Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Standing Strong - Theresa Linden - The West Brothers Book 4

Standing Strong
The West Brothers Book 4
Theresa Linden
Linden Publishing

ISBN 9780997674729

I only discovered Theresa Linden’s writings earlier this year, I have now read 7 of her published novels and short stories and have loved them all. I must admit I am reading this specific series out of order. I have read book 1 Roland West Loner, which was the first book by Linden I read, and now have read book 4. Though there are indications of some of what happened in the two books I skipped, this book is more than strong enough to read on its own. In an earlier review I compared Linden's writings to Madeleine L'Engle and Lois Lowry and the more of her writings I read the more I stand by that statement. If we were to do a side by side comparison between L'Engle's main series and Linden's then the Chasing Liberty Series would be the Kairos series and the West Brothers would be the Chronos series. And this book is an amazing read. Unlike the book focused on Roland that I have read this one is based mainly on the oldest of the west brothers, Jarret and his trying to make some pretty big changes in his life. The secondary plot is about his twin brother Keefe who is trying to discern his vocation, specifically regarding the Franciscans. 

As an older guy I can really relate to each of the West brothers. I can see myself in each of them at different points in my life. I can see their struggles, their striving, their growth and think back on my own life. I wish that there had been some amazing Catholic novels like this book and this series when I was younger. Reading stories like this might have helped me not make some of the mistakes I have made along the way. And to be honest I cannot wait until my children are a little older to share these books with them. I look forward to reading these books again with my daughters and my son, and hope they will lead to discussions about following God even when it gets hard. 

In this volume in the series Jarret is making big changes in his life. But after spending a long time trying to build a specific reputation, and having made many mistakes along the way. Now he is trying to make changes. He has a planned meeting with their parish priest. But a chance encounter with a girl; and a fight at school seem to be setting him back on his old path. Can he stand strong and turn it around? Or will be slide down that slippery slope again and fall back into old habits and patterns. His twin brother Keefe on the other hand is struggling in an entirely different way. He is really feeling called to join the Franciscan Friars. He is trying to simplify his life. He has uncluttered his room. He also rearranged it so that he can have a prayer corner. And he really wasn’t to go on a discernment retreat but is not sure how to broach the subject with his father. 

This book deals with a lot of issues; including vocational discernment, making personal changes, defending your family, and family learning to trust after years of mistrust. The relationships between the brothers changes drastically over the span of the novel. It is interesting to watch each of the three as they grow and change. Now the West brothers are not exactly what you would call normal. First they live in a castle. Second they have travelled the world on digs before their mother passed away. They have had tutors, and keep horses. And each of the three has a different reputation. Combine all of that with something being up with their father and you have an amazing read.

This book was an amazing read. The more of Linden's writings that I read; the more I want to read.  This is an excellent book by an incredible author so check it out. Her handling of faith in her fiction is masterful. I really look forward to sharing her works with my children when they are older, which is the highest praise I can give a book. And I highly recommend this book and to be honest anything written by Linden!

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

Books by Theresa Linden:
Chasing Liberty Series:

01 Chasing Liberty
02 Testing Liberty
03 Fight For Liberty
Bound to find Freedom - Short Story

West brothers Series:
Roland West Loner
Life-Changing Love
Battle for His Soul

Standing Strong

Other Books:
A Symbol of Hope - Short Story
A Battle for the Faith (with John Paul Wohlscheid)

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

A Late Supper And New Favourite Cheese!

A Late Supper And New Favourite Cheese!

I do not normally write food posts, unless I am working on new soup, smoothie or juice recipes. But I need to tell a story about cheese. Last year I drove with friends from Waterloo, Ontario to Montreal, Quebec and back in the same day. We were going to pick up a car that had broken down. While in Montreal my friends in-laws took us out for lunch. But also send us home with a packed back for eating on the way home. That bag included some dried meats, some cold cuts, pitas, and this cheese I had never had before. The cheese was amazing it was white, squeaky, peppery (at least I thought it was pepper.) This amazing cheese came back to mind recently and I went on the quest to find it. First asking an aunt and uncle who are cheese lovers. But they came up blank. I then approached the friend whom I had travelled with. Eventually I found the name Twisted cheese. I picked some up today while out with the guys at work for lunch at a Shawarma place near work. It was even better than I had remembered.

So tonight I had a late supper it consisted of:
Twisted Cheese
Gluten Free Crackers
Brew Dr. Kombucha

It was a great meal was only missing some tomato, olives and pickled turnip. But that is the story of my new favorite cheese and I look forward to trying different brands, I understand some use different seeds and quantity can vary also. If you love cheese, especially curds you owe it to yourself to try this firm unripened cheese it is amazing!

Monday, 16 October 2017

In a Kilt on a Fall Day

In a Kilt on a Fall Day

Name: Steven R. McEvoy
Age: 50ish
Roman Catholic
Heritage: Scottish/Irish
Born: South Eastern Ontario
Interest: Rugby, Reading, Writing, Poetry, Winter Sports,
               Water Sports, Working out, Hiking, Camping.

Guiding Questions:

Who are you?
What do you want?
Where are you going?
Who do you serve?
Who do you trust?

Daily Goals:

  1. To get enough sleep.
  2. To eat right & Exercise daily.
  3. To refuse to be a perfectionist.
  4. To carefully control finances.
  5. To ask for help when needed.
  6. To pray and read the Bible daily.
  7. To not pressure self into planning
        entire life today.


To live life to the full, while finding balance between
body, mind and spiritual development .


  To love and serve God, well all of my days .

"Eight Principles to Live Your Life by:
     1. I will do all things as unto the lord.
     2. I will live in the light of the judgement seat of Christ.
     3. I will consider my weaker brother in all I do.
     4. I will do nothing unless I'm sure that it's right to do.
     5. I will do all things to the glory of my God.
     6. I will avoid what may appear wrong even if I know it's not.
     7. I will abstain from things which culd enslave me.
     8. I will seek always to do what I believe Jesus would do."
-Dr. James MacDonald


3 Children
2 Brothers, Robert James & John Mitchell
Step Brother, David
Step Sister, Nichole
Adopted Sister, Mariah
I am the oldest of the 6.

"Bear and Forebear"
"Give and Forgive"
The McEvoy Clan Motto
and the MacLennan Clan from my maternal side is

"Dum Spiro Spero" In Latin
"Fhads is beo bin dochas" in Gaelic
"While I have breath I have hope"

Note: Top Photo fall of 2010. Wedding Photo March 27th 2003. Scout Leader Spring of 1989. Bottom photo fall of 1988 High School graduation (First time I wore my kilt.).

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2017

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2017

Today I had the privilege of altar serving two masses. At the 11 am mass today we celebrated the 15th Anniversary of Polish Pallotines serving in the Diocese of Hamilton, and specifically at St. Agnes. At that 11 am mass Bishop Douglas Crosby celebrated. But I served the 9am mass as the only altar server, and again the 7pm mass with my son. My Family had committed to help cover the 9am mass, but both my oldest were sick this morning. By the evening mass my son really wanted to come and serve with me. St. Agnes is also celebrating 50th years as a parish. It is a great parish to be a part of and I love spending time here with my children.

Note: Link to other posts about St. Agnes Parish.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Product Review - Organic Raw Cacao Nibs - Viva Naturals

Organic Raw Cacao Nibs
1 lb
Viva Naturals

Over the last 6 months I have tried over a dozen products from Viva Naturals I have been trying them since their entrance into the Canadian Market Place earlier this year. I find that overall all they are of superior quality and value than many other brands of similar products on the market. And these are the best Cacao Nibs I have ever used. Viva Natural's have been around since 2011, previously as Viva Labs, south of the border. Viva Naturals is working to become an all-around health and wellness company.  They have a wide product range that includes; nutritional supplements, organic food, and beauty products to essentials oils. Their goal is to help you reach your wellness goals. And now thankfully they are expanding into the Canadian market place, with this and other great quality products. I have had the advantage of receiving a number of their products to try at the same time. And I have used many of them by themselves or in combination with each other. I have been impressed with each of them, but enough about Viva Naturals as a company and on to reviewing this specific product the Organic Cacao Nibs.  

How I tested this product:
In Smoothies
In Trail Mix
Breakfast Bowls
By Themselves
On top of frozen yogourt

Product Specifics:
QAI Certified Organic
Non-GMO Project Verified
Sourced from Sacred Criollo Beans
Ancient Superfood
Healthy Alternative to Caffeine
Source of Theobromine, Antioxidants and Essential Nutrients
Cuts Sugar Cravings

Product Features:
Boosts Energy Naturally
Improves Heart Health
Dense Nutritional Value

Great taste

Rough uneven size
Sharp (Piece the bag them came in)

Over the last 10 years I have used about a few varieties of Cacao Nibs, from well-known brands and the bulk section at the store. And I must state that these are the best. 
As I have stated before over the last few months I have had the opportunity to try 17 different products from Viva Naturals. I have been impressed with them all! These Organic Cacao Nibs are a great product and I trust this product and I trust and a brand I trust! These products are now available in Canada currently through the Amazon Marketplace. This is a great product at good price, looking forward to trying more products as they make their way to the Canadian Market.

Viva Naturals Reviews:
Supplements and Nutritional:
Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, 16 Ounce
Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, 32 Ounce
Organic Ground Flax Seed
Organic Goji Berries
Maca Powder
Coconut Flour: Non-GMO and Gluten-Free
Royal Quinoa Whole Grain
Chia Seeds
Organic Raw Cacao Nibs

Cacao Powder
Krill Oil 1250 milligram
Sweet Almond Oil 16 fl oz
Argon Oil 4oz

Essential Oil Difusers:

Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser 300ml, Ash Zen Model
Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser 400ml, Pine Tranquil Model
Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser 400ml, Espresso Tranquil Model