Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

I had a deadline for March 1. Since March 1 was a Saturday, I declared my deadline to be Monday, March 3.  Then the editor said he wasn’t going to be in the office Monday anyway, so March 4 it is.  Was.  Whew!

It’s a good feeling.  Not only moving your deadline a few days later (too many wouldn’t be good – it would just extend the agony.  A 3 day-extension is just about right.) but completing a project.   Now my brain is free to do what I hadn’t allowed myself to do as the deadline loomed:  plan a couple of trips and watch True Detective.  

So, some schoolish stuff. It’s been a little scattered because I have been scattered, but we have soldiered on.

  • This week, the 12-year old will have his science class, the 9-year old will have a zoo class, and then in a week, it will be time for a science class for the 9-year old.  Plus art and music for the 9-year old.
  • Did I tell you that I told the 9-year old that I wanted him to take up another instrument in the fall in addition to piano, and that he thought about it and decided that he picked the pipe organ?  Well.
  • Math chugs along.   The 12-year old has been doing basic statistics, which is familiar to him, of course, but even the deeper level to which AOPS takes it is easy for him.  It’s very strange when you’re looking at  problem with your 12-year old, you’re sort of struggling with it, and he snaps up and says, “Oh, I get it.” And then he’s all blahblahblahmathmathmathnumbersblahblah.  It’s strange in a good way.
  • (And if you or someone you know need to be introduced to the differences between bar and pie graphs in a very entertaining way….take a look.)
  • 9-year old has been doing battle with equivalent fractions this week.  The amazing thing to me is how at the beginning of a new topic, he looks at the material all wide eyed and wonders if he can ever master it, but the way the material is presented is just right and the number and type of exercises are just right, so by the end, in just a few days, he has mastered it.
  • This game helped a bit at the beginning. 
  • 12-year old has gotten more intentional about keyboarding, using this program.
  • Still doing the Latin thing in a casual way, using this, as well as Mass propers.   I don’t know if I’d recommend it as a core Latin program – in fact, I don’t think I would.  But it’s a low-key introduction.
  • We finally got through What country, friends, is this? and have moved on to the super short and super simple, Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale??  A relief to tackle something so easy. 
  • FINALLY watched the Burton/Taylor Taming of the Shrew.  It was entertaining, but honestly, so much was cut from the play (most of the subplots), I found it a challenge to follow along with the text.  It’s okay.  They’re familiar enough with it now, and we’ll go over some of the important speeches, so that they’ll be well prepared to see it at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival later this month. I’m excited.  Never seen a show there.   I will say that I thought Elizabeth Taylor was magnificent in the film.   Those eyes were so subtly expressive – you could really follow Katherina’s transformation simply by focusing on Taylor’s eyes.
  • Switching to another Katharine: Watched a couple of short videos for the feast of St. Katharine Drexel. 
  • Attempted this project.  The pieces are drying now.  We’ll see. 
  • Cursive is being practiced, using this book.
  • Today we went to see the very nice (but small) Delacroix exhibit at the Birmingham Museum of Art.  We did some prep with books and videos before hand, and then had a fruitful hour at the exhibit.
  • Plus, a visit to one of our best museum friends.

"amy welborn"

  • Now that March has commenced and basketball and my project are done, the energy will shift to roadschooling……hmmmmm……Two weeks from today….three weeks from today…..


"amy welborn"

Before the museum…a stop at Reed Books….


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Well, shoot.  I had this local speaking engagement last night…but then Southeast Snowmaggedon 2 happened at just about the same scheduled time, so we cancelled…at since it was part of a series of speakers, I don’t know if and when it will be rescheduled.

So I have books!

"Amy Welborn"Here’s the link to the bookstore.  As I say on the page, all prices include Media Mail shipping.  If you would like them more quickly, let me know, and we can arrange it.  I really would prefer to ship only to the United States, but if you are outside the US, and have a burning desire for a book, again, email me and we can figure it out.

The only books I don’t presently have on hand are the three children’s picture books, but I’ll get some more of them presently.

So yes…books for your RCIA candidates, your confirmation candidates, your graduating seniors, your moms, dads, First Communicants…..etc.  



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The Power of the Cross

"amy welborn"

Download free here.

Or here. 



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…then you are blessed!

Seriously – thank you to all those who volunteer as catechists.

"Amy welborn"

And If you are teaching 2nd grade – the traditional age for First Communion formation – you might be interested in the page  describing the books I have that might be good First Communion choices – for gifts (too early, I know!) or supplements to instruction.

These books include Friendship With Jesus - a picture book with excerpts from a question-and-answer session Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI had with children; Be Saints! another picture book with excerpts from a catechesis Benedict had with British schoolchildren; as well as the Loyola Saints books.

(Which are good for all ages – not just 2nd grade, of course!)

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These are the only books I have in stock right now, and you might as well buy some of them to save us from moving this, er, one box.

Go here to order. The following are available.

Wish You Were Here

Book of Saints

Book of Heroes

Church’s Most Powerful Novenas  -  1 copy remaining

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist

Catholic Woman’s Book of Days

Plus a couple of Pocket Guides by other authors (Hahn,Kreeft).

Go here to order.  Shipping is included in prices, shipping to US only, please.  

And don’t forget the free!  Free ebook downloads of 

The Power of the Cross 

"amy welborn"Come Meet Jesus 

Mary and the Christian Life

Those links will take to individual pages at my site where you can download pdfs.  You can also read all three via Scribd here. 

Also, I was honored to hear that a local parish woman’s group is using The Words We Pray as a discussion book this fall.

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— 1 —

We are slowly moving.  I closed on the new house a couple of weeks ago and will put this one up for sale in…a couple of weeks.   I’m sad about leaving my front porch, my bungalow style and this street with its close neighbors and sidewalks, but….it was time to get some more room, a bit more storage space, a more exciting yard and a basketball goal.

— 2 —

I’m going from the cozy 30′s to the swanky 50′s with this move.  The “new” house was built in 1958 and has a sweet built-in feature that makes me want to start amassing atomic-style glassware.   Soon I’ll remember to take a photo of it when it’s actually daylight.

— 3 —

For some reason, I am reading Zola’s Three Cities.  Downloaded it from Gutenburg.  I know Zola’s point of view, but I’m also just interested in his reporting.   It gives me a better view of the history of the period, particularly how Catholicism was practiced – from his perspective, anyway.

— 4 —

It’s Christmas in July, people!  Bambinelli Sunday will be published in August, so here, in July, I’m starting to get ready.  I’ve got a Pinterest board going and everything. 

— 5 —

Ann and I will be attending the Catholic Marketing Show in early August on behalf of the book. We’ll be signing Thursday at noon, so if you’re around – come see us!

— 6 —

We went to San Francisco a couple of weeks ago – I wrote a bit about it here. 

— 7 —

Speaking of San Francisco, my current project is St. Francis-related.  In sorting through things tonight, I found a little booklet I’d purchased in Santa Maria degli Angeli (the town at the base of the hill on which Assisi rests – it’s where the train station is and where the Porziuncola is).  The Pardon of Assisi is really just the text of a talk that then-Cardinal Ratzinger gave there in 1996.  The “Pardon of Assisi” or the Portiuncula Indulgence is described here.   Cardinal Ratzinger describes his childhood memories of it and ends his talk with a gentle exposition of its spiritual fruit.  I love the image of  letting ourselves ” fall into the communion of saints.”

I remember that in my youth the day of the Pardon of Assisi was a day of great interiority, a day on which we received the sacraments in a climate of personal recollection.  It was a day of prayer.  In the square in front of my parish church, a particularly solemn silence reigned.  There was a continuous flow of people into and out of the church.  One felt that Christianity is a grace and that this grace is revealed through prayer…..

Basically the Indulgence is a little like the church of the Portiuncula.  Just as you have to pass through the rather cold, extraneous space of the huge basilica to find the humble church at the center that touches our heart, so too, one must pass through the complex plot of history and of the theological ideas to arrive at that which is truly simple: the prayer with which we let ourselves fall into the communion of saints, to cooperate with them, for the victor of good over the apparently all-powerful evil, knowing that in the end, everything is grace.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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"amy welborn"

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"nate in venice" russo

Richard Russo has long been one of my favorite writers.  Nobody’s Fool is one of the great 20th century American novels: truthful, funny and redemptive.  Straight Man leaves me helpless with laughter.  He’s very recently released a digital novella called Nate in Venice  - available for Kindle here and Nook here.  Read it the other night.

It was pleasant to be back in Venice (the setting of his Bridge of Sighs) with Richard Russo for an hour or so, even though the descriptions were less detailed than those you’d find in any travel guide  - narrow streets, campos, bridges, squid-ink pasta, getting lost…disappointing in that respect, then.

Nate is a retired college professor on a Biennale-related tour of the city with a group that includes his estranged brother.  The often mysterious Venice is the setting, then, for some other mysteries:  what was the incident back at the college that resulted in great trouble for Nate?  What’s the problem with his brother?

The mysteries are mostly solved and the novella is, as I said, enjoyable but ultimately unsatisfying – but unsatisfying in a way that would probably please any author – it was unsatisfying because, as a novella, it just wasn’t enough.  Once introduced to Nate and the others in the group and in Nate’s family, I wanted to spend more time with them, watch and listen as they plunged more deeply into Venice and then travel to Rome.  That’s the case with any good book.  But Nate in Venice, gave me just enough time to get to know these characters more than I would in a short story. A short story is also often focused so sharply that the reader is satisfied enough when the specific questions raised by the author are answered = when he shuts the light off and shuts the door, we’re content to leave with him.  But here, there was just enough richness and breadth to plant the desire for more.

Which is, depending on how you look at it, either a good thing, or a bad thing, or both.

Two notes:

There’s a vulgar term used pretty prominently in this novella  - since it’s a term invented by Nate’s brother, it’s intended to show us something about him. certainly, but it did seem forced to me and might offend some readers. So be warned.

Nate in Venice (I keep wanting to type Nate the Great…) is a digital book, which is kind of ironic, considering Russo’s battles against Amazon last year.  

It’s part of a series of shorter fiction and non-fiction available through a site called Byliner. Looks interesting.

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I’ve forgotten to mention that the “new” book is out – not exactly new, since it’s  US edition of a book originally published in the UK.

It’s Be Saints! An Invitation from Pope Benedict XVI. 

Originally published by the Catholic Truth Society, it is now available through Ignatius Press in the US and Canada.  Ann Kissane Engelhart created the paintings to accompany excerpts from Pope Benedict’s talk to youth at the “Big Assembly” during his visit to England in 2010.

Here’s the Ignatius Press page for the book.

And you can purchase it through any Catholic bookseller (I hope) – here’s the link for Aquinas and More.

"amy welborn"



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My latest (after a little break) B16-related column at Headline Bistro. 

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