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1. So what do we think? Heaven in her Arms

Hickem, Catherine. (2012). Heaven in Her Arms: Why God Chose Mary to Raise His Son and What It Means for You. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. ISBN 978-1-4002-0036-8.

What do we know of Mary?

 What we know of Mary’s family is that she is of the house of David; it is from her lineage Jesus fulfilled the prophecy. Given the archeological ruins of the various places thought to have been living quarters for their family, it is likely the home was a room out from which sleeping quarters (cells) branched. As Mary and her mother Anne would be busy maintaining the household, with young Mary working at her mother’s command, it is likely Anne would be nearby or in the same room during the Annunciation. Thus Mary would not have had a scandalous secret to later share with her parents but, rather, a miraculous supernatural experience, the salvific meaning of which her Holy parents would understand and possibly even witnessed.

 Mary and Joseph were betrothed, not engaged. They were already married, likely in the form of a marriage contract, but the marriage had not yet been “consummated”. This is why he was going to divorce her when he learned of the pregnancy. If it were a mere engagement, he would have broken it off without too much scandal.

 Married but not yet joined with her husband, her mother would prepare her by teaching her all that she needed to know. This is further reason to assume that Mary would be working diligently under her mother’s eye when the Annunciation took place.

 We know that her cousin Elizabeth’s pregnancy was kept in secret for five months, and not made known until the sixth month when the Angel Gabriel proclaimed it to Mary. We know Mary then rushed to be at her elderly cousin’s side for three months (the remaining duration of Elizabeth’s pregnancy), and that this rushing appeared to be in response to Elizabeth’s pregnancy (to congratulate her), not an attempt to hide Mary’s pregnancy. Note how all of this is connected to Elizabeth’s pregnancy rather than Mary’s circumstances. As Mary was married to Joseph, he likely would have been informed of the trip. Had the intent been to hide Mary, she would have remained with Elizabeth until Jesus was born, not returned to her family after the first trimester, which is just about the time that her pregnancy was visible and obvious.

 So we these misconceptions clarified, we can put Mary’s example within an even deeper context and more fully relate to her experience. We can imagine living in a faith-filled family who raises their child in strict accordance of God’s word. The extended family members may not understand, and certainly their community will not, so Mary, Anne and Joachim, and Joseph face extreme scandal as well as possible action from Jewish authorities. But they faced this together steep in conversation with God, providing a model for today’s family.

 Although sometimes scriptural interpretations are flavored with modern-day eye, overall this book will be more than just a quick read for a young mother (or new bride, or teen aspiring to overcome the challenges of American culture, or single parent losing her mind). It is a heartwarming reflection with many examples that open up conversation with God. As an experienced psychotherapist, the author’s examples are spot on and easy to relate to. We do not need to have had the same experiences to empathize, reflect, and pursue meaning; we see it around us in everyday life. As such, a reflective look upon these examples can help one overcome an impasse in their own relationship with God and also open the reader up to self-knowledge as Hi

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2. BOOK OF THE DAY: The June 2012 List!

BOOK OF THE DAY-June

Plan in advance for father’s day! The month of June is dedicated to books for dads and boys…don’t worry, a few dads & daughter books thrown in too! Good list for reluctant readers as well as summer vacation. Enjoy!

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3. BOOK OF THE DAY: February 2012 List

BOOK OF THE DAY-February

No need to wait until the end of February for the complete list. Here it is–plan ahead! Click on the link above, and also follows us on Facebook at Litland Reviews http://facebook.com/Litlandreviews

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4. BOOK OF THE DAY: The January list!

BOOK OF THE DAY-January

Here it is! The book of the day challenge, to recommend a new book or related media every day in 2012. January is complete, and attached for handy download–just click on the above link. February is on the way! “Friend” Litland Reviews on Facebook to see daily recommendations as they post. http://facebook.com/Litlandreviews

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5. Book of the day: April

BOOK OF THE DAY-April

The full April list is here. Get a sneak peak at the 2nd half of the month and stock up for summer vacation too!

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6. BOOK OF THE DAY: The May 2012 List

BOOK OF THE DAY-May

In celebration of Mother’s day, moms, women and daughters, recommendations span ages and areas of interest. Great for summer vacation reading too!

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7. Infinite Space, Infinite God II: Karina Fabian, Author & Editor

Introducing Karina Fabian!  

 After being a straight-A student, Karina now cultivates Fs: Family, Faith, Fiction and Fun. From and order of nuns working in space to a down-and-out faerie dragon working off a geas from St. George, her stories surprise with their twists of clichés and incorporation of modern day foibles in an otherworld setting. Her quirky twists and crazy characters have won awards, including the INDIE book award for best fantasy (Magic, Mensa and Mayhem), and a Mensa Owl for best fiction (World Gathering). In May 2010, her writing took a right turn with a devotional, Why God Matters, which she co-wrote with her father. Mrs. Fabian is former President of the Catholic Writer’s Guild and also teaches writing and book marketing seminars online.

 Let’s hear what Karina has to say about science fiction writing…

 Why Science Fiction?

By Karina Fabian

 Rob and I have a confession to make:  Neither of us likes literary fiction much.  Oh, we can appreciate the classics like Dickens and Twain, and I was impressed by the beauty of the language in the Secret Lives of Bees, but when it comes to angst and personal reflection, we’d like to have that mixed in with some aliens or a rip-roaring space battle.

Too often, however, science fiction gets a bum rap.  People see only the aliens or the fantastic battles in space, or they classify science fiction with “Godless” fiction, and doubt it has any redeeming value beyond entertainment.

The truth is, science fiction is often used to examine the big issues in an entertaining and “safe” environment.  Star Trek, of course, is well known for this, but it’s not unique.  Aldous Huxley’s 1984 is a classic example–an examination of a future world where comfort and security have taken supreme precedence over individuality.  This book, written in 1931, still informs our political decisions, as we balance our own needs for security against letting our government become a “Big Brother.”

Another great example, made into a movie not so long ago, was Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot.  The crux of the story (and of many of Asimov’s other robot stories) were the Three Laws of Robotics:

1.         A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2.         A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

3.         A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

At the heart of the stories lie the questions:  Can you legislate morality?  Is Right more than a set of rules to follow?

Science fiction tackles other big issues, too–prejudice (against aliens rather than a particular race–check out the TV show Alien Nation); conflict of cultures and the origin of ethics (Patchwork Girl by Larry Niven); Little Brother by Cory Doctorow looks at the opposite side of 1984–people banding together in reaction to the “Big Brother” state.  Naturally, it also looks at the impact technology has on our lives–a good one for that is Rainbow’s End by Vernor Vinge, where Alzheimer’s patients are cured and must reintegrate into a radically different society from the one they remember.

It is true tha

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