Thursday, April 19, 2012

Catholic Family Fun: A Review

** If you are here for Small Success Thursday, scroll down one post. --Thanks!

The book came while I was on vacation. Sarah Reinhart and I have been "virtual" friends for several years and I love her deep spiritual serenity laced with dry humor about how her children disrupt that deep spiritual reserve on a regular basis with melt downs, demands for snacks and general silliness. She has a deep love of the Blessed Mother and writes from the heart about her life as a wife, mother, Catholic and studious woman of the faith living on a farm. I like her and hope one day, to show up with my unruly mob at her home and play like crazy. (That's not a threat, it's a hope and a vision).

So when she was lecturing at the Catholic Writer's Online Conference, I jumped into the chat room to listen. I'm one of those kids like Hermione of Harry Potter, always raising her hand, (except unlike Hermione, I don't know the answers, I just like to participate). Her book Catholic Family Fun was coming out and she was hosting a round robin blog chain event to promote it.  I eagerly volunteered. 

Then life happened.  Illness and vacation and illness again jammed up the schedule.  Three poster projects and five separate "samples" of ethnic food from one's heritage had to be delivered to the school.  One kid had to go to the doctors. Another was staying late each day for drama club. There was band and a husband who needed to work late and homework and the list of things that never ended and I thought, "AHHHHHH I'm never going to get to read this book!"  

What I didn't know was that I needed to read this book. 

But the Holy Spirit did...and prepared me by making it a desperate goal.  My life as the organizer/chauffeur/cook/laundry mistress/butler/homework nag/maid/queen of all you have to do often threatens to make me a joyless Martha.  The next task is always around the corner.  And as such, I can miss out on the sticky sweet colored crazy silly mess that is the glue of creating happy holy souls in a family by being anxious about many things....all the wrong things...or at least, anxious in all the wrong ways.    I could feel it happening.

So with one day until the day I'd promised to review it, I read it.  I read it fast, not because it was a cram session (although it was), but because it was so very readable.  Sarah's humor peppers each page, as does her understanding that this is call to infuse life with the seasons and flavorings and colors and tastes and whimsy the same why God does when He creates duck billed platypus, tadpoles and ocean diving pelicans or inspires things like gelato, barbecue and bubbles.   

We need play. We need to become like little children.  The fallen world absent play, is hard and unpleasant.  Even family can become a dull caste system if there aren't the moments of stolen joy.   So I needed this book as a reminder.   I saw how there were moments today that could have been painted purple or glittered.   There were things I could have done to make today luminous.  And it wasn't a guilt thing, it was the Holy Spirit addressing my other concerns which were making me anxious, it was a wake up call to my heart to be more fully Martha, as she is when she meets Jesus the second time.

Lately, my children had seemed listless, easily led to fighting. My own patience had been poor. I told myself it was getting back into the fray of raising these people after a 4 1/2 day break but that wasn't the core of it.  I'd been short in my heart and mind, because I'd been all about getting things done rather than doing things well.  Even prayer wasn't really getting me anywhere because I'd snap in the middle of a prayer at whatever it was that was being reported that merited a snappy "Stop that" report.  Never mind that God could have said "Stop that" to me for the same reason. It was flail, fail and flail again. Not fun.

I'd even asked my husband before reading the book, "How do I fatten my patience?"  Wise man that he is, he said, "Feed it."   It turned out, Catholic Family Fun was just the good food I needed. 

So I'm putting the link to Pauline's book site for Sarah's book and I do recommend it both for the ideas which are easily graftable to a family of three or a family of 12, and for the spiritual reminder that comes through on every page, that we are to be salt to the earth and light to the world.  Salt tastes good, and light makes everything brighter.  Neither one of these are possible if all we want is to be done.  

Go.  Get it. Read it. And start adding salt and life and light to your family's world.  It will fatten your patience and increase your joy.  It will be messy.  It won't be perfect.  But in that process, your family's health and holiness will be more perfected by the willingness to infuse your lives with life and light.  

Catholic Family Fun by Sarah A. Reinhard
and here's her blog for you to visit too. Go say "Hi!" Tell her I'm getting in the van and bringing my 10 children and we're going to have a huge water fight.

It will be fun. Heh. Just Another Catholic Pondering


Judy Dudich said...

How wonderful! Sarah asked me to review this book, also, and I JUST began delving into it last, how timely your post!
I look forward to reading every page and sharing a review, as well:)
Glad I stumbled upon your review while coming here for Small Successes:) (Which, I see, is not here yet, so "YAY", I'll get to make another visit to your blog later today!)

Sarah Reinhard said...

Sherry, your comments brought tears to my eyes. I so relate and hey! Come on over!!! :) Though it's a bit chilly for water fights just yet...give it a few months, though...

Thanks for being part of the Book Tour! Many blessings to you!

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