One of the kids’ friends came by for a visit the other day.
“You guys sure have a lot of books!”
And the truth is, we do.
We’re a family of book lovers, I’m happy to say. I’ve been collecting great books since I was a little girl riding her bike to the downtownScottsdale library, around the corner from the police station and our parish church, Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Back then, Scottsdale was just a sleepy little town, not the glitzy place it is these days.
One of my fondest memories of childhood is the annual used book sale at our parish school. I still have the hardback copy of “Little Women” purchased at one of those sales, where we’d usually walk away with an entire paper grocery bag full of good reads.
I still say one of the best parts of having kids is sharing all the great books I loved as a child with them. “Sam I Am.” “A Fly Went By.” “Charlotte’s Web.” “The Chronicles of Narnia.”
One of the wonderful things about reading is that no matter where you are, in your mind, you can be somewhere else. You might be sitting at the doctor’s office, waiting and waiting, or even the dreaded Motor Vehicle Department. But, when you have your book, you travel with your mind to the American South of the Civil War era, or Berlin in 1945. You might visit the future, if you’re into sci-fi. (I’m not.)
Now, when you’re a mom with five sons like me, you might not get to travel a lot. At least you can go there through the world of books, right?
But in 2012, every dream I ever had came true. I travelled to the Holy Land, saw the place where Jesus Christ was born, where He walked with the Apostles, and where He died and rose again. I went to Rome and walked through St. Peter’s Square and visited the catacombs. These were total gifts of God to me, trips I never would have been able to take except that God looked down and said, “Here. Enjoy.” It was an amazing year of blessings.
Bethlehem, West Bank, inside the Church of the Nativity
Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean, in front of a Roman aqueduct
The other dream that came true in 2012 was that I wrote my first novel, “A Martyr’s Crown.” The book is the fruit of two years’ worth of interviews and volunteer work among the Chaldean Catholics of Arizona.
I hope the book will touch many hearts and both inspire and inform. The era of martyrs is not over. Many people in the Middle East, in Africa and Asia are truly suffering because of their faith in Jesus Christ.
We here in the West must stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the faith. We have much to learn from their deep faith and fidelity in spite of centuries of persecution.