The Power of Prayer: “Pray More Novenas” and John-Paul and Annie Deddens

07/22/2015 Comments (5)

In 2011, I joined a few thousand or so other people and signed up for a newish service that, I thought, might be handy.

The idea behind it was to get email reminders for novenas as you prayed them in a virtual community. It was pretty straightforward.

In the four years since, Pray More Novenas, run by husband-and-wife team John-Paul and Annie Deddens, has turned into one of the best prayer efforts I make. It also serves almost 200,000 people around the world.

Asked how this effort started, John-Paul Deddens shares:

“My wife and I had recently started dating and she asked me to pray the Immaculate Conception novena with her. Several of her friends at the Newman Center were planning to...READ MORE

Filed under john-paul deddens, novenas, prayer, technology

The Land of Stories: An Enchanting Series I'm Enjoying with My Daughter

07/18/2015 Comments (3)

This summer, my ten-year-old has reached a milestone: she's finally finishing books. Instead of starting one, and then another, and then another, until a pile of 20 is beside her bed and a different pile of 10 is scattered around the house, she's starting and finishing books.

Which means she's adding to my reading pile at an alarming (and delightful) rate.

When she first introduced me to The Land of Stories: A Wishing Spell, I thought it looked cute, maybe even good. The concept sounded good, but I have a streak of cynical that can't even be cured by great covers or New York Times bestseller status.

The premise of the first book: twins Alex and Connor are given a favorite old fairy tale...READ MORE

Filed under book review, middle grade fiction

Echo: An App to Help You Pray (No, Really)

07/15/2015 Comments (1)

On the one hand, I'm always eager to find ways to integrate my prayer life into everything, and technology that helps me do that gets my attention. 

On the other hand, I'm distracted enough by the many screens in my life. Can't my prayer life be hard copy? Do I really need another app? In the case of the the Echo prayer app, yes. Loudly, eagerly, emphatically, yes.

I discovered it thanks to a friend who referenced it offhandedly, as in, "You could use an app like Echo to help you keep track of your prayers." It was so casual, and not even hyperlinked, that were I not always, always, on the lookout for apps, I would have missed it. 

That was about a week ago. Has this app changed my life?...READ MORE

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Gathering Around the Table with the Catholic Foodie's New Book

07/11/2015 Comments (1)

Years ago, I heard a reference to a podcast that sounded like it would be interesting, if irrelevant to me. The friend recommending it, herself an avid cook, thought the idea of food meeting faith was both novel and applicable. I quite agreed.

I do not, however, really like to cook. And while I like to eat, I couldn't imagine that spending the time listening to a cook talking would be very interesting, however Catholic they may be.

I kept hearing about this Catholic Foodie guy, though, and he seemed pretty interesting. He seemed like someone I would like, even if *I* don't like to cook. Out of curiosity, I finally tuned in.

Now, close to six years since I listened to my first episode,...READ MORE

Filed under book review, catholic foodie, cookbook, jeff young

Fun Summer Reading: Specter, by John Desjarlais

07/08/2015 Comment

I discovered John Desjarlais' writing in 2009, when Bleeder landed in my reading pile. The sequel, Viper, was just as riveting, and Desjarlais' latest mystery, Specter, continues the suspense in the story.

You don't have to read the first two to enjoy Specter, though if you like nail-biters, you'll enjoy them. This book is as much mystery as it is an examination of the supernatural.

It begins simply enough: Selena De La Cruz and Reed Stubblefield are getting married. There's enough with that alone to fill a book: planning the nuptials is its own set of dramatic encounters, misunderstandings, and colorful dialogues.

After drying her hands, Selena kissed her godmother goodnight, saying...READ MORE

Filed under book review, fiction, john desjarlais, novels, summer reading

An Earful of Peace: Monks of Norcia and Their Benedicta Album

07/01/2015 Comments (9)

One of the great comforts in the weeks that followed my son's unexpected birth four weeks early was an album that arrived for me to review, Benedicta: Marian Chant from Norcia from the Monks of Norcia. In this album, I found a soundtrack for a peacefulness that I so needed then...and a peacefulness that I continue to need. I find myself able to let go of stress when I'm listening to the monks. It's as though I'm transported into a type of prayer I'm not able to achieve any other way, even if I just have it on in the background.

There are 33 tracks on the album, a mix of hymns, responsories, and antiphons. It's a Marian themed album, with tracks that I recognized, including Ave Maria...READ MORE

Filed under demontfort music, monks, monks of norcia, music

Cover Reveal of Will Wilder: The Relic of Perilous Falls, by Raymond Arroyo

06/25/2015 Comment

This just in: Lead anchor and host of EWTN's The World Over Raymond Arroyo announced earlier this year that Random House Kids will publish his first book for young readers, Will Wilder: The Relic of Perilous Falls. Now the book, due out in March 2016, has a cover.

Here's Arroyo teasing the book last February for his viewers on The World Over:

Promising to appeal to fans of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Peter Lerangis’s Seven Wonders series,  here official description of this epic adventure:

Will Wilder is a mischievous, headstrong twelve-year-old with an otherworldly gift—he alone can see the nefarious creatures encroaching on Perilous Falls. For nearly a century,...READ MORE

Filed under books, middle grade fiction, raymond arroyo

A Book for Every Catholic Home: The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning

06/24/2015 Comments (1)

“I don’t love NFP. I don’t think that it’s a magical cure-all that every couple must embrace in order to achieve full humanity. And I wish that I didn’t have to use it at all.”

With that, Simcha Fisher dives into a topic that, before now, was relegated to textbooks or back rooms, an air of mystery and eye rolling surrounding it. We have Fisher to thank for a book that breaks open the bedroom door and pulls back the curtain on Natural Family Planning.

But don’t say I didn’t warn you about the danger of snort laughing as you read it.

The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning is a collection of Fisher’s essays on the topic of Natural Family Planning. This is not a book for tips on...READ MORE

Filed under book review, books for dads, books for moms, natural family planning, nfp, simcha fisher

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About Sarah Reinhard

Sarah Reinhard
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Sarah Reinhard is a Catholic wife, mom, writer, parish worker and catechist, and coffee drinker. You’re just as likely to find her hiding out back with a book as you are to discover her playing in the yard with a few farm animals (or wait — are those her kids?) She is the author of many books, the most recent of which is Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary. She blogs at and writes online regularly at and Integrated Catholic Life. Reinhard holds a master’s degree in marketing and communications and has worked for many years in corporate and nonprofit organizations. She lives in central Ohio with her husband and children. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads.