Back to the beginning

#TBT to when this all started:

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A board up in my room, with notecards like that one taped all over it. (That’s the only one I still have – wish I had kept the rest!) A flame sparked by the idea that we Catholics don’t know enough about why we believe what we believe. That realization I came to after spending months talking to a non-Catholic friend and having to keep a stack of books by my computer to answer her every question.  Basic questions. Things that I now talk about and give the answers to in my book!

Last year at this point I was happier than I’d ever been on Christmas morning – because the email containing this was sitting in my inbox:

“We are only young once. It’s a time of exploration and excitement, of growth and challenges. Catherine Stewart has done an excellent job helping her fellow young people make the most of this wonderful time of life. Her book, How to Become a Heroic Catholic, will help many grow closer to God, to take on the challenges that face them, to explore their faith, and to experience just how exciting God’s plan for their lives can be. Bravo, Catherine!”
–Jimmy Akin, young-at-heart author of The Fathers Know Best
I don’t think I can correctly describe the joy this brought me, and continues to bring me.  Getting affirmation for my work from one of my favorite authors – that’s something incredible!
This journey has been amazing. Ups and downs? Oh yeah.  Like discovering the second part to this call from God. Not just writing. But facing one of my biggest fears: Public Speaking.
If you’ve heard one of my talks, then you know that one of the first things you hear me say is “I’m terrified of public speaking” or more recently, “I’m slowly getting over my fear of public speaking”. It’s not something that is easy or natural for me to do, in fact its quite the opposite. I couldn’t do it without the courage and strength that comes from God.
If you asked me last year at this point if I thought I could give a 30min talk to over a hundred 8th graders, directly followed by a 30min talk to over a hundred 7th graders, followed still by a 30min talk to over a hundred 6th graders – I’d’ve told you that you’re crazy.
Just like if you had asked me at this point last year how I thought my book would sell, or if I thought that it would reach more than 1500 people, I’d say I had no idea. You see – success for me was having *one* person read my book.  God’s plans are huge and incredible! I’ve been learning how to trust in Him and know that He will give me all I need to do what He has planned. I encourage you to do the same.
This past week I had the opportunity to do that crazy thing I mentioned above – the 3 talks in a row – at a local Catholic school. Oh my gosh, it was amazing! I spent as much time doing Q&A with the students as I did giving my talk! And they loved it as much as I did. They asked tons of good questions, and when I asked them who they thought of as “Heroic Catholics” the answers I got were neat, from St. Joan of Arc, to St John the Evangelist, to their own priest, to a grandma, etc. So cool!
And they got to see how much work it takes to write a book. I brought every single draft I went through of Heroic Catholic and showed them. It was impressive apparently.
I can’t wait to go back there for the school Book Fair and have time to talk 1 on 1 with the students, get books in their hands, and just hang out!  Lots of them are young writers and I want to encourage them. It’ll be epic 😀
OH! And the Pope is here. In the US! I’m thrilled for all my friends and everyone who gets to go see him! Just be careful what you read about what he says in the media – they like to get it wrong.  Be choosy about your sources online, for anything. 😉 Especially Catholic things.
It’d be so cool to get Pope Francis a copy of my book. I’d love to have that happen somehow.
~
Catherine
P.S. Be on the lookout for special events and offers coming up soon to celebrate 1 year! Heroic Catholic’s Birthday is October 17th!
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