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

In the Bleak Midwinter

Frozen, ice, midwinter, angel wings, angel

On the day that this is being posted, I should be hard at work fulfilling my New Year’s resolution – writing a book.  Should be, But am I?….  Because this is my serious intention, I’m scheduling posts ahead of time for January and February.  (Hmm… “ahead of time” sounds so sci-fi….)  But, I will still be checking on comments, so please share your thoughts (and keep bugging me to fulfill my resolution!)
This week, as we are still celebrating Christmas (Merry Christmas, everyone) I’m sharing an old carol that caught my ear a couple of weeks ago.  Even though the context is inaccurate – Christ being born in Bethlehem, not a place known for frozen ground and piles of snow – the sentiment is wholly accurate and beautiful.  Much to my surprise, I discovered that it was based on a poem written by Christina Rossetti.  (What a good first name, don’t you think?) Since the poem is slightly different than the lyrics sung by James Taylor in his version (the one that caught my ear) I’m sharing them both here.  My favorite line is “Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain…”.  And, in this poem, as well as in the song, I find the eternal importance of giving God my heart….
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
 
Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
 
Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.
 
Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.
 
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

© 2017 Christina Chase


Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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

YouTube Channel – For Better or for Worse

YouTube cover, wheelchair, church, light and dark

Sometimes, I think that people make YouTube videos because they like the sound of their own voices.  But, I assure you, that’s not the case with me.  I seriously DISLIKE the sound of my own voice!  My voice is preferred through writing not speaking.  However, I believe that I should try to reach as  many people as I can and I know that there are some people who would rather watch a video than read a 1000 word essay.  So…

Last month (April) I made and published a short video reading a poem about myself and I called the post about it Brave.  I really did feel brave and, yes, a little foolish.  And, yet… I went and made another one!  This one is longer, longer than I intended, and I thought about redoing it to make it shorter and better.  But, then I thought that one of the advantages of speaking versus writing is that I don’t have to be so particular with my grammar, word choices, sentence structures, etc..  Therefore, I simply published it as is. Perhaps as a sign that video production is not for me, I accidentally published  the post with the video “What’s Wrong with Her” early, last Sunday, (with an odd predate of the 18th) instead of on Thursday, my usual posting day.

So, here I am, on my regular posting day, with this little introduction to my YouTube channel.  My plan is to make and post a video every month or so, weather permitting.  🙂 They will mostly be about my disability and disease and, hopefully, under five minutes in length.  I still do feel both brave and foolish doing this, but, here I am…  On this Feast of the Ascension, reminded that Christ is always with us, I hope that I am doing God’s will…

© 2017 Christina Chase

A Word of Encouragement

Sometimes, I seriously wonder if I’m doing the right thing.  Writing my life story, blogging, trying to build a social media “platform” – is this what I’m supposed to be doing with my life?  I don’t know how much time I have left, after all…

DSCN9408

What we are called to do in life, I believe, is to live well.  But, this doesn’t mean the advertisers’ version of living well: fine dining, cruises, laughing with healthy looking friends, and so glamorously on.  To live well means to LOVE.  Therefore, my intellect and worldly accomplishments (whether big or puny) are not what matter most.  The loftiest thoughts and most eloquent words in the world don’t amount to anything truly worthwhile, certainly nothing eternal, unless they come from a heart of real love.  It’s like that famous Bible quote from St. Paul, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”[1]

I know that I do love.  Always have I been filled with a love of life.  My commitment is to, with the gifts that I have been given, love God with all of my heart, soul, strength, and mind and to love the people in my life – and perfect strangers – as God loves me, through Christ Jesus[2].  I will be, and am, tested in this love every day, and sometimes I fare worse than others.  But, I am devoted to persevering.  Though I may fall, Lord, may I rise…

Hearing the following words, also from St. Paul, gave me a nice little kick where I needed it recently – for,we all need direction in our lives, encouragement, and community.  (The Bible, I’m learning more and more, is great for that.)

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.  For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths.  But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry.”  2 Timothy: 4 (emphasis added.)

Thanks, Paul.  I needed that.  🙂

More words from the Saint next month – words that made the old pagan in me very happy.

© 2017 Christina Chase


Photo credit: “Communication” © 2017 Dan Chase, All Rights Reserved

[1] 1 Corinthians 13:1

[2] Luke 10:27

The Newlyweds

Every story has a beginning.  This is a picture of mine:

parents on their way

Just Married, © 2017 DivineIncarnate.com, All Rights Reserved

My parents, just married, about to head off for their honeymoon and the rest of their lives…

My mother, young, and stylish as always, sits herself in the car, looking up at my father, her sad eyes lit with joy and a sparkling kind of expectation.  My father, looking like a younger, milder Clark Gable, holds the door for her, taking a last gaze at friends in the distance, standing relaxed, proud, and self-assured.  The picture is almost perfect –  except for the dark clouds ahead of them.

This is a picture of my beginning: a relationship of love and hope, full of plans, heading off into what is really the unknown.  Neither of them knew that they were carriers of a debilitating disease, that their future life would consist of taking care of their youngest child as a child for over 40 years.  Inclement weather ahead.

The dark clouds are there, no doubt – but, so is the love and commitment.  The vows that they made that day before God created a marriage, and, through that marriage, I came to be.  With the help of the Holy Spirit, the promises they made to each other have carried them through many storms – carrying me with them.

Mother’s Day is around the corner and Father’s Day won’t be far behind.  Next week, my parents will be celebrating their 47th wedding anniversary.  And, so, it is with much respect, appreciation, and gratitude that I look upon this snapshot of my beginning.  For, I was created in a bond of love and joy, that no dark clouds can overcome.  Thank you, Mom and Dad!

© 2017 Christina Chase

“Who Are You?” Mentor and Memoir

window, portable

Who are you?

This is a question that my mentor, Mr. John D Meehan, asked me in one of a handful of face-to-face conversations that we had.  And when he posed it to me, different answers went through my mind.  All that I could really think of responding with, however, was, “me” – and that with a question mark at the end of it.  I chose not to give an answer out loud, just sat there thinking and waiting for him to continue.  I knew that he would.  He mentioned each of the ways that had flipped through my thoughts, the ways by which most people answered the question: professional identity, national identity, religious affiliation, familial or social association, maybe even a hobby.

But, Mr. Meehan said, none of these go to the heart of your true identity, to who you are.

He said that the truth of who we are is in relationship with Christ, then gave the example of Mary Magdalene.  She didn’t recognize Christ Resurrected, but as soon as he spoke her name, she knew him.  In this, Mr. Meehan was inviting me to find the answer of who I am.  Having been a teacher, I think that he could have spelled it out a bit more plainly to me.  If he had, maybe he would’ve said something like “you are a child of God”… but, then again, perhaps he knew that that answer would not have penetrated into my mind and heart because I had heard it too many times before.  Or, perhaps, he didn’t like that answer either, for the same connotative reasons that would have made me smirk.  I’ll never know now, because, last week, Mr. Meehan died. Continue reading

Prepare to Die

Wrote this while two people in my life are actively dying, Mr. John Meehan, a friend and mentor, and my cousin’s husband, Larry Winger.  May God grant them peace…

Well, I’m feeling better – yes!  The pneumonia and bronchitis that could have killed my crippled, crumpled little body didn’t, new medication stopped my seemingly endless menstrual flow (and another new medication is on the horizon to, hopefully, shrink the huge uterine fibroids) and the usual treatment was able to put a mild Crohn’s disease flareup at ease.  Phew.  There is always the knowledge that I could catch another chest cold at any time, but I’m trying not to live in worry anymore.

And, of course, I still can’t walk, move my arms, hold my head upright, take care of myself, or breathe without rocking my body, but, for me, that’s just everyday, like the small stuff.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Christina Chase, crippled, hand, SMA

Because of all this, I feel a little more deeply into the season of Lent, which began with the reminder “Remember you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.”  Lent, as I have written before, isn’t about doom and gloom but, rather, about preparing to live eternally – yet, this is also a what makes Lent a really good time of year to prepare to die.  Having recently experienced the fragile mortality of my body in an up close and personal way, I have been thinking about death more – and differently.  Preparing to live eternally and preparing to die are, in reality, the same thing.

Are You Prepared to Die?

Death is part of life and, so, it should be lived.  In our mainstream culture, we often think that it’s morbid, unhealthy, and just plain wrong to think about dying while we are living.  Many people don’t even want to talk about death at all.  It’s as though we think that, if we don’t think about it or talk about it, then it won’t come.

Ha.  It’s coming, like it or not. Continue reading

Blogger Recognition Award

paparazzi with glamorous woman

Caiaimages/Sam Edwards/Getty images

A famous actress is asked about her hopes of winning the Oscar for which she is a nominee.  She replies, “It’s an honor just to be nominated.”  And we smirk.

But, why be cynical?  There are tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands or millions, of actresses in the world and only about 10 of them are considered every year for the Academy Award.  This nominated actress has received, then, a rare privilege.  A group of her peers has singled out her work, recognizing her talent, skill, and heart.

And that is an honor.

In the blogosphere, we don’t have anything as grand and golden as an Oscar.  Continue reading