Under the Laurel Tree: All about My New Book

Hi friends! Just wanted to pop in and let you all know that my next book, Under the Laurel Tree: Grieving Infertility with Saints Joachim and Anna, will be released TOMORROW October 29, 2019!

Infertility ranks among the hardest griefs a couple can face. Yet this painful issue is all too often neglected in both Church and society. Under the Laurel Tree traces one God-fearing couple’s journey through the emotional turmoil of childlessness. By following the story of Saints Joachim and Anna, this book helps individuals and couples navigate the loss inherent in infertility amid the pain of shame, separation, anger, bargaining, and blamelessness. In walking alongside Joachim and Anna, we encounter not only a life-giving template for grief, but also the path back to ourselves, our partners, and our God-given vocation of eucharistic thanksgiving.

To be part of the launch week festivities, I encourage you to subscribe to my personal blog, where I’ll share links, guest posts, and giveaways. There will also be fun stuff on my Facebook page and Instagram.

Who this book is for:

  • Couples (including men) who are dealing with or have dealt with infertility, including secondary infertility, multiple miscarriages, etc.
  • Singles who, along with desiring a partner, also grieve the absence of children in their lives
  • Friends, loved ones, clergy members, and others who wish to better support couples with infertility they know
  • Physicians and mental health professionals looking for resources to recommend to Christian patients/clients dealing with infertility, and
  • Anyone who wants to read a book about how to grieve well when life doesn’t go as planned, particularly in a marriage.

How You Can Help

As you can imagine, this was not an easy book to write and I’m putting my trust in readers and listeners to help get it out in the world–infertility is still in many ways a taboo topic. You can help by:

  • Following my page on Facebook and sharing posts related to this book with your networks
  • Reading the book even if you do not struggle with infertility–it is also intended for others in the Church so that we can be more supportive of folks in this predicament
  • Recommending the book to your priest or deacon–there are special resources and insights for clergy in the book
  • Requesting your parish carry the book in its library or book store. As one clergy member recently put it, “This is a book every parish should have a copy of.”
  • Asking your local library to place an order for this book (the Library of Congress control number is 2019950189)
  • Following me on Goodreads and adding the book to your “want to read” category
  • Rating and reviewing the book on Amazon.com if you do happen to read it–this helps more people find the book

But perhaps the biggest way you can help is simply by listening and remaning present to the burdens of others. We all carry hidden grief with us, whether due to infertility or some other tragedy in life. In infertility, as in these other griefs, we demonstrate Christian love not by offering advice or trying to “fix” other people’s crosses, but by offering a compassionate, quiet, prayerful presence. Let’s continue to do all we can to make the Church a place where people can find hope in the midst of grief.



  1. Buying right now– I’ve been waiting for this one. Heh– I clicked on last week’s new release thinking it was this one and found a pregnancy book instead! :-/

    1. Sorry, Tess! The book won’t be “out” until tomorrow. I think it already shows up on Amazon, but I’m not sure you can actually order it until tomorrow. I will definitely post the link here tomorrow, don’t worry 🙂

      I should also mention the book will be available on Audible very soon (just waiting for Audible to approve it), and I think on ebook as soon as the book releases tomorrow.

      1. Just a normal Monday-morning time warp. 🙂 It’s ordered now!
        One of the things I’m looking to see if how accessible your book might be for some of my Protestant friends, who have not had their own griefs adequately addressed by their churches.
        Happy launch week!

        1. Yes, let me know what you think! There is one chapter (ch. 2) that addresses some of the specific challenges Orthodox couples may face–some of which may not immediately pertain to Protestant folks. But aside from that, although I reference the Orthodox Church, the book should speak pretty widely, especially for folks who are grieving because they might be more willing to read something outside their denominational affiliation to find support. The bigger hurdle could be folks who are resistant to the idea of saints or apocryphal texts (the book is centered on a portion of the Protoevangelium of James).

          I don’t think any Christian denomination does a very good job of addressing infertility grief, so this is something that kind of extends beyond Orthodoxy. I’m interested in writing more on this subject, maybe even another book down the road that is more intentionally pan-Christian. We’ll see 🙂

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