Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Pictures of Me - Marilee Haynes

Pictures of Me
Marilee Haynes
Pauline Books and Media
ISBN 9780819860194

eISBN 9780819860200

This was the second book by Marilee Hayes that I have read in as many weeks. I absolutely love her writing style. She writes in the style of realistic fiction, no fantasy, no science fiction, no super powers, but good clean down to earth stories. Over the last year I have read almost 20 books by Andrew Clements, he writes in a very similar style, realistic fiction, and most of his books teach a lesson in subtle ways. Haynes writing is much like Clements but with the Catholic undertones that just take the stories a little deeper. This story could be about kids you know, in your family or at your parish. The story is realistic, relevant and just an excellent read!

There are 48 days until the end of the school year. Annie, an eleven year old, must complete a self-portrait project for her end of the year project. But two of the girls in her class are bullies and seem intent on being mean to just about everyone. There is a new girl in class, Lacey, but Annie cannot seem to figure her out. Annie feels like it is all going sideways on her. And on top of that her best friend is having problems at home, and Annie seems to be missing the marks on the friendship front. 

In this story we encounter bullying, dealing with embarrassment, family problems and more. And Haynes does it in such a way that you are drawn in and really care about the characters.  And the group study questions at the end of the book can make this a great tool for working through at home or in the classroom. And while the setting in the book is a Catholic school, I really believe that an Christian, or really anyone who interacts with young people could find a place to use this book with the children in their lives.

My only real regret with this book is that to date Haynes only has three books in print! I wish there were more books I could read and pick up for our church and school libraries. But hopefully soon we will have more from this emerging author. This was an outstanding read about friendship, faith, finding your place, and finding your voice to be able to express who you are. I loved reading this and cannot wait to read it with my younger children as they get a little older. This is one of the best middle grade books I have read in years! 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Marilee Haynes:
a.k.a. Genius
Genius Under Construction
Pictures of Me

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Friendship, Mentor, and Teacher - Dr. Peter Frick

Today I had the pleasure of having lunch with one of my mentors and friends Dr. Peter Frick. I have had a photo of him of my desk for almost 19 years now. today I took a new one to replace the old. I did my first course at UW with Peter in the spring of 1998 and my final course in the fall of 2009. The first course was RS209 Paul's Life and Letters and the last course was an independent reading course on the works and life of J.F. Powers.

I have written about peter before:

It has been a blessing knowing this man, having worked for him part time and getting together from time to time for mentoring, conversation and sometimes just food or coffee. 

If you want to read any of my essays you can find them here. Or my writings on Powers here.

Monday, 20 March 2017

20 Answers God - Trent Horn - 20 Answers Series from Catholic Answers Book 12

20 Answers - God
20 Answers Series from Catholic Answers Book 12
Trent Horn
Catholic Answers Press
ISBN 9781941663653
eISBN 9781941663677

This was the second of the 20 Answers series that I have read that was written by Trent Horn. Trent Horn has written almost half of the 20 Answers series books. This lent I am doing the 20 Answers Challenge from Catholic Answers Series. This book on God in particular and the series in general are great reads. And if the other books by Horn in the series are as good as this and the other I have read they will be excellent reads as well. But back to this specific book, the sections in this book are:

1. What is God?
2. What are some false views of God?
3. What are God's key attributes?
4. Isn't it impossible for a being to be "all-powerful" or "all-knowing?"
5. How can God be all-good when there is so much evil and suffering in the world?
6. Hasn't science made God unnecessary?
7. Does the universe provide evidence that God exists?
8. Does the Big Bang provide evidence for the existence of God?
9. Did God create the world?
10. Doesn't evolution disprove the existence of God?
11. Do I need to believe in God in order to be a good person?
12. Does God have a body? Is God a "he"?
13. Is the God of theistic philosophers the same as the God of the Bible?
14. Can human beings become gods?
15. Does God perform miracles?
16. What is the Trinity?
17. How do we know that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are divine?
18. How is it possible for God to become a man?
19. What are some common errors about the Incarnation?
20. How can I know that God loves me?

In the introduction Trent states: "This booklet is an answer to anyone with that false, too-small idea of God: to those who say God doesn't exist or that he's just the universe; that God is a physical being like us; that God created the universe but doesn't care about it anymore.
In response to these views and others, I'll explain why Christians believe in the one true God, with evidence from reason, Sacred Scripture, and Sacred Tradition that gives us good reason to believe in the God who is, as the Athanasian Creed tells us, "one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit . . . all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal."" And he goes on to do just that.

In the first chapter Trent states: "According to the Western philosophical tradition, God is necessary (he cannot fail to exist), infinite (without limit), eternal (not bound by time), immaterial (not bound by space), omnipotent (all-powerful), and omniscient (all-knowing). Finally, God is all-good: the perfect embodiment of the virtues of love, justice, and every other good we know." He also goes on to highlight the key false views of God, those being Polythiesm, Pantheism, and, Deism. And next he focuses on the key attributes of God Simple, Infinite, Necessary, Immutable, One, Eternal and immaterial, Omnipresent, and All-powerful and All-knowing. He also deals with questions around suffering, creation, evolution, miracles, the incarnation, and the trinity.

Trent Horn in this volume draws extensively from church history, Christian writers through the ages. He also draws from St. Thomas Aquinas and Saint Ignatius a number of times. This book is just under 65 pages. And Trent Horn does a masterful job or presenting arguments for the Christian God. 

This book is an excellent read. I look forward to reading more books in this series and other books by Trent Horn. It is written to help us understand our faith and defend it. Consider taking the challenge and read all 20 books it will change your life!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Note 2: Lent 2017 this is an amazing series of books is being offered at a 50% discount through the end of Lent 2017. But the challenge is to read the 20 books in the 20 Answers series over Lent. That is right you can get all 20 physical books or all 20 eBooks for just $34.95! If you want a way to go deeper this Lent give this series a try! #20AnswersChallenge

20 Answers Series:
20 Answers Abortion - Trent Horn
20 Answers Angels & Demons - Fr. Mike Driscoll
20 Answers Atheism - Matt Fradd
20 Answers Death & Judgement - Trent Horn
20 Answers Divorce & Remarriage - Jim Blackburn
20 Answers End of Life - Jason Negri
20 Answers Faith & Science - Trent Horn
20 Answers God - Trent Horn
20 Answers Islam - Andrew Blezad
20 Answers Jehovah's Witnesses - Trent Horn
20 Answers Mary - Tim Staples
20 Answers Miracles - Karlo Broussard
20 Answers Mormonism - Trent Horn
20 Answers Salvation - Jimmy Akin
20 Answers Scripture and Tradition - Jim Blackburn
20 Answers The Bible - Trent Horn
20 Answers The Eucharist - Trent Horn
20 Answers The Papacy - Jim Blackburn
20 Answers The Real Jesus - Trent Horn
20 Answers The Sacraments - Fr. Mike Driscoll

Other Books from Catholic Answers:
Hard Sayings: A Catholic Approach to Answering Bible Difficulties - Trent Horn
A Daily Defense: Apologetics Lessons for Every Day - Jimmy Akin
The Apostasy That Wasn't: The Extraordinary Story of the Unbreakable Early Church - Rod Bennett
Answering Atheism - How to Make the Case for God with Logic and Charity - Trent Horn
Persuasive Pro Life: How to Talk About Our Culture's Toughest Issue - Trent Horn and Fr Frank Pavone
The Protestant's Dilemma: How the Reformation's Shocking Consequences Point to the Truth of Catholicism - Devin Rose
Behold Your Mother: A Biblical and Historical Defense of the Marian Doctrines - Tim Staples
Handed Down: The Catholic Faith of the Early Christians - James L. Papandrea
Demons, Deliverance, Discernment: Separating Fact from Fiction about the Spirit World - Fr. Mike Driscoll
Navigating the Tiber: How to Help Your Friends and Family Journey Toward the Catholic Faith - Devin Rose
100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura - Dave Armstrong
The Drama of Salvation: How God Rescues You from Your Sins and Brings You to Eternal Life - Jimmy Akin
The Truth is Out There (Brendan and Erc in Exile Book 1 - Brother Amadeus and Amadeus
Memorize the Reasons! Defending the Faith with the Catholic Art of Memory - Kevin Vost
Marching Orders: A Tactical Plan for Converting the World to Christ - Dan McGuire

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Prayer of the Day - Prayer Of Humility Daily

Prayer Of Humility Daily

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto thine.
From the desire to be esteemed, deliver me.
From the desire to be honored, deliver me.
From the desire to be praised, deliver me.
Teach me to accept humiliation, contempt, rebukes,
being slandered, being ignored, being insulted, being wronged,
and being belittled.
Jesus, grant me the grace that others be admired more than I;
that others be praised and I unnoticed;
that others be preferred to me in everything;
that others be holier than I, provided I become as holy as I should;
that I might imitate the patience and obedience of Your mother, Mary.


Note: This is not an easy prayer to pray, it comes from this book, in it Rev Morrow challenges us to pray this prayer. I have prayed it for over a year now. It really helps change our perspective on things.

Overcoming Sinful Anger:
How to Master Your Emotions and Bring Peace to Your Life
Rev. T. G. Morrow
Sophia Institute Press

Catholic Faith Alive
ISBN 9781622822300
eISBN 9781622822317

The photo is Saint Josemaria Escriva and Blessed Alvara del Portillo made by Oremus Crocheted Saints. I believe both of them would appreciate this prayer.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Brigid and the Butter - Pamela Love and Apryl Stott

Brigid and the Butter:
A Legend about St. Brigid of Ireland
Pamela Love
Apryl Stott (Illustrator)
Pauline Books and Media
ISBN 9780819812339

This book has become an immediate family favorite. We have read it more than a dozen times in under a week. The story and the illustrations are loved by all three of my children ages 10, 9 and 6. In fact I might need to get a second copy of this book because both my girls want to carry it around the house. Pamela Love in her first book for Pauline and from our reading we hope there will be many more.

This is the retelling of one of the legends of St. Brigid of Ireland. And it is wonderfully retold. The story of the young slave girl who must decide between sharing what little she has, or possibly going hungry makes a very hard choice. In part he choice is inspired by a sermon from Bishop Patrick (St. Patrick) preaching on the loaves and the fish.

It is an inspiring story. Every time we read it we end up discussing giving, and giving from what we have. We also talk about sermons and following God's leading no matter the challenge.

The illustrations by April Stott are incredible. My youngest has asked for a framed version of the portrait of St. Brigid from the end of the book. My youngest is constantly carrying this book around and looking at it, and asking someone to read it to her. She just loves the pictures and the story.

My children also love the biography of St. Brigid that is at the end of the book, and also the prayer to Saint Brigid. Overall this is a wonderful book and we highly recommend it.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!