Marian Consecration for Families With Young Children – Review

Buying books and reading books are two separate hobbies. but I enjoy both equally. I have to strictly keep some rules around buying children’s books, or else I’d drive my family to bankruptcy. 

 

My requirements for Catholic children’s books are that it be:

 

  1. Orthodox 
  2. Accessible
  3. Instructive
  4. Delightful

 

And I’m happy to share that “Marian Consecration for Families With Young Children” ticks all the boxes.

An Orthodox Catholic Book

The author, Colleen Pressprich, is a former Lifeteen Missionary, experienced Montessori teacher, and current homeschooling parent. We’ve worked together on projects before, so I know a bit about her own high standards for children’s materials.

 

The book is published by Our Sunday Visitor, and carries an Imprimatur from Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades. So I already knew it would present the true Catholic faith. Which is especially important in a book about the Blessed Mother.

 

There are so many false teachings, missteps, and watered-down depictions of Our Lady, even among books for adults. “Marian Consecration” is so faithful and clear, I’d recommend it as a primer for new converts or reverts looking for a trustworthy conversation starter on the Virgin Mary and her place in our hearts.

 

Good Design is Accessible Design

Frankly, I don’t need one more thing that makes faith formation difficult. Not in the year we’re having. Not in our therapeutic homeschool with an alphabet soup of diagnoses and profiles. So any children’s material that appears to have been written in the 1850s by a childless crone is straight out. 

 

After a few introductory pages, the book begins a 33 day journey. A predictable rhythm takes over: me reading the short reflection while young sir takes in the lush illustrations (by Rebecca Gorzynska). Even the conversation prompts are simple enough for my son, who’s short on words, to contribute a thought.

 

For a bit of extra assistance, there are daily notes to the parent in the appendix. Colleen’s Montessori experience shines here, with frequent reminders to follow the child. Just because your child isn’t conversing fluently doesn’t mean they aren’t learning!

 

Instructive for Parent and Child

“A children’s story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children’s story,” CS Lewis

 

Having followed Fr. Michael Gaitley’s popular “33 Days to Morning Glory” for my own consecration and having led two group consecrations, I wish I could’ve done this children’s version first. 

 

Colleen has taken a subject that confounds theologians and made it accessible to the very young or developmentally delayed. She relates huge theological mysteries to the commonplace experience. Times we’ve felt scared or challenged. Running to our mothers. Offering to share our possessions. God’s plan for Mary in our lives flows clearly across the vibrant pages, for children and adults alike.

 

 

Delight Drives Desire

At the end of the day, it doesn’t just matter how much I enjoy a book. Ha! If only that were the main criteria. But one must also ask, “Will my child actually like it?”

 

I can happily report that Johnny’s given it two thumbs up. Not only do we read it together, but I tuck it in my purse to bring to Mass. This from a child who is never caught reading! 

 

Even if the 33-day structure is too demanding for you in the present year, “Marian Consecration for Families With Young Children” is a gorgeous, faithful book for the whole family to read through.

 

A Five-Star Family Read

According to my very scientific Catholic children’s book criteria, “Marian Consecration” earns full marks. It’s faithful. It’s easy to implement. I enjoy learning to love Mary alongside my son. We’re both inexorably drawn to the beauty of the book. 

 

Colleen and Rebecca capture the essence of Our Lady. A radiant woman. A guide for all peoples. The pinnacle of humankind. Our Blessed Mother.

Devoted, Not Consumed: Motherhood & The Life Of The Mind

Like most of you, all this extra (enforced) time at home has been both a blessing and a trial. Is this our new normal? Do we even want the old normal?

I’ve hit a wall about what to do with my blog here. Feeling like I have nothing to say.

I lost sight of what my purpose here is.

It’s not to tell my story. It’s to tell your story. The story of thousands like us. The story of the good student, the bookworm, the daydreamer, suddenly and happily thrust into the incarnate, all-consuming work of motherhood.

Your Story

You love motherhood. But miss some of the things you had before. Your intellectual pursuits. Reading simply for pleasure.

The thrill of all the disparate threads of a mystery coalescing into one.

Understanding a complex character motivation, and suddenly the fascicle foil transforms into a deep, image-bearer just like you.

Or the slow and cozy ease of resting in a well-worn novel, like going to a family reunion without the pinched cheeks and watery potato salad.

Gosh, don’t you just long for those moments?

But there seems to never be enough time, enough quiet, or simply enough YOU leftover at the end of a long day and night parenting.

What’s even worse than this loss, is the guilt you feel for mourning it. Your longing for these transcendent moments feels like a betrayal.

Isn’t motherhood enough?

Shouldn’t it be?

 

You love motherhood. It's your vocation. But you miss the intellectual life you had before. Reading, journaling, contemplating, discussing books with others. What's worse, you feel guilty for missing these things...

 

Motherhood is not a vocation for dabblers. With a special-needs son, I can see the path of intensive motherhood stretching into the shining distance. Possibly until the moment of my death. But even parents of typical children know the season of mothering moment-to-moment won’t end in the blink of an eye.

Your commitment to motherhood must be absolute.

But you needn’t be consumed by it.

That’s the heart of my corner of the internet. The purpose for my blog & attendant social media.

To celebrate the milestones & ordinary days of Catholic home life, without sacrificing the life of the mind. To support you in the endlessly spinning task of giving all to these little people, and filling back up again. And to see you. To make you feel seen. Because you are a devoted mother, yet you are not consumed.

You aren’t a fragmentary creature, split between BP and AP (before parenthood & after). You are the same girl who daydreamed and scribbled in margins. The girl who created life in her mind now shephards little souls through life. That was training you for today. And the true student knows that learning never ends.

You are an integrated, beautiful whole. With all aspects enhancing and embracing one another.

So we’ll get into the practical. I’ll recommend a book I like. I’ll show you how I make margins for reading, and hold space for contemplation. But that comes second. First, you have to give yourself grace.

Lean into the desires of your inmost heart. Forget all the shoulds and shouldn’ts of so-called “perfect” motherhood. And allow yourself to dream again.

Top 9 Books of 2019

I completed 90 books in 2019. If that’s a staggering number to you, I recommend you take my free 5-day challenge to read more books!

While I didn’t hit my goal of 100 books in 2019 (and didn’t match the 103 I read in 2018), I’m content with that number.

We had a lot of life happen in 2019 with homeschooling, foster care, pregnancy loss, and -ahem- video games. 90/100 is still an A in my book.

These books were all new to me in 2019. If I included rereads, this would’ve been more like top 30!

 

My Top 9 Books of 2019

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Catholic Fiction: In This House Of Brede

A book about nuns of a Benedictine monastery doesn’t sound thrilling. Go on and say it, you think it might be boring. Won’t it be all pious and sweet?

 

I assure you, no realistic portrait of 96 women could be a gentle and darling thing. Rumer Godden’s penetrating, lyrical work lulls you in with a restraint that is quintessentially British. Then, with your guard down, she strikes at your heart. The personalities, secrets, and piercing truth make In This House of Brede my favorite work of Catholic fiction.

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33 Days To Merciful Love: Read Along Group

Join us on Facebook for a consecration to Divine Mercy, inspired by the spirituality of St Therese of Lisieux and her Little Way.

We’ll spend 33 days reading Fr Michael Gaitley’s book. Just a few pages each day builds a solid biography of St Therese.

More importantly, these weeks of prayer will open our hearts to the merciful heart of Jesus. We can experience his merciful love, and console his heart with our own!

You can find your copy of the book at your local Catholic store, or on Amazon.

 

 

Our online book club will run May 14th through June 16th. We’ll make our consecrations on Trinity Sunday, the anniversary of when St Therese first offered herself to God’s merciful love.

Don’t Feel Like Reading? 7 Tips To Get Back To Reading More

The beginning of this year was a roller coaster for me. Extreme highs contrasted with extreme lows.

 

One day I was on top of the world.

 

My business was keeping me busy. We had a packed social calendar. And after years of infertility, we were pregnant again!

 

Then we suffered a miscarriage and lost the twins.

 

I didn’t feel like reading

 

Grief sapped my energy. Depression steals your personality. I was trapped in my thoughts, unable to focus on the hobby I once loved.

 

I had to find a foothold and grapple my way up Depression Mountain, through the Vale of Tears, and get back to myself.

 

The journey has changed me in countless ways. But I’m so glad to have reading back. Here are 7 ways to shake the cobwebs and jump back into reading.

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100 Days, 5 Dresses: Micro Capsule Wardrobe for Moms

Capsule Wardrobes

 

33 well-planned articles of clothing. There are spreadsheets, books, and courses devoted to the concept. Wearers meticulously design them based on mix-and-match potential and classic looks.

I did something crazier.

I wore the same 5 dresses for 100 days.

This was not well planned.

Back in April, I decided to try out that Lularoe Nicole dress. Or 5 of them. Because when I like something I go all in.

Laughing about my purchase, I told a friend “I should wear one each day of the week!”

She said “When will you do laundry? And wouldn’t you need 7?” [See, this is why you have friends smarter than you]

Ignoring these practicalities, I decided to go even deeper.

Here’s what I gained by wearing the same 5 dresses for 100 days.

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