Hey, look what I found!

I sold books at my parish craft fair this weekend, which is kind of exciting but not the most exciting thing. You see, when you sell at a craft fair, you’re there before they open, and you can browse.

This was my table, by the way:

booktableI ended up at Le Table Of Donated Junk and immediately my eyes alighted on a pink notebook. Not my color, but I snatched it up because guess what? Handmade paper. I know what those sell for.

Me: How much is this?

Them: I dunno. A dollar?

I explained to them that they could get a lot more for that. They told me to buy it instead. I said, “Why don’t you just mark it up, and if no one buys it, I’ll come back and buy it later?” They insisted, so I bought it (for $3, I think) and then Kiddo#2 promptly laid claim to it and I will never write in that hand-made notebook. C’est la guerre.

I wandered over to another table, which was the religious leftovers, things people had given Father G. because he’s a priest and Great Grandma had this religious stuff no one wanted after she died (but which they had little qualms about throwing out.) There was a long row of rosaries, and one immediately caught my eye.

I love heavy rosaries. I want a rosary that feels like you’re holding it, not those flimsy plastic things. This one? I think it weighs ten pounds. Well, not really, but the beads look like marble and it’s about three feet long. I shoved five bucks in the donation jar and walked off with a marble rosary. I came back later and left two more because I felt like maybe they deserved it.

Hah. This is God saying, “Jane, you have no clue.”

I’m not one for expensive rosaries. Mom and I used to joke all the time, “Oh yeah, God listens to you more if you pray on an expensive rosary,” the same way we used to joke that you got more graces if you pushed to the front of the Communion line. I get it: nice things are nice, but it always seemed at odds to me to pray about humility and charity on what’s effectively a counting device that cost as much as a month’s groceries. (I’ve felt the same about Bibles that cost a hundred bucks — really? My $5 paperback is the same Word of God.) So most of my rosaries have been of the 40-cent variety, but I have a couple of nice ones that are about $15 to $20.

On Sunday night while we were praying the rosary together, I noticed the rosary was wire-wrapped. Hmm. Moreover, it was wire-wrapped the way handmade rosaries are. Oh. And it’s really, really silvery. Oh dear. I’ve seen those before.

If you google “handmade wire-wrapped rosaries,” you’ll find a lot of interesting things.

You’ll find, for example, that some artisans figure hey, as long as they’re taking hours upon hours to hand-wrap fifty-nine beads, they’re going to use sterling silver wire and semiprecious stones, and then they’ll call them herilooms and charge hundreds of dollars. I ended up at Robert’s Heriloom Rosaries website and discovered how his rosaries, which do cost in that range, look just like the one on the desk beside me. Check out this beauty.

The one in my hands here is a little work of art. It’s the same style as the above and it’s the same length. It may be worth hundreds of dollars. How can I keep that? How can I keep it for only $7?


I wrote to the parish priest. I asked if he wants it back. I asked if he wants to track down the original donors and find out if they really meant to give away something meant to be an heirloom. He’s probably going to say no. He’s probably not going to say to pay what it’s worth, something I’d never have done in the first place.

I went to the craft fair to sell books, and I came home with art.

Posted in pensive, religion | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Mama said, Mama sang

If you’ve been hearing “All About That Bass” lately, (and honestly, who hasn’t? I even heard it on W-Old-Phartz) then you know that Mama told Meaghan Trainor not to worry about her size.

Then I heard the song, “You Can’t Hurry Love,” in which Phil Collins informed us that Mama told him you just have to wait. She said love don’t come easy.

I said to Kiddo2, “Apparently Mama knows a lot of things.”

She thought about it a moment. “Mama told me when I was just hatched, act like a superstar.”

(Weird Al, “Perform This Way.”)

I said, “I wonder if “Born This Way” begins with more wisdom from Mama.”  I looked it up, and apparently Mama told her when she was young, we’re all born superstars.

So we put our minds to it, and we’ve got two more. “My mama told me, she said, ‘Son, please beware. There’s this thing called love, and it’s everywhere.” (It’s too late to turn back now.) And another song I half-remember where Mama told me there’d be days like this, there’d be days like this, my Mama said.)

Does Mama have any other sung wisdom we’ve missed? And what about Dad? Why doesn’t Dad get his words of wisdom repeated in song?

Posted in music | 6 Comments

Bubbles, Bubbles

About two months ago, my children convinced me to get a Betta fish. I researched bettas, conducted a field trip to the fish store, came home to survey the house, and then began several trips back and forth to properly outfit our home for a fish. This was what we ended up with:


We named him Bubbles because bettas put up little joybubbles when they’re contented, and we were optimistic. Eventually we picked up two amano shrimp as well, and everything was great. (That setup changed, too. Eventually we got rid of the brick and moved in a smaller rock and a napkin ring that functions as a tunnel, plus added a filter.)

One day, I looked at the tank, and Bubbles was gone. He’s good at hiding, but there’s not much space to hide in a two-gallon tank. I removed all the rocks. I disassembled the filter. We scoured the floor in case he’d jumped out (although the lid was still on) and moved the furniture, and we couldn’t find him. Everyone assured me Bubbles had jumped, had flopped quite a distance, and then fallen prey to one of the cats (even though one cat had been asleep in another room all morning, and the other seldom comes downstairs.)

That night, the second cat sat on my chest, purring, and I wondered how I could love her if she’d eaten someone else I loved. I mean, it’s a bit of a conundrum. It’s not as if the cat meant to hurt me or hurt the fish.

The boys wanted a new fish, so we picked up a blue and red betta who eventually picked up the name Señor Pez. That was about two weeks ago. Señor Pez enjoys his home and loves exploring all the little nooks and caves made by the rocks.

Last Sunday, I cleaned the tank, and when I took out the decorative lake snail shell, I found Bubbles.

I can’t describe what happened. I won’t. I think I exclaimed, “Oh, God, Bubbles!” and Kiddo3 came running up to me, but I didn’t want him to see. I had to clean Bubbles out of the tank. I pulled out the stupid snail shell where he’d trapped himself and drowned, and I gave it a burial in the front yard in the same spot where we buried our first unfortunate shrimp.

For two days, whenever I closed my eyes, I could see that moment when I found Bubbles. And by the next morning, the remaining two shrimp had cleaned the rest of the tank. How can you love someone who ate someone else you love?

Señor Pez is looking a little ragged-ended now. I’m treating him in case it’s fin rot, but I’m surprised by how attached I am to these silly fish. And Bubbles. I miss Bubbles. I feel so bad about what happened to him, and that I didn’t even know.

Posted in family | Tagged | 2 Comments

Happy book birthday! (And a freebie, too.)

Seven Archangels - Arrow 333x500First, it’s the book birthday of An Arrow In Flight, the new Seven Archangels novel. 🙂  (And if you have Kindle Unlimited or Kindle Lending Library, it’s free, so why not?)  You can get it here.

Over at my Facebook page, we’re trying something silly. You give me a page number, and I’ll give you a sentence from that page. If enough people ask, maybe you’ll have the whole book. (Or, not.)

Second,Seven Archangels-Annihilation 333x500 if you want to pick up a free Kindle copy of Seven Archangels: Annihilation, it’s here.  (Actually, it’s there even if you don’t want to pick up a free Kindle copy, but I’m too excited to conversation.) It’s only free for three days, though, so grab it before Saturday.


Posted in Arrow In Flight, Seven Archangels: Annihilation, writing | Tagged | 1 Comment

Goodreads Giveaway for Arrow

Just a quick post: I’ve listed a giveaway for a print copy of An Arrow In Flight over at Goodreads. If you’ve got a GR account, go ahead and enter! Good luck.

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“Hey, kids, this is how you break the law.”

One of those times I wished I had a camera: at a playground yesterday, one of the posted rules was “No running.”

No running. On a playground.

They’d nestled the rule in with a whole lot of other sensible rules such as “No drugs,” “No wild animals,” “No pocket-sized atomic bombs with live detonators,” and “No loitering after sunset.”

The playground was filled with laughing, shrieking, and yes — running — children. They were climbing the ladders and swinging on the swings and sliding down the slides. I started asking parents who were fiddling with their phones to please call the police and report that there were lawbreaking children running on the playground, and ask them to come to restore order. Society is depending on them.

“Officer, I think that child broke into a slow trot.”

It’s ridiculous, of course. I told a couple other kids, “Please, no laughing on the playground. Quit smiling.”

You can tell what happened: some town leadership group was making up rules for the playground and an attorney said, “The town of West Cupcake got sued when a child slipped on the playground, so let’s ban running, that way if a child slips while running, we’re not liable.”

But think about what we’re teaching our children with a rule no one has any intentions of enforcing: we’re teaching kids that rules don’t matter. We have posted a rule that in no way benefits the kids and which they are encouraged to ignore. How can I tell they’re encouraged to ignore it? Because it’s posted on a playground with lots of open spaces in which to run.

We’re intentionally cultivating disrespect for authority. Isn’t that a warm thought? “They only care about themselves” is the nicest possible interpretation a kid might come to. The worse one will be the kids who do feel guilty about breaking the rules and then go and break them anyhow — so they’ll feel bad, but they’ll slowly kill their own consciences about it and start justifying any rule-breaking.

I told Kiddo3 about the rule. I did not tell Kiddo4 because he’d get upset and start trying to tell other kids not to run. But then he’d run because he’s playing, and he’d feel terrible.

Kids shouldn’t feel guilty about being kids. The playground was safe enough. And I’m angry at the town for telling kids that, in effect, they should play without playing and follow the rules without following the rules.

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YES! “An Arrow In Flight” is up for preorder!

This is so cool — the new Seven Archangels book is up at Amazon!

Seven Archangels - Arrow 333x500

An Arrow In Flight will go live on November 19th, but it’s available for Kindle preorder right now, so if you order it, it will just appear on your Kindle on pub day. If you have Kindle Unlimited, you’ll be able to get it for free.

Arrow follows the seven Archangels of the Presence through salvation history from the time of Abraham to the fall of Jerusalem. Each angel gets his or her own short story, and then there’s one big story where Gabriel gets in major, major trouble and they all begin acting together. There’s fun and joking and heartbreak and growth and miracles and everything. Plus, I love Gabriel and I love Michael. And Remiel. And Raphael. Well, all of them. You get the point.

To celebrate publication day, I’m also going to make Annihilation free for three days, so make sure to pick up a copy then if you haven’t already.

The print edition will follow shortly (I hope by the 19th also, but you can’t always control that as well as you can ebooks) but for now, if you want Kindle, you can go ahead and preorder.



Posted in Seven Archangels: Annihilation, writing | 3 Comments