Friday, August 3, 2012

The Catholics Next Door Share their Imperfect Path @CatholicCompany @JenniferWillits @GregWillits

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The Catholics Next Door: Adventures in Imperfect Living

  • Written by Greg and Jennifer Willits
  • Foreword by Fr. Roderick Vonhogen
  • Published by Servant Books
  • Released April 3, 2012
  • Paperback Edition - English Language
  • 160 Pages
  • Suggested Retail Price, $16.99
  • Available from The Catholic Company
Perhaps you know "The Catholics Next Door"  (or as their friends call them - Greg and Jennifer Willits) from their podcasts or Sirius XM Radio show.  They are a very inspiring, and REAL couple.  Blessed with five children, they willingly share their family joy, (and sometimes chaos) and the lessons that accompany them.

When I listen to them on air, they have such sweet rapport.  Their combination of wit and wisdom along with obvious love and admiration for each other make them fun to listen to.  Their conversations weave laughter, solemnity, joyful praise (and much more!) together without missing a beat.  That same tone translates into the pages of this book, making it easy to read - which is good!  While it is a great book for anyone, the target audience is young families, and as you can imagine, heavy, formal reading is not often possible while trying to keep up with kids.

Jennifer and Greg use their ministry is to show the ways that life continually hands us opportunities to seek clarity and guidance, and that there are so many gifts to be thankful for.  There were quite a few occasions as I was reading that I thought a story could have been taken right from my own life.  Especially the parts about raising boys, and finding an education solution for a child with high functioning autism.

I am the first to admit - my hardest parenting moments are mired in pride.  When I am afraid of what other people think, nothing goes well.  This is probably why I appreciate the Willits' candor and the way they shine a light on their own lives.  They make decisions for their family based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, share how they make that work, and still maintain a happy home.

The book format is easy to follow.  The topic is introduced, and broken down into pieces.  Sub-topics are highlighted and discussed in an interview format, from either Greg or Jennifer's perspective.

The thirteen chapters are broken into three parts as follows:

Part One: On Being a Good Neighbor      
     Chapter One:  Our Neighbors Think We're Nuts
     Chapter Two:  Imperfection Leads to Perfection
Part Two:  It's a Family Affair      
    Chapter Three:  God's in the Hallway, and He Can Hear You Through the Door
     Chapter Four:  NFP for You and Me
     Chapter Five: We're More Important Than You Are
     Chapter Six:  My Kids Made a Mom Out of Me
     Chapter Seven:  What's it Like to be a Good Catholic Dad?
     Chapter Eight:  Catholic Life is Eugharistic
     Chapter Nine:Squeaky Clean
     Chapter Ten:  Family - Rosary Wrestling
     Chapter Eleven:  The First Teachers
Part Three:  In But Not of Our Tech-Savvy World      
     Chapter Twelve:  Here We Are Now; Entertain Us
     Chapter Thirteen:  Good News for Techies
The foreword made me laugh, the conclusion made me smile, and the afterword made me cry.  Every page is worth reading.  

In addition to writing, and radio/podcast evangelizing, Greg and Jennifer are the founders of the Rosary Army, a worldwide non-profit organization, and the corresponding podcast.  They are also responsible for the video series, That Catholic Show.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The Catholics Next Door. The Catholic Company is also a great online store for all your Catholic gift needs, such as baby baptism and christening gifts. You can also find a wide selection of Catholic Bible Studies for both parish groups and individuals, as well as a variety of other Catholic Bible study resources