Thursday, January 22, 2015

Review: The Grace of Yes

About the Book:
Catholic new-media personality and bestselling author Lisa M. Hendey is fueled by a lifelong passion for her faith. In The Grace of Yes, she guides readers through pivotal moments of her journey and the eight virtues that have helped her—and will help readers—learn how to say yes to God. 

Beloved Catholic blogger Lisa Hendey explores eight spiritual virtues that she believes are foundational to the Christian life. In opening windows to pivotal moments of her own spiritual journey, she helps readers learn about belief, generativity, creativity, integrity, humility, vulnerability, saying no, and starting over, and shows how these virtues lead to generous living and the ability to joyously say yes to God. Hendey reflects candidly on real-life struggles: the identity adjustment of leaving a blossoming career to become a stay-at-home mom; the temptation of Divahood as her online celebrity grew; the freedom and opportunities of empty-nest status versus the middle-aged body’s pull to slow down; her encounters with spiritual community during treatment for cancer; and the contrast between the profound lingering grief she confronted at a Rwandan genocide memorial and the astounding willingness of survivors there to forgive. Readers encounter Hendey’s own struggles and successes while soaking up her characteristic warmth and good advice. Hendey provides questions for personal reflection and a prayer to close the exploration of each virtue.

My Comments:
This is a great treadmill book.  Wait, that's a good thing.  I despise the treadmill, but with my schedule, it is about the only exercise I can reliably say I'll do--no place to go (except my garage), no schedule to keep (and the fact that it is paid for helps).  Nevertheless, walking to nowhere is boring, so I read while I walk.  Yes, it slows me down, but I figure that I'm better off with a slow 30-60 minute walk than a somewhat faster 5-10 minute walk.  However, I've found that treadmill books need to grab my attention and keep it.  They can't be hard to read or require large doses of concentration.  Tonight I was on the treadmill for over an hour reading The Grace of Yes: Eight Virtues for Generous Living.

Many readers of Catholic blogs will recognize the name of the author, Lisa Hendey, as the publisher of the Catholic Mom mega-site.  If  you aren't familiar with Catholic Mom, go take a look (after you finish here--you'll be there for hours.  The book sounds like Lisa is sitting across the table chatting with her readers.  She writes in the first person and she comes across  as real.  While she tells us her usual morning prayer routine, she is human enough to admit that sometimes she doesn't pray like she should.  Her house isn't always clean and she struggles with maintaining humility while trying to promote a book or her other endeavours.  

The chapter I liked best was on the grace of vulnerability.  In it, she talks about the not so pleasant aspects of aging.  She's my age and, like me, has noticed that things don't work as well as they once did.  Like me, she wonders if she is selling out by bowing to societal pressure not to have gray hair.  In that chapter Hendey also discusses the Hippocratic oath her physician husband took and how we ought to take it "First, do no harm" to heart.  She encourages readers to make sure relatives, even those not close to them, have what they need, to care for those in their parish and neighborhood and to take care of their own bodies--to not abuse drugs, alcohol or food.  As someone struggling with way too much weight, that hit home.  

Each chapter ends with reflection questions that would be great for journaling, or, with a group you are close to, for discussion.  Finally, there is a prayer asking for God's grace.

I'd like to thank fellow book blogger Pete Socks for his Mega-Advent Giveaway in which I won this book. (check out his blog; he always has giveaways)  I was not obligated to read it or write about it and if you've read my blog for very long, you know I don't say nice things about books I don't like.  Grade:  A.  


  1. This is one that someone in book club was suggesting.. now I know to vote 'yes"

  2. Anonymous2:57 PM

    It's a wonderful book...

  3. Of all the serious issues and feelings in this review, I reacted mostly to the "gray hair" question that you and the author have and had to laugh at myself for my vain thoughts. I wrote a post about hair color once and I'm sure that I said that I thought it was one of mankind's greatest inventions. lol
    Seriously, a woman who can write a book that expresses her deep emotions and in the process, share them with other women who can relate... I commend her.
    Happy New Year!


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