karen kelly boyce

Sabbath Rest Book Talk/Open Book [Oct2018]

Carolyn Astfalk has a first Wednesday of the month book review linkup!

an-open-book

The aforementioned Carolyn also joins me every month for Sabbath Rest Book Talk.

OCTOBER’S THEME: OBEDIENCE

Sunday, October 7 at 7pm Eastern

A1PlaceHolder

Join us this month as we discuss:

TEEN READ WEEK AT YALSA

 

Discuss OBEDIENCE in INTERMISSION by Serena Chase on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubIntermission by Serena Chase

Intermission is a heart-wrenching contemporary YA romance set against a backdrop of musical theatre and family drama. With coming-of-age themes that honestly explore the gray areas of the moral dilemmas the characters face, this novel traces the path of one talented teen girl as she crosses painful thresholds of first love, faith, and betrayal to take the necessary steps toward adulthood, independence, and the dreams that set her heart on fire. [Due to content involving instances of verbal, emotional and physical abuse directly and indirectly perpetrated against the main character, this book is recommended for ages 14+]

A1PlaceHolder

Discuss OBEDIENCE in ELLA ENCHANTED by Gail Carson Levine on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubElla Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

This beloved Newbery Honor-winning story about a feisty heroine is sure to enchant readers new and old. At her birth, Ella of Frell receives a foolish fairy’s gift—the “gift” of obedience. Ella must obey any order, whether it’s to hop on one foot for a day and a half, or to chop off her own head! But strong-willed Ella does not accept her fate… Against a bold backdrop of princes, ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, and fairy godmothers, Ella goes on a quest to break the curse forever.

A1PlaceHolder

Discuss OBEDIENCE in THE KING'S PREY by Susan Peek on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubThe King’s Prey: Saint Dymphna of Ireland by Susan Peek

An insane king. His fleeing daughter. Estranged brothers, with a scarred past, risking everything to save her from a fate worse than death. Toss in a holy priest and a lovable wolfhound, and get ready for a wild race across Ireland. Will Dymphna escape her deranged father and his sinful desires? For the first time ever, the story of Saint Dymphna is brought to life in this dramatic novel for adults and older teens. With raw adventure, gripping action, and even humor in the midst of dark mental turmoil, Susan Peek’s newest novel will introduce you to a saint you will love forever! Teenage girls will see that Dymphna was just like them, a real girl, while young men will thrill at the heart-stopping danger and meet heroes they can easily relate to. If ever a Heavenly friend was needed in these times of widespread depression and emotional instability, this forgotten Irish saint is it!

A1PlaceHolder

Sign up here to get monthly reminders to tune in to Sabbath Rest Book Talk.

Check out the reading list for all of 2018.

For notifications that each month’s SRBT is available for viewing/listening, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Plus, click here to check out our NEW GOODREADS FEATURE!  It’s a list! On Goodreads! Vote for books we’ve already featured and add any books you think we should discuss in the future!

Fiction is Good for you! Watch Sabbath Rest Book Talk, and never feel guilty for reading fiction again!

Advertisements

Sabbath Rest Book Talk/Open Book [Sep 2018]

Carolyn Astfalk has a first Wednesday of the month book review linkup!

an-open-book

The aforementioned Carolyn also joins me every month for Sabbath Rest Book Talk.

SEPTEMBER’S THEME: AGING

LisaMladnichHeadshotTrueRadianceMladnichSpecial Guest: Lisa Mladnich

A grateful revert to the Catholic faith, author, speaker, TV host, life coach… Lisa Mladinich is a wife and mother, and the Host of Shalom World TV’s Catholic series, WOMAN: Strong Faith, True Beauty. A dynamic speaker and the award-winning author of five Catholic books.

COMMENT on the video itself by October 31, 2018 for your chance to win a copy of True Radiance (US mailing addresses only).

A1PlaceHolderSeptember’s Episode Available Now!

 

Theme: Aging

Discuss AGING in THE THINGS WE KNEW by Catherine West on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubThe Things We Knew by Catherine West

When their tragic past begins to resurface, can he help her remember the things she can’t?  After her mother’s death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to blame their father for their mother’s death, but nobody will talk about that tragic day. And Lynette’s memory only speaks through nightmares.  Then Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, bringing the past with him. Once Lynette’s adolescent crush, Nick knows more about her mother’s death than he lets on. The truth could tear apart his own family—and destroy his fragile friendship with Lynette, the woman he no longer thinks of as a kid sister. As their father’s failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets surface that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question their faith, their willingness to forgive, and the very truth of all the things they thought they knew.

A1PlaceHolder

Discuss AGING in 10 STEPS TO GIRLFRIEND STATUS by Cynthia Toney on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclub10 Steps to Girlfriend Status (The Birdface Series Book 2) by Cynthia Toney

Wendy Robichaud is on schedule to have everything she wants in high school: two loyal best friends, a complete and happy family, and a hunky boyfriend she’s had a crush on since eighth grade—until she and Mrs. Villaturo look at old photo albums together. That’s when Mrs. V sees her dead husband and hints at a scandal down in Cajun country. Faster than you can say “crawdad,” Wendy digs into the scandal. She risks losing boyfriend David by befriending Mrs. V’s cute grandson, alienates stepsister Alice by having a boyfriend in the first place, and upsets her friend Gayle without knowing why. Will Wendy be able to prevent Mrs. V from being taken thousands of miles away from her? And will she lose all the friends she’s fought so hard to get?

A1PlaceHolder

DIscuss AGING in GRANDMAMA'S PRIDE on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubGrandmama’s Pride by Becky Birtha

Every summer, Mama, Sister, and Sarah Marie take the bus down south to visit Grandmama. The three of them sit in the back of the bus, because, as Mama says, it is the best seat. Later, on a walk into town, the girls don’t drink from the water fountain because Grandmama says she’ll make fresh lemon-mint iced tea when they get home. Throughout the summer, Aunt Maria teaches Sarah Marie how to read. Then Sarah Marie notices signs in town she hadn’t been able to read before, like the one on the bathroom door that says, “White Women” and another that says “Colored Women.” Sarah Marie faces a hard realization about the segregated South. But in the fall she reads about events happening in places like Clinton, Tennessee, and Montgomery, Alabama. And by the next summer, when they go back to visit Grandmama, they all sit in the front of the bus.

 

A1PlaceHolder

Sign up here to get monthly reminders to tune in to Sabbath Rest Book Talk.

Check out the reading list for all of 2018.

For notifications that each month’s SRBT is available for viewing/listening, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Plus, click here to check out our NEW GOODREADS FEATURE!  It’s a list! On Goodreads! Vote for books we’ve already featured and add any books you think we should discuss in the future!

Fiction is Good for you! Watch Sabbath Rest Book Talk, and never feel guilty for reading fiction again!

POSTPONED Sabbath Rest Book Talk [Sep 2018]

Carolyn Astfalk has a first Wednesday of the month book review linkup!

an-open-book

The aforementioned Carolyn also joins me every month for Sabbath Rest Book Talk. We may also have Theresa Linden and Corinna Turner show up this month.

Another note: my family and I will be visiting Tyburn for Pilgrimage 2018 on our usual live SRBT day. Thus, we’ll be pre-recording at least my part (Carolyn’s, too) at the Catholic Writers Conference Live. Look for the video to post no later than our usual First Sunday time slot.

Oh! And keep an eye out in the video description for a possible giveaway of Leslea Wahl’s An Unexpected Role.

September 2018’s Episode is postponed!

Sign up for the SRBT newsletter and be the first to know when it’s rescheduled. Meanwhile, if you haven’t read the books for the month yet, you just got an extension on your deadline!

Theme: Aging

Discuss AGING in THE THINGS WE KNEW by Catherine West on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubThe Things We Knew by Catherine West

When their tragic past begins to resurface, can he help her remember the things she can’t?  After her mother’s death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to blame their father for their mother’s death, but nobody will talk about that tragic day. And Lynette’s memory only speaks through nightmares.  Then Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, bringing the past with him. Once Lynette’s adolescent crush, Nick knows more about her mother’s death than he lets on. The truth could tear apart his own family—and destroy his fragile friendship with Lynette, the woman he no longer thinks of as a kid sister. As their father’s failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets surface that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question their faith, their willingness to forgive, and the very truth of all the things they thought they knew.

A1PlaceHolder

Discuss AGING in 10 STEPS TO GIRLFRIEND STATUS by Cynthia Toney on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclub10 Steps to Girlfriend Status (The Birdface Series Book 2) by Cynthia Toney

Wendy Robichaud is on schedule to have everything she wants in high school: two loyal best friends, a complete and happy family, and a hunky boyfriend she’s had a crush on since eighth grade—until she and Mrs. Villaturo look at old photo albums together. That’s when Mrs. V sees her dead husband and hints at a scandal down in Cajun country. Faster than you can say “crawdad,” Wendy digs into the scandal. She risks losing boyfriend David by befriending Mrs. V’s cute grandson, alienates stepsister Alice by having a boyfriend in the first place, and upsets her friend Gayle without knowing why. Will Wendy be able to prevent Mrs. V from being taken thousands of miles away from her? And will she lose all the friends she’s fought so hard to get?

A1PlaceHolder

DIscuss AGING in GRANDMAMA'S PRIDE on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubGrandmama’s Pride by Becky Birtha

Every summer, Mama, Sister, and Sarah Marie take the bus down south to visit Grandmama. The three of them sit in the back of the bus, because, as Mama says, it is the best seat. Later, on a walk into town, the girls don’t drink from the water fountain because Grandmama says she’ll make fresh lemon-mint iced tea when they get home. Throughout the summer, Aunt Maria teaches Sarah Marie how to read. Then Sarah Marie notices signs in town she hadn’t been able to read before, like the one on the bathroom door that says, “White Women” and another that says “Colored Women.” Sarah Marie faces a hard realization about the segregated South. But in the fall she reads about events happening in places like Clinton, Tennessee, and Montgomery, Alabama. And by the next summer, when they go back to visit Grandmama, they all sit in the front of the bus.

A1PlaceHolder

Sign up here to get monthly reminders to tune in to Sabbath Rest Book Talk.


Sign up here to get monthly reminders to tune in to Sabbath Rest Book Talk.

Check out the reading list for all of 2018.

For notifications that each month’s SRBT is available for viewing/listening, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Plus, click here to check out our NEW GOODREADS FEATURE!  It’s a list! On Goodreads! Vote for books we’ve already featured and add any books you think we should discuss in the future!

Fiction is Good for you! Watch Sabbath Rest Book Talk, and never feel guilty for reading fiction again!

Sabbath Rest Book Talk/Open Book [Aug 2018]

Carolyn Astfalk has a first Wednesday of the month book review linkup!

an-open-book

The aforementioned Carolyn also joins me every month for Sabbath Rest Book Talk. We may also have Theresa Linden and Corinna Turner show up this month.

Another note: my family and I will be visiting Tyburn for Pilgrimage 2018 on our usual live SRBT day. Thus, we’ll be pre-recording at least my part (Carolyn’s, too) at the Catholic Writers Conference Live. Look for the video to post no later than our usual First Sunday time slot.

Oh! And keep an eye out in the video description for a possible giveaway of Leslea Wahl’s An Unexpected Role.

AUGUST’S THEME: BELONGING

Sunday, August 5 at 7pm Eastern

Discuss BELONGING in BRIDESHEAD REVISITED by Evelyn Waugh on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubBrideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

The wellsprings of desire and the impediments to love come brilliantly into focus in Evelyn Waugh’s masterpiece-a novel that immerses us in the glittering and seductive world of English aristocracy in the waning days of the empire. Through the story of Charles Ryder’s entanglement with the Flytes, a great Catholic family, Evelyn Waugh charts the passing of the privileged world he knew in his own youth and vividly recalls the sensuous pleasures denied him by wartime austerities. At once romantic, sensuous, comic, and somber, Brideshead Revisited transcends Waugh’s early satiric explorations and reveals him to be an elegiac, lyrical novelist of the utmost feeling and lucidity.
A1PlaceHolder

Discuss BELONGING in AN UNEXPECTED ROLE by Leslea Wahl on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubAn Unexpected Role by Leslea Wahl

The devastation of a ruined summer.  The gift of a second chance. Can Josie learn the lessons she needs in order to discover her true self?  After a humiliating event and overwhelming peer pressure, 16-year-old Josie flees her home to spend the summer with her Aunt on a South Carolina island. Her fresh start turns into the summer of her dreams as friendships grow, romance blossoms, and a series of thefts surround her with excitement. However, when tragedy strikes someone close to her, Josie realizes there are more important things than her reputation. As she sets out to solve the mystery she has become entangled in, she not only realizes the importance of relying on her faith but along the way also discovers who God wants her to be.

A1PlaceHolder

Discuss BELONGING in THE NAME JAR by Yangsook Choi on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubThe Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

The new kid in school needs a new name! Or does she? Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week. Her new classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from. But while Unhei practices being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, one of her classmates comes to her neighborhood and discovers her real name and its special meaning. On the day of her name choosing, the name jar has mysteriously disappeared. Encouraged by her new friends, Unhei chooses her own Korean name and helps everyone pronounce it—Yoon-Hey.

A1PlaceHolder

Sign up here to get monthly reminders to tune in to Sabbath Rest Book Talk.

Check out the reading list for all of 2018.

For notifications that each month’s SRBT is available for viewing/listening, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Plus, click here to check out our NEW GOODREADS FEATURE!  It’s a list! On Goodreads! Vote for books we’ve already featured and add any books you think we should discuss in the future!

Fiction is Good for you! Watch Sabbath Rest Book Talk, and never feel guilty for reading fiction again!

Sabbath Rest Book Talk/Open Book [July 2018]

Carolyn Astfalk has a first Wednesday of the month book review linkup!

an-open-book

The aforementioned Carolyn also joins me every month for Sabbath Rest Book Talk.

JULY’S THEME: INTEGRITY

It’s a two-parter this month. Ain’t no technichal challenge we can’t rise above!

Special Guest Liz Lantigua of Good News Book Fairs on Sabbath Rest Book Talk live video book clubSpecial Guest: Liz Lantigua of GOOD NEWS BOOK FAIRS and GOOD NEWS BOOK SHOP

Lizette M. Lantigua is a published author, and writes for young adults. She is also a frequent contributor to the Florida Catholic newspaper and Columbia Magazine. Previously, she worked for Channel 23 Univision, The Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald, and Channel 51 Telemundo in South Florida. She is also known for her unique Hispanic themed stationery and social announcement designs under the Lantigua Designs brand created in 2004. Combining her knowledge for retail, journalism experience, and passion to inspire others to read, she created Good News! Book Fair. Its goal is to bring inspiring, fun, and entertaining Christian books, movies, and gifts to students, parents, teachers, and organizations.

Join us this month as we discuss:

Theme: Integrity

Discuss INTEGRITY in THE GRACE CRASHER by Mara Faro on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubThe Grace Crasher by Mara Faro

Armed with a Jesus fish that might be swimming in the wrong direction, Julia must pretend to be “born again” for her Christian housemates—cute EMT Mark and his church-lady mom. Their place is within walking distance (cough, stalking distance) of Dylan, her latest musician crush. Mark knows she’s faking her faith. But he needs someone like her to crash his dull routine. So he protects her secret and brings her to his Evangelical church. Hiding her Catholic past, she bumbles her way through hand-raising worship. Other times she sneaks into Mass. Meanwhile, Mark explains how to be “saved.” (Sure, she needs saving—from her alcoholic dad, her copier-jamming job, and Mark’s suspicious mom.) But does he just want to save her? Or date her? Then Dylan sings her a song at open mic. Suddenly she’s torn between two guys, flubbing her way through three different churches, and completely confused about life. Will it all crash down around her, or will she crash straight into grace?

A1PlaceHolder

Discuss CONSCIENCE in FRECKLES by Gene Stratton Porter on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubFreckles by Gene Stratton Porter

Freckles is a young man who has been raised since infancy in a Chicago orphanage. His one dream is to find a job, a place to belong and people who accept him despite his youth and the disability of having only one hand. He finds this place in the Limberlost Swamp, as Mr. McLean’s Limberlost guard of precious timber.  In the process, he discovers a love for the wilderness and animals he encounters every day on his rounds and a burning desire to learn about all the new birds and plants he sees on his rounds every day. He also finds and falls in love with a girl he calls the “Swamp Angel.” This is the story of his plucky courage in sticking to his job in the swamp, and his adventures in learning about the natural world he finds himself in every day. He is befriended by the “Bird Woman” and with her help learns to love the Limberlost he has been hired to guard.

A1PlaceHolder

Discuss INTEGRITY in 7 RIDDLE TO NOWHERE by Amy Cattapan on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubSeven Riddles to Nowhere by Amy Cattapan

Because of a tragic event that took place when he was five-years-old, seventh grader Kameron Boyd can’t make himself speak to adults when he steps outside his home. Kam’s mom hopes his new school will cure his talking issues, but just as he starts to feel comfortable, financial problems threaten the school’s existence. Then a letter arrives with the opportunity to change everything. Kam learns that he and several others have been selected as potential heirs to a fortune. He just has to solve a series of seven riddles to find the treasure before the other students. If he succeeds, he’ll become heir to a fortune that could save his school. The riddles send Kam on a scavenger hunt through the churches of Chicago. But solving them won’t be easy. With the school’s bully as one of the other potential heirs, Kam and his friends must decipher the hidden meanings in artwork and avoid the mysterious men following them in a quest to not only keep the school open, but keep Kam’s hopes for recovering his voice alive.

A1PlaceHolder

Sign up here to get monthly reminders to tune in to Sabbath Rest Book Talk.

Check out the reading list for all of 2018.

For notifications that each month’s SRBT is available for viewing/listening, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Plus, click here to check out our NEW GOODREADS FEATURE!  It’s a list! On Goodreads! Vote for books we’ve already featured and add any books you think we should discuss in the future!

Fiction is Good for you! Watch Sabbath Rest Book Talk, and never feel guilty for reading fiction again!

Sabbath Rest Book Talk/Open Book [June 2018]

Carolyn Astfalk has a first Wednesday of the month book review linkup!

an-open-book

The aforementioned Carolyn also joins me every month for Sabbath Rest Book Talk.

JUNE’S THEME: FORTITUDE

Sunday, June 3 at 7pm Eastern

Theme: Fortitude

hcfm_hendey_headshotSpecial Guest: Lisa Hendey, author of CHIME TRAVELERS

Lisa Hendey is the founder of http://www.CatholicMom.com and the author of several books including A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms, The Grace of Yes and the Chime Travelers children’s fictions series. Lisa hosts two podcasts and is a frequent radio and television guests. She speaks and writes internationally and resides in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

A1PlaceHolder

Join us this month as we discuss:

Theme: Fortitude

Discuss FORTITUDE in DYING FOR COMPASSION by Barbara Golder on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubDying for Compassion (The Lady Doc Murders Book 2) by Dr. Barbara Golder

GIVEAWAY: COMMENT ON JUNE’S SRBT by June 30 and be entered to win a paperback copy of DYING FOR COMPASSION (North American mailing addresses only)

What happens to a new love when an old one appears to claim first rights to a man and a marriage?  Just as Telluride Medical Examiner Jane Wallace and Irish writer Eoin Conner take their first steps toward romance, Eoin’s beautiful wife Fiona arrives to resume her long-abandoned life with Eoin. When Eoin discovers that Fiona was responsible for the denial of their annulment, he returns to Ireland to find the proof to free him to marry Jane. After Fiona is found dead in her hotel room, Eoin is indicted for her murder.  Unwilling to leave the matter solely in the hands of Irish authorities, Jane goes to Ireland to follow the evidence wherever it leads. She leaves behind a tangle of problems in Telluride, where it is left to her trusted friend Father Matt to unravel the mysteries at home, unaware that they hold the key to Jane’s mystery abroad.

A1PlaceHolder

Discuss FORTITUDE in SHANE by Jack Schaeffer on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubShane by Jack Schaefer

In this true Western classic Jack Schaefer tells the story of a mysterious stranger who finds himself in the Wyoming Territory joining local homesteaders in their fight to keep their land and avoid the intimidating tactics of cattle driver Luke Fletcher. While trying to leave his gunslinging days behind him, the mysterious stranger, Shane, is tested by Fletcher and his men. In Shane, Schaefer executes a perfect Western narrative while exploring the overarching themes of virtue, the human condition, and a man’s search for self.

A1PlaceHolder

Discuss FORTITUDE in THE SISTERS OF THE LAST STRAW by Karen Kelly Boyce on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubSisters of the Last Straw 1: The Case of the Haunted Chapel by Karen Kelly Boyce

GIVEAWAY: COMMENT ON JUNE’S SRBT by June 30 and be entered to win a paperback copy of SISTERS OF THE LAST STRAW #1 (US mailing addresses only)

The Sisters of the Last Straw and the Case of the Haunted Chapel is the first in a series of children’s books that convey the fun-filled story of a group of misfit nuns. These sisters and their madcap adventures teach the importance of tolerance and forgiveness. Each book focuses on the virtues of Gospel living and the frailties of human nature. While children delight in the humor and fast-paced exploits of this special group of nuns, they learn the need to be forgiving of the faults of others and to look for the good in all people. Children are enchanted and entertained with the humorous escapades of the characters while learning the importance of basic Christian values, growth, and love.A1PlaceHolder

Sign up here to get monthly reminders to tune in to Sabbath Rest Book Talk.

Check out the reading list for all of 2018.

For notifications that each month’s SRBT is available for viewing/listening, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Plus, click here to check out our NEW GOODREADS FEATURE!  It’s a list! On Goodreads! Vote for books we’ve already featured and add any books you think we should discuss in the future!

Fiction is Good for you! Watch Sabbath Rest Book Talk, and never feel guilty for reading fiction again!

The Sisters and I! A Guest Post from Karen Kelly Boyce

Welcome, Tomato Pie Fans! I’m taking a hiatus from blogging to finish the sequel to DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME. Meanwhile, I have a series of guest bloggers taking care of the place. Let’s hear from today’s guest, Karen Kelly Boyce.


SOTLSbanner

The Sisters and I!

Last week I found myself sitting with a group of fallen Catholics. We were instructed to go around the table and talk about our faith in God. The first woman announced that she was an atheist – an intellectual. She claimed her education did not allow her to believe in a fairy tale-like God. Then she went into a tirade about how the nuns in her grammar school abused her and were responsible for her loss of faith. Her cover of intellectualism quickly turned to a revelation of anger as the true source of her lack of faith.

As we went around the table, the theme continued as an attack on the nuns. The poor Sisters were blamed as a cause or excuse for not attending church or believing in a Supreme Being. Years ago, I might have been hesitant to reveal my deep faith in God and my devotion to the Catholic Church. Luckily, that is no longer the case. I silently prayed to the Holy Spirit for guidance, and found myself announcing that I was sure there was a God because He has worked so many miracles in my life. Looking around at the shocked faces around me, I told them that I read my Bible and meditate on His word for an hour each morning and that I can hear Him talk to me in my heart. I told them that I have a great peace and sense of love since I have the tenets of the Catholic Church to guide me in all my decisions. I thought the people there would fall off their chairs when I announced that I credit the kindness and loving teaching of the Sisters of Mercy who taught me the deep foundations of the Catholic faith for the joy in my life. After a few minutes of stunned silence, the last man spoke. Apparently a fundamentalist, he reddened with anger and shouted something about man-made laws and eating fish on Friday. Spitting his hatred of the Catholic Church across the table, he attacked me personally and my faith especially. I think my smile made him even angrier. I had to smile. My faith gives me peace and trust in the Holy Spirit to reach those who lack faith. His faith made him angry and more intolerant of Catholics than the atheists around him.

On the trip home I thought about the Sisters who taught me, the Sisters who wore heavy veils and clothing without air conditioning. The Sisters of Mercy packed sixty rowdy children into a small classroom and taught us the wonders of God and His Mother.  They taught us about the saints and the teachings of Jesus. They taught us that we were blessed to be Catholics and in the meantime threw in advanced teachings in English, math, and history. Was I grateful then? No, but I am now.  I was one of those rowdy kids who took every opportunity to be a class clown. I even wrote songs about each nun, singing them to my classmates delight during recess. One day, as I was singing about the flaws of the roughest nun, Sister Mary Jean (the kindest nun) was standing behind me. She quickly corrected me and that was the last song I ever wrote about my teachers. However, God has a sense of humor and knew that I would be writing about the Sisters again!

With hindsight, I now realize the wonderful education and faith that the Sisters of Mercy gifted me. Most of the Sisters were kind, hard-working, and faithful. I remember them with great delight and I am grateful for them. I realize now the sacrifices they made. Yes, they were human and got weary, uncomfortable, and sick. As an adult, I understand that nuns are human beings with virtues and flaws. Perhaps that is why God inspired me to create characters who work hard to overcome their human failings. In my children’s series, Sisters of the Last Straw, Sister Krumbles loves animals and all of God’s creatures but is disorganized and clumsy. Mother Mercy is protective and a born leader but struggles to control her temper. Sister Lovely struggles with addiction but is kind and generous. Sister Lacey is rough and tumble a hard-worker who fights an impulse to ‘cuss’ with silly rhymes and exclamations. Sister Shiny is vain and fussy but keeps the house spotless. Sister Wanda is always getting lost but never loses her gentle personality. All of them are good, all of them human.

I hope the books teach children to be forgiving. I know the series make children laugh. It makes me laugh to think about God’s sense of humor. I’m a senior citizen now, but I haven’t changed much. I am still writing about nuns. However, with an adult faith and trust, I can be much kinder than I was as a child. I can present the Sisters and the faith with truth, humor, and gratitude. It goes to show that what they taught me must be rubbing off.

KBBheadshotKaren Kelly Boyce lives on a farm in New Jersey with her retired husband. She has two grown children and two grandchildren. When she retired as a registered nurse, she rekindled her love of reading and writing. She has written for Canticle and Soul magazines. She has four published novels– According to Thy Word, Into the Way of Peace, Down Right Good and In the Midst of Wolves. The first three have received the Seal of Approval from the Catholic Writer’s Guild. Down Right Good received the 2012 Eric Hoffer award for commercial fiction and was a finalist for the Montaigne Medal. In the Midst of Wolves has just been published.
When her grandchildren were born, Karen started a children’s series. The Sisters of the Last Straw is a series of humorous mysteries that are solved by a group of misfit nuns. There have been three volumes published by Chesterton PressThe Case of the Haunted Chapel, The Case of the Vanishing Novice, and The Case of the Stolen Rosaries.
Karen is a columnist for the CWG Blog and her column “Writing Tips” appears every Monday. Her personal blog can be found at www.karenkellyboyce.com.

She is currently working on future books while enjoying farming, camping, and road trips with her husband.