Thursday, February 21, 2019

Conference blessings, and a spiritual reading list for 2019...

Hello all, and happy late February to you! I had just such an inspiring time this past weekend at the Columbus Catholic Women's Conference, and couldn't wait to share it all with you!


It's hard to full articulate what the weekend meant to me, but it meant a LOT. The fellowship, the palpable sense of faith and hope surrounding me, the presence of the Lord at the Masses, the adventure of manning a vendor booth for the very first time selling my own book (I even got to sign some for people :-0)... it was just balm to my soul. It was so, so needed, and it was such a blessing!

Here I am at my post :-0
I loved it. I loved being near the spiritual books and helping others to select just the right ones. Check out this ADORABLE Stations of the Cross book for kids, perfect for Lent! I eyed that one up right away. :-)

I was so inspired that I decided to create a spiritual reading list for the rest of the year. Interested in joining me? Here are the titles I selected, some of which are new, some of which were lurking on my Kindle, and I placed them all into their own special folder on my ereader!

Spiritual Reading List 2019

Do you ever feel caught in an endless cycle of working harder and longer to get more while enjoying life less? The Stewart family did—and they decided to make a radical change. Popular Catholic blogger and podcaster Haley Stewart explains how a year-long internship on a sustainable farm changed her family’s life for the better, allowing them to live gospel values more intentionally. 
When Haley Stewart married her bee-keeping sweetheart, Daniel, they dreamed of a life centered on home and family. But as the children arrived and Daniel was forced to work longer hours at a job he liked less and less, they dared to break free from the unending cycle of getting more yet feeling unfufilled. They sold their Florida home and retreated to Texas to live on a farm with a compost toilet and 650 square feet of space for a family of five. Surprisingly, they found that they had never been happier.
In The Grace of Enough, Stewart shares essential elements of intentional Christian living that her family discovered during that extraordinary year on the farm and that they continue to practice today. You, too, will be inspired to: 
  • live simply
  • offer hospitality
  • revive food culture and the family table
  • reconnect with the land
  • nurture community
  • prioritize beauty
  • develop a sense of wonder
  • be intentional about technology
  • seek authentic intimacy
  • center life around home, family, and relationships
Drawing from Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, Stewart identifies elements of Catholic social teaching that will enhance your life and create a ripple effect of grace to help you overcome the effects of today’s “throwaway” culture and experience a deeper satisfaction and stronger faith.

This book is our Lenten Book Club for this year,  and I hope that you join in with us! I hear that this is an engaging and quick read, on a fascinating topic within our spirituality! I'll be posting our reading schedule for this book next week, so look for that post next Wednesday or Thursday, as we'll be just one week out from Lent at that point!

From Fire, by Water: My Journey to the Catholic Faith, by Sohrab Ahmari

Sohrab Ahmari was a teenager living under the Iranian ayatollahs when he decided that there is no God. Nearly two decades later, he would be received into the Roman Catholic Church.In From Fire, by Water, he recounts this unlikely passage, from the strident Marxism and atheism of a youth misspent on both sides of the Atlantic to a moral and spiritual awakening prompted by the Mass. At once a young intellectual's finely crafted self-portrait and a life story at the intersection of the great ideas and events of our time, the book marks the debut of a compelling new Catholic voice.
I heard about this book at the conference, and you all know that I am very drawn to conversion stories and memoirs! I pounced on this one right away; it's new, just came out last month!

Holy Days: Meditations on the Feasts, Fasts, and Other Solemnities of the Church, by Pope Benedict XVI

According to Pope Benedict XVI, "the liturgical year is a great voyage of faith on which the Church sets us out." The feast days in the Church's liturgical calendar follow the major events of Jesus' life as recounted in the Gospels. This cycle gives a rhythm to the life of the Church and helps Christians better understand the divine mystery. Especially in our secularized society, liturgical practices guide and deepen our path, centering our focus on Christ and teaching us how to live.

Beginning with Advent and concluding with the feast of Christ the King, Pope Benedict's Holy Days presents excerpts from selected homilies that he has given over the course of the liturgical year in Rome. The book is organized by season and feast days, with brief introductions. This short devotional volume will be a welcome resource for priests and parishioners seeking to focus their minds in preparation for worship.

I received this book as a gift from Sam last year, and have been meaning to get to it. I also adore the liturgical year, and can't wait to dive into this one!

Eight hundred years ago, Albert of Jerusalem gave the hermit-penitents of Mount Carmel a way of life to follow. Since then, this rule has inspired and formed mystics and scholars, men and women, lay and ordained to seek the living God. In The Carmelite Tradition Steven Payne, OCD, brings together representative voices to demonstrate the richness and depth of Carmelite spirituality. As he writes, Carmelite spirituality seeks nothing more nor less than to 'stand before the face of the living God' and prophesy with Elijah, to 'hear the word of God and keep it' with Mary, to grow in friendship with God through unceasing prayer with Teresa, to 'become by participation what Christ is by nature' as John of the Cross puts it, and thereby to be made, like Therase of Lisieux, into instruments of God's transforming merciful love in the church and society."
The lives and writings in The Carmelite Tradition invite readers to stand with these holy men and women and seek God in the hermitage of the heart.
I've been feeling a definitely Carmelite vibe these days, and this one somehow jumped onto my Kindle. ;-) I'm thinking it will be fantastic fodder for meditation and quiet contemplation, especially this summer near the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

A Prairie Girl's Faith: The Spiritual Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder, by Stephanie Hines

A Prairie Girl's Faith provides the first extended, in depth discussion of the Christian faith of one of America's most beloved pioneer women--Laura Ingalls Wilder. Although the faith of the Ingalls' family pervades books in the Little House series, the more specific details of Laura's faith have never been fully explored. It took extraordinary pluck for anyone to survive the harshness of frontier life--from the heartbreak of sudden crop losses to murderous storms to unrelenting loneliness. This book reveals how in surviving, the brave Laura drew not just on her character, but found encouragement, strength, and hope in her relationship with God.
Although not Catholic based, I'm fascinated by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and have read the Little House series several times. I thought this looked like a great title about faith and spirituality during tough times. A nice American literature crossover title, if you will. :-)

Thoughts? Do you have a spiritual reading list for this year? I would absolutely LOVE to hear about it if you do! Or have you done this in the past? Ditto! Look for the Lenten Book Club schedule to be out mid to late next week!


  1. Congratulations and good luck with your book.

  2. I didn't know Pope Benedict had written a book on the liturgical year! Looking up that one, for sure. And I will check into the book about Laura Ingalls Wilder. I have an anti-recommendation there: skip "Prairie Fires." The author seemed to relish pointing out the inconsistencies between Wilder's real life and what's depicted in her children's books, not to mention the complicated mother-daughter dynamic between Laura and Rose.

    1. oooo, interesting, thanks Barb! I started that one, but have never finished it. I was finding it a bit tedious!


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