Sunday, January 5, 2014

Review: Passion and Purity

Passion and Purity
Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At first I was not too impressed with this book, thinking it would be something that I could not relate to. By the end of the book I learned why so many Christian women refer to Elisabeth Elliots books in their own writing. I found this book informational and a generally fun read, learning how she lived a life of celibacy waiting for the "ok" from God. It is a great insight into the struggles of abstinence in real life.

View all my reviews

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Book Review: The Catholic Prayer Book


Although I am a fairly devout Catholic, I am not a good pray-er. I have been struggling with this for a while and have tried reading tons of different books on the subject of prayer. As a convert, I do not have the background of growing up with praying parents who added memorized prayers to my arsenal to Heaven. Well, now I have finally found a resource to help me learn some traditional  Catholic prayers!

The Catholic Prayer book is a wonderful resource full of prayers for every life event and trouble that a person could go through. There are traditional prayers from the Bible, the Magesterium, and Fathers of the Church. There are also prayers of famous Saints included in this lovely little book. This is one of the most exhaustive resources I have ever seen in the area of Catholic prayer.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The Catholic Prayer Book. The Catholic Company is the best resource for all your seasonal needs such as First Communion gifts as well as ideas and gifts for the special papal Year of Faith.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Book Review: Saint Francis of Assisi


If your children are anything like mine, you probably have trouble teaching them anything about the Catholic faith without their eyes glazing over and their shoulders slouching. Kids today are more interested in the colorful media that is constantly vying for their attention.

In the book, Saint Francis of Assisi: Messenger of Peace, kids will find not only the story of a great Saint of the Church, but a fun graphic novel as well. The illustrations are fabulous and the book is appropriate for children of all ages. As a matter of fact, I gave my copy to my 13 year old son who is going to choose Francis as his Confirmation saint this year. I think that graphic-novel loving adults will also get much enjoyment from this 80-page book.

Not lacking in information, this graphic novel is not the thin comic book of yesteryear. With 80 pages full of colorful illustrations, all readers will feel satisfied. I recommend this book for children and adults of all ages, especially Confirmation students or RCIA students who enjoy the graphic novel approach.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on St. Francis of Assisi: Messenger of Peace . The Catholic Company is the best resource for all your seasonal needs such as First Communion gifts as well as ideas and gifts for the special papal Year of Faith.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Book Review: Road Trip to Redemption

Sometimes I wonder if all of my talk of Jesus and God and Christianity is really getting through to my children. As a religious education teacher, I was often frustrated with the lack of relationship that tweens and teens have with Jesus and I rarely hear my own children refer to a Jesus as someone close to them. This worries me a lot.

This also worried Brad Mathias who authored Road Trip to Redemption: A Disconnected Family, a Cross-Country Adventure, and an Amazing Journey of Healing and Grace
. His life was in shambles until God took over. After reuniting the Mathias family, God alerted Brad and his wife that their middle daughter was in grave danger from her depression. Unbeknownst to them, she had suffered a traumatic experience and kept it all a secret. Finally, God sent the Mathias family on a road trip where each of them would find their personal relationship with their Savior.

At first this book just looks like a chronicling of the Mathias family's experiences. After reading and digesting, this book is a push to all parents to find that one thing that will make God real to your child. Once you have that thing in place, there is better footing for the future of your child's religious formation. My favorite parts were the journal entries, which are unedited. These gave a true glimpse into the lives of the family members as they went through their spiritual metamorphosis. If you are concerned about your child's relationship with Jesus, no matter your religious denomination, I recommend that you buy a copy of this book.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Other great resources:

Buy it now: Road Trip to Redemption: A Disconnected Family, a Cross-Country Adventure, and an Amazing Journey of Healing and Grace

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Book Review: Come and See Bible Study: Exile and Return

I am on a mission. I have been looking for an affordable and easy to understand Bible Study that is Catholic. I used to love the "God's Word Today" monthly booklets where I would read a little each night so that by the end of the month I had read and digested a whole book of the Bible or Bible topic. Unfortunately, these are no longer being sold so I have been searching for something that was just as easy and something I comprehended just as well.

The Come and See Catholic Bible study is more in-depth than something like the little magazines I used to read but when used as individual study, I found that it is just as simple and even more comprehensive. With this study, you read a little and then answer some questions about the material. When used as a group study, I can imagine that many doors are opened within the group setting and the individuals get even more insight. As an individual, I appreciated that this study covers readings from the Bible and the Catechism. At the beginning of each section there is also a little introductory information, making it a wonderful aid for private study as well as group study.

The Exile and Return package is awesome! I have been wanting to read the "Catholic" books of the Bible and this gave me the perfect opportunity to get started! I haven't finished my study but I am pleasently surprised at what an interesting book Tobit has turned out to be!

Head over to the Catholic Company site and grab a copy of  Come and See:Exile and Return-Bible Study! You won't be sorry!

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Come and See:Exile and Return-Bible Study. The Catholic Company is the best resource for all your seasonal needs such as First Communion gifts as well as ideas and gifts for the special papal Year of Faith.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Book Review: The Letters

Enter Today - 8/1 - 8/17!
The Letters Suzanne Woods Fisher

I just finished reading "The Letters" by Suzanne Woods Fisher. I have read a couple of her Life with Lily books and a couple of books from the Stony Ridge series so I was excited to dig into her newest series, The Inn at Eagle Hill.

The series starts with this story about a widow named Rose Shrock. She decides to turn her basement into a bed and breakfast to earn some extra money and ends up with a few surprise visitors. The lives of the Shrocks as well as those who visit the Inn are changed as new friendships are forged and the true meaning of love is discovered.

I think this was my favorite book by Suzanne Woods Fisher so far. I cannot wait to read the rest of the series. The characters are well-developed and I love that some of the Stony Ridge characters are brought back into the book for cameo appearances. I don't think any book by Suzanne Woods Fisher would be complete without Jimmy Fisher. I was glad to see that he has matured- but not too much. A very enjoyable read!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The New Evangelization and You: A Challenge Week 1

In my review of a wonderful, wonderful new book out by Greg Willits of, I mentioned that I planned to begin a personal challenge to work on my own evangelization skills over the next 52 weeks using the ideas suggested in his book, "The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid

Today begins the challenge with week #1 and a simple task of identifying the sixteen documents of Vatican II. I already have the list printed and many of the documents printed and placed in a binder because I read much of the material during Lent.

The best places to find the sixteen documents are at the Vatican website or EWTN. Here is a list of the Documents:

1. Sacrosanctum concilium, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 1963. 

2. Inter Mirifica, Decree On the Means of Social Communication, 1963. 

3. Lumen Gentium, Dogmatic Constitution On the Church, 1964. 

4. Orientalium Ecclesiarum, Decree On the Catholic Churches of the Eastern Rite,1964.

5. Unitatis Redintegratio, Decree on Ecumenism, 1964.

6. Christus Dominus, Decree Concerning the Pastoral Office of Bishops In the Church,

7. Perfectae Caritatis, Decree On Renewal of Religious Life, 1965.

8. Optatam Totius, Decree On Priestly Training, 1965.

9. Gravissimum Educationis, Declaration On Christian Education, 1965.

10. Nostra Aetate, Declaration On the Relation Of the Church to Non-Christian
Religions, 1965.

11. Dei Verbum, Dogmatic Constitution On Divine Revelation, 1965.

12. Apostolicam Actuositatem, Decree On the Apostolate of the Laity, 1965.

13. Dignitatis Humanae, Declaration On Religious Freedom, 1965.

14. Ad Gentes, Decree On the Mission Activity of the Church, 1965.

15. Presbyterorum Ordinis, Decree On the Ministry and Life of Priests, 1965.

16. Gaudium et Spes, Pastoral Constitution On the Church In the Modern World,1965.

I suggest that anyone who is interested in learning more about the Catholic faith choose at least one of these documents that looks interesting and print it out. Read over it and think about what the Council had in mind when writing the document and think about how it applies to the world today. This would be a great step towards a better understanding of the true teachings of the Church.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Adventures In Odyssey ACTS

For moms with kids in school, the most hectic months of the year are usually September and May. The end of the school year involves parties, playoffs, and final projects. The beginning of the year has moms and kids feeling overloaded with shopping trips, sign-ups, and new schedules.
Establishing healthy, positive routines is a tough job. Too often, music lessons, sports practices, and after-school clubs can overshadow the routines that build family and healthy habits—both physically and spiritually.
One of the great new Adventures in Odyssey products released this year is 90 Devotions for Kids, aimed at kids 8 to 12.  This soft-cover book draws you in with illustrations, puzzles, and kid-friendly applications. It also includes a daily Bible verse, daily challenges, words of encouragement from different AIO characters, and more. Even if your kids aren’t already Adventures in Odyssey fans, they’ll enjoy these daily devotionals, and get to know the Odyssey crew along the way.
This devotional, and the edition coming this fall (90 Devotions for Kids: Life Changing Values from the Book of Matthew) are great tools to help your kids put a regular pause in their day for Bible reading, prayer, and thoughts about God. If you start now—by the first day of school, you’ll already have a spiritual component scheduled into your kids’ routine. After that, everything else will hopefully just fall into line! 
Leave a comment below by August 1st to win your own copy!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Book Review: The New Evangelization and You

Are you confused about all this talk of the “new evangelization”? 

Are you looking for new ways to know your faith, live your faith, and share your faith?

Or are you a non-Catholic or fallen away Catholic who is thinking of coming into the fullness of Christ?

Are you breathing? 

Well, if you fit into any of the above categories ;) then Greg Willits newest book is for you! As the new director of Evangelization and Family Life Ministries for the Diocese of Denver, he lives out the New Evangelization everyday. As the founder of several apostolates such as, New Evangelizers, That Catholic Show, and The Catholics Next Door podcasts, he is an expert on the nuts and bolts aspect of actually living out the New Evangelization and this book is truly a blueprint for you and I to do the same.

This book is full of Greg’s signature goofy style that makes him approachable and loveable while his knowledge of the subject makes him a reliable source. This is the perfect mix for the average person who wants to know what he or she can do to grow the Church. My favorite part of the book is at the end when Greg lays out 52 ideas each of how to know, live, and share your faith. The idea is for the reader to attempt to try some of them. He advises that you don’t try all of them at once but he wanted to offer enough ideas for everyone.

This book has inspired me to start my own The New Evangelization and You Challenge where I am going to attempt to post weekly on my blog one thing from Greg’s book that I have tried. I hope that this will keep me motivated and accountable and encourage others to try it too. So, head over to the Catholic Company and grab a copy of this awesome new book and join me in knowing, living, and sharing this beautiful faith that we are blessed to have!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Incredibly Easy MONKEY BREAD!

My mom had some leftover cheap canned biscuits that she bought at the local Food Depot a few weeks ago and she asked me if I knew what to do with them. I thought it would be fun to make some monkey bread. We looked online for recipes and put them all together and created our own very simple "eyeball" recipe that can be made almost completely by kids. I doubled the recipe and let my two youngest boys have thier hands in the kitchen and they did an excellent job!

4 cans of cheap canned biscuits
1 stick of margerine
about 3/4 cup white sugar
about 1/4 cup brown sugar
about 1 tbsp cinnamon
cooking spray
2 gallon zipper bags (1 per child)
bundt pan
butter knife
something to melt and mix the butter in
cutting board or clean surface to cut on

first open one can of biscuits and spread them out. Do not open all of the cans at once because the biscuits like to spread when the air hits them!

using the butter knife, cut each biscuit into four pieces.

place the pieces in your zipper bag for shaking later.

between each can of biscuits, we added a few shakes of cinnamon and a little sugar.

after adding the cinnamon and sugar, do the cinamon and sugar dance to mix it all together!

place the stick of butter in a microwave safe container and microwave it for 20-30 seconds. Take it out and stir in about 1/4 cup of brown sugar.

place all the biscuit pieces in the pan and then pour the butter mixture over the top. Place in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

yummy golden delicious MONKEY BREAD!

You can also add other things to your monkey bread like nuts or fruit or anything that you'd like. My oldest son wants some with cinabon icing on it! I saw a recipe for it on Pinterest I want to test out!

Was this easy enough for you? Give it a try and let me know what you think!

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