Molly McBride and the Purple Habit is a series of children's picture books by Jean Schoonover-Egolf.
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Happy Mother’s Day!

MothersDayChocolates-01

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Moms of Dominics (Molly Moms Welcome, Too!), CCW19 Finds, and Spring Break Reads

Bringing books to the beach?  I packed (and loved!) me a little Linden, Peek, and Walsh this trip.

rolandwest

Call me backwards, but I’d already had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Theresa Linden’s Battle for his Soul, the third installment in her profoundly popular West Brothers’ Series, a while back. So now I’m going catching up and here to tell you about book one in said series, the tale behind the youngest West brother, Roland.

Wow, wow, wow! But then again, Linden never disappoints.

Even though we are a household of girls here at Egolf U and the main characters of this series are teenaged boys, we are all huge fans.  Full of adventure AND emotion, this story has the power to deepen the faith of even the most skeptical of teenaged hearts, I’m sure. To boot, you may even learn about the life of a new saint! (There is one very awesome female character named Caitlyn that lends a beautiful little touch of the feminine to these stories.)

RW,L  was the second-place winner of the 2016 Catholic Press Association Book Awards in the Teen & YA Fiction. It’s the first in a series about Jarret and Keith, 16-year-old twins, and Roland, the younger brother by 2 years. . They’ve always been homeschooled (yay!) because their sorta-cowboy father is a sorta-archeologist. (I’m trying not to spoil too much, but, suffice it to say, exactly WHAT Mr. West does for a living is part of the suspense woven throughout the series. Mother died when boys were younger, sorry if that is a slight spoiler.) This year they are put in school. It’s a social heaven for the outgoing older brothers, but for shy, serious, (mysterious?) Roland, it’s a nightmare. And being a “loner” isn’t even the main conflict this kid faces.

Full of lovable and relatable teen and adult characters,  Roland West, Loner is one part Indiana-Jones-meets-the-Goonies, one part Steinbeck’s East of Eden, and one part miraculous.

Theresa Linden is one fabulous story-teller, folks. I actually got to meet her in person at this year’s Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference, (couple pics below) where I made certain to scoop up more of her works. I’m already halfway through book two in the West Brothers’ Series, and I can’t wait to finish it and report back here at MMPH.

 

 


 

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Again, I’m apparently working backwards. Having loved Susan Peek’s The King’s Prey: Saint Dymphna of Ireland, I thought I was delving into one of her later novels; Magnus was actually her first. What a way to make a debut! This book has been very popular in Catholic teen reading circles for years, and I’m glad it made his way into my shopping cart AND my suitcase this trip. Continuing on the brotherly conflict theme, although Peek tells of Magnus from a teen boy’s perspective with plenty of action and gore, my teen daughter loved it as well.

I didn’t really know anything about Saint Magnus before reading this, and it’s a great book to incorporate into your Charlotte-Mason-style homeschooling as far as learning more about the Vikings and other world history of the first century. I really appreciate such well-written, exciting, (NOT dry) teen, tween, and YA historical fiction, not only for my students, but also for my own continuing education. Theologically, the book is marked with the Catholic Writers’ Guild Seal of Approval, so it’s been thoroughly screened. With loads of forgiveness and “offering up” themes, Peek dares to bravely go places most Christian authors seem to avoid these days. God bless her for leading us back to a time when people still recognized that our eternal souls are more important than our fickle flesh. I’m a better person for reading this book.


 

Stay Connected Journal by Tiffany Walsh

So, the hubs likes to tease me about my little habit of collecting books, especially when I buy a book about other books. But I REALLY want to share this one! And so now after all this teen-boys talk, here’s something just for us moms!

You may recognize the name Tiffany Walsh of Life of a Catholic Librarian if you subscribe to CatholicMom.com or enjoyed Ave Maria Press’ 2017 The Catholic Hipster Handbook. I had the honor of meeting both her and and another author (more below) involved in the Stay Connected! Journals for Catholic Women series, also at CCWC 2019.  Now, I’m going to admit, I’m not a big “journaler,” but I really, REALLY like this one and here’s why:

Are you like me and have a sort of nebulous bucket list of books to read that includes the greats in Catholic writing? Walsh’s Exploring the Catholic Classics has provided us with a mini “easy button” this Lent, my friends! Sample and study, side-by-side with relevant Scripture and well-written reflections, selected passages from the writings of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Pope St. John Paul II, St. Francis de Sales, Thomas á Kempis, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), and St. Teresa of Avila. It’s a spiritual goldmine of a collection in this pretty purple package, I’m actually finding it FUN to pull out a pencil and fill in the beautifully decorated journal pages. It’s a great Lenten reflection tool, one that I didn’t even think I needed until I delved into Walsh’s work.

Since I’m enjoying this edition of the Stay Connected! Journals for Catholic Women so much, I’m curious to explore more of them. Pretty in pastels, wouldn’t these be as lovely as colored eggs in Momma’s Easter Basket (@hubs @kids)?image.png

Ok, so I mentioned another author. I first met the dynamic social media evangelist/author/blogger/speaker Allison Gingras of Reconciled to You in Lancaster, PA whilst attending the Catholic Writers’ Guild annual conference (which is held in conjunction with the Catholic Marketing Network’s annual conference.) Been to anything Catholic lately? You’ve probably caught a glimpse of Gingras, too. My girl is ev-er-y-where, friends! And, yes, I caught up with her at CCWC19, and yes, she has authored one of these beautiful journals, the turquoise one, entitled 7 Ways that Jesus Invites You to a Life of Grace. Talk about the perfect Lenten or Easter gift for a mom, older daughter, or bestie! And don’t forget Invite the Holy Spirit Into Your Life (pictured gracefully in green, above) by Deanna G. Bartalini: this one makes a great confirmation gift as well.

Gingras and Walsh at GWM booth CCWC2019
Social media guru Allison Gingras snaps a quick selfie with “The Catholic Librarian” and co-author of the Stay Connected! Journals for Catholic Women (Gracewatch Media) Tiffany Walsh. There was a non-stop crowd of shoppers visiting the Peanut Butter and Grace Media booth at Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference 2019.

The best part of today’s blog is this: all the books featured here are but a sampling of what these great authors and/or publishers have available. I love that cozy feeling of knowing, as I’m nearing the end of a good book, that there are plenty “more where that came from” just waiting for me to sweep them up and add them to the stack on my nightstand. How about you?

 

 

 

Molly McBride and Sissy celebrate Daylight Savings!
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Perspective

Molly McBride and Sissy celebrate Daylight Savings!
Molly and Sissy are happy to “sacrifice” an hour of sleep. How about you?
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As We Forgive Those

I wonder, how many others might begin reading this book and think it will be another Marian theology study? While Forgiving Mother: A Marian Novena of Healing and Peace is an extremely well-written Marian theological resource, it is much more. Yes, Steinhage-Fenelon explores the role of Mary in our personal lives for the purpose of teaching us about charity and forgiveness. Yes, she offers plenty of solid, supporting content, both biblical and Church doctrinal, to illustrate each of her ideas. Yes, she provides us with a beautiful Marian novena to pray as a part of the enlightenment brought forth by her thesis statement.

What I didn’t realize is that the title is missing an “A.”

This book isn’t about how Mary, Mother of God, is a forgiving mother. This book, while remaining a beautiful treatise on Mary’s forgiving nature, is the tale of how the author came to forgive her mother. It is a sort of self-help book for anyone who has suffered abuse, of any kind, at the hand of someone who was supposed to be a provider of love and instiller of trust. While there is a lot of literature out there about surviving child or partner abuse, I know of no other source as powerful as this one, because Steinhage-Fenelon has meticulously provided very practical, step-by-step advice, along with the logic of Marian theology and the power of prayer, to bring her readers to begin the process of healing. I would venture to say that Forgiving Mother can even serve as a source of healing for the repentant abuser, as well.

Forgiving is hard. Even forgiving little stuff is hard if you don’t know how. We none of us can accrue enough tools to help us get better at forgiveness. I highly recommend Forgiving Mother not only for people who are looking for help working through past trauma, but for EVERYONE, because we can all use some help learning how to truly “forgive those who trespass against us.”

What are you reading? You can share your favorite books by tagging your social media posts with #OpenBook and linking up with us at Carolyn Astfalk’s “My Scribbler’s Heart” blog as well as CatholicMom.

And so does Sissy!
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What Do Kids Give Up For Lent?

And so does Sissy!
Molly McBride has this Lent thing all figured out!
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Wake Up Your Rosary This Lent With Meggie K. Daly’s New Devotional

This winter has been BIZ ZEEE, my friends, and I’m afraid I’ve just been going through the motions of the seasons: Mardi Gras, ashes, fast, fish, grumpy ’cause I’m missing extra coffee. But I found a remedy for this lackluster Lent in my stack of beach reads! Maggie  K. Daly’s Bead by Bead: the Scriptural Rosary (I got the gorgeous full color version) was just what I needed. IMG_1612 (1)

I took my copy down to the beach about 3 PM Friday to say my Rosary while my oldest tried out her new boogie board. No sooner had I made the sign of the cross and read this line: “I renounce all distractions that may come to me while I am saying this Rosary…” (p 57 *) a laughing gull landed right in front of me and began laughing.

Soon after, the “Mom, look at me!” comments began, followed shortly by the congregation of the rest of the family with various wants, needs, and comments.

Lord, I need this book.

Somehow, I got through the Sorrowful Mysteries. And I made some very important observations along the way. My prayer life is sub-par. I can no longer hear the silence through all this chatter going on around me, both outside and inside my head. For example, Daly provides a short, one-liner bible verse after each Hail Mary, like this:

Hail Mary… Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. (LK 22:43, NRSV)

to be read with each bead. As I was moving to the next bead and began saying that Hail Mary, I caught myself looking ahead as my noisy mind “recited” the Hail Mary. Yes, I was “saying” a Hail Mary in my head at the same time I was reading ahead to the verse that Daly had so carefully chosen.  Busted.

I turned my beach chair and pushed my sunglasses up onto the top of my head. Now I was forced to close my eyes from time to time, and I used those moments to say the Hail Marys. My eyes could open against the bright sun only long enough to read the brief reflections. And what beautiful reflections! I was transformed back to the early days of my “re-version” (you know, like what you call a fallen-away Catholic who comes home: not a convert, but a revert) when tears would pour down my face every Tuesday and Friday as I said the Sorrowful Mysteries.

Every now and again, we need a little something to get us back on track. Bead by Bead: A Scriptural Rosary is the something I need right now, and I will be keeping it handy not only this Lent, but all year long. I highly recommend this devotional as an aide to rejuvenate your daily Rosary.

What are your favorite daily devotionals?

*Daly cites prayers from St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort’s The Secret of the Rosary throughout Bead by Bead.

You can follow Meggie K. Daly on FB here.

Her publisher’s website is here.

What are you reading? You can share your favorite books by tagging your social media posts with #OpenBook and linking up with us at Carolyn Astfalk’s “My Scribbler’s Heart” blog as well as CatholicMom.

http://catholicmom.com/2018/02/07/open-book-february-2018/

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Mystical and Natural (Theology) Shall Kiss

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A friend recently turned me on to this contemporary Catholic poet, and so I purchased Roses For the Most High on Kindle. This work is nothing short of stunning. Colonel Ronald Smith’s name belongs with Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, and Robert Frost. One can read just a few lines from Roses for the Most High and hardly disagree:

“I contemplated mantric shores
and living mist upon the moors
when breath of heather blushed the lea
medieval chants by ancient sea
would reeve galactic jewels that kite
the indigo of endless night”

I’m going to push the envelope a bit farther. Smith’s ability, to craft poetry that brings readers deeper into an understanding of our Faith, is truly inspired. Perhaps his military experience, combined with a brilliant understanding of Mystical Theology and the lives of the saints, contributes to making his reflections so captivating. Natural Theologists will appreciate Smith’s way of conveying awe of the beauty of God’s creation as could only be attained through the very unique position of an Air Force pilot who found himself flying in the north and south Polar Regions.

Colonel Smith is a fascinating person. I found this article about him:
http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/home-and-garden/retired-air-force-colonel-fills-downtown-loft-with-art-and/article_b6355509-2df8-58bc-8574-c0efdd0107f0.html.
His poems belong in the curriculum of every Catholic high school. Seton Homeschool, Memoria Press, Classically Catholic Memory, Homeschool Connections, Kolbe Academy, and other traditional and classical Catholic educators: this poetry belongs in your high school literature requirements, right beside Joyce Kilmer, Hilaire Belloc and G. K. Chesterton. I fully expect my grandchildren and their grandchildren will one day be memorizing Smith’s words as part of a classical Catholic education.

Smith’s book starts are on Amazon and also https://www.westbowpress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001128600.

Click here for Author website .

What are you reading? You can share your favorite books by tagging your social media posts with #OpenBook and linking up with us at Carolyn Astfalk’s “My Scribbler’s Heart” blog as well as CatholicMom.