Monday, April 21, 2014

Frozen Footprints by Therese Heckenkamp

When I thumbed through my newly arrived, autographed copy of Frozen Footprints (thank you, Therese Heckenkamp!), I was excited to see the book that was going to be one of my “summer readers.” I had no intention of reading it upon its arrival as I was knee-deep in a few editing projects and really did not have the time. Mostly I wanted to stoke my anticipation which, for me, is always part of the excitement of lining up books to read.

I read the first sentence and could not stop.

One sentence and I was hooked.

So, I sat and read and pushed my editing projects from my thoughts since I didn’t want them crowding out the sheer pleasure I was finding in Heckenkamp’s book.

Frozen Footprints is the story of 18 year old twin siblings Charlene and Max Perigard who have spent the better part of their years under their wealthy grandfather’s thumb. Sure, they drive nice cars and have lots of goodies, but still there is a sadness in their lives that makes the reader understand that money really isn’t everything. All this comes out without the author getting preachy or high-and-mighty. (Good stuff.)

Being quite in sync with her twin, Charlene is a lone voice of concern about Max’s disappearance. Try as she might, though, no one will listen and take her concerns seriously. Thus, she finds herself in the midst of a very real, quite harrowing kidnapping saga.

Heckenkamp’s descriptions of scenes, events, and feelings weaves a great tale—one that will keep you turning pages long after you should have closed the book and gotten back to your work obligations. LOL! Never overt, Heckenkamp has used the story of the perils of Charlene and Max to bring an interesting and believable aspect of the faith into the dialogue between the main characters and even in a particularly chilling scene (sorry, you’ll have to read it to see what scene I am referring to).

With my editing projects patiently waiting for completion, I have learned that while another of Heckenkamp’s books is beckoning to me, I will not—I refuse to—open Past Suspicion and read even one sentence until my projects are complete. Talk about incentive!

If you want to get a jump start on your summer reading list, you really do want a copy of Frozen Footprints by Therese Heckenkamp—but I can’t promise that by the time summer rolls around you won’t be needing another book!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Mary Garden: A Great Mother-Daughter Spring Activity!

It is a Catholic tradition to acknowledge and honor the unselfish and holy life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. One way of doing that is to plant a Mary Garden.

In the Middle Ages, missionaries and travelers spread stories across Europe about flowers named after Mary and various times of her life. Mary Gardens that featured these flowers became popular there, and later the tradition made its way to America. Around 1932 it is believed that the first Mary Garden in the United States was constructed on the grounds of St. Joseph's Church in the Woods on Cape Cod.

Now, many flowers that symbolize the name of Mary grace gardens throughout this country. If you, too, would like to honor our Blessed Mother through flowers, perhaps you would like to create your own special garden spot that showcases plants that carry her name. The center focus of the garden is a statue of Our Blessed Lady. The size of the garden does not matter. In fact, people with limited space can use a small area and a few select flowers to surround their statue. If you are an apartment dweller, you can set up your Marian Garden in a window box or even use a small statue with a single flowering plant. Reflecting on Marian flowers can be a perfect starting point for meditating on the life of Christ through Mary.

To help set up a Marian Garden, flowers and their meanings are listed below. This list is far from complete but should give you enough information to begin.

1. Lily: Legend tells us that the Angel Gabriel held a lily in his hands when he came to tell Mary that she was chosen to be the mother of the Savior. Lilies are often depicted in pictures of Mary as an indication of purity and grace.

2. Columbine: This flower is often called Our Lady's Slipper. Legend says that this flower sprang from the earth where Mary's feet stepped when she was on her way to visit Elizabeth.

3. Rose: The rose symbolizes Mary as the Queen of Heaven. The red rose represents sorrow. The white rose shows joy, and the yellow rose stands for the honor bestowed upon Mary.

4. Violet: The violet is a symbol of modesty and simplicity; humble acceptance to the words from the angel Gabriel...."Let it be done unto me according to Your will."

5. Carnation: Legend says that the carnation bloomed on the night of Jesus' birth; a sign of Mary's joy at the Child's birth.

6. Oxeye Daisy It is said that when the wise men reached Bethlehem they looked for a further sign to guide them to the new king. King Melchior saw a white and gold flower and knew which building to enter.

7. Star of Bethlehem: The shape of the flower is said to resemble the star that the Magi followed to find the Christ Child.

8. Snowdrop: The snowdrop is said to have bloomed in February when Mary took Jesus to the temple to present him to God.

9. Rosemary It is believed that Mary hung the linens of the Holy Child on the rosemary bush to dry. Afterwards, the bush carried a sweet aroma.

10. Forget-me-not The tiny blue flowers of this plant represent Mary's eyes.

11. Meadow Cress: This plant is called Our Lady's Smock. It stands for the fine linens made by Mary's hands. It is said that Mary learned to weave as a young girl.

12. Lavender This fragrant plant represents purity, cleanliness and virtue – Mary’s spotlessness and chastity.

13. Marigold: Early Christians placed marigolds around statues of Mary in place of coins calling them Mary's gold.

14. Bluebells: These bell-shaped flowers resemble tiny thimbles and represent Our Lady's working hands. They were often called Our Lady's Thimbles.

15. Speedwell: This plant is also known as Mary's Resting Place. A legend tells that its blossoms marked each spot where the Blessed Mother rested during the flight into Egypt.

(This excerpt is reprinted with permission from All Things Girl: Truth for Teens, 2014 release)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Company We Keep!

If we are known by the company we keep, then hats off to one of my favorite authors--Laura Pearl--for the company she is keeping on Amazon!

Check it out:

Customers who bought Finding Grace by Laura Pearl also bought The Ear of the Heart by Mother Dolores Hart; Come My Beloved by Ellen Gable Hrkach; Past Suspicion by Therese Heckenkamp; and Frozen Footprints also by Therese Heckenkamp (which I am currently reading and loving!).

Congratulations, Laura!

check out Laura's blog at:

or follow Laura on Twitter @Finding_Grace_


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Hang New Curtains this Lent!

Did you ever notice that the Lenten season seems to come and go in the blink of an eye? All of a sudden you find yourself at Easter Mass wondering how time so easily slipped through your fingers. Darn! You had promised yourself that this Lent would be different. You wouldn’t be caught by surprise, yet again!

But already you can feel it happening again; you are not experiencing Lent the way you wanted.

However, that doesn’t have to be the case. You can make the conscious choice—right here, right now—to stop in your busy tracks and embrace the Lenten season.  

Lent is a season of preparing for the resurrection of Christ—to be ready to live in that resurrection  

Prepare room so that he may dwell in your heart: Your heart is where Christ wishes to dwell and where his resurrection can be most noticeably felt. Lent is the perfect time to make room in it for His presence. If your heart is filled with unforgiveness, it has no room for Christ. This Lent do an honest, even painful Examination of Conscience wherein you ask your Heavenly Father to reveal to you any unforgiveness that exists in your heart. Remember that as God has forgiven you, you are also asked to forgive others.

Clean out the cobwebs: After an Examination of Conscience where you ask God to reveal any unforgiveness that you are holding, it is important to clean out the vestiges of cobwebs that may still be lurking in the dark corners of your heart. A beautiful time to do this is during a Stations of the Cross service. As you move through the Stations of the Cross and participate in the responses, you will find the cobwebs being dusted away and preparing you for the resurrection.

Hang new curtains: The room of your heart is now ready: unforgiveness and cobwebs have been cleared out. Now it is time to hang new curtains! Many of us fall into a rut in our daily lives and forget how to live in joy. You are preparing for Christ’s resurrection and that ought to bring great happiness! So throw out the old curtains of fear and despair and exhaustion and hang new curtains of joy and praise for the resurrection.

Get out the fine china and set the table: Company is here! We aren’t doubtfully thinking that maybe He’s been resurrected. We are certain in our belief of His resurrection and every cell in our body joyfully shouts, “He lives!” This is the time we get the fine china out of the cupboard to celebrate the resurrection. Our fine china goes so well with our new curtains!

Open the front door: Whenever we have company in our home, after all the preparation is complete, we open our front door and wait expectantly, excitedly on our couch. We can’t wait to visit with our company. The same is applicable now: let’s rejoice in the resurrected Lord and celebrate by the way we live and love.