Ink Slingers Maurisa Of Note

Of Note-July 2019

Welcome to Of Note – A Collection of Orthodox Catholic Reading, a series dedicated to sharing great orthodox Catholic content around the inter webs!

Let’s face it, we are all busy, modern women and we just don’t have the time or the energy to vet or read everything the Catholic blogosphere has to offer. We have streamlined that for you and offer you the most worthy, relevant reads that will keep you informed and in-tune without wasting your precious time. Each month, on the first Friday, you can find Of Note filled with posts that are inspiring, knowledgeable, cover current events, and liturgical living.

We are continually looking for new and lesser known bloggers to feature here on Of Note. If you write a blog or know of one we should take a look at leave a link in the combox or email me at:

After a cool and rainy start, we are in full summer swing here in Utah. We’ve had swimming lessons, baseball, picnics, and are planning at least 3 summer get-aways. Let’s take a look at what has been happening in the world of Catholic blogging.

Liturgical Living

Like Mother Like Daughter reviews a new liturgical cookbook, Cooking with the Saints. I’m a cookbook and cooking magazine junkie, so this one really intrigues me.

July is dedicated to the Most Precious Blood. From Catholic Cuisine’s archives comes this refreshing looking recipe for summer sangria. I bet one could make a “virgin” version of this recipe using juice instead of the alcohol. Be sure to read the insights from various saints included in the post.

Lacey of Catholic Icing has begun a video series entitled Catholic How to Draw.  In this installment, Lacey walks artists through drawing the Eucharist.

Hidden Gems

Kim of Musings From the Home has a wonderful minimalist idea for keeping track of all the stuff–boots, jackets, beach towels, etc. that come with having a large family.

Kendra Tierney of Catholic All Year straddles the categories of Hidden Gems and The Professionals. I found her recent review of two popular Netflix shows to be quite intriguing. I have been one of those who has just scrolled right on past the two shows disinterestedly. Her take on Good Omens and Lucifer is very interesting and may have piqued my interest enough in one of the shows to possibly give it a go.

Kendra’s post above created a bit of controversy and so I’m also sharing her follow-up post: Some Thoughts on Scandal (NOT the TV Show, as I have at Least Temporarily Learned my Lesson).

Kathryn of Team Whitaker wrote a wonderful resource post for families and teens applying for college scholarships. I’m bookmarking this one for our soon-to-be high school senior.

In this beautiful post on Joy of nine, Melanie writes “. . .best way to communicate with preverbal little people is to connect with their inner spirits, in with and through God.” Be sure and read Jesus is a Baby Whisperer.

In response to my most recent post for Catholic Sistas on Catholic Podcasting, Mary of the Not-So-Perfect Catholic offered her top ten Catholic Podcasts. Several over-lap my choices, but she has a few I’d not heard of before.

The Professionals

I happen to share a birthday with Saint John the Baptist and I could not help but share this gem from Philip Kosloski of Aleteia. I’m stumping for a return to celebrating the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist as it once was–like Christmas in June.

Therese Civantos Barber profiles Catholic mom and entrepreneur, Lauren Winter, of Brick House in the City. Lauren designs and sells “wordspiration” apparel that allows folks to wear their faith as a way to evangelize. 

Continuing the theme of Kendra Tierney’s posts above, Tim Serewicz of One Peter Five shares some thoughts on how Catholics can wisely consume media in today’s culture.

Writing for The Catholic Thing, David G. Bonagura explains beautifully why is seems some of our prayers go unanswered.

From the Archives

Ink Slinger, Rita Suva, wrote up a great resource list of ideas for observing the Church’s July devotion to the Most Precious Blood.

New Finds

A final continuation of the theme of Catholic media consumption comes through a website I’ve recently been familiarizing myself with and looks to be quite dynamic. Check out Array of Hope which organizes and promotes Catholic concert events, retreats, films, and other media.

Domestic Church Ink Slingers Reading Sarah Reinhard

My Changed Reading Time

It’s hard not to marvel at my changed reading time.
But wait, first, let me start at the beginning: I read.
I’ve accepted this about myself.
Surely, I have other hobbies. (Or maybe I just have a family. Does that count?)
But really, I read. It’s how I define myself, and it’s truly my favorite of the things I could list. It’s a hobby that has opened vistas for me, and you’ll find proof of it all over my house.
In the front room, subdivided into an office, there are overflowing bookshelves. In the office section, there’s another bookshelf, and baskets of books on my table/desk, and piles of books on my other shelf. In the kitchen, there’s a basket of current reads under the cupboards, by the breakfast bar. There are odd books left out (I blame the kids) and baskets of books and toys jumbled together (again, the kids). All of the kids have books in their rooms, in various states of organization (or disarray, as the case may be). And my room has a few books by the bed. And we mustn’t forget the bathrooms, though we don’t view them as much a library as some do. 
My purse is host to a whole library, thanks to the technology made available from my phone and my Kindle. That’s saved me from needing a backpack-sized purse for the “blankie book” I need to make sure I have with me at all times. (The book itself changes. The fact that I need one does not.)
These things are set. They’ve changed a bit over the years, but not by much.
What’s changed in my reading life is my reading time itself. It used to be wedged between nearly everything, and available in long stretches quite often. It used to be largely uninterrupted, unless I wanted it to be interrupted. It used to be about me and what I liked.
Now, I find that my reading time is part of a bigger picture. It involves other people in a way it never did before. Sometimes, those other people live in my house and they want me to be part of their reading time. They turn my reading time into a shared experience.
Other times, the other people are authors whose work I’m reviewing. They may be friends who have trusted me to read a book they’ve written. They may be strangers who reached out to me. They may be just the name on the cover, sent to me by a publisher or agent.
And then there are my reading friends, people who have become part of my reading time by their suggestions and their influence on how (and what) I read.
My reading time used to be mostly novels. Then, in grad school, it became mostly multiple assigned textbooks and business books at a time. I moved into reading to learn about things: my faith, some skill, random nonfiction. And then, with children came parenting books and children’s books, intentional middle grade and YA reads and revisiting old favorites.
Most recently, my reading time has turned into part of my job. (And, honestly, I never thought that could even be a reality in my life, so we’ll just have a shared jump-up-and-down moment together, shall we?) 
There are books I’ve read that I never would have picked up without the circumstances in my life. There are books I never would have enjoyed if I hadn’t grabbed them in desperation to escape the chaos of my home. (It’s a good chaos, mind you. But sometimes, I just want to read.)
My reading time has also changed because, well, I have changed. I’m older now, for one thing. I’ve read a lot more, and I’m more likely to just stop reading a book, no matter how good That Person said it would be or how much Certain Human said I should read it. 
I’ve been Catholic now for nearly two decades. I’ve been married for 15 and a mother for 14 of those. I’ve learned things beyond my various degrees and my different professional experiences. Life has interrupted my plans and taken me far beyond where I would have gone on my own.
And that, my friends, has only made my reading time better. ?
Books Domestic Church Reading Reviews

Best of My 2018 Reading: Nonfiction Edition with Sarah Reinhard

Best of My 2018 Reading: Nonfiction Edition with Sarah Reinhard

I used to think I was an all-fiction-all-the-time type of reader, but last year proved me wrong. Last year, I found out that I love nonfiction just as much.

I had a stretch of binge reading, and it included some great novels.

But I found something missing. I wanted something that {gasp} wasn’t fiction.

I read a lot of nonfiction anyway, both for paid review and for pleasure. There’s so much to learn. There’s so much that’s good. There’s…just…so…much.

So without any more rambling, here are my favorite nonfictions reads from my 2018 pile!

The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise, by Cardinal Robert Sarah with Nicolas Diat. This was a book I couldn’t whip through, and yet one that I savored and couldn’t put down. Reading it felt anything but accidental, that’s for sure. (I wrote about that here.)

To Light a Fire on the Earth: Proclaiming the Gospel in a Secular Age, by Robert E. Barron. My first inclination with this was to offer it to a new deacon at our parish, who, as it happens, had already read it. Barron has a way of boiling things down and, yet, also planting seeds that stay with you.

Jesus Approaches: What Contemporary Women Can Learn about Healing, Freedom, and Joy from the Women of the New Testament, by Elizabeth M. Kelly. Water is a recurring theme that Elizabeth Kelly uses throughout this book, and it struck me throughout. It began like a long cold drink on a hot day: refreshing and soothing. It continued like a mug of steaming tea: comforting and snuggly. It traversed the paths of a wet washcloth on a hot forehead, a shared laugh over a glass of iced tea, a moment together over the baptismal font. Kelly’s depth of insight and the reach of her wisdom went right to my heart, in each and every chapter. The book examines eight women from the New Testament, and they may not all be the ones you expect. Mary Magdalene, Mary the Mother of Jesus, Martha and Mary of Bethany: no surprise there. But a shepherd girl who was there on Christmas night? That caught me…and captured my imagination. Kelly has a way of doing that throughout this book, and it’s a beautiful experience.

Clueless in Galilee: A Fresh Take on the Gospels, by Mac Barron. You’ll laugh, yes. (A lot, if you’re like me.) But you’ll also look differently at those Gospel stories that may be so old hat that you don’t even hear them anymore. I love Barron’s approach to “riffing” on the Gospels, and I also appreciate his innate ability to challenge readers to go beyond.

One Beautiful Dream: The Rollicking Tale of Family Chaos, Personal Passions, and Saying Yes to Them Both, by Jennifer Fulwiler. I’ve been following Fulwiler for quite a while, and I’ve enjoyed watching her hard work pay off in success. I read this in a can’t-put-it-down kind of way and laughed so hard, at times, that I was crying. She has a self-deprecating way of writing and sharing her life that makes her approachable. This book also challenges readers to think beyond their constraints — it’s equal parts memoir, humor, guide, and good story.

The Fisherman’s Tomb: The True Story of the Vatican’s Secret Search, by John O’Neill.This reads like an adventure in many ways, and yet it’s true. O’Neill has a way of turning the dry facts into interesting tidbits, and the pictures don’t hurt either. This is a book you can whip through and then find yourself saying, “Wait, what just happened? Was that real?”

I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life, by Anne Bogel.I’ve become a late-to-the-game Anne Bogel fangirl. I listened to this, but I think I’ll be getting a hard copy because…truth. She speaks to me and inspires me with her reading.

How Catholic Art Saved the Church: The Triumph of Beauty and Truth in Counter-Reformation Art, by Elizabeth Lev. This book was such a gift to read. I didn’t mean to start reading it, to be honest. I was just leafing through it, looking at it and admiring the pictures. I glanced over the table of contents and the introduction caught my eye. I’ll read just about anything, but this was GOOD. Elizabeth Lev is a master storyteller: She had me flipping to examine pictures, smiling at what I read, and thoroughly enjoying every aspect of this book. Of course, at least part of that was because of the beautiful job Sophia Institute Press did with the actual book: thick, glossy paper and four-color, magazine-quality images. Truly, this is a book that’s an aesthetic delight on many levels.

Lovely: How I Learned to Embrace the Body God Gave Me, by Amanda Martinez Beck. I read this book for the first time this year (it’s a new release, so I couldn’t have read it sooner), and then I reread it. I think, in fact, I’ll be reading it a third time in 2019 with a group of friends. Beck starts strong and finishes stronger. I think every woman probably needs to read and reread this book.

What nonfiction did you read last year? What did you love (or hate)?

Books Domestic Church Ink Slingers Reading Reviews Sarah Reinhard

Best of My 2018 Reading: Fiction Edition with Sarah Reinhard


While I drink enough coffee to drown a fat pony, I also read enough books to weigh that same pony down. Well, it was a lot for me, and a respectable 100+. When Martina heard that I had written about my favorite reads of 2018, she invited me to share it here. Never one to be outdone in ideas, I offered to do one for fiction and one for nonfiction.

So, let’s dive into my favorite fiction reads from 2018, shall we?

East of Eden, by John Steinbeck. This was a massive novel I intended to read years ago. I started by listening to it, and tried to supplement my listening with reading (because I have the book). I just couldn’t limit my enjoyment of it to the times when I could hear it. The story was huge and long and wonderful in all the ways I love.

Endless Water, Starless Sky, by Rosamund Hodge. This is the sequel to Bright Smoke, Cold Fire. I’m not classically trained, but Hodge is. I know, at some level, that I miss a huge amount of her brilliance because of my own ignorance. And yet, I am hopelessly a fan of hers. Of the books she’s written, I think these two may be my favorites. I’d call this the best writing I read all year, judged on actual writing and on storytelling and on enjoyment level.

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1), by Neal Shusterman. I heard this referenced as someone’s favorite book, and that’s sometimes all it takes for me to run after a book. I read and loved Shusterman’s so it stands to reason that I may like his other books. I just…hadn’t gotten around to them. Though this is first in a series, it stands alone. Once again, Shusterman has taken an old trope of a question and carved it into a mind exercise of a book. There’s a plot, but there’s also the exploration of ethics and the great what-if. AI meets immortality meets scandal meets human nature. This is a book not just to read, but to discuss and ponder.

The Eighth Arrow: Odysseus in the Underworld, a Novel, by Augustine Wetta, O.S.B.This book made me want to actually attempt Homer and some other classics. (I’ve read Dante, so I got those references.) And yet, the book made sense without any of that and only a rudimentary knowledge of what I knew were deeper references. The adventure was great, peppered with humor. I couldn’t put it down, and I found myself thinking of it in the times I wasn’t reading, which is, to me, always a sign of a great book.

Death Comes for the Archbishop, by Willa Cather. I listened to this and found myself wanting to hold it and actually read the words. Cather paints an image of the Southwest that I could see as I listened.

A Dog’s Purpose, by W. Bruce Cameron. My teen daughter handed this to me, and I’ll be honest: I was going to quit if it didn’t pick up or something. Cameron has his own style, that’s for sure, and the premise behind the book didn’t make sense to me until I was about a third of the way through. And then…hooked. The storytelling is fabulous, and you’ll never look at a dog the same way again.

The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis. This is one of my all-time favorite books. It seems like I’ve read it about even 18 months or so since the first time I read it. Every time I pick it up, I find some passage that was right there for me. The premise: A devil writes letters to his nephew, filled with advice and tips for tempting more effectively. Turn your expectations upside down and prepare to be wowed by Lewis’s wonderful writing.

The Cricket on the Hearth, by Charles Dickens. Another all-time favorite book, and one that inspired my handle for many years. This year, it also inspired me to read some other Dickens. It’s a family story, in many ways, and a glimpse at life many years ago. I never saw the movie (which I heard was horrible), but Dot Peerybingle remains a favorite character of mine.

Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery. I listened to this via CraftLit and was then inspired to listen to the rest of the eight-book series. And then, because I couldn’t get enough, I listened to Before Green Gables and Marilla of Green Gables. My girls have both turned their noses up at Anne, but I think I’ll be revisiting her quite often.

What fiction did you read last year? What did you love (or hate)?


Faith Formation Ink Slingers Lent Liturgical Year Maurisa Prayer Resources

The Ultimate 2018 Lenten Book List for Families


I love the idea of having a family Lenten practice.  For several years, we have chosen to spend 30 minutes of each day reading spiritual works.  As we are a large and busy family of various ages and reading abilities, it works best for our family to have individual materials to read during our 30-minute devotion.  I spend several weeks prior to Ash Wednesday searching for just the right books for each member of our family.  I’ve seen some wonderful fruits from this Lenten practice: we all relish the half hour of quiet in a typically noisy home; I’ve noticed many of my children will pick up spiritual reading on their own outside of Lent, and even my most reluctant readers are reading and enjoying it.

As our Lenten library has grown, I wanted to share age-appropriate titles which our family has enjoyed. Many selections are strictly spiritual books; some are historical; others are historical fiction, and still, others are fictional works which impart a Christian message appropriate for Lent. Hopefully, every type of reader will find something that will inspire them to grow in holiness.

Preschool to Early Elementary

For our preschool and early elementary children, I spend 15 to 30 minutes reading out loud to them depending on their attention span and then I set aside 30 minutes later in the day to do my own reading. Our youngest, who is now seven, has absolutely loved The Catholic Treasure Box Sets edited by the Maryknoll Sisters.  We return each year to this series of 20 sweetly illustrated books originally published in the 1950s.

Other titles he has enjoyed are:

Take It to the Queen by Josephine Nobisso and illustrated by Katalin Szegedi

The Weight of a Mass by Josephine Nobisso and illustrated by Katalin Szegedi

Francis Woke Up Early by Josephine Nobisso and illustrated by Maureen Hyde

Saint George and the Dragon retold by Margaret Hodges and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman

The Holy Twins: Benedict and Scholastica by Kathleen Norris and illustrated by Tomie dePaola

Christopher the Holy Giant by Tomie dePaola

Patrick Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie dePaola

Mary, Mother of Jesus by Tomie dePaola

Francis the Poor Man of Assisi by Tomie dePaola

The Miracles of Jesus by Tomie dePaola

Roses in the Snow: A Tale of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary by Dessi Jackson and illustrated by Lydia Grace Kadar-Kallen

Elementary Independent Readers

Last year we discovered Arnold Ytreeide’s Lenten offering Amon’s Adventure: A Family Story for Easter.  I read a chapter every other day to our 6 and 10-year-olds. They were absolutely riveted by the historical fictional account of a Hebrew boy living in Jerusalem in the days leading up to the crucifixion of our Lord.  This book is rather intense and may not be appropriate for more sensitive children.

Other choices for this age group are:

Saints for Girls from Aquinas Kids

Saints for Boys from Aquinas Kids

Encounter the Saints series from Pauline Books and Media (There are 36 books in this series)

Vision Books of the Saints by various authors

The Children’s Illustrated Bible from DK (or any good children’s bible)

Middle School/Junior High

Our daughter in this age group is our most reluctant reader and she absolutely devoured the Prove It! series by Amy Welborn.  There are 5 books in the series which ask and answer the tough questions many young people ask about God, Jesus, the Church, prayer, other religions, etc. Here is a link to Amy’s bookstore webpage.

Other books recommended for this group are:

Prove It! Catholic Teen Bible by Amy Welborn

The Many Faces of Virtue by Donald DeMarco

The Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux by Therese of Lisieux and Mother Agnes of God (this is a free pdf version)

Mornings with Saint Therese: 120 Readings compiled by Patricia Treece

Pure Faith: A Prayer Book for Teens by Jason Evert

Lenten Journal: The Pascal Mystery of Christ by Sister John Dominic Rasmussen, O.P. from Education in Virtue

High School

I called upon our 18-year-old daughter to assist me with this category. Her current favorite is The Philosophy of Tolkien by Peter Kreeft.  This is a wonderful read for fans of Middle Earth and all things Tolkien.

Other titles are:

Surprised by Truth by Patrick Madrid

Surprised by Truth 2 by Patrick Madrid

Surprised by Truth 3 by Patrick Madrid

The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic by Matthew Kelly (free copy)

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

Letters to a Young Catholic by George Weigel

Blessed are the Bored in Spirit by Mark Hart

Edmund Campion: A Life by Evelyn Waugh

7 Men: And the Secret to their Greatness by Eric Metaxas

7 Women: And the Secret to their Greatness by Eric Metaxas

The Bible (of course!)


Last year I read Timothy Cardinal Dolan’s Called to be Holy and I was inspired. I truly could not stop talking about it.  Short, succinct chapters encourage the reader to answer God’s universal call to holiness and give detailed and yet simple instructions for growing in holiness each day.

Other titles for adults include:

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Helena by Evelyn Waugh

Theophilos by Michael D. O’Brien

The Examen Prayer: Ignatian Wisdom for Our Lives Today by Fr. Timothy Gallagher, O.M.V.

Discerning the Will of God: An Ignatian Guide for Accompanying Discernment of God’s Will by Fr. Timothy Gallagher, O.M.V.

Stages on the Road by Sigrid Undset

Edmund Campion: A Life by Evelyn Waugh

7 Men: And the Secret to their Greatness by Eric Metaxas

7 Women: And the Secret to their Greatness by Eric Metaxas

Fulfillment of All Desire by Ralph Martin

Catholic Matters: Confusion, Controversy, and the Splendor of Truth by Fr. John Richard Neuhaus

The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth by Scott Hahn

Strangers in a Strange Land by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput

The Bible

Dear Catholic Sistas, what would you add to this list? What are you reading this Lent?