Books Everyone Needs to Read

There are certain books that everyone must read before they die (at least in my world).

There are certain books everyone needs to read before they die. These are my suggestions @emily_m_deardo

These are also the books I routinely recommend to people. Some of these are books you may have read in school, and some of them are current fiction that you might not ever have heard of, but that I love to read and re-read.

So, without further ado:

Every Day is Book Day Around Here.

Every Day is Book Day Around Here.


So what do you think? Like the list? Hate the list? Think I left stuff out? Let me know in the comments!

Seven Quick Takes No. 75

It's Friday, so that means Seven Quick Takes! @emily_m_deardo


People, this is a thing:


So it was yesterday, but next week I’m going to have a post up on Books You Need To Read, so please check back for that! I’m really looking forward to sharing some of my favorite books with you (and yes, Jane tops the list. Let’s be real, people.)


 This week on my other page I wrote about How I write  and A Tour of my Office.  Let me know what you think? (And follow the page there, too, please? This ends our commercial. :-p) Next week I’m writing about journaling and research. I’ve been journaling since I was 12 years old, so I have a few things to say about it!


The fitness Regimen IS BACK! I worked out three days in a row this week, and I’m heading to the gym today. My “off” days are Thursday and Sunday. I’ve also brought back the weight training. AND I’m pondering kicking off a Whole 30 in May. Have I gone crazy? Maybe?

But no, I really need to focus on this stuff now. I fell off the fitness wagon in March, but now it’s time to get back on, entirely. I began adding back some activity toward the end of March/beginning of April, but I want to have good numbers when I go into clinic again in June for my ten year yearly.


(Ten years? For real? REALLY? I’m going to write more about this later, but holy cow: time flies when you’re having fun.)


Planning for the Charleston Trip is in full swing–Mom and I have narrowed down a huge list of restaurants in the city to a manageable list, and we want to visit the plantation where parts of North and South and The Notebook were shot. MY ten year anniversary, coincidentally, will occur when we’re down there, and when I’m attending Edel! Whee!


It was chilly here this week–we had frost this morning and I actually had to turn the heat back on. So we’ve gone from like 80 to….34? Crazy weather is always with us. But hey, there’s no snow, unlike Pittsburgh, which had some yesterday during the Pirates game. Brrrr!


I started the Great Jane Re-Read Early this year–I just re-read Sense and Sensibility. I’ve got the Annotated Northanger Abbey here, so that’s next–going a bit out of order. 🙂

Catholic 101: Confession

Catholic 101: Confession

Or, what it is and how to do it.

One of my non-Catholic friends asked me, as we ate Chinese two weeks ago, all about confession. “What do you say in there? And how do you know what’s a sin and what isn’t? And what sins send you to Hell?” So we spent the rest of the meal unpacking these questions. (This is what my friends and I talk about.)


The first thing is what is sin. Sin, according to the CCC, is:

an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as “an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law. (CCC 1849)

There are two types of sin: Mortal and venial. Mortal sin destroys all grace in your soul, as well as your relationship with God. If you die with mortal sin on your soul, the Church says you go to Hell. Venial sin, while still sin, wounds your relationship with God; it doesn’t completely destroy it.

The only way to remove mortal sin from our souls is to go to confession. Venial sins can be forgiven a few ways, but it’s always good to go to confession regularly, even if it’s just venial sins. (I mean, you really don’t want to be committing mortal sins on a regular basis, guys.)

Since mortal sin merits such a serious punishment, there are three criteria that must be met for something to be considered mortal sin. They are:

  1. Full knowledge
  2. Grave matter
  3. Deliberate consent

So, you have to know that it’s wrong. For example, you cannot kill the guy who hit your car. We all know murder is wrong.

Grave matter, i.e., not a white lie. Telling someone her dress is lovely, when it’s really hideous, isn’t a mortal sin. Neither is “the dog ate my homework.” Lying to a grand jury? Yes. Or, in our murder case, taking someone’s life? Yes.

Deliberate consent–you fully choose to do the action. “I know that murder is wrong, and I know it’s a big deal, but I am going to do it anyway.” “I am married, and I know adultery is wrong, but I am going to sleep with Mrs. Jones’ husband.”

If all three things are present, then it’s a mortal sin. You cannot accidentally commit a mortal sin. If you’re raped, you are not committing a mortal sin, since, obviously, you are not deliberately consenting to it!

So here are some mortal sins: Missing Mass on Sunday for a not-important reason (“I wanted to do the NYT crossword,” for example….or “I’m going to go shopping instead of going to church”); adultery; murder; rape, and abortion (which is, you know, murder). Things that you generally go to jail for are mortal sins (theft, etc.) . You cannot receive communion with unconfessed mortal sin on your soul, so if you’ve committed one, get to confession post-haste.

Venial sins are things like disobeying your parents, calling someone a name, gossip, taking the Lord’s name in vain, etc. Anything that violates the 10 commandments is sin. But as we’ve already said, there are degrees of sin. Not every sin merits the same punishment.

When we go to confession, we are confessing our sins to Christ, who is there in the person of the priest. The format can be found here. Also–do an examination of conscience before you go in. Be concise. Confession isn’t therapy, so don’t take an hour, guys! Try to be as succinct as possible.

If you forget a sin after confession, that’s OK. There have been multiple times I’ve left the confessional and gone, “Oh, crap, I forgot to mention X.” However, if you deliberately omit something, that’s not OK. All mortal sins must be confessed in kind (what you did) and number (how many times you did it)–i.e., “I murdered five people”, or “I committed adultery with my co-worker’s husband five times.”

(And, no, the priest cannot divulge what he hears in the confessional. That’s totally against church law and carries severe punishment for the priest. What you say in confession is entirely confidential.)

The priest will give you a penance that you have to do. Hopefully it’s a penance that’s clear and simple to do–like “say five Hail Marys”–as opposed to something like “be nice to someone today.” (I hate those sorts of penances.) You shouldn’t get a Herculean Penance from a priest, like cleaning the Augean stables. You will say an act of contrition and the priest will absolve you from your sins. Remember to thank the priest! (manners, peeps. Manners!) After confession, it’s a good time to perform your penance. Do it right away so you don’t forget about it.

The Church recommends that we go to confession frequently, but requires that we go to confession and receive communion at least once a year, preferably during the Easter Season (which we’re in right now)–this is often called the “Easter Duty.” Basically, it’s one of the bare minimum requirements of Catholicism.

The more you go to confession, the easier it gets, and the more sensitive you are to sin, meaning you’re more aware of what constituents it and when you’re doing it. The pope, in general, goes once a week. If the pope is going once a week, then I don’t think once a month is too much to ask for us normal Catholics. I try to go once a month. Sometimes the month gets away from me.

So that, in a nutshell, is Confession!

Seven Quick Takes Vol. 74



Welcome to a sunny spring day. 🙂 I just want to curl up in the puddles of sunshine like a cat. However, I will be sure to get out today and enjoy this weather!


This week I’ve been really watching what I eat and weighing myself every morning. I know that does not sound like a load of fun. But for me it’s good to keep track on the numbers so I can adjust my plans when necessary. I want to lose a substantial (read: more than two pounds) amount of weight before my next clinic appointment in early June, so that means being on top of these things. I should probably do a Whole 30. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time and I have the book upstairs, but….I keep saying “I love my coffee creamer!” (Which I do.)

The time has come, people, to just Do It. (Mayhap with modifications. Because me and dairy, we’re tight, and vitamin D/calcium are quite important for my bones given my CF history of malabsorption of vitamins. But I’ll ponder.)

I shall keep y’all updated.


My new editorial calendar is all set up for the next few weeks, and I’m excited about this .

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Essentially, I’m working with Trello for my calendar. It’s a flow where I have my ideas column, then every step in between. This way I keep all my projects organized and I have a sense of what’s going where, when. It also means that this site and my author site (please follow!) will have regular, high-quality content being posted. That’s exciting!

Some of the topics coming up are: a tour of my office; confession 101; my writing process, and Jane Austen’s views on marriage.


It’s Donate Life month, y’all. As you know, I am a big supporter of organ donation, because without it, I’m not here. Really. I would’ve been dead before my twenty-fourth birthday. That’s pretty sobering stuff.

But because Suzanne, a woman in Minnesota, decided to be an organ donor, I am here, writing to you. 🙂

There are more than 123,000 people on the waiting list for an organ donor. That’s more than the amount of people that can fit inside Ohio Stadium during an OSU game. 21 people die each day waiting for an organ–when I received my lungs, that number was 18.

To find out more about organ donation, go here. And please consider being an organ donor. I’ve had an entire decade of life I would not have gotten otherwise, thanks to my donor.


For your viewing enjoyment:



I’m reading Ivanhoe right now, and I’m more than 60% done with it. I have to ask–Why is it called Ivanhoe? Because he’s barely been involved at all. 


I’m teaching the CCD kids about the Ascension this week. Since we covered the Assumption last week, they should be OK with this. We’re also throwing in a dash of apostolic succession, because, why not?

CF on TV: Bates Motel

Emma Decody (Olivia Cooke), Bates Motel

Emma Decody (Olivia Cooke), Bates Motel

Horror movies aren’t really my thing. I also have a deadly fear of stabbings. So that would seem to make me not the prime audience for the TV series Bates Motel, which, as the name suggests, is the prequel, of sorts, to the film Pyscho.

But then I read that there would be a character with CF, and that clinched it, because I’ve never seen a main character with CF on TV. Ever! So now I had to watch, mostly to see how the writers would portray a character who sounded an awful lot like me.

Emma Decody is a British transplant who lives in White Pine Bay with her taxidermist father. (Her mother ran off a few years ago) When the show starts, both Emma and Norman are juniors in high school and are in the same English class. Emma is smitten pretty quickly with Norman, who treats her a lot like the sister he never had, and it isn’t until the current season that they get together romantically, although Emma’s been hankering for it for a long time.

Emma, like Norman, is pretty much a loner, although she seems to get along OK with everyone at school. No one teases her or openly shuns her due to her illness or the oxygen tank she carts around. It’s established in the beginning that Emma’s disease is pretty progressed, and that she’s on the list for a transplant. That being said, Emma tries to live as normally as possible, which means going to school, helping her dad around the house, and even taking a job at the motel. She’s pretty insistent about doing things that people her age do, even when it’s a big strain on her (like jumping off a cliff into a pool of water in season two, like Norman and his friends were doing, or hiking up mountains with Norman).

Emma is, to my mind, portrayed well, sympathetically, and accurately. Olivia Cooke does a fabulous job bringing her to life. Her desire to be normal and to have a normal life are apparent, but occasionally her illness will flair up and interfere, like in a recent episode where she asked Caleb, Norman’s half-brother, to give her chest PT on the floor of the Bates house bathroom to help loosen the thick secretions that are what slowly destroy the lungs of CF people.

The thing I like best about this is that Emma is portrayed as a normal teenager. She has hopes and dreams and fears just like everyone else, and I especially like that both Bates brothers treat her as a friend and an equal, not as something strange or inordinately fragile. When they try to be too careful with her, she normally smacks them back to reality.

I’ve never seen Emma eat on TV, so they haven’t had to work enzymes into the show, or insulin. 🙂 But what I’ve seen is accurate and humanizing. The show gets good ratings, so I’m glad that more people can become aware of CF and what it does to people, and also that we’re “just like you!” (insert fakey smile here) Emma’s blog on the A&E website also links to organ donation, which is also a total plus.

Daybook No. 96

Outside my window::

Cloudy. It’s not supposed to rain, but we’ll have clouds all day. I’m not opposed to that.


My PJs–a black t-shirt and Disney PJ pants. I’m unoriginal. 🙂


I just finished Emma: A Modern Retelling, and I did enjoy it. At first I was sort of concerned because Emma was really different from how she is in Austen’s original, but it all calmed down by the end of the story, and, as always, Alexander McCall Smith is magical. For my birthday I also received Station Eleven: A novel, (which I’m probably the last person to read) so that’s on my list, as well as At the Water’s Edge: A NovelAnd I’m reading Ivanhoe (Penguin Classics). I’m reading it very slowly, a few chapters at a time before I go to bed. I’ve found that this is the best way to work through Big Fat Novels for me, other than a road trip. Small doses, and I get through it that way. 🙂

In the CD player::

The Lion King. Really. I don’t know why, but it’s been speaking to me lately.


So, thanks to Cristina (again!) I have a new plan for posting. This week is a little off because I had clinic yesterday and I was cranky afterwards so I didn’t get a lot of posting done. But the new plan is to have fresh content on the blog here and the author site twice a week (on both), with Thursdays being the days I work on my manuscripts. So if you don’t already subscribe to the author site, do it, so you can get that content as well. I won’t always cross-link over here. Read this post for more on how Important the Author Site Is. 

There is also going to be some redesign happening here, so if you see any crazy test posts or changes, fear not!


About to start the third piece of the housewarming gift. I hope to have a few rows cast on before tomorrow’s Yarn Along.


Steering back toward a better diet, which means really cutting back on carbs and other empty calorie snack things. Time to focus again on whole foods and protein. Wheeeeee. Of course this does mean strawberry and mint omelets, which are yummy!


So many people I know are going through hard seasons. Really hard seasons. Join me in praying for them?


Plans for the week::

Writing. Working out. Lunch with Dad on Thursday. The normal fun things. 🙂

Seven Quick Takes Vol. 73



Happy Easter Season, everyone! He is Risen, Indeed!



Yesterday was also my thirty-third birthday!

The Google Doodle you get for your Birthday. I mean how awesome is this, people.

The Google Doodle you get for your Birthday. I mean how awesome is this, people.

I love birthdays. I love getting older. Really, I do, people. Never discount how awesome it is to grow older.


We celebrated yesterday with dinner at Longhorn and then Red Velvet cake at the house, followed by presents. It was a tiny celebration but that’s OK, since I’ve gone out with my friends a few times pre-birthday, so there’s been lots of little celebrations, which make me happy. Like I said, birthdays rule.

(And yes, I like to celebrate everyone’s birthdays! in my last office I was sad that no one wanted their birthdays celebrated!)


In the tradition of April and my birthday, it rained. A lot. The day I was born, it was a blizzard, so I guess it could be worse, right?! But I still managed to get in a nice one mile walk around my neighborhood before the heavens opened and the rain went nuts. The grass is exceedingly green, already.


Part of my birthday gift to me was watching Interstellar. People. Please see this, post haste.


I’ve also been working with the AMAZING Cristina on blog revamping and my author page. Please, please, please go to the page and sign up to follow? This is hugely important as part of my “book package” that will be going out soon. There will also be free goodies and fun writing content that will be over there only.

Please and thank you! 🙂 A free way to help me celebrate my birthday! 🙂


CCD resumes this week. I hope the kids didn’t forget everything in the two weeks they’ve been off.

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Yarn Along No. 23

I am halfway done with my Washcloth Housewarming Gift Project!


So the next color to be cast on the needles is lilac. Hopefully this one will behave better than the last skein. It just did NOT want to cooperate with my needles!

As for reading, I’m still on The Best Yes, and I have Sara Gruen’s new novel At the Water’s Edge, which takes place in the Scottish Highlands. (Can you guess why I picked it up? 🙂  ).

“I’m an author!”

Remember that scene in Little Women when Jo goes to get the mail and finds $5 for a story she submitted to a magazine? She comes running back into the house yelling, “Five whole dollars! I’m an author!”

I’m not really sure what the twenty-first century equivalent of this would be; maybe the New Yorker or First Things publishing poetry or a sketch? Not sure.

But in the spirit of Jo March, I’m unveiling my official author site to all of you:

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This is my official “home” for my authorial things on the web. Its purpose is to talk about my writing projects, where they are in completion, and update readers on what I’m writing around the web and chronicle my Journey to Get The Book Published.

One of the things agents and publishing houses are looking for these days is an online “platform”. This site is my part of that. It’s a huge help in getting things published in the agents/houses know that you already have an audience for the things you write.

On the site we have three main pages:

1) The About Me: this is similar to the one on this blog, but more professional and less off-the-cuff. This talks about my background, my education and work, and various awards/accolades I’ve won.

2) The blog: that is, this page. Self-explanatory, right?

3)  My Writing: This is the meat of the site. Each project I’m working on (big projects) has its own page under the menu. If you hover over “my Writing”, four projects will show up, in alphabetical order.

The first one is “Everything is Grace”, which is the new working title for The Big Book. I explain where we are in the writing/revising process, why I’m writing it, and Why It’s Different Than All The Other CF/Transplant Books Out There.

Second is “Pilate’s Wife”, a short story I wrote in 2010. This is completed and I have plans for releasing it to the public….but you’ll have to subscribe to my author site to hear more about that. 🙂

Third is “The Gift of Snow”, my medical drama/Downton Abbey/ Royal Family Mash-Up that I wrote for 2013’s NaNoWriMo. (The queen is a Countess Violet relative, I swear.)

Finally is my first completed (meaning a story with a clear beginning, middle, and end) novel, “The Undesirables.” This is my 2012 NaNoWriMo winner. This story is a sort of medical drama/dystopian novel with opera and lawyering mixed in.

Each page has a brief synopsis of the piece, plus some behind the scenes notes about the writing of it, and where it is in my editing process. Some are much father along than others.

I’m working with the excellent Cristina on making all this change happen–there’s no way I could do all this without her!

This blog is also, as I mentioned above, linked to the Author Page, so you can find everything I write there–it’s one-stop shopping, which we all like! And, as I mentioned above, this is a big step in helping me be a legitimate writer in the eyes of the Writing Powers That Be.

So, if you’d really like to help me, and get extra goodies, please pop over to the site and sign up for updates. You sign up for updates, you get goodies, a sneak peek into my pieces, behind-the-scenes look at my writing life, and maybe the chance to be a beta reader and tell me what you think! (Because who doesn’t like sharing their opinion, right?)

Daybook No. 95

Easter Sunday 2015

Easter Sunday 2015

Outside my window::

Cloudy. It’s going to rain. Because it’s April and that’s what the weather does in Ohio in April. 🙂


jeans, an emerald green tank top. When I go out later a navy blue v-neck cardigan will go on top, and I’ll have navy flats. Navy is my bag, today. 🙂

Listening to::

The Hallelujah chorus from Messiah. Because, YES.


The Best YesFood: A Love Story


I’m taking part in WordPress’s writing 101 course, so there may be some of those posts going up on the blog throughout the month. You’ve been warned.
Also! The Fantastic Cristina is helping me make this site and my author site better and Much More Awesome. Check out the author site and please give it a follow! 🙂

Around the house::

Post-Easter cleaning. I had the place looking really good (for the most part) pre-triduum, but now there’s stuff that needs done from the Triduum fall out. 🙂 Like tossing shoes that are broken/don’t fit/I can’t wear anymore, sorting clothes into clean/need washed piles, things like that. And meal planning.

Plans for the week::

It’s birthday week! So I’m going out to dinner tonight with a friend, then dinner with the family on Thursday (actual Birthday). This weekend CCD is back, so I have to update my records, and I’m teaching the Lay Dominican novices about the Liturgy of the Hours and lectio divina, so I have to prep all that as well. Whew! And baseball season starts!