I’m Back!

Wow, it’s embarrassing to see that I published my last article over a month ago. How time flies right? I’ve been busy with a family vacation and preparing and delivering a presentation on the importance of rosary prayer. But I’m back now. After a little editing, a video of my presentation will be available online soon. Working on that presentation also gave me some great ideas for future articles so hopefully, I will end the summer strong.

English: A sunny August day at the beach at Jo...
English: A sunny August day at the beach at Joss Bay, a rural beach not far from Broadstairs in Kent, England. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hope your summers are going well. Remember to pack that rosary wherever your summer adventures may take you. There’s no such thing as a summer vacation from prayer and living a holy life.

RosaryMeds Has a New Look!

While I loved my previous WordPress theme that was created by a dating site for some odd reason, it is time RosaryMeds got a fresh coat of paint.  The old theme just wasn’t keeping up and didn’t support many of the modern new features found on other blogs.  One huge new feature is that RosaryMeds is now more mobile friendly.  No more manually zooming in to read text!  So if you are reading this on your phone or tablet, enjoy.

There is still some work to do like tweaking colors, adjusting the formatting, and updating the header image.  But regardless of the look and feel the goal of RosaryMeds remains unchanged — getting you enthused about rosary prayer.

Four Years of RosaryMeds

On December 11, 2008 I started RosaryMeds with my first article.  And now here we are, four years and 177 articles later.  Let’s take a look at some notable statistics from 2012.  I’m not going to win any awards for web traffic, but thanks to all 2,186 of you who visited RosaryMeds this year and viewed a total of 4,575 pages. And a big thanks to all 641 of you who visited the site more than once! I hope you found much of the content inspiring, thought provoking, and relevant.  This year was busy for me since I’m a new dad, but I still managed to write 30 articles.  As many of you know, RosaryMeds is a hobby of mine and gives me the opportunity to really focus on my Catholic faith and the rosary.  Writing articles is like a form of meditation since I really have to think about my faith and how it relates to the events in my life.  In trying to make rosary prayer more accessible to you, it has also strengthened my knowledge and joy of prayer.  So thanks everyone for encouraging me to write articles about our shared faith in God.

Here are some other interesting metrics from 2012.  While it is no surprise that most visitors are from the US, do you know who rounds out the top five?  It’s the Philippines, Canada, United Kingdom, and India.  I never would have guessed those, especially India.  The fact that mainland Europe had so few visits highlights the changing demographics of the Catholic Church.  Drilling down even further, here are the top five cities that visited RosaryMeds — Hollywood, Manila, miscellaneous, Miami, and Makati.  Hollywood at #1?  I guess there are still a few Catholics in hiding somewhere off of Sunset Boulevard.  Thank you for all of you who came to RosaryMeds via Facebook and the Catholic Answers Forums.  Those two traffic sources made up nearly half of RosaryMed’s referral traffic (people who follow links to RosaryMeds from another site).

And this year I can thank all of you who bought my book which I published on Amazon December 10, 2011.  There are now 72 copies of The Rosary for the Rest of Us floating around in the world.  While it’s not going to be on the New York Times best seller list any time soon, I got just as much out of writing that book as I do writing articles on RosaryMeds.  And to celebrate four years of RosaryMeds, I’m making the Kindle edition of my book available for free this week through Friday (and Amazon Prime members can borrow the book for free through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library all year long).  Head on over to Amazon and download a copy to read on your smart phone, tablet, or PC.  Don’t be shy about leaving a review on Amazon or telling your friends either.  Also, it’s not too late to buy a copy as a stocking stuffer for the prayer warriors on your Christmas list.

Thanks for a good four years and I’m looking forward to year #5!

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Christmas Bells Are Ringing

It’s that time of year again where we crawl deep into our garages and take out all the Christmas lights and decorations.  I’m always excited each year to see if the outdoor decorations I bought the year before at a discount (since I buy them after December 25th) will actually work.  This year, a lit snowman backed by candy cane lights graced our front lawn to keep our Christmas polar bear company.  Of course, the Christmas season is also about shopping.  I know that we all say Christmas shouldn’t be about gifts, but chances are you will need to buy presents for at least one person.  I’m going to tell you how you can shop for Christmas gifts online while supporting RosaryMeds and without it costing you an extra cent.

Do you know why blog websites display ads for various online retailers?  Whenever you follow a link from a blog site to an online store and purchase something, that blog site gets a little payment from that online store as a small “thank you” for referring someone’s business.  This is called affiliate marketing.  I know that term gets a lot of bad press since most people associate it with pyramid, MLM, work-at-home, and “get rich quick” schemes.  But it’s a legitimate way many blogs try to cover their costs (hosting, domain registration, site design expenses, etc.).  The great thing about affiliate links is that they require you, the customer, to do nothing differently except initially go to the website via a special link from the blog site.  You just purchase items that you were going to buy anyway, but the blog site gets a small payment.  I try my best to be selective about who I partner with and only promote sites and products that I personally like and relate to the overall themes of RosaryMeds — the Catholic faith, rosary meditation, and prayer.

For example, you might want to consider buying something from Mystic Monk Coffee.  This coffee is actually roasted by Carmelite monks in Wyoming as part of their vow of daily labour.   It’s the only coffee we brew in my house.  Sure, I could go to the market or Starbucks and pick up a bag of dark-roasted beans.  But I feel good knowing that when I buy Mystic Monk coffee I’m helping support a monastery and people who dedicate their lives to praying for others like you and me.  And when brewed correctly, it tastes great to boot.  Do you have a coffee drinker on your gift list?  Consider Mystic Monk.

Another Catholic online retailer that is near and dear to my heart is Ignatius Press.  To be honest, it is sometimes a love/hate relationship particularly when they send me their catalogue in the mail.  The frustration comes from the fact that they offer so many interesting books and videos that there aren’t enough hours in the day to read them all.  Just to name a few titles that look interesting to me — 50 Questions on the Natural Law, A Biblical Walk Through the Mass, The Seven Big Myths about the Catholic Church, and Modern Moral Problems.  Do you have an avid reader or movie watcher on your gift list?  Consider buying something from Ignatius Press.

Of course, in my humble opinion (wink, wink), one of the best gifts you can give yourself or others is a copy of my book, The Rosary for the Rest of Us: A Practical Guide to our Most Powerful Prayer.  I saw a huge gap in the types of rosary books available to aspiring prayer warriors.  The books are either extremely basic; giving only small paragraph descriptions of each mystery and not even much reflection.  Other rosary books are incredibly dense with a lot of scholarly analysis and history of the rosary.  That might make for good reading, but does it make for better praying?  My book focuses on helping you get the most out of actually praying the rosary, not just learning its history or the story behind each mystery.  Do you know someone who could use a little rosary prayer?  Consider The Rosary for the Rest of Us.

So there you go — three great Christmas gift ideas.  Follow the links to those online stores from this post or on from the banners on the left-hand sidebar of the RosaryMeds website as a way of showing your appreciation for either my articles or my book.  And, speaking for bloggers everywhere, if you do intend on purchasing something online this Christmas, check and see if your favourite blog has an affiliate link to the sites that have the items you want.  It’s a great way of saying “thank you” to the blogs that you enjoy visiting without requiring any extra effort or money.

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Two Years of RosaryMeds

Birthday Cake Cupcake
Image by clevercupcakes via Flickr

I found this article about the benefits of Catholic radio very inspirational.  It discusses a survey taken by listeners of Immaculate Heart Radio with these results:

According to the survey, 581 respondents said the radio channel helped them teach their children the truths of the faith. Additionally, 265 said Immaculate Heart Radio helped them return to the Catholic faith while 58 said the radio network helped them convert from another religion and 28 said they were helped to convert from agnosticism or atheism. Just over 100 respondents said the radio network helped them save their marriage, 23 said they were helped when contemplating suicide, and seven were helped to “choose life for my baby.”

This was not the most scientific survey since it sounds like the sample group was probably mostly made up of people from their main listening audience.  However, I find it amazing that this radio station saved at least 100 marriages and 30 lives.  And that is just from people who responded to the survey.  Who knows how many others were helped?  The saving of even just one life validates the importance and the impact of Catholic radio.  This means there are at least 30 people who are alive today who might not have been if it wasn’t for Immaculate Heart Radio, EWTN, and other outlets spreading the Catholic faith.

The accomplishment of Catholic radio fills me with a little hope as RosaryMeds turned two years old this week.  Granted, I don’t have the resources or collective wisdom of EWTN.  I probably haven’t transformed lives as dramatically as Immaculate Heart Radio.  But hopefully I inspired someone to pray the rosary who otherwise wouldn’t have.  Hopefully, I injected a small little pearl of wisdom in a posting that made someone feel better or helped them achieve a deeper state of prayer.  If you have found this website interesting or inspirational, please leave a comment or a suggestion.

I’m super excited about RosaryMeds’ third year.  I have some great ideas in mind that I hope will come to fruition in 2011.  And a big thank you to the  1,905 new visitors and the 423 returning visitors from 77 countries speaking 34 languages who visited in 2010!

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