"I will rejoice
For love and doing of good,
For simple pleasures
And strength of reasons making faith
Within me grow "

Part of what makes faith such an attractive proposition for so many people is that it strengthens the believer in both good times and bad, imbuing them with a sense of purpose and a belief that anything is possible and better days are to come. In this brief volume of poetry and prose, the author reflects on the many different ways that faith enhances her life and looks for ways to continue to develop and live as a better Catholic example. As the author deals with addiction, the struggle to make ends meet, and following her passion for writing and inspiring others, even the darker or more challenging moments are bolstered by an unwavering belief system and worship circle.

Even as the poems examine family, marriage, and friendships of all shapes and sizes, the overall tone is optimistic in large part due to the author’s religious background. There are frank discussions about politics, prostitution, and even psychotic depression. But while the author admits fragility or frustration in one line, a light at the end of the tunnel invariably presents itself. Offering readers a practical, real-world view of what it’s like being a modern Catholic trying to keep the faith while surviving each day, these poems are frank and bold, uplifting yet pragmatic. Reading these pieces one at a time can offer a dose of inspiration or a daily reality check, while the entire book presents a self-portrait of the author through her successes, struggles, and the people that she loves.

Each of these selections is largely brief, no more than a couple of pages, and varies in terms of structure and focus. Many of the poems have a relaxed, free-flowing cadence to them, almost like stream-of-consciousness writing. The message outweighs the vocabulary or the structure, is presented in simple, everyday terms, and is delivered in a direct style that eschews metaphor for clarity. Some of the poems are almost journalistic in their approach, providing a point-to-point story of an event or particular day. Others tackle broader ideas, extending beyond individual moments and representing a longer-term reflection of self. The back of the book also features some artwork and photographs that will evoke a more complete picture in the reader’s head of what the author draws inspiration and curiosity from.

The lens of the writing is firmly grounded in the author’s faith, but the religious and spiritual tones throughout the book don’t go as far as to exclude a more secular opinion or attitude. Readers are able to make a connection with the author through her writing without being subject to a call to action or overbearing moral suggestion. Instead, these writings represent the author, her values, and how they help her one step at a time. That peace of mind can be attractive and may inspire the reader to investigate on their own, but it doesn’t serve as a prerequisite for simply reading these poems and enjoying them. Raw and unapologetic, the author’s soul is opened up onto the page and serves as a point of reference that the audience can relate to and draw strength from.

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