I was so excited when I received my review copy of Style, Sex, and Substance. I had heard great things about it and couldn't wait to begin reading. I was not disappointed. And really, how could I have been? I'm a big fan of most of the contributing authors and read their blogs as soon as they are updated.
I really looked forward to reading Jennifer Fulwiler's chapter. Entitled "How I Fell Out of my Minivan and Found Myself" I could relate to her in so many ways. Now, I haven't recently tried to climb out of my van's window, but I have been known to do many other equally embarrassing things. The way she uses this instance to begin to weave together what being an authentic Catholic woman is all about, is brilliant.
Reading Karen Edmisten's chapter titled "God and Godiva" is like speaking with a more spiritually mature woman of prayer during our day to day lives as wives and mothers. Besides the gentle nudges towards actual prayer, and "showing up even if we can't be a great conversationalist with God," she includes this little tidbit under the heading "Feed Somebody":
My friend Kathy prays every times she cooks and bakes -- she asks God to bless the food and those who will eat it. This is a much holier attitude than mine, which is generally, "Jesus told me to pick up my cross and follow him, so, fine, I'll cook dinner!" Healing and food, feedings and love, the mundane and the sublime go hand in hand. So if you can't seem to pray, make somebody some pancakes.
My sentiments exactly.
Elizabeth's Duffy's chapter on Sex, Passion, and Purity is a must read. While I can't relate to the dating and engagement portion of the chapter anymore, the rest of the chapter (including things like "The Pleasure Principle") is filled with insight and good advice.
My favorite chapter by far was Danielle Bean's chapter on marriage titled "We Said Yes". I have long been a fan of Danielle Bean and was introduced to her blog by a good friend years ago. The best thing about her writing is that she is not one to make herself out to seem perfect. In fact she starts her chapter out this way:
I can't write the marriage chapter. I have no business writing the marriage chapter. My husband and I are just coming off a twenty-four-hour stint of avoiding eye contact and communicating through the children because...well, I kind of forget why.
Anyone, after being married for longer than two weeks, realizes that marriage is not some fantasy land happy smiling thing all the time. In fact there are times where it rarely is that way. The trick to a fulfilling long lasting marriage is being able to get past the unpleasantness that is living in the same house with someone else all the time, and get into the astounding joy that is being in communion with another person, giving of yourself day after day just because you love them and that is what you are called to do. It is this honesty, and the ability to see the bigger picture that makes it Danielle Bean's business to write a chapter on marriage.
Overall, I can honestly say Style, Sex, and Substance is one of those books that will be turned to again and again for encouragement and advice.