Little Book Update

With gratitude for the support that I have received, I give this brief update on my little book.

Child holding book

When does a child become an adult?  Is it at age 16, 18, or maybe 21?  Or is this stage completed by accomplishing a milestone of some kind?  Or a series of milestones?

When does a manuscript become a book?  Ah, that’s the question!  Is it when the first draft is completed?  No.  Oh, no.  Is it when the manuscript is ready for beta readers and editors?  Nope, that’s just the first draft of the final draft.

And that’s where my little book is right now.  As I am the author of a book and not the parent of a child, I think of it as a book, even though it has not yet become a book, while a parent may think of an adult as a child long after childhood has ended.  Both author and parent are future-looking and future-hoping, but a child will grow up naturally, of its own accord, causing a parent to be wistful about childhood.  An author, on the other hand, must make that manuscript become a book and is not so sentimental about the beginning phases.

At least… I don’t think I will have a sense of bittersweet when my manuscript officially becomes a book.  Will I?

But, I really shouldn’t get too far ahead of myself.  God willing, I will be able to complete this journey.  (Prayers have been, and still are, much appreciated.)  There will be a lot of work to do when my test readers get back to me with their reports.  And then, even more work to do, I’m sure, with the editor in July (once I actually choose from among several editors who are assessing the manuscript) before I eventually get to the final draft of the final draft of my book – which will, I guess, be simply called “my book,” objectively and officially.

Well… maybe not objectively and officially “my book” until it is published out into the world.  (Although drafts and manuscript are but stages of a book, as childhood and adulthood are but stages of a person.)

That publication, my dear readers, will be a blog update for another time.  God willing!

Thank you for all of the many bugs!  Making a public commitment to write a book has truly helped to make the book a reality.  Now that I am safely out of the fragile neonatal stage, others are getting to see the manuscript as the book that I already knew growing deep inside of me.  God is good!  And I am most grateful for this opportunity to give witness to the fearsome wonder of divinely loved life.

© 2018 Christina Chase


Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

Autobiographical Page

I’ve been toying with what to write on my “official website”  (sorry, that still sounds pretentious) concerning my bio page.  The homepage is an “About” written in the third person (yes, that was very weird to write) but, I’ve decided to include a little something more “in her own words”  – yes, in the first person.

Below is something that I came up with – and I really want to know what you think…

 

Life with a disability isn’t anyone’s ideal.

But, it’s life without love that’s a tragedy.

Because of my genetic disease (infantile spinal muscular atrophy) I have experience of particular suffering, often acute suffering, as I lack the gifts of physical health, strength, and abilities. Because of my amazing and self-giving parents, however – as well as my doting sister, close childhood friend, big extended family, brother-in-law, nephews, and even generous strangers – I have always known that I am a loved individual. Best of all, though I didn’t always know it, I have come to understand that I am eternally loved by my Creator, that I have been infinitely and intimately loved into being by God.

Yes, I am gorgeously rich in love.

And that’s the story of my life. For, this love has shaped me, saved me from error, and sent me on my path – on the good, true, and terribly beautiful path created just for me.

Not the bio that you were expecting, I’m sure. Most people, when writing about themselves, would probably list their accomplishments, in the form of college degrees, work experiences, spouse, homeownership, or children. I have none of these usual things. And, yet, I have listed what is most important in my life, I have listed the greatest blessings and experiences that I have been given, by declaring one accomplishment – which is not really an accomplishment at all, but, rather, an unmerited gift: I know that I am loved.

Dear reader, my prayer is that, no matter how worldly-great or worldly-small you may be, you will also receive the greatest and best that human life has to offer: the experienced knowledge of unconditional love, which is divine.

© 2018 Christina Chase

Happy Birthday to Me

baby, crib, Christina Chase

Tomorrow is my birthday.  (Thank you for the kind thoughts!  Yes, of course I can hear what’s in your head, silly.)  This year, my birthday brings good news and bad news.

The Bad News:

I am unable to make my self-imposed deadline for my book.  As part of my New Year’s Resolution, I had resolved to get my first manuscript into the hands of an editor by my birthday.  Well, that’s not going to happen.  (Okay, I know, that’s really not that terrible. But, I’m disappointed and a little scared that I will keep missing deadlines.)

I was able to make the first deadline of my resolution, completing the first draft of the manuscript by March 1.  But… well, perhaps I shouldn’t say that I am unable to make the other deadline – it’s more that I am unwilling.  What I mean is that the first draft was of a book that I didn’t really like.  In my opinion (which matters, since it is my book) it had major flaws.  These flaws required an extensive revision, which included the writing of several new reflection chapters.

The needed revision wasn’t so extensive that it needed, say, 40 days and 40 nights of rain to cause a biblical sized flood to wash away the horrors and start afresh.  Nope.  Just another six weeks or so of work.  My new deadline for sending the manuscript to an editor is my parents’ 48th wedding anniversary (mid-May.)  Or traditional Memorial Day at the absolute latest!  (To this date I must stay firm – please help me by bugging me, dear reader!)

The Good News:

The good news is that it’s my birthday tomorrow.  Every birthday is good news!  I am sublimely grateful to be celebrating another year, especially after what I went through medically last year.  But, I’m always grateful.  Frankly, due to the grim prognosis of my disease given to my parents on my second birthday, every year since I was 18 has felt like a bonus prize.  For, every time April 6 comes around, I wonder if it will be the last birthday that I will get to celebrate.  This wonder isn’t as morbid as it sounds, for it doesn’t fill me with gloom or anxiety.  Rather, it is truly a wonder – a gladness and a delighted surprise that I am still here.  Oh, all of the beauties of spring that I will again be able to witness dripping, stretching, and bursting open all around me!

An essential part of this good news is that I know that I am loved.  My amazing parents are still with me, able to give of themselves to me as they have done for decades, showing me and everyone who knows them the wondrous truth, beauty, and power of self-sacrificing love.  And all with a great sense of humor and enjoyment of life!  My big sister, too, is in my life, a cherished gift in herself, having also brought to the family the gift of her good and loving husband and their two bright and beautiful sons, who, themselves, are endless gifts of wonder and joy.

And, most thankfully, I know that I am infinitely and intimately loved by my Creator.  No matter what.  Always and forever.

Life is good.  I am happy that I was conceived and born into the world!  And that’s what I’ll be celebrating tomorrow: the gift of life and all that God has given me.  Yes, all.  I willingly take the bitter with the sweet for the chance to be able to live in God’s terribly beautiful Creation and participate, in every little way, in Creation’s awe-filled praise of the Divine.

It is good to be here.

Spring, Apple blossoms, cherry blossoms

© 2018 Christina Chase


1st photo, me in my crib, reaching for my photographer father

2nd photo by Arno Smit on Unsplash

My First Book! Well, Okay, Not yet…

manuscript, pages, writing

The first draft of my manuscript is complete.  (And, yes, calling it a manuscript does sound weird.  And technically, anyway, is it really a manuscript since I didn’t write it out by hand – manual + script?  But, I digress…)  I’m grateful to have been able to keep the first part of my 2018 Resolution!

Over the last 59 days, a wide spectrum of thoughts about my first book, and the whole process of writing it, have tumbled through my mind, causing me to feel differently about it on different days.  So far, these have been my most frequent opinions/feelings (in no particular order): ridiculous… brilliant… impossible… lame… okay…. Continue reading

Leaving with These Words

Last year,  I had several health challenges that reminded me, yet again, of how fragile and fleeting my life is.  Having been born with a rare disease and living all of my life with severe disability, I have always know that my lifespan would be limited.  But, how limited?  What will be my last year?  When will be my last day?

This is not something to obsess about, but, last year, I did realize that it’s okay to think about one’s death and to plan for it.  This is actually a good and beautiful thing to do.  I even wrote a blog post called Preparing to Die in Five Easy Steps.  One of these steps was to plan my own funeral.

Bible, funeral, Mass, church

I gave a lot of thought to what readings I would like to have read at my Catholic Funeral Mass, but didn’t finalize my choices until nearly the end of the year, when I heard a reading from the book of Wisdom, which I wanted, instantly, as my funeral’s first reading.  Everything else flowed from there.

And, now, I want to share my chosen passages of Scripture with you, dear reader.

As this is being posted, I am supposed to be busily working on my first book.  I prescheduled this post and one for every week of February in order to free me from distractions while I write.  The blog post for February 1 will feature the first reading for my funeral.  February 8 will feature the Psalm of my choice, February 15 will contain my selected epistle (Second Reading) and February 22 will reveal my chosen Gospel passage.  Taken together, these readings from Sacred Scripture tell a little of my personal story, my follies and my faith, my love and my hope, as well as give prompting and encouragement to all who will hear them to seek beauty and truth, finding God.

Seek and find the One who is Beauty, the One who is Truth.  Find and be found by God, who intimately and infinitely loves each and every one of us – and in loving Him, be fulfilled as the wonderful, blessed human being that you are uniquely created to be.

© 2018 Christina Chase


Photo by Stephen Radford on Unsplash

The Book I’m Writing

Book

To my ears, it sounds a bit ridiculous and slightly pretentious to say that I am writing a book. But… I am. Again.

This is not the first writing project that I have intended for publication in the last 20 years. But, God willing, this will be the first one to actually get completed and become a real, live book.

In the past, my great ideas have fizzled out into failure because of one simple thing: faith. Or, more precisely, lack of faith. Each project begins with great enthusiasm and confidence in the goodness and rightness of what I am undertaking. And then… and then I start to doubt. I either doubt the idea or my ability to bring the idea into fruition and my enthusiasm wanes… my confidence dries up… and I leave my idea to die on the vine.

Not this time! But… haven’t I said that before? Continue reading

New Year’s Resolution 2018

I make the same mistakes, repeatedly.  You?  And, so, as each year comes to an end and a new one is about to begin, I seem to make the same resolutions.  Heavy sigh.  This brings to my mind, with a smirk on my face, the words of Saint Augustine: “ever ancient, ever new.”

Too often, my New Year’s resolutions center on me:

I will be more…

I will be less…

I will be a better…

But, this just goes round and round, and I circle around myself, like circling around a drain.

So, this year, in order to make a difference, my resolution is focused on a thing

a book.

Books, library, book

I resolve, God willing, to write a book by March 1 and to put it into the hands of an editor before my birthday (which is in April.)  I make this pledge loud and clear, witnessed by the world (which is you, my dear reader) so that the world (you) will hold me to it.

So, ask me how my book is going: Have I finished my outline?  How many chapters have I written?  Is the first draft done?  Bug, harass, harangue me – but don’t let me slack!  Help me not to make the same mistakes this year, so that my book won’t be just an idea that bursts its fire upon the sky to be heard no more.

(If you have a New Year’s resolution with which you need help, please write it in the comments below and I will gladly bug you, too!)

Thank you, “world”.  And may you have many blessings in the new year!

© 2017 Christina Chase


Photo by Glen Noble on Unsplash

The Blogging Experience

video cover

Four years ago, I pushed out of my comfort zone and did two things which have had lasting effect on my life: (1) I made a personal act of consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and (2) I started a blog.  This blog.  The original intent of Divine Incarnate was to chronicle my consecrated life.  (My fourth anniversary was this past Sunday, The Feast of Christ the King.)  This experience has taught me many things…

4 Things Learned in 4 Years of Blogging

Continue reading

On Mass Killings and Respecting Life

james-barr-302867

I want to help build a culture of life.

My vocation, I believe, is to inspire and foster respect for human life, compassion for every human being, and recognition of everybody’s inherent, indissoluble dignity.  No matter how small or seemingly useless a person may be, each and every one of us is supposed to be here, each and every one of us is intrinsically sacred and beautiful in the eyes of the Creator Who brought us into existence.

Sometimes, though, my conviction in the core worth of every person gets tested.  On Sunday, October 1, 2017, celebrated on the Catholic Church calendar as Respect Life Sunday, a man perched in a high-rise in Las Vegas, Nevada fired upon a crowd of over 22,000 people, injuring nearly 500, and killing 58 before ending up dead himself.  This man had no history of mental illness, appears to have been a “normal guy”, was a wealthy, older man, and has no apparent ties whatsoever to any kind of terrorist group, foreign or domestic.  So… Why?  Why did he do it?  What was wrong with him?  Something must have been wrong with him… right?  I am asking these questions because I don’t have the answers….  Perhaps, there is no definitive answer. Continue reading

This Is My Body

Recently writing about my current medical issues and concerns, I’ve decided that perhaps it is true: a picture is worth a thousand words.  So, I’m sharing with all of you a picture of my body – an x-ray image of my torso.  Although the image was taken in order to look for pneumonia, you can see my spine in it and, so, the interesting twists and turns of my backbone and deformity of my ribs.  (Don’t say that I ever held back in bearing myself to you, letting you know me inside and out!)

scoliosis x-ray

Is it any wonder that surgery is not an option for me?

Last Sunday, we celebrated the Feast of Corpus Christi, The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.  On this great day, we are called to ponder the wondrous and generous Mystery and mercy of Christ’s Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist – as he perpetually gives himself wholly to us, body, blood, soul, and divinity.  We also call to mind the profound Mystery of the Incarnation itself.  God, The Creator and Master of the Universe, became a human being, one of us, with his own human body to live, suffer, and die.  This is the most sublime and awesome act of love and unity.

In contemplating Christ’s sacred body, I consider my own little one.  Consider yours, as well.  Each of us is a frail, lovely, odd little creature – known and loved by God.  Every hair on my head is counted, every cell embraced, every moment that this body of mine grows and breathes and ages is held as exquisitely precious to my Lord and my God.

Of what shall I be afraid?

Be at peace, little one, live your life in your blessed little body and be not afraid, your soul rejoices in your eternal home always, says my Savior God to me…

© 2017 Christina Chase