A Life Such as Heaven Intended

A Life Such as Heaven Intended by Amanda Lauer on Amazon

Against the sprawling backdrop of the Civil War, Southern belle Brigid McGinnis comes of age. When she happens upon a wounded Confederate soldier on her father’s estate, she faces a huge dilemma: how do you hide a man in a house full of servants and family? To make matters worse, the soldier, Dominic, has lost his memory.

As she nurses him back to health, Dominic falls for the young fraulein. Tragic events in their past bring them both together in a time of massive uncertainty. Both must go on in the war, as duty and honor work to separate them. Brigid wrestles with a crumbling society and values that are questioned. Is her father truly a slave owner? What are the mysterious sounds from the root cellar at night?

Dominic’s past haunts him, and his present is confused with his slowly returning memory. As Sherman prepares to attack Atlanta, Dominic must negotiate with Catholic priests, dodge old enemies, and survive in battle. Will he ever find Brigid again? Meanwhile, Brigid must tread among slaves, nuns, and bounty hunters. Their lives depend on their shared faith in God and surrender to Him is the only way to get through their turmoil. From Georgia to Arkansas, to the plains of East Texas, this story will sweep you right along with it.  Book Two in Amanda Lauer’s Heaven Intended series is just as exciting as the first one, and you may need a tissue or two before the dramatic ending.

Love and Care for the Marginalized: 40 Meditations, Spiritual Outreach Reflections for Catholics by Anne DeSantis

Love and Care for the Marginalized by Anne DeSantis on Amazon

Have you ever found yourself wondering how to reach out to hurting people? Are you overwhelmed with caring for family, friends, and neighbors? This wonderful little book by Anne DeSantis, M.A. Theology and the director of the St. Raymond Nonnatus Foundation will lift your spirits and give you tangible things to do for those in need.

We have all experienced moments of isolation and loneliness during the last two years. What better way to begin to open our hearts again than with a short reading, action, and prayer each day for 40 days? Now is the time to reconnect with each other, ignore differences, and work to heal our damaged world. DeSantis gives us ideas for how to give our time, talent, and treasure to others, while filling our own cup with daily prayer and inspiration.

In as little as a minute per day, we can read these reflections and spread peace and mercy to our own corner of the world. DeSantis recommends that we work on virtue, pray for people who have hurt us, live in the moment, and be present and aware of other’s needs. As we help others, we will also help ourselves love more fully. Our Catholic faith is full of beauty and opportunity; use it to help the ostracized and hurting.

In clear, heartfelt language DeSantis gives us a way forward through the emerging mental health crisis in our world.    

A New Auntie’s Fear

A New Auntie’s Fear by Angela Lano on Amazon

Beautiful, simple, and heartfelt are words that come to mind with this book. Written and illustrated by a woman with cerebral palsy, it is a window into the suffering, joy, and goals that are part and parcel of life with a special need. Lano wrote this book as a letter to her newborn niece, and it is a beautiful gift that celebrates each and every life on this planet.

Everyone needs someone to sit and listen to their hopes and fears. This new auntie has plans to teach her niece a few things, like crocheting and playing the piano. But the biggest thing she wants to teach this precious little girl is that Jesus loves us all.

The illustrations are bright and cheerful, but simple enough for a very young child, or a person with special needs, such as eyesight difficulties to enjoy. Angela Lano gives herself and others permission to talk about the fear of surgery, and of being different. This children’s book would make a lovely gift for ages 3 to 8, especially for daughters who have a special-needs aunt.

You can find Angela Lano’s work at auntieswriting.wordpress.com.