The Handbook for Catholic Moms:
Nurturing Your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul
by Lisa M. Hendey
Ave Maria Press, 2010
paperback; 243 pages;
I just had to laugh! After absorbing and enjoying Lisa Hendey's book, I pulled the old game of reading any page to which the book happened to fall open, and I came to this, her description of her violin lessons. I, too, embarked on a similar adventure, but with a cello. How my family--and neighbors--must have suffered! But I loved every minute of my musical (and I use the term loosely) journey.
“Let me just say that a forty-year-old woman has no business trying to learn to play the violin. As my lessons began and I embraced my daily practice schedule, I noted that my playing had the ability to quickly clear the house... A badly played violin can emit horrific sounds, but I was oblivious...”Lisa writes that her music--like mine--could have had “composers rolling over in their graves,” but it's clear to me, an old editor, that her true creative gift is relating to moms everywhere and sharing with them her unique and loving insight.
I first heard from Lisa when she invited me to contribute to her blog, CatholicMom.com, as a regular columnist. Soon after, I had the privilege of meeting her in person at the Catholic Writers Guild Conference Live! that was held outside Philadelphia. I found her to be warm, welcoming, and very encouraging to all the writers seeking her wisdom and friendship. At the conference, Lisa kindly offered me a copy of her book, and I devoured every page.
Since then, I have been meaning to write a book review!
The Handbook for Catholic Moms: Nurturing Your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul features twenty-two chapters organized under four sections, as the book's subtitle illustrates. Heart covers relationships, Mind covers running a home, education, time management, and so on. Body covers health, diet, stress, and doctors. And Soul discusses prayer, Mass, help from the saints, the bible, and the culture of faith. It would be easy to read the book cover-to-cover, but it's also terrific reading when you have time for just a chapter.
Lisa's special focus is the needs of moms in all walks and stages of life (married, divorced, stay-at-home, and working, for example), and she offers plenty of sound suggestions for nurturing marriage, domestic church, parents, and children in the loving light of the Catholic faith. She provides plenty of resources, both in your community and on the Internet.
What I admire most about Lisa's writing is her ability to carefully and tactfully instruct her readers. Her voice is loving, soft, and carefully direct. It is easy to relate to her stories and take her suggestions and sound advice.
I intended on reading The Handbook for Catholic Moms in piece meal, but once I started I just didn't want to put it down. I thought, “She really does understand,” and I stormed through the book, dog-earing it, and marking it and writing notes with post-its. I highly recommend it for all Catholic moms!
To read more about The Handbook for Catholic Moms, click on the book above, or visit my little book store in the right column of this blog. Enjoy and happy (Catholic mom) reading!