Thursday, December 4, 2014

Everyday Sacrament - a Book Review and Giveaway

EDIT: KARLA RUFUS, you won the giveaway! Please email me at lydiajwill at gmail dot com with your address and we'll get it out to you straight away!

Today I have something so special to share with you!

I met my friend Laura Fanucci as bloggers do...that is, by a chance meeting. I'm not sure who stumbled across the other's blog first, but Laura is one of those writers who just grabs you. Whenever I read something she wrote on her blog, Mothering Spirit, it wowed me. Over time, through comments and emails and a bit of guest posting for one another here and there, through years of babies being born and struggling to write our way through this mothering journey, we became friends. When I learned her book was going to be published, I was over the moon for her - and so excited to read what I knew would be a life changing work.

Laura's beautiful book - "Every Day Sacrament - The Messy Grace Of Parenting"  was published by Liturgical Press and did not disappoint. From the moment I cracked open my copy, I knew this book would be something I came back to again and again.

If you've ever looked around at the chaos of your life and wondered how in heaven's name you are expected to deal with all of this human need and still have a thriving spiritual life, look no further. Laura's parenting memoir meets-spiritual memoir shines the light on the intense messiness of life with little ones from miscarriage to pregnancy to babies and beyond. It lifts normal, every day moments - a conversation with a preschooler, a moment of sheer mayhem, the fear of bathing a slick baby for the first time - and changes how you see them.

Written from a Catholic perspective, it surveys the seven Catholic sacraments through the eyes of a mother in every day life - and finds sometimes surprising parallels. Reading it from the perspective of a Protestant, I found nothing but loveliness and universal truth. While Protestants such as myself only hold there to be two sacraments while Catholics (and this book) adhere to seven, I believe that Baptism, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Confirmation, Marriage, Healing of the sick and Holy orders all hold an important place in the life of every Christian - bringing us closer the the heart of God.

Laura leads us through the Sacraments while weaving the story of her parenting journey throughout. Her words are beautiful but not false or frilly. She paints an accurate picture of real-life parenting, and incredibly the raw and real truth of it is more touching, more beautiful, more sacred than any photoshopped version could ever be. In her story, I recognized myself. In her quest for meaningful faith during the mud spattered monotony and bone crushing exhaustion of parenting, I saw my heart. More than once during my reading of this precious book, I found myself putting it aside and sitting with her words held tightly against my heart, tears coursing down my cheeks. Laura succeeds in showing us the truth that, no matter what life we've been called to, God is always, ever, eternally in it with us. A reminder I could use daily.

"Through the tangible things of this earth- water, oil, bread, and wine- God comes to us, giving us what we need when we open our hearts to receive...Because sacraments do not exist apart from the complexity and diversity of our daily life- they are part of it."
- Laura Fanucci, Everyday Sacrament

I am recommending this book to all of my parent-friends, Catholic or otherwise. The concept is simple, but profound. As God promises to meet us in these sacraments, they are not just  for the high moments of life. The stained-glass, white robed moments. Sacraments are meant to be brought, held, lived in our daily lives, yes, even as parents of little ones in our domestic churches. In them and with them we see that God is walking each moment of this life right alongside us - extending grace over the whole of our lives and families.

Give yourself an incredible gift, and buy this book. Maybe even one for a friend? I love this one so much that I'm giving away a copy below. Enter for yourself and share with your friends!`

EDIT: My Rafflecopter didn't seem to work. Just go ahead and leave a comment and I'll pick a random number next Thursday!

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  1. What a beautiful review...and a beautiful blog, too! I can't be,I've I've never read your work before...I look forward to spending some time these next few weeks soaking up your writing. Blessings to you this Advent.

    Abbey @ Surviving Our Blessings

  2. I very much enjoy your writing. And Laura's. :) I would love to get my hands on a copy of her book. (Your rafflecopter isn't working, btw.)

  3. Hmm, I'm not sure what's going on with that. I'll change it to leaving a comment here only. Thanks!

  4. I loved your post the other day about Laura's book! so nice to "meet" you!

  5. While I am not Catholic, I too see how their sacraments can lead us closer to Him. Thank you for this review and I would love to have some new reading material! And thanks for pointing me to a new blog as well. I enjoy reading your words and find that your thoughts have been stirring in my heart as well, I just never get to put them to paper. Your willingness to share your life and thoughts are such an encouragement to me.

  6. Would love to read this book :)

  7. Hi Lydia! It's my first time visiting here! What a lovely site. I'm looking forward to poking around :)

    Thanks for the opportunity to win Laura's book. It's on my Christmas list, but if I won a copy, my husband would be off the hook ;)


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