Book Review: Living Beyond Sunday: Making Your Home a Holy Place
Authors: Adam and Haylee Minihan and David and Pamela Niles
Publisher: Ascension Press
In a crowded parking lot on college move-in day this past August, my life changed. Yes, the parking lot was cramped and loud with the hustle and bustle of people vying for parking spaces and navigating around other parked cars to move boxes into dormitory rooms. It seemed people were everywhere (and they were), but at that moment, a brief silence and contemplative mood entered my mind. I hugged my son (our youngest) and watched his familiar gait as he walked away from us to go visit one of his friends, and I all could think was, well there it is, the last one has left home. Nothing truly prepared me for that moment, but one thought stood out above the rest and it was more of a question: “Did I do enough to prepare my children for the world?”
To say I could have used the book: Living Beyond Sunday: Making Your Home a Holy Place at least 20 years ago is definitely an understatement. The practical and applicable wisdom given in this literary work by the authors is extremely timely and refreshing. The writers unpack the business of our daily lives, especially the lives of families, as together we navigate the uncertain waters of life. They show the reader how to build a solid foundation at home so their children can enter the world with steady confidence and resilience. Does it mean everything will be easy in life and without uncertainty for your family? Of course not, but was it does point to is the importance of the family and the home in creating a stable place, a spot of refuge, in a world that is in desperate need of healing.
I first started listening to The Catholic Man Show in the late summer of 2017 (when our oldest son left home for college) and many of the ideas presented in this literary work have been presented in Adam and Dave’s podcast and have been helpful. Some of the favorites I have been able to implement are celebrating your children’s confirmation saints feast days, the importance of sharing a family meal together (luckily something that was important to my wife and I over the past many years of raising a family), fasting for your spouse, living the liturgical calendar in the home, and how to live holy leisure. These are not the only things I enjoyed from this book, but for me, they have been applicable to my daily family life.
On the official Catholic Man Show technical read scale,*** I rate this book at a 4 as it is easy to read and understand. In addition, the book can be read rather quickly. I think I read about a chapter or two a night and the book is 10 chapters in length so one can complete this work fairly quickly even during busy times. Probably my favorite aspect of this book is that it is highly applicable to making simple changes in the domestic church to help everyone in the family become more holy. So many of the ideas presented found me saying, “Why didn’t I think of that? it seems so obvious and so true!” One such example is celebrating the feast of St. Joseph with your children by buying each child a small toolbox and then each year on St. Joseph’s feast day, adding a new tool to each box while instructing your child how to use that tool properly. So practical, so fun, and so easy!
As I alluded to earlier this year has been a reflective year for me. This year has afforded me time to look back on raising a family, while staying in the present moment with my spouse, as we look forward together. Was it too late in my life to read this book? No, because I gained more knowledge and was able to affirm some choices my wife and I implemented when we were raising our children. Also, if it is God’s will that we have grandchildren, then perhaps some of these tips will come in handy as well. My final recommendations are if you are single and contemplating your vocation; if you are in a dating relationship and contemplating engagement and marriage; if you are newly married; if you have one child or many children; if you are teaching pre-marital classes; if you are a grandparent; or if you just like good reads then give this book a try! If that is not enough then you can take our puppy’s seal of approval as he almost literally devoured the first chapter as he did his own style of reading while I was away at work one day. I guess a dog can really teach an older man a new trick!
To order your copy, visit: Ascension Press
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By: Kent Keithly, husband and father
***Regarding The Catholic Man Show technical read scale: A 3 out of 10 is a leisurely read that could be read in a couple of weeks, an 8 out of 10 is a more technical read which requires more time and often requires looking up definitions of words to clearly understand the author, and finally a 10/10 is an extremely technical read that requires a significant amount of time to complete the book, as well as, extra time to look up further explanations of the topic, definitions, and likely requires that some pages be read more than once to grasp the content.