THE HANDBOOK FOR
By Lisa M. Hendey
Ave Maria Press, 2010
256 pages, $15.95
To order: avemariapress.com
(800) 282-1865, ext. 1
It almost sounds too good to be true. What Catholic mother wouldn’t want to get her hands on a comprehensive guide that will nurture her heart, mind, body and soul? Is there such a book?
The Handbook for Catholic Moms promises to be just that.
The author, Lisa M. Hendey, admits that most of her training was “on the job.” But, isn’t that where most mothers are qualified, right there in the trenches? She also explains that she may have felt a bit inadequate to write a book designed to give advice on motherhood. Yet, Hendey, who many of us know as the founder of CatholicMom.com and the podcaster of “Catholic Moments,” has come through with an all-embracing look at motherhood and everything it entails — as well as all she feels a mother’s life should entail.
Brimming with practical and friendly advice, Hendey paints each facet of a mother’s life with vibrant brushstrokes over a very visible backdrop of faith.
This mother’s “instruction” manual consists of four parts: heart, mind, body and soul. Hendey covers such topics as family dynamics, faith, prioritizing prayer, cultivating creativity for your mind, fitness, good health, personal productivity, time management, finances, single parenting, lifetime learning and saintly inspiration.
We learn about Hendey herself in “My Story,” which begins each chapter and draws the reader into a relaxed “conversation.” Sidebars by noted authors and experts enhance the motivating chapters, and insight from other mothers, quotes from Church documents, the Catechism, the saints and Web resources are sprinkled throughout.
The overarching theme: how to weave faith through every aspect of mothering and of being a woman. In Chapter Twelve, “Cultivating Creativity,” Hendey tells us that moms may be focusing exclusively on the talents that enable them to serve their families and forget about their other talents. She encourages mothers to get creative and perhaps discover a new talent. She offers practical ways to squeeze some wholesome fundamentals into our jam-packed lives.
“These days, as full as my life is, I block off time every Wednesday morning for one of my favorite hobbies, knitting. The truth is, I’m not a great knitter and I’m very slow. As I write this, I have been working for the past 14 months on one pair of socks. My fellow knitters bear with me patiently as I join them weekly for friendship and bonding around a common love of yarn.
I rarely knit outside of that particular Wednesday morning time period, but look forward each week to the challenge of completing a project on my own and spending time in fellowship with wonderful friends.
When my friend and knitting teacher Cindy taught me to love her favorite hobby, she gifted me not only with a skill, but more importantly with another facet of myself I had never known before.”
This book has something valuable to offer every Catholic mother.
Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle is the author of The Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers.