This blog's mission is simple--to encourage moms who are married to non-Catholics and raising their children in the Faith. If you know a mom who needs a little encouragement in continuing her efforts, I would be delighted if you would share Kathleen's Catholic with her. Thank you!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Some Fun in New York City: Wookiees, Storm Troopers, Editors, and Artists at Comic Con 2

Yes, folks, this is a bona-fide Wookiee with my Ben. He noticed Ben in the crowd and pointed at him, curling his pointer finger with a "come here." I pushed Ben. "Come on, come on! Stand next to him!!" After the picture was snapped, the Wookiee tapped Ben on the nose and spoke a few words. If my Wookiee translation was correct, I believe that he said something like "Be a good boy." Kinda like Santa Claus. And I felt like I was the kid for the moment. The trip was worth it, if only to get this picture!

Ben and I attended Comic Con 2 at the Javits Center in New York City. We met with Star Wars characters, editors from DC Comics and Marvel, and even an artist who works for Lucas Films. A great day, but a long one! Below are a few more shots of what we saw. Very cool, indeed.

Ben with a Storm Trooper. As you can see, my son was still recovering from his knee injury, which I wrote about in Opportunities Outside Our Kitchen Door at

RoboCop, of course.

An amazing Lego sculpture, one of many.

A chalk/pastel artist. He was drawing on a huge sheet of black craft paper. We attended on the first day of the conference, so we could see only its beginning. Photos of his other works lined his work space. They were amazing...vibrant! If you'd like to see the time-lapse video of the artist completing this chalk mural, click here. He was terrific with the people, too, talking with them as he worked.

And a writer or two were given a copy of these two guys, right from my son's comic book blog, Star Wars: The Elites. Click here to check it out.

We had fun! But when we were driving home, we were happy to finally turn down the road that bisected our neighbor's horse farm. Years ago, I commuted to the city from Pennsylvania on a daily basis, and it came back to me once again why I was happy to settle down and make my living right here at home!

God bless!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ten Crazy Things About Me

Okay, blame this post on Celeste Behe at Perpetual Jubilee, who blamed hers on Danielle Bean at Faith and Family, who recommended this writer's exercise. And I'm just in the mood! Check it out: Ten Crazy Things About Me.

1. I grew up on a dairy goat farm that my mom owned and operated for about a dozen years. It was called Colanuka Farms, home to G.G.'s Goat Herd.  (Colanuka was the name of the creek that ran through the property. And G.G. is what we called our Great-Grandfather, at his insistence. "No need to waste time over the phone calling me Great-Grandpop," he said. "Wastes money!") I sometimes helped bottle-feed the thirty or so kids. One bottle in the left hand. One in the right. And two stacked between my knees.

2. I was a nut for Little House On the Prairie, and I watched it well into my twenties. My mom even purchased the complete video collection for me. I just now donated it to Goodwill.

3. I have been and always will be a slow reader. In elementary school, I struggled with reading comprehension, barely pulling a C. My former teachers would probably faint if I went back and told them that I became a book editor and writer.

4. Since I was a slow reader, I found TV much more interesting and watched it without ceasing. When my dad left the house in the morning, he would pull the cable connection at the box outside the house. But I found a way around it; ABC TV was at the end of the radio dial. This also meant that I didn't read children's literature. I learned who C.S. Lewis was only about ten years ago....and I have a degree in English literature! (I'm still catching up on all those years away from books...and loving it!)

5. I started college as an engineering major, even studied an engineering curriculum in high school for two years. It was Sister Aloysius O'Keeffe, of the Sisters of Charity, who changed my mind. I fell in love with literature in her world lit class, which all students were required to take. Who knew?

6. My first writing teacher told me to go back to engineering. My last writing teacher wouldn't grade my papers. Told me they weren't worth the ink he would use to grade them. Fooled both of them! My first job out of school? Editorial assistant at Times Books/Random House in Manhattan. I remember my first week on the job. Carol Schneider, director of publicity, introduced herself and said, "Welcome to the big time, kid!" That afternoon, Tip O'Neill stood right next to my desk. Then there was Robert Reich (I know, I know...), Lawrence Taylor, Joe Paterno, Mel Gibson, Jonathan Winters, and Latoya name a few. Oooo. I feel a blog post coming on here!

7. There lurks in my brain a dead spot for foreign languages, but I'm teaching my kids Latin. Go figure. Hey, for the first time I get it.

8. I am a lousy public speaker, but get me one-on-one, and I won't stop talking. My family complained for years that I talked way too much. I knew Roger was really in love with me when he told me that he actually liked listening to me yammer. First time I ever heard that!

9. My husband and I eloped. Ask me about it sometime. If you want the short version, ask me in public. But if you want all the details, get me alone, know...I can't stop talki....

10. I took cello lessons for three years, as an adult. I learned something new. I found out that I could... sing. Whatdaya know?! After three years with the bow in my hand, I could play only a few scales and the opening measures of The Swan from The Carnival of Animals. But I still love that cello.

God bless!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Beautiful Life

by Kathleen Blease

Dear Reader,
This post is similar to my recent article at, entitled A Very, Very Atrractive Man. For this reason, I hesitated posting Beautiful Life here. But after a little prayer, it occured to me that it was written to be read. It wasn't meant to be stored somewhere in the arhives of Kathleen's Documents. So here it is. God bless. Kathleen

There was a strange man in the driveway. I had never seen him before. He was thin and little bent over, and he was shuffling as he walked. His clothes hung on him a little and his demeanor was quite sad. Who was he? What did he want? Neighbors in this area are very much Pennsylvania Germans and are rather private people, so it is unusual for a stranger to stop by just to say hello. When he finally came closer to the house, at the end of the sidewalk, I recognized him.

He was my husband.

Before he made it in the kitchen door, I put down the dishes I was stacking and made a hasty retreat to the powder room where I had a good but silent cry. I splashed cold water on my face, then returned to the kitchen to greet my husband after his day at work.

This occurred last fall, and by that time my husband had been sick with protein-losing entropathy—a fancy way of saying that his body stopped absorbing protein all together—for about three years. Roger lost fifty pounds, most of his muscle mass, his straight posture, strength, and even some of his baby fine curly locks..

I had no idea at that time that it was about to get worse. The winter brought cold weather in eastern Pennsylvania, and Roger hadn't the strength to keep up his body temperature. His skin turned blue and he was ice cold to the touch. By this time, he had undergone every kind of medical test under the sun, at least the ones doctors hoped would bring answers. With each test, our hopes would rise. Then they were dashed when yet one more came back marked negative or inconclusive. It was an emotional rollercoaster.

As my husband grew weaker and still bluer and thinner, I prayed that he would last through the nights. Many evenings, I went to bed mentally preparing myself that he just might slip away during the night. (I only recently admitted this to my husband.) It was indeed rock bottom, and we were both very scared, praying with all our hearts.

We had family members pray. We had friends say rosaries. My sister-in-law called upon the Carmelites to put Roger on their list of special petitions.

By April, Roger had a little more spring in his step, but by May he landed in the hospital with a blood clot that began in his right neck. It developed in his jugular vein and ran down his arm an unbelievable twelve inches. It then came up the other side of his arm, making it a full twenty-four inches of clot. The doctors were very concerned, and they went into action trying to prevent a stroke—not a healthy prognosis for a man of just forty-five.

It was a difficult month, but we all pulled through, and prayer was at my personal center. St. Joseph guided me and offered me his comfort. I thought about him often. As a father living in a dangerous culture, he protected and provided for his family through the most difficult of terms. Of course, he would understand what Roger was going through. What a struggle for my husband to continue running his little company—which rest solely on his expertise—all the while providing for his wife and children who depended on his one income! Surely, St. Joseph understood, and I asked him to pray that my husband would be encouraged and inspired.

I also prayed to Mary, Mother of God. Surely she could help me as I watched my loved one suffer. A perfect mother, a perfect sole, the first could I go wrong turning to her guidance and intercession? Through her, I could see the suffering face of her Precious Son in my husband's, and I could see then that I could comfort Jesus, if only a bit, by comforting my husband. Back rubs were a welcomed gift, and asking, “Can I get you something to help you feel better?” were somewhat soothing. But the hardest task for me was actually to hold somethings back—they were, my opinions and suggestions. My husband will probably testify (if you force him) that I failed at this many times. The truth is, someone who is sick really is trying to do his best to get better. He doesn't need yet another home remedy or Internet-induced medical opinion. He just needs comfort and love. Better to find a sore spot and rub in silence. It does wonders for the spirit.

Throughout my husband's illness, each day Christ is present in our home. There in the face of the sick and needy is Jesus hanging on the cross, saying “I thirst.” He doesn't thirst for drink. He thirsts for you and me and all God's creation to come to him. Through Holy Communion, Christ is physically present, yet hidden, to give us grace to make it possible to live His will. Now my ailing husband was giving a face of my dear hidden Jesus. At first, I had a hard time coping with the daily sickness, and I prayed to Christ to ask him to heal Roger. But then my prayers became more of this nature: “My dearest Christ, please show me what to do for my husband. Your will be done. Show me your will.”

I know the Lord doesn't will my husband's illness, but by giving back to Jesus all that comes with my husband's suffering, Roger and I can join Him at the cross and personally witness His sacrifice and His devotion to His creation (that's us). Does that make sense? All I know is that it's a remarkable gift, this opportunity to witness His love in the unique way. It's not easy, but it is precious.

When I left my husband in the hospital in May, it was hard to walk out of his room and close the door. I remember feeling the cold, clunky door handle and thinking, I don't like this place. It's not home. And by the time I made it to the elevator, I was crying. I hated leaving him there in the steel and brick building. With all the beeps and clicks of the machines, with nurses who pushed computers from room-to-room, with food that showed up on black trays—with these I couldn't imagine leaving him. And I hated that bed. It made it impossible for me to reach my husband. The best I could do was lean against his bent knee and rub his legs. Not much hugging and snuggling there!

But something began to calm me during my drive home. There was lots of time to think, and I slowly realized that all this suffering Roger and I witnessed together lead to a truth I couldn't deny. It's this: We live a beautiful life. Jesus has been beside us all along, from the moment we met and married. But we can actually see Him, the Hidden Jesus revealed. How much more beautiful can life get?

God bless!

Post Script: Since this post was written, my husband has gained a little weight and strength, and he is under the care of an excellent hemotologist. However, the doctors are still no closer to finding the source of his illness. Nevertheless, I am thankful that we'll be entering the winter months with Roger a little stronger than he was last year. Please continue praying for him. This means a great deal to us! And realize that the face of Jesus is in each person who is suffering! Peace.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Interview with The Catholic Writers Guild

Just for fun, I thought I would post my interview with The Catholic Writers Guild. I've found the Guild to be very inviting and encouraging--something a writer needs in this world! I talked with Maria about this blog, my little gift book for dads, and the life of an editor.

God bless.


Kathleen Blease is a wife and homeschooling mom of two young teenage boys, and author of I Can’t Wait to Meet My Daddy .

Maria: Hi Kathleen, you are one of our newest members; please tell us, how did you stumble into CWG?

Kathleen: Stumble is the right word, and I found you all to be very welcoming—so different from where I came from, publishing in New York City. I can really appreciate the kindness everyone has shown me already!

Catholic writer Susie Lloyd, author of Bless Me Father For I Have Kids, sent me a quick note on Facebook and asked me if I would be attending the Catholic Writers Conference (We belong to the same home school co-op.) Of course, I said, “What writers conference?” And she sent me a link. I really knew nothing about the Catholic Writers Guild, but I've been praying about how to enter the Catholic publishing industry for a few years now, so it seemed like a good idea to put on a nice dress, pull together a few writing samples, and just go to the conference. My friend, Celeste Behe, another Catholic writer, went with me and showed me the ropes. It's been years since I've attended something like this, so I really appreciated how she helped break the ice. I really appreciated Susie bringing the Guild to my attention, too.

Maria: We are all happy to have you, especially knowing you were a previous editor. I think you are going to make a lot of friends at CWG! Can you tell us a little bit of what the day of an editor is like?

Kathleen: Thanks! I'm glad to be here. Well, the day of an editor is very much like that of a writer's. It's all about finding quiet time, sitting down, focusing and getting the job done. I worked mostly as a developmental editor and rewriter, so I didn't have the benefits of long lunches with authors and agents, which I would imagine would be a lot of fun. But I found ways to get to know writers one way or another, and that was important, because when I edited manuscripts I tried very hard to honor the author's unique voice and view point. I think that was the best part of the job, and I always enjoyed the challenge.

Maria: As an editor, what kind of writer do you look for?

Kathleen: Since I was never an acquisitions editor, I didn't had the luxury of looking for writers myself, choosing them according to their skills and outlook. But as a developmental editor whose job had always been to bring out the best in the writer and his/her manuscript, I was always happy to work with writers who had flexibility and a willingness to listen to suggestions, even when those things might be hard to hear or swallow. I've worked on a wide range of topics—from Irish Americans to business to fitness to refinishing furniture—and I can tell you that writers who were willing to re-write and re-think their manuscripts, even just a little, were a great pleasure to work with, and their enthusiasm affected me, too. This made me want to work as hard as I could to make their work shine.

Maria: What kind of writer do you dread?

Kathleen: Well, it's easy to guess which ones I dreaded—those who wouldn't budge an inch and wouldn't change a single word they wrote...or those who don't take deadlines seriously. By the time a manuscript got to me, the book was officially in production, and I was usually working against a strict deadline in order to meet the book's pub date.

Some writers think their job is done after the first draft, and this is common among nonfiction authors, who are often experts in certain fields but not necessarily professional writers. They find the writing process to be very difficult and they get very little joy out of it. I'm more than happy, though, to help them out, but they have to be flexible and realize I'm trying to help them work through their limitations. Sometimes, they take it all so personally!

Maria: You are also a published writer. Your book I Can’t Wait to Meet My Daddy is a little jewel. Tell us what it’s about and what inspired you to write it?

Kathleen: Thanks for your nice words about I Can't Wait to Meet My Daddy. It's close to my heart. I wrote it for my husband when we were expecting our first son. It was our unborn son's Christmas present to his new daddy. Roger was so taken with it, that he daydreamed for years about publishing it himself. First, I sent it to major houses, but they all declined. When Peter Workman himself sent me a letter saying how much he liked it and regretted that he couldn't use it, well, that's when my husband made up his mind. So he published it himself. It's a glossy hardcover with dust jacket. It's doing well, and we're so happy to be a small part of people's lives at a special time.

Maria: I imagine you’ve received notes from your readers; can you share a ‘reader’ story with us?

Kathleen: Sure. One letter in particular, from an expectant grandmother, really touches me each time I think about it. The lady purchased our book for her son. He and his wife were expecting their first baby. He thanked his mom and put the book in his briefcase, then headed out the door to go home. Little did he know that he would find himself at the hospital with his wife, who went into pre-term labor. She gave birth two months early. The new parents were in shock, and when all the doctors finally cleared the room, and the two of them found themselves all alone, the husband remembered the little book he put in his briefcase. They read it together and, according to the grandmother, it gave them a great deal of comfort. I get choked up each time I think of it, and I usually can't get through telling the story!

It's such a humble feeling to know that something I wrote can enter into someone's life at such a special time. I never did find out if the baby survived, but a little prayer goes out the family, and I think of them often. I guess you could say that I Can't Wait to Meet My Daddy has become its own little ministry.

Maria: You have other published books?

Kathleen: Even as a stay-at-home mom of two toddlers, I always found work. I co-authored The Fiske Guide to Colleges for several years with NYT Education Editor Ted Fiske, and I compiled a few gift books of classic poetry for Ballantine/Fawcett Del-Ray. Those gift books stayed on Ballantine's back list for a dozen years, which I never expected. I have to admit that I'm pretty proud of that. I also put together some books for painter Thomas Kinkade, and I recently found them at Barnes and Noble, repackaged and sold again. I really enjoyed those projects.

Maria: This may seem like a silly question, but do you think being an editor gives you an edge as a writer?

Kathleen: Oh, wow. That's not a silly question at all. The answer would have to be Yes in some ways, and also No in others.

After years of editing other writer's manuscripts, I've become very comfortable with working in all sorts of writing styles. Every writer creates a special texture to her writing, and a certain timbre and tempo. I'm very much accustomed to pulling my writing apart, and criticism really doesn't bother me. I also recognize that there are dozens of ways to communicate the same thought. It's a journey I happen to enjoy—taking my work apart and reshaping it. I tell writers to not be married to their writing, to try new avenues, which will make them stronger and better writers. So this is how editing helps me.

Now, to address how being an editor hinders me. Oh my, there is nasty little editor who sits on my shoulder and tells me, “Hey, kid. You ain't gonna write THAT, are ya? That sentence is horrible. Delete it and try again.” Then the next idea gets hit with the same admonishment, and then the next. Pretty soon, I've gotten so tangled up in editing while I'm writing that I actually forget what I am writing about. I've learned to send my little editor out for a very long hike while I write, then she's welcome back. Still, I really can't edit my own work entirely. It's impossible for me to have a fresh eye, which is so important to editing. I'm sure there are writers and editors out there who are looking at this right now and thinking, “Man, this editor needs an editor.” It really is impossible to wear both hats at the same time.

Maria: You are a wife, a homeschooling mom and an author. How do you do all of this?

Kathleen: That's really nice of you to compliment me in this way, but I really think I have quite a bit more to do! Still, there are times I look back and see how much has gotten done, and I'm pretty happy about that. My motto is: Keep things simple. I'm the exact opposite of my sister. Lisa can sew a quilt while making slipcovers and canning 90 quarts of tomato sauce—all while training for a mini-triathlon. She thrives on big challenges. As for me, I truly need to take things in small, simple steps every day. In the end, big projects seem to get done.

Maria: It seems I have little in common with you, yet I really like your blog. In one of your blog entries you consider changing the focus of your blog. Tell us a little bit about that, I think we have members who will be able to identify with you.

Kathleen: Hey! Thanks for visiting Kathleen's Catholic!! I have had a lot of fun putting it together. When I first started in January, I felt called to write about being Catholic in the modern world. Now, however, I can see that there's a special focus I'm called to address. You see, I am madly in love with my sweet husband who happens to be a non-Catholic. It's been a challenge for both of us to raise our children in the faith—and to nurture our marriage in the midst of our big differences--while addressing my sweetheart's questions and concerns, as well as the concerns of his family, who are mostly atheists. I posted a little column, called If Your Husband Isn't Catholic, on my blog as well as on, and I've gotten some very heartfelt responses to it. I'd like to spend more time addressing this. After sixteen years of marriage, I think I just might have a little something to offer, especially with the help of God's grace. I really do feel called to do this!

Maria: Ok, the only thing I see I have in common with you is bird watching! Love the bird pics in your blog. And the pic with your kitty next to the Christmas lights! Awh. What other hobbies do you have?

Kathleen: Oh, yeah, bird watching. They are amazing creatures! Well, my other hobbies are very domestic—knitting, crocheting, cooking and canning, home improvements, and gardening. I learned to knit and crochet at my grandmother's side. She owned a yarn shop and taught hundreds of women in her lifetime. It makes me feel very close to her just to sit and make something small. By the way, the photos on my blog—that is, the professional-looking ones—are my husband's handiwork. He is an excellent photographer.

Maria: What is your advice to other writers, especially homeschooling parents?

Kathleen: Oh, that's easy! Take it easy on yourself! We are not perfect. Take small steps each and every day, and you'll find that at the end of the year you will have accomplished quite a bit—both in your projects and the kids' school work. And don't forget to pray. Take everything to Our Lord. You don't have to say a thing. Just take your heart and place it in His hands. He will guide and inspire you with perfect timing, and He will provide you with everything you will ever need!

Maria, thanks so much for this opportunity to chat about the things I love. You know, coming from secular publishing, I've never had the chance to talk about editing, writing, and faith all in one conversation. It's a real pleasure! I'm truly looking forward to a terrific future with CWG. May God bless the work of each and every member. I'm so happy to meet you. Anyone can contact me—even just to say hello and touch base—at I would welcome that!

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Very, Very Attractive Man

When your spouse becomes ill, it changes your life and your marriage forever. In my new column at, here's one way it has changed our lives for the better, if just a little bit.

I hope you enjoy the column. Click here.

God bless!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Peace is Coming

From painter Jon McNaughton. All I can say is, "Beautiful!"

One Nation Under God

I love this image of Christ and our Constitution, from painter Jon McNaughton.

Take some time today to thank our Dear Lord for this beautiful country.
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