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Interested in a virtual retreat?

Vespers by Franz Skarbina (Wikimedia Commons). How about a spiritual retreat in your home?

I’m back to blogging after a short family vacation, then a project for another author. Here’s an idea I thought of some time ago, that I’d like to explore more fully: holding a virtual retreat.

Since I still have young children, I can’t travel much yet to give retreats to parish groups and associations. But I’d love to “meet” some of you in a more personal way than just through my blog. And I’d love to share the Church’s spiritual wisdom with you in a deeper way.

Before we can nail down any details, I need to hear from as many of you as possible. Could you please comment on any of the following?

  1. Would you be interested in attending?
  2. How much would you be willing to pay? (Don’t worry, I won’t hold you to your figure. I’m just seeing if it’s economically feasible.)
  3. What theme would interest you most? Here are some ideas: Introduction to Mental Prayer, Contemplation, Contemplative Living, Learning to Trust God, Holiness in the Carmelite Tradition. Once we have a theme, I’ll try to come up with an exciting and appealing title.
  4. I’m thinking 3 or 4 talks on a Saturday, with a chat room available for fellowship and scheduled time for reflection, mental prayer, Adoration, and Confession (at your own parish). Thoughts? Other ideas?
  5. Have you ever run or participated in a virtual retreat before? Can you give me some idea what works and what doesn’t?
  6. Do you have any suggestions for software we could use?
  7. If you can’t attend the live retreat for some reason, would you be interested in accessing the taped conferences for a fee?
  8.  Anything else you can think of?

I love giving talks and retreats, and I know that good retreats are hard to come by. So I’m really hoping we can work something out here. The amount of interest you show by responding to my questions will help determine whether we proceed.

Thanks for your input!

Connie Rossini

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New paperback, new video, upcoming retreat

Just a quick note this week to tell you about a few finished projects. First, enjoy the video my husband Dan and I made about Trusting God with St. Therese. Besides me, you’ll meet my parents and brother, get a glimpse of my kids, and see photos of my beloved sister Terri who died in 1974. I have updated my blog design specifically to highlight this video. You’ll see the video permanently at the top of my homepage. Please share this powerful message of trust with anyone you know who is struggling with fear, doubt, anxiety, or frustration.

Phlegmatic-Book-3D-Flat-SmallAlso, the paperback of A Spiritual Growth Plan for Your Phlegmatic Child is now available on Amazon. (This is an affiliate link.) If you prefer to buy from other bookstores, it should start showing up more widely online in the next couple of weeks. You can also order a copy from your local Barnes and Noble or other bookstore.

Finally, if you are a mother anywhere near Winona, Minnesota, please join me for a retreat sponsored by the Winona Diocese. A Little Way Getaway will be held April 8-10 at the Alverna Center. I’d love to meet you in person. I’ll be speaking all day Saturday on Entering Into God’s Rest. You can register here.

Please pray for all those participating in the National March for Life or state marches this week. Someday when my youngest is in middle school, I hope to participate again myself. If only it did not always fall on one of the coldest days of the year! We’ve been below zero for most of the last two weeks. If you are braving the cold, may God reward you! My family will be praying for you and for God’s precious unborn.

Connie Rossini

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Sharing YOUR Faith Story


Today I am happy to help my good friend Nancy Ward kick off promotion of her new DVD, Sharing YOUR faith story. She is a seasoned writer who has a heart for sharing the joy of the Gospel with all those around her.

Nancy is a convert to the Catholic faith who cannot contain her joy at all God has done and continues to do for us. She blogs at JOY Alive in our hearts. She contributes to the Catholic Writers Guild blog, Catholic Mom, and She has spent twenty-five years writing for print and internet sources. She is also a freelance editor.

In everything Nancy writes, she shares a part of herself. Her work embodies the spirit of 1 Peter 3:15, “Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” Now Nancy has given us a tool to help us do the same.

She writes:

What is the most effective way to evangelize? Personal witness. God expresses his love through our story. He created each of us as an unrepeatable expression of his presence. We all have a unique story that no one else can tell.

I have written before about the power of stories. I know that readers love the fact that I share my story in Trusting God with St. Therese. But Nancy and I are not the only ones with a compelling story of how God has worked in our lives. You too have a story the world needs to hear!

Nancy’s DVD series gives you everything you need to confidently–at the same time as humbly–share your faith with others. The three-part seminar includes:

  1. Sharing Your Conversion Story -three basic steps
  2. Sharing Your Renewal Story – or healing, miracle or answered prayer
  3. Ten Tips for Sharing Your Faith Story – in person, in writing, on the Internet

Are you ready to share your faith story with others? Then enter the contest for a free DVD, or go straight to Nancy’s site and order one. The world is waiting to hear your story.

JOYAlive Contest – Win a DVD and gift card!

Enter to win a Sharing YOUR Faith Story DVD and a $25 Amazon gift card.

This easiest way to enter is to comment on this post. But if you’d prefer more options, Nancy is offering plenty. Please visit her contest page at for more details.

Connie Rossini


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Update on writing and video projects

Photo by Berthold Werner, Wikimedia Commons.

You may be wondering whatever happened to the videos I was hoping to produce this year. Here’s a quick update on that project, as well as a status report on my book.

My husband Dan also has a video project in mind. He wants to create professional quality videos from the start. That means acquiring a dedicated computer for video production and storage. Dan worked with computers before going off to study philosophy in graduate school (guess which one pays better?). He decided to build a computer for himself to get exactly what he wanted. That part of the project is now finished.

The next step is building a new computer for me, since mine is getting outdated. A weekend should suffice for that. Then we’ll need to rearrange our office and set up our studio. After that, I hope to work on my first project, a video version of Five Lessons from the Carmelite Saints That Will Change Your Life.

I don’t want to post a timeline on this, since it depends on Dan’s work schedule and other home projects. But some time this year I should have at least the one video to share. I hope to have more.

Status of my book on St. Therese

Trusting God with St. Therese is in the hands of four fellow writers from Catholic Spirituality Blogs Network. These “beta readers” are reviewing the manuscript and offering their opinions. I’ve asked them to get back to me by mid-April.

After I read their critiques and implement the changes I agree with, Dan will take over as my editor. He has spent more years being a professional editor than he has being a father. After a final round of proofreading, I’ll release a limited number of review copies to popular Catholic bloggers and some of my email subscribers.

My pre-release on Amazon is set for July 16. Before then, I hope to offer all subscribers a free chapter to read. I am also planning a giveaway open to everyone. There will be a whirlwind of other fun activities throughout the summer to celebrate my book launch and publicize the book. I hope you’ll join me for as many as you can.

Please keep praying for the success of these projects. I can’t reach my goals without God’s grace. If you have prayer requests in exchange, you can add them to the comments below or email me privately at crossini4774 at comcast dot net. I pray for the needs of my readers and social media contacts daily.

Connie Rossini


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Coming to my blog in 2014…

File:Adolf Schmidt Der Brief an den Liebsten 1869.jpg
Letter to the Loved One by Schmidt (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons).


On Tuesday I wrote about a spiritual focus for my life in 2014. Today, I want to tell you my plans for my blog this year. What can you expect from me in the coming months?

As I tell new bloggers who want to join Catholic Spirituality Blogs Network, the focus of blogs change over time. It has happened to me too. When I started Contemplative Homeschool, I planned to share my educational philosophy with the world.  I planned to focus on Homeschool.

But first my readers needed some background about prayer. So I wrote a post on contemplation. Then another. Soon, half of my posts were on the spiritual life. As I said in my recent radio interview, my posts are now 80% spirituality and 20% homeschooling. I focus on the Contemplative.

More Contemplative, less Homeschool

I want to take that a bit farther this year. I will still write about educating your children, but I will focus on teaching them how to pray and practice virtue. I’m not planning any more posts about different homeschool philosophies, lesson plans, or activities, EXCEPT those that relate to the spiritual life or current events that relate to the faith.

I want to teach you, the adults, how to pray and draw closer to God. And I want to teach you to teach your children to do the same.

Likewise, any books I review will be about prayer, virtue, the saints, or the Bible.

I am sharpening my blog’s focus. That focus is to help you and your whole family become contemplatives.

Here are some more details.

The Five Lessons are coming to video!

Readers love Five Lessons from the Carmelite Saints That Will Change Your Life  But many have told me it was too short. They want more in-depth coverage of the Five Lessons. Now, as you know, I wrote this book for you, my blog readers. I didn’t intend it as a spiritual tome. I meant it to be short, but deep. I believe I succeeded.

But I do want to dig deeper into these Five Lessons. I hope to write a full-length book about each of them. But that takes lots of time. Only with God’s help can I finish a book a year while homeschooling my kids.

Enter video.

Dan and I are setting up a professional video studio in our home. My first project is to make a short video of the Five Lessons  for those who don’t like to read. But that’s just the beginning.

I plan on shooting a series of 10, 40-minute seminars about the Five Lessons. I can cover a lot about each lesson in forty minutes. But I’m going to do two videos of most of the lessons to dig even deeper. (Lesson One will probably be only one seminar. Lesson Three, the center of the spiritual life, we take three seminars.)

I’m really excited about this project. Look for the first video in the next month or two.

Trusting God with St. Therese

My book on trust and St. Therese is two-thirds complete. My goal is to have it ready for pre-sale by July 16, the Feat of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. That’s the anniversary of the day I uploaded the Five Lessons to

Subscribers to my blog will get to read a free chapter later this spring. They will get first “dibs” on review copies. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please do so now.

Please continue to pray for the success of this project.

Other ideas I can hardly wait to share with you

  • Sing the mysteries of the Rosary with your children (including a song I just wrote about The Finding in the Temple)
  • How dads can help their children be holy
  • My favorite books about St. Therese–reviewed in depth
  • The Lord delights in you
  • 5 reasons more Christians don’t become saints

And many more posts about how to work on detachment, trust, and prayer.

How you can help

You can help support my writing and video projects in several ways.

First, will you commit to praying for me and my family? I don’t want to try to teach you something I don’t practice myself. But doing God’s will is hard work. We weren’t meant to live the Christian life in isolation. Will you be my prayer partner?

Second, tell your friends and family about my blog. If you liked A Manual for Mental Prayer, share it with those close to you. Better yet, share the link where they can subscribe and get their own copy.

Third, please interact with me and your fellow readers in the Comments Box. My top five commentors for 2013, in order were: Melanie Jean Juneau, Ruth Ann Pilney, Michelle Marvian, Nancy Shuman, and Manny. Thank you for caring enough to answer questions and offer insights here!

I’ve decided that the top five commentors for this year (2014) will receive an exclusive gift from me next New Year. I don’t know what it’s going to be yet. But please, if you have been sitting back and not commenting, I would love to hear from you. I know your fellow readers would too. Of course I don’t have to tell you not to comment with a bunch of smiley faces or one-word answers just to get in the top five!

Happy 2014!

Connie Rossini

Share with us: What are your favorite past posts at Contemplative Homeschool? What would you like to see more of this year?