It Just Takes Time

It just takes Time

It just takes time [for the heart to heal].

A friend whispered this to me during my adoration hour and I let the phrase seep into me and guide my thoughts.

What does that mean, “it takes time”?

Usually, when I hear this phrase I think of time as abstract and passive. But this time I envisioned time as a tangible and active material object – like a salve I could apply to heal my internal wounds.

I pondered this a while and realized God has answered my prayers for healing by giving me time, loads of time. But I often squander it with chronic busyness to avoid the pain and make that time go by faster.

Yet, what I’ve discovered, as many others have, is you can’t rush the healing from grief or other life crises and you can pretend the pain away all you want but it only buries it deeper and deeper, making it harder to heal and causing it to fester.

I knew this intellectually but emotionally I felt lost, confused and didn’t really know what else to do but to “keep going” and “stay busy”.

Everyone complains about not having enough time to do what they really want or really need to do. But, in reality, we all have the same exact amount of time every day. It’s how much we try to pack into a single day that makes it feel longer or shorter.

This year, I decided I needed to listen to my friend’s advice and fully embrace the gift of time and rediscover joy and hope in the little grace-filled moments of everyday life.  

I’ve lessened my personal and family commitments, said no more to extrafamilial activities and yes more to spending time just being with my family and friends.

One of the biggest changes I made was the decision to limit my time on Facebook and social media in general and, as you may have noticed, a break from writing and keeping up with the blog as much. (Though I’ve missed that!)

I’m thankful for the ability to stay connected with family and friends and do agree that social media has become an important communication tool. That said, I felt I had become so attached to all my social media connections that I’d find myself scrolling or “just checking” so many times throughout the day that I didn’t even know I was doing it anymore.

Like a cigarette, checking Facebook on my phone was my “go-to” when I felt stressed and overwhelmed with life or just didn’t feel like doing the dishes or dealing with yet another squabble or whiny complaint.

Instead of actively and personally engaging with friends and family, I felt more like a passive friend, peering into their lives through status updates and pictures they shared but not really taking the time to know how they are really doing.

I knew I needed to pray more but whenever I had a few moments of quiet time, instead of praying I’d get my phone out and “just check” and end up using all my rare moments to myself scanning through others’ lives instead of “checking in” with God and opening my heart to Him. I wasn’t sure how I would spend my time without Facebook, and that’s when I knew I needed to uninstall it. If I couldn’t remember or imagine what my life would be like without it, it was time to give it up.

I decided I wanted – needed – to remove this from my life, or at least greatly limit the time I spent using social media. I uninstalled Facebook from my phone, leaving the Messenger, Groups and Facebook page app so I could still stay connected with specific people and groups that use Facebook to plan get togethers. I didn’t give it up completely, I still check it on my computer every now and then and I usually get emails if someone tags me.

The morning after I uninstalled it I felt…free. Like a huge weight had been lifted and I was no longer chained, though I didn’t even realize I had been.

It was a little hard, and still is sometimes, feeling like I’m probably missing out on important information – or not so important. I also worry that people may get the wrong idea and think I just don’t care about them anymore or think I’m somehow “better than”.

I do care very much and most definitely do not think of myself as “better than” anyone. The problem is, as much as I love the ability to share glimpses of our lives with those we truly do care about, I still feel dissatisfied and empty after scrolling through my newsfeeds.  It’s because I desire a deeper more personal connection than what social media can offer.

I want to know how my friends and family really are and listen openly to their thoughts with a personal conversation. 

By limiting my commitments and spending less time hypnotized by a screen, it’s like my eyes are slowly reopening and seeing the tangible world around me again.

Shortly after my dad passed away, I shared with a friend that I didn’t know what else to do with my days except fill them with activity,  “I mean, what am I gonna do, just sit and stare out the window all day?”

“Maybe.” She wisely responded.

Hmmm, yeah…maybe.

Instead of rushing around from one activity to another, frantically working to meet deadline after deadline, I’ve turned the speed dial of my days wayyyy  down.

And guess what? I feel like I have more time to do the things I need to do with more joy and more time to do things I like and which are good for my health with less guilt.

I’ve had more time to meet friends for coffee or playdates, call or write letters to friends I don’t get to see often. I’ve reworked my exercise goals to focus on rebuilding my “core” strength (in more than one sense of that word) instead of escaping my sorrow with only high-intensity workouts. I have more time to plan and prepare simple yet nutritious meals and #eatmoresalads. 😉

I try to take a short nap in the afternoons so I can devote my attention to the kids after school with more energy and I’ve started cooking as much ahead during the day so I’m available to help with homework without as many distractions.

I spend more time reading and creating on my own and with my family. I’ve been able to spend more focused time with my husband to talk with each other instead of rushing off to evening packed with activities or only sitting and staring at our phones or computers the whole evening.

Like I said before, at first I worried I might miss out by not checking in on Facebook throughout the day. Now, I see I was missing out on those raw yet profound moments of life that were starting to pass me by without my awareness.

And sometimes, I just sit and stare out the window and allow my mind to ponder, remember, and pray.

Yes, time heals.


Marry Him and Be Submissive #BookReview

Time for another book review!

My friends at TAN Books asked if I’d be interested in reading and reviewing  –

Marry Him and Be Submissive by Costanza Miriano

I’ll admit the provocative title piqued my curiosity. If anything, I decided to read to see if it was as controversial as it sounds and see what all the fuss over the book (in Italy) is about. (Apparently Costanza has caused such a stir over her book, which came out first in Italian and now in English, that there have been “riots” and talk of banning the book in Italy.)

What I liked about it:

Costanza, a working journalist, writer, wife, and mother of 4, seems like a fun and interesting person who cares deeply and passionately about preserving authentic and mutually respectful loving marriages. She shares a lot of advice and wisdom to women who are either contemplating marriage or are already married in a tell-it-like-she-sees it but with a good amount of tongue-in-cheek quips to go along. That said, the translation is great although I think I missed out on a few punch lines because I’m not well-acquainted with Italian humor and culture.  It was fun getting a little peek into what life for a mom, maybe a lot like myself, is like in Italy.

After reading it, I’ll honestly say this probably is not a book I would choose to read on my own but I’m glad I had the opportunity to see what it’s all about with an open mind. I can definitely understand why the title and the content would ruffle a few pretty feathers but it definitely gave me some munchies for my mind to chew on.

Without getting into any opinions as I know this can be a sensitive subject, I will say that I did not relate with everything Costanza writes about. However, I did  find it interesting to notice the similarities between her – an Italian woman and mother somewhat obsessed with fashion and giving out unsolicited advice – and I – an “American” woman who generally dislikes clothes and shopping or telling anyone what to do if they don’t want to hear it (except for my kids, of course).

What is Submission?

Before I share more, I’ll also say that it’s essential to understand what the word “submission” really means in the context of marriage and loving relationships. Costanza did a good job going into a deeper explanation of that on pages 112 – 120. In short, know that, in Italian, sotto mettere (submission) means to place under so as to be supportive.  I remember learning about this with a line drawn horizontally across the whiteboard and then a woman stick figure under a man on top with the woman’s arms holding up the man and the man’s hands holding up the woman.

Kind of like this…

_________^_________________

v

sort of…you’ll have to use your imagination. 😉

So, in this context, it is not a submission that says a woman should basically do whatever her husband tells her and never speak up against him. It is a sub-mission – a loving and generous submitting and giving oneself to another and in cooperation with that other person for their own good and the good of their family.

For the record, she also has a book for men – Marry Her and Die for Her.

If you can understand the true meaning of the word submission, then you can more fully understand and appreciate what Costanza means when she says, “Marry Him and Be Submissive”.

In other words, Love Him Selflessly and Support Him Generously with your Love.

Here’s a video of Costanza explaining her perspective on “submission” on the BBC Newsnight. 

Like I said, I probably wouldn’t have read this book on my own, and I found her tangents into fashion and other unrelated topics distracting for my already distracted brain. That said, she shares a great amount of wisdom about Women, Marriage, Motherhood and everything that goes along with it.

Here are some quotes from the book I liked: 

On Marriage and Commitment

[Your husband] is the means God has chosen to love you, and he is your pathway to heaven. Our vocation, whatever it is in life, is essentially to make each other happy. As Pavel Evdokimov, the Russian Orthodox theologian puts it, if the objective end of marriage is to generate children, the subjective end is to generate ourselves.
Without [your husband, you] cannot fully be yourself… And this task, with God’s help, you will regenerate yourself.

Nowadays everyone seems to be desperate to keep all options open…. What they don’t realize is that the choice to leave something open necessarily requires closing off some other possibility. Refusing to decide closes off the possibility of following a path that leads to depths of emotion and riches of spirit that the world has ever known. Experiencing an array of different love affairs won’t teach you as much about love as living a single experience of love in all its depth.

The choice of a profound and lasting love will help you embrace your everyday life…It will help you love your life… the path will lead you, through everyday life, up a slope that may be steep. But at the top, a great valley, will open up before you – a hidden and secret place that the back lanes of ‘feelings’ can never reach. It is experienced by very few…”

About Women, Emancipation, and Equality

“Today, we women are no longer required to act as servants, but we can choose to serve each other out of love and as a freely chosen response to a call. Men and women are very different, which has nothing to do with equal opportunities. We are not the same, and not recognizing this is a cause of certain suffering, as indeed happens every time we deny the truth.”

“Emancipation – which started out as a claim for Justice – led to a distorted idea of equality. Equality is not sameness. It is about giving equal dignity to two identities that could not be more different.”

To her young daughters  –

“My hope is that your generation and women can finally be at peace with itself, and I hope that you can fulfill your deepest identity by consciously choosing it. And so – and this really is an unfashionable wish – I hope that you will be, more than anything else, strong and thus welcoming, open to others and capable of bringing people together. And in a word, if you can, be good.”

Advice for Motherhood

Pages 148 – 150 contain many good words and thoughts about motherhood that any mother of young children could relate to, for example:

“It might be useful for you to know that if you need to go to the bathroom and you still managed to retain the right to close the door, you can place a toilet role against the wall and use it as a makeshift cushion to grab a couple of seconds of rest.”

“Lowering your expectations is always a wise move, and at certain points, a goal simply to survive is a sign of good sense.”

“So I have come to the conclusion that the main challenge of our life as parents, and mine as a mother, lies precisely in this: We have to learn to give them their freedom…The challenge comes…when our children begin to take a healthy distance from us; when they are no longer little satellites revolving around us; and when they grow up, not always in the way we would like. The point is this: it’s not for us to choose how their life will pan out. We have to get used to running the risk that they won’t turn out the way we had planned… But that they may actually be better than we had ‘planned.'”

“We have to have patience, let time pass, learn to accept things, and acknowledge that, on occasion, times will be tough; they might be dirty, naughty, and much more, but they will always be our children.”

On Maternity and Openness to Life

“Maternity on the other hand offers the possibility of learning that precious lesson of how to give of oneself. And women who learned that lesson move up a gear in life. They flourish…. If you try, with honesty and humility,…welcoming a new life into your own life can convert you and help you to be less selfish.”

“…there is no need to be perfect to make the decision to being open to life, nor is it possible to wait until you reach perfection before trying to bring up decent kids. You just do it as best you can, knowing that none of us are perfectly balanced or free of anxieties. You do it knowing that mistakes will come every day.”

On Sacrificial Love (in Marriage, Motherhood, and all relationships)

“Keep on giving even while you’re running on an empty tank, without ever looking back. Otherwise what you have is not love, it’s a contract, and for that you don’t need a husband, you need a housekeeper.”

“There’s a secret that the world hasn’t figured out that allows us to follow a luminous path through the daily grind of boredom, habit, misunderstanding, and annoyances…. It is summed up in one word – sacrifice. The daily struggle is transformed from a stumbling block into another word for love. It is no longer something that gets in the way of love: rather, it’s something that nourishes it and helps it to grow. Love doesn’t go out in the daily grind; its flame burns stronger.”

If these quotes and the title, Marry Him and Be Submissive, have tickled your curiosity as it did mine I suggest you give Costanza Miriano a chance and look at the issue of marriage, women, and submission from a unique perspective. You might even gain some extra fashion advice while you’re at it! 


10 Movies We Watched in 2016 2

Alright, finally, two months later, I’m ready to share our list of movies we watched last year – you know, in twenty sixteen.

10 Movies We Watched in 2016:

We tried listing these in the order we liked them (the first one being our most liked.)

Arrival

This is my husband’s favorite movie from last year. He liked everything.

The unique  idea of a time and a language that is happening all in one instant instead of chronologically totally fascinated me. I remember getting chills as we watched this, not because the theatre was cold, though it probably was, because I had an eerie feeling the movie makers had somehow found the secret door to my mind and saw some of my inner most thoughts.

Without giving away the unexpected twist of the movie, I have to say my other favorite part was the way one character decided to embrace life, even with all the suffering and pain she knew would come with it.

Experimenter

This was definitely my favorite last year. It was a random Netflix movie I’d never heard of that turned out to be great. (Now available on Amazon, also.) 

Experimenter paints a unique and abstract vision of social psychologist, Stanley Milgram’s, unconventional and controversial social experiments.

I’m a “people watcher”, I’ve always been intrigued by human behavior and the science of social psychology – the study of how people interact together. If you also find that fascinating or you’re in the mood for a random thinker movie, try Experimenter.

McFarland, USA

We watched this with our thirteen year old (gasp, did I just write that?) and we all really liked it. Maybe you think you’ve seen enough corny sports inspiration movies but give this a chance. We all are runners and cross-country has been part of mine and my husband’s life and now our daughter’s so we might be a bit partial.

Aside from the obvious “you can do it” theme of all inspirational sports movies, I also appreciated the lessons about diversity and showing a slice of what life has been like for migrants – how hard they have to work but also that they can become more.

The Fundamentals of Caring

This one has crass language throughout but, if you can get past that, it’s a really excellent film. You’ll laugh, you might cry, and your heart will feel all swelly with pride for the goodness in humanity. Watch it, you’ll love it. (Just remember, I did warn you about the language.)

Of Gods and Men

We’ve watched this twice now. Well, technically this was the first time watched it all the way through. My husband really, really liked it and so I wanted to give it another go.  It is slow-moving but…well that’s kind of the point.

It’s a movie about monks living in Algeria during a time of civil unrest. Somehow, in the midst of all that, they carve out a special place in the community for their religious community to live and serve the local people.

This is a simple movie that shows the beauty of prayerful work, loyalty, community and friendship.  Though they each have a chance to leave each other and save themselves, they all seem to ask the same unsaid question, “to where else would we go?”

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

This was a fun little “interlude” between the The Force Awakens and the upcoming Episode VIII, The Last Jedi (which apparently is plural!) Our daughter (who watched it with us) described it as much sadder and depressing that other Star Wars movies. I agree, it wasn’t meant to be uplifting but it was interesting watching that story branch from the previous storyline.    In case you’re wondering – no, you do not have to watch Rogue One to keep up with the other Star Wars movies. This is just a fun bonus for Star Wars fans.

The Walk 

I wasn’t sure how well I’d like this – I mean how interesting could a movie about a tightrope walker really be?It was surprisingly suspenseful, artistic, and historically interesting.

Jason Bourne

I always like me a good Jason Bourne movie. Fast, energetic, suspenseful. ‘Nough said.

Passengers

I had higher hopes for this one. The plot had exciting potential.The cliche relationship between the only man and woman was honestly a boring distraction from what could have been a much cooler movie. Still, I guess if you’re looking for a mildly exciting and interesting sci-fi/chick flick this might satisfy that mood.

10 Romero

I wanted to watch this before going to El Salvador last November.

Though I think some of the movie takes a few tangents from the true events, it still demonstrates a very accurate portrayal of who Archbishop Romero was and of the situation in El Salvador during that time. It made me appreciative of finding a Catholic church and not feeling afraid to pray and go to Mass safely.

Movies like these are harsh and hard to watch but they can help us know about the struggles and atrocities others have had to deal with and still do in many ways and places. We had thought about watching this with our 13-year-old but we’re very glad we decided not to since many of the scenes are so horrific and graphic.

We watched a few Netflix/Amazon Series last year:

Stranger Things

Mysteriously thrilling, nostalgicly fun for anyone who grew up in the 80’s. Watch out though, it gets kind of creepy.

House of Cards

I’m a little hesitant to admit we watched this. First, it’s got a whole lotta inappropriate content, we held the remote the whole time ready to fast forward when needed. I’ll admit it didn’t help with our growing cynicism about our American political situation. Let’s just say the writers of this series have a mastermind talent for inventing a very believable plot about the behind-the-scene relationships and corruption in government politics.

The Crown Netflix Original series

This was a nice series that we both enjoyed, maybe me more than my husband. It kind of fills the space in TV-series-watching left by the ending of Downton Abby. It’s got early 20th century fashion both in clothing and the setting, polished British accents, and all the propriety – and impropriety – that goes along. Like the rest of the world, the English monarchy intrigues me so I found The Crown both entertaining and informative, though I wonder how accurate it all is and I’m not sure this series would win the Queen’s “Royal Seal” of approval.

Man in the High Castle Season One

We watched this sometime last year, when my brain was foggy and numb with sadness. So maybe it wasn’t the best series to watch but I stuck with it nonetheless. I found it mildly entertaining and the suspense motivated me to keep watching even though it was hard to understand what was going on and, to me, it took too long to reach a point when I felt like maybe I was starting to at least grasp at the plot.

Well there it is, our 2016 Movie-Watching List. Now I can get started on movies we’ve watched this year. Any new suggestions?

 

(This post contains Amazon Affiliate links, Amazon sends me a little “thank you” from purchases you make via clicking on any of those links.)

 


Keep Your Kids Catholic: Sharing Your Faith and Making It Stick {Book Review} 2

While I’m still working on my movie update post (We watched too many last year), here’s a book review to keep my blog from completely falling into the dark internet abyss.

I asked my friend, Joel – father of 4 and an amazing Catholic elementary school teacher, if he’d like to read and review this book and so here it is! Thanks, Joel, for sharing!

Keep Your Kids Catholic: Sharing Your Faith and Making It Stick 

by  Marc Cardaronella

Parenting is hard. One of my good friends has an expression whenever we are commiserating about each other’s children and their idiosyncrasies: “They don’t come with owners manuals.” Navigating the minefields of raising a kid in the digital age is a daunting task. There is no roadmap because we’re all forging new paths in the here and now. Most of us are winging it. We’ve slinged together a game plan based off what our parents did that worked and what our parents did that didn’t work. Maybe we’re lucky enough to have some older siblings that we can learn from their parenting mistakes and triumphs. Hopefully, we’re plugged into a network of friends that can lend encouragement and advice.

But the reality is, many parents feel very alone and unsure of what exactly they are doing.  A lot of good parenting tools have gotten lost in the mix and not passed down between generations. This is especially true when we talk about passing on the faith. After all, for their parents, faith was such a private thing. It just wasn’t discussed. And that has left our generation of parents unsure of how exactly to pray with our kids, let alone how to help them develop a personal relationship with Christ.

Enter this book, Keep Your Kids Catholic: Sharing Your Faith and Making It Stick by  Marc Cardaronella, which the amazing Erika from over at Simplemama put into my hands and asked me to do a review for.  It is a quick, easy read that confirms many of the hunches you’ve already been feeling, puts forward reflections that open your eyes in new ways, and offers specific steps you can take to strengthen your family. I often find parenting advice books obvious or sanctimonious, but Cardaronella’s writing is relatable and beneficial.

One of my favorite points of the book was discussing how important it is for parents to articulate the faith. This is also really helpful advice for teachers. Cardaronella starts by describing Bl. John Henry Newman’s approach.
“Newman didn’t just give knowledge; he gave himself…When he discussed a topic, he not only gave the doctrinal understanding of the subject, he also gave the background of how he came to believe it. Most students will accept a doctrine as true because the Church teaches it. However, they’ll allow it to become part of their lives only if an instructor pulls back the curtain to expose personal convictions and motivations.

When Newman discussed a topic, he not only gave the doctrinal understanding of the subject, he also gave the background of how he came to understand it and why he believed it…Cardinal Newman’s cure was to transform the notional into the real-to engage the spectator, bring him or her off the sidelines of intellectual passivity, and impart an awareness of the intersection between life and religious truth. For him, the crucial question is not how is it true, but how is it true for you? How does it affect your life and what does it mean for your particular situation?”

The author’s tips to parents on how you can begin to articulate the faith to your kids:

Tell them why you believe something, why you didn’t use to believe but now you do, how your thinking evolved, what the turning point was, or why you think it’s important.

Cardaronella also offers a really good reflection on the Parable of the Sower. This was probably my favorite part of the book. He says it’s not really a parable about the seed, it’s all about the soil, and then leads us through a reflection of the soil in our home. To paraphrase these chapters: Break open the hard ground. Deepen your roots. Clear away the thorns. Till your fertile ground. You can improve the soil! Some of the seeds bear fruit, thirty, and sixty, and a hundredfold. If it’s all good soil, why doesn’t it have the same yield? Clearly some patches of soil are more fertile than others. How can you tend to your fertile soil to improve it even more?
Another great quote: “Of all the thorns, probably the most dangerous are the never-ending lists of activities and interests that capture our hearts. Religion is just one player in the tightly contested battle for time, attention, and energy. Usually religion loses. By far the biggest offender is sports. Let’s be honest, though; the responsibility for these thorns doesn’t rest with kids. Parents are the ones prioritizing sports and other activities over Mass, religious education, and devotional practices. I’m not saying kids shouldn’t be active, but time is a precious commodity. You have to weed your children’s schedule to allow space for God.”

These were just some of the quotes that I didn’t want to forget. I really liked this book and I think it could open up some great discussion among parents united in the trenches.

 

Thanks again, Joel, for reading and sharing your review of Keep Your Kids Catholic: Sharing Your Faith and Making It Stick by  Marc Cardaronella.

I enjoyed chatting with Marc Cardaronella on a CatholicMom.com CM Hangout and I encourage everyone to check out his book!

(Amazon Affiliate links included in this post, Amazon sends me a wee little thank you for purchases made via these links. )


Catching Up – Books I’ve Read, Reading, Hope to Read… 1

Well, hello.

It’s been a while, I know.

I’d like to blog again but it’s hard to know where to start after such a long hiatus. So I’ll start with books, since it’s easier, right now for me, to write about what others have written than to formulate words of my own.

I wish I could put together a Top 10 Books I read in 2016 like I’ve done in years past. Honestly, 2016 hardly exists in my mind, it’s too difficult to remember much from it.  I normally love reading but my mind’s been so foggy, I find it difficult to get through one page of a book before zoning out.

So I’ll just do my best to remember what I did read, what I’ve been trying to read, and what I’m hoping to start reading soon.

What I Did Read

Laurus by Eugene Vodolazkin

This was the only fictional work I read last year, sometime in February, after a friend’s enthusiastic recommendation. It feels like a dream now, my mind was still shocked and numb from my father’s unexpected passing just a couple months before that. I will say that I did really, really like this book. It was exactly what I needed at the time. Yet, I wouldn’t recommend it to just anyone. It takes place in old Russia and, though written and published in our own modern time (2012), it maintains an ancient air, as if it was written centuries ago, hidden in a deep Russian forest, and only recently rediscovered.  Similar to Kirstin LavransdattarLaurus is an epic portrayal of human frailty, constant seeking and the great pilgrimage that is life.

101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person: Helping Singles Find Each Other, Contemplate Marriage, and Say I Do by Betsey Kerekes and Jennifer Roback Morse.

After reading and reviewing 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage: Simple Ways for Couples to Grow Closer to God and to Each Other , Betsey emailed me last Fall and asked if I’d like to read their newest book, 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person. I really enjoyed the layout from their first book with a very short one-page reflection for each tip, it was very easy to read and the tips were simple and easily applicable. After reading through this new one, providing 101 tips for those who aren’t married yet, I enjoyed it just as well for the same reasons as their first.

Obviously I’m married already and don’t have to worry about dating anymore (thank goodness!), I still found the tips very interesting and helpful. I lent it to a single friend who said that while she’s not really ready for a book like this quite yet as she’s not seriously dating anyone right now, she still enjoyed the ease of reading the tips and could tell it could be useful to someone in a more serious relationship.

I’d recommend this book as a gift for a single friend or family member – as long as they are open to it!

Still Reading…

Marry Him and Be Submissive by Costanza Miriano T

My friends at Tan Publishing reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in checking this one out. I have to admit, the title itself is quite provocative and I can see why there’d be a wee bit of controversy over it. Apparently it has caused quite a stir in Italy where Costanza lives so my curiosity won out and I said I’d give it a go.  I’ll report back soon.

Fearless: Conquer Your Demons and Love with Abandon by Sonja Corbitt

One day I went to the mailbox and there was a package with this beautiful book smiling up at me. Ave Maria Press knows what I like and I’m happy to get a chance to share another of Sonja’s books. If you have heard of or read Sonja’s book, Unleashed: How to Receive Everything the Holy Spirit Wants to Give You, you know Fearless is another outpouring of Sonya’s Spirit-filled love for Christ and His Beloved – YOU. In Fearless, Sonja invites readers to lay out their fears and doubts that pose an obstacles to their spiritual relationship with God and the people around them. With this book, Sonja provides a guide to Catholic Woman to help us overcome our spiritual fears and live a life full of love and joy and trust

33 Days to Merciful Love: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Consecration to Divine Mercy

Speaking of Trust, I just got this book and my husband and I are going to try and work our way through it togethers. We read/prayed Gaitley’s 33 Days to Morning Glory together and we have done several Marian “To Jesus Through Mary” consecrations over the years so I’ve been looking for something that focuses specifically on a consecration to Jesus directly. I thought about trying his Consoling the Heart of Jesus but this Merciful Love seems simpler and hopefully a little easier for us both to get through together.

And I’ll add another plug for The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion: A Book of Daily Reflections our CatholicMom.com book.  

Now just because I’m one of the published authors doesn’t mean I have a bias, I really am enjoying this book! I try to sit and read the day’s reflection in the morning or whenever I can sneak in a quiet moment. The reflections are always so applicable to my own life and struggles and they provide much encouragement and guidance for personal reflection. 

Going to Read:

Station to Station: An Ignatian Journey through the Stations of the Cross by Gary Jansen

The great people at Loyola Press reached out last fall and asked if I’d like to read and review this. Christmas is still lingering but Lent will begin soon and I’m looking forward to reading this as a Lenten reflection.

Counting by 7’s

And, because one can only read so many spiritual and religious books, I needed to throw in a good fiction read for good measure. My daughter, 7th grade, read this and really, really likes it. I think I started it a while back and now I hope to finish it.

It’s fun that we both get to read the same books now that she’s getting older. At the same time, the world of Young Adult literature can be a scary place but it gives me a good excuse to read books along with her and then we can talk about it together.

Well, that’s my life-in-books update for now. I’m working on a Movie update next! I know at least one person who’ll be excited about that. 🙂

 

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