Grieving Together: Review and Giveaway

Grieving Together: Catholic miscarriage book for couples

Ten years ago, I lost our sixth and last baby in an early miscarriage, a baby who was planned, wanted, loved.  I’ve never written about it here.  In a very dark period of my life during which I lost first the baby, then my dream home, and finally almost every possession to fire, it was and remains by far the most painful of the losses I suffered.  I don’t like to talk about it and I’ve never wanted to write about it.

But I decided to share just a little today in the hopes of helping ease the burden of others who have lost babies.  There are so many of us, which is something I hadn’t realized until I miscarried and women started whispering words of commiseration: “It happened to me too.  It is hard but it will get better.”

Grieving Together: Catholic miscarriage book for couples

When I was deep in grief–a longer period of time than I would have expected–when all I could do was lie in bed and sob while clutching a board book, the only thing I had bought for the baby, I felt very alone.  I looked online for resources, as one does these days, and found very little.  Eventually my husband and I conducted our own private little ceremony of praying together and naming the baby.  This did bring closure and healing to him, but my grieving process was very different.

Grieving Together: Catholic miscarriage book for couples

I wish that I’d had a copy of Grieving Together: A Couple’s Journey through Miscarriage.  This is the book you never want to need, but are so glad exists if you do.

Reading it even now, I felt affirmed, comforted, accompanied.

Laura and Franco Fanucci have authored a much-needed treasure, a companion and guide to grieving together as a couple.  Having experienced infertility, miscarriage, and infant loss in their own marriage, they know intimately the grief of their readers.  That experience informs the book and their empathy is tangible.  Reading a book from people who have been in your situation is uniquely comforting.

I was impressed by the book’s breadth–it starts with the more practical aspects of miscarriage: what it is, what the experience might be like, considerations of medical treatment and funeral arrangements.  But this section is anything but clinical–it is still animated by Laura and Franco’s love and concern for their readers.  The next section covers grief, including the ways the grieving process may be different for each partner. This is followed by a section of practical suggestions of support from friends, family, the community, and the Church, making this a book that’s valuable to more than those who have suffered loss themselves.  Finally, the last section discusses life after miscarriage, whether your path includes adoption, another pregnancy, or no more babies.

Grieving Together: Catholic miscarriage book for couples

This is a Catholic book, published by Our Sunday Visitor, with Catholic prayers and rites, concrete ways parishes can help, saints to pray to for comfort and guidance, and more.  Other than our pastor’s sincere sympathy, my parish offered no support to us when we lost our baby, and I suspect that is pretty standard.  So this book would make a great gift for your pastor, along with a suggestion for a ministry to serve couples who have suffered miscarriage.  The Catholic Church is well known for concern over unborn babies threatened by abortion, and sponsors ministries for post-abortive women; her concern for babies lost involuntarily and their parents should be a natural outgrowth of these pro-life convictions.

Grieving Together: Catholic miscarriage book for couples

Grieving Together is available now on Amazon. (If you purchase it through links on the blog I will receive a small commission.)  I received the book free in exchange for my honest review.

Or you could enter the giveaway below and win a copy for yourself, a friend, or your parish.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Super Girls and Halos: A Review

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When I was given the chance to review Maria Morera Johnson’s book Super Girls and Halos: My Companions on the Quest for Truth, Justice, and Heroic Virtue I jumped at the opportunity.  Not only was I intrigued by the title, but who wouldn’t want to read a book by someone whose most recent prizewinning bestseller was entitled My Badass Book of Saints?
I wasn’t disappointed as the book lives up to its title.  It grabbed my attention right at the beginning when the author revealed one of her earliest heroes:  Lieutenant Nyota Uhura of the Starship Enterprise.  Anyone who knows me and my family knows how we feel about Star Trek.  I knew immediately that Mrs. Johnson and I were kindred spirits.
You will never read another book that explores saints and their virtues the way this one does.  Mrs. Johnson blends her personal stories and insights with tales of secular heroines and saints who together exemplify similar virtues.  The Cardinal Virtues of Justice, Prudence, Fortitude, and Temperance are revealed to the reader via the stories of such pop culture icons as Wonder Woman, Dana Scully, Hermione Granger, and Katniss Everdeen, along with the lives of saints like St. Clare of Assisi, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Cunegunde, and St. Kateri Tekakwitha.
These engaging stories are accompanied by explication of the virtues from The Catechism of the Catholic Church and steps for the reader to follow to strive to attain each of them.  And although readers will be learning a lot about saints and virtues, it will feel more like  listening to stories told by a friend.
In her introduction, Mrs. Johnson recounts a moving story of her father’s excitement while watching the first moon landing on television, and how he encouraged her to put her little hand on the screen so that she could touch the future.  She writes:  “My dad, who was my hero, had heroes of his own.  It was a small lesson with a big impact: grown-ups had heroes who were other grown-ups . . . today, grown-up me has lots of grown-up heroes.  I call them saints.”
Reading this book encouraged me to think about my own heroes, and specifically about the saints who have inspired me.  I was a little girl when I first read The Song of Bernadette.  Later I chose St. Bernadette to be my Confirmation saint.
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Bernadette Soubirous was a humble young woman, impoverished and uneducated, who did not aspire to renown.  She found within herself unexpected faith and courage after the Blessed Mother appeared to her.  Once these apparitions ended she was content to enter religious life and lived in seclusion until her painful death from bone cancer at 34.  She refused offers to travel to the miraculous spring at Lourdes, remembering Mary’s words to her: “I cannot promise you happiness in this world but only in the next.”  Unquestioning faith, obedience, and humility are virtues I have yet to achieve but hope to through her intercession and example.
Several bloggers received free copies of Super Girls and Halos from Ave Maria Press in exchange for honest reviews.  There are 15 stops on this blog tour, and a giveaway is part of the fun! Please click below to enter.
Super Girls and Halos Giveaway
To read more Super Girls and Halos Blog Tour posts, click below:
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Who are your secular heroes?  What about your Saint Super Girl?  I’d love to hear if you’d care to share in the comments!

E-Cloth Flexi-Edge: A Sustainable Solution for People Who Hate to Clean (SPONSORED Giveaway)

My house is a mess, y’all.
I’ve never been the best housekeeper, but my home usually had at least a couple of neat and presentable rooms that were suitable for unexpected guests.  That all changed about five years ago, when I started working at home.  Something had to give, and housework was that thing.
When you have to quickly clean a very messy house, it’s easy to overlook details like dusting, especially hard-to-reach areas like ceiling fans, air vents, and baseboards.  So when the folks at e-cloth offered me the opportunity to review an item, I was excited to pick the Flexi-Edge Floor and Wall Duster:

Here’s what the e-cloth website has to say about this ultimate dust mop:

  • Removes dust, dirt, hair, cobwebs and allergens from floors, walls and ceilings
  • Better than Swiffer®* and other leading floor duster brands:
    • Outperforms – cleaner floors in less time
    • Multi-purpose – cleans floors, walls & ceilings
    • Stronger stick – does not bend during use
    • Re-usable head – 100 wash guarantee saves money over disposable cloths
    • Environmentally friendly – significantly less waste than disposable cloths
  • Flexi-edges clean into corners, baseboards and easily around legs to chairs, tables and any other furniture
  • Lightweight and highly maneuverable

I’m not going to share before and after pictures here, y’all.  Sorry, the before is so dusty it would be embarrassing.  But let me just say this thing works!  E-cloth claims that their fibers break up, lift, trap, hold and remove dust, dirt, oil, grease, grime and over 99% of bacteria from any hard surface, using just water (or in my case, since I was only dusting, without any water at all!).  You don’t need to use any chemicals, and all e-cloths are reusable–the company claims you can save about $200 per year by eliminating your need for chemicals and paper towels.  The head on the Flexi-Edge comes off and can be washed in your machine (or just rinsed off during use).  I don’t dust very much so that thing is going to last about forever around here.
What I like: I live in one of those houses with (I’m guessing) ten-foot high ceilings, and even worse some places because of the architectural features are much higher than that and out of my reach.  With its telescoping handle, the Flexi-Edge allowed me to extend my reach to those cobwebs in remote corners.  Its unique fibers trap dust rather than just dislodging it, so that the many layers of dust on my ceiling fan did NOT fall on my bed as I feared but instead stuck to the head of the flexi-edge.  As you can see in the picture above, the edges are flexible (hence the name!) which makes it ideal for cleaning baseboards.  The head also swivels around in all directions.
Which leads me to my only complaint–if there is a way to lock the head in one position, I couldn’t figure it out.  And so I sometimes found it a little too flexible when I was trying to reach things about my head and it would spin around to a less-helpful angle.  When using it on the floor this is not a problem.
The Flexi-Edge is a $24.99 value (which I did receive for free for my honest opinion herein).  What’s really cool is that you can buy extra heads for only $9.99, which might be nice to have on hand in case one is in the wash.
There is a lot more great information about how awesome e-cloth is (they have many other products)–including the fact that they’ve been picked by Real Simple magazine as Best Product in three cleaning categories–and I would encourage you to visit them to read more, especially if you want to clean in a way that is more environmentally friendly.
And now I hope I have done enough to convince you that this is a product you would like to have–because here is your change to win your very own Flexi-Edge!  There are multiple ways to enter this giveaway which you can access by clicking on the link below, and you can come back every day to enter again!
Flexi-Edge Giveaway by e-cloth
e-cloth Flexi-Edge DusterOpen to US residents over the age of 18 only.  Giveaway ends at midnight on 7/20/2015.  I was provided with the Flexi-Edge in return for my honest review; as always, my opinions are my own.