Books for brides

I’m a big fan of lists and of books.

It’s wedding season (we have a wedding every Saturday for the next four weeks!).

So: here’s a list of books for wedding gifts, discernment, married couples, and more! The links provided will take you straight to Amazon where you can buy the book (and a little goes back to help me as well, so thank you!).

Whether you’re single, getting married, or already married, these books have insights into what it means to be a woman and a wife.

1. The Privilege of Being a Woman

by Alice von Hildebrand

This book was such a beautiful discovery. Dietrich and Alice von Hildebrand were an amazing couple not only because of their beautiful marriage, but because of the writings and teachings of both regarding marriage. Dietrich and Alice von Hildebrand helped draw attention to the roles of men and women and of marriage in the modern world. This book, is wonderful for any woman, married or not, in discovering our feminine beauty and gifts.

(Order it right now: The Privilege of Being a Woman!)

A couple kneels in prayer before Our Lord and asking for the intercession of the Holy Family.

A couple kneels in prayer before Our Lord, asking for the intercession of the Holy Family as they begin their family.

2. Three to Get Married 

by Fulton J Sheen (click on the link above to order this wonderful book as a gift or for yourself!)

This book helped me as I discerned my vocation and call to marriage, even before beginning a relationship. Archbishop Fulton Sheen writes about the beauty of a God-centered marriage and the role of married couples as an earthly image of the Heavenly Love of the Trinity! What a gift to live this vocation!

3. Married Love As a Way to Holiness (On Monday Evenings: Speaking to Families)

by Fr. Joseph Kentenich

Fr. Kentenich founded the Marian Movement called Schoenstatt (which means Beautiful Place). The movement began 100 years ago in 1914 when a group of young men made a Covenant of Love with the Blessed Mother in a little chapel in Germany. Since then, this Covenant of Love with Our Lady as spread across the world. Fr. Kentenich lived in Milwaukee, WI for 14 years. It was there that he gave weekly talks to married couples at a German speaking parish. These talks are compiled in this book and are still so practical and inspiring today. I especially appreciate that he tells us not to try to live a monastic life, or to feel stressed when we don’t have the regular prayer hours of nuns and monks–our spirituality, and our way to sainthood, lies in a different path.

4. By Love Refined: Letters to a Young Bride

by Alice von Hildebrand

As I said, the von Hildebrand’s have wonderful insights into married life! This book would make a perfect gift to a newlywed. Alice von Hildebrand writes each letter to “Dear Julie” and gives such practical insights into every day married life as one adjusts to living with one’s spouse. She discusses the outside friendships of the husband and wife, the ins and outs of living with differing personalities and moods, and other practical things only discovered when you settle in to the rest of your life with another person.

5. Cana is Forever: Counsels for Before and After Marriage — A Catholic Guide to Dating, Courtship, and Marriage

by Charles Hugo Doyle

From what I can tell, this book has been used in the past as a marriage counsel and preparation booklet. While some of the advice for dating is, well, dated, the principals and ideas certainly hold true regardless of time and place. I can’t remember how I came across this book originally other than that I was always on the look out for guides as I discerned my vocation and courtship.

6. Man, Woman, and the Meaning of Love: God’s Plan for Love, Marriage, Intimacy, and the Family

by Dietrich von Hildebrand

Yep, I told ya! The von Hildebrands are indispensable when talking about books on marriage! The Hunter and I read this together (reading quietly over each other’s shoulders) during our Adoration visits when we were first courting. The ideas are reassuring and revitalizing when preparing for or living the married life. With our modern over-sexed culture, realize the true purpose and beauty of intimacy within marriage is a wonderful thing (that is: unity of the couple and procreation–both important, not just one or the other, they cannot be divorced!).

7. One in Mind in Heart in Affection

by William Richard Clark

This is another old book that I came across in my discernment process. It is short, but practical. Once again, the theme is the love and mutual self-giving that is necessary in marriage–and the things that one evaluates about the other when courting and preparing for marriage.

8. Love Letters to My Husband

by St. Gianna Beretta Molla

What a wonderful saint is St. Gianna, or as her daughter calls her, “Saint-Mommy.” Yes, a mother, a wife, a doctor, and a dedicated Catholic laywoman, she is an example of heroic faith in our modern day. St. Gianna died in 1962, leaving her husband and four young children with her example of faith and love. These letters are genuine, human, and shining forth with not only her simple and whole hearted love for her husband, but also with her love for God.

9. Saint Gianna Molla: Wife, Mother, Doctor

by Pietro Molla

This book is by St. Gianna’s faithful husband (surely he is in Heaven now with his wife as well!). His testimony is another wonderful example of the love that was present in their marriage. As a side note, I have met two of their children, and they, especially the youngest daughter, Gianna Emanuela, radiate faith and love as lived and passed down to them by their beautiful parents.

10. Man & Woman: A Divine Invention

by Alice von Hildebrand

Ah yes, you guessed it. Another book by one of the von Hildebrands. In this book, Alice von Hildebrand breaks down and delves into more of her husband’s philosophies on marriage.

11. Marriage: The Mystery of Faithful Love

by Dietrich von Hildebrand

You get the idea. The von Hildebrands are a endless resource for advice, inspiration, and hope for your marriage and marriage in our modern day. Read something by the von Hildebrands starting today!

BONUS BOOK don’t forget the husbands and grooms!

While many of the books above are great for couples, I’ve written about them as how they inspired my journey to marriage and my role as a wife today.  Here’s a book that I’ve given in the past to grooms:

The Dietrich von Hildebrand LifeGuide

This book is a compilation by topic of quotes by Dietrich von Hildebrand  applying to many aspects of life. Just at a glance or a search for a topic, you’ll find advice and food for thought! It’s short and a great guide for even the non-readers we know.

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Ways I should save money

We do alright as far as money spending (or not spending) goes. We don’t have any debt aside from the mortgage, and we make do on an income a bit on the lower end.

Here’s some ways I could do better:

1. Thrift stores
Why am I not shopping at thrift stores more? I wear my clothes until they almost wear out, and then I go shopping at a full price retail store. I can only afford a couple new outfits at that rate, and so I spend a lot and only come away with a little.

2. Fewer technological gadgets
As I type this on my iPhone, I realize I could save quite a bit if I’d just go back to a basic phone and perhaps not pay for internet. Every library and coffee shop has free wifi now, so I couldn’t certainly save in that way. (I probably won’t give up my iPhone and Internet, but I know it would be good…)

3. Sell a car
We already drive cars older than my 13 year old sister, but why pay for gas, registration, and insurance on two when we could just rearrange our errand running and work with one car? This is something we’re going to try.

4. Don’t care
Yep, just don’t care what other people think. We don’t have fancy new things, new clothes, or new cars, but we live like kings in our little (810 sq. ft.) house with the dogs and Pumpkin. We’re happy, and we only need each other.

(Image via

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Ordination weekend as a mother

Many of our friends were ordained to the diaconate or the priesthood this weekend. We attended a holy hour one night, a 2-hour diaconate ordination the next night, a 2.5 hour priestly ordination the following morning, and today, we’re driving an hour to the first Mass of one of our newly-ordained friends.

Here are some reflections from this marathon weekend:

1. Vocations all mean faithfulness and chastity.
This would be my only deep thought from the weekend. During the Holy Hour for the ordinandi, I realize that the modern world is in shock that young, virile men make a lifelong vow of celibacy. But in the same way, faithful married couples are also flying in the face of our modern culture. Whatever our vocation, we are all called to the same level of commitment to God, to faithfulness, and to chastity.

2. Toddler’s have short attention spans
Oh yeah, what a deep reflection… I may have known this, but having Pumpkin at every event this weekend has made me realize that my quiet prayer time in church might be on hold for a few years.

3. Distractions in church
I constantly tried to shush or keep Pumpkin still–I was worried what a distraction she was to those around us. Probably, I was the only one totally distracted. Others, laity and priests, only had good things to say about her presence there.

4. Praying with the toddler
In the end, I realize, even though I don’t have quiet prayer time during Mass (and what beautiful, prayerful Masses they were!), this is how I am called to pray. Teaching my little one to pray.

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Deacons ordained this weekend.

Deacons ordained this weekend.

Properly caring and feeding my husband: 4 years later

When we got married, a couple with about 25 years head start on us gave us a couple books that they thought every married couple should have. One was by Dave Ramsey on financial freedom, and the other, geared toward the wife, was The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands
(click the link to order it now!).

photo credit: Rosmary, via flickr

photo credit: Rosmary, via flickr


I read the book that fall when The Hunter would be busy with work or school (or hunting), and now, almost four years later, there are things from Dr. Laura’s book that I remember and try to apply in my interactions with my husband. The book is an enjoyable read, full of anecdotes from Dr. Laura’s years of radio shows, call-ins, and letters. It also is not for all marriages (it does not apply to abusive marriages), but for many of us women, raised in today’s world of selfishness and materialism, it is a reminder of how we can be grateful for the love of a good man.

So, here are a few tips thanks to The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands

1. He’s at work because he loves you. Yep, it’s not like he wants to be at work all day and into the night. He would rather be with you and the kids and the dogs. So, when you complain that he’s gone all the time, how can he respond? He’s at work to provide for you, because he loves you, but when you’re sad, he wants to be home and help you! What a quandary.

I do miss my husband when he’s at work, and when he’s at the office late, I let him know that I’m tired and need him home… But thanks to Dr. Laura, I remember to add a “thank you,” and let him know that I know he’s being faithful to work because he’s our provider.

2. He won’t always do chores right. By reading Dr. Laura’s book, I heard stories about men who wanted to help with chores at home (dishes, laundry, etc.), but who’s wives would be upset because they weren’t done right. Those men in the stories would then give up and go back to watching tv since they couldn’t make their wives happy by helping.

Not to say I don’t get frustrated when the cupboard doors are left hanging open, dishes incorrectly placed, or counters dirty, but at least I have the reminder tucked in my head that tells me to thank The Hunter for his help (and ask him if, next time, he could please close the cupboard doors when finished–four years later, he’s getting better!).

Those might not be all that I took away from Dr. Laura’s book, but they are daily a part of my marriage, and I think they help my attitude and happiness as well as his!

Order your copy of the book today! The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands

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The Dogs: 10 ways dogs are great for our family (and yours!)

1. Immunity building:

Yep, that’s right. E and Z do track hair and dirt into my house every day, but this constant stream of germs means our immune systems are being strengthened constantly!

You can read about how dogs help strengthen your immune system at webMD.


2. Exercise:

I always thought having a dog would help get me up and off the couch needing to take them out for exercise. While this may be true in a few cases, it’s been somewhat less of a factor than I anticipated–except when I’m chasing the fence-jumper, Z.


3. Protection:

Even though my dogs are just over 50 pounds, and sweet as can be, they have ferocious barks when they feel threatened by a stranger or when they hear something they don’t think is right. Even at night when The Hunter is gone, I never feel alone.


4. “Fur-therapy”

Just having a warm, furry body (or two) curl up next to you as you relax in the evening can be totally therapeutic!


5. Laughter:

When you see a dog sleeping upside down or halfway falling off a piece of furniture–you can’t help but laugh; or a dog dreaming–running and barking in their sleep; or when they roll on their back trying to itch a spot. They can brighten your day without even trying.


"I love you" said with doggy eyes.

“I love you” said with doggy eyes.

6. Heart-warming:

These dogs steal your heart when they come nose up against you when they sense that you are sad or hurt.

7. Vacuums:

Well, other than the need to pick up dog hair, the vacuum at our house has been made practically obsolete by the dogs. Even when our Pumpkin (our dear, brown-eyed, 20-month old daughter) dumps all her food on the floor, there’s no need for anyone but E and Z to do clean-up.


8. Hunting:

I couldn’t appreciate these black lab/coonhound mutts fully without commenting on their instinct for hunting and how beneficial that will be to The Hunter in the fall with his duck hunting!


9. Patience:

They give a lesson in patience as they allow a 25 pound child to sit on them, kiss them, pull their ears, and more.


10. Love

Besides the love The Hunter and I feel for our dogs, the love of Pumpkin for them and their love of her is beyond telling. They were two years old when Pumpkin was born, and they welcomed that tiny bundle as if she were their own. They followed her around and made sure that we were taking proper care of her. Now that she’s a toddler, they allow her to hug, kiss, sit on, and dress them up. Their relationship with her will be one that she will always treasure.

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Spirituality as a mother

If your heart yearns for that quiet place within, but you never can find it because of nursing your babies, chasing toddlers, cooking, cleaning, and once in awhile getting to relax–here’s a few ideas of how to regain or find that interior peace that I’ve recently found helpful:


Young Woman Praying Beside Baby's Cradle

1. Find a spiritual director: this might seem daunting, but this person can not only give you suggestions, but keep you honest and motivated! Perhaps it’ll be a priest that you know well, or one that you’ve heard good things of from others. Perhaps you’ll find a lay person to whom you can turn for experience and advice. Whoever it is, get started and make regular appointments with them.

2. Read this book: Opening to God: A Guide to Prayer
(this link will take you straight to Amazon to buy it!)

This book is short and easy to understand–but still profound and compelling. With years of experience as a spiritual director, Fr. Green writes this book as a beginner’s guide to prayer which he defines as “a personal encounter with God in love.” With analogies and real life experience, it makes growing in prayer understandable and desirable. (Go ahead and click through my link above – which helps me! Or, support a local business and buy it at Gloria Deo.)

3. Daily Mass: no, not every day just yet, but if there’s a day or two a week when you could make it to a daily Mass, fit that half-hour in and you’ll get an infinite Gift in return. Some parishes offer evening Masses now, that’s been easier for me than getting up earlier in the morning!

4. Adoration: start with just 10-15 minutes once or twice a week. Do some spiritual reading, journal, read scripture, pray the Office, rosary, chaplet, or just bring your thoughts to Him.

5. Journal: for me, this is the best way to collect my thoughts and pray through whatever is on my heart. I simply address the journal entry to Our Lord or the Blessed Mother, and I write my thoughts, and they seem to come together and be answered.

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9 Reasons for starting THIS blog

1. Avoid:

Avoiding an idle mind and idle hands! Why not blog instead of turning on the tv? This may be productive!

(Image from by Keemo Nolen)
2. Interests:
What better way to sum up my interests? I love writing, and with a blog, I can write about any and all of my other interests. Which will include parenting, marriage, pets, music, homeschooling/unschooling, gardening, hunting, reading, and the Catholic Faith.
3. Sharing:
Maybe not wisdom, but at least my thoughts and experiences may resonate with someone else out there!
4. Challenge:
This writing will challenge me to come up with something at least partially coherent on a regular basis!
5. Life:
There’s so much to share and record about the way we live, what we enjoy, and our goals.
6. Love:
Blessed with the love of God and a loving family, why not share these blessings?
7. Learning:
Living and loving always includes learning! This provides a way to share and remember what we learn.
8. Family:
Perhaps other families will be able to relate to my family which consists of: MrsF3, MrF3, known as The Hunter, a daughter (Pumpkin), and the dogs (E and Z).
9. Honesty:
Last, but by no means least, the main impetus that finally got me to start a blog was this article:
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