Learn more about my latest book – All In: Why Belonging to the Catholic Church Matters. Available now!

The F.U.N. Quotient… music to write by…

Years after this album came out… I still love tapping my keypad to this invigorating music. Thanks guys!

Buy The Goat Rodeo Sessions here.

A Catholic Writer’s Prayer

A Catholic Writer’s Prayer

This has been my prayer for many years. 

I reread it often. Rather, I pray it often. 

I’m happy to share it with you, and if you do pray it, kindly send one up for me too. Thank you.

 

:::

+

Heavenly Father,
there have been fits and starts to my creative life.
Help me to live more deliberately
in the creative flow of your Holy Spirit.
Let Jesus, the Word made flesh,
show me, by true incarnation,
how to use my words
for good and not for evil —
to bring comfort, hope, and healing…
to evangelize and catechize…
but always, always, with love and in love.

Lord, give me the ability
to trust you as the Creator of my life,
and the Giver of my gifts.
Help me to trust the gifts you have given me
and to use them for your glory.
Help me not to worry who gets the credit
and to be generous in what I give>
Let me provide the quantity and
leave the quality to you.

Let me start and let me finish with You, Lord,
and in You — let me be assisted
through the gentle mediation of Mary, my Mother.

Lead me not into doctrinal error
and do not let me lead anyone astray…
only close to You, Lord —
for me and for whatever audience you give me–
whomever they may be, wherever they may be.

Use me, Lord.
I’m ready to do your Will.
Thank you for the gifts and
thank you for the years of my life that remain.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

Hail Mary…  

St Francis de Sales, pray for us.

+

Photo on 9-27-14 at 11.07 PM

 

Catholic Photo Challenge # 2: Darkness and Light and a writer’s prayer

Last year, on a date with my husband, we lingered in an antiques shop, where I found this blast from my past. I snapped the photo with my iPhone4s.

photo

As a young child, I loved tapping out words on our family’s ribbon typewriter. Often our first loves as children translate somehow into our adult loves. I think that’s why I was drawn to take a photo of this typewriter. As a writer today, in this avocation and apostolate of writing for the Lord in the Catholic sphere of publishing and new media, I work daily with an electronic keyboard. Yet my delight never wavers to see new words appear on paper, or on a screen.

This new Catholic Photo Challenge considers darkness and light as captured in Isaiah 9: 1:  “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Upon those who lived in a land of gloom a light has shone.” 

The darkness and light — the black and white of the machine and the letter keys — stands out for me as a writer. It reminds me of the joy and the responsibility of writing within this sphere of Catholic life. Ever present in my work are the silent rhetorical evaluations: are my words bringing light to darkness, joy to gloom, direction to seekers?

It is a work that is both humbling and awesome.

One of my favorite books of the bible (I have several) is 1 John. The opening sentences of that letter allude to the profound joy in meeting and knowing Jesus. And the author offers this declaration of his letter’s intent, a kind of definition of writing.

We are writing this so that our joy may be complete. (1John 1: 4)

John’s phrase could easily capture my own reasons for writing. I write for the joy of the writing, sure enough, but I write that my deepest joy, my faith and life in Christ, might be seen and realized in what I say and do. In many ways, when I get to write about my own faith experiences, it wraps a proverbial bow around the gift of faith, making it complete. But in truth, the catechism teaches that faith is not complete until it finds itself in love’s action. Faith is not real faith until it is given away by words and deeds.

The apostles were compelled to share the faith, the message of the Jesus Christ. The message was “gospel” or “good news”. Indeed , their words and their witness brought light to darkness — as they shared about the fulfillment that is found in Jesus Christ, who is the object of all the longing capture in the prophet’s heart in Isaiah 9: 1!

In his very next sentence, John makes his meaning plain, revealing the echo of Isaiah and the prayer of his own writerly heart…

Now this is the message that we have heard from him and proclaim to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. (1John 1: 5.)

:::

Add your photos and commentary to the Catholic Photo Challenge at Everything Esteban. 

“Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 (a journal entry plus photos)

“Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 (a journal entry plus photos)

“So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.”
– Ps 90:12-

That’s what I want. A heart of wisdom.

I’ve desired that since giving my heart to Jesus Christ as a young teen. That was probably the first wise thing I’ve ever done. I’m a middle aged woman now and over 14K days have passed since.  I’m still seeking wisdom, and catch glimpses of it now and then. It’s, mostly, a holy struggle.

Lately, I am numbering my days. I am taking stock before the Lord. There are two ways to do that, just as there are ultimately two ways for just about all things. We can count up the woes, and the waste, and the worries. Some of us do that temperamentally. The second and more profitable way is by counting our blessings and, more importantly, making good use of the time God gives us. Not just in the “make every day count” kind of way, but in living our days in light of eternity. When we do that, course corrections become a regularity, not something to eschew.

The midlife years tend to be where most people bump into the reality of their mortality. That happened somewhat prematurely for me, in my thirties. Eighteen  years ago this week, as the joy of a new spring was upon me, I found a lump in my breast. It was unmistakable. Time stood still; that moment a mental snapshot forever. From the first I knew it was cancer, and the first words that came to my heart were Lord have mercy. That challenging time imbued a ‘numbering of days’ like no other. Thankfully, I don’t think about cancer every day anymore. Yet, the last few days I’ve been dealing with what I call background noise… the buzzing of that long ago memory found its way again into my consciousness. It’s like the soul alerts the psychic part of the body with a disquieting anniversary alarm… Oh yes, I remember now. The specter of death lurks despite the new life you see.  And that fear grows silently. Sure, you look fine on the outside, but…

But, that was then. That’s when I learned that Someone else was in charge of the actual numbering of my days.

My very self you know…
When I was being made in secret…
Your eyes saw me unformed;
in your book all are written down;
my days were shaped, before one came to be.

-Ps 139: 14b-16-

The biggest course correction for me in those days was the mortality reality check to deepen my faith: to embrace grace radically. Embrace Christ fully. Thereby you can embrace the ones you love with abandon. Kiss all the boo boos. Laugh at every opportunity. Pack as much life as you can into a day. Number every day without regret. Embrace life.

Fast forward to today. As spring finally breaks on New England, I find myself dealing with after effects of a hard winter… both seasonally and interiorly. It’s another time of course correction for me.

Spring is seven weeks old, and I’m examining things, inside and out. Outside, there’s been a lot of damage.

Foraging deer this winter ate all of our euonymus hedge along the front of the house.

Foraging deer this winter ate our euonymus hedge.

IMG_2630

The mountain laurel, and we have much of that, has what I call freezer burn.

On the inside, since Advent, I have felt a little like that frozen bush. The harsh winter has brought sadness, death, extreme illness, and want and need, to those I love. The prayer needs have been mounting. Those closest to me know what’s going on, and for the sake of other’s privacy I cannot spill it all here. (I can tell you that I am healthy and well.) Yet the profound numbering of days in the lives of those I love has jolted my own heart. Praying and keeping close to the sacraments — for their sake and mine — helps a lot. But I am wearying. The demands of love are beginning to pinch.

Bob researched the mountain laurels’ leaf situation. In almost twenty years here we’ve never seen such leaf damage: it comes from the plant thirsting in the cold. Yes, there can even be a drought under the earth in winter, even when its covered in snow.

Thirsting.

That describes me.

Thirsting to pray more. I need to re-set the morning pace. My fatigue from recent travels for ministry and family obligations has been cumulative. It’s been too easy to ignore the alarm in what must be the most heroic moment of the day. I must renew the luxury necessity of getting up with the dawn, like I did not so long ago. Very soon, I will also be on a bit of a retreat, and bit of intense learning as I travel to take a few courses in spiritual direction. These will be full days with Jesus. And I am both happy and appropriately nervous to be going.

Thirsting to return to the page. My writing time has suffered a lot in the last few months. I tend to focus on one thing at a time. I know this about myself. If I’m with you, I’m fully with you. If I’m working, I’m fully engaged. Writing in snippets, well, shoot me, please. Maybe its the menopause. My writing only flourishes when I have watered it well with solitude. And a lot of my recent time of has not been my own, it has been shared. Oh, its all holy distractions. I’d gladly trade my hours at the page for the time needed for family and friends and ministry. Yet I hear it calling. The writing, that is. I sometimes think I need a cave — but then I’m afraid I’d likely imitate a cranky Jerome. But maybe I already am. *sigh* Being cranky, I mean.

Thirsting to be outdoors. Here in Massachusetts we are just starting to get the real bloom. I’m taking the allergy meds to prove it. We’ve already let the MGB out of hibernation in search of nesting Great Blue Herons. Marvelous!

I will be walking more. Bob and I discussed that we both need more of this.

The first buds to open were the magnolia trees. So today I decided to walk around and take some photos on our property with my iPhone 4S. It was a rejuvenating few minutes with God in the middle of my day.

IMG_2567

(I like playing with the zoom/macro setting on the iPhone.) The way the zoom carried this off in the sunlight makes this look like a painting.

(I like playing with the zoom/macro setting on the iPhone.) The way the zoom carried this off in the sunlight makes this look like a painting.

IMG_2641

This is one of our weeping cherry trees.

I love those delicate buds.

I love those delicate buds.

The forsythia is out too.

The forsythia is out too.

IMG_2591

And the azaleas…

again with the macro

again with the macro

Look who flew into my shot

Look who flew into my shot

And he stayed around to pose...

And he stayed around to pose…

His wings beating too fast for the camera.

His wings beating too fast for the camera.

This shot lets you see his wing, but a bit out of focus

This shot lets you see his wings, but a bit out of focus.

I think God was trying to put a new kind of buzzing in my brain. The kind that reminds me to see Him in all things. The natural and the supernatural. The good and the bad. The busy and the solitude. He knows and he sees all of it.

All of me.

Always.

Here's some of my favorite… flowering pear blooms.

Here’s one of my favorites… flowering pear blooms.

Again…

Again…

And the flowering pear at a distance...

And the flowering pear at a distance…

As I was walking the property I felt like God was showing me something of the measure of my days, and of the wisdom in my own heart, and He used that pear tree in particular.

That pear tree is probably one of the finest specimens we have — there are several flowering trees, and I bless the previous homeowner who planted them when they were tiny when she owned the home over twenty years ago.

If you look at the trunk of that pear tree, a closer inspection reveals that it is a casualty of our weather. There is a gash in the trunk and about 25% of the tree’s foliage was lost. A major branch broke off in that freak October snow storm in ’12.

ouch!

ouch!

That large branch that came down with such force it took out our Japanese Maple with it.

IMG_2638

All that is left of the Japanese Maple’s demise.

I have lamented the loss of that part of the wounded pear tree ever since it happened. But God gave me such joy is seeing the grandeur of its blossoms today, I’d almost forgot its deforming injury.

I love how its branches keep reaching to the heavens.

IMG_2578

Pear blossoms in the sun

I walked across the yard to get another full picture of the pear…

Beautious!

Beautious!

And then I heard Father God say in my heart: That’s how I see you, kid.

Reach for heaven. 

Don’t worry about the scars.

Don’t lament what’s been lost from the past season. 

You’re planted right where I need you now… and you’re beautiful.

That’s enough wisdom for this day and for many other days to come.

:::

As a theology geek I read a lot of books. One that made a great impact on my soul was St Louis de Montfort’s Love of Eternal Wisdom. His description of the gentleness of Jesus in revealing the Father’s love to us reminds me of my experience out in the yard today. God’s providence offered me a gentle way of seeing myself, and the gouged-out pear tree, with new eyes.

 If we consider him in his origin he is everything that is good and gentle. He is a gift sent by the love of the eternal Father and a product of the love of the Holy Spirit. He was given out of love and fashioned by love (Jn. 3:16). He is therefore all love, or rather the very love of the Father and the Holy Spirit. He was born of the sweetest, tenderest and the most beautiful of all mothers, Mary, the divinely favoured Virgin. To appreciate the gentleness of Jesus we must first consider the gentleness of Mary, his Mother, whom he resembles by his pleasing nature. Jesus is Mary’s child; consequently there is no haughtiness, or harshness, or unpleasantness in him and even less, infinitely less, in him than in his Mother, since he is the eternal Wisdom and therefore pure gentleness and beauty. 

-St Louis de Montfort-
Love of Eternal Wisdom, Chapter 10

IMG_2606

This shot captures almost all of it… the magnolia, the cherry, the azalea, the pear tree, even the bumble bee!

 

All photos by Pat Gohn.

On writerlyness and fortune cookies… or the good fortune of writing.

On writerlyness and fortune cookies… or the good fortune of writing.

“…it’s not the published book that makes you a writer. You’re a writer because of the things you notice in the world, and the joy you feel stringing the right words together so they sound like music.”

Susan Henderson

About twenty years ago, when my children were small, I got a fortune cookie once with my take-out order with an interesting message. “You are a lover of words. Someday you will write a book,” it said. It was a funny thing to ponder at the time. I never thought of really writing a book — but I was indeed a lover of words.

I knew what it was like to write for living. I was a women who gave up her radio and advertising work — where I wrote six days a week — to write a different story as a stay-at-home mother. I never regretted it.

Being a parent is one of the only jobs in the world where you have the privilege of writing something on another person’s heart. If you are fortunate, you live long enough to hear the melody you wrote sung back to you. There I was, back in the day, sharing that love of words, and love of The Word, by reading stories aloud to my children, and teaching them to read and write their own little compositions!

I don’t take much stock in fortune cookies, or any other way of discerning one’s future, outside of prayer and hard work. Looking back, it seems maybe the fortune cookie got it right. Some twenty-five years later, I am still a lover of words, and eventually, I did write a book!

More to the point, I have written the equivalent of many books if you add up all the songs, poetry, commercials, research papers, columns, articles, freelance projects, podcast scripts and blog posts I’ve written over time. Writing has been somewhat of a constant, despite interesting detours. Being new to book publishing does not mean that I’m new to the writing craft. It’s just that the word-stringing is more symphonic. There is a whole team that adds their notes to the page.

Over the last fifteen years, I have held other jobs that were less written-word-laden. Some of them were part-time pursuits that fit in well with my need to raise my family. Even though they were not writerly jobs, they allowed me to be creative in other ways, outside of the page. Some of those positions, in recent years, were with the church — and most of those people who have known me, those I have ministered to and with, had little idea about my love affair with words, other than my passion for Scrabble. Many are surprised when they hear I wrote a book. They did not know I was a writer, they say. As if the book makes the writer.

As grateful as I am for the book, this quasi-empty-nester has been embracing that shift from part-time to full time work, and much of that involves a pen or a keyboard. I’m figuring out that writing is still a constant, and still figuring into the midlife script that God seems to be writing.

I was just sharing with a friend that when I finished my Masters in theology I expected to teach, or do faith formation at a parish somewhere nearby, preferably with a short commute. But God had other plans. Now that “parish” looks a lot like the Catholic blogosphere and periodicals, and the opportunity to pray and speak and teach in parishes and dioceses well outside my comfort zone of the little country lane where I raised my kids.

Another friend, a writer with a gift I have long admired, shared that one of her early loves was music. And though her path deviated from pursuing music as a career, I told her I hear music whenever I read her best stuff. Her word-craft is a magnificent voice.

What I keep learning about the writing life, or whatever your field, is that it is important to pay attention to what makes your heart sing. Be it actual music to your ears, or a kind of music that comes silently from your heart when you are doing the thing that you love, the thing you are meant to do. It’s like you can hear God softly singing along.

I’m a writer today because of what Susan Henderson writes above. I notice things and I want to share them, usually by first writing things down. Making the words sing on the page, well, that’s just all part of the fun.

God, not the fortune cookie, got it right with me all along… from taking my love of words as a child, writing little plays for school, or performing in them… or penning song lyrics as a musician and sometimes singer… to my  radio work and copywriting in the commercial marketplace… to filling childhoods with bibles and books…to being the scribe behind church newsletters…  to my word-weavings in Catholic spheres that take me beyond my parish out to new places.

The good fortune of writing is not related to any material success, but to the music you hear in your work… especially if you hear God quietly harmonizing.

The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior,

Who will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love,

Who will sing joyfully because of you…

– Zephaniah 3 :17

photo

Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious… on the road and on the blogs… and the Seal of Approval!

Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious… on the road and on the blogs… and the Seal of Approval!

 

Screen Shot 2013-08-01 at 10.04.34 PMNext week I’ll be in Somerset, NJ! I hope to see you at either the Catholic Marketing Network (CMN) show, or if you are a writer, at the Catholic Writers Guild conference that runs concurrently. I’m looking forward to meeting booksellers and store owners, other authors, and my wonderful publishers and editors at Ave Maria Press! This year is my first time attending either conference as a book author, so that’s a new experience (!) and one that is not lost on me as to what a privilege it is to have a book selected to be published. The writing of articles and blog posts and catechetical materials continues as my day job, but the book has opened many new doors to meet women all around the country! I’m very grateful.

photo

I’m also grateful for a handful of reviews that are still coming in regarding the book over this summer from a few bloggers.

From the USCCB’s marriage blog, “For Your Marriage”, there’s a review from Mary Ann Paulukonis who was skeptical about the book’s cover, but was won over by what was inside. She writes…

This book bothered me right at the beginning. Something about the cover image — a woman wearing a polka-dot dress, 3-inch heels and a halo while sitting on a cloud — turned me off. The word “bodacious” in the title made me wonder if the book should be taken seriously.

So what made me change my mind while reading “Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious”?

You’ll have to read what she liked here.

I’m also grateful to Dorothy Pilarski for her generous review of the book… and to Mary Ellen Barrett for her kind words. 

So, if you are still looking to squeeze in some summer reading, I hope you might check out one of these reviews and consider adding BBB to your summer reading, or your wish list! I’m happy to say that BBB received the Catholic Writers Guild “Seal of Approval”!

CWGSOA_200

On writing, keeping God first, and Elizabeth Scalia’s new book: Strange Gods

On writing, keeping God first, and Elizabeth Scalia’s new book: Strange Gods

There’s a simple line from the Book of Wisdom, that comes from Solomon’s prayer for wisdom…

“For both we and our words are in his Hand.” (Wisdom 7:16 rsv)

One of the things I love about God is that He is a Creator, and very much, a writer. The Bible is his book. He wrote laws, prose, prophecy, and poetry. And He gets writers. And he is pleased when writers words inspire and point to him. He not only chose to use human writers to pass on his divine revelation when He breathed his life into the Scriptures, but he shares his divine life still today — in the Spirit — for “in him, we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). This doesn’t mean that what we modern Catholic writers are writing is scripture, but if we are writing anything worthwhile, it had better be based on the truths of scripture.

As a member of the Catholic Writers Guild, and as a writer at many Catholic websites and periodicals, I’ve been blessed to meet several writers who strive to be agents of the new evangelization, to write, as it were, in a certain sense, for God, and for making his words and his ways better known throughout the earth in whatever genre or media we may be using. As a spiritual and writing practice  each day, as we take up our pens and keyboards, I suggest it would be good for us to recognize this simple truth from Solomon, one of the great biblical writers, that both we, and our words are in God’s hands. That God is, really, our all in all. And we should let nothing, nothing, get between God and us.

::

Elizabeth Scalia is a writer I’ve long admired. Her posts at The Anchoress, Our Sunday Visitor, and her weekly column on Tuesdays at First Things, have been staples in my weekly reading for several years.

In recent years, when I’ve been asked to give talks to new media newbies for the Catholic Writers Guild, and elsewhere, The Anchoress’s blog would be one of the few that I would cite for new would-be bloggers as one of the premier blogs that we might all hope to emulate. Good writing. Crisp analysis. Witty. Engaging. And more good writing.Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 11.02.57 PM

One summer day in 2010, when I was giving that same new media talk to a gathering of Catholic writers in New York, much to my surprise, Elizabeth Scalia was in the audience. We had never met before, and we later struck up a little conversation after her very constructive comments were given from the floor to the group in an open Q&A. I believe the subject matter at that moment was that I was exhorting future and present writers to be of service to one another — to help form a community for the cause of Christ, and to view one another with charity, not as competition within the same media, but as potential allies and friends, where friendly “iron sharpening iron” could take place without tearing down the other, knowing that we are called to call each other forward in this great endeavor. In this way, we’d foster the new evangelization by first being evangelized ourselves by the law of love… remembering that we and our words are in His hand.

photo_3

Elizabeth Scalia and me, Catholic New Media Conference, 2012.

In the three years since that day, I can say that I truly have been a personal recipient of that kind of generosity of spirit in the blog space that is offered by The Anchoress. Plus, I’m privileged to serve as one of the column writers at Patheos and grateful for my piece of real estate over there that came after Elizabeth asked me to write a short piece for Patheos after our first meeting back in 2010. From there came Elizabeth’s first guest appearance on Among Women, and a whole lot more that I never really expected. Yet like her surprise appearance in my audience that summer afternoon, she has remained someone that has contributed a great deal to the conversation that is my life, both as a writer, and in person, including her kind endorsement and support of my book, and now it is my happy thrill to share a publisher with her in Ave Maria Press.

Elizabeth wrote one heck of book in Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life. There are amazing people who have endorsed it. Frankly, it would be easy for me to say, just go read it and be done. I’ve reviewed it over at the Patheos Book Club, let me tell you why you need to read this: This woman’s words are in God’s hands. This book is one very thought-provoking meditation on just one line from Sacred Scripture… the first commandment: “I am the LORD your God… You shall have no other gods before me.” (Ex 20: 2-3 rsv) Yep, that’s it. That’s the text and thesis of the whole book. And its one we need to recall and bring to mind, and contemplate in a daily way, because for many of us the words in that commandment have grown dull. Or maybe, we’ve never really given them much thought at all.

::

Here’s part of my review of Strange Gods at Patheos…

The Ten Commandments first declare, “I am the LORD your God… You shall have no other gods before me.” (Ex 20: 2-3 rsv). And yet, we do. This thoughtful and thought-provoking book, Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life, exposes to our chagrin, yet ultimately to our benefit, that this premiere command of the Decalogue cannot be overlooked if we are to ever dare to live the other nine. Armed with faith in the graces that that sustain us in our failures, plus witty sensibilities regarding the nature of fortitude and wisdom, author and blogger extraordinaireElizabeth Scalia, offers us mortals in search of grace, a thorough reality check:

“We dismiss the golden calf story and its lessons at our peril. It’s true we are no longer literally flinging our precious metals into a crucible and buffing up stolid beasts of burden to worship. In some ways matters are worse, for we do not know the idols we bow down to. Our present-day idols are much less obvious, but they are also less distant and more ingrained within us. Idols begin with ideas. From there we shape them in the psyche, grow them in the ego, and then engage with them intimately, throughout our lives, in our families, our culture, our entertainments, and our political discourse. We create idols out of our norms of behavior, our material possessions, and social status. We even create them out of our faith.”

Who among us has not bowed down to something we have really wanted?  Or maybe we’ve used different language for it — we might be flinging ourselves toward someone or something, or actively achieving something that consumes us — even the seemingly good things in life? Or what about all the trophies we line up for ourselves — the way we make plans, use time, or even play or work with technology? Whatever captivates or demands our attention has the distinct potential to become an idol standing between the verity that is our true life with God — an encounter we may miss, delay, or betray in favor of our strange gods. Ouch! Do you really what to read this book? Yes and yes.

1-59471-342-1Yes, open this book, and prepare to feel, perhaps momentarily, panicked that all of your life is an unexposed idol minefield, fraught with spiritual missteps that you can never avoid. But, YES, take courage! Like an experienced special ops mission commander unlocking the mysteries of night vision goggles and other tactics to detect the presence of The Enemy at close range, Scalia teaches plebes and veterans alike how to see more clearly so they can wisely navigate the previously unseen dangers of modern idolatry.

A particular strength of this book, and why it will be successful in furthering the new evangelization, is that Scalia offers a self-effacing demeanor and candor in describing her own idol worship. But more than that, Scalia affirms, ultimately, that Christianity as a yes — at its heart is a benevolent and loving God Who really is worthy of all attempts at idol smashing.

The rest is here.

::

Among Women listeners can look forward to a guest appearance from Elizabeth Scalia, coming in June.

 

The Art of the Love Letter: Tips for husbands and husbands-to-be as Valentine’s Day Approaches

The Art of the Love Letter: Tips for husbands and husbands-to-be as Valentine’s Day Approaches

In which I kind of get to brag on my husband a little as I encourage men to commit their love to paper in honor of St Valentine…

In the rush to go green and paperless, and in the never ending screen-related communication that we face daily, the love letter will never lose its power. Sure, there’s flowers, and candy, and dates, and tokens of affection that warm the heart. But a letter… an offering of thought and emotion and whimsy and truth — surely I hope a few men will look to try their hand at it, especially if they’re shy about it. Here’s an except from my latest column at Patheos:

We are looking for words that endure, that are authentic, and worthy of being committed to paper in a moment that cannot shut off or erased. (And yes, you can buy that awesomely tender card in the store and sign your name, and really, she will love your thoughtfulness. But stick with me here, guys, go for something a bit more customized, and permanent.)

Remember: If you’ve found a woman who loves you, then you’ve found a treasure.

Do you see all those empty and counterfeit “loves” out there? Do you see the heartaches and the pain that exists between women and men today? So does she. It grieves her soul. Do what you can to sure up the foundations of love in your life. Make sure she knows what she’s won, when she has won your heart.

For Valentine’s Day, or really, for any special occasion — her birthday, your anniversary, you name it — you want to do the uncommon thing, the heroic thing, the thing that sets you apart from anyone else in the world, the thing that she will carry in her heart, or in her top dresser drawer, or purse, until next Valentine’s Day and beyond.

She wants to hear and know the words that only you can give her: words from you that describe how you cherish her and value your love together.

How does a guy accomplish this love letter thing? I give him a few tips in this article — writing prompts for writing for a woman’s heart.

You can thank me later, ladies and gents.

image