Think about those times in your life when you have felt inspired to something really great. Where does that inspiration come from?
The Holy Spirit. God inspires us to do great things with our lives.
----Matthew Kelly

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Disclaimer: I am not a theologian, just a Catholic empty-nester trying to figure it all out. The views on this blog are my own.

May Reads: Books Read During the Month of May

Picture of wildflowers with an open book behind them; Yellow Text: May Books
May is always a busy month for me. The end of the school year is "crunch time". My word of the year is "READ" (chosen for me by Jennifer Fulwiler's Word of the Year Generator), so during Lent, I began reading during my lunchtime. I continued it (for the most part) during the Easter Season. Here's a run-down of the books read in May:

📙 Hildegard of Bingen, Doctor of the Church: A Spiritual Reader  (Carmen Acevedo Butcher). I knew nothing of St. Hildegard until I listened to the Abiding Together Podcast series on Women Doctors of the Church. This book was recommended on the podcast and it did not disappoint. Included are excerpts from her songs, visions, plays, and letters.  It took me a while to read this; there was a lot of soul-stirring going on. I wanted to take my time and take it all in. Be aware: this book will leave you craving to learn more about our newest Doctor of the Church!
 My recommendation: 👍

📙 Learning to Love with the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir (Jean M. Heimann). I was a bit disappointed in this book since it wasn't what I was expecting. I expected it to be more of a "how Saints encouraged me through my life" instead of a story of a person's personal life. At the beginning of each chapter, there is a quote (most of them are from St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Pope John Paull II, and St. Terese of Avila); however, the author fails to connect these saints and the quotes with what was going on in her life. It wasn't until around the halfway mark of the book that I felt the book was going in the direction I was led to believe it was about. That's when she really pulled the Saints into her life and discussed how they helped her get through her difficulties. That's what I expected the book to be about after reading the descriptions.
I have a hard time getting over a published book with "print" errors, and there were two towards the front of the book. I was annoyed at the beginning of the book: I wasn't expecting a book that was a "look at me, look how wonderful my life is" kind of book. Even when she discusses her troubled marriage, I was annoyed. Personally, this just wasn't my kind of book. Information that was given toward the front of the book was repeated in chapters toward the end of the book. 
My recommendation: 👎

📙 Be Brave in the Scared: How I Learned to Trust God During the Most Difficult Days of My Life (Mary E. Lenaburg). For a more in-depth review, please read this post. If you're looking for a "REAL" book to read, this is it. Mary is a wife and mom to 2 children: Courtney is her special needs daughter. She hits on some tough experiences in her life and doesn't sugar-coat anything. I had a hard time putting this book down. Make sure you have the tissues ready!
My recommendation: 👍

📙 Broken + Blessed: An Invitation to My Generation (Fr. Josh Johnson). I first heard Fr. Josh on the same podcast that recommended the St. Hildegard book. He has his own podcast (Ask Fr. Josh)and is just incredibly humble and wise. This book was fantastic! Fr. Josh gave some very practical suggestions for anyone, regardless of age or stage of life, to use in order to increase their personal relationship with God. For a more in-depth review, read this post.

My recommendation: 👍

Now that school is out, I have more time to read. I hope to have more reviews (both monthly and individually) soon, so make sure you come back! If you have any suggestions for books to read, leave them in the comments.
picture of wildflowers with a book in the picture; Text: May books in yellow.

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