Weekly Goals

Set Goals

Not a bad week. I got a good amount of things done so I am happy. Here’s how it went:

1. Continue reading at least one chapter of the Gospel of John per day.

2. Pray the rosary each day.

3. Finish reading Pope Francis, The Pope from the End of the Earth and write review. (I actually read two books this week! Here is the review for Pope Francis and here is the review for A Hopeful Heart.)

4. Continue making and adding items to my Etsy shop.

5. Get up by 6:30 am each morning. (Counting this as a success even though it was closer to 7am most days.)

6. Go to Georgian Court University to get books for fall semester. (I got the books all right, lots of them. One of my classes requires SEVEN books. Crazy!)

7. Blog at least three times.

8. Write some rough drafts for posts to pre-schedule before classes begin. (Didn’t happen. I will just have to do the best I can in getting up some posts during the semester….wish me luck!

Now that I’m back to school my goals are going to be rather short, with the focus on keeping up with my classes:

1. Pray the rosary each day.

2. Get up by 6:30 each morning.

3. Get started with the reading assignments and work for classes. (One of my classes is Christian Tradition so I will be doing bible reading for the class; therefore, I’m taking the bible reading off my list.)

4. Find a sitter for Andrew. (My babysitter for while I’m at school on Tuesdays had to back out last minute.)

5. Blog at least twice this week.

6. Finally, If I can swing it, I want to create and list one item for Etsy.

What are your plans for this week? Let us know in the comments or head over to Money Saving Mom and share them with us!

Sunday Snippets: A Catholic Carnival (August 25, 2013)

Sunday Snippets

Here are my posts for this week’s Sunday Snippets:

Weekly Goals

Book Review: Pope Francis, The Pope From the End of the Earth

Marriage Prayer (Michael and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary this week)

Book Review: A Hopeful Heart by Amy Clipston

Question of the Week

This week’s question is “What is your favorite hymn that you hear/sing at Mass?”

It is hard for me to pick just one! One of my all-time favorites is “How Great Thou Art.” I also love “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring”  and “As I kneel Before You“. There are more but I don’t remember their names (I would recognize them if I heard them, though). I also like some contemporary (Charismatic) “hymns.” Personally, I like music at mass to be more classic or traditional and have the Charismatic music for prayer groups or for for listening around the house.

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P.S. Classes start up tomorrow so I may not be able to participate in Sunday Snippets every week for the next three months. It will depend on how well I can keep up with my classes and still find time to blog. One (of 5) class has seven required books so I will be doing A LOT of reading! Please pray for me that I will do well in my classes and juggle all the other “to-dos” in my life. Thanks!

Book Review: A Hopeful Heart by Amy Clipston

A Hopeful Heart by Amy Clipston

(I know I don’t usually do two book reviews in one week but after reading this book I didn’t want to wait until next week to write the review.)

From the book description

“Hannah finds herself at a crossroads in her life. Her community offers her love and support after the untimely death of her husband, but an Englisher offers her the chance of a new life after her unexpected tragedy. Wealthy businessman Trey Peterson is surprised by his attraction to the gentle Amish woman who works as a housekeeper in the Lancaster Grand Hotel. They share a common bond of loss and are able to offer each other comfort and support as they journey through their grief.

Joshua Glick wants nothing more than to offer his friendship and love to Hannah and her family. Not only is he her late husband’s brother and business partner, he has always been in love with Hannah.

A Hopeful Heart is filled with surprising twists as Hannah tries to balance her life in the Amish community and her growing love for an outsider.”

My comments

I have had the opportunity to read other books by Amy Clipston, so I was excited to have the opportunity to read A Hopeful Heart. I am happy to report that I was not disappointed. As a matter of fact, A Hopeful Heart is the first love-inspired Amish novel that I read that wasn’t “formula-istic” and predictable. The book kept my attention throughout and I stayed up WAY past my bedtime just to finish it. (I paid for it the next day but it was so worth it!)

Hannah is the first Amish character in a book that I read that not only struggled with the relationships around her but also struggled with a decision to stay Amish after being a baptized member of the community for many years. As I read the book I truly felt for her and journeyed with her as she worked through what was in her heart and what was in her head. I also felt for the other main character, Trey as he struggled with the guilt and loss of his family. And although I felt his character could have been developed a bit more, he was quite likable. The other characters in the book were equally likable except for one of the characters whom I just wanted to give a nice slap in the face for being so mean and critical!

The plot was predictable in the sense that it is about a woman (in this case Hannah) who falls for a man (Trey) whom the woman’s family and friends do not approve. It is also predictable in that there is another man (Joshua) who is secretly in love with the woman. The woman must chose between the person who is “right” for her and the person whom she loves. However, that is where the predictability ends. There were a couple twists that I didn’t expect throughout the story and although I wasn’t particularly satisfied with the ending, I was somewhat surprised by it which is unusual for me.

I recommend this book and give it four (4 stars).

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Book review of A Hopeful Heart

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I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review: Pope Francis, The Pope From the End of the Earth

(Affiliate Link)

From the description:

“In Pope Francis: The Pope from the End of the Earth best-selling author Thomas J Craughwell explores the life of Pope Francis, including his birth and early years ‘at the end of the earth’ in Argentina; his mystical experience as a teenager that drew him to religious life; his years as a priest and bishop with a heart for the poor and marginalized; and his unflagging courage to teach and defend the Catholic faith.”

My Comments:

I was a little leery about reading Pope Francis because of the bad experience I had when I read another book about his life but my concern was unwarranted. Pope Francis is a beautiful book that gives a great overview of the last days of Pope Benedict’s pontificate, the conclave process and eventually the life of our Holy Father leading up to his election. Craughwell also didn’t shy away from outlining the challenges facing our new Pope but he does so with respect and truth.

Along the way, I learned about liberation theology and why it is contrary to the Catholic faith; I learned about Pope Francis’ devotion to “Our Lady, Undoer of Knots,” and tidbits about Saint Ignatious of Loyola and St. Francis of Assisi. Oh, and I also learned the history of why the Popes change their name and a little history behind the Sistine Chapel.

Craughwell also went into some detail about the Pope’s love for the poor and his fearlessness in fighting for social justice. He talks about the Pope’s fight against abortion, euthanasia, human trafficking, and other injustices against life. the author even went into the Pope’s role during the “Dirty War” of Argentina and the efforts he made that contributed to the release of two fellow Jesuit priests who were capture.

Throughout the book there are stunning images depicting the life and spirituality of our Holy Father. These lovely pictures complete the book and give a deeper insight into our Holy Father. You can just see the holiness and love that emanates from this man. And at the end of the book there are two homilies from our Holy Father, his first homily and the homily he gave during his installation mass.

I want to sum up this review with the following words of the author:

“At this writing, Francis has been pope for only a short time. The media and the general public are still gushing over the novelty of a pope from Argentina, a pope who wears black shoes instead of red, a pope who lives in a smallish hotel suite instead of the pope’s apartment in the Apostolic Palace, a pope who urges us to love and help one another, especially those who are most in need of our assistance. All interesting details that tell us something about the man the cardinals brought to us from the end of the earth. But no matter what color shoes he wears, Francis is the pope, the successor of St. peter, the man with the weight of the world-both Catholic and non-Catholic-upon his shoulders and upon his conscience.”

I absolutely recommend this book and give it four (4) stars.
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Book Review: Pope Francis

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I received this book free from the publisher through the Saint Benedict Press <http://saintbenedictpress.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday Snippets: A Catholic Carnival (August 18, 2013)

Sunday Snippets

Another week for Sunday Snippets. Come join us over atRAnn’s place and share your own posts from the week. Here’s mine:

Weekly Goals

An Open Invitation to Ministry (helping to spread Kathleen’s post)

Theological Thursday: The Assumption of Mary

Book Review: Letters to Katie by Kathleen Fuller

Question of the week:

RAnn is starting a new feature to Sunday Snippets. Each week she is going to post a question of the week for all the Sunday Snippets participants to answer (answering the question is completely optional). She is beginning the series of questions by asking everyone to introduce themselves.

I always feel funny introducing myself. I’m not a particularly exciting person or lead a very exciting life, but here goes. My name is Carol D’Annunzio. 🙂 On August 22 my husband and I will be married 10 years. We have one son, Andrew, whom we homeschool. He is eight years old. We currently live in NJ near the shore.

I am a “cradle-Catholic” but didn’t take my faith seriously until my late teen years. I spent nine years discerning a religious vocation with a group of sisters (the Little Sisters of the Poor). It was a wonderful experience and I am grateful for my time there even though it became clear I was called to marriage and family. Last summer I went back to college full time to finally finish my bachelor’s degree in English. I hope to finish by the spring 2015.

My hobbies include reading, writing, knitting, cooking, crafting and learning new things. I have a  good eye for detail and enjoy proofreading. I hope to offer proofreading services sometime in the future. I also have an Etsy Shop where I sell printables such as bookmarks, gift tags, etc.

As for blogging, I had a few different blogs over the years before beginning Simple Catholic Living in May 2010. What I love most about blogging is the many wonderful people I have had the opportunity to meet over the years, including everyone who links up at Sunday Snippets.

That’s about it. 🙂

 

 

 

Book Review: Letters to Katie by Kathleen Fuller

Letters to Katie

From the book description:

Everything changed between them the first time he called her Katie.

Katherine Yoder has loved Johnny Mullet since the two were children, but he’s never returned her affections.

Now Johnny is trying to forge a new life for himself by purchasing a farm and building a business of his own. But times are tough, and he soon learns that he can’t take anything for granted—especially Katherine.

Before Johnny has the opportunity to tell Katherine his true feelings, she’s struck by a serious illness. While Katherine struggles to recall recent memories of Johnny, a surprise visitor comes back into her life, claiming that his letters speak of a history and a future for the two of them.

With the two men vying for her attention and her memory still elusive, Katherine has never felt so torn. But will the solutions to both Johnny’s and Katherine’s problems lie in places neither one has ever considered?”

My comments:

In many ways, Letters to Katie is a typical love-inspired Amish novel, complete with the expected happy ending, which isn’t a bad thing. That’s generally what I want in an Amish novel because I read them specifically for light reading after a stressful day or when I’m not in the mood for “heavier” reading. And I got that with this book. It was just the right amount of light reading I was looking for in this book.

At the same time, Letters to Katie isn’t a typical love-inspired Amish novel, especially in the way the characters interacted with each other. This too isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Another reader might not even notice. However, for me it took away from the story. I am no expert in the ways of the Amish by any stretch of the imagination, but the way the characters spoke sometimes and acted toward each other seemed decidedly “un-Amish” somehow. The thing is, if pushed, I couldn’t pinpoint an exact sentence or scene that was “un-Amish-like” but the overall tone and certain words or expressions threw me off. it made it harder for me to really get into the story, particularly in the beginning.

However, once I got past that hurdle, the story is really good. Katie is an endearing character and I rooted for Johnny as he struggled to maintain his horse farm. And I loved Cora and her feisty ways in spite of myself. 🙂 I love reading the transformation of various characters when I read a novel and this book was no exception. I loved watching Johnny grow from pride to faith and humility. You know, Katie may be the heroine of this book, Johnny was my favorite character (can you tell? 🙂 )

And all in all the plot was rather engaging. Yes, the outcome was exactly what I expected but there were a few twists to the story and so even though this wasn’t the best love-inspired Amish novel I’ve read, it was worth the read. I would recommend this book to other Amish novel readers.

I give this book three (3) stars.

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Book review: Letters to Katie

Letters to Katie, a review

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I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday Snippets: A Catholic Carnival (August 4, 2013)

Sunday Snippets

It is time for another week over at Sunday Snippets. Here’s what I’ve blogged about this week:

Weekly Goals

A Courageous Testimony for Life

A Protection and Healing Prayer

Book review: Secrets to a Happy Life

Have a blessed week everyone!

 

Book Review: Secrets to a Happy Life

From the book description:

“Filled with practical advice and biblical wisdom, Secrets to a Happy Life shows how true satisfaction is anchored to the soul, safe from the disappointments and stresses at the surface of life.”

My comments:

I’m way overdo in getting this review up. When I was given the book to review I was asked to post a review within a month of receipt of the book. That was in May. May 15. It is now August 2. BUT, I have good reason to be late. Secrets to a Happy Life wasn’t a book I could read through quickly. There was just too much to think about.

To try and describe this book, the following words come to mind: ruminate, savor, ponder. For me, this book was more than a book filled with wisdom and insight. It was an experience. I am a better person for having read this book. Why? Because it made me go deeper and to examine my attitudes and think through how I react in various situations.

One of the things I appreciated about this book was the author’s writing style. Bill Giovannetti has a down-to-earth style and a fresh way of approaching the scriptures, especially the story of Joseph, that brought them alive. He also used lots of personal stories to help drive home his point which helped me translate the concepts he is talking about into my own life. I also appreciated the reflection questions at the end of each chapter which also helped me deepen my understanding of “secrets.”

I do want to mention that at one point in the book there is an “altar call” where the author invites the reader to turn to Christ. As a Catholic, I don’t believe in the “born again” philosophy of other Christians, but I do believe that all of us have to surrender ourselves to Jesus (continually), and the prayer of surrender in the book is a beautiful way to do so. I mention this because some Catholics may be put off by this part of the book but they shouldn’t. It is good to be reminded of what Jesus has done for us and the need we have to turn to him. 🙂

By the way, in case you didn’t realize it, this book isn’t about surface, temporal happiness. In some ways I think the book is mistitled. When I first saw the title I was wary. When I think of the word happiness I think about being bubbly or surface happiness. So, I thought the book would be about some surface happiness but it isn’t, in any sense of the word. This book is about deep abiding happiness that is only found in the Lord. It is about finding JOY.

I absolutely recommend this book and give it four (4) stars.

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Secrets to a Happy Life

Book review: Secrets to a Happy Life

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I received this book free from the publisher through the Bethany House <http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/bethanyhouse.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for more info.

Weekly Goals

Set Goals

Well, it turned out to be a weird week. I felt like I ran around in circles, did a lot but didn’t accomplish much. Oh, well! Here’s how it went down:

1. Read at least one chapter of  the gospel of Luke per day. (Finished! Now I’m on to reading the gospel of John.)

2. Pray the rosary each day.

3. Finish reading “Secrets to a happy Life” and write review. (Didn’t get hardly any reading time this week. Hopefully will get it finished this week.)

4. Have nephew over for a sleepover. I can’t wait. He is visiting from Florida and I haven’t had much time with him at all! It was so much fun spending time with him!

5. Continue unpacking and  organizing our stuff. (Well, I put maybe three things away, but I’m counting it anyway!)

6. Continue making and adding items to my Etsy shop. (Put two new items to the shop)

7. Spend five minutes per day on fiction writing.

8. Spend about half-hour of playtime with Andrew each day. (We spent time together but not specifically playing.)

Here’s my plans for this week:

1. Read at least one chapter of  the gospel of John per day.

2. Pray the rosary each day.

3. Finish reading “Secrets to a happy Life” and write review.

4. Finish unpacking and  organizing our bedroom.

5. Continue making and adding items to my Etsy shop.

6. Spend five minutes per day on fiction writing.

7. Spend about half-hour of playtime with Andrew each day.

8. Revamp and prepare our homeschooling curriculum for the fall.

What are your plans for this week? Let us know in the comments or head over to Money Saving Mom and share them with us!

Book Review: Francis Man of Prayer

Pope Francis

From the book description

“Francis is the biography of a meek man who has suddenly become one of the most powerful and influential men on the planet. Could it be a Catholic spring has finally arrived after a very long winter?”

My comments

I have read many good and wonderful books through the Booksneeze blogger reviewer program; unfortunately, Francis is not one of them. 🙁

It’s a shame really. I was so excited to have the chance to read and review this book because in the short time Pope Francis has been in office I have grown to respect and love him very much. I couldn’t wait to read this book to learn more about the man and gain some insight into his prayer life, given the title of the book. Instead, Francis Man of Prayer was nothing more than a thinly veiled anti-Catholic propaganda full of inaccuracies and falsehoods.

Maybe I’m naïve. It didn’t occur to me that although the book is published by a non-Catholic publisher it would be anything but a fair portrayal of our Holy Father and of the Church. Sadly, I was wrong.

To be fair myself, there are some good parts to the book. The author does a decent job giving an overview of Pope Francis’ growing up years, seminary life and life as a Jesuit; however, most of the details are vague with no real substance. Also, at the back of the book there is a chronology list of the major points of our Holy Father’s life to date and a list of 10 quotes that “reveal what Pope Francis Believes” which I liked.

However, it’s the middle to end of the book where it gets sour. He has nothing but negative things to say about the Church, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. As a matter of fact, at the end of the book the author has the nerve to say that “In many ways Benedict XVI was a roadblock for the Catholic Church trying to find its way toward modernity” (indicating the momentous task Pope Francis has ahead of him). Not only is that statement grossly untrue, it is insulting. In talking about the challenges facing Pope Francis, he comes across as condescending which I found off-putting.

I am very disappointed and would not recommend this book.

I give this book one (1) star.

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I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”