Raising a Catholic family is a tough job. I’m always looking for good resources to help me live out my vocation more fully as a wife and mother. While recently visiting my friend Sarah Reinhard’s, she loaned me a copy of The Catholics Next Door – Adventures in Imperfect Living by Greg and Jennifer Willits and promised it was worth the read. (You can read Sarah’s review here)
She was right, I not only liked this book, I loved it! I poured through it in a few hours and am definitely going to read it again (this time with a notepad to jot down all the great ideas!!). Then I’m giving it to my husband. Its a very candid look at living your life as a Catholic family with all the struggles & joys it brings. Written in conversational style with Greg and Jennifer each taking turns discussing the issue at hand, they hit all the big topics of family life as they take your through their own journey. Both hilarious and serious, I found myself laughing over the story of the 15 year wedding anniversary spent on a city pass marathon – with all their kids in tow and then in tears as they discussed their miscarriages. Their journey covers NFP (with great entries titled “I Hate Waiting” and “Are You Serious?”), miscarriage. family prayer, resources for being a good spouse and parent, confession, the rosary, living a Eucharistic life, technology and more.
You may be familiar with Jennifer and Greg as the creators of Rosary Army Catholic podcast and “That Catholic Show” video series on the Catholic Channel. Admirably, married since 1995, Jennifer and Greg admit they are far from the experts. Rather, they write “This book is simply about realizing that we’re not the best Catholics that we could be but that we want to get there.” What a great goal. I would highly recommend this book to everyone, even if you are not a parent with a young family. Its well worth your time. If you’re still wondering if its for you, Greg writes in the introduction to the book:
“If you’ve ever struggles with your Catholicism, you’re not alone. This book is for you.
If you’ve ever doubted the Catholic Church, if just for a moment, or ever wondered where to get some solid and reasonable answers about the unexpected surprises in life, you’re not alone. This book is for you.
If you’ve ever simply pondered why your Catholic neighbors have so many kids and why they do the weird things they do, you’re not along. This book is for you.
If you have ever felt alone on your journey toward God or simply alone in this life, know that you are not alone. This book is for you.
And if you feel so in love with your faith that you could burst, you’re not alone. This book is for you.”
So if you are in any of the above categories, do yourself a favor and read The Catholics Next Door.
You can get more on Greg & Jennifer’s work here.