Book Giveaway!

bookMany of you know I am a co-host on Catholic Weekend. Probably many more of you don’t! So here’s a little introduction to it — last Saturday’s show.

We usually end the shows with our picks of the week — sometimes serious suggestions, sometimes not-so-serious. Sarah has a hilarious one this week. And mine?

A book giveaway!

Last week I reviewed my friend Margaret Rose Realy’s book, A Catholic Gardener’s Spiritual Almanac. This week I made it my pick of the week.

If you’d like to be entered in the book giveaway, which I’ll do live on the show this coming Saturday, leave me a comment here, or go over to the Catholic Weekend page and leave a comment there. I’ll send the winner a copy!

4 down, 21 to go: a review of A Catholic Gardener’s Spiritual Almanac

I just finished the fourth book in my ambitious plan to read 25 books this year (for pleasure — I have other reading to do, too). It gives me such joy to say I’ve read a book by a friend!

I first met Margaret Rose Realy through an email introduction from a mutual friend. We exchanged some conversations about writing, and a little bit about gardening, and here we are several years later, and I’m reviewing her latest book!

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I love this month by month guide that weaves scripture, church history and traditions, with gardening advice into an easy to read and easy to follow manual for growing a beautiful garden. And the garden isn’t the only thing growing, as I find myself reading closely so I can create a space in my yard that complements my faith!

I first read Margaret’s gardening advice in her first book, A Garden of Visible Prayer, and fell in love with the idea that working with my hands in a garden could bring me closer to Jesus and Mary by fostering the work of my hands into the work of my heart. The Almanac takes it to the next logical place for me — a yearlong companion on my faith journey.

One of the quotes in the book captures the unexpected result of my growing interest in gardening:

He who cultivates a garden and brings to perfection flowers and fruits, cultivates and advances at the same time his own nature. ~ Ezra Weston

This is a special work by a very special woman. You’ll want this book if you’re a master gardener, or just like to play in the dirt, like me.

Read more of Margaret’s insights at Morning Rose Prayer Gardens. You’ll be glad you did.

Otis, gardening, and the essential elements

The dog peed on John’s watermelon plant this morning.

The conversation that followed in the car on the way to Mass can best be described as hilariously combative. First, he was incensed at the dog. Second, it’s pretty bad form to go to Mass pissed off. About a plant. It was more resignation at the puppy’s antics than real annoyance. Until he decided to get ridiculous about adding a fence to the garden. Then I got annoyed.

Then, he pulled out a nuclear weapon.

The weapon? My friend Margaret Rose Realy.


Well, actually, her book. Somebody’s been secretly reading A Garden of Visible Prayer and using Margaret’s master gardening experience against me! The nerve!


We need to define the garden, he says. We need essential elements.

Seriously? I just want a nice, quiet, peaceful place.

Oh. Wait. He’s been creating that all this time.

Keep reading, dear.