Friday, August 31, 2012

‘Mother of Pearl: Luminous Lessons and Iridescent Faith’ – compiled by Margaret McSweeney – Book Review

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One of my favorite places to visit when I am online is Margaret McSweeney’s Pearl Girls website. There is always something that inspires and encourages! So I was excited to join the blog tour for her latest compilation, ‘Mother of Pearl: Luminous Lessons and Iridescent Faith.’

Here is the synopsis of this inspiring book:

Like oysters, women often encounter unexpected grit during their everyday lives. In response, God’s love and grace covers this grit and transforms the pain into a precious pearl that leaves a layered, luminous lining within a shell: Mother of Pearl. This brilliant luster is strong, lasting, and purposeful – just like the love, lessons, and legacies left by the special women in our lives.
Mother of Pearl celebrates the collective iridescence of motherhood. Margaret McSweeney presents a collection of heartfelt vignettes from authors who communicate the importance of the unique relationships between mother and her children, between granddaughters and grandmothers and between children and the mother figures in their lives.
These stories tell of the power of faith, prayer, and values, exploring coming of age, the joy of becoming a mother, the importance of motherhood, the ways to heal from a bad relationship with a mother and weathering the death of a special loved one. Poignant and thought-provoking, the stories serve to inspire, encourage, instill hope, and strengthen faith.
The proceeds from the sale of Mother of Pearl will be donated to organizations helping struggling women and children. The charities include Wings (Women in Need Growing Stronger) to help fund the Safe House in the Chicago suburbs and to Hands of Hope to help build wells for schoolchildren in Zambia.

Here is the biography of this book’s editor:

Margaret McSweeney, a wife and mother, serves on the Leadership Advisory Board for Wings (Women in Need Growing Stronger). She is the author of A Mother’s Heart Knows and Aftermath: Finding Grace Through Grief and coauthor of Go Back and Be Happy; she also compiled the collection of essays Pearl Girls . Visit McSweeney online at

In ‘A Note from Margaret about Pearl Girls,’ Mrs. McSweeney explains the purpose of this book and her group:

This book is a compilation and celebration of women who were and are a mother of pearl. May the lustrous stories written by some of the your favorite authors bless you, strengthen you and remind you always of God’s iridescent grace.
The purpose of Pearl Girls is two-fold: 1) Connecting with each other online and in-person; and 2) Collaborating on projects for charity. Linked together as a community of women who share a love for God, the Pearl Girls reach out to help other women and children who are having a difficult time.

Two of my favorite Christian authors – Suzanne Woods Fisher and Tricia Goyer – contributed to this compilation. Suzanne’s entry is entitled ‘What is a 
Grandmother?’ It features her characteristic good humor. Here she is reflecting on the birth of her grandson, Blake:

I felt surprised, too. How could my baby possibly have had a baby? How could I be a grandmother? I had just turned fifty-one. Shockingly young! How could a kid like me give up playing tennis three times a week to settle into knitting and crocheting and Friday night bingo? And shouldn’t I alter my appearance to fit this new label? Give up my jeans? Switch over to below knee-length calico dresses, thick black socks, practical shoes, gray hair pinned in a topknot. Think…Aunt Bee on Mayberry R.F.D. (pp. 89-90)

Very cute! Grandmas don’t look like that anymore, do they?!

Tricia wrote about ‘Adoption: A Mother’s Greatest Gift:’

The sacrifice of adoption makes my heart ache, for I know on this Mother’s Day another woman will be thinking about my daughter – her daughter. As I rejoice, I’ll be crying tears for her. I’ll also be sending up prayers that God will wrap His arms around her in a special way.
This Mother’s Day, I cannot help but think about Christ’s sacrifice to make our adoption into God’s family possible. Maybe it’s because just a few weeks ago we were celebrating Easter, but I’m reminded anew that my gain required His loss, His pain. The greatest love, it seems, is not shown with flowers, chocolate or a diamond bracelet. The greatest love is shown when, because of your love for another, your desires and comforts are laid down for the greater good of someone else. (p. 92)

A mother/author with whom I was not familiar is Dawn Meehan. The title of her piece, ‘Having Patience with Pink-Dog Days’ caught my attention! She writes with fun and grace!:

With six kids, we’ve certainly had our share of adventures and mishaps. Sometimes it seems as if I’ve failed this whole parenting thing. I continuously teach them right from wrong and try to instill a good set of morals. I attempt to get them to thing before acting, and to make wise decisions. And yet, they continue to do things like paint the dog pink, shove candy up their noses, and jump off the garage roof. Sometimes I want to throw my hands up in the air and shout, “I give up!”
And then I think of our father, our heavenly father. How many times has He told us not to do something, only to watch us turn around and do it anyway? How many times has He instructed us on how we’re to behave, only to have us do the opposite of what He says? How many times has he forgiven us, only to have us immediately make the same mistake again? If I were God, I’d want to throw my hands up in the air and shout, “I give up!”
But thankfully, He doesn’t. He forgives endlessly. He teaches always. He’s there for us when we mess up time and time again. It somehow makes it a little easier to forgive, and it reminds me not to give up on this parenting thing. Although I’m pretty sure they’ll never learn how to replace the empty toilet paper roll. I’ve definitely given up there. (pp. 130-131)  

Margaret closes out her book appropriately, giving thanks to her Lord:

And thank you, Lord for your constant grace, love and patience. May this book be a blessing to others and may the stories strengthen and encourage their faith and draw them closer to You. Please be especially close to the women and children who are seeking safe shelter through Wings and clean water through Hands of Hope. Amen! (p. 155)

I really love this book! I was not familiar with the majority of the ladies who contributed to this compilation. It was nice to be introduced to these wonderful women of God! I love books which give me the opportunity to read a few of the entries before bedtime or when I have a spare few minutes. I thank Margaret for putting this amazing book together for her readers – with proceeds going to good causes!

This book was published by Inspiring Voices, a service of Guideposts, and provided by LitFuse Publicity Group for review purposes.

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