Category Archives: Give Aways

Humbled By Generosity, A Free Book to Download

I’ve often heard the term, “I’m humbled by your generosity,” but I’ve never really thought too deeply about what that means.

Is a person humbled by another’s generosity because such charity is greater than what they have been able or willing to give?

Or, is a person humbled by another’s generosity because accepting the charity of another is an act of humility?

In the last twelve days, we have been the recipients of an array of kindness. I find myself humbled by the generosity of others, and I find that both of the above definitions apply.

Deep in the trenches of the most difficult moment of our lives, I must concede that the kindness of others puts any small acts of kindness I might have performed in the past to shame.

And, stripped bare of any pretense, accepting that kindness requires a humility which I had prayed for but never attained. As they say, “be careful what you pray for.”

I took this latter struggle with humility to Mass on Sunday, questioning whether I could and should accept such generosity when I had nothing to offer in return. As usual, the Holy Spirit provided an answer, something that I actually can offer in return.

So, here it is…

Years ago, I felt led to write a children’s book on the Rosary. I’ve shopped it out to a few publishers, but the consensus seemed to be that the market wasn’t great enough, and that there were plenty of children’s Rosary books already published. I accepted that, but still had the nagging feeling that I was meant to do something with the book. I thought about printing copies and giving them to all of the second graders at the school, but didn’t have the money. I considered just emailing it to the teachers, but something held me back.

On Sunday, I realized that the book was being saved for such a time as this – a time IMG_0124.JPGwhen I so desperately want to give back but seem to have nothing to give. Knowing that God will bring good from this experience (Romans 8:28), this appears to be an opportunity for one such good.

So, as an expression of my deep, deep gratitude for all of the kindnesses shown to us, I am posting that book for anyone and everyone to download. All I ask in return is your prayers – prayers for purity in the world, for the suffering of innocent children, for our priests and religious leaders, and, I hope, for Ray’s healing, peace, and comfort.

I confess that it’s rather unfinished. I’ve added pictures for the Joyful Mysteries, to get you through Advent. I’ll add the rest at a later date and re-upload the book, but I wanted to get this out there for anyone who wanted to use it with their children during Advent.

I realize that many of you aren’t Catholic. Please download the book anyways and just read the stories inserted between the Hail Mary’s. As we enter into Advent, the Joyous Mysteries will be very appropriate. Or, forward it to your Catholic friends for their enjoyment.

When you open the file, you’ll notice the colored dots before each Hail Mary. You can make a set of charity beads, following that color scheme. Your kids can move a bead over for each Hail Mary, and use the color coding to know which bead they’re on. I don’t know about you, but I find the interminable question, “Mommy, what bead are we on?” to be a bit of a distraction while we’re praying!

Simply click on the link below, and the book will open in your web browser. Take a look, and if you like it, print it out, bind it, and read it to help you pray with your kids. Or, use it as a tool for yourself to help you learn to pray the Rosary. I pray that it will encourage many to pray this prayer that has been so instrumental in my own life, and which very well may be working a miracle for Ray, even as we speak, thanks be to God!

A Childs Journey Through the Rosary, by Stephanie Engelman

 

The Story Behind the Story

A Single Bead

Today’s the big day… I finally get to share the cover of my book, A Single Bead, with my friends and readers! I hope you love it! Most of all, I hope you’ll read it, and tell your friends about it!

At the bottom of this post, you’ll find the link to go to my Facebook author page, view the cover, and enter to win one of three books that my publisher, Pauline Books and Media, is generously giving away. First, though, here’s the story of how the story of A Single Bead came to fruition.

Just over two years ago, I thought I knew what God wanted me to do with my life. I recognized two special talents I had been blessed with – writing and speaking. I also had developed a deep love and appreciation for God’s Word, and for Christ’s Church. I saw a scarcity of Bible studies written for Catholic women, by Catholic women, and I wanted to fill that gap.

There’s one thing about Catholic Bible studies, though. The authors always have letters behind their names. So I thought I’d better figure out how to get a theology degree. I quickly realized that was going to cost a fair penny, and I knew that I would have to find a way to pay for it without tapping into our already tapped out finances.

I had written a children’s book on the Rosary, but never found a publisher. So, I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could get that published and make a little money to at least help pay for a theology degree. I went to the website for one Catholic publisher – Pauline Books and Media – and saw that they were seeking Catholic young adult fiction. That struck a chord. But it was utterly ridiculous. I was going to write life-changing Bible studies, not frivolous fiction!

So, I laughed (literally, out loud) and said, “Well, God, if you want me to write young adult fiction, you’re going to have to give me the idea. Because I sure as heck don’t have one!”

And, though I didn’t hear him at the time, God laughed back.

A week or so later I got a tweet from @Catholici_T: “@afewbeadsshort, but have you ever pondered the power of just a single bead of the Rosary?”

I responded something along the lines of, “How true! I think I’ll write a blog post on that!”

But two hours later, the realization struck: It wasn’t a blog post. It was the title of a book, and the answer to a prayer.

One moment, I had nothing. The next, I knew that I was meant to write a story about a teenage girl who had lost her grandmother in a plane crash. At the memorial a year later, the girl finds a bead from her grandmother’s personalized rosary, but it’s not just any bead. It’s the bead bearing the girl’s initials. She would set out to find more beads, and there would be miracles and mystical events surrounding the beads that she found.

At the time, that was it. I knew there had to be a conflict, but I wasn’t sure what it was going to be. But, God had given me a start, and I was going to run with it.

Thanks to a writer friend (romance author, Kyra Jacobs), I knew that NaNoWriMo was coming up. NaNoWriMo is a friendly competition in celebration of November, National Novel Writer’s Month, in which authors challenge themselves – and each other – to write a 50,000 word novel in the 30 days of November. Anyone and everyone who reaches 50,000 words “wins”. I knew myself well enough to know that this sort of “all or none” approach was a good one for me. And so, the same day that I received that tweet, I resolved to write a novel in November. A novel about a teenage girl and a single bead. God would provide the rest.

And, indeed, He did. Somehow, I found the time, and, somehow, every time I sat down to write I actually had something to write. By the end of the first 30 days, I had just over 50,000 words. I finished the book on my birthday, which also happens to be the Feast of St. Stephen, AKA the day after Christmas. It was the best birthday present I’ve ever received.

I edited it, and then sent it to a couple of friends for thoughts and suggestions. My sister was afraid to read it because she didn’t want to have to tell me that it was awful. But, when she finally buckled down and read it over spring break, she texted me with the news. She loved it. In fact, it was one of the best books she’d read in a long time.

A little more editing, and I submitted it to two publishers, one of whom was that same publisher that originally inspired my wry prayer to God: Pauline Books and Media. A month later, they let me know they were considering it. And, on October 7th – the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary – they contacted me to let me know they wanted to publish it.

When I meditate on the Transfiguration, I often think about how Peter volunteered to make tents to house Jesus, Elijah, and Moses. But, tent making wasn’t what Christ wanted him to do. Similarly, I was all set to write Bible studies, but that wasn’t what God wanted me to do. At that moment, at least, He wanted me to write fiction for teens.

Ready to see the Cover?

The Big Advent Giveaway!

I mentioned a week ago that I would be doing a giveaway soon.  Here it is:

As you know, I am determined to make this a lovely, joyful, spirit-filled Advent season.  I have lots and lots of ideas in mind that I might do, but I’m having a difficult time narrowing it down.  So, I’d like to hear from you.  Please leave a comment to share your suggestions for creating a beautiful Advent season.  You might answer one of these questions:

What are your plans for this Advent season?

What devotional are you going to commit to?

What practices are you going to put in place with your family?

What have you done in the past that worked well?

What did you try that didn’t work so well?

Or you may have something I haven’t even thought of that you’d like to contribute.

Regardless, when you leave your comment, you will be entered into a drawing to win this beautiful Holy Family Figurine.

The winner will be chosen on Saturday, Dec. 1st.

Please tell your friends so that we can have a wonderful sharing of great ideas that will help us all more fully prepare our hearts for Christ this Advent!

**Please note: All comments are moderated and any offensive or irrelevant comments will be removed.**  Another note: I changed this post to correct a spelling error I can’t believe I made.  “When” instead of “win”.  Woops!