reviews

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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Review: Little Sins Mean a Lot

Posted by on Jun 6, 2016 in reviews | Comments Off on Review: Little Sins Mean a Lot

little sinsFull disclosure: I knew I wanted this book , Little Sins Mean a Lot by Elizabeth Scalia since last year, so to say I have been looking forward to its publication so I could inhale it chapter after chapter is a bit of an understatement. This is the kind of book that I want to gobble up greedily like the giant bowl of ice cream prepared after the kids were asleep and the husband was engrossed in the football game. Swallowed up and finished quickly and leaving no evidence…until chapter 4 convicted me of my own little sin of over-indulgence. And chapter 5 waggled its finger at me for gossiping. And chapter 8 punished me with my own snarky judgmentalism (is that a word? Nah, I don’t think so).

The book became an examination of conscience — and folks, it slows you down when you start doing an examen like this.

On the upside, I went to confession, so that’s a win.

I knew I’d love the book because I’ve loved Scalia’s writing for many years. If you haven’t read Strange Gods…what’s wrong with you? Get on it!

And then, of course, there’s this one, Little Sins Mean a Lot: Kicking Our Bad Habits Before they Kick Us. In this collection of essays reflecting on the little things we do that pick away at us and lead us down the path of sin, Scalia reflects on her life and how these habits have taken hold of her. It’s not an exposé, and certainly not a holier-than-thou parade of how she has overcome these sinful habits, but rather, an authentic sharing of how she, we are all a mess in varying degrees, and boy could we use some strategies to change these behaviors.

That’s what I love about this book, the strategies. Every chapter talks about the bad habit-becoming-sin, gives a marvelous and eclectic selection of sources that explain the Church’s position on the sin (of course scripture and the Catechism, but so much more), and then offers some advice on actionable steps we can take to overcome this habit, because it is a habit, this concupiscence. Finally, she calls us to prayer — how else can we find the strength to overcome these sins?

In the front matter, before the table of contents, is nestled a pair of quotations that delight me, but then again, I’m a fan of both women :

Don’t let your sins turn into bad habits. — St. Teresa of Avila

Don’t let your bad habits turn into sins. — Elizabeth Scalia

There’s no denying the causal relationship of habits and sin. But there’s also no need to get so jacked up about it that we despair. This book recommends the strategies, sure, but also offers hope in gems like this:

… if we would only invite [God] in, he would come. And then, where God is, what has been empty becomes full; what has been dark becomes light; what has been plundered can be made whole.

There’s hope in that. God wants so much more for us than the small ways we sell ourselves short.

 

Little Sins Mean a Lot: Kicking Our Bad Habits Before They Kick Us
by Elizabeth Scalia
published by Our Sunday Visitor

 

 

 

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Review: Messy and Foolish

Posted by on May 26, 2016 in reviews | 2 comments

messyI received this wonderful little book for review from the author, Matthew Warner, months ago. MONTHS ago. I read it in an evening, lauded his vision, and then did the dreadful thing — the thing most of us who are book lovers know to be a bad move. I let someone borrow it.

It disappeared for all these months, until I got it back today. I didn’t think I would. In fact, I’ve started to give people books, instead of lending them, so I don’t fret over their return. But I was surprised to get this one back. I reread it, because it’s well-written, and then I remembered why I lent it, and that I hadn’t really properly reviewed it. So here’s the review.

And here’s why I lent it:

The message in this book is for all of us.

Are we measuring out our lives in coffee spoons, as Prufrock laments, content to live by-the-book instead of by-the-Word?

Matt encourages us to get messy. To take risks. To live our lives  fully. This means detaching ourselves from the meaningless markers we create for success. He reminds us that Jesus said, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

The challenge is this — can we take the risk — do we allow ourselves the vulnerability of engaging, truly engaging with those who are around us, in our families, our friends, our neighbors? The fruit of it is, of course, finding our place in God. When we do this – we truly begin the work of evangelization.

I’m going to give the book away to someone I know, someone close to me, maybe a friend, or a family member. I get it, and I think more people need to get this simple message, too.

 

#21 on my on-going book challenge:

1. A totally gratuitous and vapid book that I’ll forget the moment I set it down after finishing it. I suspect this happened more than a few times last year.
2. A biography.
3. A history book. Preferably American history because I’m weak there.
4. A book about music. The Inextinguishable Symphony by Martin Goldsmith
5. A book about an artist.
6. A book of poetry.
7. A book about prayer.
8. A science-fiction novel. Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card
9. A book about Catholic theology.
10. A book about writing.
11. A classic.
12. A New York Times best-seller.
13. A book in Spanish.
14. A romance.
15. A murder mystery.
16. A book about a Saint.
17. A book BY a Saint.
18. A book by a friend. A Catholic Gardener’s Spiritual Almanac by Margaret Rose Really
19. A book about photography.
20. A book about science. Nikola Tesla: Imagination and the Man Who Invented the 20th Century by Sean Patrick
21. A book with a pretty cover. Yes, I’m going to judge it. Messy and Foolish by Matthew Warner
22. A book with an ugly cover. I’ll stay open minded.
23. A banned book. Hey. It’s me we’re talking about here.
24. A book that’s been sitting on my bookshelf, unread, for years.
25. A book you recommend.

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The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion

Posted by on May 17, 2016 in good for the soul, Reading Challenge, reviews | Comments Off on The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion

Catholic Moms Prayer BookComing soon! The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion:A Book of Daily Reflections

Are you a Catholic mom who prays for the wisdom and patience to get through each day? Do you pray for your children, husband, family and friends, and sometimes even yourself? The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion offers a new, daily resource to make the most of those few, precious minutes you have to pause and reflect.

You’ll find encouragement when you’re struggling, reassurance when you feel alone, and comfort when you’re distracted by worry. Created by moms for moms, these hope-filled meditations touch on the issues and concerns you face as you try to get through the day with a sense of God’s presence in your life. 

I’m delighted to be a contributor to this great resource. Go ahead and pre-order so you’re ready for the new year!

Pre-order online today at:

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