Book Giveaway — win a free copy of The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion along with a bonus!

Morning prayer is a great way begin each day, pointing us towards God and entrusting him with our day. As busy women who are moms, working women and/or caretakers, it can seem impossible to carve out the time to pray. We’re thwarted before we even begin!

Just 5 minutes a day

Here’s one way to start — 5 minutes a day with a simple daily devotional covering the many experiences of women today who are raising children, holding down jobs, or caring for aging parents, written by people who have been-there-done-that. If you are looking for a friendly and gentle tool that will inspire you cultivate a daily morning prayer habit, The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion is the book for you.

the-catholic-mom-prayer-companionThe work of over 80 contributors, The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion offers a 300-word meditation for each day of the year, begining with a quote and ending with a simple question to prayerfully ponder.

I am privileged to have contributed 4 such meditations and am humbled to be included with so many of today’s prominent Catholic spiritual writers.

Now I want to give away a copy to one of you!

Along with a copy of The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, I will also give you free audio book copy of my spiritual memoir, River of Grace from audible.com! And, I will also give away a song from my upcoming Marian CD, Mater Dei.

2-books-and-a-cd

How can you enter this fabulous giveaway?

Just leave a comment on this post — it doesn’t have to be long or elaborate. You can even just say, “I’d love to win this book!”

Next Monday I will randomly pick the winner from the comments I receive and email you that you have won. This gives you 4 days to enter.

Simple. Now leave your comment for a chance to win!

 

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Click to Tweet & ShareBook Giveaway — win a free copy of The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion along with a bonus! http://wp.me/p2D9hg-1Og

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Many people find coloring to be a wonderful way to relax and experience harmony in their lives. Is that you? Join my Email List to subscribe to this blog and receive your free Harmony coloring book (and more).

River of Grace Audio book with soundtrack music available now on Bandcamp. Listen to the preface of the book, and all the songs.

Susan Bailey, Author, Speaker, Musician on Facebook and Twitter
Read my other blog, Louisa May Alcott is My Passion

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Creating room—the conundrum of the empty nest

The long Christmas break is over and the letdown is leaving me a bit melancholy. The stretching of the heart that comes with the empty nest made full, and then made empty again, hurts.

Both of our adult children were home for the holidays. Our daughter spent both Christmas Eve and morning with us despite the fact that she also needed to see her fiancé’s family (she got engaged in November). Our son spent the week with us, having come up from New York.

Each time they come it’s an adjustment, requiring me to make room, not just in my house, but in my heart. Of course I do it without hesitation, but it is still an adjustment. It took me ten years to get to where I enjoy the empty nest.

The room is made and is filled only to be emptied again; it continues to surprise me how much it still hurts when they go away. Eventually this room fades into the background, waiting for the next time it will be needed. Slowly the new life I began when they left the nest filters back in and it soothes my heart.

Robert S. Donovan empty nest,Flickr Creative Commons
Robert S. Donovan empty nest,Flickr Creative Commons

This has been the conundrum for me with regards to the empty nest, this making room. I find it requires a heart that is vulnerable, supple and open. It requires a bit of courage, even for the creation of the smallest of rooms.

I distinctly remember the day I created that first room. All of a sudden the barriers came down and I announced to my husband that I was ready to have children. That moment came after several years of chasing a dream of being a professional musician, an all-consuming passion. I soon found out that motherhood is equally all-consuming; something had to give. I sold off my recording equipment, put the guitar away and immersed myself in my babies. It was not a hard choice. Love facilitates room-building

Gareth Saunders Bedroom in the sunshine, Flickr Creative Commons
Gareth Saunders Bedroom in the sunshine, Flickr Creative Commons

After five years the desire to write and record songs returned and it became a painful tug of war. Creative work requires large blocks of quiet time and as any mother knows, that time is non-existent, especially if you also work outside of the home. There were plenty of moments of guilt and regret and before I knew it, my children were grown.

So many moments of great joy and pride. Moments of heartache and sorrow. My heart was exercised and stretched in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

Would I do it all again in the same way? Probably. Do I miss those childhood years? Very much so. Am I haunted by some leftover regrets? Sometimes. But it’s nice to have found a resting place in this empty nest.

In the meantime, I can enjoy the companionship of my grown children. Watching their burgeoning careers, enjoying pictures of the new apartment, marveling as they learn how to cook and make a home, meeting the significant others and reveling in the engagement and planning for the wedding all make for a rich post-childhood life. We share dreams and hopes for the future. The blossoming of my children into well-adjusted adults is an enormous blessing. As the song goes from The Sound of Music, somewhere along the way, “I must have done something good.”

Sara Björk The heart, Flickr Creative Commons
Sara Björk The heart, Flickr Creative Commons

So, I will continue to make room. The stretching will continue to hurt but it makes for a strong muscle. And while waiting for the grandchildren, I will hug and kiss my cats in anticipation.

Confession of a timid soul

My latest Catholic Free Press column.

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The recent ruling by the Supreme Court on the legal state of marriage has reverberated across the country. People cannot stop talking about it and the conversations are often heated. A seismic shift has taken place in our culture. It caught me unprepared for the personal storm of confusion and fear that I would experience as a result.

Facing the inevitable

Christians are facing a “brave new world.” Confrontation is now inevitable; I cannot avoid it no matter how uncomfortable it makes me feel. I have to be clear as to what I think and how I feel and learn how to express it both firmly and in love, as Jesus would do. Continue reading “Confession of a timid soul”

Traveling a life of transitions: Reflections on the Sunday Gospel John 17:11B-19 by Father Steven LaBaire

father steven labaireI am pleased to present this guest post from Father Steven LaBaire, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Worcester, MA.

In preparation for mass this Sunday:

Life is full of transitions. The longer we live, the greater the number of our years, the greater the number of transitions.

Some transitions are rather universal like adolescence and leaving home, marriage and childbirth, illness and aging, or separation through death. Other transitions feel as if they are thrust upon us like the loss of a job or an unwelcome medical diagnosis.

In every case we’re forced to look at life anew in order the rebuild our lives.

Martin LaBar Jesus and His Disciples at the Last Supper
Martin LaBar Jesus and His Disciples at the Last Supper, Flickr Creative Commons

In this week’s gospel Jesus’ disciples are struggling to deal with his departure from this world. They will be forced to let go of their former ways of relating to him. In the future, Christ will be present to them, albeit in a new and different way.

Sorting all this out is something the disciples will have to do together. So Jesus prays that “they may be one.”

It has been said that most people belong to two families:

One family is your biological family. These are the folks with whom you share a common bloodline, genetics, DNA.

The other family is your psychological or spiritual family. These are the people that care for you, love you, stand by you. These are the communities that give you strength and hope when you need it most.

www.GlynLowe.com Family Walk, Flickr Creative Commons
www.GlynLowe.com Family Walk, Flickr Creative Commons

Biological families and spiritual families are sometimes the same.  But frequently, they are not.

The disciples needed a community of faith to get through the transition.

We, modern-day disciples need spiritual families to navigate and find strength through the changes and upheavals of life. The big transitions of life are not meant to be travelled alone…

Who are the people that make up your “spiritual family?”  Who are you a “spiritual family” to?

How are you traveling life as the years (and the transitions) add up?   Traveling alone?  Or, with companions?

We pray for the grace to have and to be, faith-filled, hope-filled and loving travel companions.

Copyright 2015 by Steven Michael LaBaire

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