Breathe, Mama, Breathe: 5-Minute Mindfulness for Busy Moms
by Shonda Moralis, 2017
I always think it’s best to be prepared, so as the school year begins I’m recommending a book all care-givers can use: Breathe, Mama, Breathe: 5-Minute Mindfulness for Busy Moms.
Here you can learn how to remain calm and focused during your turn at the weekly carpool (intentionally drop your tense shoulders and take three deep breaths), or when you’re tempted to perfect your middle-schooler’s science project (missteps help kids develop confidence. Ask yourself, “Am I prepping my child to launch?”). Moralis shares her tips wisely and with humor, gently guiding readers to recognize stressful situations before they lead to meltdowns (“yours”) and reminding them that a few minutes of “me time” can lift a whole day. And the more you do it, the easier it’s done -- “dramatically enriching the quality of our lives with small, deliberate adjustments in our behavior.”
Moralis breaks out the parts of a typical day and offers practical ways to incorporate mindfulness into each task. As you shower, for example, take a moment to appreciate the warm water on your skin, and to appreciate the body that carries you through each day. Each section includes a “Mindful Break” with tips for centering your thoughts, focusing, and living into the moment. For example, When you’re at your child’s games or performances, “bring awareness to your breath...Step back and gain perspective.”
One thing I loved: The book is peppered throughout with quotations on parenting and mindfulness from spiritual leaders and public figures. These meme-worthy nuggets are takeaways of affirmation, humor, and truth (“Meditation is not about fixing something that is broken. It’s about discovering that nothing is broken”). Moralis’s book also includes “Mindfulog,” where readers can record favorite mindfulness practices, and a bibliography for further study.
The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe
by Fr. Richard Rohr, 2019
For some readers, Richard Rohr’s latest book reveals something that they have known all along: “...my soul seemed to recognize (or somehow remember?) the words on these pages. Like I had known it all long ago but have somehow forgotten and was now being pointed back to what I always knew - what I always was. I have always had serious anxiety - since I was a very small child. All I can say is when I read this book I did not feel afraid” (Amazon reader review).
Rohr’s Universal Christ articulates a transformative view of Jesus Christ as a portrait of God’s constant, unfolding work in the world. “God loves things by becoming them,” he writes, and Jesus’s life was meant to declare that humanity has never been separate from God - except by its own choice. When we recover this fundamental truth, faith becomes less about proving Jesus was God, and more about learning to recognize the Creator’s presence all around us, and in everyone we meet. Drawing on scripture, history, and spiritual practice, Fr. Richard invites “Christian readers to bring together their thinking about Jesus (the historical person) and Christ (the savior) in order to recognize God in the world around them" (Publisher’s Weekly).
When we recover this fundamental truth, faith becomes less about proving Jesus was God, and more about learning to recognize the Creator’s presence all around us, and in everyone we meet. Thought- provoking, practical, and full of deep hope and vision, The Universal Christ is an invitation to contemplate how God liberates and loves all that is (Amazon.com).
Jennifer deSimas is the Director of the John P. Webster Library at First Church, West Hartford. You can search their catalogue online.