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Here are my favorite reads of the week, my take on ’em, and a few other finds that I thought you would like! AND, a few photos from our recent trip to EWTN’s studios to sit down with Johnette Benkovic of “Women of Grace” — and a little bit about her latest book. So grab a cup of coffee — or tea, & enjoy!

“We Are All Mothers in Some Way”

by Bobbi Roi, written over at Blessed is She

“God needs motherly hearts to embrace His children that need it most. It does not matter if those hearts belong to teenagers, single women, wives without kids, moms with many kids, grandmas, religious, or whatever the case may be. What matters is that a spiritual mother’s heart is ready to kneel and pray for the souls God brings to mind. She is ready to offer up the drudgery of her school studies or the difficult tasks at her work place or the exhausting chores of her busy household. She is open to the Holy Spirit to say the right words or just give a comforting hug to someone that needs it. These are the ways you, as a woman of God, can be fruitful and multiply. We are on a mission to help God’s children come back to His Kingdom and nurture them along the journey.”

My take: One of my best friends e-mailed this to me and said, “This made me think of you,” to which I cried happy tears because it was so thoughtful of her and because it suggested — and as is true — that even without having children, that I can be fruitful & multiply. 🙂 Can you think of a woman in your life who might like to hear this message too? Go ahead & share it with her!

“Six Speedbumps that Can Wreck a Marriage”
by Dave Willis, written over at Patheos

Stop making your spouse wonder how much they mean to you. Tell your spouse how crazy you are about them. Tell them often. Tell them more than anyone else ever would. Be your spouse’s biggest admirer. And don’t just say it, but also back it up with the way you treat them courteously and respectfully. Pursue your spouse emotionally and romantically, in ways they will respond to. Stop waiting for your spouse to beg you to help around the house or with the kids. Be mindful and intentional to look for ways to help around the house or with the kids. Don’t wait for your spouse to beg you to help more. If they do express frustration in this area, ask what items you can take off their to do list, and how you can do more so they can take a needed break. You might be surprised at how much a little more effort means to them. Think about it: if you could make them happier by helping out more, wouldn’t you want to try?”

My take: Here’s some seriously good marriage advice. It sort of goes along with the idea of anticipating what your spouse needs before they really need it. We have to tend to our marriages for them to grow; intentionally, sincerely, and effortfully. It takes work, yes, but it’s the best work of our lives aside from doing the very same for our relationship with the Lord.

Growing in Beauty – A Calling to All Mothers
by Kirby Hoberg, written over at The Zelie Group

“Too often I hear moms talk about living life in survival mode.  They talk about how long it’s been since they showered like it’s an Olympic event. They confess that they have not had a proper meal in weeks, or that they have had sleeping hours in the single digits over the course of four days. Then they tell me how long it has been like this and I want to cry with them.

“In survival mode, you are not valuing yourself as the beautiful, unique soul that you are, but as a utility that is running on backup generators. In survival mode, you are so focused on just getting through the day that you start to run out of self to give. This extreme neglect of self is not just terrible for your own mental and physical health, it is an insult to God.

“Momma, you were created a never-before-seen human being full of beauty and talents, and you give an irreplaceable contribution to the world. That means we all have an obligation to honor and care for our bodies and minds as the precious gifts they are. To do less is an insult to the God who gave us these precious gifts.”

My take: I absolutely loved this piece by Kirby and it’s really written for every woman, not just mamas. We all need Beauty in our lives, and we have to recognize that God also created Beauty within us. We have to take care of ourselves. It’s not just for us; but for everyone else in our lives as well, because when we’re doing that we are better able to let God shine through us. And that’s the sort of Beauty that our friends & family need to see.

“Every Christian Needs To See What Kevin Did on “This is Us”
by Becky Thompson, over at her site, Becky Thompson

“We are all on some sort of journey to figure out who we really are, what we really want, what we want to be known for… And so much of it is a chasing after the wind. But, you guys, our greatest and purest identity will always be found in who our Father is… as sons… as daughters… as children of God. Because when we remember what we saw our Father do, we can understand how to live it out as well.”

My take: I’ve really been enjoying the show, “This is Us.” Have you seen it yet? It sort of hits the same strings as “Parenthood” did… but they’re still pretty different. In the latest episode of “This is Us,” Kevin’s understanding of who he was, as the son of his father, was a pivotal moment of change for him: of growth, of action, of compassion. It was just so beautiful. And the same is true for us like Becky wrote; when we understand where our identity truly comes from, we can know better how to live our lives. Our identity is not simply in what we do on a daily basis, but who we are: daughters of the King.

Our Trip to EWTN!

On another note, my husband & I were so honored to meet Johnette Benkovic earlier this week and to sit down with her to film five episodes of her show, “Women of Grace” that airs on EWTN. We loved meeting her and speaking with her about our prayer ministry, Pray More Novenas. We don’t know when the shows will air but we will keep you updated! 🙂

Weekly Wish List:

This week, Johnette Benkovic’s most recent book, “Graceful Living: Meditations to Help You Grow Closer to God Day by Day” is on my weekly wish list. 

Here’s a brief description of the book: “Each day brings you a delicate sample of the truth of the Catholic faith, as well as practical and incisive questions to stimulate prayer and reflection that have been written by Johnnette Benkovic, host of EWTN’s Women of Grace. Johnnette has collected these spiritual gems over the course of many years and has brought them together for the first time in this book for daily meditation. These reflections will challenge you to go deeper in your prayer and self-examination, bringing to light aspects of each quotation that might be missed at first glance. Moreover, they will help you start your day by lifting your heart, soul, and mind to God.”

My take: I don’t think I could sing higher praises for Johnette. She was kind, insightful, and so wise. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of her book because I know I can learn A LOT from her.

Another thing that would be on my wishlist if I didn’t actually buy it is this beauty 😉

I picked it up at the EWTN gift shop but you can also buy it here. I was drawn to it the second I saw it — I thought it was just beautiful. And get this: the image is called the Virgin of Hope. <3

Lastly, if you need a good laugh 😉