Monday, August 22, 2016

FREE: 365 Day Catholic Devotional

When Kevin Vost, Peggy Bowes and Shane Kapler got together to compose a Catholic devotional, the market was already flooded! But these three Catholics are known for their unique blend of Catholic health and wellness for mind AND body; soul AND spirit.
As a guest on EWTN's Journey Home, Peggy Bowes had one of the most watched episodes. Likewise, Vost has shared his story on air and in print. Kapler, whose knowledge in the Jewish faith as the foundation of the Catholic faith, brought a unique perspective as well.
Thus, Tending the Temple was born. A popular Catholic devotional, Tending the Temple really covers it all in succinct daily entries that offer something for mind, body, soul and spirit.
For a limited time, Tending the Temple is free on Amazon. Take advantage and enjoy!
And may God bless you with health of mind, body, soul and spirit.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Best Catholic Books You Haven't Read...Or Colored!

Lots of adults are returning to their childhood roots and have taken up coloring. It is soothing, it is even healing. Stations of the Cross: An Adult Coloring Book brings it all together: beautiful renderings by Fr. KyNam are accompanied by Scripture and prayers written by Kathryn Mulerink OCDS.
Speaking of healing...Dr. Helen Scieszka's mission is healing. The hurts she heals aren't the ones we see--or often even know exist. They are the emotional wounds that haunt us. The wounds that we push deep down and do our best to ignore. Yet, despite our best efforts, they really do affect us on a daily basis. Like a broken leg left untended, our emotional wounds cause us to limp through life.
But that doesn't have to be the case and Dr. Helen has gathered up her experience in her practice and put pen to paper to offer a trilogy that, deep within the pages, offers hope and healing to all of us.
The Little Girl Lost, Little Girl Found trilogy is meant to be a piece of the slow, gentle, loving healing that so many of us need.
Or maybe you are an Alpha male looking for ways to reclaim your masculinity within the Catholic faith. The two aren't mutually exclusive and Jared Zimmerer's Man Up! shows us that in his critically acclaimed book which has been featured on EWTN.
For more excellent Catholic books from devotionals to award-winning fiction, visit

Thursday, April 7, 2016

God's Recklessness

There are a lot of words we use to describe God and his mercy.
God is generous and kind. His mercy is endless, boundless and limitless.

We use words like faithful, agape and constant when we think of his love.
One word that has never, ever come to my mind (and maybe not yours either) when I think of God is "reckless."
So Fr. B. had my attention this past Sunday--Divine Mercy Sunday--when he spoke of God as being reckless. I mean he really had my attention. I tend to love homilies as they sort of wash over me and refresh my spirit, but this one had me on the edge of my seat.
God is reckless in his mercy?
Yep, that's what Fr. B. said: God is reckless in his mercy.
I absolutely loved where Fr. went with this idea of God's recklessness. It made sense to me. It captured my imagination as I thought of my great God being so reckless in his mercy that he gives it to me unabashedly, recklessly. After all, I can do anything with it. I can accept it. I can reject it. I can toy with it, even.
God's reckless mercy.
I like it. He's not thinking about the consequences of his actions when he showers me with mercy. He hasn't wait until I'm well-prepared to receive his mercy. There are no strings attached. Just willy-nilly, God offers me mercy. Undeserved, unearned.
It occurs to me rather quickly that God asks me to be reckless too. Reckless in offering love and kindness and mercy and forgiveness.
Today maybe God is asking us all to be a little reckless!

Man Up! on EWTN this week

Man Up! Becoming The New Catholic Renaissance Man received honorable mention in the 2015 Catholic Press Awards for Gender Issues and speaks well to the dilemma facing men in general today. The ideas of heroism, virtuous living, and recognizing and honoring what masculinity truly is are central to Jared's work.
Jared himself has wide appeal as both a man of intellect and a man of physical strength. He builds his body as well as his spirit and in that way walks the talk quite well. Contributors to Man Up! include Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, Kevin Lowry, Kevin Vost and other great voices for our times. The foreword is offered by Fr. Dwight Longenecker.
The Women of Grace episodes are available to watch online if you aren't able to catch them on EWTN.


Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Rosary Workout

An inspiring, eye-opening interview with Peggy Bowes, author of The Rosary Workout, on Catholic health and wellness. 

(What would you say is the most important benefit to exercise? The “Catholic” answer may surprise you!)

 1.      Give us a bit of background about yourself and your experience in the world of health and wellness.

First and foremost, I define myself as a devout Catholic wife and mother. My primary goal in life is to get to heaven and to help as many people as I can to do the same.
My career as a health and wellness specialist began while I was in the Air Force. I proudly served my country as an instructor pilot, but I became pregnant with my son and was no longer able to fly. I was reassigned to the Health and Wellness Center due to my experience as an aerobics instructor and personal trainer, and I truly enjoyed counseling Air Force members and their families and inspiring them to live a healthier lifestyle. I was blessed to be able to separate from the Air Force to stay home with my children. When they started school, I established a business administering metabolic and athletic performance (VO2) testing, with an emphasis on weight loss counseling and exercise program design.

I was inspired to combine my passion for exercise with my devotion to the Rosary by creating a unique exercise program called The Rosary Workout.Through this book and my other writings, I hope to lead more people to heaven and to help them enjoy a healthy lifestyle so as to best carry out their earthly vocations.

2.      Explain your own philosophy and approach to health and wellness.

I believe that the best way to live a healthy lifestyle is to incorporate healthy habits, one at a time, until they become second nature. Too often people make the mistake of trying to make dramatic changes and then become discouraged when they fail to meet unrealistic expectations. Instead, focus on creating one new habit every month or so. Here are a few ideas: If you don’t exercise, start with just 10 minutes, twice a week. Do you drink a lot of soda? Substitute water as often as possible. Are you trying to eat more fruits and vegetables? Make it a goal to add one more serving each day. If you’re always tired, set a timer to ensure you get to bed 15 minutes early each night. By making small changes, one at a time, you will set yourself up for success in the long run.

3.      What would you say is the most important aspect of health and wellness?

Definitely commitment.I have counseled so many people who want to live a healthier lifestyle but expect it to happen magically, without any effort on their part. You have to first decide that you are ready to make these changes, then you must set specific goals, create a plan to meet them, and take action. If you state your goal as “I want to get in shape and lose weight,” then you have not quantified your expectations, and it will be difficult to meet them. A better goal would be “I want to lose 10 pounds in 8 weeks by exercising 3 days a week for 20 minutes and keeping a journal to track my daily food intake.” This type of goal sets you up to succeed because you have a time frame, a concrete goal, and tools to meet it.

4.      What do you see as the most significant benefit of exercise?

It’s hard to choose just one benefit! Exercise is the closest thing we have to a “magic pill.” It builds and m healthy muscles, bones, and joints. It decreases anxiety and depression and improves psychological well-being. Regular exercise enhances work, recreation, and sport performance and improves the quality of sleep. It reduces triglyceride levels (fat in the blood) and increases HDL levels (good cholesterol). Exercise is powerful preventative medicine. It reduces the risks of and helps prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes to name a few.

That said, I think that the most significant benefit of exercise is that it helps a person to best carry out his or her vocation, whether it be wife and mother, priest or religious, business executive or custodian. If you take the time and effort to exercise, you will be rewarded with more energy and enthusiasm to meet the demands of your daily life.

5.      In your experience, what are some of the hurdles that people face when approaching their health and exercise pursuits?

I think the biggest complaint that I hear is not having enough time to exercise. Yet most people take time to watch TV, check Facebook, surf the web, shop and engage in other pursuits that could easily be limited or avoided, at least occasionally. Exercise does not have to be a long, drawn out process. Anyone can put on a comfortable pair of shoes and walk for 10-15 minutes without having to purchase special equipment, drive to a gym, or arrange for child care. If you have children, take them with you! Certainly most people can find 10-15 minutes for exercise just 3-4 days a week. Keep a journal of how you spend your time for a week, and I bet you will be able to find several places where you can convert unproductive time into time for exercise.

The same time crunch problem prevents most people from eating a healthy diet. It seems easier to grab a pizza or go through the drive-through, but those types of foods actually sap energy and contribute to weight gain. Instead, use some down time to research recipes that are easy to put together and use ingredients you can keep on hand. I call these recipes my “911 dinners” because they are simple and usually involve just a can opener or frozen vegetables, enabling me to cook a healthy meal in the same time it would take to wait for a pizza. Also, a crock pot or slow cooker and a few good recipes can ensure that you come home to a healthy meal at the end of a busy day. I find time on the weekend to plan a week’s worth of meals and shop for the ingredients. This ends up saving me time in the long run, and my family can look forward to spending our evenings eating a healthy meal and connecting at the end of a busy day.

6.      What have been some of your own obstacles in your personal goals towards health and wellness?

Oh, I do get lazy now and then and decide I’d rather sit on the couch and eat ice cream than go for a run. I definitely have a sweet tooth! I fall into the same traps as everyone else when it comes to finding time to exercise and eat healthy foods. What gets me back on track is that I truly miss exercising and find that my body just doesn’t feel right when I skip my workouts. My muscles ache, my energy level drops, and I don’t sleep as well. This motivates me to make the effort to fit exercise back in my schedule.

My husband and I joke about having a “veggie low light” that comes on when we have been indulging too much in unhealthy food choices. Even my children will complain if we’re on vacation and have been eating out too much. They once asked me, “Can we just go home so you can make some oatmeal and stir fry with lots of vegetables?” A lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle certainly involves a few detours, but you will find that you truly miss the benefits of your efforts and will take the time to re-establish your healthy habits.

7.      What have been some of your biggest personal achievements in your own exercise program?

I admit that I’m proud of my participation in triathlons, adventure races, circus performances, etc., as well as my sense of adventure in trying new sports and activities.Yet I receive the most satisfaction from the fact that my teenage son and daughter both exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet and understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle. I am glad that my husband and I took the time and effort to educate our children and to provide positive role models for healthy living.

8.      What sort of dreams do you have for the Catholic health and wellness arena?

I am really excited that more Catholics are writing about the combination of prayer and exercise. Dr. Kevin Vost is a dear friend and author of a great book on combining virtue and weight training called Fit For Eternal Life. In fact, Dr. Vost and I, along with Shane Kapler, wrote a unique devotional combining saint biographies and daily exercises to grow “fit in faith” in a book called Tending the Temple. Another informative book on this topic is Ten Commandments of Lifting Weights by Jared Zimmer.

I would love to see retreats and seminars focused on helping Catholics care for their “Temples of the Holy Spirit” through regular exercise in a way that emphasizes that our bodies are gifts from God that require an effort on our part to maintain. Taking time to care for the body God gave you is not selfish or vain unless taken to an extreme. Unfortunately, many Catholics avoid exercise because of the way it is sexualized and promoted in the media. Additionally, some Catholics seek out New Age exercises like yoga and Tai Chi, which focus on self and emptying the mind. My dream is for Catholics to learn to use the rhythm of exercise to help fill their minds with Truth by meditating on the Gospels. We can then be better equipped to carry out our vocations on earth with fit and healthy bodies.

9.      If there was one piece of advice you would give, what would it be?

Don’t be so hard on yourself! I have seen many otherwise confident and self-assured adults break down in tears over their perceived failures in maintaining an exercise routine or healthy diet. Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they say. Instead, focus on your success and keep a journal to discover what helps you to stay on track as well as what takes you off course. Don’t forget to harness the power of prayer. There are a number of athletic saints to serve as patrons and intercessors such as St. Gianna, St. Teresa of the Andes, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, and Pope Blessed John Paul II. Ask them to help and inspire you.

10. How can you be contacted for speaking events and presentations on Catholic health and wellness?

I can also be contacted through my email, I always enjoy meeting new people and inspiring others to share my passion for combining fitness and faith. The Rosary Workout is available in Kindle and in Paperback and really can be used as a personal exercise program or one to do with a few friends!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Women's Study with all the Pieces

Looking for a woman's study for your small (or large) group but not sure where to start?

What I've learned over the years of conducting bible and women's studies has been gathered into the women's study Wrapped Up: God's Ten Gifts for Women. 

Whether you are new to women's studies or well-versed, you will enjoy the Servant Books publication of Wrapped Up: God's Ten Gifts for Women. It has all the pieces that make it an ideal choice.

There is the book itself which explores the ten gifts God gives every woman. These include such things as living a sacramental life, forgiveness and accepting God's love. Other important gifts that women are encouraged to explore include the gift of self and sisters in faith. Each chapter is explored from an Old Testament perspective and a New Testament perspective. (The book is also available on Kindle.)

The accompanying journal gives general instructions on running a study (small or large) and encourages every woman to explore the gifts in-depth.

What makes this a particularly enjoyable study is that there is also an audio component where you can hear each author (Teresa Tomeo and myself) read her chapter. A nice way to use this is play the audio for the group and then let the Spirit move the conversation that surely follows.

As August winds into September and you or your friends begin looking for the perfect woman's study, I am sure you will find Wrapped Up: God's Ten Gifts for Women to be the perfect answer.

God bless you on your journey.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Time Travelling Priest Now On Kindle And Nook!

The Father Capranica Mysteries: Stories of the Strange and Supernatural by Fr. Mike Driscoll is now available on Kindle and Nook. Driscoll's fiction book is an excellent accompaniment to his non-fiction book Demons, Deliverance and Discernment.