Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

One for the Mamas

Just in time for Mother's Day - Annalisa Boyd has put together a beautiful collection of devotional thoughts, prayers, and saints' stories, for you Mamas, in her newest book The Ascetic Lives of Mothers. [Update:  I'm giving away THREE copies - leave a comment to enter! Winners announced 4/3/14] 5/3/14 - Giveaway now over.  Winners: Sophia, Chris, and Adriel.  Congratulations!

 Annalisa opens the first chapter with this reflection:

"I heard it said once that motherhood is a type of asceticism.  Like the ascetics, mothers find themselves in a situation that requires their utter devotion, self-denial, daily emotional exercises, facing extreme challenges, and much prayer."

A Quick Note About the Title:
What is asceticism?  The word comes from the Greek word for "training" or "exercising"; but pursuing an "ascetic lifestyle" is not just for monks and nuns!  As Orthodox Christians, the purpose of disciplining our minds and bodies through prayer, reading of Scripture, and fasting is to help us draw closer to God and bring us back into communion with Him.

The fruit of asceticism is something all Mothers strive for, in themselves and their children: the fruit of the Holy Spirit... But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. [Galatians 5:22-23]

What You Will Find in this Practical Book:
After a discussion in Chapter I of the Virtues - or "good spiritual habits" - taught by the Church, Annalisa moves on to a frank look at despair in Chapter III, "Tea Time at the Abyss: Prayers in Times of Trouble".  She offers Scripture verses and prayers about everything from anger, anxiety, and difficult pregnancy to envy,  financial strain, and infertility.

I especially appreciated Chapter VII, "Prayers Through the Stages of Motherhood" (it included prayers for Grandmothers),  and Chapter VIII, "Prayers for Godchildren and 'Bonus' Children" (with lots of good tips regarding the responsibilities of Godparents.)  She includes an honest look at Stepmothers and "bonus" children, asking: "Did you ever think of the fact that the Theotokos was a stepmother?"

This prayer book would make a perfect Mother's Day gift for Mothers, Stepmothers, adoptive or foster Mothers, Grandmothers, and Godmothers.  These Mamas would all benefit from the Orthodox treasures found in this wonderful new offering from Ancient Faith Publishing - here.

Annalisa Boyd knows motherhood!  Married for 21 years, she and her husband have 8 children (through birth and adoption) and have fostered 31 (so far.)


  1. This book sounds really interesting and encouraging. Thanks for sharing your review.

  2. This book sounds wonderful! I cannot wait to read it!

  3. Looks awesome. I'd love to give this to my mom or mother-in-law as a witness to Holy Orthodoxy for Mother's Day.

  4. Sounds like it will be a great encouragement to all of us. I would love a chance to read a copy.

  5. A devotional for Orthodox women is sorely needed especially in my library, or more appropriately at my bedside.
    Thank you!

  6. Thanks- I had not heard of this book and REALLY hope I win the give-a-way!!!!!
    Us Moms really need encouragement. Especially us with difficult hubbys.

  7. Catherine JackinskyWednesday, April 30, 2014

    I would be thankful to be able to read encouraging words.

  8. I need a book like this at this point in my life. ... I'm orthodox and have been homeschooling for 8 years with 3 children. I have waivered in my ascetic practices at times and am ready to try harder again as I see how quickly my children are growing and changing. Thank you!

  9. This book sounds like just what I need!

  10. Thank you for reviewing this book for us. It sounds wonderful.

  11. Christ Is Risen! Indeed He Is Risen!

    I need all the inspiration I can get and would love, love, love to read this book!


  12. Quinault Squatting-BearThursday, May 01, 2014

    When I received the email announcing the release of this book, it immediately was added to my wish list. Growing up as a Charismatic Protestant, prayer was always something off the cuff. If prayers were formal, they lacked "spirit" and were "dead."

    We converted to Orthodoxy just over 6 years ago. I have found a lot of comfort in the formal structure of the prayers in prayerbooks. In many ways, the prayer books don't really touch upon the specific struggles of motherhood. I would love to win this book so I can check out this book sooner rather than later.

  13. Kgshaw@hotmail.comThursday, May 01, 2014

    I can't wait to read this book!

  14. Christ is risen! In these times of so much media and hype about women, careers, and what's important in life, there is nothing more important than being a mother, godmother, and my most recent promotion to grandmother. Looking forward to the chance to read this book. Thanks.

  15. Lord have mercy on Mothers! I would love to have this book,but if I won I would definitely give it to my mother! Thank you Mom!