Win a Copy of Theresa Linden’s “Standing Strong”: Book 4 in West Brothers Series!

Standing Strong, the next in the young adult West Brothers series comes out on the Feast of St. Francis, October 4th. And you have a chance to win a copy!!!

  Book blurb:

STANDING STRONG

When the path is not clear…
When temptation is near…
When God speaks in a whisper you can barely hear…

Ever since that life-changing night in the canyon, Jarret has felt the presence of the Lord in his soul. Now that presence is fading. Is it his fault? How will he remain faithful without it when he still struggles against the same temptations?
​Questioning whether he has a true calling, Keefe reads everything he can about St. Francis and the Franciscans, but he’s afraid to talk to his father about an upcoming discernment retreat because his father seems closed to faith. Is he ready to go all in?

Standing Strong is a beautiful testament to how God works—in the whispers, in the quiet moments, in the gentle guidance of our hearts. It’s a reminder that Jesus is with us in ways we may never understand, and that, if we allow it, the Holy Spirit will give us the strength to stand strong for God!”

~Lisa Mayer, author of The Aletheian Journeys Series

   Enter the contest: To enter this awesome giveaway, visit Theresa Linden’s website!

OR click image to pre-order your copy 


Author bio:
Theresa Linden is the author of award-winning Roland West, Loner and Battle for His Soul, from her series of Catholic teen fiction. An avid reader and writer since grade school, she grew up in a military family. Moving every few years left her with the impression that life is an adventure. Her Catholic faith inspires the belief that there is no greater adventure than the reality we can’t see, the spiritual side of life. She hopes that the richness, depth, and mystery of the Catholic faith will spark her readers’ imagination of the invisible realities and the power of faith and grace. A member of the Catholic Writers Guild and the International Writers Association, Theresa lives in northeast Ohio with her husband, three boys, and one dog.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theresalindenauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindenTheresa
Website: http://www.theresalinden.com

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Teaching Virtues Through Fiction Series: Faith

Find out what the Teaching Virtues Through Fiction Series is all about!

I think it’s safe to say that faith plays a fundamental role in all Christian fiction, even if the virtue is an underlying theme. You have to have faith in some capacity, otherwise the fiction itself would not be Christian.  But what is faith?

Faith is not a virtue easily defined. In one way, faith is our belief in God. In another way, faith is the trust we have in Him.  Faith doesn’t come from what we Catholics have seen as evidence. Instead, faith comes from what we have learned from scripture, the apostles’ evidence, our church teachings, saint stories, and so on.

Faith is also the belief in the goodness of God’s plan. So, we place our life and our worries in His hands with complete trust in the outcome.  Faith is relying on Him, not money, success, or fame. Faith is putting God in the forefront of our lives and allowing Him to lead us.

“…And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Matthew 21:22)

Faith is easy in good times. When we’re happy, and all is well, and life is going exactly as we “planned,” if not better, we’re more than happy to give thanks to God and put our trust in Him, right? But what about when things are not going our way? What about in times when you can’t even see the end of your struggle; when you cannot fathom a way out; when it seems completely impossible that any good, or any light, or any break will come your way? What about when our prayers are not being answered? What then?

Faith is so much more difficult in times of struggle. I mean, how can we easily believe in a loving God when bad things happen? How can we believe that this same God loves us when adversity consumes us? Wouldn’t He make sure that His faithful are protected from suffering? Wouldn’t He at least answer our prayers?

These are the questions that ten-year-old Benedict asks himself in The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch.  It’s very apparent that Benedict struggles with his faith.  He just doesn’t get it, because in his world of abandonment and pain, he never felt the arms of a loving God. He listens to Martha and David speak of God, and having faith that everything will be okay because God loves them, but it’s a language he doesn’t comprehend; especially when things start looking bad for everyone. Then ten-year-old Micah comes into the picture.

Now, Micah has suffered too by losing everyone that he’s loved, and yet he’s devoted to the Lord. He believes that everything works out for the good, and he understands that God always answers our prayers; and sometimes by not giving us what we ask for because His plan is so much better.

Again, Benedict cannot wrap his mind around this. He doesn’t believe it. He refuses to believe it. In one scene, he says to Micah:

“You think that it’s going to be okay because you don’t know what it’s really like. You haven’t been sent from one messed up house to another. You haven’t been hit, or spat at, or punched for taking an extra cracker at lunch. No, you’ve had grandpa who fished with you, and a mother who sang to you every night. You had it good, so no wonder you have so much faith.” (pg. 111 TDSR)

Micah is the epitome of faith. He remains devoted and thankful to God even when his world is dark. He just knows that God has a handle on his life, and he’ll happily take the good with the bad in the world, because he’s been taught that eternal joy is waiting.

 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will. (Mark 11:22-24)

Freeing Tanner Rose also introduces a character who lacks faith. Tanner Rose has been corrupted by Hollywood from a very young age, and although fourteen when she meets Gabriel, she’s lived an adult’s life. She’s lost in her world and blindly happy for it. She’s afraid of her real self and uses her fame and addictions to hide. But Gabriel introduces her to the Lord, and his faith inspires her. When things get too much for her, she seeks to know, love , and serve Him, but doesn’t know how. Gabriel’s mother tells her, “I had to learn how to believe, but faith seemed to come naturally to him.” (pg. 76-77)

Tanner puts her faith in herself and her own actions, and the stress of this leads her to her addictions. She doesn’t know how to let go. Near the end of this story, when Tanner visits Gabriel and his mother, the boy tries to explain the fundamentals of faith in his own unique style:

“Faith is not a drive-through restaurant, Tanner. You don’t say a prayer and pick it up from the window.” He heard a soft laugh and looked at his mother, who shrugged. “Well, it’s true. God knows what you need, Tanner. You have to trust that He’s taking care of it.” He goes on to say, “You know,” he added, “If you truly believe, whatever you pray for will be yours. Just don’t expect it to come packaged the way you want it to. It will come on His time and in His way. That’s where the faith comes in.” (198-199)

Times of struggle are a real test of our faith, for as we all know, we easily fall apart when things go south in our lives. The best way to get through the dark times is to remain focused on God. But in a world that thrives on immediate gratification, our patience wears thin quickly and our will is weak.

Having true faith is not going to be easy. But it’s not supposed to be. However, it does solidify our devotion to God. If we can remain strong in our faith in the midst of our darkness, our eyes always on our God, then He will be able to guide us out of the darkness. Martha in The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch and Gabriel in Freeing Tanner Rose work hard at trying to convince Benedict and Tanner of this truth. They know that without this faith, we can easily lose our way.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.   Selah (Psalm 62:8)

***

The books referenced in this post were The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch and  Freeing Tanner Rose from my Faith & Kung Fu Series. Free discussion questions are available for both:

The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch
Freeing Tanner Rose Discussion Questions
Saving Faith Discussion Questions

For more Catholic fiction reflecting this theme, check out the comments below!

Join the discussion!
Call out to Catholic authors of fiction for teens and young adults. Have you written a Catholic novel that encompasses the subject of faith? Please share in the comments below, listing the titles and including a brief description of how it’s presented in your fiction.

For more on the titles listed in this post and others, as well as their educational themes, visit Catholic Teen Books For Teachers 

Lest We Forget The Passion of the Christ This Easter- An Awesome Video!

The following video is made up of clips from the movies, The Passion of the Christ and The Nativity Story. The song is “New Again,” sung by Brad Paisley and Sara Evans. It’s an old video but it’s a fantastic reminder of the Passion. God gave His only son for us! What an amazing sacrifice. What an amazing love. Let us be deserving and let us never forget this Lenten season and always. God bless you all!

 

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10 Inspirational Quotes on Writing by Great Authors

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“No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.” ― C.S. Lewis

“A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.” ― G.K. Chesterton, Heretics

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” ― Ernest Hemingway

“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.” ― Graham Greene, Ways Of Escape

“Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.” ― Flannery O’Connor

“If you’re going to have a complicated story you must work to a map; otherwise you’ll never make a map of it afterwards.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien

“Writing in English is the most ingenious torture ever devised for sins committed in previous lives. The English reading public explains the reason why.” ― James Joyce

“No one will write books once they reach heaven, but there is an excellent library, containing all the books written up to date, including all the lost books and the ones that the authors burned when they came back from the last publisher.” ― Evelyn Waugh

“Great stories give us the grace of a mystical experience, on the level of the imagination.” ― Peter Kreeft, The Philosophy of Tolkien: The Worldview Behind the Lord of the Rings

“Fiction doesn’t tell us something we don’t know, it tells us something we know but don’t know that we know.” ― Walker Percy

Do you have a favorite quote about writing? 

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Top 10 Favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes

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Following is a post I recently wrote on Project Inspired:

Ladies, Martin Luther King, Jr. was an amazing man and an awesome speaker. He recognized the meaning of civil rights and he knew how to inspire millions of people of all walks of life.

In remembrance of this great leader, and in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. day on Monday, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite quotes of his. I could be here quoting him all day (it was tough to narrow down my list–I know later I will remember yet another quote I love and kick myself for forgetting it!), so I chose 10 of his quotes on 10 different and very important themes. Enjoy!

  1. Work ethic.“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’”
  2. Service. “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
  3. Struggles. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
  4. Love. “Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, ‘Love your enemies.’ It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.”
  5. Equality. ”I want to be the white man’s brother, not his brother-in-law.”
  6. Faith. “Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”
  7. Integrity. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
  8. Do right. “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”
  9. Justice. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
  10. Forgiveness. “Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a constant attitude.”

Ladies, which of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words have inspired you? Share them below; we so love to hear from you!

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