Online Writers Conference

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Online Writers Conference to Coach Catholic Writers to Succeed!

If you are a Catholic writer, don’t miss this opportunity!

If you can never seem to get to the annual Catholic Writers live conference, don’t miss this opportunity!!

If you prefer the convenience of following a conference from the comfort of home, don’t miss this opportunity!!!

September 14-16, 2018, the Catholic Writers Guild will host, via webinar, an online writers conference focused on helping Catholic writers succeed in their craft.

The Catholic Writers Conference Online provides Catholic writers with a prime opportunity to meet and share their faith with editors, publishers, and fellow writers from across the globe.

  • Speakers will discuss writing as a calling, literature as evangelization, and even how genre fiction like horror and science fiction can still reflect Catholic values.
  • Presenters include Joseph Pearce (Further Up & Further In), Michelle Buckman (Turning in Circles), Karen Ullo (Jennifer the Damned) and many others.
  • Recordings and reference materials from all presentations will be available free to all conference attendees.
  • The webinar conference will also give authors an opportunity to meet with publishing professionals and pitch their writing projects. In the past, publishers from large Catholic presses, including Pauline, Ave Maria, and Our Sunday Visitor, and secular presses like Anaiah Press and Liberty Island, have participated.
  • Of those who pitched at the 2017 online conference, over 10 percent have been offered publishing contracts and several are published, including one finalist for the Catholic Arts and Letters Award, Michelle Buckman.

serveimageThe Catholic Writers Guild sponsors the online conference, as well as a live conference in July, and a semi-annual writers’ retreat in October. As a religious non-profit organization affiliated with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, the CWG uses these conferences to further its mission of promoting Catholic literature.

CWG President, Joseph Wetterling, says, “The Guild exemplifies the Catholic ‘both/and’ with writers from every part of the world, in every genre, and from every walk of life. We’re diverse in personality and style but united in our loyalty and love of the Catholic faith. The Catholic Writers Conference Live is a unique opportunity to come together in fellowship and sharpen each other toward our united mission: a rebirth of Catholic arts and letters.”

Registration costs $30 for CWG Members and $45 non-members. To register or for more information, go to https://catholicwritersguild.org/online-conference.

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Those Difficult Cases in the Pro-Life Debate

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I attended the Bringing America Back to Life Convention in Independence, Ohio, for the second year in a row. Both times I’ve been amazed, stunned, shocked, grieved, and motivated by the talks, and I’ve come to realize that the pro-life issue is much bigger than I ever imagined. We have not faced an issue as widespread and devastating as this at any time in recorded human history.

And, as Obianuju Ekeocha, founder and president of Culture of Life Africa, said last year, “One day history will judge our generation.”

The life issue affects women, men, children, the old, and the unborn, doctors, nurses, health care facilities, science, marriages, relationships, families, societies, countries, and all of humanity. The damage runs deep. Perhaps because our culture has lost the sense of the sacred, it struggles to recognize the sanctity of human life.

But this is our culture and our generation. This is our battle. Please watch the short video I created, inspired by this amazing conference.

Some people are against abortion except for that 1 exception: cases of rape. I am pro-life without exception. And one of the speakers who touched me the most was Jennifer Christie, a blogger and pro-life speaker for Save the 1.  Save the 1 protects, supports, and empowers women who become pregnant by rape and their children conceived in rape. Save the 1 speakers represent the so-called “hard cases” in the abortion debate. Tired of people using their cases to keep abortion legal, these women speak up for the babies of the 1 exception.

They want to “…end the discrimination of the ‘least of these’ and to go into the world to change hearts and minds by putting faces to the issue…” ~from http://www.savethe1.com/

At this conference, Jennifer shared her story. She was brutally raped while on a business trip. The emotional damage took its toll and her body had only begun to heal when she discovered she was pregnant.

As I listened to Jennifer’s story, I confess that I fought back tears. I cried for what she went through. No woman should ever have to experience that. But I cried even more because of her love. And because of her husband’s love. While many urged her to abort, she and her husband welcomed this new life, this precious baby that came on the wake of a horrible nightmare.

Jenn and baby

“This child had nothing to do with the attack on my body or the scars on my soul. He had everything to do with my healing – giving me a reason to hope. I did not save my son. He saved me.” ~Jennifer

I encourage you to read her story at Save the 1.

Jennifer now speaks out for the unborn whose lives are threatened in those difficult situations where many want to make an exception. She recognizes that God can use the nightmare she’s endured to save babies and women. And so she blogs and she gives talks.

Sometime during the conference, I spoke with Jennifer. And I found myself on the verge of crying again. This time because I recognized a powerful, transformational love in her. Honestly, this woman radiates love, faith, and courage. And Jennifer not only blogs and gives talks, but she reaches out to women who have been hurt through rape, women whose lives have been turned upside down through this violent act. She reaches out to them even when they direct their anger at her because she chose life. And her love touches their hearts too, allowing them to finally heal.

Women who have been through violence do not need abortion. Aborting a child conceived in rape does nothing to diminish the memory of that violent event. It does not allow a woman to “get on with her life.” It causes great damage to the woman who has been hurt enough already.

“My son is a reminder every day that as women we can rise above our circumstances. My son is a reminder that love is always stronger than hate. And that who we are as human beings is not determined by how we were conceived.” ~Jennifer

For the love of women, for the love of the unborn, we must end abortion now. No exceptions.

Friends of mine who have learned about Jennifer have been “binge reading” her blog posts. Here is one you simply must read: When People Said We Shouldn’t Have You, We Loved You Louder

I will end with something else that Jennifer shared this with us during the conference. As she spoke these words, I couldn’t stop crying–but neither could anyone else in the room.

Jennifer was once told, “But if it’s RAPE…think about it from the woman’s point of view!”

“Okay. Yes, let’s think about it from the woman’s point of view.

The day after she is raped, she’s shocked to find out the sun still rises because everything in her world has changed. She feels different. Wrong. Inexplicably ashamed.

She’s certain that strangers can look at her and know that she is damaged. She walks around thinking “I am a woman who has been raped,” and knows her life has now been split in half.

Before she became a statistic. After. In the silence, she hears things he said to her. Things she knows she’ll never repeat. When she closes her eyes, she sees him looming over her. She can’t eat…the taste of her own blood lingers on her tongue…the dank earthiness of the ground as he held her head down.

She speaks with other survivors, with friends, with her lover who is trying desperately to comfort her, but she is terribly, terribly alone.

When a faint second line blossoms on the pregnancy test, for a moment, she feels as though the wind is knocked out of her. Instinctively, her hands drift to her flat belly as she tries to slow her breath. She knows what she should feel. Resentment. Anger, maybe.

But…somehow, for the first time since crossing over into the ‘after’ she doesn’t feel adrift. For the first time since crossing over into the after, she has a reason to go on.

She feels a ferocious need to safeguard this delicate new life. She might not have been able to protect herself, but she can protect her baby. Her baby. Deep breath. It’s okay, she whispers to nobody and everybody. I’m going to take care of you.

But they take care of each other. And in little arms, and big eyes, and the purest of all love, she begins to heal.” ~Jennifer Christie

Perhaps it is even more powerful listening to Jennifer speak these words: Is abortion in a case of rape “compassion” to the woman?

Follow Jennifer and other 100% pro-life bloggers and speakers at https://savethe1.blogspot.com

Learn about Unbroken, a support and advocacy group for those impacted by pregnancy from rape.

Toughest Women of 2017

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In 2017, I learned about and followed with interest several women who are public figures. Here are three of my favorites: Obianuju Ekeocha, Nikki Haley, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

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The things that I admire most in a public figure include personal integrity and the courage to speak up for what is right regardless of popular opinion. Each of these women are highly intelligent and motivated for good. And each have been attacked with insults and childish name calling. Yet each of these women continues to perform her duties and follow her call undaunted. They are beautiful role models.

There are many other women whom I would also add to this, but few would know their names.

They are the moms who work hard to care for their families, providing joy, comfort, order, discipline, and hot meals—even if it comes from a box.

They are the women who suffer from ongoing illnesses with little relief, complaining little if at all, suffering even more because of the things they can’t do for their families.

They are the homeschooling moms who make countless sacrifices of time, talent, and treasure, putting every member of the family before themselves.

They are the women devoted to prayer for little intentions and for the whole human race, some of who remain cloistered in convents, others who are home-bound, and still others known to God alone.

They are the single-parent moms, who often feel utterly alone, with burdens so great that one wonders how they can carry them.

They are the women in other countries who are persecuted, oppressed, and treated as less than human, who struggle to provide and still strive to bring joy and peace to their families.

The are the women who quietly suffer for poor choices they’ve made but who accept the consequences in a spirit of self-sacrifice, who learn how to trust and who are determined to grow.

They are the women who are driven to be light in the darkness, to bring truth where there is error, to right what is wrong.

They are the wonder women of the world.

God knows them each by name.

And I pray each one receives His blessings in abundance in 2018.

Who are your favorite women of 2017?

A to Z blogging Challenge: J is for Jeanette Levellie

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“J” is for Jeanette Levellie

….who gets her life, talent, joy, and power from Jesus!

Let’s face it, every single day we face hardships, failure, and disappointment of one kind or another. It helps lighten the load and lighten your mood if you can step back, see the bigger picture, and even laugh about it . . . at least some of it.

Jeanette Levellie does just that!

I had the privilege of meeting her and hearing her speak at the North East Ohio Christian Writers Conference April 1, 2017. Yes, April Fool’s Day! Jeanette struck me as a sincere, down-to-earth, and joyful Christian who has found the key to joy and wants to share it with others. She inspired us to use humor in our writing and she shared “laughing exercises” with us. (If you’re not familiar with those, let me assure you, they are hysterical!)

I have been reading one of her books, Two Scoops of Grace: with Chuckles on Top. This book has 72 short stories that make you laugh and make you think. Rather than sit down and read this book all at once (as I have been known to do with a good fiction story), I am reading a few short stories at a time. The stories are so entertaining that I can hardly wait to see what the next one is about. But I want to make this book last. I come away from every story with a lighter mood and thinking about the spiritual message. I need that lift and perspective every day. Just like my daily cup of coffee, I’m getting addicted to Two Scoops of Grace and laughter.

Jeanette has an incredible knack for finding humor in the challenges and difficult moments of her own life. And then she goes deeper and finds the spiritual message that God has for her, and the universal message that we can all benefit from.

I love her humor and perspective on life and can’t wait to read more from her. I highly recommend her books. And if your church or group is looking for a speaker who will make them laugh and also look deeper at life, Jeanette Levellie is your speaker!

jeanette-levellie-wagon-wheel-soft_1“Nutty with a Dash of Meat” best describes Jeanette Levellie’s writing, speaking, and life.

A spunky pastor’s wife and former History teacher, Jeanette authors a weekly humor/inspirational column, God is Greater, a popular feature in her local newspaper since 2001. She has published hundreds of stories and articles in anthologies, Christian and secular magazines, greeting card verses, and poems. Jeanette is also a prolific speaker for both Christian and secular groups, and has a unique flair for finding humor in unlikely places, bringing laughter and hope to her audiences.

Jeanette is the mother of two grown children, three grandchildren, and servant to four cats. She lives in Paris (not the French one), IL. with her husband, Kevin. Her hobbies include dining out, talking baby talk to her cats, avoiding housework, reading, and watching old classic movies.

Her debut book, Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top is a humorous inspirational look at God’s bottomless heart. Just like Jeanette’s life, it’s full of mayhem, messes, and miracles. Sample chapters include Drive up Diapers, Crawzilla, The Ice Cream Snatcher, and Can Preachers Have Sex on Sundays?

The Heart of Humor: Sixty Helpings of Hilarity to Nourish Your Soul is Jeanette’s second book. These servings of humor are topped with a wee slices of inspirational thoughts and comical drawings by her son, Ron, a former animator.

Jeanette’s third book, Shock the Clock: Time Management for Writers and Other Creatives is a unique approach to time management based on personality types. It includes tips from well-known writers and editors such as James N. Watkins, Jody Hedlund, and Cecil Murphey.

Touchable God: Finding the Lord’s Friendship Through Prayer is Jeanette’s fourth book. It details her lifelong journey in prayer with warm, poignant stories and offers 25 prayers for friends—or yourself—going through crises.

Find Jeanette’s mirthful musings on her blog, Hope Splashes, at www.jeanettelevellie.com , Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.