February 25, 2015

What We're Reading: Lenten Edition

I think my last edition of What We're Reading was back in June.... oh how things have changed!  I'm not reading as much as I was back then, but here are some of the titles I have been browsing in the last several weeks.


Pierced by a Sword & Conceived Without Sin by Bud Macfarlane, Jr.  Similar styles, but totally different topics from this Catholic fiction author.  Pierced by a Sword is more action packed and Conceived Without Sin is more dramatic.  Pierced by a Sword was a bedrest gift from a friend that I didn't get a chance to read at the time but then once I started it, I couldn't put it down.

Amish 2nd Christmas.  A collection of four Amish fiction Christmas stories.  This was a BookLook Bloggers title, my review is here.

Non Fiction

Listen to Your Blessed Mother by Gary Zimak.  This is a commentary on Mary in scripture.  The sections are divided between her spoken words, unspoken words, actions.  I'm only barely starting this one, but I like what I have read so far.

The Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux

The New Rosary in Scripture by Edward Sri.  This is not actually a new book, but Tim and I wanted a grown-up book to work through together while we are focusing on the rosary with the kids in our family devotional and study time.

Six Steps for Managing Loss: A Catholic Guide Through Grief by Terence P Curley.  Kind of self explanatory, but this book was recommended (and two copies gifted) by a coworker of Tim's.  Since I'm definitely still on step one, I think this one will grace my nightstand for some time to come.

Grief: A Mama's Unwanted Journey by Shelley Ramsey.  Another BookLook Blogger title, you can read my review here.

In the Queue 

Trusting God with St. Therese by Connie Rossini.  I read this one while I was on bedrest and I feel like I want to read it again after I finish Story of a Soul.  My original thoughts here.

Bella's Gift by the Santorums.  This is another BookLook Blogger title I am looking forward to starting soon.

February 24, 2015

Grief: A Mama's Unwanted Journey by Shelley Ramsey Review

Grief: A Mama's Unwanted Journey by Shelley Ramsey is a gut wrenching honest journey through the grief that comes with the loss of a child.  Shelley Ramsey's oldest son was killed in an automobile accident just months before his high school graduation.  The book follows the family journey through the initial hours, days, weeks, and years.  There is a strong emphasis on their faith journey and the ways that the journey was different for various family members.

For me, this book was incredibly real.  I found myself relating to many of her emotions and struggles throughout the journey.  At the same time, I appreciated her intermittent narratives when she stepped away from the story to note things that she wished she had done differently in grieving or to share words of advice to others that find themselves on this road.  Some of her stories actually helped me see some places where I am doing well and some places that I am not.

Due to the strong narrative nature of the book, I would highly recommend this book to people walking alongside a friend on this journey regardless of the age of the child or nature of the death.  Her descriptions of various emotions and stages were familiar, even when they weren't quite the same.  From my experience, reading, and chatting with other moms the raw emotions she shares are fairly universal.  This is also a book that I would highly recommend to moms who are also walking down this road.

Although, to be honest, I'm not sure I would recommend reading it quite so soon as I did!

In exchange for an honest review, I was provided with a free ebook copy of this title through the BookLook Bloggers Program.  All opinions are my own.

February 23, 2015

Moving Backward to Move Forward


12-18 months ago, if you had asked, I would have told you I was very content with our life.  Tim had a perfect job for himself, that we anticipate him staying in until retirement.  We had a beautiful house where we can meet many of our goals of self sufficiency and there is room for our family to live and rest and also to provide hospitality to others.  We had five incredible, growing kids.  I felt fit, healthy, and strong.

Our family was, quite frankly, in a place of peace.

Tim still loves his job.

We still have a beautiful house that more than meets our needs.

We still have five incredible, growing kids.

I'm working on being fit, healthy, and strong again.....

But I do not feel content.

February 21, 2015

An Amish Second Christmas Review

I had such great aspirations to review Christmas books BEFORE Christmas.  Once I missed reviewing before Christmas, I kept putting it off thinking it would be weird to read a Christmas book now, but it wasn't.  I guess since this book is a collection of stories about the Amish tradition of second Christmas, we will just all pretend that it is second Christmas now...in February.  It is cold enough here in Minnesota to be sure!

The Amish tradition of Second Christmas is based on spending Christmas Day in quiet reflection at home but spending the day after Christmas socializing and visiting loved ones.  I always wonder when I'm reading Amish fiction which traditions and cultures that the authors write about are accurate, but I sincerely hope that this one is real.

This particular title is a collection of four novellas, or short stories, from different authors published in a collection by Thomas Nelson (Product Page).  The titles include:

“When Christmas Comes Again” by Beth Wiseman

“Her Christmas Pen Pal” by Ruth Reid

“A Gift for Anne Marie” by Kathleen Fuller

“The Christmas Aprons” by Tricia Goyer

All four titles are romance stories set around the holiday season.  I enjoy reading Amish romance stories because they reflect courtship and marriage in such a tender way that reflects many of my own feelings on love.  My favorite of the four stories was, "A Gift for Anne Marie" but they were all enjoyable (even being read in February).  

Although it is ok if you want to file this book away to read a little closer to Christmas!

In exchange for an honest review, I was provided with a complimentary copy of the title through the BookLook Bloggers program.  All opinions are my own.

February 19, 2015

Dinner with the Indahls

Actual dinner conversation at our house......

Mom, "See, I have it all figured out.  We have our future Dominican (Aidan), our future Trappist (Caleb), and our steady eddy future diocesan priest (Logan)."

Strange silence and people looking at me funny.

Cheerful Kylee, "Well what am I gonna be?"

Mom:  "I'm hoping one of you two (indicating Kylee and Lucie) will give me grandbabies!"

Excited Kylee, "I will give you grand babies!  Why do you want grand babies?"

Mom:  "So I can spoil them rotten!"

Determined Kylee, "I'm not ever bringing them to you.  Not ever."

More strange silence followed by hilarious laughter.

Reflective Kylee, "Well I will bring you the well mannered ones."

Trying really hard not to keep laughing....

Concerned Kylee, "But some of them might be like Aidan."

Timeline of Jesus Rosary Projects


The is our Montessori-Classical-Catholic-Lenten study of the Life of Jesus using the Mysteries of the Rosary as a starting point.  Last week, I shared our Mysteries of the Rosary Sorting Activity (download directly on Teachers Pay Teachers).  As a family, we have been using this activity to work on memorizing the Mysteries of the Rosary and other rosary "facts".  All of the cards are in the center of our dining room table, along with a basket of rosaries and if you show up at our house around the dinner hour, you might be subjected to a pop quiz on all things rosary.  Our quizzing might include other subjects such as "How many Hail Marys would you pray if you prayed all four sets of mysteries?" or "How do you spell ascension?".  We include the younger kids by asking them "How to you say the first prayer in the rosary?

February 14, 2015

My Broken Hearted Valentine


I remember exactly what I did for Valentine's Day one year ago.

My friend Leigh and I  (along with our husbands), took our kids (along with a few extras) on a family date.  It was a Friday night.  We saw Frozen and ate at Cici's Pizza buffet.  After we said goodbye, Tim and I made an extra stop before heading home.