Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Making the Most of Menopause Moments


When I unexpectedly got in a review copy of Menopause Moments: A Journal for Nourishing Your Mind, Body and Spirit in Midlife, I must admit that I snickered a bit. Sadly, I am precisely the target market for this book. This book more accurately is aimed at women going through perimenopause, that unpleasant stage of life before menopause in which your body and hormones seem to stage a revolt. I've been going through it for the past 14 years (which I'm beginning to feel like should be some sort of record). My mother went through menopause early (back then it was referred to as "the change"), so I thought I was following in her footsteps when I started having symptoms in my early 30s. While I know it is better in the long term for my body that I didn't have early menopause, this has been a long haul. At some point, I will make it to the other side. At least that's what I keep telling myself. While there are certainly some perks to being in my forties, this messed-up body is not one of them. 

Anyway, I clearly needed this book. Melanie Rigney offers Scripture passages,  a reflection, suggested action, and journal prompts on a variety of topics facing women at this stage of life. She does so with both understanding and humor (because at times laughing can be a much better response than crying). These prayers, reflections, and journal prompts are designed to help women keep their eyes on God in the midst of all this personal upheaval.

Rigney discusses the many physical changes women go through, such as weight increase, acne, sagging breasts, wrinkles, grey hairs, hot flashes, insomnia, and reduced bone density. She also includes topics on the social challenges such as helping elderly parents, having teen or adult children, changing friendships, and mourning dreams that will never come true. Some of the emotional challenges included in these pages include being irritable and breaking into tears at the slightest provocation. 

Monopause Moments is highly recommended for my fellow women of a certain age who are suffering in the trenches of perimenopause. With God's help, we can both survive and thrive during these challenging years.   

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Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Learn about the Secrets of the Sacred Heart


June is the month in the Church year dedicated to the Sacred Heart. As such, it is the perfect time to read Secrets of the Sacred Heart: Twelve Ways to Claim Jesus' Promises in Your Life by Emily Jaminet. 

Jaminet is executive director of the Sacred Heart Enthronement Network and her family has had a deep devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for generations. She also runs the website:

In Secrets of the Sacred Heart, Jaminet states "the Lord invites us to come to know him and to love him through a powerful devotion to his heart." She explores the twelve promises that Jesus gave to St. Margaret Mary from 1673-1675. Those twelve promises to those who foster devotion to the Sacred Heart are:

1. I will give them all the graces necessary in their states of life.

2. I will establish peace in their homes.

3. I will comfort them in all their afflictions.

4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all, in death.

5. I will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.

6. Sinners will find in my heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.

7. Lukewarm souls shall become fervent

8. Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.

9. I will bless every place in which an image of my Heart is exposed and honored.

10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.

11. Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in my Heart.

12. I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Friday in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.   

Each chapter focuses on one of the promises and includes reflection questions and prayers at the end of each chapter. The first appendix explains a brief history of the Sacred Heart devotion in the Church. Appendix 2 includes the Litany of the Sacred Heart. 

I highly recommend reading Secrets of the Sacred Heart one chapter a day as part of your prayer time. It is a lovely exploration of this devotion and will encourage you to increase your love and honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 

This post includes Amazon affiliate links. Purchases made after clicking a link help support this site. Thank you!

Monday, June 07, 2021

The Lacemaker: A Novel of St. Zelie Martin

 The Lacemaker by Anne Faye

St. Zélie Martin (1831-1877) is best known as the mother of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, one of the most-loved saints of modern times, but she is also a saint in her own right. In this work of historical fiction based largely on St. Zélie’s letters, a compelling portrait of a working mother who always put God first comes to life.

St. Zélie is a saint many women can relate to. She suffered from anxiety, struggled with work-life balance, grieved the loss of children, cared for aging parents, had a child with special needs, and dealt with personal illness. Above all, she loved God and her family and had a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother.

In this intimate portrayal, you will come to know a complex woman who achieved holiness while living in the world and dealing with the stress of modern life.  

This post includes an Amazon affiliate link. Purchases made after clicking the link help support this site. Thank you!

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Helpful Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth


Women tend to love to share pregnancy and birth stories. It is something that bonds us as well as a way to share our wisdom with those who are going through this life-changing experience for the first time. In addition, there are countless books, websites, videos, doctors, and midwives offering advice. As a first-time pregnant woman, it can all be a bit overwhelming, not to mention scary!

Two Catholic women from Canada, Bonnie Way and Anna Eastland, have combined forces to write a guide to pregnancy and birth that is both informative and friendly. Reading the Beginner's Guide to Growing Baby: Tips to Help You through All Four Trimesters is like speaking with two good friends who have your best interests at heart. They are not medical professionals, but between them they have experienced birth fourteen times and have a great deal of wisdom to share. Even if you are not a first-time mom, you might still glean some useful information in these pages as they offer advice on taking care of older siblings and managing a family while pregnant and with a newborn.

Way and Eastland discuss such important matters as choosing a health care provider, coping with morning sickness and exhaustion, preparing your body for childbirth, getting ready for either a hospital or home birth, and coping with labor and delivery. There are also some fun topics such as choosing a name for your little one (please forgive the shameless plug, but if you are stumped for ideas, check out The Catholic Baby Name Book which I authored several years ago) and finding attractive maternity clothes.

The section on the fourth trimester (the first few months after a baby is born) discusses sibling jealousy, breastfeeding basics, the need for mom friends, loving your new body, and coping with postpartum depression. This time period in a woman’s life is often overlooked. Society seems to expect new mothers to bounce right back to whatever their lives looked like before birth almost immediately which is unrealistic and not helpful for mom or baby. Way and Eastland provide some solid advice for helping women adjust to their new roles.

At the conclusion, Way and Eastland share each of their birth stories. Sadly, Eastland did experience a stillbirth. She openly shares the grieving process and the psychological challenges of having a rainbow baby after that painful experience.

A lovely feature of this book is the poetry by Anna Eastland which opens the chapters. One notable omission is that through no fault of their own (and I certainly wouldn’t wish it on them), neither Way nor Eastland have had a c-section. Therefore, there is no discussion of recovering from that type of birth.

While pregnant women will want to have other resources in addition to this one to help them prepare for birth, the Beginner's Guide to Growing Baby: Tips to Help You through All Four Trimesters is well worth reading for some added perspective and wisdom. 

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Purchases made after clicking a link help support this site. Thank you!

Friday, May 21, 2021

For E-Mail Subscribers (or if you want to be one)

Since the early days of this blog, Feedburner has sent out e-mails automatically whenever I created a new post to those who have subscribed. Unfortunately, Google is doing away with that feature soon. Thank you to all those who have subscribed and read my blog this way over the years. 

I have set up an account with Mailchimp so that I can send out blog updates myself. If you'd like to continue being a subscriber, please fill out the following form to join my e-mail list:

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I can't promise I will send out an e-mail every time I create a post, but I can promise I will never harass you (I hate SPAM also!).

Thank you again for reading!

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

A Handy Little Guide to Prayer


In The Handy Little Guide to Prayer, Barb Szyskiewicz, OFS offers a short (but remarkably comprehensive) handbook for communicating with God. It explores the “who, what, where, when, how, and what ifs of praying.”

It is set up in a question and answer format. Some of the questions include: Who should pray? (spoiler alert – “anyone who wishes to deepen their relationship with God”; What is prayer?; How do I pray?; What do the Scriptures and saints tell us about prayer?; and When should I pray? Szyskiewicz also tackles some of the tough questions about prayer, such as: What if I don’t feel anything? and What if I don’t get an answer?

Szyskiewicz offers a practical guide to making prayer an important part of your life. While this is designed to be a short book, I do wish that it had included some of the traditional prayers that she mentions in this guide such as the Rosary, Angelus, Memorare, etc. in an appendix. As it is, those unfamiliar with those prayers will need to look them up (on the plus side, a quick internet search is all one needs to find them).

I heartily recommend The Handy Little Guide to Prayer for anyone who wishes to learn more about the basics of prayer. It would also be a great book to share in church parishes.

Making the Most of <i>Menopause Moments</i>

  When I unexpectedly got in a review copy of Menopause Moments: A Journal for Nourishing Your Mind, Body and Spirit in Midlife , I must adm...