Emily M. DeArdo

writer

Take Up and Read

Preparing for the Savior: Rooted in Hope Advent Devotional

books, Take Up and ReadEmily DeArdoComment
44767006_10212994810248107_2440920362033086464_o.jpg

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is next week? I sure can’t. And after that, we’ve only got a week before Advent begins! The new church year is almost here!

If you’d like to give yourself some respite, some margin this Advent—some extra prayer time to prepare for Jesus’ birth—may I recommend Rooted in Hope?

This is our (Take Up & Read’s) revised Advent journal. We’ve added an entire extra week of reflections from Christmas Day to January 1, so that you can continue meditating on the greatest gift of them all in the days after Christmas—into the Christmas season, which is really a season in the Church, not just a day!

The REVISED COPY includes:


•8 more days of scripture, devotions, and journaling pages for Christmas week, all the way through New Year's Day,
•insightful research to make the lectio divina pages do-able during a busy season,
•undated pages to make this a timeless resource, usable each year.


Each day contains:
•scripture passage for prayer and reflection,
•a devotional essay, 
•pages for guided lectio divina, 
•space to organize your days. 

Journaling pages and useful planning pages feature clear and elegant design, exquisite hand-drawn illustrations, and gorgeous calligraphy.


44932872_10156582063638672_6507850849102856192_n.jpg

It really is a beautiful book. I adored using it last year and I’m excited to get my hands on the revised copy this year. One of my favorite things? The planning pages. It’s so easy to forget all the things we have to do. Here, you can write it all down, and then pray about it during your prayer time. If you’re like me, lists help bring you peace.

If you don’t want to use the planning pages, you don’t have to! Our books are designed to be used in the way that best suits you.


You can order your copy right here. If you have any questions, leave them below and I’ll answer!

#20 St. Therese chapel (retreat notes II)

Catholicism, journal, prayer, Take Up and ReadEmily DeArdoComment
IMG_7962.JPG
IMG_7916.JPG
IMG_8008.JPG
IMG_8009.JPG
IMG_7953.JPG

I’ve been making retreats since….gosh. 2009, maybe? 2008? One of those two. So that’s 10 years of silent retreats, which is sort of amazing when I think about.

I always go on silent retreats. I find that’s the best way to really listen to God, for me, and I sort of crave that silence. This retreat I went into with out “resolutions” (as Msgr. Knox calls them), but just with the desire to fill my cup, so to speak, with God, His presence, His voice, and His quiet.

The chapel is really well suited to these things.

It’s a gorgeous stone chapel, built in the 40s, I think. The floor has the patina of age. It’s always cool in there, and quiet. The decades of prayer are obvious. The art is gorgeous, too, and leads you to contemplation pretty easily, and prayer.

There is a small side chapel, which holds the reliquary (we’ll talk about that in a later post), and has a painting of the Annunciation on the wall. It’s a supremely comfortable spot, because there’s a nice big chair in there, so you can sit and look at the tabernacle and pray, hidden and secluded. That’s where I had one of my holy hours this time, and it really was delightful.

This retreat was different in that there were only three conferences (talks on the retreat theme, which was Mary), so there was ample time for silence and doing your own thing. Usually I also spend time in my room, but since it was so hot, I spent all of my time in the chapel or the lounge. I had brought extra books to read since I knew I’d have spare time (only spiritual books, and my Bible; I don’t bring Outlander on retreat with me.). So a lot of reading, and then note taking, pondering in my journal, Bible reading (lectio), and prayer. It was great.

 The chapel spire from the garden

The chapel spire from the garden


Also, don’t forget: Our new Take Up & Read Study starts on Sunday, all about the book of Romans! Please join us! You can purchase your copy
here.



FLOURISH giveaway!

writing, Take Up and Read, give awaysEmily DeArdo9 Comments

Everyone! I’m so excited to show you the new Take Up & Read Fall study:

43025501_10212857210768206_3322640576255361024_o.jpg

This study has a lot of firsts for us.

  • It’s our first book that focuses exclusively on one book of the bible; in this case, it’s St. Paul’s letter to the Romans.

  • We have a fresh design from our amazing designer, Kristin Foss

  • recipes are included in the book, so that you can bring Rome to your table or study group

  • A timeline of St. Paul’s life, so you can learn more about this amazing saint!



Flourish does look different from our other studies, and even with all these first, it still has the content that you know and love.

  • Daily Scripture verses to ponder for lectio divina

  • A devotional essay from our fabulous writers (yes, I wrote two. No, I’m not calling myself fabulous)

  • Memory verses for each week, as well as “Selah” days, to catch up on days you missed, or just look over your notes from the previous week

  • A study guide (found on the website) for groups who want to do Flourish together!



Here’s a look at the inside pages:

IMG_7888.JPG
IMG_7886.JPG
IMG_7885.JPG

So, I’m giving you a chance to WIN a copy of our study!

To enter, all you have to do is a leave a comment below, talking about your favorite book of the Bible. That’s it! (If you don’t have a favorite, that’s OK, too! Mention that!)

Giveaway will close on TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9 at midnight, and the winner will be drawn on WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 10, so that the winner can receive his/her copy before the study starts on the fourteenth!

All you have to do is leave a comment. Go!



#13 Paul, Apostle of Christ

journal, movies, Take Up and ReadEmily DeArdoComment
paul poster.jpg

I totally missed this movie when it was in the theaters, but I picked it up on DVD, and it’s great!

I gotta say, I knew very little about Paul’s life until I worked on Flourish, the new Take Up and Read book that focuses on the Book of Romans (and that you can BUY RIGHT NOW HERE!). Watching this movie was a great way to cement that knowledge and also watch some great acting. (I love Jim Caviezel!)

So if you haven’t seen it, I recommend it. And the Flourish study starts October 14! I’ll post more about it—INCLUDING a give away!—as we get closer to the start date!

Introducing Ponder!

Catholicism, Take Up and Read, writingEmily DeArdoComment
Ponder 2.jpg
Ponder 6 .jpg

I have always loved the rosary. My family introduced me to it very young--I remember praying the rosary with my dad and siblings on the way to school in the mornings, and we said the family rosary sporadically. All of us had multiple rosaries hanging from our bedposts. The rosary is my go-to prayer; it's what I asked my family to pray when I was in transplant surgery. My father has a special devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, so that could be why we're all rosary nuts. There are rosaries in our cars, in our purses, in our pockets. 

So when I heard that Take Up & Read was doing a rosary study, I totally did a happy dance. 

A lot of people are confused by the rosary. What is it? Isn't it just mindless repetition? And why are you praying to Mary? There are lots of misconceptions about it. That's why I'm so glad this beautiful book exists--to show how Scripturally based, and Christocentric, the rosary really is. 

Ponder 3.jpg
Ponder 5.jpg

Enter: Ponder

This book is beautiful. I mean, it really is. You can see that here. Katrina Harrington, of Rose Harrington, did the cover art and all the beautiful interior illustrations. Our calligrapher, Rakhi McCormick (of Rakstar Designs), did all the glorious interior lettering, and our design chief, Kristin Foss, made it all elegant and readable with her imitable design. 

But oh my goodness, the essays. And I'm not talking about mine (although I have two, and I am crazy blessed and excited to be in this book!)--really, guys, you will love them. They are perfection. 

So this book is really close to my heart. It's about a devotion I love, put together by lovely people, just in time for Mother's Day! In fact, we start the study on Mother's Day. 

There will also be a group guide and a kids' version! 

Every week includes: 

  • Scripture study Monday through Friday, with verses, lectio pages, and a devotional essay about that day's mystery.
  • Saturday "Selah" days, where we invite you to pause, reflect on the week's pages, go back and read more, or just sit with your journal and ponder what you've written and read. 
  • Sunday Scripture memory verses which channel the flavor of each set of mysteries and invite you to memorize Scripture so you can ponder it in your heart, just like Mary did, at any time. 
  • Floral coloring pages of flowers with Marian symbolism
  • A "how to say the rosary" graph
  • An essay on lectio divinia--the heart of our studies!

I heartily invite you to come and join us as we spend May and June looking at the rosary, this beautiful devotion that is the favorite of so many saints, and that St. Padre Pio called "the weapon." 

You can get your copy here! 

ponder 4.jpg

Yarn Along No. 72 and My Lenten Plan

yarn along, Lent, knitting, Take Up and Read, books, Barton Cottage CraftsEmily DeArdoComment
images-3.jpeg

So, um, Happy Ash Wednesday? :-D

I do like Lent. We'll talk about that more in a second. First: Yarn!

IMG_6571.JPG

This is a completed Barton Cottage Crafts commission--it's my signature basketweave scarf in the weathervane colorway. The colors are much richer in person. In the line this is my "Jane Bennet" color--I think it suits Jane quite well. :) 

I'm currently working on a shawl for another customer, in a deep yellow color. When I have more of it to show, I'll post a picture. At the moment, it's a very small triangle!

My shawl is coming along gorgeously! I'm finally into the blue stripes! 

IMG_6578.JPG

 

 

What are you reading right now? 

My Lenten Rule

AKA, what I'm doing for Lent. 

1) Giving up book buying (except at the Catholic Women's Conference this weekend--and actually, my book buying has dropped off a lot this year since I'm focusing on my financial goals. So go me!)

2) Attending weekday Mass at least once a week

3) Confession every other week

4) Doing Nancy Ray's Contentment Challenge again. You can read ore about it on Nancy's blog here and here . Here are the first month guidelines!  I think Lent is a perfect time to kick this off. 

And of course, Above All. You can still join us! Order the book, pop into the blog, or join us on facebook, twitter, and instagram

IMG_6577.JPG

 

How about you? How do you "do" Lent? 

Lectio di-wha?

essays, Lent, prayer, Take Up and ReadEmily DeArdoComment
IMG_6484.JPG

It's no secret that I love to read. I've loved it ever since my mom first read to me as a toddler; I was the kid who snuck books under her desk in school, and read while I should've been getting ready for Mass, or when I should've been sleeping. Books are life. 

So you'd think that the practice of lectio divina, "holy reading", would be the easiest type of prayer for me to practice. 

You'd be so, so wrong. 

I am terrible at lectio. 

Before I tell you why I'm terrible at it, I should probably explain what it is. As I noted, it means "holy reading." It's a way of praying using the Scriptures. Essentially, you read (lectio); you meditate on what you read (meditatio); you pray about what you read (oratio), and then you figure out how to put all that into action (actio). It doesn't sound hard, right? 

Except for me it is. 

First, there's the reading. What the heck am I supposed to read? The Mass readings? Go through the Bible chronologically, only to falter when I get to Leviticus and Numbers and lists of names and other rosters? Start with Matthew and work through the New Testament and then maybe try the old? 

And what if I read and nothing comes to me? I read, and read, and read....nope, God, sorry, nothing's hitting me. That's actually my biggest problem with lectio. I read. And I read. And nothing hits me. There's no inspiration. How am I supposed to pray with that? 

In Advent, I had a pretty big breakthrough. The Advent journal, Rooted in Hope, was a real, hard core introduction to lectio, and it helped me immensely.  

First--because there are readings given. There was a featured verse, and a few others. I didn't have to worry about what to read. 

Second--the steps were all broken down, and easy for me to see, to ponder, to do

At first, I had to re-read the passages a few times. I picked a word, an idea, that spoke to me. But some days it was harder than others. That's OK. I just kept doing it. 

Lectio also requires a bit of background--and this is hard, too. In the first step, you're supposed to do some analysis: what is actually happening in the passage? Is Jesus talking to somebody? Who is Paul writing to, and why? Who is speaking in this excerpt from 1 Kings? That's where a good Bible dictionary, or study bible, is so important (resources at the end of this post). Because this is a big key--knowing what's happening in what you're reading. 

Here's an example: The familiar reading from weddings, 1 Corinthians 13. Love is patient. Love is kind. Yada yada. We've all heard that a million times. But if you know that Paul wrote that to the Corinthians because they were fighting among each other, because there was disunity, and arguing, and strife, and confusion--doesn't it take on a whole different tone? I know it did to me. All of a sudden, Paul's letter is real. It speaks to me in the twenty-first century. Aren't we all in strife, all the time? Aren't we fighting amongst each other? Paul wasn't just writing some nice platitudes. He was giving solid advice to people in the midst of bickering and in-fighting. 

So, keeping with this example: You would read 1 Corinthians 13. You'd do the lectio on it--you'd say, oh, OK, Paul is writing to these people, who are fighting amongst themselves. Then, the meditation. How does this apply to me? Who am I fighting with? Can I apply these concepts there? Who needs more love from me? Where am I not being loving? 

Then, oratio, prayer. Talk to God about what you're thinking. Ask Him to help you apply this to your daily life (actio, the application, the action). "God, I know I need to be more patient with XYZ. It's hard for me. But I know that's what you want. I know that living that way will be a true expression of the Christian life I'm trying to lead. So when I want to swear or yell at this person, help me to be kind. Help me to be patient. I won't be perfect--but with Your help, I will try. I will make progress." 

The actio is in the prayer, right there. You are going to be nicer to XYZ--you won't snap at her, you'll keep your patience, whatever. 

You see how that works? To me, the key is the lectio. It's knowing what the text is really saying, what its implications are. 

As you know, I'm a part of the Take Up and Read team, and we've published our Lent study/devotional, Above All. (In the photo at the top) Every day, you'll get lectio passages--and notes. I did the notes, and it wasn't just to help readers, it helped me! I learned so much as I researched these books of the Bible! It's a beautiful companion for your Lent, and I'm so proud of it. It starts on Ash Wednesday (February 14!) and goes all the way to Easter. There are pages for journaling, an examination of conscience, essays, and more. And the profits will go Adore Ministries in Houston to support ongoing hurricane relief efforts! 

26756315_10211133549877761_2615966441272585170_o.jpg

If you haven't gotten your copy yet, you can get it here. If you have any questions about it, or about lectio in general, let me know! I'm not an expert, but we can figure it out together. 

Lectio resources: 

Catholic Bible Dictionary

Ignatius Study Bible (NT)

Didache Bible

 

Catholics do read the Bible! And this is how we do it--with lectio.