Barb Szyszkiewicz reviews The Stillness of Winter, a combination of meditation, memoir, journal, and recipe book.
Barbara Mahany's lyrical, meditative look at winter made me long for a snow day from the very first pages. We're already snow-day-deprived here in the Philadelphia area, where we received only 0.3 inches of snow all season last year, far short of our normal 22 inches.
The Stillness of Winter is a wonderful combination of meditation, memoir, journal, and recipe book. It's divided into three main sections: December, January, and February. Within those sections you'll find:
- Field Notes: Information on what's happening in the natural world: plants, birds and animals, and astronomy
- Author's musings on the month (several short meditations make up this subsection)
- Blessed Be (December/January/February): a summary of the Christian liturgical calendar and Jewish celebrations in that month (the author is part of an interfaith family)
- A Count-Your-Blessings Calendar
- A section of recipes
- Winter's Wonderlist: The author provides a few ideas to get you started, then offers room for the reader to fill in some of the blessings of the season
While you curl up under a cozy blanket and sip your hot beverage of choice, this is the perfect book to help you enjoy a slow, quiet moment (even if it's a fleeting moment -- the author is a mom of grown children and understands how fleeting those quiet moments can be in some seasons of life) to savor and contemplate the beauty in a season we often miss because we're so very busy at this time of year.
You might want to keep tissues handy, because "The Littlest Manger," the story of many years of working out the challenges within an interfaith marriage, will bring tears to your eyes.
The Stillness of Winter is poetic without being poetry, unexpectedly so when you consider that the author's background is in journalism. It's a beautiful invitation to celebrate a beautiful time of year.
I've taste-tested, and highly recommend, the Cure-All Mac and Cheese on page 148, and I've got my eye on a few other recipes to try, if it would only snow.
Copyright 2020 Barb Szyszkiewicz
Image: Skyler Ewing (2020), Pexels
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About the Author
Barb Szyszkiewicz is a wife, mom of 3 young adults, and a Secular Franciscan. She is editor at CatholicMom.com. Barb enjoys writing, cooking, and reading, and is a music minister at her parish and an avid Notre Dame football and basketball fan. Find her blog at FranciscanMom and her family’s favorite recipes with nutrition information for diabetics at Cook and Count.