Saturday, 30 June 2007

Sixtyfive Roses: A Sister's Memoir by: Heather Summerhayes Cariou

Sixtyfive Roses: A Sister's Memoir
Heather Summerhayes Cariou

McArthur & Company

ISBN 1552786110

When reading a biography, the hard part is often if you know the end of the story. This book is a powerful take of life, service, and a family that stood and faced a terrible disease and the medical community, and changed the odds, not only for their family member, but also for all families that deal with Cystic Fibrosis. This is a chronicle of a family's struggle against CF for 22 years. Our narrator, Heather Summerhayes, was 6 when her 4-year-old sister was diagnosed with CF, a disease that, at the time, her sister Pam pronounced as 'Sixtyfive Roses'.

At the time of Pam's diagnoses she was only given months to live. Yet the family believed differently and fought against it. Their mother promised that they would do all they could for sick little Pam and they did. The Summerhayes helped to create the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation with the assistance of the U.S. association and the Sick Kids hospital in Toronto. They set up a Financial Advisory Board as well as a Medical Advisory Board to help families deal with this disease and to raise funds for research for a cure for this illness.

This is a story of true Canadian strength - a story of hope, love and charity. This book, which spans years in a the Summerhayes' family life, will draw you into their struggle with prevailing opinions, medical advances, and always a struggle to love Pam, and seek what is best for her. Pam became one of a first wave of children diagnosed with this disease who lived into adulthood. Now the family and the medical staff were in new territory and 'all bets were off'.

Heather does an amazing job of recalling her family's life, living and dying with CF. She reflects in a sober way on the hard moments and celebrates the victories. The story is told in a well balanced way, not focusing just on the difficulties of living with a terminal disease. Heather tells the story of her cherished sister's life. A life lived to the full.

This book is a powerful story that will give you courage and faith to face the trials in your own life and the lives of the people who are dear to you. Celine Dion writes a moving forward.

The hard part of reading biographies is that you know where the story is going - yet with this one, the journey to get there is so moving and powerful, it will be great read.

(First Published in Imprint 2007-06-29 as in the book review column.)

Friday, 29 June 2007

Bone Marrow Part 2: The Callback

(This is the second in a three part series that chronicles the experience of donating bone marrow. Part 1 can be read here. Part 3 can be read here. Part 4 - The Follow-up.)

After the phone call!

Well, to be honest, my journey with the Unrelated Bone Marrow Donor Registry (UBMDR) [Note: The UBMDR has been renamed One Match.]actually began with a letter. About 13 years after I joined the registry, I came home to find a registered letter from the RCMP. The letter stated that the Canadian Blood Services (CBS) had contacted them because they had found a match and their contact information for me was no longer valid and would I contact the CBS if I wished to proceed.

At that time, the workup proceeded but the patient did not become well enough to attempt a transplant. The UBMDR, once you have a match and are willing to proceed, do a full medical workup. But under their guiding policies and regulations, they can only keep you on hold, and off the registry, for nine months. Once that time had passed, they contacted me to let me know that I was now back on the registry. It was a very emotional 9 months, waiting to see when the transplant would happen then hoping for the call each week, and being asked to hold for 3 months three times.

It was very disappointing and so very hard to think I had the right blood characteristics to help this person, but for medical reasons their doctors decided not to atte
mpt a transplant at that time.

Day1 - The Phone Rings
Then nearly two years later, the phone rang. It was CBS and I have had another match and was I still interested in donating bone marrow. Of course I was willing to try to help save a life. What greater privilege could we really have in life? Yet there was also the fear that something would again prevent it from happening.

Day 3 - Intake Interview
The major part of this first phone interview was a 10-page health questionnaire. The information gathered was similar to the questionnaire online that you do now to join the registry. This is just to verify that you are still healthy and do not contradict any of the regula
tions that would prohibit you from donating. I actually had the same intake nurse do the questionnaire this time as two years earlier. We went over the different procedures at the two collection centers near to me, and they asked if I had a preference. I was willing to go to whichever one could help the patient sooner. During this first phone interview, the donor coordinator from CBS also explained to me about the newer procedure to collect and to transplant stem cells - peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC). In this new procedure, a donor is given injections of granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF), which dramatically increases the number of stem cells available for transplant. Would I be willing to donate either bone marrow or PBSC, depending on the request from the recipient's doctors? Then we set up the appointments to take place to move the donation process ahead.

It was weird thinking about donating bone marrow through the blood, yet this procedure seemed much less invasive and it was still an opportunity to help someone.


Day 8 - Further Phone Interview
This phone call was much longer, and involved the decision to go ahead barring positive blood tests against me. We discussed which collection centre, the effects and process of taking G-CSF and how it would be administered. We set up a phone time for me and my escort, Grant Carioni. (Grant was my best man when I got married, and he is one of my daughter's godparents. He is one of my best friends.) Grant would book time off work and come, and even if the company would not let him take it, he would take it without pay. Without Grant's assistance, this would have been much harder on me and my family.

Day 16 - Phone Information Session With Me and Escort
This was again a long phone call; it was a 3-way call with Grant, the CBS donor coordinator and myself. We went through what the days of the donation would be like, exactly what would happen at the hospital, the possible side effects, and Grant's responsibilities as escort to look after me after the donation.

Day 17 - Travel to CBS Collection Centre and Bone Marrow Collection Center
This was a long day in the preparation for the donation. I went first thing in the morning to the collecting hospital for blood work; then we had a meeting with the nurse coordinator for collections at this hospital.

After that there was a meeting with a doctor who coordinates the collections. He had a long health questionnaire that was similar to the one done by the CBS on day 3, though a few of the questions were worded differently. The doctor told me that it was the hospital policy that they had to do the questionnaire orally and record the answers personally. Next he did a complete physical examine. By that time in his computer system, he had all of the blood work results.
He went over all of them with me; two were a little out of the ideal range and he said I should mention them to my family physician next time I saw him, but nothing that would prohibit the donation. Next he thanked me. He said the recipient was not one of their patients, but that having patients who were waiting for matches, on behalf of the staff he wanted to thank me for my willingness to donate.

Finally I met with the nurse who would perform the actual procedure of collecting the PBSC's. She showed me the room in which the procedure would take place, went over the whole procedure and what to expect, and how to prepare. Then she helped me with directions to the local CBS where I had another appointment for more blood work.

At the CBS, they collected about 12 vials of blood that would be used for disease testing both at CBS, per their policy, and vials for the receiving hospital to perform their own tests much like the collection hospital had earlier in the day. All of this is to verify that it will be a safe donation for the recipient. Both hospitals and the CBS all test the blood for health and diseases or illnesses, just to make sure this will be best for the recipient and for me the donor.

It was becoming so much more real; the donation was now just weeks away. Still there was the nagging feeling that, again, things would not happen. Or that something in my health would hold it back. Last time I only got as far as the blood work.

Day 28 - CBS Collection Centre
Made one more trip to the CBS for more blood work for them. Today is also the point of no return; at this point, the patient is far enough into their chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments to kill off their own bone marrow, that if I back out now, I will be ruining what health they have. It is also the point of no return for the patient; now they too have to go through with it. I find myself wondering what they are like, how old they are, what are their dreams and passions? Will it work? I also find myself praying for their health and for their friends and families to be strong and supportive.

Day 31 - Travel to Bone Marrow Collection Centre
It is time to begin the injections of the G-CSF to help my body produce extra peripheral stem cells. The injections must be given within one hour of the initial injection on each of the next five days. The first injection brings some nausea and the expected bone aches.

Day 32-34 - Injections
The Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) came to my house to administer the injections of the G-CSF. That is based on this collection center's policy. With the other local center, you are allowed to administer this yourself, and not have to rely on the VON's timeliness. The G-CFS has a number of possible side effects; with the dosages given for this purpose, the two most common are bone pain, and nausea, and I experienced both. The nausea more so the first day, but the bone pain and soreness got progressively worse over the 4 days. It was uncomfortable to get to sleep and the pain would migrate around the body as the G-CFS worked through the system. I personally found the pain was worse at sites of previous injuries - where I had old breaks from childhood, rugby and hockey, and also from the location of my sh
oulder surgery where they shaved off part of the acromion. Thinking about the recipient, and the treatments they were going through, and then the hope the transplant can offer, made the discomfort more than worth it.

Day 34 Travel to Collection City
Grant and I travelled to the collection center; we checked into the hotel, booked a 5:30 am wakeup call, and went to a nice pub for supper. Tomorrow the donation begins. I was excited, nervous, anxious. I found myself praying again and again for the recipient and success of the procedure. It had been difficult, as this day has approached, to think about anything else. I often thought of my own daughter and if she were ill, and how someone could help her by being uncomfortable for a few days.

Day 35 - Begin Collection
The day began with a 5:30 am wakeup call - quick showers, then we headed to the hospital. I had a knapsack packed with books, season one of Battle Star Galactica, and drinks. Grant packed some work and a book to read. Made a quick stop for a drive-thru breakfast and then it was on to the hospital. Grant and I had to be at the Hospital at 7am to begin preparations for the day's donations…but you will read more about that in part 3…

(Part 1 Can be read here. Continued in part 3.)
(First Published in Imprint 2007-06-20 as 'Saving a life: getting the callback.')

Note: In the United States of America the National Marrow Donor Program can be contacted at 612-627-5802 or on the web at www.NMDP.org for those who have asked for the information.

[Note: The UBMDR has been renamed One Match.]
Part 1 - There's more than blood in you to give
Part 2 - The Callback

Part 3- The Donation

Part 4- The Followup

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Cleaning up the blogRoll

It's time to clean up the blog roll. I find between everything going on in life I just can not stay on top of the blog roll. I want to read these blogs but there is only so much time. I am also going to clean up the blogrolls and remove abandoned blogs, and those I had classed in 2 different categories. But I wanted to create this post as a plug for all the blogs I have currently been reading as a thanks for the post you have shared. (I can also use this post to check in from time to time on those that get cut from my daily reading.)

Blogs I Read
Catholic Blogs

A Catholic Journey
A Catholic Mom Climbing the Pillars
Amateur Catholic - The B-Team
Approved Apparatins
Blazing Cat Fur
Bonfire of the Vanities - Fr. Martin Fox
Cafateria Catholic
Canadian Opus Dei
Cardinal Sean's Blog
Caritas Christi Urget Nos
Catholic Analysis
Catholic and Enjoying It!
Catholic Board
Catholic Catechism Dialog
Catholic Dads
Catholic Ragemonkey
Catholicism Holiness and Spirituality
Christifideles
Cosmos-Liturgy-Sex
Crux of the Matter
Curt Jester
Daily Mass Readings Podcast
Dappled Things
Fr. Richard Rego
Fr. William P. Hahn
Godzdogz - The English Dominican Studentate
God's Body - Matthew Lickona
God's Wonderful Love
Heirs in Hope
Hermeneutic of Continuity
Imago Dei
Irish Catholic and Dangerous
Kissing The Face Of God
la nouvelle theologie
Living Christ's Eucharist in Your Daily Life
Marian Devotion
Me monk. Me meander.
Michael Dubruiel
Once upon a time in opus dei
One Monk of the Order of St. Benedict
Open Book - Amy Welborn
Opus Dei Blogs
Opus Dei Facts
Profound Gratitude
Real Life Rosary
Relapsed Catholic
Saint of the Day Quote
Sister Allie's Schtick!
So Many Devotions...So Little Time
Some Have Hats
Spiritual Warfare
St. Blogs Parish
St. Peter's Helper
Standing on My Head
Swept Over
The Adventures of a Techie Nun
The Anchoress
The Cafeteria is Closed
The Catholic Witness
The Good News
The Ironic Catholic
The Shrine of the Holy Whapping
The Southern Catholic
The Truth Will Make You Free
Tomorrow's Trust
Understanding The Scriptures - The Catholic Board
Universalis - Daily Liturgy
Upper Canada Catholic
Vert - Catholic Converts and Reverts
Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor
Whispers in the Loggia
Young Fogeys

Friends Blogs
Batmoo's Photo's - Mo Jandga
Bics, Blahniks, and Bras - Ashley
Book Reviews and More
Brendan Pinto's Space
Brendan Pinto's Xanga
Casing The Joint - Em
Christine O.
Church History - D. Gray
Crazed Ninjas Anonymous - Brahm
Divine Serendipity - Ellen
Esgaroth's Journal - Alan
Everyone's a friggin' critic - Jacqueline McKoy
Grace 2 You - Jen
Hilltopia
I am an Ephesian's Dream - Tara
Java & Jesus - Denis Gray
Kat de jour
Kat for Christ
Liberdei - Justan Chan
Life to the Full - Jim Best
Mathematical Playground - Rob
McEvoy's Musings
Mitch McEvoy
Mr. Shabby's Pantry - Darren Hutz
Myriad Shades of Gray - Dennis Gray
New Hope Community Church
Rwanda Bound
Still Waking Up - Craig Martin
Sustainability is step one- Darcy Higgins
That Typing - Shivaun
The Carioni's Adopt
The Corch - Keith Little
The Green Window - Margaret Mansell
Tim B's Blog
Timmyson of the Physics Brigade
Valacosa's Thoughts - Michael L. Davenport

Book & Author Blogs
A Science Fiction Odyssey
Biblio's Bloggins
Coffee Em - Emma Bull
Daily Eudemon
Kathy Shaidle - Relapsed Catholic
Matthew Lickona - God's Body
Neil Gaiman
Noah benShea
Online Book Reviews
Podworld Exploring Self Publishing
Robert J. Sawyer - Scifi Writer
Robin Sharma
S. William Shaw
Sci Fi Catholic
Sci-Fi Reader
Scott D. Danielson
Shelly's Book Shelf
Steven K.Z. Brust
Ted Dekker
Thursday Night Gumbo
Tom Reagan
Warrior of Light - Paulo Coelho
Warrior of Light Blog - Paulo Coelho

Misc. Blogs
@ UW
Davinci Code - Opus Dei
In Tech We Trust
Pernell Goodyear
Rocky Balboa Production Blog
S. William Shaw
The Scotch Blog

Catholic Dads
Catholic Dads
Lunch Break
CatholicSphere
Ryan's Head
James B. Janknegts weBlog
Thoughts of a Regular Guy
Kyrie Eleison
Creative Minority Report
Be the Dad:Play the Dad
The Lapped Catholic
Recapturing Our Catholic Patrimony
The B-Movie Catechism
My Franciscan Diary
Real Life Rosary
Bettnet.com
Disciple of the Dumb Ox
Utter Muttering
On the Other Foot
Dyspeptic Mutterings
McGivney's Hands
The Daily Brouhaha
Catholic Pillow Fight
Deus Caritas Est
Pro Ecclesia*Pro Familia*Pro Civitate
SSA Catholic
Full Circle
Lost Lambs
Catholic Psychology
Unifying Life
Scorpion Stalking Duck
Roman Catholic by Choice
un-Muted Mumblings
Catholic Reply
Bruggie Tales
Book Reviews and More
Blue State Syndrome
man with black hat
Vox Clara
cum grano salis
Catholic Father
Luminous Miseries
Always Jason
The Troglodyte
My Hope is in Truth
Blah Blah Blah Blog
My Catholic Reflections
EyeHackerBlog

So thanks for all the great posts and I will check back from time to time.

Peace and Strength!
Yours, learning to be
Steven R. McEvoy

http://mcevoysmusings.ca My Homepage
http://bookreviewsandmore.ca My Complete Blog
http://mcevoysmusingsblog.ca The Catholic and Christian Reviews

"Among all the aims of our lives, there is only one which is truly necessary: it is to reach the goal which God has set for us; to attain to heaven, by living our own individual vocation to the full. In order to achieve this we have to be ready to lose everything else, to clear away anything which would obstruct our way. Everything must be a means for reaching God, and if anything whatever proves not to be a means but an obstacle, then we must put it right or give it up in sacrifice."
-Francis Fernandez
-In Conversation With God Vol #1 p.121

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

The Song by: Calvin Miller

The Song
Calvin Miller
IVP (InterVarsity Press)

ISBN 0877847851


This is the second book in The Singer Trilogy and it is an amazing book of poetry. This book is the retelling of the book of A
cts from the New Testament in a narrative poem. Miller writes in such a way that you cannot help but wonder if the Spirit helped guide the shaping of these books.

Many of the unique characters from the first book are back: The World Hater - Satan, The Healed Madman - Anthem, and others. This story tells an epic tale in a powerful way. Miller is a wordsmith who weaves a tale that you cannot put down and will not soon forget.

He writes explicitly Christian fantasy in the books in this series. He is also well known for his non-fiction and his Christian life application books.

The Song is also excellently illustrated by Chicago artist, Joe DeVelasco. The drawings done in pen and ink style add to the power of the story by transporting you into the events, and bringing the characters alive.

N
o matter how many times over I reread these books, they are always fresh and new, and draw me into the story of Christ in a different way. They are true classics and a treasure for any bookshelf. Each time I pick these up and reread them, I find a deepening of my relationship with Christ, and of my prayer life - for every time I do so, I am spontaneously drawn into prayer while reading them and for days afterwards.

Miller also has a Symphonic Trilogy that retells different stories from the book of Genesis. The two I owned were A Requiem for Love and A Symphony in Sand. As far as I can tell, there are also two stand-alone books by Miller in this style, that are often compared to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and Lewis's Narnia. They are The Valiant Papers, an account of a guardian angel's experiences, and The Philippian Fragment, the retelling of the book of Philippians from the New Testament. I have owned most of these and lent them out to not be returned. I now have The Singer Trilogy, Valiant, and Singer Trilogy 3-in-1 hardcover. Over the next few weeks I will review those I still have, but cannot encourage you strongly enough to pick them up if you find them in a used bookstore. They are all great.

Over the next few weeks, I plan on reviewing some of the others that I still have from this author. And if I find the others again, I will review them. (It has just been too long since I lent them out and did not get them back for me to review them from memory.)

Other Miller Books:
The Singer
The Song
The Finale
The Valiant Papers
The Philippian Fragment (Currently OP)

Monday, 18 June 2007

In Conversation With God: Volume #3: Ordinary Time: Weeks 1-12 By: Francis Fernandez Carvajal

In Conversation With God
Volume #3: Ordinary Time: Weeks 1-12
By: Francis Fernandez
ISBN 0906138221
Scepter Press
7 Volume Set
ISBN 0906138191
I must admit it is much harder writing reviews for each volume in this series than I thought. I want to do justice to each of the books. I want them to reflect the breadth and scope of
these amazing books. Yet I find that each time I try to write about one of them I keep coming back to the same words and same language.

This book is hard to review in that unlike any others in the series this book is always a split read. With the break each year for Lent and Eastertide, this book is always read in part, a break of 13 weeks. So I will just let it peak for itself. I will draw
extensive quotes from the book and let you decide from the quotes or the other reviews in this series.

"It is in the midst of our work, of our ordinary occupations, that Jesus invites us to follow him, so as to make him the centre of our very existence and serve him in the task of everlasting the world." P.2


"We must fix all our attention on the Son of God made Man as he works, and ask ourselves very often, what would Jesus do in my place? How would he do my work?" p.3

"Rather must work and prayer complement each other, in the same way that voices mingle with instruments to form a harmony. Work not only does not disturb the life of prayer, but becomes a channel for it." P.5

"He did this through the ineffable gift of divine filiation. He makes us his children. Our divine filiation is not merely a title; it is a real elevation, an effective transformation of our inmost being." P.8


"What ever our circumstances or the situations that affect us, we are children of God, and this firm conviction fills the whole of our life and our entire way of behaving." P.10


"The human heart is made to seek and to love God. And God facilitates this encounter, for he too seeks out each one of us through countless graces and a fatherly care which is filled with consideration and love." P.13

"Sometimes it is our friendship that will be the beginning of the way that leads to Christ; a well-timed comment, a book to reaffirm our friends' faith, some sound advice, a word of encouragement … and always the richness and example of upright conduct." P.17


And those are but a few of the things I underlined in the first 20 pages. With that much worth making not of can you imagine the value of a single volume or the whole series? It will be one of the best investments in your spiritual life, and a true treasure for your daily reading for years to come.

Scepter Press in North America has just reprinted them again last fall.

About the Complete Series:

The complete series is worth the money, time and effort. This is an amazing Catholic meditation and daily reflection series. The seven volumes have daily readings for each day of the church year, as well as volumes 6 & 7 being special Feast Days. The readings draw heavily upon the writings of Josemaria Escriva the founder of Opus Dei, Pope John Paul II, and the daily readings from the common liturgy for that day.
The Sundays have three sets of readings, depending on whether we are in year A, B, or C in the church readings. These devotions are all about 6 pages long and divided into 3 sections. They can all be read as a complete section, or part in the morning, midday and evening as they each have three sections. I find that with every day there is so much meat in these devotions that I am already planning on reading them again next year.

This series was originally published in Spanish and was completed in January 1991; the English translation was completed in 1993. It has been immensely popular since they first started coming out in1988. They are published around the world, and have helped thousands of readers in enriching their spiritual lives.
There is a complete subject, and biblical reference index in volume 7; unfortunately the earlier volumes' indexes only go as far as that volume #. The indexes are subject and reference quoted by church Fathers, Popes and Saints. These books will draw anyone deeper into a faith and a life of action based upon that faith.
The 7 Volume's are:
Volume #1 Advent and Christmastide
Volume #2 Lent and Eastertide
Volume #3 Ordinary Time Weeks 1-12
Volume #4 Ordinary Time Weeks 13-23
Volume #5 Ordinary Time Weeks 24-34
Volume #6 Special Feasts January-June
Volume #7 Special Feats July -December

Complete Set 7 Volumes


Sunday, 17 June 2007

Happy Father's Day 2007

This post is an excerpt from Donald DeMarco who writes in the June 17-23 issue of the National Catholic Register about the "paradoxes of fatherhood":

"...Fatherhood means being:

1. A leader without being a frontrunner.

Our prevailing notion of leader comes from the worlds of sports and from politics. In this sense, in accordance with the “leader board” in golf, the leader is the one who is ahead of the rest of the field. Or he is the one who is leading in the political polls by outpacing his rivals.

But a father is not a leader in this way. He does not try to remove himself from his family. Nor does he regard the members of his family as rivals. On the contrary, he leads in a manner that fulfills each member. His leadership is inseparable from those he leads. What he leads and “fathers” into being is the good of those whom he loves.

In other words, fatherhood requires that a father leads by being there, rather than being “ahead of the pack.”


2. A visionary without being arrogant.

Every home must have a hearth and a horizon. The father is a visionary in the sense that he has an eye on the future. He has a keen sense of the importance of time. But he has this without presumption or arrogance. He is providential in his fathering. He knows instinctively that his children will grow up and lead independent lives. He provides for them a future vision of themselves.

3. A servant without being servile.

The expression servus servorum Dei (servant of the servants of God) adopted by John Paul II, comes from Pope Gregory the Great. Paradoxically, this servant of the servants of God earned the appellation “Great.” He who humbles himself shall be exalted. The father serves all the members of his family without being in any sense inferior. One
might say, in this respect, that a father is like a tennis player: When they serve, they both enjoy an advantage.

4. An authority without being authoritarian.

The father, like God, shares in the authorship of life. He is an authority and therefore someone to learn from and be guided by. But his authority does not restrict the
liberty of others. In fact, fatherly authority is to cultivate and enhance liberty.

St. Thomas Aquinas wisely pointed out that “the respect that one has for the rule flows naturally from the respect one has for the person who gave it” (Ex reverentia praecipientis procedere debet reverentia praecepti). A person best understands fatherhood by knowing someone who is a good father. One must begin with the real experience and not the inadequate abstraction.

5. A lover without being sentimental.


The love of a father is strong and unwavering. Love is not bound by a feeling, and hence prone to sentimentality. It is strengthened by principles that always focus on the good of others. Love means doing what is in the best interest of others. Sentimentality means always being nice because one is fearful of opposition.


6. A supporter without being subordinate.

A father is supportive. He holds people up, keeps them going when they are inclined to be discouraged. His encouraging role does not imply subordination, but reliability and trustworthiness from someone who is strong. He is not supportive in the Hollywood sense of being a “supporting actor.” His supportive role is played out as the leading man.

7. A disciplinarian without being punitive.

A good father knows the value of rules and the consequences of disregarding them. He wants his children to be strong in virtue. Therefore, he knows the importance of discipline, restraint and self-possession. He is not punitive, nor is he overbearing. He makes it clear to his children that there is no true freedom without discipline, that discipleship re--quires training. He is wary of punishment as such, since it can strike fear in the heart of a child.


8. Merciful without being spineless.

Mercy must be grounded in justice. Otherwise it is dissipation and weakness. In fact, it is unjust. A father, because he recognizes the uncompromisable importance of justice is anything but spineless. He is merciful, but his mercy perfects his justice. Mercy without justice, is mere capitulation to the desires of others. Justice without mercy is cold legalism.

9. Humble without being self-deprecating.

Humility is based on the honest recognition of who one is. It takes into account one’s limitations and weaknesses. The humble father, when he encounters difficulties, has enough humility to ask for help, even at times from his own children. Yet, he never gets down on himself. He knows that remaining self-deprecating at a time of crisis is utterly futile.

10. Courageous without being foolhardy.

Courage is not fearlessness, but the ability to rise above fear so that one can do what needs to be done in a time of danger or difficulty. A father does not fall apart when he begins to feel the pressure. Foolhardiness is not courage but an unfocused and unhelpful recklessness. Moreover, courage, as its etymology suggests, requires heart. The father, above all, is a man of heart..."

[More the Complete Article] (Hat tip to a number of the men from Catholic Dad's who posted this last week after it ran. The statues are at St. Joseph's Hospital London Ontario where I had my shoulder surgery last year. I like the diversity in the representation of St. Joseph in the two icons, a young and old Joseph, for we really don't know a lot about Joseph except he is a good example of what a Father should be.)

Friday, 15 June 2007

There's more than blood in you to give

(This is the first in a three part series that chronicles the experience of donating bone marrow.)

What would you do to have
the chance to help save someone's life?

Many people have never heard of the Unrelated Bone Marrow Donor Registry (UBMDR)[Note: The UBMDR has been renamed One Match.]. What is it, how does it work, and how do you get on it are all questions I have been answering a lot lately. In this first article I will try to answer these questions and some of the other
questions that one might have around the process of finding a match on the UBMDR.

In Canada, the UBMDR is run by Canadian Blood Services (CBS), but it is also part of an international registry. Every year hundreds of Canadian patients are seeking a match on the UBMDR, which for many of these patients, is their only hope for recovery from illness. You might be able to help! What does it take for you to help? All it will take is a bit of your time, a simple blood test and a willingness to donate either bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells. Currently there are about 220,000 Canadians who have made this commitment.

How does it work? Your blood, regardless of blood type, (A, B, AB, and O) has certain characteristics that they are looking to match. The characteristics are called Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA) - they are DNA markers. These antigens are found on the surface of the white blood cells. Now some antigens are more common in specific ethnic groups so it is important to have as many people in the registry as possible. The registry is also eager to attract young donors because generally they are in good health, and are associated with better long-term survival rates for recipients. So after reading the information on the CBS website www.blood.ca and doing a questionnaire, you can do an online health survey and if all goes well, CBS will contact you to gather a sample of blood for your typing. If you are between the ages of 17 and 50, and in general good health, you can join the registry. Your blood has 12 of these DNA markers, and the initial testing will get your top 6 markers. After that, if you have a match with a recipient, further testing may be required to match the remaining 6 markers.

Currently there are over 10 million people on Donor Registries around the world. What are stem cells? For the purpose of the UBMDR, stem cells are not the controversial cells often in the media these days. They are immature cells that can become either red or white blood cells or platelets. Bone marrow is a rich source of stem cells but they can also be found in the peripheral blood. Bone marrow is the soft tissue found in the centre of your bones. Bone marrow produces stems cells, which develop into the three types of blood cells. When bone marrow becomes diseased, one of the options is to kill off the bone marrow of the recipient and replace it with the bone marrow of a donor. A newer procedure is to transplant stem cells - peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC). In this new procedure a donor is given injections of granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF), which dramatically increases the number of stem cells available for transplant.

Once you have joined the registry there is not a lot you have to do. There is only a 30% chance of finding a match in a family and it is even smaller from someone unrelated. That is one of the reasons it is so important to get the message out to as many people as possible and have the registry grow, so that as many patients as possible can be helped. Once you are on the registry you must also notify CBS of changes in your health status that would prohibit you from donating and also let the CBS know when you move.

Donors are matched through computer databases. When a transplant physician
contacts CBS with a request for a volunteer donor, the database is searched and compared with those on the UBMDR and then through the other registries around the world. If a viable match is found, then it goes to the next step. First, they will confirm that you wish to proceed, then the next steps will begin.

Now onto the how. How are stem cells donated? If you are donating bone marrow, you will be admitted to the hospital and while under a general anesthesia, a needle will be inserted into your pelvic bones on both sides of your lower back. About 3-5% of your total bone marrow will be removed, which your body will replace in a few weeks.
This procedure will take about 2 hours and the donor is usually discharged the same day. If PBSC donation is requested by the transplant doctor, the stem cells are collected through a process of apheresis, where blood is drawn from one part of your body and run through a centrifuge which separates the stem cells from the blood and the rest of the blood is returned through another needle.

What is it like? Donating bone marrow, has a few short-term side effects, which sometimes include fatigue and soreness. To donate stem cells, because of the G-CSF,
a donor may experience mild bone pain, muscle pain, or flu-like symptoms, which usually dissipate within 24-48 hours of donating.

After the cells are extracted, they are transported by medical courier to the patient who may be anywhere in the world. The patient would have undergone intensive chemotherapy and/or radiation to eliminate all of his or her diseased cells. The harvested cells are then transfused to the recipient and if all goes well, they will start
producing healthy blood cells after a few weeks.

These transplants are used to treat a variety of diseases, such as leukemia and other cancers. It replaces bone marrow destroyed by radiation or chemotherapy. In aplast
ic anemia, it replaces abnormal or absent bone marrow. For some immunodeficiency diseases, it gives a patient a brand new immune system. For some enzyme deficiencies, the transplant can help provide the missing enzymes or replaces defective ones. Yet even with all that, you are only providing the possibility - but that possibility is worth it.

A donation is, in some cases, the last chance to save someone's life. Many people out there need help and it costs you little in time and discomfort, so why would you not consider joining? For more information, check out the CBS website. I joined a number of years ago when a friend's sister was sick with leukemia. I went through the process of finding out about the registry and joined. Then one day the phone rang … (Continued in part 2 of 3 in Imprint 2007-06-29)

[Part two will appear in Imprint 2007-06-29 and part three on 2007-07-13.]
(First Published in Imprint 2007-06-15 as 'There's more than blood in you to give.')

Note: In the United States of America the National Marrow Donor Program can be contacted at 612-627-5802 or on the web at www.NMDP.org for those who have asked for the information.
Part 1 - There's more than blood in you to give
Part 2 - The Callback

Part 3- The Donation

Part 4- The Followup

Saturday, 9 June 2007

Time For God: A Guide to Prayer by: Father Jacques Philippe

Time for God:
A Guide to Prayer

Father Jacques Philippe

Pauline Books & Media

ISBN 0819874132

This is the second book by Father Jacques Philippe that I have read. It is just as good as
the first and I must state that it is a must read for growth in the spiritual life.
Father Philippe writes a wonderful little book about the life of prayer and how to pray, and he goes through a number of the Saints of the church and their writings on prayer. He gives some amazing advice. First and foremost, he states that all forms and types of prayers in the Christian life should not become so ritualistic that they lose their spiritual benefits. He tells us that most spiritual practices in our lives are for a season, and what is fruitful and amazing now, may need to be changed in the future.

Philippe tells us that we are responsible for 5 attitudes in our approach to prayer. We must have faith, fidelity, purity of intention, humility and perseverance. If we are persistent in pursuing these 5 things, we will grow in the spiritual life.

Fr. Jacques also gives us 4 principles to remember in our practice of prayer: the primacy of God's action, the primacy of God's love, the humanity of Jesus, and God's indwelling in our heart.
Fr. Philippe is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors for spiritual reading. He touches upon that practice in this book as a tool for prayer. Spiritual reading is different from other forms of reading; rather than reading for the purpose of reviewing, or academic reading, spiritual reading is slowly digesting a book, stopping to pray when inspired, or stopping to meditate - reading something again and again if it really catches your attention. Its main purpose is to grow deeper.

Some samples of the gems in this book are:
"Prayer, no matter how brief, is very pleasing to God. Far from causing us to lose courage in perilous situations, prayer strengthens us." P.125
"The truth is everyone who sets off on the spiritual journey seeks God, but also in part, herself or himself." P.22
"It follows that all we have to do in prayer is to seek love and to strengthen it. This is the only criterion for judging whether we are doing badly or well in prayer." P.61
"There is no doubt that if we give God our time, we will be able to find time for others, too. By paying attention to God, we learn to pay attention to others." P.30

"Therefore, we do not pray because of the pleasure or benefits drawn from it - even if these are immense - but primarily because we want to please God, who asks us to pray. We pray not for our own delight, but for God's." P.21

"Moreove
r, the Mass in itself is more important than personal prayer. This may be true, but without a prayer life, the sacraments would have a limited effect." P.27

"Nevertheless, in this life, those who pray become increasingly capable of loving and spontaneously doing good, which initially required great effort. Thanks to the action of the holy spirit, it becomes easier and more natural to practice virtue." P.27

Those are just a few of the passages I underlined in this book. I randomly flipped through and
picked out a few passages to share with you. I hope they will intrigue you enough to pick up the book and give it a try.
Other Books By Fr. Jacques PhilippeCalled to Life - Scepter
Searching for and Maintaining Peace - St Paul's Alba House
Time For God - Pauline Books and Media
Time For God - Sin
agTala
Time For God - Scepter
Interior Freedom - Scepter
In the School of the Holy Spirit - Scepter
I Choose to be Free: the Power of Faith Hope & Charity (a different edition of Interior Freedom) - Sinag Tala

(These are all his books I have been able to find in English; if you know of any others or how to get them, let me know please.)


[It needs to be noted that there are three different versions of this book in English based on two different translations, the version by SinagTala was the original English translation and published under the name Jack Philip, then Pauline Books and Media republished that edition in North America under Jacques Philippe and there is now a new translation by Scepter Press just released based upon a new translation, the meaning is the same, but the translations are significantly different.]

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Catholic Carnival 122


The Carnival is up at 'Living Catholicism' this week is 'better late than never! Check it out.

Check out the Catholic Carnival submission form complete with screenshots in this post: BlogCarnival.com Submission form.

Or join the Google group to be made aware of call for submissions and when new Carnivals are up and where they are up.

The Catholic Carnival FAQ.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

In Conversation With God Volume #6: Special Feasts: January-June by: Francis Fernandez

In Conversation With God
Volume #6: Special Feasts: January-June
By: Francis Fernandez
ISBN 090613823X
Scepter Press
7 Volume Set
ISBN 0906138191

This volume much like volume 7 contains the special feats and solemnities that occur between January and June, these are the feasts days fixed to a calendar day, and some other special meditations.

There are a few great sub-collections in this book. They are The Christian Unity Octave in January, Seven Sunday's of St. Joseph in , the Corpus Christi Octave in May. Then the feast days are divided into a few categories: Saints and Angels, Jesus
and Marian. And of course being of Irish and Scotch heritage I love the devotion to St. Patrick which has been added to the English edition of the book.

In this volume you will encounter meditations on: St. Francis de Sales, Timothy & Titus, St. Thomas Aquinas, St Patrick, St. Joseph, Our Lady of Montserrat and many more.

This series was originally published in Spanish and was completed in January 1991; the English translation was completed in 1993. It has been immensely popular since they first started coming out in1988. They are published around the world, and have helped thousands of readers in enriching their spiritual lives.

Some examples of the wisdom from this book are:

"Friendship with Christ will teach us to have a big heart, big enough to include those many people we meet along our way. This is especially true with respect to our relatives and friends."
p.29

"We should take advantage of the means of formation which are at our disposal. This would include studying Sacred Theology, making good retreats, being attentive in spiritual reading. This all comes down to acquiring a good doctrinal formation in accord with our personal circumstances. We need to know God very well so that we can better make him known to others."
p.80


"Today's feast is an open invitation for us to renew our dedication to the Lord. We should offer him our entire being, our thoughts, our works, everything we are, everything we do."
p.88

"We have to Christianize the world that we know in our ordinary lives. We have to bring faith and optimism to this world without becoming overwhelmed by the difficulties involved."
p.109

"Today, as we thank Our Lord for the gift of faith that Saint Patrick handed on, and resolve to follow his example in our own generation."

p.122-123


Scepter Press in North America has just reprinted them again last fall.

About the Complete Series:

The complete series is worth the money, time and effort. This is an amazing Catholic meditation and daily reflection series. The seven volumes have daily readings for each day of the church year, as well as volumes 6 & 7 being special Feast Days. The readings draw
heavily upon the writings of Josemaria Escriva the founder of Opus Dei, Pope John Paul II, and the daily readings from the common liturgy for that day. The Sundays have three sets of readings, depending on whether we are in year A, B, or C in the church readings. These devotions are all about 6 pages long and divided into 3 sections. They can all be read as a complete section, or part in the morning, midday and evening as they each have three sections. I find that with every day there is so much meat in these devotions that I am already planning on reading them again next year.

This series was originally published in Spanish and was completed in January 1991; the English translation was completed in 1993. It has been immensely popular since they first started coming out in1988. They are published around the world, and have helped thousands of readers in enriching their spiritual lives.

There is a complete subject, and biblical reference index in volume 7; unfortunately the earlier volumes' indexes only go as far as that volume #. The indexes are subject and reference quoted by church Fathers, Popes and Saints. These books will draw anyone deeper into a faith and a life of action based upon that faith.

The 7 Volume's are:
Volume #1 Advent and Christmastide
Volume #2 Lent and Eastertide
Volume #3 Ordinary Time Weeks 1-12
Volume #4 Ordinary Time Weeks 13-23
Volume #5 Ordinary Time Weeks 24-34
Volume #6 Special Feasts January-June
Volume #7 Special Feats July -December

Complete Set 7 Volumes


Sunday, 3 June 2007

Quiz: What's your theological worldview?


What's your theological worldview?

You scored as a Roman Catholic!

You are Roman Catholic. Church tradition and ecclesial authority are hugely important, and the most important part of worship for you is mass. As the Mother of God, Mary is important in your theology, and as the communion of saints includes the living and the dead, you can also ask the saints to intercede for you.

  • 93% Roman Catholic
  • 89% Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan
  • 75% Fundamentalist
  • 57% Neo orthodox
  • 39% Emergent/Postmodern
  • 36% Reformed Evangelical
  • 32% Classical Liberal
  • 18% Modern Liberal
  • 18% Charismatic/Pentecostal
I found this Quiz at Dappled Things, and thought I would give it a go. It's good to know all that Catholic Spiritual Reading has not gone to waste.

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Sherman Oak and the Magic Potato by: S. William Shaw

Sherman Oak and the Magic Potato.
S. William Shaw

Lulu Press

ISBN 9781430322207

www.swilliamshaw.com

I picked up this book for a few reasons. In part, I did so because I have read William Shaw's blog for a while now and followed the journey of this book's development. In part, it was because every so often I find a good teen fiction book to be a nice change of pace. Finally, the tile just grabbed my attention.

Now to be honest I have had a few self-published books come my way and have yet to be really inspired or impressed with them. This book exceeds all expectations.

First, I would state that the writing is better than any of the Harry Potter books. It is not as good as Lewis or Tolkien, but give Shaw time and I am sure he will get there if he continues to pursue the path of writing.

The book follows a young man 'Sherman Oak' as he goes from being the most bullied kid at school, and the butt of the other students' jokes, even his two older sisters, to a young man on a quest to free not only his parents but his tormentors from school. He has been told the quest will take 'as long as it takes', yet time and time again, Sherman presses on, when a rest and wait are possible. He grows and develops as a person throughout the book.

Oak is a very well-written character; he is not flat or stifled. He becomes very real to you and you find yourself cheering him on.

Shaw does some great things with this story, and unlike many other writers today, he comes up with his own creatures and his own stories, not just retelling old tales. Some of the creatures you will meet are truly creative and wonderful. The story will draw you in and compel you to keep reading.

Most people do not know that Eragon was originally self-published, and look at the literary and film success that it has had. I believe this book has the same potential. You can purchase it from the website below in either a print or electronic format. This book will surprise you, make you laugh, make you cry, and if you cannot see some of our reluctant hero in yourself, you're clearly not getting the book. So this is a book I would recommend to a person of any age. It may be written for teens, but the child in all of us will respond to the story. Also check out the author's blog if you have an interest in writing or publishing or are just curious to know more about the person who created this wonderful book.

This is an awesome book. I cannot wait till my daughter is older to read it to her and hopefully it will be one of her favorite's and we will read it together many time over the years. I am sure if you pick it up it will challenge and inspire you ant those you share it with also. I also look forward to reading other offerings that come available from Shaw.

http://stores.lulu.com/swilliamshaw
or Amazon.com
www.swilliamshaw.com

(First Published in Imprint 2007-06-01 in the book review column!)

Friday, 1 June 2007

Searching for and Maintaining Peace by: Jacques Philippe

Searching for and Maintaining Peace:
A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart
Father Jacques Philippe
St. Paul's - Alba House
ISBN 0818909064

I have had Father Jacques Philippe's books recommended to me on a number of occasions and by a number of different people. I have picked up the four I can find
that are available in English. The title of this book, Searching for and Maintaining Peace, just grabbed my attention and had to be read first. The subtitle of this book is: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart, yet for a small book of 110 pages, it really packs a lot of punch.

This book was so good I have already put it back on my pile of books to be read. I know that I cannot glean all the great stuff from it in just one reading. For who in this hectic crazy world would not like a simple tool to help them find peace and to keep it once they have found it? This book will help you do just that. It is one I will add to my all time favorite list!

Here are some sample quotes from the book:

"The more our soul is peaceful and tranquil, the more God is reflected in it, the more His image expresses itself in us, the more His grace acts through us." P.5

"Because only this peace of heart truly liberates us from ourselves, increases our sensitivity to others, and renders us available to our fellow man." P.7

"It is that Christian life is a combat, a war without mercy." P.8

"Every Christian must be thoroughly convinced that his spiritual life can in no way be viewed as the quiet unfolding of an inconsequential life without any problems; rather it must be viewed as the scene of a constant and sometimes painful battle, which will not end until death - a struggle against evil, temptation and the sin that is in him. … And this combat is, correctly viewed, the place of our purification, of our spiritual growth, where we learn to know ourselves in our weakness and to know God in His infinite mercy." P.9

"One of the dominant aspects of spiritual combat is the struggle on the plane of thoughts." P.13

Then the second section lists and goes over the causes of our loss of peace and how to regain it. There are some great tools for the spiritual life in this section.

The third section in this book is a series of quotes and excerpts from a number of Saints on the process of searching for peace, and on how to maintain that peace. These saints are:

  • Juan de Bonilla
  • Francis de Sales
  • Teresa of Avila
  • Marie of the Incarnation
  • Francious-Marie-Jacob Libermann
  • Padre Pio
These extended quotes will support and expand upon the information in the first two sections of this book.

This book is a must for anyone who really wants to grow deeper in their walk with God and in living in the peace that Jesus Christ promised to his followers.

Other Books By Fr. Jacques Philippe
Called to Life - Scepter
Searching for and Maintaining Peace - St Paul's Alba House
Time For God - Pauline Books and Media
Time For God - Sin
agTala
Time For God - Scepter
Interior Freedom - Scepter
In the School of the Holy Spirit - Scepter
I Choose to be Free: the Power of Faith Hope & Charity (a different edition of Interior Freedom) - Sinag Tala

(These are all his books I have been able to find in English; if you know of any others or how to get them, let me know please.)