Category Archives: Writing

Sunlight through the Fog

Foggy Morning Beauty

Early Morning Beauty

When I took Jordan out early Thursday morning, there was a beautiful mist. Everything was covered in a soft white glow and the glorious super moon was still present in the sky. I was so taken by the sight of it all that I went back in the house for my phone. Snapping photos while enveloped in the mist, I was witness to the magnificent dawn.

My wedding season ended last Saturday and I’m looking forward to no commitments for the next few months. This break will give me the freedom to do whatever I want- a luxury in my mind. I am a worrier by nature (I come by it honestly!) and so it takes an effort for me to let go of thinking too far into the future, i.e. next year’s season, will there be enough events, will there be too many? (oy!)

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”
– Leo F. Buscaglia

What do you worry about? (Maybe you’re not a worrier- lucky you!) For as long as I can remember, I hold too much weight on my shoulders. I’m a recovering perfectionist you know, one of God’s most needy children, and it is only through faith that I’m able to work at turning things over. When I saw the sunlight through the fog that morning, it reminded me that God can be the beacon through my worry. The worry is the fog, the sunlight is faith.

“Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith.”
– Henry Ward Beecher

Faith is a deliverance from worry. It is a breath of fresh air, a dark chocolate bar, a new puppy. It reminds me that everything will work out in its time. The one thing I try to remember is that I cannot solve my problems all at once. Honestly, sometimes waiting it out proves more helpful. Rather than force solutions, I pray, turn it over, and let God provide the answers.

This week, for the first time ever, I joined my church women’s group as they made homemade nut rolls (yes, from scratch). They sell them and donate all the profits to charity. This has been going on for AGES but I was always too busy to participate. This year, I wanted to help. I showed up at the chosen time; one of the ladies was making dough, the other was mixing nuts with various ingredients for the filling.

Over the course of the next half hour, other women showed up. I was told to bring a rolling pin and I did. Soon there were several of us rolling. I can’t tell you how therapeutic this was. I rolled dough for a while then I helped spread filling. I think we made at least 30 nut rolls that morning.

When it was all over, one of the ladies made lunch. Delicious scrambled eggs with fried potatoes, Greek salad, feta cheese and pita. My favorite part? A warm from the oven nut roll, cut up in big chunks. Boy was that good.

I told an Orthodox friend later that this experience inspired me. She said ” Treasures In Heaven”. I asked her the meaning of that and she said, “What you do here on earth will bring you treasures in heaven.” To work with these ladies (I was the youngest one there I think), spend time with them, learn from them- it was something sweet. And I’ll tell you. I didn’t worry about a thing when I was rolling dough.

Rolling out the doug

Rolling out the dough

Spreading nuts

Spreading nuts

Just before baking

Just before baking

The finished product!

The finished product!

Looks wonderful, doesn’t it? If you have an opportunity to make treasures in heaven, wow, I encourage you to do so.

To you and your family – have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

For another inspiring story, check out my latest post on the Orthodox Christian Network. Click HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The White Light of Grace

The White Light of Grace by Lillie Leonardi

The White Light of Grace by Lillie Leonardi

“Purpose implies a spiritual intention, a goal that helps define why an individual chose to travel to this earthly plane.” Lillie Leonardi

Lillie Leonardi and I go back a few years. My sister Cally was instrumental in helping her with her first book, “In the Shadow of a Badge.” When Cally pitched a story to the Huffington Post about Lillie’s book (during a fourth of July weekend), Lillie’s book took off in popularity. She’s now a Hay House author and “The White Light of Grace” is her second book.

I have had the pleasure of being around Lillie through my sister. My feeling about her is that she is tough on the outside and soft and caring on the inside. We have some core things in common. She was a young mother and my daughter was a young mother. We talked about this once and her sharing was very helpful. Our fathers were key in our lives and we were very close to them. We both have had pasts that were affected by alcoholism the disease.

In reading “In the White Light of Grace” it struck me how much Lillie has pushed herself to grow. She became a police officer at a fairly young age and at a time when not many women were doing such a thing. My favorite story is when she responded to an emergency call for a domestic situation. She found a woman in the home, assaulted and alone. She interviewed her and as Lillie was walking out and onto the porch, the woman’s husband came walking around the corner. Here’s what she says:

“I knew instinctively that he must be the woman’s husband. No words were necessary. His manner and her reaction to his presence said it all. Within seconds, he began screaming obscenities. He was furious at her for calling the police. “Leave the premises or I will arrest you!” I shouted. Without any warning, the man lunged at me and yelled, “Yeah, you and what army?” Before I had time to gather my thoughts, I grabbed him and shoved him over the front porch rail. He landed facedown on the ground. I ran down and managed to cuff him with one swift sweep of the hand. As I lifted him from the ground, a patrol car pulled up along the curb and an officer I did not recognize asked me, “Are you okay? Where is your backup?”

Of course Lillie did not have a back up. She did it all by herself. There were some men sitting across the street, watching the whole thing. All at once they started clapping and singing, “I am woman, hear me roar.” GO LILLIE!

If you believe in angels, this is the book for you. Lillie details her early and repeated encounters with Archangel Michael in many chapters of the book. In her childhood she referred to him as the “Blue Man with wings.” She was reprimanded about her sightings and so stopped sharing them with others. But she did not stop believing and always felt herself channeled to the angels.

“It seemed as if I had an energy that flowed to me, through me, and permeated every aspect of my being. And although my youthful mind was not able to fully comprehend angelic channeling, I was astute enough to recognize that something amazing was transpiring.”

Lillie loved to retreat to her bedroom to write and dream of angels. In her chapter “The Origins of Grace”, she talks lovingly of her grandmother Situ (Arabic for grandmother) who encouraged her to believe and have faith. Situ encouraged her to pass this birthright on to the next generation. Lillie believes this has been a blessing on her family to have these gifts.

I preferred to read Lillie’s book slowly and savor it, rather than hurry through it. It reads like a spiritual reference guide, encouraging the reader to think of their own experiences and how to live a more openly spiritual life. The book is beautifully written and is a lovely example for me as I move forward on my writing journey.

Other chapters contain insight into Lillie’s recovery from PTSD, her health issues, male relationship struggles, mother daughter angst, and deep sharing about her love for her father.

“As I look back on my life, I am amazed at the twists and turns it has taken. In retrospect, I can see that it has been filled with time of pain and sorrow mixed with moments of sheer joy. Each chapter has moved my life towards surrender and grace.”

Lillie, thank you for sharing your book with me.

Click HERE to order Lillie’s book.

Disclosure: This book was given to me free of charge and I am not compensated for my endorsement of it. This review is my personal opinion.

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My First Book! Ordinary IS Extraordinary

My first book! The Beautiful Cover is by Karen Captline of Better Be Creative

My first book! The beautiful cover is by Karen Captline of Better Be Creative. Editing by Daleen Wilson of Sunday’s Child.

Today is a special day. I am sharing my first book with you! The excitement of this has been building over the last couple of months and I am over the moon about it. This weekend I will be speaking at the women’s empowerment conference in Ligonier, PA and sharing my story.

When I received the first early copies of my book, I gave one to the mother of my granddaughter Penelope. Jessica is my friend and the partner of my son John. She is the manager of the Habitat for Humanity Restore in Allegheny Valley, PA.

As luck would have it, Jessica, Penelope and I went on a little field trip yesterday. We visited another Restore and stopped for lunch afterwards. We talked about how to market my book and Jess offered to do a review for me. I took her up on the offer!

So here, without any further ado, are Jessica’s thoughts on “Ordinary IS Extraordinary.”

When I read Ordinary IS Extraordinary I was nursing my infant daughter, Penelope, and read most of it out loud to her.
We cried at different parts for different reasons…
I had tears in my eyes when Joanne shared her journey of rediscovering her faith and loving herself.  I smiled as I pictured her as an awkward young person.  Looking down at Penny while we read, I couldn’t help wondering if she would face some of the same challenges in life.
I was inspired by Joanne’s discoveries of growth, as the lens she saw both the world and herself through, changed as her experiences colored the glass.
When I closed the book..I found myself savoring so much of her insights, that I let out a huge breath I didn’t know I was holding…and with it a burden I didn’t realize was there.  As for Penelope, she always loves hearing her Nana’s adventures, even when she’s hungry.
Grab a cup of Jo, your favorite snack, and devote a morning or afternoon to walking in her footsteps.  I know you’ll enjoy the landscape.  The writing is honest and you’ll feel as though she is sitting across from you on that lounge chair, having a coffee, sharing in your delight along the way.
From Jessica Levine
John, Jess, and Penelope Katherine

John, Jess, and Penelope Katherine

Jessica, thank you so much for your beautiful words!

Click HERE to order my book on Amazon. There’s a Kindle version too! You may want to order two books ;), one for you and one for a friend.

When you read Ordinary IS Extraordinary, I’d love to hear from you! Please email me at joannejamiscain@gmail.com with your thoughts. If you are a blogger that writes on spirituality, I would be happy to send you a book to review.

Thank you and God Bless!

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Moving in a New Direction

My original blog picture!

My original blog picture!

How do you know when it’s time to move on?

Well, I know. When I feel that restlessness, that movement deep within me that says it’s time to break out of my own comfort zone.

When I created the website for my business Katherine’s Daughter Events, I found a fabulous webmaster (thanks to my sister Mary!) who held my hand every step of the way. From the beginning of our friendship Susan encouraged me to not only create my own events website, but to move my blog where I would have more control over what I can do with it.

The time has come. We are moving this blog, Katherine’s Daughter, over to a self hosted site in the next few days where it will be easier for me to manage and hopefully, grow my readership beyond what it is right now.

What will happen to you? Absolutely nothing if you are already an email subscriber. You will not notice a thing and you should still receive all of my posts via your email. I applaud you, my faithful reader, for sticking with me and I look forward to having you along on this next phase of my blogging journey.

If you are jointly a WordPress follower and an email follower, you will have to re-subscribe if you still want to receive email updates. I will still show up in your WordPress reader. So we can still hang out together!

This is a brave new world for me and recently I heard the quote “Facing fear is the new black.” I love that. I believe in plowing ahead, stretching out of my comfort zone and taking new chances.

So here we go into the next new phase! I’ll keep you posted!

Love, Joanne 🙂

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Hallelujah Anyway!

How do you begin? The answer is simple: you decide to. Then you push back your sleeves and start writing–I.e., scribbling words down on paper, or typing at a computer. And it will be completely awful. It will be unreadable s*#t! You won’t have a clue how it account to anything, ever. And to that, I say, Welcome. That’s what it’s like to be a writer. But you just do it anyway. At my church, we sing a gospel song called, “Hallelujah anyway.” Everything’s a mess, and you’re going down the tubes financially, and gaining weight? Well, Hallelujah anyway.

-Anne Lamott, recently on her Facebook page

This endearing part of a recent Facebook post by Anne Lamott only cements me further to her. No one speaks to my inner author quite like Anne.

Despite the swear word and a few teensy typos, I decided to run this quote as is because it motivates me. I want and am seriously ready to venture beyond my weekly blog posts, book reviews and such and write something of quantitative value.

Anne Lamott and Me! On the occasion of my most recent birthday!

Anne Lamott and Me! On the occasion of my most recent birthday!

For the last couple of years, I have wanted to write a non fiction book about Grace and my coming into the Light. A fellow blogger friend of mine has a book release TODAY and I am so inspired by this! (Go Heather!). Can I say it? To write a book and get it published is a really big dream of mine.

Anne is right. The best thing to do is just get started. This can apply to any dream- a new job, new contacts, new life- you name it. Just get started. And as Anne said it may be awful but so what! At least we got started.

Is there something you have been procrastinating about? If you’re interested, we can tag each other in our dream project. Tell me about it in the comment section below and we’ll cement our commitment. I am going to write my book and you are going to _______________.  If you’re overwhelmed at the moment and can’t take on another thing, just offer a few words of encouragement or your favorite quote about energy, motivation or desire.

Seriously, let’s do this together….xo

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A Writing Adventure!

In my latest writing adventure, I have been accepted by Hay House Publishing Company as a book reviewer! This is a good feeling for me as not only do I get to stretch my writing chops a bit, I also get to choose which new books I’d like to review! I love it!

In The Shadow of a Badge by Lillie Leonardi

In The Shadow of a Badge by Lillie Leonardi

For my first official book review, I chose Lillie Leonardi’s recent release “In the Shadow of a Badge.” Here’s a bit about the book and my thoughts regarding Lillie’s story.

Ms. Leonardi worked in law enforcement and was the first female responder to the scene at Shanksville on that fateful day of 9/11. She was the Community Outreach Specialist for the Pittsburgh Division of the FBI and as such, was one of the first to witness the crash scene in that lone field. As she surveyed the barrenness of the landscape, she was overwhelmed by what WAS NOT there. There were no bodies and very little left of the plane and crew of Flight 93.

Lillie chronicles her story beautifully, delving into her law enforcement background and the prejudices that women face in such a male dominated field. There was no place for emotion, crying or falling apart by what she saw.

However, as you can imagine, the sheer sight of the crash scene floods all of the checkpoints she had developed to deal with such tragedies and loss. Her emotions overwhelm her as she gazes upon the sight, wondering how anyone could do such a thing in the name of God. Then, a light comes upon the field and a vision unfolds in front of her eyes. A legion of angels appears, led by the Archangel Michael.  “This archangel stood with confidence, radiance, and an aura of leadership. The saber in his hand angled toward the ground in resting mode. I knew instantly this had to be Michael, for in my Catholic upbringing the Archangel Michael had always been depicted as the warrior. He was also known as the guardian of law enforcement.”

When the vision disappears, Lillie wonders if what she saw was real. She asks God to show her a sign that she was not just dreaming. A bible on the ground, barely singed by the flames of the crash, blows opens in a sudden wind. It stops on Psalms 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd…..” This is her sign. The confirmation of a miracle.

Lillie holds onto the vision of angels but doesn’t tell anyone about it. For years. Finally she is diagnosed with PTSD and thus begins the long road of recovery stemming from years of denial and fear.

What touched me deeply about this book was the depth Ms. Leonardi was willing to go into her soul to tell this story. She reaches into herself again and again to face her fears and tell her story. Her law enforcement background makes a fascinating read and the effect that 9/11 had on her daughter and young granddaughter is poignant, one that any mother will deeply relate to.

My favorite chapter is entitled “Superwoman Has Left the Room.” Lillie wishes to remove her symbolic uniform and cape and ask her old persona to feel safe to return. As those of us who have been through a life changing experience can attest to, it is through the shedding of our previous self that real healing and spiritual awakening can occur.

I loved the spiritual lift this book gave me. I encourage you to read and enjoy it AND be transformed by it. Here’s the LINK.

And of course, here is my disclosure per Hay House. I get to choose the book I wish to review, it is given to me free of charge, and I am not compensated for my endorsement of this book. This review is my personal opinion.

Thanks for joining me on my first book review! What are you reading these days?

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A Blessing on Your Head

A blessing on your head Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov…Fiddler on the Roof

Meeting my favorite author!

Yesterday was my 55th birthday and today is Thanksgiving. This same remarkable timing occurred five years ago when I turned 50. I consider it a beautiful juxtaposition of birthday to gratitude day.

Five years ago (on my FIVE OH birthday) I took my family to Fallingwater– the stunning Frank Lloyd Wright house which sits over a rushing creek full of water. The house was much smaller than I had imagined but it was still breathtaking beautiful. We had lunch in the cafe, took the tour and walked around a bit in the nearby woods. Then we all headed back to dinner at my sister Cally’s house where her husband Raymond had prepared a beautiful dinner of lemon shrimp and orzo. We even Greek danced a little after dinner, just to connect with our deep roots.

My birthday this year was another dreamy day of inspirational happenings. A couple of months ago I noticed via Facebook that my favorite author, Anne Lamott, not only had a new book coming out but was coming close to where I live. She was going to be less than two hours away in Akron, Ohio at a public library.

I asked my sisters if we could go hear her speak. Ironically (or not so) my North Carolina sister Mary was coming home for Thanksgiving to attend her class reunion. The timing was perfect.

The view from the hotel!

We left the day before my birthday and stayed at a hotel that overlooked the Cuyahoga Falls (and the Schwebel’s bread factory!). Dinner was at a lovely little place called “Crave” in Akron, a mere block away from where Anne was speaking.

I insisted we get to the library early and we did. An hour and a half early. My sister Mary thought I was crazy. But there was a small line forming already. We decided to buy a family library membership for $20 and that got us into the auditorium early. We sat in the front row, dead center.

Have you ever been in a situation that felt surreal? That’s how I felt in that auditorium, an hour before Anne came out. When she walked across the stage to the podium, with her dreadlocks and bandanna wrapped around her head, I instantly smiled.

She spoke for over an hour then answered questions. She said many awesome things but my favorite was “we are really here to help each other get home”. I loved that.

I stood in line to meet her and get my (her) new book signed. We chatted for a few seconds and as I was walking up the ramp to exit, a group of locals began singing Happy Birthday to me. They knew it was my birthday and wow, that just made my day!

When I got home yesterday, there was a song in my head. It was A Blessing on Your Head, Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov. I’m a Christian but I love that song and I love all of Fiddler on the Roof. The song seems fitting, doesn’t it?

Have a wonderful, gratitude filled Thanksgiving day! What are you doing today?

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My 50th Post!

“By the time we hit fifty, we have learned our hardest lessons. We have found out that only a few things are really important. We have learned to take life seriously, but never ourselves.” Marie Dressler

Picture by Cally Jamis Vennare

Here I am, at my 50th post. It’s hard to believe it but yes, that’s 50 stories on Katherine’s Daughter.

First I want to thank you, my friend for reading this blog. I can’t believe the friends I’ve made (and found) through my writing and I know it’s only going to get better. I can’t wait to see who I’ll know in another 50 posts from now.

There has been much pleasure in writing this blog and very little pain. The pain has mostly come from learning the technology to use my host company, WordPress, to its fullest. I am still in the learning process but I am much braver than I used to be! If anything, I have more confidence with themes, appearances, settings and such, something I never really knew anything about.

The pleasure of writing my blog is equivalent to me holding both my arms wide open. It is limitless. If I try not to over think, over criticize or over edit myself, it is truly a wonderful experience. It does take a certain discipline to sit down and create stories. But I don’t try and force them; I just listen to my heart and soul. That’s all you really have to do.

If you’re reading this and have ever thought of having a blog, I want to encourage you to go for it! (What are you waiting for?) My only advice to you is to have your blog name picked out before you get started. After that, it’s all a delicious piece of cake.

So thank you again, for being one of my readers! I appreciate you more than you know. Onward, to the next fifty stories!

*Bloggers- if you’re reading this, what keeps you going, what keeps you writing?

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A God Nudge

A few days ago I emailed my friend Nancy. I thought she was participating in an event I’m attending this weekend. She emailed me back…. she didn’t know a thing about it. So I called Amy (on my lunch hour) who I thought had given Nancy’s phone number to the coordinator of the event. When I spoke with Amy, she too thought Nancy had been contacted.

I said to Amy, What do I need to do? Is this my responsibility? Amy said No, it is not. She said, Text me Nancy’s number again and I’ll call the coordinator. She can take it from there. I said to Amy (after a bit of hesitation), Maybe this is a God Nudge.

A God Nudge is when you get a hint that something needs your attention. God is letting you in on something, a clue so to speak, so that you end up feeling like a sort of spiritual secret agent.

I have come to accept that if I am supposed to know about something, God will somehow see to it that I am clued in. If I worry about whether or not I have the whole story on any given situation or if I think I am missing valuable information, this is really not my concern. If I’m supposed to know, I’ll be informed. Then, I can decide how to react, without making a big fuss or blaring any horns.

One of the biggest God Nudges I’ve ever had occurred while I was in Patmos, Greece a few years ago. Patmos is a place of outstanding beauty, a Jewel of the Mediterranean and I was there.

Perfect Patmos

We were on vacation, my sisters, my mom and I for two weeks. Patmos was one of our stopovers for four days. It was perfect weather, perfect food, perfect everything. While I was there, I had an overwhelming urge to write. The feeling was so powerful, I started a journal of our trip.

When I came home I wrote a small book and had it bound with a hard cover. I called it “Patmos Memories” and I gave it to my mom for Christmas that year. She loved it. I still pick it up when I’m at her house and read it over again. It was really my writing debut of sorts.

When I think of that time in Patmos, I realize God was nudging me to write. Maybe that is why I feel so comfortable sharing my thoughts and passing stories along. I think that you and I are divine friends, destined to be together and to pass along some Grace and Love.

In the earlier case involving Nancy, I alerted someone to the issue and let it go. Hopefully, I acted as a conduit of some sort. We’ll see. Thank You God, for the nudge!

Another Pretty Patmos Picture!

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