The Year of Our Lord

Just an announcement that I am taking a year off from writing to spend time praying, reading, and working on my spiritual life. The blog may or may not resume after Christmas 2019.

Thanks to all of you for your support!

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Inexpensive Christmas Gifts

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Looking for some inexpensive gifts for your Christian friends this Christmas? All four of my Christian novels–Rain from Heaven, Nearer the Dawn, Amaranth, and Cherish–are now on sale for just 99¢ each on Amazon Kindle. That’s less than $4 for all four!

For ages young adult and above. All net profits go to charity.

Rain from Heaven, novel about God’s mercy: https://www.amazon.com/Rain-Heaven-J-Avila-ebook/dp/B00DPO6A3E

Nearer the Dawn, a novel about faith: https://www.amazon.com/Nearer-Dawn-J-Avila-ebook/dp/B00J1AVQLM

Amaranth, a novel about trusting God: https://www.amazon.com/Amaranth-J-Avila-ebook/dp/B00WSCJT64

Cherish, a novel about forgiveness: https://www.amazon.com/Cherish-J-Avila-ebook/dp/B071DCW1PM

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Power

power-grid-for-blog

Recently my husband came home from a Friends of the Library sale. My city library sells donated books every few months, and you pay only a measly two dollars for whatever you can stuff inside a paper grocery bag. The money goes toward buying new books for the library, essential when our city has slashed the new book budget to zero.

In my husband’s bag was a book he thought I might like because it’s about Catholicism. On the back cover are quotations from many prominent Catholics—that is, Catholics who are prominent in a worldly sort of way, such as politicians and actors. One quotation struck me immediately. I’m not going to mention who said it, but it read “When my mom asked if I wanted to be a nun, I said I’d rather be a priest . . . The nuns were always wonderful, but the power was with the priest.”

When I see something like that, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I did, however, read it aloud to my husband, and he burst into laughter. So maybe mirth is the more appropriate response to something so ridiculous.

If you think priests have a lot of power, read that quote to your local parish priest and see what his reaction is. Continue reading

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My Husband’s Best Friend

phone for blog

What do you do when you have a major problem with your husband’s best friend?

How do you forgive someone who never says he’s sorry about what he’s doing to you?

One thing I never wanted to be was a nagging wife, especially one who comes between her husband and his friends. So I made sure I didn’t complain when my one true love wanted to spend time with his buddies.

For the most part, that wasn’t a problem, except for Morton (not his real name).

Morton, you see, would phone at the most inconvenient times, like when we were sitting down to dinner or just about to get into the car. My husband didn’t seem to care how inopportune it was when Morton called—all our plans got shoved aside while he talked to this guy for an hour or two. Meanwhile I and the kids would sit around, waiting, while Morton occupied my husband’s time. TV shows got paused, trips were delayed, food got cold.

Morton also made a habit of dropping by without prior notice, throwing a monkey wrench into whatever plans I had made for the day. On average, that, or the phone calls, happened two to three times a week.

It wasn’t all bad. Morton often did us favors. And since he was my husband’s best friend, and because he was alone in the world without any family, I wouldn’t have minded so much, except for one thing. Continue reading

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Missing

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We live less than a mile from our local university. And apparently one of the fraternities has moved into a house about three doors down.

Of course that means occasionally I’m going to miss some peace and quiet on the weekends. Thank goodness for double-paned windows.

Take, for example, a recent Saturday night. Even with the windows shut, the loud thumping of a bass pounded through into our bedroom. Not only that but cars were parked up and down the street, including in front of mailboxes and even where the street curves around the corner.

It must have been some wild party because the next day our neighbors discovered a can of beer in their mailbox.

What bothered me most, though, was that, come Sunday morning, a car was still parked in front of my house. I figured one of the guests had stayed over.

Monday the car was still there. Tuesday as well.

By Wednesday I began to get more concerned. Then one of the neighbors told me she had seen a young lady park it there Saturday night.

So—a young woman goes to a frat party and never returns to her car. Continue reading

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A Peep at Pepys

Pepys for blog

Lately I’ve been reading the Diary of Samuel Pepys (pronounced peeps), who lived in London in the 17th century. It’s a fascinating look into life in the 1660s. Most of the diary, of course, is taken up with the daily grind we all face: going to work, having lunch, back to work, and then home in the evening.

Once in a while, though, there is a glimpse of how hard life was back then. Pepys takes us through an outbreak of the plague and also the panic during the Great Fire of London.

Such things you might learn about in your average history class or by browsing the internet. I’m more interested in what might be considered the mundane aspects of life and how they differ from what we have now.

Take, for example, one time when Pepys records that he was having some intestinal problems. He does say that he had been consuming a lot of beer and milk that day. Now you and I both know that’s probably what led to his problem. But you’ll never guess what Pepys thinks caused his distress. Continue reading

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Free on Kindle 11/9-11/13

Amaranth for Blog. jpg

From Friday, November 9 through Tuesday, November 13, my Christian novel Amaranth will be absolutely free on Amazon Kindle.

The story:

Would you take an elixir that made you perpetually young and physically immortal?  Continue reading

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In Line with the Crowd

Drinking Fountain for Blog

At my elementary school boys and girls in the upper grades were segregated into different play areas. The boys were allowed into the girls’ yard—shared by all girls grades 4 through 8—because that’s where the drinking fountain was. Girls, however, did not dare set foot into any of the boys’ yards—and every two grades of the boys got their own yard. (In the fourth grade when I asked why the boys got half a yard and a lot of sports equipment while all we girls got was one foursquare and one slightly deflated ball, I was told it was because they were boys. Somehow that didn’t answer the question.)

Since all the kids used the one drinking fountain, the lines could be rather long. The fountain had three spigots, one on the left, one on the right, and one in the middle. But what may amaze you is that nobody, and I mean nobody, would drink out of the middle faucet.  Continue reading

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Until Proven Guilty

Cherish Original

With all this hoopla about the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, I got to thinking about the #MeToo Movement and the whole business of the sex scandal in the Church.

Have you noticed that it seems like lately all it takes is an accusation of sexual misconduct to convict someone—not in a court of law, but in the court of public opinion?

Well, my diocese decided to publish the names of everyone who has had a “credible accusation” made against them. This list goes back decades and includes persons who are long dead. My local newspaper printed it on the front page.

For the life of me, I don’t know how someone concludes that an accusation is “credible.” Exactly what criteria is used to figure that out? I also don’t know how a person who is deceased has any chance of defending himself.

Don’t get me wrong: I feel for the victims. I was once molested by a doctor. But making an accusation is not the same as providing proof. And, yes, I get that it is awfully hard to produce proof of something that happened behind closed doors. I, for example, had absolutely no proof of what had happened to me.  Continue reading

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Paying for Being a Victim

coins for blog

Once, when I and my siblings were young, we were visiting another child down the street. And, while talking to her in her yard, some other kids from the house next door picked up some dirt clods and pelted us with them.

Unfortunately, while clobbering us, they also dirtied the laundry hanging on a neighbor’s clothesline.

Well, it wasn’t too long before my mother found out about the incident and that we had been involved. She insisted we go apologize to this neighbor for ruining his laundry. Not only that, but we were to take what meager allowances we had and pay for re-washing the clothes.

Our pleas that we had done nothing wrong—had just been standing there talking—fell on deaf ears. Mom insisted we must have done something to incite those other kids, because, of course, kids wouldn’t throw dirt at us for no reason.

Even though they had.

I remember taking what few coins I had and walking down to this neighbor’s house to apologize. While standing on the porch and ringing the doorbell, I wondered what on earth I was going to say. Something like “Sorry some kids threw dirt at me and soiled your laundry”?

Fortunately for us, when the man in question answered his door, it soon became clear that he had heard the whole story and knew we were not to blame. He refused to accept our money.

I admit I was pretty ticked at my mom. Nobody should have to apologize for being a victim. And especially nobody should have to pay for being one. That’s being victimized twice.

What’s even more sad is that this neighbor believed us when our own mother didn’t.

I don’t know if those other kids ever got in trouble for what they had done. Somehow, I have my doubts that children like those were well disciplined.

 

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