Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Five Fun Things with author Karina Fabian

Today at Writing Daze it’s time for Friday Fun. We asked our visiting author Karian Fabian to tell us Five Fun Things that happened while writing her book. She teamed up with co-author Deacon Steven Lumbert, to write Why God Maters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life (Tribute Books, May 2010). It is a Christian living, self-help book. These authors join us on their first tour with Pump Up Your Book.

Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life was a different experience for me for a couple of reasons. I'm a novelist, and this is a non-fiction book about stories in my own life and how they taught me about God's love. It's also the first time I've collaborated, and with my own father, no less. So my five fun things:

1. Bossing Daddy around. It wasn't that bad, but I am the writer of the family. His experience has been writing 10-15-minute homilies. I had the fun--and the challenge--of sending back his 1500-word stories bleeding with red ink and telling him to cut and focus. However, that leads to...

2. Seeing my dad improve his writing tenfold. I was awed by the improvements he could make based on my commentary and critique. Not only is my dad talented but he also listened. It was great!

3. Hearing the full stories of Dad's "bad boy past." Outhouses on Main Street, water balloons thrown from roofs, bags of doggie doo set on fire--was this really my father, the State Patrolman and straight-and-narrow guy all my friends looked up to? (And you should have heard him laugh as he reminisced.)

4. The one-week evening marathon IM write-off. With my dad's busy deacon schedule, it was hard for him to find time to write the stories, and when the deadline went from "soon" to "looming," we spend four intense evenings on Yahoo IM, with him writing, me editing, him writing again. (I had finished mine and my crit groups had helped me polish.) It was the most time I'd spent with my dad since building a basement together in 2002.

5. Making my friends cry. Good tears! The kind that say, "This story really touched me." Usually I make people laugh, so it was rewarding to know I could inspire teary joy, too.

Karina (Lumbert) Fabian was born into the Catholic faith, but truly grew to love it as an adult. As a busy mother of four, she finds some of her strongest encounters with God’s love happen in the ordinary events of the day-to-day. Karina started her writing career with diocesan newspapers but ahs settled into writing fun-filled fantasy and science fiction that nonetheless incorporates the principles of faith-filled living. Her web site is and her blog is at

About Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life
Many times one sees Roman Catholicism explained using either closely reasoned theology or an appeal to ancient writers of the Church. While both are legitimate approaches, the average reader looking to explore the faith is often left cold. In their collaboration, Why God Matters, Deacon Steven Lumbert and his daughter, Karina Lumbert Fabian, delineate the Catholic Faith as experienced by a pair of average, everyday people like the great majority who make up the 24% of Americans who share this religion.

In the stories of this pair, one see both ways people come to Catholicism, by birth (“cradle Catholics”) and by conversion. Their descriptions of their separate paths thankfully lack the religiosity of the all too common ‘and then a miracle takes place’ school of religious experience. Rather than blasts of light, fiery swords, spiritual fistfights, and angelic choirs, theirs is the long religious slog of the everyday. The effort that one must put out each day in the long trek to Heaven.
What is Catholicism really like? One would be hard-put to find a better verbal painting of the faith so many call their own.”

Read the Excerpt!Love in a Pot of Rice

You know well enough that our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them
–St. Therese of Lisieux

One meal that always connects me to my heritage is arroz con pollo—chicken and rice. For me, this meal doesn’t so much represent an ethnic identity, it symbolizes the love and generosity of my family.

My mother is the seventh child of ten, born to a very poor family in Puerto Rico. They bought shoes only for the winter, shared two toys at Christmas (a game and a ball), and meat for dinner was a rare treat. Yet my grandfather, a schoolteacher, regularly brought home the students who lived too far away to walk home from school during the week, and they shared the family meal. My grandmother would say, “If I can feed ten, I can feed twelve.” When I cook arroz con pollo, I imagine her adding a cup of rice to stretch their meal, giving of their need rather than their wealth.

Many of my grandparents’ children escaped poverty, becoming doctors and social workers, businesspeople and spouses. However, they never lost their legacy of charity. When one is in need, the others are there. I remember when a hurricane took the roof off my grandparent’s house, where several grown children still lived. In Colorado, my mother combed the garage sales for linens and clothes to replace those ruined by the storm, and all contributed what funds they could to repair the roof. Years later, my grandmother died in that home, cared for by her children and grandchildren.

My own parents carried on that legacy, which, like my grandparents’, spread beyond family. Our friends were welcome in our homes, sometimes more than in their own homes. My parents called them their “love daughters” and supported them in their extra-curriculars, and on occasion, took them into our home. Several still call them “Mom and Dad.” When we did not have treasure, my parents gave of their time and talent. My dad made costumes for the school play; my mother was always crafting for someone. Mostly, though, they gave of their love.
When I’d given birth to my daughter, my mom came to visit for several weeks, and she met a pregnant friend who said she had only one craving: arroz con pollo. The next time we saw her, Mom had it ready.

As a mother myself, I must now carry on this legacy by setting an example for my children. Far wealthier than my parents or grandparents ever were, we do our best to give to the Church and to charities—and we involve our children in that. We also do our best to be available to their friends as well as to them. This year, I pack an extra lunch each day for Amber’s best friend. It’s a little thing, yet it connects me to my grandmother somehow.

Last night, I made arroz con pollo. It’s a different recipe, because I’m not the cook my mother is, yet it brought me back to my past, and my mother’s past, and to roots deeply embedded in charitable love.

Life Lesson
God calls us to be the first teachers to our children in living a life of faith, hope, and charity.
How did your parents teach you this? How are you teaching your own children? Spend some time in reflection and prayer today, then find something that ties you to that heritage—or inspires you to build a new heritage for your children.


  1. Rebecca - what a great concept for a guest blogger - Friday Five Fun Things - love it!

    Thanks for hosting Karina on her virtual book tour with Pump Up.

  2. Thanks for hosting me today, Rebecca. This was a lot of fun to write.


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