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

4 Websites to Deepen Your Spiritual Life

John William Waterhouse

In my numerous travels online I have found some really great websites that are excellent in helping to further your spiritual life. I could not keep them to myself.

  1. Ascending Mount Carmel. This is a great site by writer and assistant editor of MonkRock, Jason Liske. He comes from the perspective of Eastern Christianity and I love all his profiles of different saints, many I have not heard of, or have forgotten about. His writings about the spiritual life is top notch.
  2. The Cloistered Heart. This is a gorgeous site. I could stare at the art for ages. The posts are simple and short, but deeply meaningful. It is geared toward finding Christ in the monastery of your heart. Author Nancy Shulman does an excellent job of displaying the quiet and solitude that brings us closer to the Lord. I look forward to her email with her latest post every day.
  3. The Catholic Young Woman.  Here is another beautiful site. Geared toward young women obviously, I find it so interesting to read. It shows quite well that there are young, intelligent women who seek Christ deeply and are in the world. Not all the young women in our society are looking for hook-ups or screaming for the right to kill their babies. Here are serious (yet fun) women who are taking to heart Christ’s call to love others and respect themselves. They are searching for the best way to fulfill God’s plan in their lives and explore how to live the virtues. I wish I had known some of them when I was in college and starting out. One seems so alone when you are trying to live for Christ, or at the very least not live by the standards of the times. It is a great site to pass along to the young ladies in your life.
  4. The Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles have a lovely site that showcases their mission and a great blog answering people’s questions. It could be a great help to you in your walk with Christ. I always want to stay and linger a little longer.

Update: Here is a bonus. I knew there was another one!  Check out Contemplative Homeschool. Yes, it IS about homeschooling, but also about so much more. Connie Rossini writes from a Carmelite perspective about your spiritual life and how to foster the spiritual life of your children. It’s fantastic.

    The “Disabled” and “Choice”

    I stumbled upon a blog today that I thought was interesting. It is written by a disabled feminist and challenges “pro-choice” people to really accept the disabled and their right to life and to having children. What is interesting is that in many ways, she and her commenters take what could be considered an extremely pro-life Catholic view – that the disabled are of equal worth and dignity, and they and their possible children have value. Where we differ is on the belief that women should be able to abort for whatever reason they want to. They never mention morality, because that would be wrong in their world, but in some ways they are more moral then average people who think abortion is OK if there is something wrong with the baby, and you should avoid giving birth to a less-than-perfect child at all costs.

    The author and her commenters are VERY careful to make sure everyone knows they are not “pro-forced birth” people, and that they have extreme disdain for those who they think are. Their lingo is a bit different then what we are used to: what we call “normal” is called being “temporarily-abled,” but their belief that people with disabilities of any kind have a right to life, even though that life may not be perfect – and that they too can have children, is a very Catholic view.  Some of the commenters even use pro-life evidence that many early feminists were eugenicists that wanted disabled women to be sterilized to protect the species.

    We have much common ground here with the Feminists With Disabilities. Another interesting post at the site  is about many people’s belief that it is better to be dead then have disabilities. Again it is a very pro-life Catholic view that people have worth and that “it is just pain,” and one can move past it to have a good life.  I would really be interested in your take on this.  Be aware that if you want to leave a comment there, the blog comments are VERY rigidly policed, and that if you don’t seem to be in line with their beliefs your comment will not be published.

    You Need A Makeover!

    Let me tell you about a new book – my favorite thing to tell you about!  I have had a chance to look at a great new book by Teresa Tomeo.  Her book Extreme Makeover: Women Transformed by Christ, Not Conformed to the Culture is coming out October 7th and it is great.

    Teresa Tomeo is a former secular news reporter and anchor who came back to the Church.  She is a successful author with several books, and is an EWTN host on radio and TV, and is a host on Ave Maria Radio.  I have to admit I did not know much about Teresa Tomeo and had not had the opportunity to read her work before, but she is wonderful.  Very down to earth and enjoyable.

    Extreme Makeover seems to have two purposes, one is to show some of the common deceptions of our culture and how it – and the media – have betrayed us.  Teresa shows us the truth with hard facts about  radical feminism, abortion, “free sex”, etc. and relates those to Church teaching.  Body image and eating disorders are SO common among women, and all that really plays into how women relate to others and God.  Her point is to really show you the truth and gives you lots of resources to show others too.

    The second part of her book is how to transform yourself to how Christ wants you to be – to have a spiritual “makeover.”  We as women need to find our true beauty. We need to discover how God truly loves us, how we are his beloved daughters, and he made us for beauty outside and inside too.  Our culture promotes a different kind of woman – self-centered, selfish, even cruel.  What I love about this book is the personal testimonies of how Teresa, and other women, found the truth – how their journeys happened and how it changed their lives.

    I really think you will benefit from this book and I urge you to order it.  It would make a great Christmas gift.  I don’t know about you, but I’m trying to think ahead this year – for once!  If you want to read a deeper review of this book, Cheryl Dickow over at Catholic Lane has a good one.  And also head on over to Teresa Tomeo’s website, where she has her other great books too.

    Being Catholic With Infertility

    Like many couples, my husband and I suffered with infertility. Our first child was conceived easily, but it wound up being 8 years before we had another child. During that time we underwent most of the standard tests and encountered the usual problems, such as doctors who casually recommend IVF as if it was no more problematic than having your tonsils removed.

    I dismissed it immediately because I knew the Church teachings, but even my non-religious protestant husband thought it was wrong. “It is just the wrong way to bring a child into the world,” he said. He instinctively knew IVF was an affront to human dignity, although he did not phrase it that way. I wish we had known about NFP and charting and also some of the links below.

    Many Catholics have absolutely no clue as to what the Church teaches about fertility, infertility and all the “reproductive technologies” like In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Many don’t really want to know either, if they suspect it may not allow them to do whatever they want.

    Infertility is inherently a painful, stressful time in couples lives. But it can also mean a time of growth and a time of learning to trust God completely. That is what happened with us. After all the years waiting, crying, prayers and licit procedures, we finally decided to stop trying. I told God that if He wanted us to have another baby I will trust that He will send us one, but that I needed to go on with my life. I could not continue to go on like this. And that is what we did. Several years later, we discovered we were unexpectedly pregnant. It was all in God’s time, not our time. We wanted kids 2 years apart. God had other ideas.

    I thought I would share with you some articles and resources to help you and your spouse if infertility is in your lives.

    Perfect Work at InsideCatholic.com

    The Pope Paul VI Center uses the Creighton Model and NaPro Technology to help couples conceive naturally. There are doctors trained in this technology all over the country. If you are having trouble conceiving, this should definitely be one of the places you check out. Read one couple’s experience with NaPro at CatholicInfertility.org

    Here is a series of articles from Catholic Exchange about
    The Gift of Infertility: Part I, Part II, Part III & Part IV by Dr. Jameson and Jennifer Taylor.

    You might also be interested in Catholic Infertility Resources

    Nuns on Oprah

    I’ve have never really watched Oprah, but the other day she invited the nuns from the thriving Dominican Sisters of Mary, who live in a convent outside Detroit, to show us their lives.  It was a beautiful interview with the sisters and you can see the accompanying article and video clips here:  >Lisa Ling Goes Inside a Convent.

    When Nearly Naked is the New Modest

    It’s hard to believe, but in France Muslim women who choose to dress very modestly are not allowed in the public pools. Apparently, the French authorities think that the women’s “burquinis” are a health hazard since they could be worn on the street. France, it seems, has very stringent rules for swimmers.

    An article by the AP gives a bit more detail on what the French are afraid of: “These clothes are used in public, so they can contain molecules, viruses, et cetera, which will go in the water and could be transmitted to other bathers.

    Don’t they use chlorine in their pools? So the average French woman is probably walking around the pool topless or almost naked but this woman, who chooses modesty is a health hazard. I guess the bikini clad ladies would be considered to be practicing “secular modesty.”

    My town, which has pools everywhere and no one seems to mind if you go swimming in a T-shirt and shorts, also does not seem to mind this style of dress. Last month, my 6 year old had swimming lessons at our city pool and one of the girls in his class, who is Muslim, wore what looked like a jogging suit. It was very attractive and comfortable looking. She did not have head covering as she was probably only about 8 or 9 years old. You can’t wear “floaties” in the pool, but this outfit was just fine. No one was worried about viruses. I’m sure there are a few very modest Orthodox Jewish and Christian women who would like a similar swim suit. It seems that there are several businesses online that are filling this niche.

    It is astonishing, but not surprising to me at all anymore, that people would be willing to ban modest dress by labeling it dangerous. The world is really turned around. Of course, the French are the same people that ban religious jewelry or headcovering in public schools and offices, to the point that the Catholic schools are filled with Muslims fleeing the public schools

    What we need is more modesty not less.

    UPDATE: If you find the French policy troubling perhaps you would rather go to England. Apparently, there are swimming lessons in public pools that will only allow you to attend if you wear a burquini.
    Swimmers are Told to Wear Burquinis or not attend. Classes are for Muslims, separated by sex, and even men must wear trunks that cover from naval to knees. Others, including non-Muslims, cannot use the pool unless the required swimsuit is worn. Non-Muslims are outraged when they are told they can’t swim. I don’t know which is worse, but perhaps the French policy is better. It is one thing to inconvenience that one person, then the whole populous. What is the answer? Should the Muslims try to rent the complex when there are no public hours if they are planning on enforcing this policy? Should they build their own pool?