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Companions for the Journey: Update from the Ball Chair for 09/14/20

Lisa with "I'm a Saint in the Making" illustrator Katie Mitchell Broussard

When I penned I Am God's Storyteller in 2019, I learned a big lesson about creating work for children that truly reinforced the message of the book. God has given each of us unique and beautiful gifts with which to share the story of his love for us. My creative partner for that book was Eric Carlson, a gifted illustrator who when he took on the project was a college student far less than half my age. Eric brought to our project a keen sense of perspective that amplified my words and reached our readers in a way I couldn't have done on my own.

For my forthcoming book I'm a Saint in the Making, I've had the great joy of working alongside Katie Mitchell Broussard. I first "met" Katie when I interviewed her for a podcast about her book Audacious Ignatius. Shortly after our conversation, my publisher invited me to offer a few suggestions of illustrators for the new book. Katie was at the top of my list. She combines an artist's eye with an educator's insight and a seeker's soul. Katie is a mother, a teacher, and one who has served among diverse communities to share her gifts and talents. I was delighted when Katie said, "Yes!" and we began our work on the book.

Who are your companions along your path as a saint in the making? @LisaHendey shares the joy of meeting her @ParacletePress book illustrator Katie Mitchell Broussard in person. #SaintInTheMaking Click To Tweet

This weekend, after having been in touch with Katie since May 2019, I finally had the opportunity to meet her in person. She invited me to take a "socially distanced" walk in her neighborhood near Chicago. Since I'm still here assisting my sister's family, it was the perfect opportunity to spend some time together. We set out from her lovely home and explored the surrounding streets. A block or two into our stroll, I realized that I was so engaged in the conversation that I had no idea where we were. To be honest, it really didn't matter. I was so overwhelmed by a sense of kinship and camaraderie that I would have followed Katie anywhere.

In many ways, Katie is where I was when I began my journey with CatholicMom.com so many years ago. A busy mom of two darling, intelligent young boys, Katie balances her work as a creative with her roles as wife, mother and now e-educator! We talked about our family backgrounds, our project, and also about the joy of doing the work we do. Katie has several other projects in the works, so her art for my book is just one of the many ways in which she is using her skills.

When you hold I'm a Saint in the Making in your hands, it's Katie's artwork that will immediately touch your heart. I haven't had the joy of seeing the actual book yet, but when I look at our finished manuscript, I'm continually more excited about all of the little touches that make each page something special for you to share with the children in your life.

But even outside our work on this book, I'm so very happy to have Katie in my life. We remarked as we were finishing our time together how surprising it was for both of us that this was the first time we'd met in person. Katie seems like someone I've known forever, and also someone who will be a friend for life. If I lived closer to her, I'm sure we'd be walking her neighborhood weekly, daydreaming about projects and dishing about kids and husbands.

Our time together reminded me how important it is that we "saints in the making" have companions for this journey of ours--people who share our passions, who push us to be our very best for the mission ahead of us, and who stand by our side and support us through all of the crazy twists and turns life delivers us. I'm thrilled to partner with Katie for I'm a Saint in the Making, but I'm even more delighted to have a new sister in Christ to call "friend".

We're still a few weeks out from the book's launch, but you can support this work by pre-ordering at Paraclete PressAmazonBarnes & Noble, or walking into your local Catholic retailer and asking them to carry the book. If you don't have small children in your life, please consider a purchase of the book for your parish, your local school, or your public library.

A question for you: Who are your companions along your path as a saint in the making?

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