Tuesday, April 09, 2024

How to Pray for Your Adult Children


When our children become adults, our relationship with them changes. Even if they continue to live in our homes, in most cases, our role becomes one of advisor and observer rather than one of hands-on mothering. When they move away, we might not even be aware of what is going on in their lives.

Adult children may make decisions that break our hearts or face difficulties that we cannot fix, no matter how much we might want to make the situation go away. We may be filled with worry. It can be hard to know what to say or do. One thing we can always do, however, is pray.

Praying for Our Adult Sons and Daughters: Placing Them in Heart of God by John and Therese Boucher discusses different ways to pray for our children. The Bouchers advise us to “turn away from worry, depression, and fear” and trust in God’s love. “Turn toward God and take the time to describe your grown child or children’s needs as part of your daily prayers” (21). We should also remember to thank God for every good thing about our children.

Another thing we can do is pray for wisdom before we speak to our adult children, especially when it comes to touchy subjects. We can pray to the Holy Spirit for the right words to say.

Sometimes, regret for things we have done or failed to do can weigh heavy on our hearts. We can acknowledge areas where we need to ask for forgiveness for our human failings from both God and our children. We can give “Jesus all of our broken relationships, our inner struggles, our guilt, our sins, and our harmful actions” (61). As we move forward in our relationships with our children, we can “ask for the gifts of compassion, forgiveness, and understanding” (67).

Sometimes, despite our many prayers, it can seem like nothing is happening. What do we do when it seems like God is ignoring our prayers? We need to trust that God is working “even if the results of our prayers are invisible . . . The act of praying for a loved one over a long period of time is in itself an act of faith” (75-76). God sees our children in the light of eternity. We must do what we can and leave the rest to God.

In addition to praying for our children, we can also pray for other young adults. Groups of moms can band together to pray for each other’s children, helping to support each other and all our children in this important way.

Like every parenting stage, parenting adult children has its joys and challenges. Ultimately, our adult children are responsible for their own choices, but we can always express our concern for them to God in prayer and ask Him to guide their steps. Praying for Our Adult Sons and Daughters is filled with practical suggestions on how to navigate this life stage and turn to God at all times. 


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Wednesday, April 03, 2024

#OpenBook for April 2024

 Welcome to #OpenBook. I'm joining up with Carolyn Astfalk who hosts an #OpenBook Linkup on CatholicMom.com. Here's what I've been reading this past month. This was a short "month" because we did the #OpenBook for March late. The dates indicate when I finished the books. Thanks for stopping by!


3-19-24 Toward the Dawn - Mary Connealy - One of the challenges of being a book reviewer is that sometimes I am assigned books in the middle of a series. Sometimes this is fine - they work as a standalone. On the other hand, this one had a complicated backstory that I think one could probably only appreciate if they read the first book. This is a Western romance about an inventor and an heiress who both are wanted by people who wish them harm. They enter a marriage of convenience to try to build a new life in Wyoming, but their past comes back to haunt them. (Read for a book review publication.)

3-24-24 How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen - David Brooks - I enjoy David Brooks' columns so I was eager to read this book. We have an epidemic of loneliness in our society and for various reasons, many of us have lost the ability to truly connect with other people. Brooks offers concrete ways to engage in conversation and build empathy. Overall, I found this book very helpful. The only section I wasn't a fan of was on personality. He rejects the Myers-Briggs classifications (which I have found helpful in life for understanding both myself and others) and instead embraces a different classification system which seems much more biased in favor of some traits. For example, extroversion is definitely seen as better than introversion. 

3-27-24 A Generous Lap: A Spirituality of Grandparenting - Kathy Coffey - While I am old enough to be a grandmother, I'm not one yet, nor am I in any real rush, but I have reached the stage of spiritual grandmotherhood where when I encounter small people, I relate to them more as a grandmother-type figure rather than a mother. So, I considered this book preparation for the next possible life stage. Coffey talks about both the blessings and tasks of grandparenthood as well as the lessons God teaches grandparents through their interactions with their grandchildren. I wished it had focused a bit more on the importance of praying for one's grandchildren, but this is more of a hands-on sort of manual. What do grandparents have to offer grandchildren and how do they reflect God's love while doing so. (Read for Catholic Library World)

3-27-29 A is for Amish - Shelley Shepard Gray - This new series of Amish fiction is off to a great start! This series features four siblings who grew up English but who have decided they want to become Amish like their grandparents. Will Amish life be all that they dream it will be or will they miss the life they left behind. What happens when they end up falling in love with members of the Amish community? This story focuses on two of the siblings - Martin and Kelsey - and sets the stage for the books to come. (Read for a book review publication.) 

3-28-24 Praying for Our Adult Sons and Daughters: Placing Them in the Heart of God - John and Therese Boucher - Parenting takes on a different dynamic once children are grown. Praying for our adult children is so important, especially since our ability to directly intervene in their lives can be somewhat limited. This book was great because it was honest about the difficult situations our children may find themselves in and the pain those situations can cause for a parent's heart. It offers many practical suggestions for ways to pray for your children. I recommend this one for any parent of adult children. 

3-31-24 Sharing Too Much: Musings from an Unlikely Life - Richard Paul Evans - I always enjoy Richard Paul Evans' Christmas stories and other works of fiction for many years, so I was excited to read this new book of essays by him. There are some fictional stories in this book, but the majority is a collection of non-fiction reflections on aspects of his life and lessons he has learned. Some of them made me cry! He is a wonderful writer who has lived an extraordinary life, has a deep Christian faith, and has used his money for good. I really enjoyed this collection.


Since spring of 2019 (Five years!!!!), I have been making my way through the Great Books Curriculum of Thomas Aquinas College (I'm currently working on the readings for junior year). 

3-20-24 On the Measurement of Tones - Peter Kalkavage - This was the final book on the music section of the curriculum. It was written in 1983-1984 and discusses the Pythagorean approach to music and offered more mathematical discussion of the creation of tones. 

The next book on my list is Don Quixote. I got it from the library. It is almost 1000 pages. This could take a while. I should probably start crying now. :) Why am I doing this to myself?

My thirteen-year-old daughter and I read the following books this month:

3-13-24 The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate - Jacqueline Kelly - My daughter and I both enjoyed this tale of a scientifically minded 13 year old, struggling to find her place in the world in 1900 Texas. She wants to be a vet, but her parents don't think that is an appropriate career for a young woman. Calpurnia is a spunky heroine and this book also teaches some lessons about animals and science. It was the second book in a series and we didn't read the first one, but we were still able to enjoy this one. 

4-2-24 The Mother-Daughter Book Club - Heather Vogel Frederick - A group of moms decide to set up a mother-daughter book club with their sixth grade daughters. At first, the girls are horrified, but soon they get into it and it provides some consistency in their worlds that are changing all too fast. This is the first in a seven book series and my daughter and I really enjoyed it. It captures that time in a girl's life perfectly including all the girl drama. Plus, the different lives of the various girls and moms are interesting. In this book, they read Little Women which my daughter and I have read so we got all the references to that book as well. There was a bit of fat-shaming in this book which I wish they had omitted, but overall we both really enjoyed it and are looking forward to the next book in the series. 
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Wednesday, March 13, 2024

#OpenBook for March 2024

 Welcome to #OpenBook. I'm joining up with Carolyn Astfalk who hosts an #OpenBook Linkup on CatholicMom.com. Here's what I've been reading this past month. The dates indicate when I finished the books. Thanks for stopping by!


2-9-24 Befriending St. Joseph: Finding Faith, Hope, and Courage in the Seven Sorrows Devotion - Deacon Greg Kandra - St. Joseph's feast day is March 19th. This book would make for wonderful spiritual reading or an at-home retreat during this month. It offers short chapters that reflect on the seven times St. Joseph is mentioned in Scripture. Learn more about St. Joseph and the lessons he has to teach us. It also offers several prayers to use to ask for St. Joseph's intercession in our time of need.

 2-11-24 One Thousand Gifts - Ann Voskamp - I learned about this book from a review on CatholicMom.comAnn embraced gratefulness as a way to counteract the bitterness in her life and as a way to reflect on Eucharist (which means Thanksgiving). She is a nondenominational Christian so her understanding of Eucharist is different than a Catholic one, but there are some similarities. She reflects on being grateful in times of trial (she has had more than her share of trauma). I found her writing style a bit disjointed in parts (this was a New York Times bestseller - many people evidently disagree with me), but I loved the idea and it was just what I needed because I was looking for something to do for Lent for the prayer component. Thanksgiving is a form of prayer. I'm going to try to make my own list of 1000 things to be grateful for - 25 per day for 40 days. I have no idea if I will manage this or not, but I'm going to try.


2-15-24 The Song of Sourwood Mountain - Ann H. Gabhart - Mira Dean’s fiance died five years earlier, along with her dreams of being a wife and mother, but she enjoys her life as a schoolteacher in Louisville. When a former classmate she hasn't seen in years, a missionary in Appalachia, asks her to marry him and be a teacher to the children of Sourwood, she thinks the idea is preposterous. However, when circumstances conspire against her, she realizes that God wants her to accept his offer. This was a lovely story of following God's will, even when it takes you to unexpected places. (Read for a book review publication) 

2-17-24 Life in Five Senses - Gretchen Rubin - This book went along nicely with the gratitude project I'm doing for Lent. It was all Rubin's quest to appreciate the world more through her five main senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. It encourages paying more attention to how we experience the world.  


2-19-24 1000 Words: A Writer's Guide to Staying Creative, Focused, and Productive All Year Round - Jame Attenberg - This book is partly reflections on the writing life by the author and partly a collection of essays on writing by other authors. Some of the writers I had heard of; others I had not. Many of the essays had been written during the pandemic and spoke of isolation or the struggle to write when their personal circumstances had been upended. I enjoyed reading the different essays, although a few of them used some vulgarity. Basically, the purpose of the book was to inspire readers to continue to focus on their writing even when it is hard and they feel uninspired. 

2-23-24 The Proposal Plot - Kathleen Fuller - This is enjoyable Amish fiction about a headstrong young woman and her new neighbor who, after getting his heart broken badly, wants nothing to do with women. Unfortunately, his nephew and her sister fall in love, and they are recruited to chaperone them all too often. (Read for a book review publication)

2-24-24 ADHD for Smart Ass Women - Tracy Otsuka - I don't love the title of this book (it is based on the podcast of the same name), but the book itself was quite good. I read it to help understand / help my teenage daughter who has an ADHD brain. I recommend it to any women who have ADHD or have teenager daughters who have ADHD. It offers practical tips on time management, managing money, sleep challenges, exercise, and nutrition.

2-27-24 Our Lady of Good Help: Prayer Book for Pilgrims - Fr. Edward Looney - My mother gave me this book for Christmas and it is a lovely exploration of the Marian apparition at Champion, Wisconsin, in 1859. Fr. Looney describes the apparition, compares it with other Marian apparitions, and explains its message for all of us. The second half of the book is a collection of prayers including preparing to receive sacraments, novenas, and prayers for different locations at the National Shrine for those fortunate enough to make a pilgrimage there. 


3-6-23 Carnegie's Maid - Marie Benedict - I've read a few books by Marie Benedict over the years, but I had somehow missed this one. I'm so glad I picked it up! I thoroughly enjoyed this tale of a young Irish woman working as a lady's maid for Andrew Carnegie's mother and developing a relationship with her wealthy son. 

3-6-23 Mary's Calico Hope - Anne Blackburne - Mary Yoder was injured in an accident as a young child. Now age 29, she has accepted her fate and does as well as she can living in pain and going around on crutches. She would like to have a husband, though, if it is God's will. But when she falls in love with a Mennonite doctor who introduces her to a surgery that could change her life, she struggles to know what God's will might be.  Fans of Amish romance will enjoy this one!

Since spring of 2019, I have been making my way through the Great Books Curriculum of Thomas Aquinas College (I'm currently working on the readings for junior year). 

2-16-24 The Sense of Music - Victor Zuckerkandl - The next group of selections I am working on is on music. This particular book wouldn't be considered part of the "Great Book" canon, but was written to help students studying the Great Books to better understand music as listeners. I have a basic understanding of how to read music. I learned some when I was a child and I have been using the "Simply Piano" App for the past couple of years to try to learn how to play the piano better, which I enjoy and is good for exercising my brain. I did not understand everything in this book, but I learned many things about musical theory. 

2-29-24 Fundamentals of Music - Boethius - The author of this work lived from 480-524 and was examining the mathematical underpinnings of Western musical theory. He focused on translating Greek works on music and shaped the discipline of music during the middle ages. While the mathematical portions of this book were beyond me, I did understand some of the philosophical musings. 

3-9-24 Tonality - Molly Gustin - This is another relatively modern book (1969) and I was excited to see it was by a woman, a true rarity on this book list. She was writing to argue that seven-tone diatonic scales and better than 12 tone chromatic scales. She discussed tone, consonance, mode, key. pitch, meter, and aesthetics. I understood parts of it. In this journey through music, I have learned that music is much more complicated than I ever thought!

My thirteen-year-old daughter and I read the following book this month:

2-13-24 The Girl in the Lake - India Hill Brown - This one was a spine-tingler! While it was written for kids, there were moments I was quite spooked reading it. A group of cousins spend a week at their grandparents' house by the lake. Little do they know that the house is haunted. In addition to being a good story, it also had am important lesson on racism and why many Black people never were able to learn how to swim. 
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Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Reflect on the Life of St. Joseph


We know relatively little about St. Joseph. He is sometimes called “the silent Saint” because no words of his are recorded in Scripture. Yet, devotion to St. Joseph, who was the foster father of Jesus and husband of the Blessed Mother, has a long history in the Church.

In Befriending St. Joseph: Finding Faith, Hope, and Courage in the Seven Sorrows Devotion, Deacon Greg Kandra shares how the tradition of meditating on the seven sorrows of St. Joseph began with a shipwreck. Two Franciscans were traveling on the coast of Belgium when a storm hit, and the ship sank. They clung to the wreckage and prayed to St. Joseph. St. Joseph appeared to them and helped them to safety. He taught them to pray seven Our Fathers and seven Hail Marys and to “meditate on the seven passages in the Bible where Joseph is mentioned” (xi).

The Seven Sorrows of St. Joseph are:

1.     Joseph decides to divorce Mary

2.     Jesus sees Jesus born into poverty

3.     Joseph’s sorrow at the circumcision of Jesus

4.     Joseph hears a prediction of suffering

5.     Joseph flees with his family to Egypt

6.     Joseph makes the dangerous journey back to Israel

7.     Joseph searches for the lost Jesus

Deacon Kandra encourages us to pray to St. Joseph because he can help us learn how to listen better to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in our lives and trust in God more. St. Joseph is also a patron for those who are sent places that they would rather not go as well as for those who feel unworthy or unready for the task that God has given them.

For each of the seven sorrows, Deacon Kandra provides a Scripture passage, an imaginative retelling of the event from St. Joseph’s perspective, a reflection, questions for personal or group use, and a prayer. Each of the chapters is only a few pages. This book would be perfect to use as an at-home retreat.

An appendix includes many prayers to ask for St. Joseph’s intercession in various circumstances. As second appendix offers a prayer service based on the Seven Sorrows Devotion.

St. Joseph has much to teach us. He can also be a great source of help to us through his intercession in our times of need. His feast day on March 19th and the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1st both provide an extra incentive to learn more about this important saint. Reading and reflecting on Befriending St. Joseph: Finding Faith, Hope, and Courage in the Seven Sorrows Devotion is an excellent way to do that. 


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How to Pray for Your Adult Children

  When our children become adults, our relationship with them changes. Even if they continue to live in our homes, in most cases, our role...