It’s here, It’s here, It’s finally, finally here! My first ever published children’s book (or any book, for that matter!) Just in time for the Pope’s celebration of the importance of the family, at the World Meeting of Families.
Mommy, Mommy, When You Pray will actually be there at the World Meeting of Families. Perhaps even His Holiness will pass by the Catholic Word table, and see this bright number catching his eye (one can hope, can’t she?)
Told in rhyme, the story is about the “simple joys of family life,” as you can see below, on the back cover. It celebrates little things, that veteran parents always remind you to enjoy. It’s also a reminder to parents, that our children are always watching and imitating us, so pray hard, and love fully! Now, I am about to share my story of how I was inspired to write this book in the first place, and how the Holy Spirit brought it all to fruition.
But first…a celebratory picture with the hubby, the baby, and a bottle of wine at Bull Run Winery!
Okay, so now that we’ve had our “prost,” here’s the story.
About a year ago, I found myself tossing and turning in bed. A million things kept running through my mind, and sleep seemed to be the furthest thing away. I decided to use the time for prayer, since it was the most productive thing I could do at the time. After a rosary, and some free form prayer time with the Lord, I was still wide awake.
My mind began to turn to my young son, and how he observed me praying, and began asking questions. The Holy Spirit was moving in me, and I knew he was drawing my attention to this lesson for a reason. As a parent, I needed to be faithful to prayer for own soul, but also for my son’s. He was always watching and imitating, and kids can tell when things are genuine, or just for show. I started reflecting on what I wanted him to know about my prayer life. I hoped that he saw the joy, peace, and consolation I received in prayer. I also wanted him to know that I talk to God about him! How to raise him to be a man of God. How to give him a Godly example. How to discipline him, as the Psalms have laid out. How to create a house of peace and prayer, so that he may go forth into the world, and know how to return to God in prayer at any moment.
Suddenly, the words for Mommy, Mommy, When You Pray started rushing into my mind. They were coming so fast, that I could hardly keep up with them. I grabbed my phone from the nightstand, and began typing in the words, as fast as they were coming. It was clear to me that this was not from me, but rather, a gift from the Holy Spirit! He was directing this verse, and man does he talk fast!
Then, just like that, the words stopped. I re-read what I had typed, and it was perfect! I couldn’t believe how perfect it was. Right there was the manuscript for Mommy, Mommy, When You Pray! I knew that if this truly was from the Holy Spirit, then he would guide this book into production, or whatever plan he had for it.
With that, I sent off the manuscript to many different publishing companies, sealing each email (figuratively, of course) with a prayer. May the best man win…and go! Rejection after rejection came back to me. I consulted with other friends who have published books, and they all told me how competitive and impossible the Children’s Book market is. Most of them encouraged me to stick with the writing that I know, and not try to venture out into this arena. So, that’s what I did. I left it at that, surrendering it to God. I had done my part. If he wanted it to be, it would be.
And then, just as things seem to work out, as soon as we surrender them, God steps in! Out of the blue, one of the very first companies I had contacted, many months before, called me on the phone. Ministry 23 is a publishing arm of Catholic Word, dedicated to the mission of sharing the gospel and engaging in the love Christ offers. They had decided that they wanted to publish my book. I was speechless.
Next, was the task of finding an illustrator for the book. Originally, I had the fantasy of illustrating the book myself. I toyed around with some ideas (which were also vastly rejected), and decided that Children’s Illustration was not my forte. By the time Ministry 23 spoke with me, I was disillusioned about my own ability to illustrate. When they found out I was an artist, they asked to see some of my work. I quickly tried to sway them away from this idea, even searching for fitting illustrators myself. They continued to encourage me to send some of my own work, inspired by the Holy Spirit, no doubt.
So, I sat down at my art table, dusted off the pencils, and began to draw….and draw….and draw some more. Just like the words of the book, the drawings kept coming, and they actually looked (dare I say) good.
The whole process is still somewhat of a mystery to me, but I have learned a very important lesson (or many). I have learned that God truly does want good things for us, he has a plan that we cannot see, and when we surrender and allow him to work, he works better than we ever could on our own. There are so many times that I have had the opportunity to learn these lessons in the past, and let’s face it, probably more to come. I stand guilty of trying to push my own will many times, despite the direction the Holy Spirit was leading. And yet, here is proof of what can happen when I just get out of the way!
This was moments after the book arrived at the house! I ran out onto the porch, screaming, “It’s here, It’s here!” After the boys helped me open the box, dump out the styrofoam peanuts, put the peanuts in the recycling, knocked over the recycling two more times (just to watch them spill out onto the floor, and pick them up again), we finally read the actual book for the first time!
When we got to the back of the book, and they saw the picture of themselves, they went crazy! It was an absolute riot, to see their reaction, to their own faces staring back at them from a book.
I am so thankful to God, for allowing me to bring this work forth, and I pray that it gets into the hands of those, whom will be most blessed by its message. I am thankful to my husband, who was super-dad on many occasions, in order to give me the time to work on this. I am thankful to my children, who helped inspire it (especially the illustrations)! I am thankful to Charles Piccirilli, who helped in many ways, and to my family, for their continual support.
Most especially, I am thankful to all of you, who are the hands and feet of ministry! Please support this mission, if you know anyone who can benefit from a little joy. Certainly, moms in the midst of the struggle of motherhood, who can use a reminder of the good they are doing. Absolutely, for children, who are filled with innocence, hunger for God, and the need to know they are always loved!