On Barb’s Bookshelf: Girlfriends and Other Saints

Teresa Tomeo’s spiritual writing has a style all its own; she’s funny without being shallow and she doesn’t hesitate to tell it like it is. Best of all, you don’t need a degree in Sacred Theology to benefit from her books.

I enjoy Teresa Tomeo’s books for women because she blends the lives of the saints with our everyday lives. Last summer I interviewed her about her devotional, Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag. This week, Word Among Us Press will release her new book, Girlfriends and Other Saints–just in time for Mother’s Day.

girlfriends and other saints
I’m a fan of the cover art for this book–vintage-y fonts and really cute shoes! It’s a great complement to what you’ll find inside; a great mix of saintly wisdom for our everyday lives.

But what sealed the deal for me with this book was Tomeo’s examination of the story of Martha and Mary in the chapter titled, “Can We Talk?”

We often leave Martha right there in the kitchen with her sister and the Lord, seeing it as an “aha” or “gotcha moment” for all the anal-retentive and obsessive-compulsive types in our lives. We tend to maximize and celebrate Mary’s actions and minimize or criticize Martha’s words. But have we ever stopped to ponder the fact that Martha was being very honest with the Lord? Don’t we all want to admit that at times we have felt the same way as Martha did with the “Marys” in our own lives?…Martha needs to be taken out of the box and reexamined, especially when we see her interacting with Jesus in other, much more dire situations.

Could it be that Martha’s deep faith and trust in God…was what had allowed her to be so brutally honest with Jesus as she was busy preparing dinner? Can we talk? Well, Martha certainly could, because when it came to talking to the Lord, she didn’t hold back. Jesus used her honesty and comfort level in these situations to share some deep insights into the love of God. (33-35)

I am one of those people who particularly identifies with Martha in that famous story. There are stories of saints all through this book; you’ll definitely find one or more saints whose stories resonate with yours.

So if you take away just one message from this book, I hope it’s this: that the saints are there for you. There are one or more of them with whom you can identify, a saint that understands your personality as well as your plight. Let’s do our best to embrace the saints, both in heaven and on earth, all the holy men and women that God puts in our path to help us enjoy this life as we travel to our final destination (from Conclusion page 131)

Girlfriends and Other Saints would make a terrific Mother’s Day gift for the mom in your life, or for your best girlfriend.

The Fine Print: I was provided a copy of this book from Teresa Tomeo Communications for the purpose of this review. I was not compensated in any form for the review. Opinions expressed here are mine alone. Amazon links are affiliate links; thank you for supporting my website by purchasing through my Amazon links.

Review: Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag and interview with author Teresa Tomeo

Do you have a go-to devotional book, one that you use so much that you want to carry it around with you? If you don’t, I recommend Teresa Tomeo’s new devotional, Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag. You’re not too busy to read this book; the longest chapter is only 4 pages long. But while the chapters are short, they give you plenty to think–and pray–about.
walk softly carry great bag
Author, talk-show host and motivational speaker Teresa Tomeo doesn’t get too heavy-handed in this book. She brings along plenty of humor while driving home practical encouragement. Each chapter begins with a Scripture quote and ends with a prayer prompt. Her confidence, energy and great sense of humor shine through on every page and provide inspiration and out-loud laughter.
It was my privilege to interview Teresa Tomeo about her book:
1. As a devotional, this book is different in focus from your previous books. What was the hardest part about writing this type of book?
Actually this book wasn’t really hard to write.  It was a lot of fun and because we were and are trying to reach Christians at a variety of faith levels it allowed me to include different types of analogies and reflections: analogies and reflections I might not use for a specifically Catholic book. 
2. What was the best part about writing this type of book?
Creating the titles from popular and well known sayings and cliches.  As I go through the book again I can even see some more book ideas developing from the different chapter titles.
3. Which chapter is your favorite and why?
I can’t say that I have a favorite chapter: maybe a favorite topic or area of interest in the book would be more appropriate.  I really enjoy helping people connect the dots in terms of what is happening in the world and help them see how truth in nature, science, experience so beautifully back up  Catholic teaching.  So Give It a Test Already and If All the Women Jumped Off a Bridge Would You Jump Too? would fit nicely into those categories. 
4. How did you choose the Scripture quotes used in the book? Were those writing/prayer prompts as you wrote the reflections?
Yes I was prompted quite often during the writing of the manuscript but many of the verses used were already favorite verses of mine that I quote in my motivational presentations especially my personal testimony.  They are verses to which many women can relate given the craziness of the world right now and the continued pressure for women to be all things to all people. 
5. Just for fun: describe your own “great bag!”
A great bag is one that is versatile: a bag that will get you from day to evening.  I love patent leather and black patent in particular.  Always classic and stylish and very Italian chic!  A great bag is also practical allowing you to fit in more than just a lipstick and some tissue.  A great bag is one that you love and always go back to time and time again much like the basic black dress or the classic pumps that never go out of style.
great bag (5)c
Here’s my own “great bag” with plenty of room for this terrific little book.

This book’s small format makes it the perfect size to tuck into your favorite bag, so it’ll be right at hand whenever you have a few free moments. Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag is excellent reading for Adoration AND the carpool line.

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Copyright 2015 Barb Szyszkiewicz.
Photo copyright 2015 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

Monday Recap: 8/17/2015

Monday Recap-What I've been writing

At CatholicMom.com:

Book Notes: Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag

walk softly carry great bag

Here’s my review of Teresa Tomeo’s purse-sized devotional, Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag, and interview with the author. This is a book you’ll want to tuck into your favorite handbag!

Tech Talk: Never Miss a Homily Again

Good Friday Homily large

A growing number of priests and deacons have begun offering the text and/or audio recordings of their homilies online, so that people who didn’t get to hear the whole thing can catch up later–and people who want to prayerfully review it can do that as well.

Book Notes: Saint Clare–beyond the legend


My review of a biography of St. Clare that delves deeper into the significance of her life rather than following a timeline.

At Cook and Count:

spicy honey chicken (1)c TITLEOn the Grill: Spicy Honey Chicken

sesame tahini cookies (4) TITLE smallerSesame Tahini Cookies

At Dynamic Women of Faith:

catholic drinkie book

My review of The Catholic Drinkie’s Guide to Home Brewed Evangelism by Sarah Vabulas.

At Real Housekeeping:

big batch savvy spaghetti and meatballs RHBig Batch Savvy Spaghetti and Meatballs.

Try the recipe–and join the discussion in the comments box about roaster ovens!