Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Book Review: Imitating Mary

by Marge Fenelon
Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press, 2013

What can mothers today learn from a poor Jewish woman who lived two thousand years ago? If the woman in question is Our Blessed Mother, the answer is everything. Marge Fenelon explores ten of these lessons in the new book, Imitating Mary: Ten Marian Virtues for the Modern Mom. Fenelon writes Mary is “the answer for all moms . . . with God’s grace and Mary’s example, we can overcome any obstacles to becoming the loving, wonderful mothers we’re meant to be.” 

Fenelon focuses on ten scriptural events from Mary’s life and explores the virtues Mary exhibited in each of those instances.  We can all learn from Mary’s patience as she waited for Joseph to make a decision about their marriage, her trust as God’s handmaiden, her obedience in God in all things, her endurance as she gave birth in a stable, her courage, her hope, her faith, and her joy. 

Fenelon writes in a friendly, conversational style. She has an intimate relationship with Mary and this is evident in her words. As a mother with grown children, she understands all the stages of mothering. She shares experiences from her own life and her hard-earned wisdom with all of us in the trenches. She knows the challenges of modern mothering and how we often struggle with self-doubt. She wants to encourage mothers in their vocation:

“You’re a better mother than you think you are. Mothers have an innate tendency toward self-criticism. . . We also like to compare ourselves to other mothers, and that only makes things worse. You can’t be that other mom; you can only be you and you are beautiful – inside and out! Take time every single day to acknowledge something good about yourself.”

Each chapter of “Imitating Mary” features a relevant excerpt from scripture, Fenelon’s reflections, thoughts to ponder, and questions to consider. This book would be wonderful to use in a mom’s book group or Bible study. There is so much each of us can learn from Mary’s example. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

CatholicMom.com Books for Catholic Mothers

Just in time for your Mother's Day Shopping, Lisa Hendey has put together an Amazon listing of all the books currently available under the CatholicMom.com books imprint from Ave Maria Press (including The Catholic Baby Name Book)

CatholicMom.com books

Friday, April 26, 2013

Book Review: Dear God, I Don't Get It

Dear God, I Don't Get It
by Patti Maguire Armstrong
Liguori Publications, 2013

Why does God answer some prayers and not others? This is a question that plagues even adults. Sometimes, we pray so hard and think we know what God should do in our lives. And then, God does something else or He does nothing. What gives? For children, these questions can be even more acute. Without a lifetime of experience to rely on, God ignoring a prayer can be a faith-shaking incident.

That is the premise behind "Dear God, I Don't Get It." Patti Maguire Armstrong tells the story of sixth-grader Aaron Ajax. His father just lost his job and he has to move from Montana to North Dakota as a result. He prayed and prayed that this would not happen, and God just didn't pay attention. He has to leave his friends behind and while his younger brother Luke is making new friends easily, Aaron seems to only be making enemies. Nothing is going well for him. He concocts a plan to be a "hero" in order to get some positive attention, but that blows up in his face as well. Yet, God can use even bad things for good, and by the end of the story, everything has worked out, and Aaron decides that God knows what He is doing after all.

Armstrong writes with a good sense of humor that will appeal to the 8 - 12 age group that this book is targeted toward. It is a story with an important lesson on prayer for children, and the adults who care for them (and who might read this book with them). For those interested in delving into the story on a deeper level, there are discussion questions in the back.

This is the first in a new series with the second book coming out next Spring. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Book Review: Finding Grace

Finding Grace
by Laura H. Pearl
Waterford, MI: Bezalel Books, 2012

“Finding Grace” by Laura H. Pearl  is a Catholic coming-of-age novel set in the 1970s. Grace Kelly shares a name with the famous princess, but little else. She’s a plain, awkward girl entering her teen years, struggling to find her place in the world as she grows up in Plattsburgh, New York. She has devout Catholic parents, a house full of older brothers, and a best friend, Irene, who possesses all the beauty and grace she lacks. 

What Grace does possess is the desire to become a saint. At her father’s urging, she begins to read lives of the saints and tries to fashion her life after them. Admittedly, this isn’t always easy. She is starting high school and becomes the favorite target of Sister Immaculata, the much-feared Latin teacher. She also becomes friends with two young men – Jimmy Sullivan and Tom Buckley, one who she dreams of being with, and one who dreams of being with her.

The novel follows Grace and her friends from 1972 – 1980, when she is studying to be a teacher in college. This was a turbulent decade when many of the world’s morals were changing. Grace struggles to keep her virtue and her resolve to be a saint. Her friends struggle with their choices as well.

Pearl depicts the era well, especially the changes wrought by Roe v. Wade. Two characters in the novels become pregnant and make very different choices. Pearl explores what those choices meant to the character’s future lives.

“Finding Grace” is a long book and not a quick read, but it is worth spending time with and following Grace as she grows into a beautiful young woman. 


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Amazon Reviewers for The Catholic Baby Name Book wanted!

My Amazon listing for The Catholic Baby Name Book could use some reviews (hopefully good ones!) If you would be willing to post a review there, please contact me at pfmacarthur@comcast.net. I don't have any hard copies yet, but I do have a .pdf of the book I can send you. It should only take a few minutes to look over and get a feel for the book. Even a couple lines singing its praises (if you find it worthy) would be so appreciated. Thank you in advance!

Shakespearean Names with Catholic Connections

Today's Shakespeare's birthday and in light of that and the new The Catholic Baby Name Book, I thought I'd see which of his character names had some Catholic connections. For those who wish to give their child a name with Catholic roots and a Shakespearean legacy, there are loads of options. I accessed a list of Shakespearean names from Baby Center and then cross-referenced them with  The Catholic Baby Name Book.

Baby girl names
  • Adrian - (Coriolanus, The Tempest)
  • Adriana - (The Comedy of Errors)
  • Alice - (Henry V)
  • Aliena - (As You Like It)
  • Anne - (Henry VIII, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Richard III)
  • Audrey - (As You Like It)
  • Beatrice - (Much Ado About Nothing)
  • Diana - (All's Well That Ends Well)
  • Eleanor - (King John)
  • Elizabeth - (Henry VIII, 3 Henry VI/Richard III)
  • Emilia - (The Comedy of Errors, The Winter's Tale, Othello, The Two Noble Kinsmen)
  • Gertrude - (Hamlet)
  • Helen - (Troilus and Cressida, All's Well That Ends Well)
  • Helena - (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
  • Hermia - (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
  • Hermione - (The Winter's Tale)
  • Isabel - (Richard II, Henry V)
  • Isabella - (Measure for Measure)
  • Isidore - (Timon of Athens)
  • Jessica - (The Merchant of Venice)
  • Julia - (The Two Gentlemen of Verona)
  • Juliet - (Romeo and Juliet, Measure for Measure)
  • Katharine - (Love's Labour's Lost, Henry V)
  • Katherina - (The Taming of the Shrew)
  • Katherine - (Henry VIII)
  • Lavinia - (Titus Andronicus)
  • Luce - (The Comedy of Errors)
  • Luciana - (The Comedy of Errors)
  • Margaret - ( 1/2/3 Henry VI/Richard III, Much Ado About Nothing)
  • Maria - (Love's Labour's Lost, Twelfth Night)
  • Mariana - (All's Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure)
  • Marina - (Pericles)
  • Miranda - (The Tempest)
  • Morgan - (Cymbeline)
  • Octavia - (Antony and Cleopatra)
  • Olivia - (Twelfth Night)
  • Paulina - (The Winter's Tale)
  • Phebe - (As You Like It)
  • Portia - (The Merchant of Venice, Julius Caesar)
  • Regan - (King Lear)
  • Robin - (A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merry Wives of Windsor)
  • Rosalind - (As You Like It)
  • Rosaline - (Love's Labour's Lost)
  • Silvia - (The Two Gentlemen of Verona)
  • Ursula - (Much Ado About Nothing)
  • Valentine - (Titus Andronicus, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Twelfth Night)
  • Valeria - (Coriolanus)

Baby boy names

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