GIVEAWAY: "The Middle Matters"


“Welcome to the Middle!” Lisa-Jo Baker greets readers in the introduction to The Middle Matters: Why that (Extra) Ordinary Life Looks Really Good on You.

Although my 17-year-old baits me on a regular basis about it, I don’t like to think of myself as “middle-aged.” Truth be told, at almost 54, I’ve been middle-aged for quite a while now; I have more than 10 years on Lisa-Jo. But there’s a piece of me that always feels unsure of myself in the grown-up world, as if everyone else (even, or maybe especially, the ones who are younger than me) has figured out things that I haven’t yet and maybe never will.

It’s OK to be in the middle, though: That’s the point of this book.

The middle is ridiculous and terrible, so funny and so much fun, and also so exhausting. But it’s the stuff of the stories our kids will one day tell about us. These are the days of miracle and wonder. The stories we will one day tell each other as we laugh at all those times we spent all those hours carpooling kids all over the planet of our neighborhood. These are the stories that will line our empty nests one day. We are living the memories that will be passed down to the ones who are still living their beginnings. The middle is the gift you didn’t know you were right in the middle of, friend.


Let’s relish the middle. Let’s savor the middle. Let’s embrace the middle in all its mundane glory. Because maybe the middle isn’t so bad. Maybe we don’t want to hide it, ignore it, or miss it. Sister, maybe the middle is the part where it really starts to get good! (5)

Sections of The Middle Matters talk about body image, marriage, parenting, your home, failures, family schedules, friendships, and faith. It’s funny, it’s real, and it’s heartening. Busy moms in the middle of pickup lines at sports practices or schools will have the time to read a chapter here and there as they wait behind the wheel — and they’ll definitely relate.

So yes, I am taking advice on embracing my age from someone more than 10 years my junior — and wishing I’d had this advice at the ready 10 or 15 years ago. I’ve hidden or denied or otherwise tried to escape the realities I should have savored.

Along with embracing my gray hairs as a badge of honor (if not wisdom), Lisa-Jo Baker challenges me to enjoy the season I’m in. Because it’s a good season — one that matters.

Would you like to win a copy of The Middle MattersWe’re giving away 3 copies of this book to CatholicMom readers. To enter, leave a comment answering this question:

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being total denial and 10 being total acceptance, how are you at embracing your age right now?

(I’m maybe a 4, for the record.)

Winners must have USA mailing addresses. This giveaway will close at 11:59 PM Eastern on Sunday, July 21. 3 winners will be chosen at random and contacted by email. Winners will have 48 hours to claim their prize. Unclaimed prizes will be offered to alternate winners.

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Copyright 2019 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS
This article contains Amazon affiliate links; your purchases through these links benefit the author.


About Author

Barb Szyszkiewicz is a wife, mom of 3 young adults, and a Secular Franciscan. She is managing editor for Today's Catholic Teacher magazine and editor at 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.


  1. I’m a 9. I enjoy the gray hairs my heavenly hairdresser is placing in my dark brown hair. I smile thinking of the experiences that have shaped me. I love being at home with my four children and building a life with my husband.

  2. Not sure Where I am at but I believe as ST.Therese said, “Believe that you are Exactly where you are meant to be at this time in your life” is true. And also I believe as ST. Alphonsus said, God uses everything…your scruples,
    your anxieties,your impatience,etc; as the mold to shape you into the person that HE created you to become.

    • I’m almost 55 and I love getting older. I would never want to go back to a certain age. I grow and learn as each and every year goes by, why would I be afraid to embrace my age? I look forward to each year that God gives me to life my life for him.

  3. I’m right there with Anne and her hair’s “wisdom highlights” 😉 at about a 9. It’s been quite an adventure watching God’s plan unfold but I’m mostly at peace. Thank you for a chance to win your book!

    • Karen Shiffler on

      9. I feel happy about my age. What’s keeping me from a 10 is more my panic of how quickly my children are growing!

  4. I think I am at about 5, sometimes I feel pretty good about being my age, and other times I just don’t. I like being over 40, but it can be a challenge too. I am sometimes the most annoying person in the world to my children who are mostly teens.

  5. Penny Doyle on

    I would have to say that I am at a 5 right smack in the middle of acceptance and denial. Some days are great and others not so much. My faith gets me through the good days but my fears make for some long ones. The more I reach out to our Lord, the more he pulls me through. When I let go of that grasp is when I slip and struggle to find my way back to letting it all being put in his hands.

  6. I’m probably a 2 🙁 I’m 39, turning 40 in November—my oldest daughter will turn 16 on the same day. Two milestone birthdays, but probably two very different perspectives. I’ve been told 40’s are a wonderful decade, and hopefully by November I’ll be ready to embrace it!

  7. Probably a 9. I am thankful for the wisdom, experience, and good friends God has gifted me to navigate this journey of life as a mom, wife, and faithful daughter. I have many years of child rearing ahead of me. I hope I take every moment in and become the woman God created me to be.

  8. I’m probably a 4 since in my head I think like I’m 24 but my body feels like I’m 44. Definitely caught up in the whirlwind of carpools and teenage activities. Some days I wish to go back to simpler times and other days I look forward to this coming season of high school for my kiddos. I pray every night over them that they become the Godly people He created them to be. Now if I could just figure out who He created me to be!

  9. I’m probably a 8! With 7 kids I feel like I have taken good care of myself (and my family). I don’t mind the gray hairs coming in because they are a my little streaks of hard work, wisdom (ha ha) and blessings from God.

  10. At 46, I’m an 8. Getting past the baby/toddler phases with my kids has made me a much more satisfied mom.

  11. I’m 46 and a string 7/8! Enjoying my 40’s and love seeing what my retired parents life looks like in their 60’s!

  12. Stacey irvine on

    Honestly 10. I’m turning 40 at the end of the year and I think I’m in a better (not perfect) state of life now than 10 years ago. Not that my 30s were bad, but I’ve learned a lot and am at a great place in family life.

  13. Trish Odom on

    I will be 49 this September. It’s starting to bother me but only to about a 3 or 4. I still feel like a 30 year old, no wrinkles and i expertly keep my gray at bay. I just can’t get it in my head that I am almost 50.

  14. Sara Narrow-LaPoint on

    I would say 10. I’m so thankful to be alive and healthy at 31. I always thought I’d feel so old when I hit 30, but I don’t! I feel like my faith is stronger, and I know more what I want from life.

  15. I would say I’m a 7. most days I don’t mind my age, it’s just a number. I just hate how as I age my kids are growing and getting older too!

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