Complaint Department

Complaint for blog

Why does it seem to be human nature that our first instinct is to complain?

Take, for example, my husband’s gripe that the Swiss cheese I bought didn’t have enough holes in it. That’s right: he complained that it didn’t have enough nothing. Continue reading

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What I Wasn’t Thankful For

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I hate pumpkin pie.

If your initial reaction is “How can you hate pumpkin pie?” believe me, I’ve been asked that a lot. I just can’t help it. I don’t like the flavor or the texture, especially the flavor.

The problem is that for Thanksgiving, there would be nothing else for dessert. You could have twenty pies, and all of them would be pumpkin. If you invited a guest, that person was bound to show up with—guess what!—yet another pumpkin pie “just in case there isn’t enough.” So I got to forgo dessert, while five pies remained unsliced and uneaten. Continue reading

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Getting It Right

Dishwasher for Blog

I’m not a big believer in trying to change a man just because I married him.

However, I did make an exception in one case. I wanted my new husband to put his dirty glass into the dishwasher.

I didn’t think this was too much to ask. After all, he could always manage to get it to the sink. How much more trouble could it be to move the glass just a few more inches into the dishwasher instead of leaving it for me to do?

A lot, apparently.

Do you know how many ways there are to put a glass into the dishwasher wrong? I do, because my husband found every single one of them. The fact that there could already be twenty glasses lined up in the dishwasher correctly didn’t seem to give him a clue. Continue reading

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Rain from Heaven

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Due to popular demand, my first novel, Rain from Heaven, is now available in paperback. As usual, all net profits go to charity.

https://www.amazon.com/Rain-Heaven-J-Avila-ebook/dp/B00DPO6A3E

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.  Continue reading

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Power Outage

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Recently we received a notice from our electrical company that our service would be turned off for a couple of hours in order to install upgrades to the system. Sure enough, at the designated time, the power indeed went off.

It got me thinking about power and where it comes from. There’s man-made power, like the light my electric company provides, and there’s God-made power, like the light the sun provides. One is, of course, far superior to the other. The latter give better light and is more reliable.

Problems arise when we consider man-made power as good as the God-made kind. That’s why you get women who think the Church is wrong in denying them the priesthood—they believe the power to confer Holy Orders comes from man.

What’s worse is that they think becoming priests will make them powerful. Continue reading

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Monopoly

Monopoly for Blog

One board game we kids loved was Monopoly. Since the game usually takes quite some time to play, it was guaranteed to fill up the tediousness of long summer days.

However, we got a bit inventive about it by devising a rule its creator never envisioned: we were allowed to cheat. You could cheat in any way you desired, by stealing money, houses, hotels, even property, provided you could get around the board once without being caught. (Apparently that was the Statute of Limitations.) If you were caught, you had to fess up and return the stolen merchandise.  Continue reading

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An Interview with Catholic Author Amy M. Bennett

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I managed to score an interview with Catholic author Amy M. Bennett, who specializes in mystery novels. In a day and age where our media is often full of profanity, sex, and condemnation of the Catholic Church, Ms. Bennett’s books are a refreshing ray of sunshine.

What are your books about?

I write what are known as “cozy mysteries”–mystery novels set in familiar, home-style settings, like small towns. Because I’ve always been a fan of mysteries, I chose to write mysteries (yes, murder mysteries) set in a small, New Mexico town where most of the characters have lived all their lives and have a strong Catholic culture. Any resemblance to my own life is strictly coincidental!

Where do you get the ideas for your books? 

I joke that, working in retail, it’s easy to find villains and victims for murder stories, but the truth is that I’m a shameless eavesdropper (thanks to the advent of cell phones, no conversation is private anymore… remember that the next time you’re carrying on a “private” conversation in a public place!) and I pick up ideas from news stories. Radio news gives great teasers–”A long-buried secret surfaces just before the mayoral election.” “Feuding families come together for a child’s last wish.” I don’t even want to hear what the real story is… I’m busy coming up with my own!

What inspired you to write your first book?  
Continue reading

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Leaving the Answer Space Blank

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One day, since my younger daughter was quite ill, I made an appointment for her at the doctor’s. I wasn’t feeling all that great myself, but I was nowhere as sick as she was. Fortunately, I was able to get an early appointment that morning. After dropping my older girl off at our local parish kindergarten, I headed to the clinic.

But on the way there, I started feeling worse, a lot worse. By the time we arrived, the illness had come upon me in full force. I was so sick I was having trouble standing in line to get my daughter checked in.

I began to worry. I knew my HMO, a stickler for details, wasn’t going to squeeze me in without already having made an appointment for myself. I was concerned about not only getting my kid through her exam, but driving the car home in my condition seemed dangerous.

Then, while I was still standing in line, something very strange happened. Continue reading

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The Great Possum Adventure

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One hot summer evening a baby possum got into our house.

There was a tiny space beneath the screen door, just big enough, apparently, for a small animal to squeeze through. Since the front door was open to help relieve the heat, the critter slipped in and took up residence under the sofa.

Have you ever tried to get a possum out from under a piece of furniture? Of course our first attempt was getting the broom to sweep him out. But he just wriggled under the broom handle, moving even farther from the front door.

Fortunately, I knew exactly what to do. I called Animal Control.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that one thing Animal Control doesn’t do is animal control.  Continue reading

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Love Thy Neighbor

Neighborhood Sign for Blog

This Biblical command is sometimes hard to follow. “Love thy neighbor” is easy when your neighbors are lovable. Not so much so when they’re unlovable.

Of course by “neighbor” the Bible means any human person, not just the people on your block. But those living close by are the ones you’re going to run into and have to deal with the most.

Depending on how you look at it, the street where I grew up was either comical or downright pathetic. We lived only half a block from two bars, and the couple next door worked at one of them. Amazingly, they used to drive to and from work, but considering that they consumed far too much of the product sold at their place of employment, maybe it’s a good thing it was just half a block. Unfortunately, if the husband was too drunk to get his back door open, he tended to answer nature’s call right outside my parents’ bedroom window.  Continue reading

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