For our struggle is not against flesh and blood…

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…but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. (Ephesians 6:12)

 

Yipes! Spiritual warfare goes on all around us. Can you imagine what that looks like? Angels and demons are pure spirits with no bodies so we can’t see this. Would it help you in your spiritual journey to see these battles going on? Or would it terrify you? Would it do both?

Come on a journey with Roland, Keefe and Jarret West and the other teens from award-winning Roland West, Loner and from Life-Changing Love in this brand new YA release. This story has a twist: part of the story is told by Jarret’s guardian angel. So you’ll get to see firsthand the spiritual challenges, battles, failures, and victories in all of their glorious and terrifying grandeur! Okay, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic. But I loved researching for and writing this story, and I think you will love it too.

 

PRAISE FOR BATTLE FOR HIS SOUL

“This book will get you thinking about the spiritual battle waging all around us, and your guardian angel that fights for you. I have recognized my guardian angel more in my life since reading Battle for His Soul.”   ~Lisa Mayer, author of The Arrow Bringer

“Teens, maybe more than the rest of us, focus on the here and now. That’s why Battle for His Soul is a must read. It’ll widen your ideas about temptation, prayer, mercy, and God’s call in your life.”    ~Carolyn Astfalk, Christian romance writer and author of Ornamental Graces and Stay With Me

“After encountering this novel, you will never again think of angels as being far away! Another page-turner by an author at the top of her craft.”    ~Susan Peek, author of St. Magnus, The Last Viking and many other saint stories for teens and children

battle-for-his-soul-frontSynopsis:

Jarret West, a rich teenage boy, has been accustomed to having control over others and getting his way. When his life begins to fall apart, his guardian angel Ellechial hopes now is the time for his conversion. Jarret must be freed from the deep clutches of Deth-kye, the demon bent on seeing him in hell. The fate of several others depends upon Jarret’s conversion.

While Jarret gets ensnared in Deth-kye’s traps, Ellechial can provide little help since Jarret doesn’t pray, doesn’t believe, and hasn’t listened to him in years. Ellechial hopes Jarret’s twin brother, who has recently found God, will be able to influence him. But Jarret goes on vacation with his father and younger brother where temptations only increase. Meanwhile, Jarret’s twin and other teens form a prayer group and begin to pray before the Blessed Sacrament unaware of the power they provide the angels. Though Ellechial gains strength, Deth-kye wins victory after victory. His weapons: emotion, vice, and memories. Who will win the battle for Jarret’s soul?

Battle for His Soul is available as a paperback and eBook through Ingram Books, Amazon, and by request at your favorite bookstore, and in various eBook formats through Smashwords.

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Are you familiar with Pope Saint John Paul II’s Theology of the Body?

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I asked this question to several people lately. And I was surprised that all of them said, “No.”
I’ve come to believe that John Paul II’s Theology of the Body was made for our times.
John Paul II is one of my favorite saints. I am deeply moved by the story of his life. He enjoyed swimming, skiing, writing, and acting. He faced impossible trials, losing his parents and brother at a young age and living under the Nazi occupation in Poland. He possessed an amazing faith, delving into theology and spirituality and the meaning of life. Some of his richest teachings come from his Theology of the Body. If you are not familiar with this theology, I invite you to look into it. George Weigel, author of Witness to Hope, says John Paul II’s Theology of the Body is a “. . . theological time bomb set to go off, with dramatic consequences . . .”
We need this time bomb to go off now! Our generation is in dire need of a deeper understanding of our own humanity. People are confused about the relevance of human life and relationships, the gift of love and sexuality, and even their own sexual identity. This theology provides the key. God has a message for every one of us, and it’s written in our bodies!

 

“The human body includes right from the beginning… the capacity of expressing love, that love in which the person becomes a gift – and by means of this gift – fulfills the meaning of his being and existence.” ~John Paul II

tob-coverThese teaching are deep and rich. Once you start reading them, you’ll want more. But nonfiction isn’t the only way to delve into this theology. I appreciate that Full Quiver Publishing  has dedicated themselves to publishing books that bring to light the Catholic Church’s beautiful teachings on sexuality and marriage. They’ve just released an anthology of short stories and poems Image & Likeness: Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body.
This anthology includes beautiful poetry and tragic, thought-provoking, and inspirational stories in a variety of genres. I am honored that two of my own short stories appear in this anthology.
Image & Likeness is available in Kindle and Paperback
All are invited to the Image &Likeness Book Launch Party on Facebook Thursday, October 27th from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Please drop by and get to know more about this anthology. There are a ton of prizes to win too! Stop by today to see the prizes!

Viva Cristo Rey!

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For Greater Glory.jpgMy youngest child, a thirteen-year-old, is preparing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation this spring. For his Confirmation saint he’s chosen the recently canonized Saint Jose Sanchez del Rio. If you haven’t heard about this saint, you can read about him here or you can watch the movie For Greater Glory.

Saint Jose’s story in a nutshell: The President of Mexico was violently persecuting the Catholic Church (1926-1929). Priests were martyred, churches burned, and the people were forbidden to practice their faith. The Cristeros rose up to oppose this unjust religious persecution. Jose, a Catholic with deep devotion to Our Lord and Our Lady of Guadalupe, saw firsthand the effects of this persecution. Too young to join in the fight, he pleaded with one of the generals, who finally gave in and allowed him to deliver messages and supplies. Then one day, Jose was captured and imprisoned. The soldiers tortured him. And his only reply was, “Viva Cristo Rey!” Long live Christ the King!

Saint Jose was martyred at the age of fourteen because he refused to renounce his Catholic faith. This past October 16, he was declared a saint.

An example of faith and courage in the face of religious persecution, Saint Jose Sanchez del Rio is truly a saint for our times.

As I help my youngest to prepare for Confirmation, I think about my own journey of faith and the spiritual climate of our country then and now. I’m a cradle Catholic, raised in a two-parent family and who received religious education until Confirmation. I began to get excited about my faith in my teen years, largely due to one particular teacher who made the faith come alive. But I didn’t really take ownership of my faith until years later, after many falls and challenges and maybe because of those falls and challenges.

Today’s Christian faces more challenges than I did growing up. Violence, drugs, and immorality are on the rise. Our brothers and sisters in the faith are being tortured and martyred throughout the world. In our own country, we find a growing intolerance for Christians and Christian principles. And Christians are expected to embrace public policies that are contrary to their faith.

confirmation-imageWhile I pray for an end to religious persecution and intolerance, I also pray that my children will have the faith and courage needed in these troubled times. I pray especially for my youngest and all of his classmates as they prepare for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Come Holy Spirit.

Pray for us, Saint Jose Sanchez del Rio.

Viva Cristo Rey!

 

CWG Book Blast: The Boys Upstairs

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This book is a winner of the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval. I’ve got it as an audio book and can’t wait to listen to this story!

Teaser: With temperatures below zero, three homeless kids turn to a disabled priest & an embittered cop as their last hope.

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Summary: Father Jay is a disabled priest who’s let the local homeless kids move into the unused rectory because it’s so cold. But three days before Christmas, Jay’s estranged brother, a cop, dumps three more kids on his doorstep. Now, in order to save the kids, Jay and Kevin are going to have to work together.  That means reconciling.

The next book in the series to be released before the end of the month!

Excerpt: After vesting but before starting the service, Jay knelt in the chilly church, in front of the tabernacle and tried to clear his mind. Too much Christmas clutter, he prayed. It’s hard to listen. It’s hard to keep focus.

Momentarily he felt a question: What is most important for the holiday? What does the Nativity mean? And then, What do you want for Christmas?

A dozen needs flooded Jay’s mind: all of those boys upstairs who distrusted the world, Tthe three little kids who’d rather be dead together than alive and apart. There was  Eddie and his yearning for a meaningful role in the world. On the other extreme,  Holly who would all but pay Jay a stipend trying to take care of him. There was his brother Kevin and all of his baggage, his anger and his brooding distances—and it was too much. There were so many more gaps. His parish needed so much. Fighting a war hadn’t sapped half as much out of him as St. Gus could on its busiest days.

Oh, God… Jay lowered his head to hide the nervous chuckle. All I asked for was an electric can-opener.

Author Bio: Jane Lebak talks to angels, cats, and her kids. Only the angels listen to her, but the kids talk back. She lives in the Swamp, writing books and knitting socks, with the occasional foray into violin-playing. You’ll also find her blogging at QueryTracker.net, a resource for writers seeking agents and small publishers.

Website: http://www.janelebak.com

Buy Link: http://amzn.to/2dYaqgn

The Big Five-Oh!

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This November I will turn 50! Does that seem old to you? My body reminds me that I am no spring chicken: bifocals, carpel tunnel, acid reflux, various aches and pains… But on the inside I feel the same as I ever did. I’m still that emotional young woman, struggling to make sense of the world, ready for every challenge, and excited about what the future holds. Granted, I’m not as impulsive or willing to take risks, but I still love a good adventure.

car-15927_1920I remember my teenage and young adult years like they were yesterday. Those days were filled with challenges and “firsts”: first car, first real relationship, first road trip alone, first concert, first job… And while I enjoyed those years, they were tough too, sometimes unbearably tough. But I believe the struggles, trials, failures, and setbacks I faced helped me become the woman I am today.

woman-591576_1920I like who I am. I’ve come a long way and wouldn’t ever want to go back. In particular, I cherish my marriage, my family, my friends, and the faith I have today. I wouldn’t give those up for the world! Hopefully, the world won’t ask me to. But you never know. Christians are being challenged every day throughout the world. And many times they are having to pay a high price for clinging to faith, family, and freedom. Even in our own country.

And as I turn 50, I take more seriously the fact that we are not made for this world but for the next. Will I live for 50 more years? Probably not. So, the way I see it, I’m over halfway home! I pray that I remain faithful to the end and I wonder: What adventure comes next?

“The eye has not seen, and the ear has not heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those who love him.” ~1 Corinthians 2:9