One such blessing, truly unexpected and deeply touching, came to me several weeks ago, when I received this sweet email from a reader:
My name is [---], and I'm a regular reader of your blog. It's lovely, and I enjoy it a lot. I've also commented a few times on your blog.
Anyway, good luck with your new book. I have to get around to order a copy.
The reason I wanted to reach out to you is to let you know about a lovely rosary I saw. It can be found on a Catholic web site, called Trendy Traditions. The owner, a mom called Melanie, makes lovely rosaries. I was scrolling through and discovered a string of beads called an Irish Mother's Rosary. She can add up to five children's names, and a saint medal, if you want.
The only caveat is that it's a tad on the expensive side, but perhaps a lovely gift for a birthday, anniversary or Mother's Day. You can find the rosary by scrolling through the rosary section and then clicking on the picture of the Irish rosary.
When 99.9% of the emails I receive are junk, junk, and more junk, do you know what a blessing it was to receive this note? To realize that there are people out there, completely unknown to me, who read my little blog and feel they've gotten to know me well enough to share something like this--and to be absolutely on the money about how much I would love just such a Rosary (which I've already hinted to my husband, loudly, would make the greatest Mother's Day/birthday gift ever)?
I was so touched by the thoughtfulness of this reader, whose name I do remember seeing in my blog's combox from time to time, and with whom I now feel a strong connection. Her outreach led to a short back-and-forth email session between us, and this new connection--one that never would have been made without the help of String of Pearls--has led to further blessings. Because my new friend is an independent journalist, and she has agreed to read and review Erin's Ring!
Do you want to see the lovely Rosary [---] so thoughtfully shared with me, out of the blue, just because she's so nice?
Here's the link: http://www.trendytraditions.org/Irish-Mother8217s-Rosary_p_97.html, in case you have some loud hinting of your own that you'd like to do. (You're welcome!)
It's incredible the people I've "met" in the past four years, all because of String of Pearls. I mean, I even have an Australian "pen pal." (Hi, Erin!)
And speaking of Rosaries, you should "meet" another lovely blogging friend of mine, Sarah over at Cherishing Everyday Beauty. She handcrafts lovely cord Rosaries, and it has become a true ministry for her. Sarah and I have been corresponding via our blogs for years now. I thought I'd share a recent email I received from this beautiful, faith-filled young lady, a newly-minted college graduate and teacher (a girl my husband and I would like to fix up with our youngest son, no kidding):
A couple of years ago, I gave away a cord rosary on my blog which I believe was ultimately sent to you. If I recall correctly, at the time, you asked me to make several more in Notre Dame colors which I unfortunately did not have at the time, nor did I have the funding to purchase them (oh, college life...). In a recent conversation with a priest-friend (who also makes these cord rosaries), we began talking rosaries since he had recently purchased more cord and -- out of nowhere -- I remembered you and I immediately wanted to get some more cord to make those rosaries for you... if you are still interested. [Sarah went on to talk about how much God had blessed her with a job right out of college, and she also provided a link to a website showing all the different colors of cord available, including Irish green and Notre Dame blue and gold.] Just let me know your order and I'm more than happy to comply... no pressure ;-)
God bless you!
Now I ask you, how blessed am I? I eagerly responded in the affirmative to Sarah's email, and she generously sent five cord Rosaries for my sons, and another four for my grandchildren. And as an added bonus: as her fingers worked the cord, fashioning these made-with-love Marian devotionals, she prayed for the lucky recipients. Including my little G-Man, seen here holding his Fighting Irish-colored Rosary.
Visit Sarah's blog, if you'd like to find out how you, too, could get one of her hand-crafted cord Rosaries. Or just if you want to be uplifted or inspired.
The Internet is amazing. Aside from these wonderful blogging friendships, it has made so many things possible for me that would have been unimaginable at a different time in history. Without it, I doubt I ever would have learned about a wonderful Catholic publishing company called Bezalel Books, and I never would have known what to do with a manuscript called Finding Grace, which I had plugged away at for more than four years in my basement "office," never dreaming it would ever actually be a real book.
And speaking of real books (and how instrumental my Catholic blogging friends have been in helping me to promote them), here is a recent email from my dear friend Therese Heckenkamp (a young mother, author, blogger, and all-around sweetheart), who took time out of her busy life to read and review Erin's Ring:
I wanted to let you know that I finished your wonderful book and posted my review to my blog, Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes&Noble, Catholic-Fiction.com, and TraditionalCatholicNovels.com.
Thanks for the lovely read, and I hope you're having a blessed Lent!
It is hard for me to imagine being more blessed than I am. All is right in the world this Palm Sunday in the year of Our Lord 2015: our family is healthy and happy--and growing; our boys and their spouses are strong in the Faith, preparing to celebrate a glorious Easter; and these blog blessings are just the icing on the lamb-shaped cake my oldest son has plans to make next Sunday.