The cover image (see above) of this blog post, pretty much sums up how I felt reading, Maria Morera Johnson's new book, My Badass Book of Saints. There were many reasons for such jubilation - the amazing courageous women she introduced me to, the profound spiritual lessons I took away from not only the women she featured but her own incredible story weaved into the pages as well. Selfishly what fired me up most about My Badass Book of Saints was the writing instruction and encouragement.
That's great for you Allison but how on earth (if you are not inspiring to complete your first novel) will this review help me decided if to get my own copy or not? Good point - let me address that before moving on.
Maria highlights so many different fantabulous, inspiring women -- you are bound to find one that connects with where you are right now or where you want to be. Missionaries, peacemakers, reformers - saints and should be saints - each woman bravely followed God's nudge in their heart to be the best of who He created them to be and all for His Glory. The gifts and convictions placed deep within their hearts - motivated and moved them to accomplish tasks that often left me aghast and awed.
As I read I was often reminded of my favorite quote from St Catherine of Siena, "Be WHO God created you to be and you will set the world ablaze." How do you want to light a fire in this world-- I guarantee there is a woman's story told in My Badass Book of Saints (Ave Maria Press), that will give you the same reaction pretty similar as those 2 little guys on the computer above!
The dream for me has always been to write. When I first began imagining this lofty ambition - the goal was the next Judy Blume. That thought matured into images of being the female "cigarette smoking, bull-fighting, gun toting, brilliant prose creating" version of Ernest Hemingway. In 2005, that all changed when I was invited to a bible study and fell madly in love with Christ. As I read nonfiction book after book bringing me deeper into relationship with Him, it was clear what dream* God had for me - and where I was called to write!! *To be clear God's desire for my life is to be with him in Heaven forever - if I wanted to use my gifts to write about Him - as my Spiritual Director says, He'll support you in that as long as you continue to remained focus on the primary goal.
Thing is - writing about God-stuff is easy on a blog. This is a conversation between you and I - and as I've come to discover, my style is basically "write it as I would say it". This doesn't necessarily translate into book form - and my last few months with all the additional trials and tribulations has been one of great discouragement and doubt. Enter God's PERFECT timing -- and My Badass Book of Saints queuing up in the A Seeking Heart with Allison Gingras radio show line up. The climax of my near defeat coming just as I reached chapter 7, in which Maria shares her writing struggles and her admiration for Flannery O'Connor's writing discipline - my heart nearly exploded with renewed hope. See the crazy thing about reading books is you never know WHAT you will take from it - as I have noticed in this year of hosting a radio show about BOOKS - the lessons we gleam are not always those intended by the author. Maybe it is my approach to reading - bringing the Holy Spirit along as I do when reading scripture?
Tomorrow I will continue this discussion with the actual encouragement in writing lessons I learned from Maria Morera Johnson ... in the meantime, may I suggest listening to these episodes of A Seeking Heart where I discuss spiritual insights fromMy Badass Book of Saints ... and (will be posted soon) my interview with the author herself, Maria Johnson!
My Badass Book of Saints featured on A Seeking Heart with Allison Gingras on Breadbox Media ...