It's sharing time!, Recommended Reads, Uncategorized

Battle For Our Souls

Although I believe the target audience for Battle For His Soul is teen boys, I highly recommend this book for EVERYONE.

Book Review By Molly's Momma
By the pool: Battle For His Soul changed my life.

I packed this book for some light reading by the pool on our family Spring Break, but reading Battle For His Soul by Theresa Linden turned out to be a life-altering experience for me. While that statement may seem a little over-the-top for a woman pushing 50 and still reading YA novels, what I mean is this: 1. I can’t stop thinking about it, and 2. it has changed my behaviors, truly transforming me into a better person.

Linden vividly describes her characters’ guardian angels, as well as the demons they fight. Something that made a big impression on me was how acts of sacrificial love (as well as prayer) actually gave extra powers to the guardian angels and took away power from the demons. I have found myself prattling on endlessly to my family about how much I enjoyed this book. But, more importantly, I have found myself actively looking for more ways to perform acts of sacrificial love for them in my day-to-day activities. This little change in me seems to be spreading out like ripples, affecting the rest of the family: I am catching them doing extra little things for me and for each other!

Does the name Theresa Linden ring a bell? I’ve no doubt that it does at this point. I’ve blogged about her books before here.  A prolific writer,Linden is a member of the Catholic Writers’ Guild and Catholic Teen Books, which are 2 great sites to check out for more amazing books by Catholic authors. I read this about her on her blog:

“Her Catholic faith inspires the belief that there is no greater adventure than the reality we can’t see, the spiritual side of life. She hopes that the richness, depth, and mystery of the Catholic faith arouse her readers’ imaginations to the invisible realities and the power of faith and grace.”

As an aside, given that ’tis the season, I am also reminded that this is what Lent is all about: making acts of sacrificial LOVE. It doesn’t do any good to give up chocolate if it’s just going to make us hateful. Giving up (sacrificing) something only “counts” if it is done with LOVE. Who’da thunk I’d find such a message in a teen novel?

Amazon link to purchase Battle For His Soul.

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.

Book Updates!, It's sharing time!, Mothers of Mollies, On Being a Good Friend, Recommended Reads

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.

It's sharing time!, Mothers of Mollies, Recommended Reads, Uncategorized

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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Who(m) Do You Love?

The Cover Image: I think Bear came first. He might be about a year older than Hearts. I think Hearts was a Valentine’s Day gift to our little “Molly” when she was 3. They are well-loved.

The Title: As a homeschooling mom, I’m a little bit ridiculously proud of how I’ve managed to produce two mini grammar police.

But, what’s more important than a misplaced modifier or a surplus of exclamation points? How about a lesson in LOVE?

A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh (who may or may not be the inspiration behind a certain wolfpet-named-Francis) said you don’t have to know how to spell love, you just have to feel it.

pooh.jpg

The point is, kiddos aren’t just born knowing how to perform acts of charity; they must be taught. Ideally, we are molding them into selfless adults through our own example. But when the day is long and the night is short, we may find that we have neither the energy to shuttle everyone off to help ladle noodles at the soup kitchen, nor the funds to adopt a highway. In these cases, we may have to resort to some direct, didactic teaching, or, even better, read stories!

May I suggest the latest in the Molly McBride series? It’s called Molly McBride and the Party Invitation and it’s available both at Amazon and direct from the publisher at Gracewatch Media.

"Party Invitation" is a tale of true love, charity.
A true love story, Molly McBride and friends, with the help of Father Matt, learn the real meaning of charity. The story also subtly examines school bullying through a unique lens: “loving thy enemy” via the Gospel of Matthew.

Party Invitation is a tale of true love, charity. I’m talking about “love” as in the word Paul used in writing to the Corinthians, using the Greek work agape, (also used by John to equal “God,”) that was later translated into the Latin caritas, the root of the English word “charity.”

"Party Invitation" is a tale of true love, charity. A true love story, Molly McBride and friends, with the help of Father Matt, learn the real meaning of charity. The story also subtly examines school bullying through a unique lens: "loving thy enemy" via the Gospel of Matthew.

And in this love story, Molly McBride and friends, with the help of Father Matt, learn the real meaning of charity in a surprising way: the story examines school bullying through a unique lens: “loving thy enemy” via the Gospel of Matthew.

 

Illustration of the pharisees, from Molly McBride and the Party Invitation
“Ever wonder why it is so much easier to love our friends than our enemies?” asks Father Matt of Molly and Dominic.

"Party Invitation" is a tale of true love, charity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As in the first 2 Molly McBride books, lessons abound whenever the fiery-haired 5-year-old encounters her faithful friends, the Children of Mary sisters and, in Book 2, Father Matt. It is my dream that every child will learn a little something, in a fun and entertaining way, from the relatable characters in these books. And, hopefully, the books will fulfill the daily goal of every teacher and homeschooling parent, that is, to help children learn to enjoy reading and to continue to grow in their faith.

Blessings!

Jeanie

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.

 

"Party Invitation" is a tale of true love, charity.
art, Book Updates!, It's sharing time!, On Being a Good Friend, Promoting Vocations, Recommended Reads, Uncategorized

I Promised You a Party

As well as a Trifecta in February as we unveil the long-awaited sequel to Molly McBride and the Plaid Jumper, and so, at last! here it is:

"Party Invitation" is a tale of true love, charity.
Cover image of Book #3 in the Molly McBride Series, “Party Invitation” is a tale of true love, charity.

 

From the back cover:

Molly McBride is turning 6, and her Momma is planning a BIG party. Everyone in Molly’s class is supposed to get an invitation. But should a certain class bully be invited, too? Or would it be better if his were “lost”?

Join Molly and friends as they learn that doing actor of charity, while always a good thing, isn’t always a party.

A true love story, Molly McBride and friends, with the help of Father Matt, learn the real meaning of charity. The story also subtly examines school bullying through a unique lens: “loving thy enemy” via the Gospel of Matthew.

Molly McBride and the Party Invitation: Bullies need love, too!
A true love story, Molly McBride and friends, with the help of Father Matt, learn the real meaning of charity. The story also subtly examines school bullying through a unique lens: “loving thy enemy” via the Gospel of Matthew.

As always, in my effort to expose Catholic kids to the religious life, there are special guests in this book: along with Father Matt, the Children of Mary sisters play a big part in Party Invitation.

"Party Invitation" is a tale of true love, charity.
From the award-winning Catholic author/illustrator of the Molly McBride series comes book #3 : Molly McBride and the Party Invitation: A Story About the Virtue of Charity. Addresses the meaning of charity as well as school bullying, as seen through the unique lens of Gospel stories.

Friends, it’s ready to order NOW via Amazon here: Party Invitation! It’s the perfect Valentine’s Day, Easter, birthday, or First Communion gift for the Catholic kids in your life. Miss Molly is turning 6 in this story, but the Molly books are enjoyed by kids of all ages, especially the 3-9 year-old crowd.

Momma here wishes to thank all Molly’s faithful fans, especially my family: may charity and love prevail.

Blessings,

Jeanie

art, Book Updates!, It's sharing time!, Molly Comics, Promoting Vocations, Recommended Reads, Uncategorized

Happy New Year!

2018 is a PARTY year for MM fans young and old. Stay tuned to your favorite Molly McBride social media channels so you don’t miss her latest book release information and trailer!

MM New Year 2018

It's sharing time!, Recommended Reads, Uncategorized

Faith and Kung Fu Series Packs Positive Punch

As “Molly’s” big sis approaches the teen years, Momma’s learning to look in all the right places for great teen/YA series.  I’m so happy to give 2 thumbs waaaaaay up for T. M. Gaouette (pronounced “gow ETT”) and her Faith and Kung Fu series which appeals to guys and gals alike.

The series kicks off with Freeing Tanner Rose. Tanner Rose is a 14-year-old starlet already well on her way to a life choked with the typical Hollywood vices. She’s put into a sort of rehab situation (staying with a college friend of her mom’s) when she meets the very wholesome 16-year-old Gabriel, martial arts lover and actively practicing Catholic.

Aaaaand they pretty much can’t stand one another. Gabriel keeps finding himself in situations where Tanner’s superficial personality embarrasses him to death in front of his friends. It’s such a antithesis to the typical teeny-bopper story where the geek gets made over by a cool kid and geek thus becomes popular.

I wish there had been books like this when I was a teen! I happened to grow up in a really, REALLY less-than-wholesome peer group situation, and I had no reason to believe there were any “good” kids my age ANYWHERE. It seemed everyone around me was a Tanner Rose. Now, I’m not going to go into any gory details here, but it wasn’t until years and years later that I discovered there actually were some kids out there who didn’t smoke, drink, do drugs, etc. It would be so nice if every teen experiencing this feeling could read this book and realize that there really are kids out there like Gabriel and his friends. Check out this conversation between Tanner and Gabriel’s friends Faith and Nina, talking about Gabriel:

“He should totally think about modeling,” Tanner said. 

Faith snorted. “Don’t hold your breath. He’s not like that.” She noted the look of confusion on Tanner’s face. “It’s not that complicated, Rose. Gabriel’s not into looks. I don’t even think that he realizes he’s handsome. And he’s definitely not interested in dating. None of us are.” She turned and grabbed a large bag of chips from her backpack and pulled it open.

“Sometimes you have to exploit your talents before they disappear,” Tanner said.

“Yeah, but Gabriel would say that looks aren’t a talent.” Faith popped a large chip into her mouth. “And besides plastic surgery, people shouldn’t be credited for their looks. That’s all God.” She tipped the bag toward Tanner who took a chip and ate it.

“But it takes an effort to maintain yourself,” Tanner said.

“Yeah, but that’s different,” Faith said, looking at Tanner. “Personality is what really defines a person, and even a beautiful person can be ugly if they’re horrible inside, and vice versa.” She shoved another chip into her mouth and raised her eyebrows, as if waiting for a response. But Tanner didn’t have one ready to go. So they looked at each other, the sound of crunching filling the conversation void.

“Well, the people I hang out with don’t really pay attention to personality. They just care about looks and money,” Tanner said eventually.

“That’s too bad.”

“Why?”

Faith shrugged and wiped her hand on her towel. Her mouth was still full, so Tanner waited. Finally, she said, “Because those things just can’t compete against a good character.”

T. M. does such a wonderful job of making the characters so real and likable that, even wholesome as they are, I’d like to believe my teen-self would have wanted to emulate them. I love it that there is so much detail about the girls’ clothes. Teen girls love to read about what other teen girls are wearing, and the way T. M. contrasts the flashy, slinky outfits Tanner sports against the cute, modest way Faith and Nina dress will surely send the right message to today’s YA readers. Positive peer pressure!

Talk about getting inside a young girl’s head! Imagine you are a 14 year-old girl with a lot of insecurities and problems, away from your family and friends, in the home of a really good-looking 16-year old boy. You’re flirting, trying to act extra mature and worldly to impress him.

“So you’ve never…?” Tanner asked, looking up at him. He shook his head, his eyebrows raised in amusement. “Someone as hot as you?”

He laughed softly. “It’s dependent on looks? he asked. “Besides, you’re fourteen. You shouldn’t be thinking about sex, let alone calling boys ‘hot’ to their faces.” He shook his head and glanced out at the house. She was suddenly embarrassed and she didn’t know why. Shouldn’t he be embarrassed that he’s a virgin at 16? she wondered. But Gabriel showed no embarrassment or shame. In fact, she was certain that he seemed proud of it.

“Have you ever kissed a girl?” she asked.

“Nope,” he said with that same un abashed tone.

“Must make for some pretty awkward dates, ” she said with a smile. “You’ve probably broken a ton of hearts.”

“I don’t date,” he said, looking at her. Tanner was reminded of her conversation with Faith and Nina during their camping trip.

“What?” she said and this time she laughed. “Are you kidding me?”

“Nope.”

“Why not?” And then a thought crossed her mind and she added, “Oh, your mom won’t let you?”

Gabriel shrugged. “I don’t know if she would. I’ve never asked her.”

“Never met a girl you wanted to date? What about Faith or Nina?”

“I don’t date, Tanner.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s a waste of time and emotions..” He held her gaze and shrugged before adding, “I don’t want to get involved with anyone I wouldn’t consider for a future wife, and getting married is just not an option right now. So, until God opens that door for me, I’m not interested.”

Tanner let his words replay in her mind, and it surprised her how affected she was by them, and she didn’t know why. She didn’t know if it was because he had the courage to make such a statement or if she wished she had the resolve to make that same vow.

Burn! Poor Tanner.

Well, I won’t spoil it for you. Buy Freeing Tanner Rose to see what Tanner ends up doing, then get book number 2 Saving Faith.

Oh! and Book 3 is coming very soon! We can’t wait.

My daughter has also read and enjoyed T. M. Gaouette’s The Destiny Of Sunshine Ranch. Maybe she can be a guest blogger and fill you in on it!

I’m just thanking God for T. M. Gaouette and all these amazing Catholic authors of teen/YA lit. I do believe they will change the world!