Cathleen Falsani/Huffington Post on Love You More:
"Intoxicatingly honest and at times laugh-out-loud funny, the memoir manages to be both entertaining and instructive for all parents, whether they have adopted children, are considering adoption or not. Grant's wit and wisdom make for an invaluable user's guide (in the spirit of Anne Lamott's book Operating Instructions) for parents, particularly mothers and fathers of faith who hope to impart a loving, selfless and open-hearted worldview to their children."
Jennifer’s story opens the reader’s eyes and heart to the very personal process of becoming a family. From the opening pages I knew this was a story about the truth of parenting—all the ways that dreams and expectations bump up against reality and our selves. Jennifer’s is a blessed journey as she ‘shortens the thread’ that connects her to Mia and Mia to her destiny to live, laugh, and love with Jennifer, David, Theo, Ian, and Isabel. This book is the Eat, Pray, Love of parenting books with honesty and self-awareness for the divine journey of becoming a family and getting to know, I mean ‘learning to know’ one another.
Love You More is a powerful, tender, and eloquent memoir that captures the pain and angst, and ultimately the triumph and overwhelming joy of family, faith, and adoption.
Maurice Possley, author, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, and adoptive father
So much written about adoption seems to overlook this essential truth: adoption is about love. Jennifer Grant's story demonstrates this, in every sentence and paragraph, on every page. She tells a story of adoption that is smart, funny, and brutally honest, in prose that shines. I finished her book feeling like I'd found a wise new friend.
If you're looking for a warm cuddly story of the miracle of adoption, you should probably find a different book. But if you are longing for someone to unveil the beauty, the mystery, the grief, the wonder, the pain, and the messiness of adoption and parenting, then you have come to the right place. Jennifer Grant doesn't gloss over the hard truth that every adoption begins with a loss but that's what makes her story so compelling, so honest, so, so, so good. Told with grace, humor, and a generous spirit, Love You More is a gift for every parent who has ever loved a child.
"To encourage and aid the sanity of every mother, Jennifer Grant wrote MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family. Ms. Grant’s own childhood and parenting experiences provide the impetus for the book. “A latchkey kid from a broken home” (5), her ideas about marriage and family began developing early, mostly in opposition to what she lived. MOMumental is an uplifting and enheartening read. Grant’s writing style is authentic and personable. The stories that she shares teach moral and parenting lessons by example (both what to do and what not to do). But, they do so in a relatable way. The reader does not feel as if Grant is displaying her mothering superiority or shining a light upon her extraordinary children - her tone is warm and down-to-earth."
Wow. Jennifer Grant's, MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family is more than a parenting book. It is a love story, a must read for every Mom (and Dad!). With gut-wrenching honesty, Grant reminds us that imperfection should be celebrated, not feared, because we find beauty, grace and redemption in the messiness of real life. A life-changing book that will inspire you to enjoy a calm, connected life with your children, no matter how imperfect.
After graduate studies in child development I was certain of one thing: the only parenting book that I would ever consider giving to a friend would be Bettelheim’s A Good Enough Parent. The title says it all. With Jennifer Grant’s new book, MOMumental, I could feel confident passing along a companion text. Through her engaging stories, Grant lets us know how she journeyed from the dream of becoming an exceptional mother to her understanding that parenting is a messy and joyous art. Jennifer Grant does not give us prescriptions or answers. She shares the wisdom about parenting that she developed on this journey.
Jim Gill, musician, author and child development specialist
MOMumental is like having a cup of tea with a wise sister. Affirming, funny, and poignant, Jennifer Grant gives us all permission to loosen up, make mistakes, and love our kids like crazy.
Jennifer Grant's new book MOMumental is as refreshing as a latte or wine break, as forgiving as your best friend, and a lot cheaper than a therapist. By sharing her hard-won personal wisdom and witty, intelligent writing, Grant will make you realize that your kids will be fine -- and so will you. Though her personal faith infuses her philosophy, this book never seems preachy. She provides a great example for all parents trying to raise kids at a healthy distance from the most offensive aspects of popular so-called culture.
Meg Cox, author of The Book of New Family Traditions: How to Create Great Rituals for Holidays & Everyday
The writers come from all walks of life-"nonconformists and oddballs"-and approach the Bible in their own idiosyncratic ways. But while the writers may take the Bible seriously, that doesn't mean they can't have fun in the process, for, as the subtitle also suggests, the moods reflected here are often irreverent, even playful. ―Booklist
This is a sturdy book, a thoroughly satisfying and totally credible book. Well-conceived and well executed, it offers honest words about holy things, which means that it is also a brave book. I, for one, am grateful.―Phyllis Tickle, author, The Age of the Spirit
Cathleen and Jennifer are wonderful writers as well as wonderful people and this collection of wonderful essays is in a word: Lovely. You thought I was going to say 'wonderful,' didn't you? I'm AN ENIGMA!!―Pete Holmes, Comedian and talk show host
Disquiet Time takes us down a thrilling, provocative, and often beautiful path that leads to the deepest parts of ourselves, and the deepest parts of Christ. This book is for folks who don't just want to read the Bible; they want to laugh, wrestle and cry with the Bible. And that's just the place God wants us to be.―Joshua DuBois, former head of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and author of The President's Devotional
Disquiet Time is a devotional for humans, a daily reading for the messy, doubt-filled, sometimes irreverent people who love God or hope to some day. Though hinged on some of the Bible's most deranged narratives, [the book]...is strangely comforting, a spiritual hodgepodge that is deep and convicting, hopeful and honest, quirky and wise. For believers, cynics, and misfit souls, Disquiet Time is a welcomed invitation to doubt, laugh, fight, debate, and trust.―Matthew Paul Turner, author of Our Great Big American God and Churched
This rich collection of essays is thoughtful, engaging, and provocative. A must-read.―Margaret Feinberg, author of Wonderstruck
A. I was honored when Joseph Durepos, an acquisitions editor at Loyola Press, approached me, asking that I write a daybook for them. After our initial meeting, I spent a few weeks skimming through 365-readings books and beginning the process of developing ideas about what mine might look like.
During that time, I spoke with Jon Sweeney, a trusted friend whom I’ve known since we were fourteen, and told him about the project. Jon’s a prolific author and an editor (I know you are a fan of his work), and he warned me that many writers end up repeating themselves in daybooks. I’m grateful for his word of caution as, from the start, I was focused on keeping the content dynamic and fresh. I certainly didn’t want women to have a sense of déjà vu when they were reading it, asking, in July, “Hey, didn’t she already say this back in March?”
By creating a very specific outline for the book, I believe I was able to avoid being redundant. I wanted the book to have a tight structure and that each day’s reading would be unique and offer something solid, substantive to readers.
Q. So many inspirational books for mothers are filled with “to do’s”: tasks to attempt to make your child’s life more wonderful or things to try in order to become a better parent. Your book takes a refreshingly different approach. From the very first page, where you dedicate the book to the “okay-enough, life-giving moms who need the chance every single day to be honest about the abiding joys and little deaths that attend adulthood, raising children, and finding our place in the world”, you focus on strengthening and honoring mothers. In the midst of the glut of mommy blogs and books doling out advice to stretched-thin parents, you focus on affirming what women are doing rather than telling them what they’re missing. Why this choice? Where did the clarity on this sort of encouragement come from for you in your own parenting journey?
Mothers are bombarded with so much pressure, guilt, and unsolicited—and usually unhelpful—advice about how to raise children. In my two earlier books about family life, as well as in Wholehearted Living, my goal has been to ease that pressure, not add to it. As you know, each day’s reflection in the book begins with a quote or line of poetry. So, in that spirit, I’ll answer your question by quoting Theodore Roosevelt, who said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It’s a trap when we mothers compare ourselves with others. We all do things differently.
We all have gifts to offer our kids.
In Wholehearted Living, I write about being a new mom in a mother’s group and learning this lesson, that there’s no need to compare. I wrote, about the other women in my group, “One woman was an artist whose canvases were filled with painted handprints. She said these were meant to express the joy and mess of family life. Another mother was sort of domestic goddess and knitted her children’s hats and mittens, baked bread, and kept a large vegetable garden. Still another, a social worker, took her kids on regular trips to the arboretum, teaching them to identify trees, birds, and types of clouds.”
As I confessed in the book, I can’t tell the difference between a cumulus and a nimbus, nor can I knit. But as I got to know these women and their children, I started to see that we all had natural gifts that benefited our children. Mine weren’t any better or worse than anyone else’s; they were just different, and mine. There was no need to compare.
Q. You group your meditations around three themes: Reflect, Risk, and Rest. Which one of those words has been the most challenging to you as a mother? Why?
I’m an expert daydreamer, so I’m adept at reflecting and even ruminating.
And I take risks—all self-expression involves risk.
Rest is definitely hardest for me as a mother. There is always more I could be doing with—and for—my kids. There is always another closet to organize or email to answer or project to write. Since becoming a mother, I’m more and more organized, strategic, productive. And that’s not always a good thing, particularly when I forget to rest.
Rest can also be about trust. Resting in the knowledge that we are loved or enough just as we are.
I’ve been working on being a better “rester” over the past few years.
Q. What words would you most like to hear a year from now from someone who has used this book faithfully most every day?
Every Christmas Eve, I watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” as I wrap presents and get ready for the morning. I’m struck—and always crumple into tears—quite early on in the movie when Clarence, after being asked to go down to earth to help George Bailey, asks, “Is he sick?” and the other angel says, “No. Worse. He’s discouraged.”
That resonates with me; discouragement is the worst.
We bear a lot of disappointment, uncertainty, and discouragement as mothers. And we often bear these things very privately. If Wholehearted Living is an encouragement to women, I’ll be happy.
Every child wonders where God lives or what God is like. In Maybe God Is Like That Too, a young boy asks his grandma where God is in their city. She invites him to pay attention to where he sees the fruit of the Spirit. Where love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are, there too is God. The boy sees God in the kindness of a doorman holding the door for a man using a wheelchair, in the patience of his teacher helping him tie his shoes, and in the love, faithfulness, and gentleness of his grandma. An ordinary day in his city opens this young boy's eyes to God's Spirit at work all around him. For ages four to eight.
From writer and veteran columnist Jennifer Grant comes an unflinching and spirited look at the transitions of midlife. When Did Everybody Else Get So Old? plumbs the physical, spiritual, and emotional changes unique to the middle years: from the emptying nest to the physical effects of aging. Grant acknowledges the complexities and loss inherent in midlife and tells stories of sustaining disappointment, taking hard blows to the ego, undergoing a crisis of faith, and grieving the deaths not only of illusions but of loved ones. Yet she illuminates the confidence and grace that this season of life can also bring. Magnetic, good-humored, and full of hope in the sustaining power of the Spirit, this is a must-read for anyone facing the flux and flow of middle age.