Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Good Words: book review

It's taken me a while to get back here again, but I'm back with another book review for you. The Catholic Company sent me a review copy of Good Words: Inspiration for Catholic Women.

Wow. I can't say enough good things about this little book! It's divided up into 16 sections based on Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. You know it--
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die,
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted,
a time to kill, and a time to heal,
a time to break down, and a time to build up,
a time to weep, and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn, and a time to dance,
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together,
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to seek, and a time to lose,
a time to keep, and a time to throw away,
a time to tear, and a time to sew,
time to keep silence, and a time to speak,
a time to love, and a time to hate,
a time for war, and a time for peace.

This little book has excerpts and short passages from many of the books that have been published by St. Anthony Messenger Press authors, and then there are a couple of questions for reflection after each excerpt. I can easily see this as a starter for a daily devotional practice. I plan to use this in that way but I will also pull from it to use these little pieces as opening prayers/moments of reflection at the beginning of our Mothers Ministry meetings. I love that there are so many different topics in this little book; that really makes it useful for anything. Seriously, look at how many little markers I have in my copy of the book! :)

If I had a word of criticism for this book it's that there isn't an index by topic in the end of the book. The index simply lists the different contributors. I wish that I could look up "pain", for instance, or "finding my path" or something like that and then have a cross referenced list of which reflections might match that theme. I'll make my own index, though, because I really feel as if this is a resource that I'll come back to time and time again. If you're looking for something easy to use to help you kick-start your Lent, this might be just the thing for you. I'd say that you could read the excerpt and the questions for reflection in a matter of minutes--it's up to you how long you spend in actual reflection, though! :)

I wrote this review of Good Words: Inspiration for Catholic Women for the The Catholic Company Review program, a great source for Baptism Gifts and First Communion Gifts. For more information and to purchase, please visit The Catholic Company.

I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for The Catholic Company, but the content of my reviews is not dictated by them and comes solely from my opinion.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Review of Motherless by Brian Gail

Oh, my poor neglected blog, it has been a LONG time! I'm really going to try to get back into the blogging thing, both with some book reviews and with a photo-a-day project for 2011. Ambitious, I know, but we'll see how it goes.

Let me kick off this posting revival with a review of Motherless by Brian Gail.

Motherless is a sequel to Brian Gail's premiere novel Fatherless and is part 2 in his The American Tragedy in Trilogy.  After hearing endless positive reviews about Fatherless, I fell in love with the world that Brian Gail created. Needless to say, when I got the opportunity to receive a copy of Motherless for review, I jumped at the chance, only hoping that Gail could capture the magic again. He didn't disappoint!

While Fatherless was set in Philadelphia in the late 20th Century, Motherless moves forward about 20 years and revisits many of the same characters as they have aged and moved on to different stages in their lives. The captivating characters from Fatherhood are back: Father Sweeney, a priest who encountered a crisis of faith in the previous novel but has grown stronger and more steadfast since, Maggie Kealey, a Catholic woman strong in her faith and values, Joe Delgado, an executive in the pharmaceutical industry who must wrestle between his faith and his career, and Michael Burns, the engaging ad executive who won our hearts in Fatherless for standing up for his beliefs despite the cost. Father Sweeney has grown deeper in his faith and must now struggle with making choices concerning his mother's Alzheimer's Disease and also with providing good and faithful counsel to parishioners who rely on him for guidance. Maggie Kealey's husband left her for another woman 20 years ago, and she picked up the pieces and became a nurse and has since risen through the ranks and has been named the CEO of Regina Hospital in South Philadelphia. Never did she imagine that she'd be immediately tasked with navigating the waters of insuring that her institution is both faithful to Catholic teaching and profitable at the same time. I think that the most interesting parts of this storyline involve Joe Delgado and Michael Burns and their struggles to live their faith despite the pull of society and especially their careers. Delgado is an executive in the pharmaceutical industry and Burns is the head of an advertising agency, and each is asked to ignore his Catholic faith and what he knows is a steadfast position of the Church in order to do his job. Gail does a terrific job of showing the struggles that these men face with their consciences as they try to discern and rationalize their choices.

The focus of Motherless is on in vitro fertilization, cloning, and genetic manipulation, and I think that the genius of Gail's writing is that, while this is a fictional piece, there is much that could very well become our reality. Some of the struggles that Maggie Kealey faces as a new CEO of a Catholic hospital are doctors who prescribe contraceptives and refer patients out for treatments that aren't approved by the Catholic Church--struggles that are mirrored in hospitals and medical practices in reality. The genetic manipulation technologies that are discussed in Motherless are real and the "Big Fix" proposed by Delgado and Burns' bosses is chilling to consider but also not out of the realm of imagination.

Motherless offers one author's imaginings of where these new discoveries and technologies could be leading us, and those imaginings should give us pause as we consider what we are really getting ourselves into. Brian Gail's Motherless is an engaging read with realistic and likable characters. I was very pleased with the development of the story and will encourage others to read it as well. If this review has you intrigued, then check it out for yourself and let me know what you think!

I received this book for review from The Catholic Company. The Catholic Company is also a great source for serenity prayer and baptism gifts.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I Heart Faces "Best Faces" photo challenge

I've been meaning to get back into blogging... :)

I've been reading the I Heart Faces Photography blog lately, and I'm inspired by their weekly challenges. This week's challenge is "Best Faces", so I thought I'd give it a whirl. Here's a pic of Miss Katie that I just love:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fun Halloween Giveaway from the team members at The DigiChick!

Halloween is almost here, and the Staff at The DigiChick thought that it would be fun to do a little trick or treating digital style!

I made a fun little November desktop for your computer. Here's a preview:

Click here to download! Thank you so much to Kim Wresh, Pamela Donnis, and Mari Koegelenberg for allowing me to use their designs for this project!

Here is the list of the TDC CT/Designers passing out treats on their blogs. Be sure to stop by each one for some goodies!

Tiffany -
LuAnn -
Cheryl -
Mel -
Kelley -
Sinead -
Tracy -
Pam -
Elise -
Jill -
Jenn -
Kara -
Heather -
Juli -
Mari -
Julie -
Linda -
Dani -
Cheryl -
Kelleigh -
ViVa -
The Hybrid Chick -

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Long time no post!

Boy, that resolution to post more often fell by the wayside, huh? :) Life with 3 little monkeys is pretty chaotic; that and I spend about 4 hrs a day in the car between school drop-offs and pick-ups. At any rate...

Perhaps a few photos... (Mom, you have seen these first few :) )

A couple of Molly...

I love that last one. Katie is really so sweet with Molly, despite the widely spread (by me, mostly) reputation for being DangerGirl. Molly lights up whenever either of her sisters comes around.

A few more from our most recent trip to LaGrange over Fall Break...
Molly and my mom:

One of my two super cute nephews:

Sweet Maggie:

Miss Katie (ok, this one is kinda funny. I think she was talking or something.)

My two big girls together:

My sweet sister and my even sweeter niece:

Fiona probably won't be happy with me for posting that, but I like it--I like that completely content look on MM's face. :)

Yet again, I'm going to try to do better with posting. I'll have a Halloween treat from some of the digital goodness of The DigiChick for Halloween, so swing back by! :)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A group shot and some random pics

While we were in LaGrange a couple of weeks ago (yeah, it took me a while to edit and upload the pics), I took the girls to the playground and my sweet sister and my niece met us there. The three big girls (Maggie, Katie, and Mary Maddox) had a blast on the slide and I was trying to get a pic of them going down all at the same time. Here's my best attempt:

From left to right, that's Katie, Mary Maddox, and Maggie. :)

I can't believe it, but Miss Molly is already 7 weeks old! Where did the time go? She's really smiling at us now, especially at her big sisters who love her to bits. Maggie likes to come over to talk to Molly, and Katie comes over to kiss her on the head from time to time throughout the day. For a kiddo who generally isn't very gentle, she's surprisingly careful with Molly. She's also a great early warning system, yelling "He's crying!!" any time she hears Molly crying. Sure, she's got the gender pronoun wrong and I'm almost always holding Molly at the time she's crying and Katie sounds the alarm, but it's the thought that counts, right? :)

Here's 7 week old Molly:

I've been trying to get a picture of the three girls together. That process is a laugh all by itself. Here's one of the best that I've gotten so far:

Katie was moving in to kiss Molly. Poor Molly looks a bit like she's being strangled, huh? I think that right after this shot was one of those "He's crying!" moments from Molly and Katie.
Here's another cute one of the two big girls loving on Molly, though:

I've got some 4th of July pics to edit and upload, so I'll try to get those done in the next few days. I also need to work on Molly's birth announcement. :) Until next time!

Gran and Molly

We went to visit my mom and dad in LaGrange and Mom got to spend some quality time with little Molly. :)

I'm not sure that my mom would be happy with me posting that last pic, but I really love it! :) hehehe They're so cute!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Summertime and Bubbles

My girls have been enjoying these first weeks of summer! I picked up some great bubble wands from Dollar General (they are huge, and you don't actually have to blow the bubbles, so it's easier for little kiddos to make cool bubbles) and set them up outside while Molly was napping.

Apparently Maggie feels that bubbles are close enough to water and therefore require a swimsuit. ;) Katie just had a blast running around chasing the bubbles.

See the big huge (and cool!) bubbles that Maggie was able to make? That's not even a great shot--they were super cool!

The wind helped Katie "blow" some bubbles, too.

Maggie went back to the old school way of blowing bubbles.

and Katie had a song to sing...

Finally, here's a little Molly goodness. She's still sleeping a lot (yay for that!), and she's a super sweet baby. At her 3 week check up, she'd moved up from 9lbs 7oz to 10lbs 10oz and from 21" to 23". Clearly she's growing well! :)

We're heading out to the story hour at the library tomorrow morning. Fun! Have a great week!