Catholic Book Lady’s Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day is coming soon. I’m sure you’ve heard. I decided to try to think ahead this year. In lieu of being lazy and just ordering flowers, I’ve done some research on some great gifts that our Catholic moms will like. My alter ego on Facebook is Catholic Book Lady so we will start with books, because they are my favorite. Some are new and some not, but these are the ones I like right now, by some of my favorite authors.

http://bit.ly/WalkSoftlyTTomeo

Teresa Tomeo: I’m a big fan of Catholic podcasts and Catholic radio. Teresa is the host of Ave Maria Radio‘s Catholic Connection, among other gigs. I’ve read most of Teresa’s other very popular books, but I like this one the best: Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag: On-the-Go Devotions. It has short devotions and fits in my purse or glove compartment. The devotions use a lot of humor, but are thought provoking and prayerful. It is good choice for any Christian woman, even one who is just getting started in the faith, and it is tailor-made for Mother’s Day.

http://www.emmausroad.org/30-Days-with-Teresa-of-Avila-P12215.aspx#sthash.XFcWDzvw.JXjP07bi.dpbs

  
Dan Burke: Before Dan Burke started his website Catholic Spiritual Direction there was little online about Catholic prayer that was truly authentic and not tinged by influences from other spiritualities. Now, several years later, his website is a mature, extensive resource for learning about genuine Catholic prayer and the spiritual life. A few years ago, he published a classic called Navigating the Interior Life. This has now grown into a series of books to help deepen your prayer life.

I own two new books in this series: Finding God Through Meditation by St. Peter of Alcantara who was a spiritual director St. Teresa of Avila; and a book of letters by St. Teresa herself, called 30 Days With Teresa of Avila that include reflections written by Dan and Dr. Anthony Lilles. I have been reading a little every day of Teresa’s letters and what impresses me is just how easy they are to read and how her personality shows through. The reflections are easy to understand and very helpful. I think any mom who is interested in prayer and the spiritual life would find this a nice gift. St. Peter’s book, however, is for someone who is very advanced in prayer and is ready to move onto greater holiness.

http://www.emilystimpson.com/these-beautiful-bones-an-everyday-theology-of-the-body.html

Emily Stimpson: I can’t tell you how huge a fan I am of Emily Stimpson because of this book These Beautiful Bones: An Everyday Theology of the Body. Now, you might be thinking “No, my mom/wife/grandma doesn’t need a book about the Theology of the Body because it is all about sex and just too big and complex.” Well, my friend, you are wrong. Saint Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body does have a large component about marriage and sex, and it can be complicated; but the body, marriage and family is more than about sex. It is about beauty and grace and holiness, even amidst the complexities and messiness of life. The Theology of the Body touches every part of life, and Emily Stimpson has unraveled it, digested it, made it understandable, and then written an absolutely beautiful book with the aim of bringing real love, simplicity, and grace to all parts of your life and your family. This book has literally changed my view of life and the world. It makes me yearn for beauty, and reach for grace. You need to buy two, because you need to read it yourself. She has a lovely website, The Catholic Table, that I highly recommend.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/159471472X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=159471472X&linkCode=as2&tag=catholicmomcom&linkId=G3CVQHK2TCRL5PUO

 
Lisa Hendey: The Grace of Yes: Eight Virtues for Generous Living. Now, I have to admit I have not read this book, but I hear it is wonderful, and it goes along with Emily Stimpson’s book about grace and generosity. As the creator of CatholicMom.comI think it is a safe bet that your mom will love this.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1586178822/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1586178822&linkCode=as2&tag=buttafly-20

 
Jennifer Fulwiler: Jennifer writes one of the most popular blogs in the Catholic online universe, Conversion Diary. As a big fan, I waited a long time for Jennifer’s book, Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidently Found It, to be released. She went from a born-and-raised atheist living the high life but not completely happy, to a Catholic homeschooling mom of six kids with a wildly popular blog about her and her husband’s faith journey. I devoured it. Fast paced and vastly interesting, their journey is nonetheless profound and incredibly inspiring. Don’t hesitate to get this book. Psst: don’t tell her that I just discovered I have been spelling her name wrong for years. Sigh.

http://www.amazon.com/Big-Hearted-Inspiring-Everyday-Families/dp/1594171904/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

 
Patti Maguire Armstrong: I got to be roomies with Patti at a Catholic convention and she is incredibly fun, a fantastic writer, and one of the best people I know. Patti is constantly writing articles on the Catholic faith and culture, and she has several books, including as co-author of the popular Amazing Grace series. This book however is the one that I like the best, and would be great for Mother’s Day: Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories from Everyday Families. This book explains what happens to families when they allow their hearts to be generous – their struggles, but also their triumphs and joys.

http://www.donnacooperoboyle.com/blog/books-cds-dvds/

 
Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle: I doubt there could be a list of Catholic books for Mother’s Day that doesn’t include at least one book by this lovely lady. Donna-Marie is an incredibly prolific writer. A friend of Mother Teresa’s, she imbues everything she writes with a beautiful, gentle spirit. Surprisingly, I’m not going to recommend any specific book. The last one I read was The Miraculous Medal, but she has many books on bringing in a prayerful aspect to the family and motherhood, books on prayer, ones for expectant mothers, a Bible study, books on Mother Teresa, and other saints and even angels. There just isn’t just one I could recommend, but the best thing is that she is sure to have written a book that would interest your mom.
  
OK, woman cannot live by book alone, so let’s get onto other gifts moms like:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/beadedtreasuresetc?ref=l2-shopheader-name

 
Jewelry, Rosaries and other cool stuff:
You can get cool jewelry everywhere, but meaningful jewelry is another story. I’m always surprised at how many Catholic ladies online I know that have small businesses and so many of them are on Etsy, Facebook, etc. Their wares are beautiful, and if you buy from them you are supporting a craftswoman directly. Check out these:

SpirituallyHip.com(Full of Grace Divine Designs) – Amazing jewelry. Gorgeous and very stylish. I just love everything there and would own it all if I could! The lovely necklace at the top of this post is this from here.
Charming Country Creations Some very cool country signs
Tag You’re “It” Beautiful and affordable, personalized hand stamped jewelry. I really like these.
Graceful Rosaries Just so amazing.
Perseverance Road Catholic Jewelry
Beaded Treasures Jewelry & Rosaries (the rosary above is from here)
and there are lots more, check out the Catholic Etsy Artist Guild Members too.

http://www.paintedfaith.net/

Art:
Nellie Edwards, painter of some of the most iconic modern Catholic art. I have a few of her prints. They are beautiful, meaningful, and affordable. And she is just the most fabulous person – well deserving of your business.

http://www.leafletonline.com/VIRGIN-OF-KAZAN-ICON/productinfo/26048/

And speaking of icons, which are considered by the Orthodox Christians to be windows to Heaven… there are many places to purchase icons, which is fortunate since they are so beautiful and stunningly crafted.

Leaflet Missal has many in all price ranges and is an excellent company.

Monastery Icons has beautiful icon jewelry, and a lot of more contemporary icons as well.

https://music.benedictinesofmary.org/

 
Music:
The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles. They are what the angels must sound like. Listening to these amazing nuns makes me immediately relax and settle in for prayer, or imbues my working day with sense of the sacred around me. Their voices are stunning.

Not to be outdone by those Benedictines, the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist have their own album, Mater Eucharistiae. You might remember these traditional nuns from the “Oprah Winfrey Show” and the “American Bible Challenge.”

Mom might also like the sublime singing of the British vocal ensemble Voces8. They are wonderful.

Want something a little more contemporary? The beautiful music of Audrey Assadcan’t be beat.

Well, there you have it. If you have any other great ideas for gifts, please let us know in the comments. I’d love to hear what you have to say!

P.S. Don’t forget to visit me on Facebook at Catholic Book Lady and, of course, at LiveCatholic

25 Great Catholic Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Father’s Day is coming soon and you want gift ideas for the Catholic father(s) in your life. I thought I would help. Let’s cut to the chase and jump right in. Here are some gift ideas that might please you both.
First up is books. I moonlight as Catholic Book Lady, so I’m immersed in books. I decided to poll some trusted, faithful Catholic men as to what books they think are good for men. I’ve got some new books, some popular, and some classic for your perusal.
New Books:
No matter what you get for your man, you should also first include Journey to Heaven by Randy Hain, co-founder of Integrated Catholic Life, one of my favorite Catholic websites. I know Randy, and he is the epitome of the great, faithful, Catholic dad. I’ve been reading it myself, and I really like it. He takes the wisdom of many wise, real contemporary Catholic men (not some lofty theologian, or a 500 year old dead monk) and distills it into an easy-to-understand, quick-to-read format. My favorite parts are “Integrating Faith and Work,” “What is Really Important,” and how to be a Catholic Rebel. We women love a rebel, right?
How can you go wrong with any book by Scott Hahn? Angels & Saints is his new one. Can you guess what’s it about? I’ll wait….Yep, angels and saints. Don’t like that topic, Dr. Hahn has tons of other books, including the now classic Rome Sweet Home, he and his wife’s conversion story.
Now some Ever-Popular Books that came highly recommended from my men’s poll:
  • The Catholic Briefcase:  Tools for Integrating Faith and Work by Randy Hain. This one won 2012’s About.com Reader’s Choice Award. 
  • Navigating the Interior Life by Dan Burke, Executive Director of the National Catholic Register and founder of SpiritualDirection.com. I saved this one for last in this list because I think every Catholic, especially every Catholic man, should own a copy. It is an excellent book on how to figure out your main faults so you can begin to work on rooting them out, and how to find spiritual direction so you can progress in your path to God. I know Dan Burke personally and he is the real deal. Get his book for your guy because you won’t be disappointed.

Now for some Classic Books:
  • Confessions by St. Augustine of Hippo, the very first conversion story, Augustine was a brilliant man with a concubine and illegitimate child who suffered from pride, ambition, pain and regret to become a convert, a bishop, a doctor of the Church, and one of the greatest saints that ever lived.
  • The Sinner’s Guide by Venerable Louis de Grenada, the 16th century classic on resisting temptation and overcoming sin.
  • Mere Christianity by CS Lewis. Amazing logical arguments for the Christian faith.
  • In Conversation with God by Fr. Francis Fernandez, absolutely excellent set of books with meditations for every day according to the Mass readings. You can buy each book individually to try it out.
  • Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales, for beginners in the spiritual life.
If you want more ideas for books, here is Scott Hahn’s list of recommended books for men. And some great new novels from Ignatius Press.

Now, maybe your guy isn’t into books (gasp!) so here are a few alternatives so we cover all our bases.
If the father in your life is not just Catholic, but extra-Catholic (you know, he bought you a new veil to wear to the Latin Mass, maybe prays the Divine Office every day, perhaps keeps a pebble in his shoe on Friday or Wednesday, etc.) He might like Fr. John Zulsdorf’s (Fr. Z!) über-Catholic gifts from his store: such as the “To Be Deep in History is to Cease to be Protestant” mug or stein – sure to be a hit at the office! It is apparently a favorite of Fr. George Rutler.
Or maybe Dad loves coffee or tea. Don’t hesitate to buy Mystic Monk Coffee and help the Carmelite Monks of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel build their monastery in Wyoming to last the ages. This is quality stuff Dad will love. Lots of flavors. Check out the Monk Shots.
Perhaps the kids want to make Dad a gift. Here is something I love to do. Make him a knotted rosary. Easy to do, easy to keep in the pocket, and silent in use. Something I certainly value. Check out Greg & Jennifer Willet’s apostolate the Rosary Army for details.
Finally, I asked my 11 year old son what he thought a dad would want on Father’s Day. Here is his list: grill cleaner, power tools, iPad, a camera, utility belt, pet snake. “Pet snake?” “Yes, all fathers like snakes.” 
So there you have it, 25 great ideas for the father in your life. Don’t forget the snake!

P.S.  There are more than 25 ideas now because I keep remembering more great stuff. If you have an idea please comment and let me know. I may add it to the list.

Update: My former neighbor, a protestant missionary, and wonderful friend Glenda, who is one of the best Christian women I know, had a suggestion for the list. She says “I have an alternative idea to C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. We just listened to C. S. Lewis at War done by Focus on the Family Radio Theatre. It is the story behind Mere Christianity plus the audio book. Jeff really enjoyed this. It definitely appealed to his logical engineering mind! We listen on long car trips… the audio book is a great alternative for those who rarely sit down to read a book, and the dramatization of this one holds your attention.

Christmas Gift Idea #12

For my last Christmas gift idea (that is unless I think of something else really cool) I think you should take a look at something from the monks.  In this case the wildly popular Mystic Monk Coffee.  Now, I have to admit it.  I really don’t drink coffee – but I think these Carmelite monks are great and they are building a phenomenal gothic monastery in Wyoming, where the proceeds from this coffee go to.
Not to be outdone are also the monks of Our Lady of Spring Bank Cistercian Abbey and their LaserMonks website.  I have been a customer of theirs and they are fantastic.  You can get ink and toner at a significant discount and help support the monks.  Any money left over goes to charity.  Now, ink and toner are not really “gifty” ideas but they also have other things to buy (like dog biscuits and chocolates) that could make the list.
So support the monks and make someone really happy this Christmas.  Oh, and Happy Advent!

Christmas Gift Idea #11

The Catholic Bible Concordance for the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSV-CE)
Another great gift idea is a companion to the Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition (RSV-CE) Bible, the translation that most serious Catholic bible scholars use.  The Catholic Bible Concordance would be an excellent reference for Bible study.  A concordance is a verbal  index to the bible.  If you want to look up a specific word in the Bible to find passages, or see where that word occurs throughout, this is the reference for you.  It really makes things easier.  This is the first concordance for the RSV-CE that I know of, and I would love to have one myself.  So, pick one up for your budding bible scholar this Christmas.

Christmas Gift Idea #10

Catholic Bible Dictionary
In my last post I told you about study Bibles, today I want to tell you about a couple of great new books from one of the best Catholic Bible scholars in the world, Scott Hahn.  If your gift recipient likes Dr. Hahn, one of these would really fit the bill.  First is the Catholic Bible Dictionary.  This is a tremendous resource that will really help the owner delve deeply into the Bible.  It’s a dictionary, so you get the idea, but a fantastic one they will use constantly.
Signs of Life: 40 Catholic Customs and Their Biblical Roots
Next is Signs of Life:  40 Catholic Customs and Their Biblical Roots.  If you ever wanted to know where we get the Sign of the Cross, or the Sacraments, or why we pray with the saints, or have sacred images or relics, this book is for you – or in this case your giftee.  This book really explores why we Catholics do what we do.  It would be welcome in any faithful Catholic’s library.

Christmas Gift Idea #9

The Navarre Bible - New Testament Expanded Edition
How about getting your loved one a study bible for Christmas?  Here are some great choices:  First the Navarre Bible New Testament, Expanded Edition.  This is an extensive bible commentary using the fantastic, and highly accurate, Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition (RSV-CE).  It is excellent.  I have many volumes of the Navarre bible and I find them invaluable.  They are highly readable and give excellent trustworthy commentary using quotes from the Church Fathers, John Paul II, great saints and many more.  This volume is the whole New Testament.  It is worth every penny.
Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament RSV 2nd Edition
Here is another choice.  The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible – New Testament, also RSV-CE but the 2nd Catholic Edition which updates some language and has different fonts and typesettings.  This is from world renowned, and very popular, Catholic bible scholar Scott Hahn & Curtis Mitch.  This is just an excellent study bible and I would love to have one myself (hint, hint.)
Our next choice is hot off the presses.  The Catholic Scripture Study Bible.  If you know anything about the Catholic Scripture Study program, you know it is excellent and this Bible aims at helping you really study the faith.  It’s got “extensive study materials and reference guides, Holy Land maps, extensive biblical apologetics and topical indexes, all beautifully bound in our Classic Black Bonded Leather with multiple ribbon markers, gold edges and beautiful foil stamped cover.”  There you have it.  This bible is complete, with Old and New Testaments and also uses the RSV-CE translation.  You can even have someone’s name embossed on it to make it more personal and precious.
The New Catholic Answer Bible - Librosario
Finally, we have the Catholic Answer Bible – Librosario version.  This is a complete bible (Old and New Testaments) with great, easy to understand color inserts throughout that explain the Catholic faith.  It uses the ever popular New American Version translation and is really fantastic.  This is the Bible we gave our son for his Confirmation.  It is a quality Bible, bound in leather (which is the Librosario part.)  You can buy this Bible in paperback, but the leather is so luscious, and even has an embossed rosary on the back that you can use for prayer.  This is one you will want to use for years of come.  I really love it and sneak it off the shelf to use myself.

Christmas Gift Idea #8

Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words

Here is another book for your viewing pleasure.  Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words.  This fantastic book lets you read the writings of four great saints of the early Church: Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr and Irenaeus of Lyons.  Ignatius of Antioch was a student of St. John the Apostle himself and was the first to use the term “Catholic,” which means universal.

It is fascinating to learn about what the Early Christians thought, and how they worshiped.  This is a really wonderful book and an easy read.  What were the thoughts of the earliest Christians about the Eucharist? Were these people uneducated peasants or highly educated scholars?  How did they live and how did they die?  Get this book for someone special and then borrow it because it will really do something for your faith.

Christmas Gift Idea #7

Every year I try to buy one or two really nice Christmas ornaments.  I prefer porcelain, crystal or silver and not glass because they really don’t last well.  My mother collected lots of those really large Polish glass painted ornaments.  They were beautiful in their day, but they all broke or lost all their paint, and we wound up having to throw them away.  Heartbreaking.

After years of collecting we have a fairly nice collection that we can pass onto our sons and their families some day.  The last few years I have bought some White House Christmas Ornaments and while they are nice and are affordable, I really would like more ornaments that have religious significance.

So, here is my next gift idea. It is from Monastery Greetings and include 3 different beautiful jeweled and cloisonne Orthodox icon Madonna ornaments.  I would love to really have the set, but I will probably just buy one.  I love icons and these are just lovely.

And while you are there, be sure to check out the selection of international beers from monasteries.  There are probably a few people you know who would like to receive that as a gift, and you can support the hard working monks as well.

Christmas Gift Idea #6

So you looked at my last Christmas gift idea, making a rosary (or jewelry) from parts from Gardens of Grace, but you perhaps are not crafty, or want a more inexpensive gift that you can make that would foster the faith.  Making your own knotted rosary would fit the bill. 

I first discovered this when a bible study friend gave our group these knotted rosaries.  We loved them.  I use mine every day.  It is soft and silent.  I can tuck it into my pocket or purse without fear of breakage.  A few years ago, I – who am the least crafty person in my state – decided I would like to make a few for friends and family for Christmas.  And I did it!  It was easy.  I just followed the directions at the Rosary Army website.  Even a kid could do it.  I only needed to buy the cord and some crucifixes to affix to the end.  Once you get the hang of it, which is pretty much when you do the first one, it should take about an hour each rosary.  You can make them while watching TV or commuting on the train or bus.

This is actually a pretty popular idea in some Catholic circles.  You can even buy them. For example, here is a Facebook page for Handmade Cord Knotted Rosary which sells rosaries like the one above.

So where do you get the supplies for this?  First check out the list of suppliers at Rosary Army or look online where you will find places like the RosaryCord website.  You can also find crucifixes at perhaps your local Catholic supply store.  A quick search on the internet for Rosary supplies yielded Rosary Workshop and Rosary Shop.  So look around.  You can make the cord rosaries to the last part and put crucifixes on the lot of them at the end.

You may even want to enclose with the rosary a sheet on How to Pray the Rosary.  This one is English but there is also a Spanish version.

This is a beautiful gift and everyone I have given it to has been very happy to receive it.  I have even been asked to make more.  So try it.  Even if it is not for Christmas, these would make good year round gifts for any occasion.

Christmas Gift Idea #5

Here is one gift idea that would take a little work on your part.  Gardens of Grace has – hands down – the most beautiful rosaries I have ever seen.  One is more beautiful and elegant than the next.  I don’t think they make many rosaries anymore, BUT they have all the parts to make these beautiful works of art.  These rosary parts and beads can be used for jewelry too, of course.

Any rosary, chaplet, paternoster or piece of jewelry you would make from these pieces would be treasured as family heirlooms for decades to come.