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.
The header image above is an actual message I received, in a rather round-about way, from a reader. Fear not, faithful followers of the fiery-haired five-year-old! The “folks” over here in Mollyland have set a goal: in 2018, the month of Valentines and Mardi Gras will feature BOOK THREE! Rumor has it, it’ll be something to party about. Little teaser:
Stay tuned for updates!
It’s not too late, right? Can we still find some great Easter-basket-stuffers that won’t get our dental plan cancelled?
I’m throwing together this sharing post because I know a whole bunch of us are in the same
sinking ship BOAT as we scramble to Easter shop while keeping some semblance of Lentitude (I made that up. It’s the attitude we do our best to assume during Lent.) as Holy Week approaches.
So, I’ll go first with posting the obvious. Please click here to order MMPJ direct from my awesome publisher, Gracewatch Media/ Peanut Butter and Grace Books. Not only do they have a nice sale going on with the hardcover edition, but they have made an Easter Bundle if you’re new to the Molly thing: you can get a discount on ordering both MMPH and MMPJ softcovers together.
Hopefully I’ll have some other cute Molly McBride swag coming soon.
Now it’s your turn! I still need to fill my Molly’s (and Sissy’s) Easter baskets. Show me what you are either selling or buying. Include links whenever possible!
She’s out! And just in time for the Season of Purple. Molly McBride and the Plaid Jumper is officially available online and in stores and the reviews are “out of the park!” Check out Molly’s FB page for the totally awesome trailer curtesy of Peanut Butter and Grace Books.
To purchase your Molly books, please click: https://www.gracewatch.media/product-tag/molly-mcbride/ and have a most blessed Lent!
I have no idea where to start. Perhaps I could give you a visual from my husband’s point of view, for he was blissfully unaware of the latest installment of “This Crazy House” as he lay soaking in the jacuzzi tub in our bathroom. I come in and motion for him to turn off the jets so he can hear my explanation of why I am wielding in my left hand the enormous, meaty, remains of our Easter ham, shreds still clinging the bone, and gesturing frantically with my right hand.
How’s this for a beautiful end to Jo-Jo’s 8th birthday? Headline: “7-Year-Old, Previously Well-Adjusted Girl, Turns 8 And Suddenly Cannot Sleep In Her Own Room.” Or, alternatively I could title it “What’s The Weirdest Thing You’ve Ever Had To Clean Up Out Of Your Child’s Bed?” I mean seriously, it was like Ham-ageddon in there. Poor girl. Will she ever be the same?
Here’s the story. There were footsteps on the stairs, only halfway down since it’s past bed time: “Mommy. Mommy, I need you.”
Big sigh. “What is it, Jo-Jo?” (Translate, “What fantastic reason to delay your bedtime have you invented tonight?”)
“No, Mommy, you have to come up here.” Ok, there is real emotion in her voice. More real than just little-kid-trying-to-stay-up-longer emotion. Her voice is small and shaky. “Mommy, please. You have to come up now.”
Then she really got me: “There’s something in my bed.”
Spider. “Ok hold on, now,” I’m on my feet. “This sounds like a Daddy thing. You need Daddy. Go get Daddy. Jay! Jay? Where are you?” Nothing.
“No, Mommy, I need you now. Come now! Please! You have to come now!” It sounded like panic. Now I’m panicking. Probably a wolf spider. Seriously need Daddy. And a shot gun. And someone to shoot it. I now have one foot on the stairs and the other one headed towards the bathroom where I hope Daddy is. I see the dog on the couch, so I know they aren’t out for their evening walk.
“Mommy, this is not an insect or….. something.” Tearful. Panicking. Fretting. Bizarre.
Big Sis pokes her head out of her door. Even she is curious now.
“Jo-Jo. Get ahold of yourself. What is it? What. Is. In. Your. BED??!!!!!” Oh, the images that flashed through my paranoid mind. Raccoon? Snake? Fire? Fallen-in roof? Person? Dead person?!!!!!
“It’s not, it’s not, it’s….” she is struck dumb. She makes a face that has more than fear in it somehow. What is it? Disgust? Disgust! Yes! The dog went up there while we were watching LHOP! We thought it was kinda strange! The dog was acting kinda strange!
“Ohhhhhhh! Oh, oh, oh, no. Did, did Josie….you know, did she….?” One time she had pooped in the play room to show us she was mad at us for leaving her. Strikes again.
“No. No, Mommy. I don’t know what it is.” Sobbing.
Sometimes I like to think I’m that person who can just live without knowing what’s in the basement calling you at midnight in scary movies. I’d be the one who buys that house but hears the raspy-voiced, “Get out!” and I’d just, you know, get out. No, I never picture myself the heroine of the horror film, the girl who has killer curiosity and ends up just facing Freddie Kruger or Jason or whomever. I’d just pick up and move to Canada. End of story.
But I climbed those stairs and went into that room. And what I saw in that bed, well, I can tell you quite honestly, if I were a just-turned-8-year-old girl, I’d never be able to get back in that bed again.
It all began to click. We went out for birthday dinner and came home to find the lid off the trash can and a very thirsty puppy. I assumed she just, you know, ate the rest of the ham. I didn’t go digging though the smelly trash.
Then the weird trip upstairs during tv time. She’s a big dog and doesn’t really like going up and down the slippery wood stairs. It was fairly unusual. Not alarmingly so, but unusual.
Apparently, our dog had attempted to bury the Easter ham remains in Jo-Jo’s bed. Right up there next to her pillow, up against the wall. Our dog’s weird ascent during Little House had been a hambone inventory check. Poor Jo-Jo gets ready for bed only to find what truly appears to be a mauled carcass right where she is to lay her sweet head.
Now that she realizes what it is, and what that smell is, she refuses to even go in her room. I go in and strip the sheets as carefully as I can (I’ve already thrown away the ham bone since I am finished relishing over my husband’s bath) but still some bits of ham spray across the room, behind the headboard, down into the tight space between the mattress and the wall and the frame, down into the trundle bed mattress and frame. I try to move the bed over and, of course, the ceiling fan begins to bang loudly against the bedposts. I run to shut off the fan then return to attempt to remove the ham juice, grease-soaked mattress pad, only to find it is one of those zip ones that encases the entire mattress. Whose great idea was that? Yeah, mine. Go me. I won’t be able to fit all this into the washer in one load anyhow.
So Jo-Jo is having a little birthday sleepover in her Big Sis’ room tonight. I’m sure we’ll all get plenty of rest as we face a day of cleaning the ham bits from Baby Girl’s room tomorrow. And laundry.
You know what? I take it back. I can totally live without anyone else sharing what is the weirdest thing you’ve ever cleaned out of your child’s bed.