reviews

Review: The Friendship Project

Posted by on Oct 11, 2017 in reviews | Comments Off on Review: The Friendship Project

Have you ever grabbed a book off the shelf because it had a great title? That was my reaction to this new book by Michele Faehnle and Emily Jaminet, The Friendship Project. The subtitle, The Catholic Woman’s Guide to Making and Keeping Fabulous, Faith-Filled Friends called to me even more.

I’ve never been one to have a huge posse of friends, but I have had close friends in each season of my life. It was only later in life that I discovered the unique joy of having faith-filled friends. What a treasure, truly, to share my faith with a sister-in-Christ.

I loved the format of this book; it explores the virtues and the saints, and points us to these models of holy friendship. I’m left with a renewed commitment to nurturing these relationships that bless me today, to encourage and foster in this season of my life, and more. I love The Friendship Project !

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The Angelus: Called to Prayer

Posted by on Jun 19, 2017 in reviews | 2 comments

prayMary has been reminding me to share my love of the Angelus. Two recent encounters with women who heard the Angelus bells in my community became opportunities to evangelize to one, and to pray with the other. It was a blessing in the middle of our days.

Jared Dees wrote a beautiful book, Praying the Angelus, that not only introduces us to the Angelus and its history, including an explanation for the ringing of the bells, but provides a section of meditations. This has taken me deeper into prayer. I usually pray the morning prayer from my bed (yes, I am, in fact, awakened by the Angelus bells instead of a shrieking alarm); the noon prayer lends itself to a break, which includes a longer time for the meditations.

Years ago I picked up this devotion because I thought it was short and easy to keep up with. Um. Ok. I mean, it is short, and prayed three times a day at set times (6 AM, noon, 6 PM), but the real challenge isn’t memorizing the brief prayers, it’s in remembering to pray them at the set times.

Ah, discipline. I am so weak. And the Lord is so merciful.

You see, I live next to a church that reminds me to pray the Angelus. The bells ring three times a day for the Angelus, plus the other times when they ring for Mass. They also ring the bells during the consecration. It is a glorious sound; to be called to prayer is a beautiful thing. Listen.

I encourage you to pick up this easy practice. Jared walks you right through it — it’s easy. And soon, you’ll be walking with Mary!

 

 

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Wonder Woman and the power of love

Posted by on Jun 4, 2017 in fun, reviews | 3 comments

When Snapchat knows what I want

When my husband suggested we catch the midnight showing of Wonder Woman last Thursday night, the drowsy-I-am-ready-for-PJs feeling left in a flash. I’ve been looking forward to this film most of my life even though I didn’t know it.

The film delighted the 10 year-old inside me that still comes out to play every once in a while, but it resonated so richly with me as an adult. There are a number of reasons for this, one of which is the release of my book, Super Girls and Halos in a couple of months, where I dedicate the first chapter to my love/hate relationship with Wonder Woman.

It took me thirty years to gain a deep appreciation for this strong heroine. I always thought she fell short of her potential. I blamed the writers and the illustrators, and even blamed society for its expectations. What a blame game. I look at her now with a different lens, a vision part maturity and part faith and see a reflection of myself. I certainly fall short of my potential. It’s powerful that a fictional character can produce that kind of introspection in a person. In me.

But that’s why so many of these hero stories today resonate with people, whether it’s in the Star Trek universe or the Star Wars universe. Whether you are a hardcore Marvel fan, or stand by DC Comics.

I’m sure the last thing William Marston had on his mind when creating Wonder Wonder was an incidental catechism lesson. He wanted a character that was the embodiment of love. Wonder Woman, in her 70 years of adventures, actively pursues the corporal works of mercy! As Christians we know the embodiment of Love is the Incarnation, Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, Marston gave us a character that models how we should treat others, with love and dignity.

Wonder Woman, like so many of the epic superhero stories popular in film today, bring big themes to the big screen. There’s a reason why archetypes speak to us, and it lies in the human condition. Part of that condition is the struggle between good and evil that we see played out across the board in these hero journeys.

Wonder Woman is no different. And yet, she’s completely different. She leads with love, and it’s unique enough in this genre to get attention. I won’t give away spoilers, but throughout the film we see how her desire to lead with love, to do the right thing, saves souls, whether it’s a community in danger of annihilation or a companion’s sense of self-worth. She is both brutal in her justice and tender in her mercy.

I am delighted by the excellent writing, the spectacular cinematography, the amazing special effects, and the portrayal of a modern Wonder Woman who is everywoman. I mean, if every woman had a lasso of truth and bracelets of power. But we don’t need those because we have love empowering us. It is who we are as women. We are courageous, warm, strong, sacrificial, giving, sensitive, and badass.

The world doesn’t need what women have, it needs what women are.

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

Our battlefield is in the lives we lead, within our families, in the workplace, out in the world as we move through the demands of our vocations, whatever they may be. How much could we accomplish? How much could we change for others as well as ourselves if we follow Love?

 

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Book Review: Walk in Her Sandals

Posted by on Oct 17, 2016 in reviews | Comments Off on Book Review: Walk in Her Sandals

Walk in Her SandalsI’ve been looking forward to Walk in Her Sandals ever since I read Stephanie Landsem’s biblical fiction series The Living Water. I was so excited to tell the editor, Kelly Wahlquist, (founder of WINE: Women In the New Evangelization), a couple of months ago. In fact, I “borrowed” her advance reading copy of the book to skim through it when we were both speaking at a women’s conference.

I knew I’d love the book, and I think you will, too. It’s part fiction, part retreat, part guided meditation as some of the most gifted Catholic women writers contribute their insight and inspiration to a truly unique book.

Imagine stepping back in time to Holy Week, Easter, and Pentecost and living the experience through Landsem’s fiction, plus teachings on the feminine genius from Pat Gohn, reflections from Lisa Hendey, Teresa Tomeo, Laura Sobiech, Kitty Cleveland, and others. You’ll read and meditate on scripture, ponder questions, and have an opportunity to follow suggestions for living the walk today by actively engaging in the New Evangelization.

It’s a wonderful book to read now, but I know I’ll take it out again during Lent in preparation for Holy Week.

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Book Review: Faith Under Fire

Posted by on Sep 12, 2016 in reviews | Comments Off on Book Review: Faith Under Fire

Faith Under FireI picked up Matthew Archbold’s book, Faith Under Fire: Dramatic Stories of Christian Courage with the intention of reading about Mother Antonia Brenner, who was featured in my own book last year and continues to fascinate me. My intention with this kind of book was to read around the chapters, reading one story today, maybe another tomorrow. I thought it would be a good bedstand book.

It didn’t happen that way. As I was flipping through the pages my eye caught Lauren Hill’s name. If you don’t know who she is, get the book today and turn to chapter six. Do it.

Lauren is my hero. We both loved basketball. We both longed to play in college. She got her dream.

You might remember seeing something in the news about this courageous young woman sometime last year. She was the high school basketball player diagnosed with cancer. When her condition worsened, the head basketball coach at Mount St. Joseph’s University arranged it for Lauren to achieve her dream and play basketball in college.

I wept. Her story is remarkable — and not because she achieved her dream. What a courageous young woman, to turn the disease, and the granting of her wish, into an opportunity to raise awareness and research funds for this childhood disease.

I was drawn to the story because college basketball was once my dream. But then, I was moved by Lauren’s trust in God that her life, however short, had a purpose for education and inspiration.

This is just one of many examples of lives lived courageously for the Glory of God’s Kingdom. You can savor it, one story at a time, or you can gobble it up like I did, and read it in two or three evenings. You’ll be inspired.

 

Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Servant (July 29, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1632530945
ISBN-13: 978-1632530943
Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches

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Book Review: The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion

Posted by on Sep 5, 2016 in reviews | Comments Off on Book Review: The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion

The Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion

I’m back again in the book review mode, and it’s a pleasure to share this one with you because, guess what? I share a few reflections  with you in this book, and I’m honored to be in the company of some stellar catechists and writers such as Danielle Bean, Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, Sonja Corbitt, Elizabeth Ficocelli, Allison Gingras, Pat Gohn, Lisa Mladinich, Elizabeth Scalia, and Carolyn Woo, Mark Hart, and Jeff Young!

What a pleasure to be working with anything that Lisa Hendey and Sarah Reinhard produce…this is truly a gift for moms in any season…whether you’re dashing out the door to get the kids to school on your way to work, or staying up waiting for a teen to get home…or like me, praying for kids launched and in the world of work and new relationships. There’s something for everyone here.

I know this is going to be a part of my mornings, but it can fit anywhere in the day. The point is, as moms, we pray. We pray a lot — and this little companion has reflections to lift us up, console us, amuse us, and help us develop a habit of daily prayer. It’s like having a girl friend along to pray. Unless you’re one of the guys writing the reflection, then it’s like…no…it’s not like having your boyfriend along, but it is great to have a dad’s perspective every once in a while, too.

Order a few copies…one for yourself, and a couple to share with sisters or friends.

 

The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion
A Book of Daily Reflections

Edited by: Lisa M. Hendey
Edited by: Sarah A. Reinhard
Price: $16.95
Format: Paperback
Pages: 544
Trim size: 5 x 7 inches
ISBN: 978-1-59471-661-4
Imprint: Ave Maria Press
On-sale now

 

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