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7 Blogs I Love

I had something else planned for you. Something to do with personalities, I did some research, it was going to be super fun, but time ran away from me like it always does. So I had to bump this one up. You know me, planner-planner. Here are blogs the I MUST read every day or when they post a fresh batch of awesome because I need to get the update. I won’t officially include Life of a Catholic Librarian or Real Housekeeping because, I mean, you know why!! See what I did there?

7 Blogs I Love, a new post by @fillpraycloset

— 1 —

Colleen Duggan, a blog I love. A new post by @fillprayclosetColleen Duggan: She doesn’t post very often, but when she does, no matter what time she does, I drop my tea and cookies to read. She take beautiful photography on her sprawling property and shares her faith like nothing I’ve ever seen. Oh, and she’s as real as they get. One of my favorites? When her very young daughter, maybe 4 or 5? Had to have the last word. I  mean WOW.

— 2 —

KCross Writing A blog I love. A new post by @fillprayclosetKCross Writing: I’ve mentioned her here a few times and I have shared some social media tips for writers over at her place. While not really a blog and more of an author site, she posts what it’s like to be an indie author, self publisher and marketer. A former nurse turned author, she gives all the dirt on Goodreads and how to make it work for you, type setting, creating an audiobook to one of my favorite posts about what it’s like to sacrifice a career for your dreams and the struggle. A career is different from a job you see, you love your career, and to give that up for a dream? That’s tough stuff.

— 3 —

The Wounded Dove a blog I love. A new post by @fillpraycloset

The Wounded Dove: Charity is not only part of my tribe, she has a beautiful site to look at, and recently branched out into a vlogging series (which for me, is gutsy!) called Chai with Charity. She writes about her marriage and 4 adorable children. That sounds sweet, doesn’t it? She shares the dark parts of her marriage too. As she puts it, it begins with the day she found out about her husband’s affair.

— 4 —

This Northern Belle a blog I love. A new post by @fillprayclosetThis Northern Belle: Annie is special to me. She encompasses my earliest memories of blogging. If you go to my about me page, she is the very first comment. She is Catholic, fresh, young, married, funny and outgoing. I love her posts on apartment living and home decor, but her annual Christmas gift guides, for me, is just as good as flipping through my favorite magazine. I post a monthly prayer request here, and she asked me to pray for her upcoming marriage (she’s happily married now), and for the longest time, I prayed rosary decades for her. See how beautiful the internet can be? Her post on 31 Days of Praying for Your Husband, always a go to.

— 5 —

Ksenia Anske Fantasy Writer, a blog I love. A new post by @fillprayclosetKsenia Anske: Ksenia is an indie fantasy author that sells her books for, wait, she doesn’t sell them. She gives them away for FREE. I found her through Ericka Clay at Tipsy Lit. She shares the ups and downs of the writer life and even shares about her own personal life. Asking her readers if she should file for bankruptcy or asking for letters to be sent to her boyfriend’s daughter who is suffering from drug addiction. She lays it all on the line, like a great artist should. I fell in love with the blog portion of her site when she published this content rich post about making a New Year’s Resolution to write a book this year. I immediately gobbled it up and emailed it to Rhonda. Ksenia is such a cheerleader for aspiring writers – and the timing of that post? She’ll never know the kick in the pants she gave me. I’ve read that post a few times already.

— 6 —

This Felicitous Life, a blog I love. A new post by @fillprayclosetThis Felicitous Life: I just love how real and funny Laura is. She is a Catholic mother and part-time lawyer. Um, yeah. She posts outfits she finds, and how to look less bad, the back and forth of dieting and trying different ones, which, come on – that’s stuff we don’t really talk about. What really got me, was her honesty about anti-depressant medication for anxiety. I’m an anxious person, I’ve been on anti-depressants for anxiety and before that for postpartum depression. Anyone who can talk about anxiety openly, I’m in.

— 7 —

Now, I’m going to cheat here, because I wrote some stuff this week that I loved writing and my friend just came out with an ebooklet that I am excited to read for Lent. So I am including myself on this list. Yes, I love my blog too! I give you, the round up:

  • A Day in the Life of a Blogger, With Tips! this is making the rounds on Pinterest!
  • More From the Sacred to the Profane, Books! Calling all Janeites! Rhonda Ortiz wrote a Lenten companion for you reflecting on vice and virtue using Jane Austen novels. My friend Ericka Clay has her novel available for pre-order on Amazon. Gritty, beautiful and penetrating.
  • Church Triumphant: St. Agnes of Rome Every month, I pair up with Tiffany at Life of a Catholic Librarian and we talk about saints. We don’t just pick anyone, we talk about it, tweet about it, text about it, and finally pick two that we just have to share with you, because in the end, they pick us.

That’s it! That’s all I got. I am off to have lunch with Alex at school for Catholic School’s Week, and then to the school dance tonight. You know we’re going to shake our groove things. But before I go, tell me, what are your favorite blogs, the ones you just gotta read. I am always looking for new blogs.

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

Church Triumphant: St. Agnes of Rome

It’s saint time! Tiffany and I always look to the saints for inspiration, help and friendship. Most of all, we love to collaborate and share our findings with our readers. This month, she will be sharing a wonderful post on St. Blaise. Here, we will learn about St. Agnes of Rome, a virgin martyr. I knew nothing of her until I received the January Magnificat. I always read the last few pages first. It’s the only time I can! They share a beautiful painting featuring a saint within the respective month. I saw this painting and loved it immediately. When I read the account of the saint, I had to share it with all of you.

Church Triumphant: St. Agnes of Rome a new post by @fillpraycloset
St. Agnes in Prison (1641), Jusepe de Ribera, (1591-1652)

St. Agnes was born c. 291 A.D. Her feast day is January 21st, but before 1970, an additional feast was celebrated on January 28th. More important than when St. Agnes was born was when and how she died. When St. Agnes was thirteen years old, she refused Eutropius, then the son of the prefect of Rome. Eutropius fell in love (some say lust) with the young girl and just had to have her. He tried to win her over with gold and jewels, asking her parents for Agnes’ hand in marriage. She flatly refused claiming that she already belonged to someone else. How could this be? How could anyone in 304 A.D. refuse precious jewels, and status to boot? Who would refuse that now?

Eutropius was lovesick and fell ill and told his father, the prefect, that he had to do everything in his power to change her mind, or he would die. He just had to have her. Eutropius’ father tried to persuade her and she replied with complete and utter refusal. The prefect was outraged and jealous for his son that she would prefer another so he inquired as to who this “other” could be. He found out that the “other” she preferred was Jesus Christ. (But we already knew that. Doesn’t this read like a novel?!)

Sadly, at the time, there was an official order banning Christianity so the prefect knew that he could “get back at her” for her “insolence”. In retribution he threatened to torture her should she not submit to the gods of Rome. The torture was horrid. Remember, this is a 13 year old girl. He had her dragged through the streets of Rome, naked to a brothel, where she would be made to witness all the debauchery that went on inside. When the guards saw her naked body, she only bent her head in shame as her the hair on her head grew to cover her.

Legend says that when she was sent to prison, Eutropius tried to rape her but was killed by an angel only to be revived by St. Agnes. Eutropius paid her in kind by condemning her to death for using magic. She went to her death a happy bride, knowing she would see her betrothed, Jesus Christ in just moments.

According to New Advent:

Since the Middle Ages St. Agnes has been represented with a lamb, the symbol of her virginal innocence. On her feast two lambs are solemnly blessed, and from their wool are made the palliums sent by the Pope to archbishops.

St. Agnes is also the patron saint of young girls. It was custom to practice a ritual on January 20th, St. Agnes Eve, where young girls would view their future husbands. This custom is captured in a poem by John Keats, The Eve of St. Agnes. A snippet:

   They told her how, upon St. Agnes’ Eve,
       Young virgins might have visions of delight,
       And soft adorings from their loves receive
       Upon the honey’d middle of the night,
       If ceremonies due they did aright;
       As, supperless to bed they must retire,
       And couch supine their beauties, lily white;
       Nor look behind, nor sideways, but require
Of Heaven with upward eyes for all that they desire.

I shared that I am using a Busy Mom devotional this year, and I have been keeping to it. Just recently, I read the scripture attached to the devotion that related so well to this saint.

My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.
John 10:27-28

St. Agnes was offered jewels, wealth and probably great notoriety for her time. She knew His voice, and followed Him, regardless of the earthly gifts offered to her, of the earthly pain, shame and death that no doubt she knew would await her. Her steadfast faith, her flat replies of no on earth, led her to eternity in heaven and the communion of saints. Thinking about celebrity, the viral nature of social media, which we all know I love. Can we remember what we are meant for? Can we remember His voice in those moments when we are tempted by the world in whatever capacity. I’m not saying that we need to perfect. I am saying that we need to be still enough to hear Him, and remember what He sounds like for those moments where we feel like we’re bombarded by everything.

Please head over and celebrate St. Blaise, patron saint of throats at Tiffany’s place.

St. Agnes of Rome, pray for us!

More From the Sacred to the Profane, Books!

I love bringing you the sacred and the profane as far as books go, and I have a fresh batch for you. I am brimming with excitement because two of my favorite people have wonderful author news.

Today is the 202nd anniversary of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Why is this important? Because my friend Rhonda released an ebook titled The Virtuous Jane Austen: Short Reflections on Character. In this quick ebook, some years ago, Rhonda felt inspired to read and reflect on the novels of Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice included, as a Lenten intellectual exercise. What’s that? Lent is coming? How perfect! She covers the vices and virtues of the human character as portrayed in Jane Austen novels in the hopes that it would translate into greater consideration in her own life. The hope is, that it will do the same for you! Janeites, hold on to your bonnets, the price of the ebook is just $.99! This means it could be a present for you and your fellow Jane-fanatics. Consider reading it together over this upcoming Lent!

The Virtuous Jane Austen Short Reflections on Character by Rhonda Ortiz a review by @fillpraycloset


I finally received news that the long awaited and anticipated book, Unkept, by glittered author, Ericka Clay is available on Kindle for pre-order! The print version of the book will be out March 2nd. We’ve talked about Ericka, before. She is an amazing author, writer, publisher, wife, mother, social media maniac, Small Wonder robot, and Catholic! That last bit is just the sugar on the berries isn’t it? This will be the best, most riveting $4.99 you will spend on a book. She has a way with words, making the ugly, beautiful and the beautiful, chilling. I can’t wait to get started! The book description on Amazon reads:

As the live-in manager at her father’s funeral home in Burling Gates, Missouri, Vienna Oaks has succumbed to the mediocrity and abject loneliness of her life. Her days are suspended between the mundane and the misery of her clients’ throttling grief, of changing light bulbs, and encountering strangers as bereft as she. But after orchestrating the funeral for a little boy named Parker prompts a severe panic attack, she finds herself at a personal crossroads in which she is forced to confront the pregnancy she’s been hiding, her childhood nemesis, the boy she never stopped loving, and the deep-seated secret surrounding her mother’s death more than a decade before.

In another part of town, Heather Turnbull has just learned from her estranged father that her mother, a lifelong recluse, has died. When making arrangements for her funeral, Heather chooses Oaks Family Funeral home, where she comes face to face with Vienna – the woman she tortured throughout grade school, the woman who has recently had an affair with her husband.

Together, Vienna and Heather navigate through a makeshift friendship born of circumstance and devised to assuage their ambivalence towards motherhood and their tenuous relationship with reality, discovering, in tandem, the art of forgiveness and the will to go on.

With humor and poignancy, Ericka Clay’s debut novel, Unkept, explores the thorny landscape of childhood trauma and the ferocious politics between little girls — and the adults they become.

Unkept by Ericka Clay available for pre-order a write up by @fillpraycloset

Now did I tell you I would bring the goods?! Be prepared for a FULL review on both books. Rhonda’s throughout Lent and Ericka’s as soon as my eyes can read it all! I am so excited to share these indie authors with you. I can’t even believe that I know them!

Why are you still reading this post? Get to buying people!