Handmade veil giveaway in honor of the Elizabeth Ministry Rosebud Program

Thinking of veiling for Lent? A generous reader has offered to donate a completely gorgeous hand-made veil for free, just because she likes doing it.

Here is a photo of one veil that you could win (blocked out on foam so you can see the amazing detail):

Isn’t that lovely? So delicate and graceful. Here’s a view of the full veil:

OR, she says she is willing to make one to your specs, in a custom color, size, and even design!

If you win and you’d like a custom-made veil, I’ll put you in touch with the donor, and you can work out details. She says it will take less than a week to get one ready to ship, as long as the color thread you choose is readily available where she lives.

Usually, when I offer a donated prize, the sponsor has a business to highlight. In this case, the donor would like to remain anonymous, and would like to draw your attention to the Rosebud Program of Elizabeth Ministry.

Elizabeth Ministry International offers a wide variety of programs and support, including through parishes and online, “designed to offer hope and healing on issues related to childbearing, sexuality, and relationships.”

The Rosebud Program “helps a church identify, pray for, and support those who are pregnant, celebrating birth or adoption, grieving miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion, infant or child death, or wanting to become pregnant or adopt.”

The donor would like to encourage those whose parishes don’t yet have a chapter to consider starting one, especially if there are members who can provide support for families experiencing miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant or child loss. A worthy cause, indeed. No one should suffer through these things alone. Sometimes people want to help, but don’t know how; and sometimes people need help, but don’t know how to ask.


To enter to win the veil, please use the Rafflecopter form, which you will find at the bottom of this post. Or maybe you’ll find a dumb-looking link that says “a Rafflecopter giveaway,” and you’ll just want to click on that.

There are several ways to enter the contest, but you must use the Rafflecopter form to be entered. 

Note to subscribers: One of the options is “subscribe to this blog.” Unfortunately, when I changed hosts, I lost all my email subscribers! I’m so sorry. If you subscribed anytime before last week, you will need to re-subscribe (and you’ll also get an entry into the contest, if you choose that option in the Rafflecopter form!). If you want to re-subscribe without being entered into the contest, simply re-subscribe via the blog and don’t use the Rafflecopter form.

Good luck! And thanks again to our generous and talented donor. The contest ends Saturday the 25th at midnight, and I’ll announce the winner as soon as possible after that.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway! The perfect gift for your graduate

Time for a little giveaway! My dear husband cleaned off the top of the refrigerator, and found five magnets like this:


go forth magnet


These sell pretty well around graduation time, so I thought I’d share my stock. To enter, use the Rafflecopter entry form below. The contest will be open until midnight on Saturday, or possibly Sunday. Well, just enter ASAP, I guess. Good luck! And call your mother!


Book giveaway! A Little Book About Confession for Children

As promised: I’m giving away one copy of Kendra Tierney’s A Little Book About Confession for Children from Ignatius and Magnificat.

This lovely, thorough, practical guide to confession is pretty much everything you could ask for in a book about confession for kids. It’s simple but not fluffy in the slightest, and would also make a fine guide for teenagers or adults who never understood the sacrament well. The pictures are nothing special, but the book is very clear and well designed. (Also, this may be silly, but I really appreciate the fold-over flap built in to the front and back covers, so you can mark your page. I swear, I spend half of my read-aloud time trying to remember where we left off.)

We are definitely using this book as our first confession prep, along with the Baltimore Catechism.

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment on this post confessing one sin. Ha, just kidding. Any comment is fine. I’ll leave the contest open until next Wednesday, February 26th at noon eastern, and will try to announce the winner that day.  Good luck!

Neat radio spot + book giveaway

Two quick things!

One, I just got through doing a live hour with the guys at Archangel Radio.

Honestly, I was a little nervous about doing an entire hour about my book, but it was actually wonderful to relax and have some space to really talk about things — about, for instance, how lucky I am to have a big family, but how foolish it is to think you know the state of someone’s soul based on their family size.  These guys are a hoot,

and they asked really good questions.

If you missed it, they post the live hour segments on YouTube; my segment should be up at the end of the day.


Two, the intrepid Jennifer Fitz of Riparians at the Gate is giving away a copy of my book, which you obviously already own, but, as Jennifer says, “You’re allowed to enter and win for a friend instead.  See?  Thanksgiving present.  Perfect.”

Okay, maybe, “intrepid” is not the right descriptor.  Here is #4 of her “Seven Quick Takes” book giveaway post:

4.  Here’s the scoop on the book, and why you need to reform your ways if you didn’t answer #2, 3, 3.5, or 3.75 correctly:

(A) You know how you hate NFP?  You use it and all, or you would, but it’s maybe not the rapturous experience that you always dreamt of, when you first read the words “cervical mucus”?  This book is about that.  NFP Frustration.

(B) The book doesn’t talk about cervical mucus.  It doesn’t have 10 Ways to Get a Better Temp Rise, Faster! Now! A Full 4/10ths of a Degree or Your Money Back!!

Most books are better if they don’t include that.  –> Except if you’re trying to learn NFP.  In which case the amusing way in which this contest is being run will help you with that.

(C) Every stupid thing about NFP ever. said. by some idiot who clearly has a Josephite marriage and prefers it that way (did Joseph?  I’m skeptical.), REFUTED!  Blammo!  In YOUR PLACE crazy people.  Done.

(D) Except charitably.

(E) Downright Theology of the Body, if you must know.  Only, it’s not, “I drank the TOTB water, and now I drool unicorns and rainbows.”  It’s more like: “Hey!  TOTB Water!  You can brew beer with that!”

(F) It’s a short book.

(G) There were points where I did not laugh out loud.  I laughed so hard sound would not come out of my body.  I would have rolled on the floor laughing, except that I was laughing too hard to fall out of my chair.  I’m sure it was weird looking.  There are certain chapters you might not want to read in public.

(H) We aren’t doing the whole alphabet.

(I) But I thought up another thing: This book is the perfect marriage book.  So if you know somebody who’s married, or who is thinking of getting married, this would be a great gift.  I’ve been married 47.5% of my life.  I know what it takes.  Simcha’s nailed it.  On the head.

(J) It’s pronounced “Sim-ka”.  Like the “ch” sound in “School”.  Because Simka’s so chool.

(K) Yeah, I was saying it wrong too.

(L) I didn’t ask how to pronounce “Fisher”.  We’re all just winging it on that one.

I die.

So there are — I was going to say three ways to enter, but there are actually three ways to enter just on her personal blog alone.  You can also enter at Amazing Catechists, and she  also talks a little bit on Patheos about how she read my book despite having just finished a 3.5 month-long exhaustive course on Catholic sex ed.

Thanks, Jennifer, for these great posts!  Oh, and “Fisher” is pronounced “Potrzebie.”  Hope that helps.

SGNFP winners!

Thanks, everybody, for sending me the screenshots of your Amazon reviews!  It was a pleasure to see.  I now have  whopping 85 reviews for my book, 81 of which gave it five stars.  And this is just the e-book!  Wait until the print one comes out!  I can’t give away too much, but I have just three words for you:  “Scratch,” “and,” and “sniff.”

And now for the prizes.

THIRD PRIZE goes to David Singleton.  David gets a set of steak knives.  David may or may not actually want a set of steak knives, which I spent something like $2 on, and now I feel kind of bad about it.  It was late, and I was thinking about this:

SECOND PRIZE goes to Rachel LaPointe.  This is actually a good prize:  a set of five luxurious handmade soaps from Roots Soap Co. in Portland.  Rachel, I will put you in touch with the owner, Anna Cools, so you can choose whichever ones you like.

and FIRST PRIZE goes to Rebecca Salazar.  This is a set of two SGNFP pint glasses, a gift box of ridiculously scrumptious handmade bon bons from a local chocolatier, and maybe something to put in the glasses, like I don’t know what, like Tang or something!  Or something!

Thanks again, everyone.  I have sent emails to all the winners, so you can send me your mailing addresses.

P.S.  It’s our wedding anniversary today!  Happy day, D.  I love you.

SGNFP has the best prizes.

As I announced last week, I’m holding a contest as a little thank-you to folks who have bought my e-book, The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning, which is still holding steady as the #1 bestseller on Amazon in Catholicism for Kindle books and books in general, and which has over fifty five-star reviews, from men, women, single people, people who have passed childbearing age, NFP instructors, a monsignor, two of my sisters, and the pope*, so you know it has to be good.



Here’s how you enter:

 1. Buy and read  the book. Come on, it’s only $4.99, and it’s short.
2.  Leave an honest review on Amazon, and email a screenshot of your review to simchafisher [at] gmail [dot] com.  Please put “MY AMAZON REVIEW” in the subject line.  (Note:  you can leave an Amazon review even if you bought the book through Barnes and Noble or Smashwords)
3.  That’s it.  You’re entered.   People who’ve already written reviews, are of course, welcome to enter. 

Easy peasy, right?  And now for the prizes.  THE!  PRIZES!!!!


These babies:

Yep, be the first on your block to own a matched set of SGNFP pint glasses.  I was going to include a couple of nips to christen the glasses with, but it turns out it’s illegal to ship alcohol unless you are a distributor or something.  So I will just have to pack up the glasses very carefully and hope to heck that nothing alcoholic happens to fall into the box.

I will, however, intentionally include one of these splendid little wooden boxes filled an assortment of ten exquisite handmade bonbons from Burdick Chocolate of Walpole, NH:

Folks, if you can’t make a nice evening out of that, even my book won’t be able to help you, and it’s a damn good book.



Your choice of five luxurious handmade soaps from Roots Soap Co.

I have been using these soaps since I met their maker, Anna Cools, last month, and they are lovely — very light and smooth, fragrant but not overpowering, and luminously beautiful to boot.  Anna says:

My base recipe consists simply of rainwater, lye, coconut oil, tallow, and olive oil. Once the oils and lye have saponified, I add a combination of pure essential oils, natural clays and organic botanicals, fine oils for extra moisturizing, and organic local herbs, flowers, spices and roots that are healing or beneficial to the skin. All of my ingredients are chosen with beauty, quality and benefit in mind for each body that will enjoy them. Each batch of soap that I weigh, stir, pour, cut and form with my hands is created with pride, love, many years experience and a rich history. I hope that each person who uses my products are touched by what is behind them.

My book doesn’t specifically cover the use of soap, and yet I can’t help but feel that the combination of “clean, yet exhilarating” is somehow apropos.



Third prize is a set of steak knives.

ABC.  Always Be Charting!  You chart or you hit the bricks.

Either way, enter in the contest!  I will close the contest at noon (Eastern time) on Friday, October 25th, and will try to announce the winners by 5 PM.

Good luck!

Seven Quick Takes: NOT all about my book.

Just mostly.

1.  The audiobook.  I thought it would be ready for pre-order from Audible.com by now, but it’s not.  I will let you know as soon as it is!  This is a very chatty book, so audiobook will be a great format.  Plus, you’ll never guess whose voice they’re using:


Okay, fine, I don’t know whose voice they’re using.

2.  The contest.  The rules are:

1. Read my book. Come on, it’s $4.99, and it’s short.
2.  Leave an honest review on Amazon, and email a screenshot of your review to simchafisher [at] gmail [dot] com.  Please put “MY AMAZON REVIEW” in the subject line.
3.  That’s it.  You’re entered.   People who’ve already written reviews, are of course, welcome to enter.

I will work like an insane-o to have a picture of the prize ready by Monday, and the contest will run until that Friday, the 25th.  (Hey, that’s our wedding anniversary!)  Thanks to everyone who’s already entered!  I love hearing from you guys.

3. To readers who don’t own a Kindle or Nook:  I don’t have one, either —  I just downloaded a free reading program onto my laptop.  Here is a list of free apps you can download, so you can read Kindle editions on your computer, tablet, phone, chip implanted in your parietal lobe, etc.  We got you covered.

4.  The print edition. I have been talking to publishers all week.  YES, there will be a print version.  I will make an announcement as soon as I can!  It is lovely to be courted,


but a little nerve wracking for a first-timer like me.  But I am very grateful to have choices!

5. The first radio interview.  I just had a nice interview with Brian Patrick on theSon Rise Morning Show.  It got cut off unexpectedly — I don’t know if my phone crapped out, or what — but I did get a lot of talking in first.  You can download a podcast of the show here.

6.  Something something something that is not about my book already.  Oh, wait, here:  Head lice!  


We don’t have ‘em!  But lots of people do at this time of year.  This is the system that worked for us.  No neurotoxins, no seven-hour nit picking sessions.  If it works for my kids’ insanely thick hair, it will work for you.

7.  While I’m being helpful, here’s something else:  My knuckleheaded son broke his glasses for the third time this year.  The school year.  Which started last month. Apparently it’s not his fault because, while it’s true he was deliberately provoking his younger brother into punching him in the face, he never expected etc. etc. etc.  Anyway, my husband recently got glasses from Zenni Optical, and they are great.  And cheap (seriously, I think it was $30 for lenses, frames, case, and shipping)! And got here fast!  You just need a prescription, and away you go.  Now I just need a website that will quickly and cheaply dispatch ninjas to beat some sense into your knuckleheaded sons.  I’m pretty sure I could get a doctor’s note for that.

Okay, don’t forget to check out Conversion Diary for all the other quick takes!  Have a wonderful weekend, everybody.


First, I just want to thank you guys.  My book has been selling really well, and I know it’s because of so much enthusiastic word of mouth buzz, and all the folks who were kind enough to take the time to leave a review on Amazon.  You are so generous, and I am amazed.  The outpouring of goodwill has just been overwhelming.  Thank you.

Second, with all the hoop de doo,

Hoop de doo, your holiness!

I forgot to name a winner for the Small Steps for Catholic Moms contest!  So . . . .



Ha ha, no kidding, that’s what it says.  It’s okay, I have your email address, and I will contact you to get your mailing address.  It’s a great book, and I know you will enjoy it.  I even bought a bubble wrap mailer.

Third, I also forgot to name a winner for the last contest I held, where I was pre-giving-away a copy of my book.  So . . .

Emily, Monique, and Bridget, your ebooks are going out right away.  See? I said it would be November, and here it is October!  Early!  I win!

Fourth, I am going to do yet another contest for anyone who’s read my book, and I will totally not forget to give the prize this time, I swear. And the prize this time will bekind of awesome.  I’m being vague because I don’t have an image to share yet, but I think you’re going to love it.

Here’s how you enter:

1. Read my book. Come on, it’s $4.99, and it’s short.
2.  Leave an honest review on Amazon, and email a screenshot of your review to simchafisher [at] gmail [dot] com.  Please put “MY AMAZON REVIEW” in the subject line.
3.  That’s it.  You’re entered.   People who’ve already written reviews, are of course, welcome to enter.  And the prize this time will be kind of awesome.


Fifth, I am going to be chatting about my book on the Son Rise Morning Show at around 8:40 Eastern Time on Friday the 18th.  Hope you can catch it!

Oh, man, what a week.

Small Steps for Catholic Moms – blog tour and giveaway

Once upon a time, I could sit down and read for hours.  I had the time and the attention span.  I would tear through 400 pages by Doestoevsky in a matter of days, and I read things that I needed to hear.
Things have changed.  My reading now takes place in snippets, and often just before I fall asleep (which makes for some interesting dreams, if nothing else).
Small Steps for Catholic Moms is a book designed for people just like me.
We know we need a little boost, a little challenge and encouragement to make our days something better than a frantic game of catch-up.  So in this book, the year is laid out, one page per day, with something to think about, something to pray for, and something to do.
It’s by Danielle Bean and Elizabeth Foss — two moms who know a little bit about being busy, raising kids, and how easy it can be to feel like you’re drowning if you don’t have a little specific encouragement to turn things around.
Wednesday’s page made me laugh out loud.  The “think” one said:

So you’ve been hauled over the coals?  Don’t follow the advice of pride and lose your temper.  Think:  ‘How charitable they are toward me!  The things they’ve left unsaid!’

Ha.  I needed to hear that.   Here is the prayer that goes with it:

Sweet Jesus, I talk too much.  I sigh too often.  Please give me sufficient grace to keep my mouth closed in the face of trials.
and the call to action:
What is it that you are avoiding?  Do that thing today and suffer through it with a silent smile.
Okay, so I failed at that while I was halfway through typing out the sentence above.  But that’s kind of what this book is about:  small steps.  Not major renovations, not thorough overhauls.  Just little things that you really can do — easy enough to achieve, but important enough to make a difference, if you put the effort it.  So now I am trying again.  I can do this!
Now for the giveaway.  Just leave a comment on this blog, and in a few days I will randomly select someone to win a free copy of this neat little book.

Here is another taste of what you can find in this book.  This excerpt is from November, which has a theme of gratitude:

“Because I am so weak, you have pleased to grant my childish little desires, and now you will grant the rest—other desires far greater than the Universe.”
 – St. Thérèse of Lisieux
You have given me so much, gracious God. I look over my catalog of blessings this month, and I am moved by your generosity. So often, my prayers are petitions that are tied to this world on earth. Please know that above all, I want most to be with you in heaven.
Take a moment today to thank someone who accepts you despite your weaknesses. These kinds of friends are gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Small Steps for Catholic Moms is going on a blog tour, so you can hear what other bloggers have gleaned from this helpful little book.   Here is the schedule of tour stops:
Don’t forget, leave a comment on this post, and you will be entered in a drawing to win a free copy of this book.  Good luck!

I have always depended on the blindness of strangers. A contest!

Weh-heh-hell, it was bound to happen.  As I mentioned, we got a puppy a few months ago, and have spent the summer training him.  This morning on our front porch, we found a copy of a children’s book called Orville:  A Dog Story.   Written inside the cover was this note:

Here is a wonderful story of a dog, passed on to you with love.

When you are done reading about Orville, you may keep the book or pass it on to someone else.

From a friendly stranger

The book is about a dog who has had a bunch of different owners, all of whom had hearts of stone and did not understand dogs.  An excerpt:

There had been other people, too, whose smells gave their whole lives away, but he had left them.  There were some things he remembered (a leaky doghouse at the edge of a muddy yard, a little girl who carried a one-eyed doll), but mostly he tried to forget.

Everywhere he had ever lived involved a chain, and he had broken every one, and there were six spots on his neck where hair didn’t grow because the chains had rubbed it off.

Things just get worse from there for this canine David Copperfield, this furry Ivan Denisovich, this four-footed, slobbering, kibble-munching Job.  His new owners chain him up in the mud, giving him little more than straw and ice for sustenance.

Night after night, Orville thought about the world, and all his sadness turned angry.  He knew about the broken hearts of people, and how they failed to love and do right, and knowing what he knew just made him want to bark. He took to barking.

I kinda skimmed the rest, but after that I guess he eventually meets some orphan named Sally who has blonde curls and is just as lonely as he is, and they find solace with each other, and nobody even needs to be chained up ever again, because when there is love and understanding, there are no chains . . .

and if Orville had found a harmonica

(N.B.:  This is still a dog we’re talking about.)

and if he’d known what a harmonica was, he would have picked it up and given it a toot, just like that.

Just like that, indeed.  If someone had given our dog a harmonica, he would have gobbled it up and then frantically galloped around the yard with a musical butt for the next week, just like that.  But that’s neither here nor there.

Why, you may ask, did someone give us this book?  What crimes against doghood did we commit, to earn this gentle rebuke, with the nice pictures for kids, like this one:

We racked our brains, and this is what we came up with:

Sometimes we tie him up. On a sixty-foot lead, with a trolley. For ten minutes or less, by the clock. We do this when he is in one of those moods where he is so wildly in love with us that he just can’t help devouring us.  We feel that it’s important to instill a strict No-Devouring policy in him now, while he is still only about forty pounds of exuberant muscle, because within a year, he will be tall enough to eat off the top of the refrigerator.  Did I mention that he is half German Shepherd, half Great Dane?  Did I mention that he spends 25% of his life sleeping on the couch, 25% of his life eating the baby’s food while she laughs and tries to lick him, 25% of his life pooping or watching someone else clean up his poop, 24% of his life playing wild chasing and wrestling and tickling games with nine children who adore him, and 1% of his life tied up?

Anyway, back to our cruelty.  When he’s tied up for five or ten minutes by the clock, he barks for a while, then he lies down.  We peek out the window to see if he’s learned his lesson, and then we rush out and shout, “WHO’S A GOOD DOG? ARE YOU A GOOD DOG?” and hug him we give him a bacon-flavored treat.

Diabolical, isn’t it?

Well, I’ll tell you, we’ve learned our lesson.  I’m never going to tie up our precious pup again.  If he decides he wants to chew on our faces, we’re going to let him, becauselove!!!1!  We are also planning on buying the poor guy his own harmonica, because you have to admit, that would be entertaining.

Also, I’m going to take our benevolent stranger’s advice and pass the book along.  Who wants it?  Tell me your most irritating or outrageous “interfering stranger” story in the comment box, and the best one wins a slightly chewed-up copy of Orville:  The Dog Who Loved Too Much.