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Husband: As I snoop in on your google calendar to gain and maintain situational awareness…

(Yes, this is an exact quote.  He really does talk/write like that. Army thing.)

Me:  Please “snoop”.  I do the calendar for my sanity and for your info as well.  I am just happy that you can access it at work.  Now you have no excuse!

PS: I put all my clandestine appointments in another calendar which you do not have access to.  You see those huge swaths of time with nothing in them?  You should be suspicious.  Notice how I always seem to keep 9 pm to 6 am totally free?  Hmm….

Husband:   I know you are sleeping with another man every night.  Of course, he’s 3 months old.

A Book and a Prayer

Yesterday, I introduced Sarah Reinhard to those of you who may not know her.  Sarah’s newest book is A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy: Walking with Mary from Conception to Baptism.  What a lovely book!

If you are pregnant for the first or second time, this book won’t be the only book you will want.  It’s not going to tell you all the details about your baby’s development or answer all the questions you may have about prenatal testing or exercising during pregnancy.  Some of these details are in there – enough in fact that if you are pregnant for the fourth or fifth time, this might be the only book you need.

What Sarah has done is given a weekly reflection for the expectant woman.  First, she gives just a bit of information about you and your baby: what you may be experiencing and the baby’s stage of development.  Then she presents one of the mysteries of the rosary and relates that to the pregnancy journey.  She suggests a concrete act that the reader can do to prepare spiritually for her baby.  She includes a relevant Scriptural passage and concludes with a prayer.  I can not think of a better way to count the weeks to your due date.

But that’s not all!  Those reflections are the bulk of the book, but she then has a section on Labor and Birth and a final section on Baptism.

Why was this book not around 15 years ago?  Or even one year ago?  Without reservation, I believe that any pregnant Catholic woman would love this book, whether it be the first or the tenth baby.

And just as Sarah’s book uses the mysteries of the rosary as a framework, Sarah is doing a blog book tour asking everybody to pray one of the mysteries of the rosary as they go along.  I’m the tenth stop, and the tenth mystery: The Institution of the Eucharist.  Before we get to that, there are some prizes to be had.

I received an extra copy of A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy, so leave a comment below for a chance to win it for you or for someone you know.  If you answer any of the questions that I asked Sarah in my interview (for example: where would you go on a dream vacation), I will enter your name twice (no, I will not enter your name for any additional questions you answer, so pick your favorite one).  I’ll pick a name on or around noon on Sunday, October 21st, so leave your comments until that time.

If you go to Sarah’s website, she has links to all the stops on her blog tour, and many of those bloggers are giving away copies of her book as well (many chances to win!!).

And Ava Maria Press is giving away a Nook.  You can enter to win once a day through the end of the book tour.  Very cool.

OK, enough of my prattle.  Time to pray:

To celebrate the launch of her new book, A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy: Walking with Mary from Conception to Baptism, Sarah Reinhard invites all of us to spend her blog book tour praying the rosary together. Today, she shares this reflection on the Institution of the Eucharist:

When Jesus instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper, he began by doing what might have been the grossest act of service in his day: he washed the disciples’ feet. During the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper in our parish, our priest washes people’s feet. Since our parish is small, it’s open to whoever is willing to go to the front.

I’ve found, over the years, an interesting correlation. Kids are often enthusiastic about this and will be the first in line. Adults are less so, though some of them will participate.

In my own experience, I find it brings me to tears to have my priest wash my foot (which isn’t nearly as stinky or gross as the disciples’ feet were) and then kiss it. There’s something tender and moving and, most of all, humbling about it. When I’ve talked to our priest about washing feet, he has said that it’s probably his favorite act. He says it gives him a chance to say thank-you in a very personal way for the people who will allow him to wash their feet. He considers it to be a gift to him.

Performing gross tasks, things that people can’t believe we would do for someone else, can be a blessing for them but also for us. It’s a two-way street of blessing, and when we avoid either end of the equation, we lose—or keep someone else from losing—the blessing that’s waiting for us.

When can I say yes to someone else’s offer? How can I embrace the service for me and return it in a way that will make me a channel for God’s grace? In an act as simple—and as disgusting—as washing feet, Jesus inspires each of us to give until it hurts.

As we pray this decade of the rosary, let’s hold all those brave women who have said yes to difficult and challenging motherhood in our intentions in a special way. Don’t forget, too, that we are praying for an increase in all respect life intentions as part of our rosary together this month. (If you’re not familiar with how to pray the rosary, you can find great resources at Rosary Army.)

Our Father . . . 

10 – Hail Mary . . .

Glory Be . . . 

O My Jesus . . . 

You can find a complete listing of the tour stops over at Snoring Scholar. Be sure to enter to win a Nook (and any number of other goodies) each day of the tour over at Ave Maria Press.

Meet Sarah Reinhard

Do you know Sarah Reinhard, the Snoring Scholar, who (used to) live on a farm in Ohio?

For years, I would tell my husband about her using this full moniker: Sarah (the Snoring Scholar who lives on a farm in Ohio) wrote this or Sarah (the Snoring Scholar who lives on a farm in Ohio) wrote that or Sarah (the Snoring Scholar who lives on a farm in Ohio) doesn’t mind if we stop by on our move out to Kansas to meet her in person, can we? can we? can we?

We did.  That was back in 2007.  Eons ago in the blogging world.

Anyway.  Sarah (the Snoring Scholar who lives… you know) started writing books.  I’ve reviewed some of them, and I would link to those reviews except the search button on my blog isn’t working for reasons that can only be ascribed to Murphy or Satan (perhaps later, I will add those links).  I’ll be reviewing another book tomorrow, which is only a few hours from now, so you may be reading them back to back.  But I thought I would introduce you to her first, just in case you haven’t had the pleasure.

She doesn’t live on a farm in Ohio anymore.  She moved far far away…or maybe just across the street. 

I sent Sarah some interview questions.  I’m not sure if they reveal more about her in her answers or me in my questions.  I had thought I’d put them all together neat like in paragraph form…riiiiight.  I had my Oktoberfest party this weekend, and I do have that newborn time drain.  So, I’m submitting her answers as given.  I’m leaving my questions in their random sequence as I gave them to her.  She actually neatened them up and probably corrected my grammar and spelling mistakes, since I was pecking them out on the Kindle while nursing the baby.

Enjoy them while I type up her book review.  Oh, there are freebies involved: a Nook to win, plus a copy of her book.  So be sure to check out that post.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I have given up trying to answer that. I seem to inspire only laughter in the Future Me when I do…  That said, I think there might be some writing involved… 🙂

In heaven, which saint would you most like to have as a neighbor and why?
I’d say Mama Mary. First, she’s probably already hanging out with everyone I want to meet. Second, because I have a whole line of conversation I want to have with her, and I imagine it will take all of eternity to exhaust my questions. (Yeah, as if I’m going to remember them when we’re in heaven, face-to-face with God in his glory. But let’s play along, shall we?)

Do you miss the old farm house?
The idea of it, yes. The reality of it, NO. NOT AT ALL. In fact, after over a year, I’m still walking around marveling at the wonders of insulation and central heating (and air conditioning).

Do you use the dishwasher at the new house?

Other than reading, if you suddenly found an hour of free time at your home, alone, what would you do?   
Sleep. After I caught up with all my Scramble with Friends games, that is.

What if you had 3 hours?
Sleep longer. And then sneak away to break the rules and read. 🙂

What is your favorite prayer?
The Hail Mary.

Where would you go on a dream vacation?
As long as my husband was with me, it wouldn’t matter. We’ve talked about Hawaii and I have a whole list of Marian sites I want to visit internationally (including Guadalupe, Lourdes, Fatima, and about 20 others), and of course there’s Rome. But, really, if I had him with me, the “where” wouldn’t matter.

By what name or nickname does your husband call you?

If you were going to be shot by a firing squad, would you want the blindfold? The cigarette?  
I don’t know, honestly. I have thought about it for a few days since you sent these questions and I am sending my answers and…it’s beyond my realm of reasoning.

What would your last meal be?
Pizza. And ice cream. And coffee.

Are you into the zombie or vampire slayer genres?  I tried to read the take off on Jane Eyre but just couldn’t get into it.
I don’t consider myself “into” them, but I have enjoyed a number of zombie books lately. They have been by Karina Fabian, mostly, and things Julie Davis from Happy Catholic has recommended. What I find is that when the zombie genre is merely the vehicle for delivering a message I enjoy in a way that’s delightful (however morbidly), then I’m okay with it. Good writing is good writing, most of the time, anyway.

Favorite junk reading/guilty pleasure?

Novels. Though I feel no guilt. 🙂

Which mystery of the rosary is your favorite and why? 
The Annunciation. When I signed up long ago to be part of an ongoing rosary, where every person agrees to pray one decade a day, I was assigned the Annunciation. I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on it, examining it from all sorts of angles. The lessons in Mary’s Yes are too many for me to ever fully “get,” so it’s something I’m always reflecting upon and trying to live more fully.

Which name for Mary is your favorite and why?
Our Lady of Guadalupe. She’s pregnant and I’ve always had a “thing” for pregnant women. She spoke so tenderly to Juan Diego, and he spoke to her in a diminutive form that indicated his own love for her. It’s like when Jesus calls God “Abba,” which means “Daddy.” Calling Mary “Mommy” seems accurate in Our Lady of Guadalupe. And she’s pretty. She’s my homegirl and the Mary I turn to more than anything.

That said, I have about 10 other Marian names and nicknames and titles I love dearly. More than anything, though, I call her Mama Mary.