Monday, 20 November 2017

Motherhood isn't for Sissies

Motherhood isn't for Sissies

My wife wrote this earlier today. I share it here with her permission. 

"A friend said to me recently that Motherhood isn't for Sissies. Man, was she right. Motherhood is taking your child to a specialist appointment out of town at a terrible time of day, only to get news you don't want to hear. Motherhood is hiding your tears so that your child doesn't also get upset. Motherhood is driving home again in heavy traffic while your child throws up in the back. Motherhood is trying to tell your child that the paper bag they just threw up into is going to burst all over them. Motherhood is trying to get your soiled child out of their pants and into another seat while driving down a busy highway (o.k. traffic was basically stopped, but still). Motherhood is getting your sweater off so that your pantless child behind you can stay warm while you drive home with the windows down in 6 degree weather. Motherhood is not getting upset at having to clean the soiled car so that your child will not feel worse than they already do. Motherhood is summoning the ability to be interested in your other children when your brain just wants to shut down for a few minutes. Motherhood is beautiful, difficult, rewarding, exhausting and it is not for Sissies."

Sunday, 19 November 2017

DOCAT: Catholic Social Teaching for Youth - YOUCAT

DOCAT: Catholic Social Teaching for Youth
Bernhard Meuser (Editor)
Ignatius Press
ISBN 9781621640493
eISBN 9781681497051
ASIN B01M10336X

This past year I decided to read through the Catechism in a year. And I ended up ahead of schedule, so when I finished the Catechism of the Catholic Church, I moved on to The Compendium to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. So I decided to read DOCAT: Catholic Social Teaching for Youth and I really enjoyed it. In fact I enjoyed it so much I am now reading YOUCAT: The Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church. But back to DOCAT: Catholic Social Teaching for Youth.

Like many other Catechisms this one is in the question and answer format. The subtitle of this book is ‘What to do?’ It focuses on the social teachings of the Catholic Church. There are four symbols in the book. A Bible which highlights passages from the bible. Quotations which highlights specific meanings in the church. A Picture of a church which contains magisterial teachings. And an Exclamation Mark where words are defined or explained. There are also three colored arrows blue for the Compendium of Social Doctrine, grey for the Catechism, and Yellow for quotes from YOUCAT.

Each chapter has a number of points the questions and answers, And then there are a number of quotes from church documents to highlight those teachings. The chapters in the book are:

1 God’s Master Plan: Love 1-21
2 Together We Are Strong: The Church’s Social Mission 22-6
3 Unique and Infinitely Valuable: The Human Person 47-83
4 The Common Good, Personhood, Solidarity, Subsidiarity: The Principles of the Church’s Social Teaching 84-111
5 The Foundation of Society: The Family 112-133
6 Occupation and Vocation: Human Work 134-157
7 Welfare and Justice for All: Economic Life 158-194
8 Power and Morality: The Political Community 195-228
9 One World, One Humanity: The International Community 229-255
10 Safeguarding Creation: The Environment 256-269
11 Living in Freedom from Violence: Peace 270-304
12 Personal and Societal Commitment: Love in Action 305-328

Though this book is written for youth and young adults, I found it well worth the time and effort to read it. The social teachings of the Catholic Church have been a growing focus for a long time now. In this book you will get a concise clear picture of those teachings, and though the quotes from church documents see some of their progression and refinement over time. This is the first book from the YOUCAT series that I have read but I know I will be reading many more. And in fact I cannot wait for the last few to be available in English in North America.

A great read, informative and challenging. This book was so good that before I even finished it I had picked up YOUCAT and the YOUCAT Bible to have to read as soon as I finished this one. It is a wonderfully informative book and part of what looks like an incredible series!

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

Books from YOUCAT:
YOUCAT: The Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church
YOUCAT: Study Guide
YOUCAT: Youth Prayer Book
YOUCAT: Confirmation Book: Student Book
YOUCAT: Confession Book
DOCAT: Catholic Social Teaching for Youth
DOCAT Study Guide: What to Do?

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Some Days

Some days ...

...no matter how much goes on you can only smile, be thankful, and pray.
Today was one of those days.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Holy Desperation: Praying as If Your Life Depends on It - Heather King

Holy Desperation: Praying as If Your Life Depends on It
Heather King
Loyola Press
ISBN 9780829445145

The title of this book ‘Holy Desperation’, grab my attention immediately. Also the subtitle of the book ‘Praying as If Your Life Depends on It’ spoke to me. There have been times where all that has kept me going is prayer; even times when my faith was a struggle, prayer got me through some really tough times. So I dove in with great anticipation. But the book was not quite what I expected. But the book was not as what I expected it to be. The book was far more autobiography, and about service, reaching out and going beyond your comfort zone than it was a guide to praying especially in hard times. Now don’t get me wrong there was a lot about praying. And specifically praying when you don’t think you should, or don’t feel you should.

The chapters in this book are:
About Fr. Damien
Part One Crisis.
1 The Prayer of Desperation
2 Grabbed by the Throat
3 What Do We Mean by God?
4 The Set-Aside Prayer
Part Two Death: To Our Old Ideas and Supposed Unlovability 
5 “Stay Awake!”.
6 Where Two or More Are Gathered in My Name
7 I Call You Friends .
8 Go to Your Room and Pray in Secret
9 Let Him Who Is without Sin Cast the First Stone .
Part Three Resurrection: Getting Radically in on New Life
10 You Cannot Serve Both God and Mammon
11 Tempted in the Desert
12 Store Up Your Treasure in Heaven.
13 Unless a Grain of Wheat Fall to the Ground
About the Author

The author writes from personal experience. And it is experience that is very different than the road most of us will walk. But heathers vulnerability, openness, and transparency about her own struggles and the way her own prayer life has changed and progresses serve as an example to us all. It serves as an example of not just wanting prayer in our life, but about walking the walking. Growing prayer as part of our life, day in and day out. About waling prayer.

This was my introduction to the writings of Heather King. But it will not be the last. The writing style is very engaging. It is easily accessible. I really enjoyed this book and immediately though of a few friends who would enjoy it and a few others who would really benefit from reading it. So sometimes when you get what you are not expecting it is exactly what you need, and that is how I feel about this book!

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

Books by Heather King:
Holy Desperation: Praying as If Your Life Depends on It
Parched: A Memoir
Shirt of Flame: A Year with St. Therese of Lisieux
Redeemed: A Spiritual Misfit Stumbles Toward God, Marginal Sanity, and the Peace That Passes All Understanding
Stumble: Virtue, Vice, and the Space Between
Stripped: Cancer, Culture, and the Cloud of Unknowing
Loaded: Money and the Spirituality of Enough
Holy Days and Gospel Reflections
Devil's Hoof

Thursday, 16 November 2017

The Mystery of the Honeymoon - Manuel Alfonseca - The Sleuths of the Spanish Transition Book 4

The Mystery of the Honeymoon
The Sleuths of the Spanish Transition Book 4
Manuel Alfonseca


So far this year I have read five books by Manuel Alfonseca, and of those five four are from this series. I have greatly enjoyed these books and look forward to reading many more books by Manuel in the years to come. This specific series The Sleuths of the Spanish Transition has been wonderful to read. And this fourth volume just recently became available in English. I have really enjoyed this series, and was hoping there would be more books. The good news is there is a fifth book coming. The bad news is that is the planned end of the series.

This book is set several years after the first book in the series. Gonzalo has finished his studies. And as can be guessed by the title this mystery takes place during his and Vicky's honey moon. It seems that mysteries keep finding them. In this case as they are leaving for Paris on their honeymoon they are approached by Inspector Gutierrez, and he asks them the favour of delivering a package to an Inspector Lemoine. Gutierrez is pressed for time on a case and cannot wait for normal post, and does not trust a standard messenger. But he does trust the young couple who have helped solve some cases with him in the past.

From the moment they accept the little package things change. From someone trying to slip into their birth on the train, and an attempted purse snatching as they arrive at their hotel, to their new hotel room being ransacked while they are both out. They meet a rich British benefactor who appears to be helping them. They hear rumours about a master criminal. And all the while they find themselves deeper and deeper in the case and less on a honeymoon away together.

In this case both Gonzalo and Vicky need to use all their skills. Each of them have second languages and needs to carry on some of their conversations while traveling. Both must use all their reasoning to piece together the clues, especially once they are separated. They need to solve the mystery before they become either the next victims or take the blame for the crimes. 

This was another really fun read. And I eagerly anticipate book 5. This book is available in English and is translated by the author himself. I still wish and hope that the series will be extended beyond the current 5 planned and penned volumes. They are great clean fun mysteries to read! 

I continue to stand by my statement that if you are a fan of Coelho, Marquez or Saramago you owe it to yourself to give this author a try! And if you are not fans of those three buy love a great adventure or mystery novel, give this series a go, they are great reads and I am sure you will not be disappointed! I must state clearly that I highly recommend this whole series, and specifically this book.

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

Books by Manuel Alfonseca in English:
Descent into the Hell of Venus
Jacob's Ladder
Under an Orange Sky
The History of the Earth-9 Colony
The Ruby of the Ganges
The Last Dinosaur
Ennia in Faerie
The Heirloom of King Scorpion
Beyond the Black Hole
The Water of Life

The Sleuths of the Spanish Transition Series:
Quetzalcoatl's Zahir

The Mystery of the Haunted House
The Mystery of the Sapphire Bracelet
The Mystery of the Honeymoon
The Mystery of the Egyptian Vulture Country House

Chronicles of the Magic Jigsaw Puzzle Series:
The Journey of Tivo the Dauntle
The Mystery of the Black Lake
The Silver Swan
The Secret of the Ice Field

Human Cultures & Evolution
World Population: Past, Present, & Future