#WorthRevisit: Book News

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A few months ago, I mentioned that I’m a contributor to a new devotional in the CatholicMom.com line of books from Ave Maria Press. Well, the publication date is coming up, so I’m going to revisit that story again and remind you to preorder your copy now–this way you can have it as soon as it’s released!

One of the cool things about writing for CatholicMom.com is the group of terrific contributors. Every single one brings something different to the table, and it’s wonderful to be a part of this group.

Even more wonderful is the opportunity to participate in writing a book with these talented authors! Coming this August, The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion features the work of over 80 CM contributors, including the site’s founder, Lisa M. Hendey.

I wrote four reflections for this book of short daily devotions which publishes August 29 from Ave Maria Press. Preorder your copy now and you’ll have it on the first day it’s available.

I’ve had the chance to peek at an advance reader copy of this book, and it’s absolutely wonderful! It’s a privilege to be a part of this spiritual resource.

In just one week, I’ll be in the Chicago area for the Catholic Writers Guild/Catholic Marketing Network conference, and we’ll be meeting at the Ave Maria Press booth for an author photo. Unfortunately, not every contributor will be able to be there, but I’m looking forward to seeing many of the writers behind this excellent book.

CM Prayer Companion cover art

Your purchase of The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion through my Amazon affiliate link helps support FranciscanMom. Thanks!
worth revisit

I’m linking up with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for #WorthRevisit Wednesday, a place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link up with fellow bloggers!

On Barb’s Bookshelf: Pope Francis Takes the Bus

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What’s Pope Francis really like? You’ve heard bits and pieces in news stories about him paying his own hotel bill, riding the bus around Buenos Aires and forgoing a plush Papal apartment in favor of a life in community. Italian journalist Rosario Carello has put together eighty vignettes from the life of Pope Francis in a book that will help readers get to know the Pope in his new book, Pope Francis Takes the Bus.

pope francis takes the bus

The title of this book might make you think it was written for children. (Or maybe I’ve spent too much time reading Mo Willems’ Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! with the first-graders.) This impression is carried even further when you see that the table of contents is arranged alphabetically, like an ABC picture book: “F is for…Francis.” While the stories themselves can be easily understood by children, the vocabulary used in this book will challenge readers below the middle-school level. If your children are younger, consider reading it yourself and simplifying the word choice as you share the stories with your children. The stories are wonderful, and many of them involve children, so your younger family members will certainly enjoy hearing them.

This book centers on the Pope’s humility as his distinguishing trait. The anecdotes in the book are all designed to demonstrate that the Pope deliberately chooses to live that virtue.

I do think that there is a danger, in writing a biography of a Church figure, to canonize a person while he is still alive. Carello walks that fine line in this book, and that’s understandable, because he’s not out to make the Pope look bad.

If you’d like to learn about Pope Francis’ life through stories about more than just his papacy, this book is for you.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links; your purchase through these links helps support this blog. Thank you! I was given a free review copy of this book, but no other compensation. Opinions expressed here are mine alone.

Small Success: The View from My Office(s)

Incline My Heart

Thursdays at CatholicMom.com begin with a look at the past week’s Small Successes!

My Fitness Streak is still going. Even on the day when I dared not leave the house because just as my alarm went off, TheKid’s continuous glucose monitor also alarmed with a low blood sugar reading, I got in a short workout on my Gazelle machine in the laundry room. (Hubs gets the overnights. Once I’m up in the morning, I’m on duty.)

Yesterday’s morning sky, even though cloudy, was stunning as I headed off for my walk.

Incline My Heart

In other news, it’s summer and I need to roll with that. TheKid is at theatre camp, so I’ve been praying at other churches and working at Dunkin’ Donuts and the library on some days, because they both have free WiFi and it beats driving 20 minutes each way to go back home and work from there. Still, I feel a bit at odds with the schedule changes.

My Dunkin' office. Hot coffee and a big table where I can spread out.
My Dunkin’ office. Hot coffee and a big table where I can spread out.

 

The library has some comfortable chairs, but no coffee (though I saw a kid walk in with a milkshake the other day.)
The library has some comfortable chairs, but no coffee (though I saw a kid walk in with a milkshake the other day.)

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Share your Small Successes at CatholicMom.com by joining the linkup in the bottom of today’s post. No blog? List yours in the comments box!

#WorthRevisit: A Wise Choice

Father H

For Worth Revisit Wednesday, I’m thinking about Mass. TheKid is attending theatre camp, so I can’t easily make it back here on time for daily Mass. There are two closer churches that I can attend, and while they’re not “home,” a Mass at some other parish is better than no Mass at all.

On Friday, I attended the Church Where Everybody Knows Your Name. Or at least Father does. At the end of his homily he asked mine. A woman in front of me turned around and said that Father likes to know everyone’s name. Then, during the prayer of the faithful, he named every single person in that building (at least 50 people!) I was amazed.

Father H

Let’s look back at a one-liner today, from 2007. I miss Father H’s homilies!

Father H, in his mini-nugget of wisdom that passes for a homily at daily Mass, told us that “Every time we hear the Gospel at Mass we are left with a choice.” (chew on THAT for a while–he’s right!)

worth revisit

I’m linking up with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for #WorthRevisit Wednesday, a place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link up with fellow bloggers!

On Barb’s Bookshelf: Unclaimed

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Tired of the same old beach reads already this summer? Why not step out of your comfort zone and try a book that’s like nothing you’ve ever read before?

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Unclaimed, a dystopian spin on Jane Eyre, transports the reader into a world that, disturbingly, seems just around the corner. I was captivated by Jane E’s boldness and resilience as she navigated the challenging circumstances of living with a genetic defect in a designer-gene world. Erin McCole Cupp’s novel is a blend of three genres I rarely read (19th-century novel, dystopian fiction and fanfic) and it’s definitely a combo that works.

Unclaimed is the first of three novellas in the “Jane_E” series; the next installment is scheduled for release in early October.

I read this book before the cover design was released, and I’m beyond impressed at how well the design complements the story.

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A QUICK INTERVIEW with Erin McCole Cupp, author of Unclaimed: The Memoirs of Jane E, Friendless Orphan (Book 1)

 
Q: So what made you think you could get away with rewriting Jane Eyre?
 
EMC: I never expected to get away with it! I think of it as more of a translation than a rewrite, anyway, and when you’re reading a translation, you must always keep in mind that it is but a pale image of the original.  At any rate, way back in Y2K, I had spent the first part of the year reading a steady diet of William Gibson, Neal Stephenson and Bruce Sterling–the revered trifecta of the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction.  When our summer vacation came around, I decided I’d take a vacation from reading for professional development as an aspiring SF writer and bought a bunch of books from the literary classics bargain bin at a boardwalk bookshop.  A few chapters into Jane Eyre, my mind kept throwing up these weird parallels between the character of Helen Burns as Jane’s spirit guide and the character of Molly as Case’s spirit guide in Gibson’s Neuromancer. I remember thinking, “Wow, Jane Eyre would’ve made great cyberpunk.” [beat] “Oh, crap, now I have to write it!”  
 
Q:  That was sixteen years ago, and the first edition of Jane_E dropped a decade ago. What made you decide to revisit your first novel and rerelease it electronically? 
 
EMC: I just think (“hope” might be a better word) that the audience might be ready for it a bit more now compared to ten years ago.  I’d already been thinking of re-releasing it as a single book and getting a fresh cover, having it available in hard copy as well as electronic format.  However… it’s a long book when taken all in one slice! Jane’s story (mine as well as the Bronte version) also divides itself naturally into three parts: her early years, her developing relationship with her employer, and then everything that happens after that relationship catches fire, for lack of a better term (and those of you who’ve read Jane Eyre know of which I speak).  I figured that by breaking it down into smaller portions, a reader could take a chance on Book 1 (Unclaimed) without the commitment to some giant tome.  Of course if you want the giant tome, that’s still available.        
 
Q: So when do the next two books come out?  
 
EMC:  I’m looking at October 7 for Nameless (Book 2)  and December 6 for Runaway.  
 
Q: Why make us wait so long?!
 
EMC: Because I’m mean.  Ha!  Actually, there’s the cover art to take care of, thanks to Fiona Jayde Media.  I also wanted to give the text a little extra polish that may have gotten lost in the initial editing, which was done when I had infant twins.  I’m working with Rebecca Willen over at Our Hearts are Restless, and she’s great–reasonable, thorough, no-nonsense–but I’m also letting those aforementioned twins (now 12 and homeschooled) provide an additional level of copyediting.  
 
Q: What’s that like, letting your children correct your work?
 
EMC:  You mean, besides the weird factor of letting them read something on the edgy side that came out of my brain before they were even born?  Actually, it’s a lot less stressful than I thought it would be.  It’s a good way to model humility, really.  I mean, I’m the one always correcting their work, and now I’m letting them turn the tables.  I think it’s good for all three of us.   
 
Q: Any other projects in the works?  
 
EMC:  Always!  Besides the Jane E series, I’m a contributor to The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, which is available on pre-order for an August 29th release.  I’m also working with Ellen Gable of Full Quiver Publishing on an anthology of Theology of the Body fiction and poetry tentatively titled Image and Likeness.  That’s exciting, working with so many talented authors, and that’s scheduled for a October 22 release.  Finally, I’m still pecking away at the first draft of the sequel to my murder mystery Don’t You Forget About Me.  

This post contains Amazon affiliate links; your purchase through these links helps support this blog. Thank you! I was given a free review copy of this book, but no other compensation. Opinions expressed here are mine alone.

Small Success: Fitness Streak

A few highlights from my week in fitness.

Thursdays at CatholicMom.com begin with a look at the past week’s Small Successes!

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If you’ve hung around this blog long enough, you’ll remember that I spent several weeks in a boot last winter, trying to heal from tendinitis in my foot. Actually, I have it in both feet, but one was worse than the other.

I got out of the boot in January and was cleared to just do neighborhood walking soon afterward.

And, to be honest, I was afraid. I walked around the corner to the strip mall once or twice, but wouldn’t go farther than that, because I didn’t want to be too far from home if my foot began to hurt. I didn’t want to damage it even more–I’d been told by the doctor that foot surgery would be in my future at that point.

A few weeks ago I worked up the guts to walk around my block (0.9 miles)–and wound up with shin splints for my trouble. It’s enough of a slope, I guess, for that to be a factor, though nothing compared to the hills in the area where I grew up, which I used to walk around on all the time.

When it comes to exercise, I’m basically lazy. I don’t want to do it and will find easy excuses not to. The combination of laziness and fear was paralyzing.

And as spring came around, so many of my friends began sharing photos of their runs. I rejoiced with them at their progress–with more than a twinge of jealousy. No, I don’t run–and I never will again. I’m not allowed to run. I’m also not allowed on a treadmill, which is the one thing I enjoyed doing at the gym.

This week, though, I made myself get out there. I’ve done some exercise each morning for the past 7 days. 5 of those days were neighborhood walks, after I cleared it with my back-door neighbor that I could cut through her backyard to get to a flatter area for a walk. Twice, I went to the gym and rode the bike, which is the exercise my doctor recommended for me, but which I hate.

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Today, I brought my Kindle to the gym and propped it up on the little shelf where the display screen is, and changed the font to a larger size. Instead of watching how many miles I’d pedaled, I read a novel. 25 minutes on the bike sped by. I’ll do that again. Anything to get guilt-free reading time! I can stomach the bike when there’s a good story to keep me distracted.

A few highlights from my week in fitness.
A few highlights from my week in fitness.

Share your Small Successes at CatholicMom.com by joining the linkup in the bottom of today’s post. No blog? List yours in the comments box!

Note: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Your purchase through these links supports Franciscanmom.com. Thank you!

#WorthRevisit: An Act of Will

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From deep in the archives–ten years ago:

Last week I read on Happy Catholic that “sorrow is an act of the will, not of feeling.”

I was chewing on that all week long, it seems.

Last night I had a very odd dream. At the end, I was sitting at a picnic table with a priest who was my pastor until 4 1/2 years ago, when we changed parishes after a series of events that left us angry, confused and heartbroken. And we felt that the pastor was doing nothing about it, and didn’t care.

In my dream last night I told this priest, “I’m still angry.” And he answered, “I know.” And THEN I said, “I wonder if anger is like sorrow–an act of the will?”

After 4 1/2 years, I think it is. We’re back at that parish now, with a different pastor, and that has been very healing to us. But there’s still some anger there, obviously. Why do I still hang on to that?

Ten years later, I have to admit I’m still hanging on to some of that anger, that feeling of betrayal.

Holding on to a grudge? Clearly, it’s my superpower–and not just in this situation. It’s not a good superpower to have, either. I have yet to find a way to use my ability to hold a grudge for good.

If holding on to anger is an act of the will, so is letting go. That’s what I need to focus on.

worth revisit

I’m linking up with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for #WorthRevisit Wednesday, a place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link up with fellow bloggers!

An Open Book: June 2016 Reads

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The first Wednesday of each month, Carolyn Astfalk hosts #OpenBook, where bloggers link posts about books they’ve read recently. Here’s a taste of what I’ve been reading:

Fiction

sunflowers in a hurricaneSunflowers in a Hurricane by Anne FayeThis is the story of a life-changing summer as seen through the eyes of three characters: teenage Ruth, her single mom Cheryl and their elderly neighbor George. It’s hard to get three voices to ring strong and true in a novel, but Anne Faye has achieved this in Sunflowers in a Hurricane. The characters will draw the reader in; their transformations throughout the story are true-to-life without being predictable. My full review of the novel is here.

unclaimed coverUnclaimed by Erin McCole Cupp. This dystopian spin on Jane Eyre transports the reader into a world that, disturbingly, seems just around the corner. I was captivated by Jane E’s boldness and resilience as she navigated the challenging circumstances of living with a genetic defect in a designer-gene world. Erin McCole Cupp’s novel is a blend of three genres I rarely read (19th-century novel, dystopian fiction and fanfic) and it’s definitely a combo that works.

priest and the peachesThe Priest and the Peaches  by Larry Peterson introduces the Peach family at a crisis point in their lives: the sudden death of their father. Their mother had died a few years prior, and these kids ranging in age from 18 to 7 are completely on their own as 1966 begins. Now the two oldest, Teddy and Joanie, have to figure out how to get food on the table and pay the rent for their Bronx apartment. They’re reminded, in the midst of hardship, just how much their father lived by his favorite catchphrase, “L-Y-N” (love your neighbor), what it costs to do this, and how living this way will change their lives.

demons of abadonThe Demons of Abadon by Larry Peterson follows the family as summer approaches and their parish priest arranges for the two youngest boys, Joey and Beeker, to stay with friends of his in northwestern New Jersey. This is an unsettling tale of a spiritual battle; the Abadon forest is infested by “darkened” souls who don’t want 7-year-old Joey, innocent and very in tune with God, anywhere near them. Strange and scary things begin to happen, and you’ll keep turning pages to find out what’s behind the disturbing events in Abadon and how the Peach kids and the Winters family who took them in will weather this spiritual storm.

song of silenceSong of Silence by Cynthia Ruchti opens with a music teacher losing her lifelong passion as the arts program at her school is completely eliminated. Her grief is complicated by her husband’s eagerness to stick close–too close–by her side during every moment of the day. Adrift, she seeks to find a way to bring the song back to her heart, only to discover the depths of real grief after a boating accident. I didn’t want this novel to end, and I will look for more by this author.

not so good in a room(Not So) Good in a Room by Dakota Madison. Cyrano de Bergerac meets the casting couch in this light romance. Nellie is a screenwriter who can script a terrific action movie but freezes up when it’s time to pitch. An unmotivated screenwriter offers the services of his actor to help sell Nellie’s scripts–but then the work won’t be known as hers, and crushes complicate matters.

just a matter of timeJust a Matter of Time by Charity Tahmaseb is a YA paranormal romance (definitely not my usual genre) but I was intrigued by the premise: a student figures out how to “steal time” from other students, decreasing their ability to focus on their work. I wish this were a full-length novel.

 

Full Cycle coverFull Cycle by Christopher Blunt. Perfect for readers age 10 and up–and their parents, this father-son story follows sixth-grader Alex Peterson, a wanna-be athlete hindered from achieving this goal by an injury he received in an accident at his own birthday party. This is a story of perseverance, of teamwork and of looking beyond a disability to draw upon talents yet untapped. It would make a great movie. My full review is here.

Dying for Revenge Final FrontDying for Revenge by Dr. Barbara Golden is heavy on the suspense with none of the blood and guts. In other words, it kept me turning pages (and pages and pages), but I was still able to sleep without nightmares and I didn’t lose my appetite. The main character is a pathologist/investigator haunted by her own grief and desire for revenge. There’s much more than a mystery in this thriller; it’s the story of a soul in torment. My full review is here.

Nonfiction

find a real friend in JesusFind a Real Friend in Jesus by Gary Zimak. The author describes “Ten Amazingly Easy Steps” to encounter Jesus in your own life. While the steps may be “easy,” they do require effort on your part–but that effort will bear great spiritual fruit! Find a Real Friend in Jesus is easy to read and an excellent book to take to prayer as you seek to draw closer to the Lord. My full review of this book is here.

creedThe Creed by Scott Hahn. In this very readable book, Hahn traces the history of, first, the Jewish covenants and then the Christian creeds. The reader will learn that every single word of the Creed is important. Every word is there for a reason. The Creed proclaims both mystery (God becomes man) and history (Jesus was born, walked the earth, died and rose.) My full review is here.

my life as lauraMy Life as Laura: How I Searched for Laura Ingalls Wilder and Found Myself by Kelly Kathleen Ferguson. Another one of those “get a book deal to do something for a year and write about it” books that I can’t seem to resist reading–plus it’s about Laura Ingalls Wilder. Like me, the author found that the TV version of Laura’s story left her cold. She spent a year wearing an oddly-colored prairie dress and retracing Laura’s steps throughout the Midwest. It was a strange memoir, in a can’t-look-away-from-this-train-wreck sort of way.

Links to books in this post are Amazon affiliate links. Your purchases made through these links support Franciscanmom.com. Thank you!

Follow my Goodreads reviews for the full list of what I’ve read recently (even the duds!)

Visit today’s #OpenBook post to join the linkup or just get some great ideas about what to read! You’ll find it at Carolyn Astfalk’s A Scribbler’s Heart and at CatholicMom.com!

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Heads Up: Printable Catholic Planner Sale

Photo courtesy of CatholicSistas.com. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

The Catholic Through The Year Planner by Martina Kreitzer of Catholic Sistas is on sale today for 50% off the usual price!

I’ve reviewed this planner before, and all the things I find super useful are still in it. There are four sections, and you can choose some or all of them: Calendar, Homeschool, Blogger and Household Management. To get the full package, choose the Whole Enchilada.

Being a Hybrid Girl when it comes to planning systems, I need to write things down–and rewrite them–and rearrange them–and I like things to look nice. So the ability to reprint a page after I’ve drawn circles and arrows and crossed things out is definitely a bonus.

This planner is made to be printed out and kept in a binder (or you could take it to an office-supply store and have it spiral bound). I don’t do that. I keep mine on my clipboards–one for family-related items and one for work stuff. I also have the two-page monthly spread printed smaller, on a single page (after I figured out how to do that) and I tacked the current month and the following month onto my office bulletin board.

A previous year's meal plan calendar on my trusty clipboard. Make this planner work for you!
A previous year’s meal plan calendar on my trusty clipboard. Make this planner work for you!

But that’s the cool thing about this planner. You can use it any way you like–whatever works for you. The 2-page weekly spread, for example, has 3 boxes per date, and a space for you to write in your own label. It can be “Home/Family/Work” or whatever you want it to be–and it can change from week to week. For example, I don’t homeschool, but the Lesson Plan pages from that bundle can be used in a ton of other ways. Be creative!

Even at the regular price, this downloadable planner is a steal at $18 for the Whole Enchilada ($7.50 for just the calendar and $5 per bundle) but today’s 50% off price can’t be beat! To get the discount, use the coupon code for each individual product – CALENDAR, HOUSEHOLD, HOMESCHOOL, BLOGGER, or ENCHILADA for all the files to get 50% off at the Catholic Sistas store.

I love the colorful touches on the planner this year–the page borders on some sections like the monthly menu planner look like they were done in watercolor. So pretty! (That reminds me, I need to make a planner note to purchase some color ink cartridges for my printer so I can have these pages in color. I had to use black and white for them right now, which is why I’m not showing you this year’s page in the photo above.)

Go ahead over to Catholic Sistas to see lots of photos of the planner pages and purchase your copy.

The cover, though–it’s a coloring page! How cool is that? Get out your markers or colored pencils and make your planner even prettier.

Want a sample? Download some free weekly pages here. Try it out! All you need to do in return is share information about the planner with a friend or via social media. Super easy!

Photo courtesy of CatholicSistas.com. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Photo courtesy of CatholicSistas.com. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

The Fine Print I received a review copy of the “Whole Enchilada” version of the CTTY planner and no other compensation for this review. All opinions are my own.

Monday Recap: July 4, 2016

Monday recap 2016 edition

It’s the first Monday of the month, so I’ve gathered up links to the work I’ve done in other spaces.

At CatholicMom.com

sunflowers in a hurricaneBook Notes: Sunflowers in a Hurricane. My review of a new novel by Catholic author Anne Faye. Terrific characters in this one; it’s a great summer read.

 

 

QOW Summer ice creamQuestion of the Week: Ice Cream Edition. Just for fun–what’s your favorite ice-cream flavor?

 

 

find a real friend in JesusBook Notes: Find a Real Friend in Jesus. Gary Zimak’s new book, Find a Real Friend in Jesus, is full of friendly, personal advice from someone who is so invested in his faith that he can’t help but share it with others.

 

QOW-for-FI-351x185Question of the Week: Summer Reading. Our question of the week: How do you handle summer-reading assignments with your school-age children?

creed by scott hahnBook Notes: The Creed by Scott Hahn. Scott Hahn’s new book, The Creed, invites readers to consider the importance of affirming their beliefs, and why we still need to do so today.

 

 

QOW-for-FI-351x185Question of the Week: Summer Activities for the Kids. Our Question of the Week: do your children participate in summer activities, such as sports, camps, or VBS?

Full Cycle coverBook Notes: A Novel for Fathers and Sons. This Father’s Day, consider giving a father-son gift: a novel that fathers and sons can enjoy together. Full Cycle by Christopher Blunt is just such a book.

 

mahi burgers (3) c T smallMeatless Friday: Mahi Burgers with Grilled Pineapple. For your Meatless Friday meal, I introduce a healthy and delicious burger alternative: mahi burgers with grilled pineapple.

Mercy OTEM IGWhat My Daughter Has Taught Me about Mercy #OTEM. I examine the lessons I can learn from my impulsive daughter, who never hesitates to take action when others are in need.

 

At Cook and Count

Pineapple-salsa CPineapple Salsa: a picnic-worthy side that goes with just about anything you’ll be grilling up this summer!

 

 

fuego box 1 FBA Spicy Father’s Day Gift for Foodie Dads: my review of a deliciously spicy combination of ingredients from Fuego Box.

Monday recap 2016 edition