Monday, June 02, 2014

Bob Blog Takes Me to the Shrine

If you want to make God laugh, tell Him you’re closing your blog. Because He will fly to Australia, disturb your favorite Australian blogger, and the great Sue Elvis will send you the prestigious “Catholic Writer Award.” Then, Bob Blog (the king of the blogosphere) will show up at your front door, make you second guess yourself, ask a bunch of nosy questions and take away your padlock.

            Let’s rewind. So there I was typing at 5:30 in the morning, pressured by lots of June deadlines, female hormones wondering if I should give up blogging to concentrate on novel-writing or article-writing when my doorbell rings.  It’s Bob!  Mister Bob Blogosphere.

            “It’s the Feast of the Visitation today,” Bob says. “I’m going to take you to Mass while everyone is asleep.”

            As we drive over to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, I feel excited about the rare experience of going to a Mass without little ones.  Surely, Bob isn’t going to interrupt my contemplation for a potty break.

The Shrine from last year's picture.
            When we settle into a pew, Bob whispers. “I want you to listen to his homily because its tailor made for your questions.”

            “Bob, I already have my answer. I’m closing the blog indefinitely.”

            “Not that question.  The other question: when you asked yourself why you bother blogging about Jesus and Mary when you could easily write about a bunch of other things like “color-coordinated closet organization,” “how to teach your three year olds to read,” and “what happens when you kill your mother-in-law's plants.” 

            “How did you know I asked those questions?”

            “My wife Birdie Blogosphere told me.  Now pay attention.”

Courtesy Stained Glass Inc
            “Brothers and sisters,” Father begins,  “we live in a world where technology makes it possible for us to communicate with a button.  Emails, facetime, skype, facebook, and twitter are at the touch of a finger.  The internet can get a sentence or two across and garner us hundreds of thousands of followers.  But today, the Church celebrates the mother of Jesus who travelled for miles to visit her cousin.   Mary shows us that we must never forget the intimacy of a visit to a loved one and she also shows us what it takes to be a great communicator.   Mary was not an orator exalted in the world like Pres. Obama or Hitler.  But she was the most excellent communicator because it was her charity toward her cousin and her love for God that made the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leap for joy.  Let us ask God for the grace to know how to communicate the gospel effectively, to follow in the Blessed Mother’s footsteps.”

            After Mass is over, Bob drives me back home.  “I want you to  listen closely to the homily tomorrow, too,” he says.  “There’s more to the story.”
Courtesy Stained Glass Inc

            At the Mass of the Ascension, our pastor remarks about the first reading where St. Luke, a physician, was unexpectedly asked to write about Our Lord.  “We’re not all writers or communicators,” he says, “but like St. Luke we are tasked with evangelization. We have been given the Spirit to preach our faith though many of us may hem and hew about witnessing. Today, ask God to show you what is it that is blocking you from sharing God’s word effectively.”

             When the house is quiet and the kids are in bed, Bob knocks on the door again.  “Have you given your blog anymore thought?”

            “Yes, actually,” I say.  “The problem about writing on the internet is the tendency to gauge the efficiency of your message through stats, shares, followers, likes and comments.  Most people will think this is an advantage but not to me, it isn’t.  I’m human so I judge the success of my words by human standards.  One day my posts get featured on Spirit Daily, next post, I lose followers. But God tells me very specifically “God looks into the heart, not the appearances.”  He tells me to write with charity always.  He tells me to write with a fiat like Mary and that the words “My soul magnifies the Lord” should be the only goal and reason for my writing.  If I am only worried about quantifiable results and instantaneous conversions, that’s a sure sign I’m writing for the wrong reasons. I don’t have to write about God all the time, but I have to write for God all the time.”

            “Very good,” Bob says. “Sometimes God keeps a lot of things hidden for a purpose, and sometimes the fruits of your labor won’t be manifest until much later in the future.  But your reward will come someday, and then you will thank God that He didn’t show you everything. It keeps you from pride, and enhances the merits you gain.”

            “Thanks for dropping by, Bob. But its getting late.”  I yawn and close the door.  He puts his hand out to stop me.

            “I didn’t come just to chit-chat,” he says.  “I’m here to give you the Catholic Writer's Award from Sue Elvis. It’s 3:00 PM in Australia, she didn’t realize it would be midnight in Alabama. ”

            “SUE ELVIS? The Sue Elvis? With the gorgeous red hair, funny blog, and amazing writer whose interview with you made me laugh?”

            “Yes.  But there is a catch to the award.  If you truly are a Catholic writer, then you must give the keys of your keyboards to God.  You write when He inspires and whatever He inspires.  You can take breaks, He doesn’t want exhausted bloggers either.  But you have to remember the wonderful friends you’ve made online who have helped you in your walk of faith. Visit with them, encourage them, learn from them.  They are like the Marys and Elizabeths of your online life.”

            “Thanks for everything, Bob.  Frankly, I think this is all a weird dream and I’m probably going to wake up soon.   But before you go or I wake up, can you please pass on this award to Terry, Marcia, Connie, Karen, Mary, Gina, Heidi, and Jenny?”

            Bob’s on his way, ladies.  Have your coffees ready.

            P.S. Melanie who made up the award didn’t make any rules of how to give and receive it. So you can pass it on without much ado to encourage a Catholic writer of a blog you love.  Or however you want to.


Connie Rossini said...

Thanks for the award! Tim Grahl, a well-known secular blogger, once responded to my comment about losing subscribers by saying he loses subscribers with every post! So, I figure every time I don't lose subscribers, I'm one ahead of him. I am learning that my true audience will always stick with me, as long as they need to read what I am writing. If they move on, maybe it's because I've already helped them. Blessings and encouragement.

Heidi said...

Annabelle this was a delightful post! And so full of truth! May God continue to use you to bless us through your blogging. And many thanks for awarding our Journey to Wisdom group the Catholic Writers Award. The encouragement from Bob Blog came just at the right time...but that is how the Spirit moves us is it not? In His time which is always the exact right time! Now, who to pass this blessing along to......

Thanks again, and many blessings to you! Heidi

8 kids and a business said...

Thanks, Annabelle. I've been thinking about you lately because I'm planning on sending you something else that will just annihilate that impulse to shut down your blog (no it's not an award; it's something that Connie sent me and I have to pass it on. Give me a few days (or a week. It's really busy around here. I'll pass on the award to Fr. Testa as well but he'll just laugh. :)

Nancy Shuman said...

I was just checking in on computer for a few minutes when the title of this post caught my eye. Bob Blog? Bob Blog?!? Was I seeing right?! I had to stop and read. What I found made me laugh out loud, and identify (I was tired... which was why no computer this evening, or so I thought), and I was thrilled to see that THE Bob Blogosphere himself had traveled all the way over to YOUR blog from Sue's! THE Bob Blogosphere!

Congratulations to a well deserving blogger! I love this post, and especially what you said about writing for God even if you're not writing about God (sorry I can't remember the exact words, and know I'll lose this comments page if I go back to find them. But. Uh. You should know them ;)). Wisdom!

Sue Elvis said...


I've also considered giving up blogging to concentrate on other forms of writing such as novels. I'm so glad Bob arrived to give you some helpful advice to prevent you disappearing. We wouldn't want to lose you! How did Bob gain such wisdom? And a wife? Yes, you must have been dreaming!

Anabelle, it is always so lovely sharing writing, laughs and awards with you. God bless! xx

Anabelle Hazard said...

Thanks for that info Connie. That's helpful.

Heidi, you all deserve it.

Terry, I wish I had Fr. Testa's detachment.

Nancy, I would have sent Bob there but I know Sue got the award from you and you can't hoard all the awards. You got the best one on hair.

Sue, Bob had a near death experience and changed. You should write novels --your characterization is exquisite.

Gina Guarnere said...


Very timely, Bob. Well-played, Anabelle.


I, too, have been going back and forth about hanging up my blogger hat. This was a welcome reminder that there are others out there who need to feel supported and appreciated for their efforts, and I, for one, extend that appreciation to you.

Even though I don't comment on all your entries, rest assured I definitely read them. I'll make more of an effort to leave comments on yours and other blogs that speak to me.

<3 you! And thanks again. <3

Toni Davis said...

I have just recently come across your blog and have been very blessed with your wonderful writing and the opportunity to learn from you. I come back all the time to either re-read something or just to see if you have another post. Thank you!!

Sue Elvis said...

Hi Anabelle,

I wrote a Bob Blogosphere story for you, using your post as inspiration. I hope you like it. It's called The Finger of God Points at Bob Blogosphere. Thanks for your emails!

Anabelle Hazard said...

Gina, I'm glad Bob stopped you from making a terrible mistake.

Sue, loved it. When's the next installment?

Toni, thank you for saying that. You just made my day.