That’s How it Should Be

Ken and I started our week by attending the very low-key funeral of a dear friend from our church. As I stood in the pew watching the priests process to the altar, it occurred to me that we are beginning the week with a funeral and ending it with a wedding. I thought to myself, how appropriate.

Though many see death as the ultimate ending, we Catholics see things differently. We celebrate funerals. We don’t have them. We don’t host them. We don’t do them. We celebrate them. A funeral is a celebration, not of one’s life (though we certainly do that, too), but of one’s passing on to the next life. Death is not seen an end but a new beginning. Jesus told us,  “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be” (Jn 14:2-3).

I have spent the past twenty-four years trying to prepare my daughters for the next life they will live. Yes, I’ve tried to teach them about salvation, about following the teachings of the Church, about striving to get to Heaven. But I’ve also tried to teach them what it is to be a good wife and mother. I’ve not always been a good example but I’ve tried. I want them to be prepared for this next phase, for the creating of a new life, and for the expectations they and their husbands should have of each other and their lives together.

Just as our friend, Rob, spent his life preparing for the new life he has now entered, all children spend years preparing for their next life as adults. Marriage is, much like accepting Christ and His Church, a dying to self. That is not to say that spouses are to completely disregard their own health and well-being, but we are to love as Christ loved, with a love that puts others first. Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment: love one another.
As I have loved you, so you also should love one another” (John 13: 34). That is the love of Christ, the love of Heaven, the love we are to have for others, especially those closest to us. Eve came from the rib of Adam. He declared her, “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23). Husband and wife, joined together by God, one flesh and one blood. His equal, his partner and companion. They are no longer separate creatures. Together, they form a new being, a new life.

I am a huge fan of the movie, Steel Magnolias. I’ve seen it too many times to count. Over Labor Day Weekend, I had Rebecca and Anthony watch it with me. There are so many lessons to take away from that movie. I hope that they took away from it that the truest and deepest form of love is to love like Christ – to give your life for another. Shelby gave her life to her son. M’Lynn gave her kidney, a willingness to give her life, to Shelby. Annelle worked very hard to give her life to the Lord. The women, even when they didn’t like each other, were always there for each other, loved each other, rooted for each other, and supported each other.

Near the end of the movie, at Shelby’s funeral, Annelle tells M’Lynn that she is going to name her baby after Shelby. M’Lynn’s response was, “That’s as it should be.” She recognized that people come and go in our lives, each bringing something we needed at the time. And she recognized that death is not an ending. It’s a beginning. Whether in this life or the next, somehow, death has the capability to lead to life.

We began this week with a funeral. We will end it with a wedding. That’s how it should be.

Do you love Amy’s blog about inspiration and living your best life? Try this…

Amy’s new book, A Devotional Alphabet, is now available! These sixty-second meditations are meant to inspire, encourage, and welcome all women traveling on the road to Heaven.

Want More from Amy?

Subscribe to my newsletter for information on upcoming books, cover reveals, and insider information.  Do you know what my next book is about?  My newsletter subscribers do!

What I was writing about a year ago this week: Connecting = Living.

Would you like Amy to speak to your parish, your women’s group, your reading patrons, or your book club?

Contact Amy’s assistant to schedule Amy’s visit–in person or via Skype or FaceTime. Now is the time to schedule a visit for this fall or winter!

Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture MeWhispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016.  Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book of Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy,  Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019).

I Surrender

Our daughter’s wedding is less than two weeks away, ten days to be exact! To say that planning a wedding during COVID is stressful doesn’t begin to come close to what it’s actually like. It seems like there’s a new snag to deal with every day. However, our family has come to realize that for every bad thing that comes up, something good outweighs and outshines it. And each time I become frustrated and want to scream, Ken reminds me that Rebecca’s wedding day will be a beautiful celebration of love no matter what.

No matter what.

That’s a phrase I keep repeating to myself. No matter what we face, no matter what obstacles or stumbling blocks we hurdle, no matter who is there or not there, our daughter and the love of her life are getting married in a union blessed by God. And that’s really all that counts, isn’t it? They are being married, and God is involved. All of these snags, all of these inconveniences, all of these worries and fears, perhaps they are God’s way of reminding me to stop trying to be in control, that He is involved, that He has this under control, that all I need is to surrender to Him.

I need to surrender and to remember that from the day they met, God has been involved.

Rebecca loves to tell us the story about a friend, who during a particularly lonely time in Rebecca’s freshman year of college, encouraged her to say a daily prayer to St. Anthony. No, not that prayer – the one we desperately invoke every time we lose something. The prayer her friend directed her to is Be Satisfied With Me and is quite the lengthy prayer! Regardless of the length, Rebecca faithfully began praying every day that, through the intercession of St. Anthony, she would find the man that God had created just for her. After about a month of praying, Rebecca met a young man, the young man. And guess what his name is? Anthony.

As we get closer to the wedding, as things begin to take shape, and as we still deal with so much uncertainty, I continue to remind myself that it’s all going to work out. God has this. All of the little things I’m worrying about, all of the things that are out of my control, He is handling. From the guest list to the safety of the guests, from the timing of events to the weather, He is taking of care of everything. As long as I have faith and continue doing my part, God will take care of the rest. Our dear friend, George, told me this morning, “But as for you, be strong and do not slack off, for there shall be a reward for what you do” (2 Chronicles 15:7). Be strong and do not slack off. As I read the words, I took a deep breath and allowed myself to feel the peace that only comes with surrender.

A couple weeks ago, my wonderful friend and Bible study companion, Millie, sent me this prayer. She said she was thinking of me, and this prayer arrived in her inbox. She took it as a sign that I needed to hear it, needed to pray it. My favorite line is, “Teach us to wrest treasures from anxiety.” Wow. That was just what I needed to hear (and pray). Another moment of surrender.

I thank God for friends like Millie and George and so many others who remind me, as Ken does, that God has this. He brought Rebecca and Anthony together. He is leading them to this day. He will guide them throughout life. And He will work all of this for the good. All I need to do is give up, let go, and let God.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

And so I vow, that over the next ten days, I will surrender. I will work with God for the good. And I will remember that He has this.

Do you love Amy’s blog about inspiration and living your best life? Try this…

Amy’s new book, A Devotional Alphabet, is now available! These sixty-second meditations are meant to inspire, encourage, and welcome all women traveling on the road to Heaven.

Want More from Amy?

Subscribe to my newsletter for information on upcoming books, cover reveals, and insider information.  Do you know what my next book is about?  My newsletter subscribers do!

What I was writing about a year ago this week: Seeking Joy.

Would you like Amy to speak to your parish, your women’s group, your reading patrons, or your book club?

Contact Amy’s assistant to schedule Amy’s visit–in person or via Skype or FaceTime. Now is the time to schedule a visit for this fall or winter!

Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture MeWhispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016.  Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book of Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy,  Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019).

It’s Pumpkin Time!

Today is the Tuesday after Labor Day, and we all know what that means…

It’s time for everyone to begin going crazy for pumpkins! 

I will admit that I am a pumpkin loving gal. I love pumpkin pie, pumpkin decorations, pumpkin candles, cookies, cakes, and yes, pumpkin spice lattes. I just bought the most adorable pillows for my living room. And I haven’t dug them out yet, but I have even more pumpkin pillows that I like to put on our front porch swing.

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I Will Give You Rest

For the past fourteen years, Ken and I have traveled, about once every eighteen months or so, to our shared cabin in the San Juan range of the Rocky Mountains. It is a refuge for us, a place where we can lie around all day and read or hike through a field of wildflowers or climb into the sky atop a fourteener.

Uncompahgre Peak, elevation 14,308′

Last week, Ken and I spent several days at the cabin, and it was unlike any other time we’ve spent there, beginning with the drive.

Ken wanted to fly; I did not. While I know that the airlines claim they are totally safe right now, and we certainly haven’t heard of any outbreaks related to flight since last March, I didn’t relish the thought of wearing a mask for the multi-hour flight. I preferred to ride in the comfort of our own vehicle. We’ve made this drive many, many times, but never without the girls (and a friend or two) and never without stopping to see the Mitchel corn Palace or the St. Louis Arch, the World’s Largest Concrete Buffalo, the Laura Ingalls Homestead in South Dakota, the Austin Children’s Museum, Dollywood, or dozens of others places we designated as can’t-miss spots along our chosen, circuitous route. This time, we drove as far as our gas tank would take us without stopping, hurrying to use the facilities, practically draining our large bottle of hand sanitizer. We chose campgrounds along the way, judging how much farther we could drive and where that would put us on the map. We pulled in between 9 and 10 at night, hastily set up the tent, slept until just before dawn, and then hit the road again, never making contact with another soul.

Once at the cabin, it seemed so quiet. There were no other people with us asking when dinner was, could they go on a walk, what day were we rafting or horseback riding? It was just the two of us, enjoying the peace and solitude of the mountains. On a few days, we hiked on our mountain. One day, we drove into Lake City (the same Lake City in Summer’s Squall) and hiked to the top of Slumgullion Peak, just outside of town. We were the only people on the trail, and we were treated to one of the most spectacular views of the region.

That jagged peak in the distance is Uncompaghre, the mountain we’re standing on in the picture above.

It was a good week for us, one we really needed in the midst of the chaos of planning a pandemic-era wedding for our oldest daughter. We told friends that this was our calm before the wedding storm, and it was a wonderful chance for us to reconnect with each other after months of being at home with the girls, worrying about everything from getting sick, protecting my parents, trying to find some kind of normal, and choosing wedding dresses and menu items.

We returned with a renewed sense of peace, clearer heads, steadier hearts, and a Father-daughter dance selection. Standing on top of Slumgullion, looking out onto the vast horizon, feeling the breath of God on my face, with no worries on my mind at that moment, I couldn’t help but remember the lyrics to one of my favorite hymns.

“You shall cross the barren desert,
But you shall not die of thirst.
You shall wander far in safety,
Though you do not know the way.
You shall speak your words to foreign men,
And they will understand.
You shall see the face of God and live.

Be not afraid.
I go before you always.
Come, follow me and I will give you rest.”
(St. Louis Jesuits)

For months now, many of us have been crossing the barren desert. We’ve felt like we’ve been wandering far from safety, and honestly, we still don’t know the way. We’re all speaking and wondering if there is anyone who understands. But in some way, each of us can find and see the face of God if we but seek Him out. Whether it’s on a colossal mountaintop or in the tiny eyes of a newborn, we can see the face of God and know that He will see us through. He will guide us to safety. He will give us rest.

Colorado Columbine

Do you love Amy’s blog about inspiration and living your best life? Try this…

Amy’s new book, A Devotional Alphabet, is now available! These sixty-second meditations are meant to inspire, encourage, and welcome all women traveling on the road to Heaven.

Want More from Amy?

Subscribe to my newsletter for information on upcoming books, cover reveals, and insider information.  Do you know what my next book is about?  My newsletter subscribers do!

What I was writing about a year ago this week: A Joyous Reminder.

Would you like Amy to speak to your parish, your women’s group, your reading patrons, or your book club?

Contact Amy’s assistant to schedule Amy’s visit–in person or via Skype or FaceTime. Now is the time to schedule a visit for this fall or winter!

Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture MeWhispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016.  Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book of Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy,  Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019).

Your Message to the World

Today, it seems that there is this great desire to be somebody, to gain the praise of millions, to become YouTube or Tik Tok famous. Everyone wants to make their mark on the world, be it for a moment or a lifetime. I think it’s quite natural to want to make a lasting mark, to leave behind a legacy, to create a name that will be remembered forever. We all want to believe that there is more to our lives than our meager, daily existence. We want to feel that we’ve delivered some kind of message to the world.

We’re all looking for a way to stand out, to be noticed for something, to be remembered for something.

But is it possible to make a name for ourselves, to deliver a message to the world, without ever becoming famous?

I truly believe it is, and here’s how we can do just that…

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Finding Peace

A couple weeks ago, we set out on an evening adventure to see the Neowise comet. The outing was a bust. There was too much cloud cover; and, with no visible stars, we weren’t sure we had the right angle. It was a pleasant evening, though, sitting on the dock, listening to music and talking as we waited to see if the clouds would make way for the brightest comet to appear in our skies in over a quarter century. We didn’t see the comet, but we were treated to a beautiful twilight sky, and we certainly couldn’t complain about that!

Though we weren’t able to see Neowise that night, we were undeterred. We looked at the weather forecast and chose another night two days hence. We anxiously awaited our next attempt, and guess what…

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10,000 Plants

Let me just start by saying, I am the daughter of a master gardener. No, he doesn’t hold a degree or a certificate of gardening, but my father can grow anything. He and my mother have had the most exquisite gardens for as long as I can remember. Even their back deck vegetables are always perfect.

I did not inherit that gene.

For years and years, we’ve talked about planting a vegetable garden, but we always knew it was a bad idea. As I’ve said here before, Ken has always traveled extensively, and in the summer, when he went away, we went with him. We knew we’d never get to enjoy the foods we planted, and we wouldn’t be able to properly maintain and take care of the gardens. When he was alive, my father-in-law brought us beautiful tomatoes (Katie’s favorite) and lots of corn from the farm on which he and Mom lived, and my parents have kept us well supplied with cucumbers (Morgan’s favorite). For everything else, we shopped local produce stands and the farmer’s market.

Then, everything changed…

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Blueberry Lemon Cake

When our family talks about my Great Aunt Sissie, someone always brings up her prize-worthy coconut cake. It’s as much a part of her as the country store she ran and the white hair on her head. Though Aunt Sissie is no longer with us, her recipe will live on through her grandchildren who still get together throughout the year to bake the cake in her memory.

2020 coconut cake
Aunt Sissie (far right) w/ her daughters, granddaughters, great-granddaughter, & coconut cakes!

Great Aunt Mary Alice made the best chocolate cake ever. It was a staple at family functions and is in our family cookbook. Thanks, Mom!

There’s something about baking… Read more

Tell Me Something Good!

Some days, writing this blog is so hard!

Some days, getting out of bed is hard.

Some days just breathing is hard.

I know I’m not the only person who feels like she’s on a roller coaster that just won’t return to the station or a merry-go-round that keeps spinning and spinning without ever slowing or stopping. When can we get off this ride? When can we leave this hellish nightmare of an amusement park? I’m so tired of being trapped in the fun house where all I’m doing is walking through the spinning barrel and trying not to fall down or making my way across the uneven floors with jets of air spraying up around me or getting lost between the mirrors of distortion. And when I get to the exit, will the slide have an end in sight or will I keep sliding and sliding, faster and faster, twisting and turning, before I tumble out into an unforeseeable future?2020 slide

When and how does all of this madness end?  Will we ever be able to… Read more

Like Riding a Bike

2020 BikesWhen I was a kid, I spent a lot of time riding my bike. I rode to my friends’ houses. I rode to the neighborhood park. I rode with my brothers in the woods behind our house, up and down the rock hill and along the trails. I rode with my mom on days when we girls just wanted to get out on our own for a short time. When I was in high school, my boyfriend and I frequently rode bikes on sunny summer days.

Several years ago, we bought bikes to take with us on camping trips. Every now and then, I’d ride mine around our little fishing village but not often. Over the lockdown this past spring, we all lowered our bikes down from the rafters of the garage and tried to take family rides, but my bike was old, and the seat was hard and uncomfortable, and I dreaded riding it. 

I think that often happens to us in life… Read more