The new memoir from the author of the bestselling
Here If You Need Me
Experienced boaters know not to head out onto the water without a working anchor and a cache of flares aboard. If you need help, an anchor will hold your vessel steady and a flare will catch the attention of those on shore. Kate Braestrup needed both anchor and flares when her first husband, Drew, died suddenly, leaving her to raise four kids. Her work as chaplain to the Maine Warden Service, supporting families whose loved one is lost to the wilderness or water, gave her the opportunity to empathize with others and reinvigorated her dedication to her children.
Now those children are grown, and Kate’s eldest son has joined the marines. As Kate faces the possibility of losing him to war, she contemplates these questions: Can she reconcile her desire to protect her children with her family’s legacy of service? Can any parent balance the joy of a child’s independence with the despair of letting go? As Braestrup grapples with faith and fear—inspired by the families she meets as a chaplain and by her son’s journey toward purpose and fatherhood—she sheds new light on the crises and rewards of parenting and puts into words the frustrations and small wonders we often cannot.
Brave, unflinching, and very funny, Anchor and Flares reminds us that the threats we cannot predict have the power to knit us together as much as to rip us apart and that, as parents, we are as often called upon to bear loving witness as to be a guiding light.
Advance praise for Anchor and Flares
Kate Braestrup is at the very top of her game with Anchor and Flares. She’s working to understand the very heart of parenthood—the weave of attachments that make it almost impossible to do what we know we must: let go.”
- Kelly Corrigan, author of Glitter and Glue and The Middle Place
Kate Braestrup is funny, reflective, and—above all—honest. In Anchor and Flares she has proven, once again, that she is a writer upon whom nothing is lost, even when her mind is reeling.”
- Phyllis Theroux, author of Night Lights: Bedtime Stories for Parents in the Dark
Reading Anchor and Flares is like having a fiercely compassionate and comically no-nonsense best friend meandering with you through meditations on faith, war, death, and parenting. ‘Why? Why? Why?’ Braestrup asks a million times, in a million different ways. Sometimes the answer is courage or grief or hope. But usually it’s love.”
- Catherine Newman, author of Waiting for Birdy
Inspired by her work as a chaplain, Kate Braestrup, the New York Times bestselling author of Here If You Need Me, has written a compelling new book on prayer for which her devoted readers have been clamoring. In BEGINNER'S GRACE: Bringing Prayer to Life, Braestrup explains what prayer is and explores the many ways that we can pray. A new kind of prayer book - made for those who might not pray or even know how, Braestrup includes many examples of prayers to draw from and explains how and why the practice of prayer can open a space in our busy lives for mindfulness, gratitude, contentment, and compassion toward others.
As a chaplain to the Maine Warden Service, the agency that polices the state's roughly 17 million acres of wild land, Braestrup accompanies game wardens to accidents and drowning, and on search-and-rescue operations in the Maine woods. "A chaplain doesn't have a leisurely hour in which to explain God," writes Braestrup. "The suffering is right there, and its urgency demands an immediate response. We don't give a lot of sermons out in the field, or in the woods or streets. Instead, we are called upon to offer the spiritual equivalent of triage. We're asked to pray."
And pray she does. Offering clear models and practical suggestions for making your own and your family's prayers meaningful and satisfying, Braestrup offers prayers for situations in which words might fail: times of anxiety, helplessness, or grief. Beautifully written, with her astonishing signature stories of faith in action in real life, Beginner's Grace explains how to tap into grace with prayer - as well as how to pray, when to pray, and what to pray.
In her award-winning memoir Here If You Need Me, Kate Braestrup won the hearts of readers across the country with her deeply moving and deftly humorous stories of faith, hope, and family. Now, with her inimitable voice and generous spirit, she turns her attention to the subjects of love and commitment in Marriage and Other Acts of Charity.
As a minister, Kate Braestrup regularly performs weddings. She has also, at forty-four, been married twice and widowed once and accordingly has much to say about life after the ceremony. From helping a newlywed couple make amends after their first fight to preparing herself for her second marriage, Braestrup offers her insights and experiences on what it truly means to share your life with someone, from the first kiss to the last straw, for better or for worse.
Part memoir, part observation of modern marriage, and part meditation on the roles of God and love in our everyday lives, Marriage and Other Acts of Charity is a unique and unforgettable look into why, and how, we love each other and proves yet again why Kate Braestrup's writing is "inspirational in the best sense" (New York Daily News).
Here If You Need Me is the story of Kate Braestrup's remarkable journey from grief to faith to happiness - as she holds her family together in the wake of her husband's death, as she pursues his dream of becoming a minister, and as she ultimately finds her calling as a chaplain to search-and-rescue workers. Her story is dramatic, funny, and deeply moving - an uplifting account of finding God through helping others and of the small miracles that happen every day when a heart is grateful and love is restored.
Braestrup's insightful essays are extraordinarily well written, mingling elements of police procedural and touching love story with trenchant observations about life and death…with compassion and a concern for the big questions inescapably provoked by tragic events."
-PW (starred review)