Ann Frailey is a widow and homeschooling mother of eight. She lives in rural Illinois.
Posted 1/13/15 at 8:21 AM | Ann Frailey
I recently read an excerpt from a famous person’s blog which stated that she had never been comfortable with her body and had resorted to plastic surgery to make herself more attractive. I don’t name the celebrity simply because the story is all to familiar. I know of countless individuals who aren’t famous and feel the need to “change” something to make themselves more attractive. Is that a problem? The cosmetic industry might not think so. Nor any industry built around our insecurities and fears.
As I enter into my fifties, I am faced with the undeniable fact that I am getting old. My hair started turning white years ago. I colored it when I was younger…my husband used to joke that he married me under false pretenses. But as I had children, I dropped anything I saw as a possible danger to the well-being of my children – including pouring strong chemicals on my head. As my hair has turned more and more white, I have been reminded by well meaning family members that I could color my hair… I smile at the thought. No, I’ve decided that I am brave enough to be white headed. After raising kids for eighteen years, home schooling for thirteen, suffering through the sickness and death of my husband, and praying continuously for the relief of my country torn by factionalism, and our world torn by hatred, I feel like I have earned every thread of grey. FULL POST
Posted 1/7/15 at 7:17 PM | Ann Frailey
What stirs the imagination often directs the soul. When you look at the fiction available to young people today – to all people really – it doesn’t take a great leap of logic to wonder if there is a correlation between what grief people read and what grief people inflict.
I often read historical biographies, and I find them fascinating because there does seem to be a strong connection between the way a person grows up and the way they use power as an adult. Not everyone grows up to be a Roman emperor or an English queen, but everyone does have some say over their own lives. A quick survey of the number of teen suicides and the deadly shooting sprees going on in schools should alert us to the fact that something is wrong in the minds and hearts of too many of our youth.
Though I do not shy away from the reality of grief and tragedy – it is all to real to ignore – I do carry hope with me where ever I go. I am not in a state of despair. When I read or even look at the covers of some of the popular books out today, despair seems to be a current theme. That is why I write about men and women who, though faced with tremendous challenges, do not despair. You can pretty much count on the fact that though not everything turns out happily for everyone in my novels – there is some breathing room for hope. There must be or why are we here? FULL POST
Posted 1/5/15 at 10:16 PM | Ann Frailey
Epiphany used to conjure up images of the three Wise-Men who came from the east to honor the infant Christ as Lord and King. Later, as men and traditions waxed and waned, it came to simply mean a highlight – a sudden and profound understanding. The divine intervention aspect was shrouded by a modern dedication to purely human experiences.
For me, there are no purely human experiences. Everything in the universe, as well as in my little world, shouts the manifestation of the divine in the intimate details of every day life. When I first awake, no matter what kind of a day it is, I look outside to check the weather and I am immediately struck by the glory of God’s handiwork. Whether it is black and stormy or sunny and mild, I marvel at how so great a Master can be so mighty yet paint in such detail the subtle colors on wisps of clouds and frail blades of grass. He amazes me each day, changeless, yet always changing.
When I get downstairs and begin teaching, I cannot help but feel so grateful for my children’s vigorous, inquisitive and lively minds. Teaching is a wonderful profession for those open to the glory of God. Each child and each new subject opens a world of wonder. Science, history, math, language, reading, even spelling (not always considered the handiwork of God – I’ll admit) draw us into a wonder of uncounted universes, lives, minds, hearts, experiences – so much greater than ourselves. FULL POST
Posted 1/1/15 at 11:41 AM | Ann Frailey
As a child growing up I had a tendency to get things mixed up. For a while, I actually thought that “The pursuit of happiness” was one of the Ten Commandments. It was a revelation to realize that I was not commanded to pursue happiness. In fact, as I got older and began to read and re-read scripture, I discovered a rather contrary expectation – that God wants us to offer ourselves to Him freely, as He offers Himself freely to us.
I can’t think of a better model for this approach to life than Mary, His mother. When she declared, “May it be done unto me, according to your word.” we often think of that as her “Fiat”. The moment of absolute surrender and acceptance to the will of God – no strings attached.
So I try, in my own little way, to follow that model and I have found it wonderfully rewarding. I am not a Buddhist seeking to renounce all hope and earthly expectations, but rather as a daughter of the Most High God, I seek to conform my will to His. And that often involves informing my will. For example, I had to read scripture to understand that it was not a blend of the US Constitution and Old Testament history. Learning what scripture, especially the New Testament, actually says has been very enlightening. Learning what my church actually teaches has helped me to separate the honest pursuit of holiness from misguided plans and hopes. FULL POST
Posted 12/24/14 at 1:40 PM | Ann Frailey
This year has been a bit of a roller coaster trying to discover how to mother my eight children while we all learn to accept my husband’s and their father’s death. It has been a time of trial and error, a time of experimentation, a time of wonderful successes and a few wobbly failures. But through it all, we have learned to care for each other more deeply and with greater sensitivity.
I have learned that I cannot do everything I want to do. In fact, I can’t go to the store, teach at home, write a creative story, and make healthy meals all at the same moment. Slowing down, prioritizing, and cutting out some activities has been the cure for what ails me. And that has been hard. I do not like to face limitations. Yet at the same time, I do not like failure. And I do fail when I let my pride rule me. When I let me zeal for to-do lists blind me to the fact that I have not read a story to my kids or taken a walk outside for days, that meals have become shabby affairs quickly thrown together or that I get short tempered during reading time. It is almost like a mental illness when I find that I am whizzing around like a rat on a wheel not sure what I am doing or where I am going. FULL POST
Posted 11/22/14 at 1:28 PM | Ann Frailey
I met Mr. Pearce at an OSMM Retreat and I enjoyed his talk on Tolkien and Catholicism so much that I decided to buy his book – Race with the Devil. Now I am more impressed with the author than ever. Race with the Devil is an outstandingly honest account of his years as a racist through his conversion years into his current “rational-love” orientated life. There are times when I wonder, much like everyone else, if people can ever really change. Mr. Pearce answers this question unequivocally. The metamorphosis from his youth to his adulthood is transformative not only for the author, but for the reader as well. As a reader, I found myself totally disgusted by his early life, his family, and the culture that he lived in. But before the end of the book, I found myself admitting the humanity of the situation, the honest truth that Mr. Pearce was reflecting in all our darker selves, and the yearnings we all have to be whole, good, and just. Over all, the book was a clarion call: “Awake!” There is more that haunts us than we like to admit and in facing that, we can become transformed toward our better selves.
Posted 11/19/14 at 7:41 AM | Ann Frailey
The book, My Battle against Hitler: Faith, Truth, and Defiance in the Shadow of the Third Reich by Dietrich Von Hildebrand, translated and edited by John Henry Crosby with John F. Crosby is one of the most interesting and inspirational works I have ever read. The book was designed with a reader like me in mind – someone who loves history but needs explanations about names and background events. I found myself caught up in the personal story as well as thoroughly mesmerized by the social implications not just for this particular epoch in history but for all of humanity throughout history ― including our world today. This is a book I would highly recommend to anyone interested in a gripping biography as well as a social commentary.
The design of the book, which included a very helpful introduction, caught my attention immediately. I was so interested in fleshing out the behind the scenes pictures that I read every note with care and I was relieved that Mr. Crosby saw fit to identify everyone Von Hildebrand mentioned and clarify what certain events referred to. I never found myself at a loss to understand what was happening. In fact, the whole thing read like a suspense novel. FULL POST
Posted 11/18/14 at 7:47 AM | Ann Frailey
A great new book out! Here’s my review:
The Grace of Yes by Lisa Hendey is an extraordinary book for one great reason – it is invaluably honest. There are many “how to” and “self-help” books dishing out advice about everything from eating well to becoming holy, but this book offers well thought out, honest reflections on very basic human experiences including love, marriage, faith, raising children, and living in a work a-day world, and how to make our lives better in a culture that has forgotten our need for our greatest good―God. The Eight Virtues for Generous Living that Mrs. Hendey outlines helps us to ponder how we live―whether we are living intentionally or just floating along from one distraction to another. I especially enjoyed the prayers offered at the end of each chapter. They were clearly sincere, yearnings from the heart, to know, to love, and to serve God better. The Grace of Yes is a book that will echo in the minds and hearts of its readers long after the last page is finished.
Posted 11/15/14 at 12:51 PM | Ann Frailey
Finally it is PUBLISHED! For those who have been following the progress of my work you'll know this has been a challenging year, but Georgios has been a work of love as well as a dedication to my husband , John, who passed away late last year. Georgios is a story about a young man's search for his father, his identity, and his courage in a Roman, Greek, and Celtic world in the year 100 A.D. I pray it brings inspiration to it's readers as John's courage and faith inspired his friends and family.
It is available on Amazon as a paperback now. The e-books will be coming soon. http://amzn.to/1ux0kqi
Georgios was written about a more specific epoch in history than The Deliverance Trilogy. My books deal more with the psychology of the time and the spiritual journey of the characters – which is rather timeless. FULL POST
Posted 11/14/14 at 8:02 AM | Ann Frailey
As a writer I get a lot of inspiration from the act of writing itself, whether it be writing a novel, or writing a blog or a Facebook post. But I have realized lately that I am feeling rather like Bilbo when he described himself as butter scrapped over too much toast…kinda thinned out, if you know what I mean.
Since my husband passed away last last year, and I have eight children ranging in ages from 18- to 6 and I home school the younger seven, I usually have full days no matter what, but lately “full” has come to mean never quite catching up. Right now, I need to focus on some new priorities. My two eldest sons are ready for college considerations though my wallet shrinks at the thought. We need to spend some quality time researching college choices and scholarships and all that fun stuff which makes higher education so interesting. I have known of challenging situations where families have found themselves spending a lot of money on university educations only to discover that their aspiring scholar is in the wrong program or they end up in debt for years to come… or worse…both. FULL POST