Mother of Pearl: Luminous Lessons and Iridescent Faith

Name of book: Mother of Pearl: Luminous Lessons and Iridescent Faith

Compiler: Margaret McSweeney

Margaret McSweeney is a well-published author often writing online articles for Make It Better (the former North Shore Magazine) and freelance articles for the Daily Herald, the largest suburban Chicago newspaper. In addition, she has authored and compiled several books including A Mother’s Heart KnowsGo Back and Be Happy; Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace, Mother of Pearl and Aftermath.

With a master’s degree from the University of South Carolina in international business, Margaret became a vice-president in the corporate finance division of a New York City bank and worked there 1986–93.

As founder of Pearl Girls, Margaret collaborates with other writers on projects to help fund a safe house for WINGS, an organization that helps women and their children who are victims of domestic violence, and to build wells for schoolchildren in Uganda through Hands of Hope. For the past 10 years she has served on the board of directors and leadership advisory board for WINGS. Margaret lives with her husband and 2 daughters in the Chicago suburbs.

Summary (from Litfuse): 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 mothers and their 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.

Rating: 5

Reason for rating: This book – wow, what can I say about it. It was absolutely fabulously written and put together. The stories ranged across the gamut and they both made me smile and brought tears to my eyes. Some of the short pieces were more story-telling style while others were more factual but they were all inspiring and some were even challenging. Not in a challenging hard kind of a way, but in a way where they challenged you to take a specific action. It made me long to be a mom like these mothers and to miss my mom all the more. As soon as I finished this book, I texted her “I love you and miss you mom.” I also really appreciate that the proceeds of this book go to helping people. All in all, it’s a great read paired with great causes. I also really appreciated that most of the pieces were short so I could read one or two in just five or ten minutes which would leave me thinking as I worked on other things.

Find Mother of Pearl on Inspiring Voices

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Disclosure: I was provided with a free e-book copy of this in exchange for my honest review. These thoughts and feelings are 100 percent mine and 100 percent real!


Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place Review

Name of book: Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place

Author: Terry Tempest Williams

Reviewer: Melissa

Summary (from Amazon): “In the spring of 1983 Terry Tempest Williams learned that her mother was dying of cancer. That same season, The Great Salt Lake began to rise to record heights, threatening the herons, owls, and snowy egrets that Williams, a poet and naturalist, had come to gauge her life by. One event was nature at its most random, the other a by-product of rogue technology: Terry’s mother, and Terry herself, had been exposed to the fallout of atomic bomb tests in the 1950s. As it interweaves these narratives of dying and accommodation, Refuge transforms tragedy into a document of renewal and spiritual grace, resulting in a work that has become a classic.”

Rating: 3

Reason for rating: I thought this book was just okay. I had high hopes for this book after I read select excerpts in my literature and environment class. And on some levels, it did deliver. There were parts of the book that were very touching and beautiful. Especially the parts concerning her family and the people side of things. But there were other parts that were quite boring. I mean, they were beautiful in a sense, her description of the birds and so on, but there was a little too much of that for my taste. I think it would be an excellent book for the right reader, but it wasn’t quite for me. That being said, I do like that she has a very distinctive and unique voice and I like the way that she blends narratives together and I did indeed find some of the environmental things very interesting. However, after a while it sort of felt like they were just lists of birds. Perhaps it would have helped if I had been familiar with the birds.

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Disclosure: I was not paid for this review. I checked it out from the library and decided to review it. All opinions in this post are 100 percent mine.

Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History Review

Dear Readers (If I have any left) I have been a bad book blogger. I hope I can make it up to you. I will try to post reviews in a more timely manner, but it doesn’t always happen. Maybe after I’m finished with school it will. At any rate, here is your review. Enjoy!

Name of book: Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History

Author: Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

Reviewer: Melissa


What new crisis will the federal government manufacture in order to acquire more power over individuals? What new lies will it tell?

Throughout our history, the federal government has lied to send our children off to war, lied to take our money, lied to steal our property, lied to gain our trust, and lied to enhance its power over us. Not only does the government lie to us, we lie to ourselves. We won’t admit that each time we let the government get away with misleading us, we are allowing it to increase in size and power and decrease our personal liberty.

In acquiescing to the government’s continuous fraudulent behavior, we bear partial responsibility for the erosion of our individual liberties and the ever-expanding federal regulation of private behavior. This book attacks the culture in government that facilitates lying, and it challenges readers to recognize that culture, to confront it, and to be rid of it.

Rating: 5

Reason for rating: I loved this book. It is a perfect book for a political science major like me. The book contains 17 lies – some that I knew or suspected already and some that were new. What I liked about it was that I felt it was really approachable but yet still interesting. Even among the sections that I knew something about already, I still found that I was learning new things. I feel like this will be approachable for people who haven’t studied this area. Also, I feel like if you were talking about or debating certain areas, it would be easy to photocopy just that chapter and use it to help you talk. I also love books like this because I feel that Americans do have the right to truth and books like this try and bring it closer. While some might say that this book has a slant (and I’m sure it does – most political books have slants) I felt that a lot of the facts that I already knew in reading it were consistent with what I had already learned. Even if you just checked out the book from the library and picked out only the sections that sounded interesting to you, you’d still learn a lot.

Find Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History on Amazon

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Disclosure: I was not paid for this review. I received a free copy of the book in order to provide my opinions about it. All opinions in this post are 100 percent mine.

I review for BookSneeze®