Forcing the Issue

Tomatoes for Blog

One day when I was about seven, after scrimping, saving, and turning in plenty of soda bottles for the deposit refund, I finally got enough money to buy something I wanted. I don’t recall exactly what it was, but it was a game I’d seen advertised on TV. The next time Mommy took us kids to the store, I filled my pockets with my coins, found the item I was looking for, and proudly made my very first purchase.

Then I made a horrible mistake. I showed my mother what I’d bought.

“You don’t want that,” she told me.

Yeah. I saved up like crazy, then bought it with every cent of my money because I don’t want it. Of course I wanted it, and I was under the impression my money was, well, my money.

Nope. Mommy dragged me back into the store to make an exchange. She pulled a Scrabble game off the shelf. Didn’t I want that instead? Look! It’s got letters! She carried on and on about the superiority of Scrabble and how much fun I would have with something I didn’t want compared to something I did want. Continue reading

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How God Makes Lemonade

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I taught at a Catholic high school for eight years. It was only eight because at the end of that last year, the principal, a nun, called me into her office to explain a few things.

I had spent the previous summer returning to college and had earned straight A’s, and so, she said, she had concluded I was too smart to be a teacher.  I would, she told me, be happier doing something else—as if she were the one to decide my career choice.

As I sat there in her office, I slowly came to the realization that I was being fired.

Well, okay, that’s not quite true. I wasn’t being fired. I was being let go. In other words, my contract was not going to be renewed.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Nobody had complained that there were any problems in my classroom. My department head was thrilled with my performance. In fact, often parents threatened to withdraw their kids from the school if they couldn’t take my classes. I was a devoted teacher who put in long hours above and beyond what was required. I had given my heart and soul to that school, and now I was being booted out? Continue reading

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What Would It Take?

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My kids came back from trick-or-treating one year with something very scary.

You know how it is: you dump out all the candy and check it to be sure there’s nothing your kids shouldn’t have. Well, one year my girls returned home with something even more horrifying than a razor stuck in a candied apple.  Continue reading

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Common Supernatural Experiences

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This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima.

Have you ever read stories about the apparitions there and wished something like that would happen to you? Have you ever thought about St. Bernadette at Lourdes or Juan Diego with Our Lady of Guadalupe and desired a similar experience?

I used to. I used to think how wonderful it would be to see the Virgin Mary with my own eyes, to be able to see Jesus and talk with Him.

Sometimes I would dream about making even a simple pilgrimage to a shrine where such occurrences had taken place, but I knew I would never be able to afford it. Or maybe, just maybe, I would someday be graced with a miracle.

Then I realized I have something better. Not just a little better, but outstandingly, amazingly, incredibly better. Continue reading

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Rain from Heaven Free on Kindle

From October 12-16, my Christian novel Rain from Heaven will be free on Amazon Kindle.

About the story: What would you sacrifice to save the eternal soul of your enemy?

Dellan Whitcom has every reason to hate Eliat Rebysh, the man who has unleashed a deadly virus on the world. It has not only killed Dellan’s parents and friends but threatens all of mankind. Rebysh also controls the only vaccine that can save everyone from certain death.

God chooses Dellan to destroy this nefarious evil, and the young man is delighted with the opportunity to exact revenge. But the more he strays from God’s path of love, the more Dellan becomes like Rebysh, the object of his hatred. Before it is over, the life of the woman both men love hangs in the balance.

Only by making an extraordinary sacrifice will Dellan be able to destroy Rebysh’s evil and free the world from a heinous plot that enslaves the entire population.

For ages 13 and up.

During this promotional offer, my other Christian novels—Nearer the Dawn, Amaranth, and Cherish—will also be just 99¢ each on Kindle with all net profits going to charity.

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Amaranth Now in Paperback

Amaranth for Blog. jpg

My third Christian novel, Amaranth, is now available in paperback.

Here’s the story:

Would you take an elixir that made you perpetually young and physically immortal?
What if the price for it was your eternal soul?
Billionaire Desmond Sceller acquires such a wonder drug. But when eighty-year-old Marie Long is rejuvenated by it against her will, she quickly discovers unending beauty and youth is not the paradise it seems. Sceller, however, intends on using the elixir to entice all mankind into submitting to his tyrannical control. When Marie and her grandson Peter unearth this evil scheme, they soon discover that only an extraordinary sacrifice on their part can free humanity from Sceller’s nefarious plan.

https://www.amazon.com/Amaranth-J-Avila/dp/1548712744/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1506886437&sr=1-1&keywords=avila+amaranth

Also, right now the Kindle version is on sale for just 99¢.

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On Being Bullied

bullying

Not too long ago, I published a blog post about how I was spurned in church during the Sign of Peace (see https://reflections911.wordpress.com/2017/07/07/spurned-at-church).

Then I made a huge mistake. I mentioned the post on a forum.

You would not believe the negativity I got. I was told what a horrible person I am, how being spurned was my own fault, and how I should have been more sympathetic to the woman who had treated me so poorly.

Silly me. I thought it was a teachable moment. I thought I made it clear this was something I needed to work on, that since St. Paul had rejoiced in his sufferings, I should learn to do that too.

I guess I should have known better than to mention what happened since you would not believe the reactions I’ve gotten when I disclose that I used to be bullied as a kid. I’ve grouped those responses into seven categories: Continue reading

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Demanding the Impossible

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I spent a miserable year in the eighth grade (see https://reflections911.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/as-we-forgive-those-who-trespass-against-us). Capping it off, at the end of the term, was a little incident with my P.E. teacher.

She showed us her grade book, and the lowest in it was a C. There was only one C, and you can guess who was getting it.

What she didn’t know was that in my house, even a straight A report card wasn’t good enough. (“What? No A+? Not even one?”) Getting a C was akin to getting a Z minus, if there were such a grade.

I wanted to know why I was the one selected for this honor. She explained, “You didn’t make any baskets when we played basketball. Not even one!”

I could scarcely believe what I was hearing. “But,” I protested, “you made me a guard every time. I begged and begged you to make me a forward, but you never would. You wouldn’t let me make any baskets! And now you’re marking me down for not making any baskets when you wouldn’t allow me to make any?” Continue reading

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A Slippery Slope

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I’ve seen society skid all the way downhill from 1 to 7 in just my lifetime.

 

  1. We’ve vowed our lives to each other in marriage. Only now is it acceptable to have sex.
  2. We’re engaged to be married. Let’s have sex to see if we’re compatible in that department.
  3. It’s okay to have sex if you’re in love with each other.
  4. It’s okay to have sex if you’ve been dating each other exclusively for a while.
  5. It’s our third date, and everybody knows that means we should have sex.
  6. It’s our first date, and everybody knows that means we should have sex.
  7. We just met and don’t even know each other’s names. Let’s have sex.

 

When a baby is conceived, God reaches down from heaven and creates a new image of Himself. It’s a sad state of affairs (sorry, no pun intended) when one of the holiest acts in the world is reduced to mere recreation.

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How Evil Works

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When I was a kid, I used to play board games with my siblings. I almost never won.

It wasn’t because I had no luck or skill. I simply was not allowed to win.  Continue reading

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