Failing at the Heroic Minute

All I wanted was a Pajama Day.

Last night I realized that, since I’m playing at the 7 PM holy-day Mass tonight, I could take my time about things and spend the morning in my PJs. I wouldn’t have to get dressed until it was time to head to Adoration at noon.

I relished the idea of working in my PJs, with the bonus of avoiding an early-morning shower-schedule collision with my daughter.

I even woke up a few minutes early! And I remembered that I’d be hanging around in my PJs, so I put on my cozy slippers and went downstairs to make my cup of tea and begin my morning routine.

All was well until TheKid’s alarm went off at 6, and he didn’t get up. He didn’t get up at 6:10 or 6:15 when I called to him from the hallway.

He didn’t get up until 6:24.

I wasn’t sweating it TOO much, because he’d said that his first-period class was having bagel sandwiches for breakfast and he’d already brought in his money to give to the classmate who was picking up the order. THEN he told me that the breakfast party had been moved to tomorrow.

And that’s when I failed at the Heroic Minute.

Succeeding at St. Josemaría Escrivá’s Heroic Minute is getting up when you’re supposed to. No snooze alarm. No rolling over and pulling the blanket over your head. I’m normally pretty good on that score.

For me, the Heroic Minute involves managing a graceful response when someone throws a monkey wrench into your plans.

I like plans. Monkey wrenches, not so much.

At 6:24 I kind of lost it when I realized that I was going to have to change out of my pajamas so I could drive TheKid to school, because there was no way he’d manage to shower, dress, and finish breakfast before his bus arrived at 7:13.

Me: I have nowhere to be until noon today. Don’t miss the bus and make me have to get dressed to drive you to school.

Kid: You don’t have to get dressed. You’ll be in the CAR.

Me: What if there’s an accident?! (Why yes, I did just hear my mother’s words … and her mother’s … come out of my mouth.)

Kid: If there’s an accident, nobody’s going to care if you’re in your pajamas.

Being my mother’s daughter, there is no possible way I could leave the house in pajamas. Or slippers. So I put on my sweatpants (translation: almost-pajamas that are fit to wear outside the house) and a pair of sneakers and grumped around folding laundry until it hit me.

I was mad because my kid’s laziness wasn’t letting me indulge in being lazy.

Ouch.

So I grabbed my car keys, and off we went, and we had a laugh about the music on the radio (instead of a fight, as is our usual), and I hope we redeemed the bad start to the day — just a bit.

Lesson learned. I don’t get to plan to be lazy, whether that means hanging out in pajamas for half the day, or indulging in spiritual laziness.

I should be grateful for the surprise of down time when it comes my way, but I should not take it for granted.

The soul of the sluggard craves, and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied. (Proverbs 13:4)


Copyright 2018 Barb Szyszkiewicz

 

 

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On Barb’s Bookshelf: Ways to Keep Teens’ Faith Alive

Keeping Teens' Faith Alive

When you’ve invested over a decade in raising your child, you discover that as he enters his teen years, the way you need to nurture his faith changes drastically. This is the time when your child needs to begin to take over his own faith development, but it doesn’t mean you’re off the hook — or unnecessary.

Ignatius Press has released two books to help parents and teens in this stage: The Light Entrusted to You, for parents, and Humility Rules, for teens (though parents shouldn’t skip this one).

light entrusted to you

John R. Wood’s The Light Entrusted to You: Keeping the Flame of Faith Alive is a parent-to-parent guide to help you share Catholicism with your family by living Catholicism with your family. The author is not a theologian or professor: he’s an eye doctor and a parent who loves his children and his faith. The chapters are cleverly titled to form the acronym “SAINTS,” and the topics covered range from saints to Scripture to sports (yes, sports). A more-detailed table of contents or an index would be helpful in this book, but the information in the book is solid and Wood’s delivery is engaging.

Christ is our model. After His baptism He does not go to the beach to drink a piña colada. He goes to the desert to fast and do battle with the devil (see Mt 4). We must follow His lead and also teach our children to “do battle”. Much of our time parenting is simply training our children to overcome concupiscence, the tendency to do wrong because of original sin. It should be obvious that children often desire to do and have things that are not good for them. Imagine if we simply let our children do everything they wanted to do. They would probably end up either dead or in prison very early in life. We strive to teach them to live lives of virtue, and we all know it is a long journey that each of us continues his entire life. (25)

From the corporal and spiritual works of mercy to the great cathedrals to a synopsis of Old Testament events, Wood invites readers to dive deep into the deposit of the faith and nurture their own souls so that they can inspire their children.

humility rules

While you’re reading Wood’s book, hand Humility Rules: Saint Benedict’s 12-Step Guide to Genuine Self-Esteem to your teen or college student. Author J. Augustine Wetta, OSB, does not talk down to teens, but rather challenges them to engage with their faith as they grow in virtue. Self-esteem might seem like a dated buzzword, but Wetta demonstrates how it’s important, even virtuous, for teens to develop a healthy self-esteem.

Genuine self-esteem is a form of holiness, and holiness, in Saint Benedict’s eyes, is not about self-love but self-abandonment. In fact, the whole idea of holding yourself in high esteem would sound ridiculous to him. It would defeat the very purpose of the Christian life, which is to empty one’s self in order to make room for God’s grace. (18-19)

Wetta distills, from the Rule of Saint Benedict, 12 steps along the ladder of humility, and challenges his readers to climb that ladder.

Humility Rules would make an excellent Confirmation or graduation gift.

Barb's Book shelf blog title


Copyright 2018 Barb Szyszkiewicz
This article contains Amazon affiliate links.
I received review copies of these books, but no compensation, for my review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

Wrong Answer. Wrong Question?

“How was church?” I asked my daughter yesterday after she returned from the 8:00 Mass.

“Boring.”

Maybe I’d asked the wrong question. Maybe I should have inquired if she’d seen anyone she knows there, or how the music was, or who had preached the homily.

I don’t know what answer I’d hoped to hear. But the answer I did hear leads me to believe that I’ve failed.

When I was her age I suffered through the summers because I had to sit in the pews instead of with the musicians. I didn’t have a place to sing at home in the summertime. I’d go to Mass with my parents sometimes (and once I begged sheet music for original hymns from the songwriter who was playing them at Mass.) Other times, I’d walk to the church a mile away from our house. A lot depended on my work schedule.

I didn’t consider it boring, but then again, I didn’t go to Mass expecting entertainment. My biggest obstacle in the summer was that I wasn’t serving.

And maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I haven’t taught my kids that Mass isn’t about entertainment. Maybe I haven’t stressed enough that we’re not there to get, but to give (and I’m not referring to what we’re putting into the collection baskets).

I can make my kids go (as long as they’re living in my house) and I can even insist that they don’t wear shorts to Mass. But I can’t make them want to.

Is my example enough? Is bringing them week after week after week, sending them to Catholic school, enough? Should I have done, said, been something more?

Have I failed my Domestic Church?

Photo copyright 2015 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz

On Barb’s Bookshelf: Broken Brain, Fortified Faith

Virginia Pillars’ memoir of a mother navigating the world of parenting a young adult with a brand-new diagnosis schizophrenia is at once heart-wrenching, informative and inspiring. In Broken Brain, Fortified Faith, Pillars honestly describes her day-by-day experience with her daughter’s illness and recovery, with a view toward helping other families whose lives are touched by a frustrating disease.

While this book chronicles several very difficult years for Virginia Pillars’ entire family, the author never loses hope. The book’s subtitle, “Lessons of Hope through a Child’s Mental Illness,” proclaims loud and clear that while this story contains plenty of tears, the trials this family endured did not break them. God did not abandon them. Yes, there were times when the author questioned her ability to trust God, but again and again she was reminded to rely on her faith. Some of my favorite parts of this book were Pillars’ reflections on the devotionals she was reading during the time the events of this book took place.

The author of the day’s devotional . . . reminded me of life’s ups and downs, joys and sorrows. But most importantly, I held on to the idea: God will not abandon me in any circumstance.
The idea brought comfort to me as I thought about how recently it felt like I had trudged through one crisis after another; I felt like the proverbial boat, drifting away from my shore of faith.
I closed my book and pondered what I had just read. Is this what you want me to know, God? Keep my eyes on You? The thought “When things get hard, depend on Me; draw close to Me” remained in my soul as I went about my day. (206-7)

The author’s conversational style make a book with challenging subject matter easy to read. Pillars takes a day-by-day approach through the difficult months of diagnosis and a search for appropriate treatment, bringing the reader along for the ride to hospitals, waiting rooms, and therapists’ offices. Her first impulse, when hearing of any kind of setback, is to place her daughter in God’s hands, asking Him to be with her in that time of crisis.

And yes, setbacks happened. Schizophrenia is not an easy illness to treat, so there were definitely “one step forward, two steps back” moments–and difficult times for other family members as well. Pillars’ other children and grandchildren went through some of their own health crises during this time (I’ll tell you right now, you’re going to want tissues handy once you reach chapter 24).

It’s not a spoiler to mention that Virginia Pillars is very dedicated to mental-health advocacy now. She reaches out to others through her website, support groups, and her book. At the end of the book you’ll find a list of books, websites and other resources to help families affected by mental illness.

broken brain fortified faith

About the author: Virginia Pillars lives on a farm, along with her husband of forty-two years, where she also operates an embroidery business. Virginia is the mother of four, one of whom suffered from a mental illness, and a grandmother of four with a passion for reaching out to families who are also affected. She volunteers both as an educator and support group leader for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and speaks to organizations on the effects of mental illness on families. Virginia became certified in First Aid for Mental Health in 2014. She has also been a frequent speaker on her faith journey to both youth and adults for over twenty-five years. Virginia is a member of the Catholic Writers Guild. She details her journey through mental illness with her child in her memoir, Broken Brain, Fortified Faith: Lessons of Hope Through a Child’s Mental Illness. Published in September, 2016, it is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and all independent book stores. Find Virginia’s blog at VirginiaPillars.com; follower her on Twitter @VirginiaPillars.

Barb's Book shelf blog title
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.
Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS

#WorthRevisit: Parenting in Public

In two days, Tech Week starts at the high school. TheKid is playing Lord Farquaad in the school’s production of “Shrek,” his fourth time participating in the high-school musical–but his first time as an actual high-school student.

Tech Week at this school features Tech Week dinners, coordinated by a group of parents with themes and fun and a good (not fast-food) meal for the entire cast, crew, orchestra and directorial staff. This will be my 6th year helping out with these dinners.

Five years ago, I found myself parenting very publicly at one of these dinners. Cue soundtrack: “Walking on Broken Glass.”

"Worth Revisit: Parenting in Public" by Barb Szyszkiewicz @franciscanmom
Those windows at left rear? The broken glass in question. Copyright 2016 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

Little Brother’s not in the play this year, but he’s at Tech Week Dinners with me because there’s no one else at home to watch him at that time. This year, he’s the only grade-school kid there. He eats with the kids, his old buddies from his Munchkin days during Wizard of Oz last spring. He’s even made a few new friends among the students, including one young man who was kicking a soccer ball around with him outside the cafeteria after dinner tonight.

I was helping to put away the drink coolers when we heard a crash. Sure enough, that soccer ball had sailed through one of the cafeteria windows. And all the other parents were watching as I ran to the door, spied my son, and ordered, “Get in here.”

“Get in here,” I heard someone chuckle behind me. (Seriously? You’re going to laugh at me now?) Clearly I was on the stage, with an audience of more than 20 parents and grandparents who were clearly glad not to be in my shoes. So I took it outside, where my little boy and his soccer-playing buddy both assured me that my son wasn’t the guilty party. The young man who’d been playing soccer with him showed me his own feet, trying to convince me that Little Brother’s legs aren’t powerful enough to have kicked the ball through the window. After sending Little Brother to the car to put away the soccer ball, I took off my apron and started picking up the few shards of glass that had fallen outside the building. Did you know that aprons are good for picking up–and holding–broken glass, so you don’t cut your hands while you do that job?

The vice principal is also in charge of stage crew, so before long he was in the cafeteria talking to my son and the high-school boy. Again, lots of parents were watching as I told the vice principal that whether or not Little Brother had kicked it, he had been the one to bring the ball to the dinner, so he should share in the damages. The other student was trying to take all the blame upon himself, and I insisted (and will follow up) that we divide the bill for the glass replacement. Little Brother insisted that he would pay for it with his own money. While a custodian taped cardboard over the broken window, I returned to the kitchen to finish cleaning up. The parents wanted to know if I was OK.

Aside from a few bonus blood-pressure points, I was fine. Actually, I was impressed with the student who tried to deflect the blame from my child, willing to take all of it (including a financial penalty) on himself. I was more annoyed with the parents who said, “You shouldn’t have to pay for that. It’s a cost of doing business.” No. It’s not. My kid was playing soccer against the side of a building–in an area where there were windows. It was an accident waiting to happen and we’re all very lucky that no one got hurt. I was annoyed with myself for not stopping him sooner. I was annoyed with the parents who laughed at my initial reaction, which I found remarkably restrained, considering.

The soccer ball won’t be coming back to Tech Week Dinners. We will pay our half of the glass bill and Little Brother will have to contribute to that. And I can’t help but wish that the parents who seemed to think that Little Brother and I should let a teenage boy shoulder all the blame for this–and the ones who seemed to think that neither soccer player was at fault at all–had taken a page from that teenager’s script.

We parents have our work on display at all times, every time our child leaves the house for the day at school. “By their fruits you shall know them,” after all. I hope that Little Brother learned a lesson or two tonight. I don’t know if the Play Parents did. And if I ever get to meet the parents of a certain teenager, I’ll be sure to tell them that they can be very proud of their son, who politely and immediately claimed and accepted responsibility for his role (and more than his role) in the breaking of that window.

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!

Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS

On Barb’s Bookshelf: Getting Past Perfect

I found Kate Wicker’s book on perfectionism, Getting Past Perfect (Ave Maria Press, 2017) to be a book of surprises, beginning with the fact that a “seasoned” mom like me, with kids age 15 to 25, can learn important lessons from a mom whose oldest child is younger than my youngest.

 

getting past perfect

I may be a more-experienced mom, but that really only means that I have logged a lot more years of falling into the comparison trap. I’m old enough to know that it’s not good for me (or for my family) but I’m not always strong enough to keep myself from teetering over that precarious edge.

Clearly I spend too much time listening to what Kate calls the “evil earworm.” She begins each chapter with one of these, then counters is with the “unvarnished truth.”

quote from Getting Past Perfect @franciscanmom

We need to hear this kind of truth. We need to acknowledge that there’s a difference between perfectionism and striving for excellence. As Kate observes in chapter 3 (the same chapter from which the text in the above graphic is quoted):

What often prevents God’s grace from working in our lives is less our sins or failings than it is our failure to accept our own weaknesses–all those rejections, conscious or not, of what we really are or of our real situations. We have to set grace free in our lives by accepting the parts of ourselves that we want to perfect, hide or reject. (35-6)

While I definitely agree with Kate’s premise that perfectionism is damaging to us as women and as mothers, I do believe that there’s also a danger in perfect imperfection. We need to be careful about crossing that line between openly admitting our own flaws and foibles in the name of commonality and bringing comfort to others who are stuck in that “grass is always greener” mode, and showing off how bad we have it (even if that’s our schtick.) I confess to being guilty of the latter and even though I tend to fall into that trap, I find it very annoying when all I hear from someone is how “crazy” her life is. It’s almost like we’re competing for the booby prize: who has it worst? We all need to find a balance here–there’s a time and a place for the good, the bad, and the funny.

Whether you’re a brand-new mom or, like me, over 25 years into your mothering journey, Getting Past Perfect has truths you need to hear. My copy has stars and arrows and comments; I’ve circled and underlined and even written down some of the most important points. When you read it, keep your pen handy and open up your heart to realizing that you really are enough.

Don’t forget to sign up for the Getting Past Perfect Book Club at CatholicMom.com! The book club kicks off with an author interview tomorrow, and we’ll begin discussing the book on April 1.

 

Barb's Book shelf blog title
This post contains Amazon affiliate links; your purchase through these links helps support this blog. Thank you! I received a free review copy of this book courtesy of Ave Maria Press, but no other compensation. Opinions expressed here are mine alone.

Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS

This Morning Routine Needs a Reboot

Every morning it’s the same.

  • Wake up sometime between 4:30 and 5:15 (the latter if I somehow manage to sleep until the alarm goes off, which is cause for great rejoicing)
  • Take a shower
  • Make a cup of tea
  • Morning prayers

After that, it’s time to wake up the teenager. And that’s where it all goes bad. He sleeps through any alarm his phone has to offer.

  • Wake up TheKid
  • Preheat oven for bacon, line pan with foil, set out bacon, place in oven
  • Start the music–loud music that I love but he hates; wake TheKid again
  • Make a cup of coffee
  • Wake TheKid again. Sing loudly with the music, especially the nonsense syllables in “Good Morning Starshine”
  • Repeat as necessary (and it’s almost always necessary)

TheKid finally stumbles out of his room, hands me his insulin pump to put on the charger while he showers, and heads upstairs. Forward progress, you’d think.

You’d think wrong.

  • Finish shower, reattach insulin pump, go back to bed
  • Bacon is ready
  • Walk into kitchen, put bagel in toaster, go back to bed
  • Bagel is ready
  • Stall for 5 more minutes while bagel cools off, get up and commence mad scramble to make the bus

This process begins at 6 AM. The bus arrives at 7:40.

It’s inefficient and annoying and never ends well. I wind up yelling and nobody’s happy, because yelling cancels out the endorphins gained from belting out “Good Morning Starshine” in harmony and holding all the long notes.

After TheKid gets on the school bus today, I’m going to start googling alarm-clock solutions. Maybe a drone I can fly from the kitchen to his room, one strong enough to steal his blanket. He can give it to me for Christmas. Because this just isn’t working out for me, and I’m tired of spending an hour and a half every morning fighting.

"This Morning Routine Needs a Reboot" by Barb Szyszkiewicz (CatholicMom.com)
Via Pixabay (2016), CC0 Public Domain

Non-Stop

There’s a song in TheKid’s favorite musical, Hamilton, called “Non-Stop.”

That’s what it’s like to be a caregiver. Non-stop. As the song says, “every second you’re alive, every second you’re alive…”

But as the song also says, “Look around, look around! How lucky we are to be alive right now.” 10 years ago the fight was very different. 100 years ago, there wasn’t a fight at all. Insulin wasn’t discovered for use in diabetics until the 1920s.

There’s always that underlying worry about diabetes. A diabetic (and those who care for him) doesn’t get time off. Every meal, every snack, every physical activity, even the timing of a bath or shower: diabetes factors in for all of these.

When I wake up in the middle of the night, I check my phone to see how his blood sugar is. When I’m out and about during the day, I do the same–before I get into the car to go somewhere, I make sure everything is OK. Because if it’s not, I might have to be ready to drop everything and pick him up at school. It takes a lot for me to go somewhere if it’s over 20 minutes away from school.

Copyright 2016 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2016 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

About once a week I sit down at the kitchen table and fill insulin cartridges. I call myself the Equipment Manager. I rotate the inventory when new test strips, infusion sets and CGM sensors are delivered, because all these things have expiration dates.

I don’t just pack his lunch on school days; I check inventory in his bag of tricks: extra pump cartridge and infusion set, insulin pen with needles just in case, extra meter, Smarties, juice box, Skittles, peanut butter crackers, Gatorade for soccer.

TheKid invited a couple of friends to sleep over last night. I don’t know what he ate, but I’ve been up since before 5 (again) battling the high blood sugar that resulted. Or maybe the pump site is going bad. Who knows?

It’s always something. Even for a kid with generally good diabetes control and an awesome A1C.

But we do what we can do keep him healthy.

Non-stop.

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This month I’m joining all the cool kids in the #Write31Days adventure! I didn’t pick a keyword or a theme, because just getting something written for all 31 days is challenge enough for me right now.

Sleep: the Final Frontier

The other day, we headed over to CHOP for TheKid’s 3,000-mile checkup. He’s doing really well, and we’re grateful for the technology that helps us keep him that way.

File Apr 19, 8 32 25 AM
This is not today’s display. If it had been, I’d be asleep right now.

His endocrinologist knows us well enough by now to know, though, that there’s some degree of sleep sacrificed on the altar of a good A1C. Hubs vigilantly watches TheKid’s blood sugar for a good part of the night, aiming for a wakeup around 100, which is an ideal level.

When I wake up in the wee hours, I check my phone to see what’s going on with TheKid’s blood sugar before I do anything else. Lately, I’ve been waking up to a “NO DATA” message from TheKid’s continuous-glucose monitor.

That means I have go go downstairs, force-quit the app, restart it and wait 5 minutes until the CGM measures his blood sugar again and displays the result. If it’s good, I can go back to bed (whether I fall asleep again is another question.) If it’s not, I have to deal with things and stay up some more.

Anyway, the endocrinologist didn’t have too much to tell us, other than making a minor adjustment to the insulin routine for early afternoon, which is a time when TheKid typically experiences low blood sugar. So he turned his attention to us, expressing concern that lack of sleep can negatively impact our health.

He’s right. I don’t know if there’s much I can do about that 4:30 AM data drop–if it goes on for 30 minutes my phone will sound an alarm. That’s an issue on the manufacturer’s end, and I really wish they’d fix it. Technology is a wonderful thing, when it works. When it doesn’t, it’s a thorn in my side, and in this case, it can be dangerous.

I was up at 4:15 this morning to deal with “NO DATA.” My alarm was set for 6, which is still too early for a Saturday morning, but TheKid has a soccer game and has to be at school at 8:30. If I wake up after 4 and have to do more than use the bathroom, I’m up. For the day. Until I crash in midafternoon, on days when I don’t have to go watch a soccer game.

I feel like I run on empty all week long, and this is not because I stayed up too late reading or watching TV (I only do that one night a week). I’m dealing with something that can’t wait. If I’d let the “NO DATA” go this morning and went back to bed, I wouldn’t have noticed that he was veering toward a low, and set his pump to a lower insulin-delivery level to (hopefully) cut that off before it became enough of a problem that I had to wake him up with a glass of juice in my hand. Unfortunately, I just had to deliver that glass of juice. So now I watch again.

One benefit to being up before 5 on a Saturday morning: you can give some encouragement and advice via Facebook to another parent of a diabetic child who’s also awake (and worried) at this crazy hour. I hope, at least, that a little bit of good can come out of this.

"Sleep: the Final Frontier" by Barb Szyszkiewicz (@franciscanmom)
Photo via Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain.

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This month I’m joining all the cool kids in the #Write31Days adventure! I didn’t pick a keyword or a theme, because just getting something written for all 31 days is challenge enough for me right now.

On Barb’s Bookshelf: “Mary’s Way” by Judy Klein

Mary’s Way: The Power of Entrusting Your Child to God is both a testament to perseverance and a guide to surrender. Judy Klein shares her own heartbreaks as a mother, tracing her journey as a parent and a Catholic. But this book is more than a memoir: it’s a call to a very specific kind of prayer by mothers for their own children.

Judy Klein is careful not to make empty prosperity-gospel-style promises about what will happen if you pray for your child. While acknowledging that miracles can happen, Klein notes that when our prayers of petition seemingly go unanswered,

…God invites us to learn the power of prayerful surrender. It’s a prayer that can bring real peace, and it often brings us to deeper conversion and inner transformation. It sometimes takes many hard lessons and countless wrestling matches with God to learn to surrender, and it’s something we must practice as we go. But surrendering prayer is worth leaning into and learning well because, in the end, learning to yield to God and say yes to him in whatever life brings changes us. (p. 3)

marys-way

The beauty of Mary’s Way is that, more than anything else, it’s about the heart of the mother as she learns to give up control. We all want to control how things will turn out for our children, and despite tiger-mom and helicopter-mom strategies, we can’t guarantee optimal results by our own prayer, word or action. Instead, Klein urges readers to follow Mary’s example of faith.

Mary’s most exquisite blessing was not that she was given a “pass” on suffering but that she was permitted to participate in the Cross in a most profound and intimate manner. She found the greatest blessing precisely by uniting her deepest agony–watching her son die upon the Cross–to her Son’s own sacrificial offering, cooperating freely with salvific grace in bringing about the redemption of souls. We are invited to do the same whenever the Cross presents itself in our lives, turning our pain into a source of sanctification for ourselves and for others. (p. 8)

Judy Klein guides mothers toward surrender by sharing her own story, offering questions to ponder, and including prayers at the end of each chapter that speak to the heart of what mothers face as they learn to follow Mary’s example.

In this book, readers will learn of the beauty of endurance, how embracing the Cross can grace us with strength we cannot imagine, and how true friends support each other through trials.

You do not need to be a parent in the throes of suffering to benefit from this book. But if you are, or know someone who is, this book will be balm for the suffering soul.

Mary’s Way is a CatholicMom.com book published by Ave Maria Press.

Buy this book through my Amazon link and support FranciscanMom.com with your purchase! I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher through Netgalley.com, but no other compensation, for the purposes of this review. Opinions expressed are my own.

Barb's Book shelf blog title

Copyright 2016 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS