opportunity to participate in writing a book with these talented authors! Coming this August, The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion features the work of over 80 CM contributors, including the site’s founder, Lisa M. Hendey.

CM Prayer Companion cover art

I wrote four reflections for this book of short daily devotions which publishes August 29 from Ave Maria Press. Preorder your copy now and you’ll have it on the first day it’s available.

Here’s more about the book:

Are you a Catholic mom who prays for the wisdom and patience to get through each day? Do you pray for your children, husband, family and friends, and sometimes even yourself? The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion offers a new, daily resource to make the most of those few, precious minutes you have to pause and reflect.

For more than fifteen years, the award-winning CatholicMom.com website has been a trusted source for sound, practical, and spiritual guidance. In their new book, authors Lisa M. Hendey and Sarah A. Reinhard bring together more than eighty moms, dads, and trusted spiritual companions to provide fresh, uplifting meditations for every day of the year.

You’ll find encouragement when you’re struggling, reassurance when you feel alone, and comfort when you’re distracted by worry. Created by moms for moms, these hope-filled meditations touch on the issues and concerns you face as you try to get through the day with a sense of God’s presence in your life. Whether you are a new or seasoned mom working in or outside of your home, this inspiring collection of reflections for every day of the year will help you

  • stay in touch with the seasons of the Church year
  • remember Mary’s loving presence on her feast days
  • keep company with both new and familiar saints
  • see the spiritual meaning of secular holidays and
  • make you smile with occasions such as Houseplant Appreciation Day and National Popcorn Day.

Each day begins with a brief quotation from scripture, saints, recent popes, or important spiritual writers. A personal reflection–written by contributors including Danielle Bean, Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, Lisa Mladinich, Elizabeth Scalia, Carolyn Woo, Mark Hart, and Jeff Young–focuses on some dimension of your spiritual, emotional, intellectual, or physical life. Each day also includes a brief prayer and a question or thought to ponder throughout the day. In just a few minutes of quiet you’ll find the boost you need from a friendly voice. Each month also has a special theme such as love, family fun, and slowing down. Start these reflections any time throughout the year and feel your days become more grace-filled and inspired.

Your purchase of The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion helps support FranciscanMom. Thanks!

Loaves, Fishes and Spiritual Writing

On the Ask a Catholic Editor Facebook page yesterday, Heidi Hess Saxton of Servant Books (Franciscan Media) observed,

one of the many important differences between journalism and spiritual writing: the ability of the writer to process events in a way that uncovers Truth. Journalists tend do “hide” themselves in the writing process. Spiritual writers “reveal.”

My immediate inclination was to conclude that I’m a journalist. I’m a “nuts and bolts” girl.

And when I heard the Gospel for today, I could relate to the Apostles, because I think many of them were “nuts and bolts” people too. Remember, one of them was a tax collector!

…it was already late and his disciples approached him and said,
“This is a deserted place and it is already very late.
Dismiss them so that they can go
to the surrounding farms and villages
and buy themselves something to eat.”
He said to them in reply,
“Give them some food yourselves.”
But they said to him,
“Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food
and give it to them to eat?”

I’d worry too! It’s the Martha in me–she was a “nuts and bolts” girl too.

Nuts and bolts are important. They hold the whole thing together. But sometimes I can be so focused on those little fasteners that I lose sight of exactly what they’re holding together!

DSC_0318The Apostles did that. How would they possibly feed thousands of people with what little bread and fish they had?

Martha did that. How would she ever be able to offer Jesus and his entourage of followers proper hospitality without her sister’s helping hand?

Jesus let the Apostles know that they needed to trust. He let Martha know that her priorities were misplaced.

There’s a time and a place for nuts and bolts. And there’s a time to let the details fade into the background so you can see the whole picture. I’m not just talking about writing here, either.

What can I do today to trust more–and let God take care of the details?

Word by Word: One-Day Preorder Special

I’m excited to announce that there’s about to be a new book in town! It’s called Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary and it’s almost ready for release.

Preorder Word by Word one day saleI’m extra excited because I am one of the contributors to this book, which was organized and edited by Sarah Reinhard. Here’s the background on the idea behind the book, in Sarah’s own words:

This book was inspired by my favorite prayer, the one I call my “blankie prayer.” I got an idea in my head that every word of the prayer was important, and that, of course, I should ask 40 or so of my favorite writers to explain that.

The book will be out on October 16, but since today is the day when the Church observes the Birthday of Mary, Ave Maria Press is having a one-day preorder special! You can order your copy of the book for $10, including shipping. The book is usually $14.95 plus shipping, so this is a very special deal indeed.

word by word coverYou can preorder the book directly from Ave Maria Press for $10 (including shipping) by using coupon code MARY at checkout.

And isn’t Jen Norton‘s beautiful cover art the perfect complement for this book? That drawing is, itself, a prayer.

This offer is good September 8 only, and only through Ave Maria Press.

 

Ten Minutes a Day

write a novel at 10 minutes a dayI’m not writing a novel.

But I need this book.

Author Katharine Grubb took a break after drafting her third novel to write a nonfiction book, Write a Novel in Ten Minutes a Day.

But the subtitle is where the action is: “Because your dreams are worth 10 minutes.”

In addition to detailing all the things an author needs to think about when crafting a novel (and there are a lot of things), Katharine has included 9 chapters of advice that any writer, regardless of genre, can use.

This is a writer’s workshop in book form. And it’s useful to any writer with a book in her heart.

Part One is the part I need to concentrate on the most right now:  “Arranging your writing around your life.” As Katharine Grubb observes in chapter one,

I knew that if I looked for big chunks of time or perfect conditions, they would never come. My theory was that ten minutes were better than none at all. And if I did this six times in one day, I would have written for an hour. An hour devoted to writing seemed like a luxury. (p. 5-6)

Want to learn why Katharine considers the party game “Two Truths and a Lie” an important soul-searching exercise?

Want to know the time-management strategies she employed while writing a novel as a homeschooling mom of 5?

Want to know how to write a book when you don’t have a private island, a year at a writer’s retreat, or even a garret?

You’ll find all this–and more–in the first 3 chapters of this very thorough guidebook.

I’ll be working through Chapter 2, “Organizing Your Time,” in great detail. Because my dreams are worth 10 minutes.

Full disclosure: I was privileged to read this entire book in unfinished form, as a “beta reader” for Katharine Grubb, in exchange for my honest feedback. I’m amazed that she asked me to read the book, because she knows that while I read loads of fiction, it’s not what I write.

Links to Write a Novel in Ten Minutes a Day in this post are  affiliate links. That means that if you purchase this book through my affiliate link, you don’t pay extra, but there’s a little cha-ching that goes toward my blog hosting costs.