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Thursday, 27 April 2017

Exercise Update 2017-04-27

Exercise Update 2017-04-27

To be brutally honest my weight is not where I would like it to be. I have gained back about ½ the weight I lost 4 years ago. My weight has barely changed since January 1st. But I love the body weight exercises that are part of Exodus 90, that were created by by Mike Short, from Intentional Encounter. My knees still hurt often, but between the Exodus 90 program and Karate twice a week I am starting to feel a difference.

This was today’s exercise log.


You can see all my workouts for the year here. Or see my tracking of goals for body, mind, and spirit on coach.me, just click on the goals and scroll down to see what I track on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Exodus 90 Articles:
Exodus 90 My Commitment
Exodus 90 My Commitment - Take 2
Exodus 90 at Day 30
Exodus 90 at Day 60
Exodus 90 at Day 90
What's Next After Exodus 90




Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Where's Spot - Eric Hill

Where's Spot
Eric Hill
Puffin Books
Penguin Random House Canada
ISBN 9780140504200



My youngest and I read this and a number of other books together the other day. She loved this story and the other Spot books that we have read. There are a number of books in the series and a number of versions of each book. There are editions of this book with as few as 12 pages for the board book version and as many as 32 for the picture book version.

My daughter 6 loved this story and my son 9 was willing to read it with us and then read it to his sister after we had read it through once. Both children enjoyed the story though the younger one loved it. There is a great deal of repetition which is the purpose of this type of book to help early readers with learning. My daughter really enjoyed the flaps and helping Sally search for spot throughout the book.

A good read for young children and a book parents can handle reading again and again. And since it is the first in a series I am sure we will be tracking down the read to read together.



Books by Eric Hill:

Spot Goes to School
Spot Goes on Holiday
Spot Visits his Grandparents

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

20 Answers Faith & Science - Trent Horn- 20 Answers Series from Catholic Answers

20 Answers - Faith & Science 
20 Answers Series from Catholic Answers 
Trent Horn
Catholic Answers Press
ISBN 9781938983870
eISBN 9781938983894
ASIN B01HDV7YNE



Some good news first, this series has just been expanded from 20 to 23 books and I believe more will release in the fall expanding it even further. Of the 23 books now available Trent Horn has written 10. His books are always great reads. And I can say the same for this one.

This past Lent I did the 20 Answers Challenge, read all 20 books in the Catholic Answers series (that were available at the time).  Currently you can get the first 20 books for 50% off, an amazing deal, so get them with this deal while you can! They are really great reads. I have rated 18 of the 20 with 5 out of 5 stars, and the other two got 4 stars. I hold a BA in Religious Studies with a focus on Roman Catholic Thought, and I love the clarity of through and the format of this series. My son age 9, recently came home from school saying kids were bugging him because he wants to be a scientist priest when he grows up. This book is a little beyond him but I cannot wait until he is a little older to share it with him. The 20 questions that Trent answers in this volume are:

1. Didn't the Catholic Church condemn science and as a result send us into the medieval "Dark Ages"?
2. Did the Catholic Church teach that the Earth was flat?
3. Did the Catholic Church condemn human dissection and so stifle understanding of the human body?
4. If the Church was so hospitable to science, then why did it kill the ingenious scientist Giordano Bruno?
5. Why did the Church torture and imprison Galileo for his belief that the Earth revolved around the sun?
6. Doesn't the concept of faith, or believing without evidence, contradict the concept of reason, which means to follow the evidence where it leads?
7. Why can't I just have faith in science as the way to understand the world?
8. Isn't all of the evidence for God just "God of the gaps" reasoning? Won't science eventually explain everything that religion cannot?
9. Hold on a minute. Hasn't science shown that something can indeed come from nothing and that moral behavior exists among chimpanzees and could have come from evolution?
10. How can you trust the Bible when the book of Genesis contradicts the theory of evolution by saying the world was created in six twenty-four-hour days 6,000 years ago?
11. How do Catholics view intelligent design?
12. How can you say God created the universe when science has proven that humans are just an insignificant speck within it?
13. Hasn't science proven there is no such thing as a soul?
14. Why is the Church opposed to stem cell research that could provide medical breakthroughs for millions of people?
15. Why doesn't the Church accept the American Psychological Association's conclusion that homosexuality is not disordered?
16. Why does the Church oppose fertility treatments that can help infertile couples have a baby?
17. Why doesn't the Church support the use of contraceptives that have been scientifically proven to reduce rates of unintended pregnancies as well as sexually transmitted diseases?
18. Does the Church believe that some vaccines are bad because they come from "aborted babies"?
19. How do you explain the fact that the majority of scientists are atheists?
20. What have religious people ever done for science?

The introduction of this booklet states:


"Didn't the Catholic Church ban science in the Middle Ages in order to protect the Faith? Wasn't Galileo tortured for proving the Church was wrong about the sun orbiting the Earth? Didn't Columbus bravely defy a Church that believed he would sail off the edge of a flat planet?
These and many other myths about the relationship between the Catholic Church and science are just that: myths. In fact, you can find the origins for many of them in two books written more than a hundred years ago: Andrew Dickson White's A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom (1896) and John Draper's History of the Conflict between Religion and Science (1874). 
Today, historians have largely abandoned the conclusions reached by Draper and White, who promoted what is now called "the conflict thesis," the belief that science and religion are at odds. In the book Science and Religion: A Historical Introduction, science historian Colin Russell writes, "The conflict thesis, at least in its simple form, is now widely perceived as a wholly inadequate intellectual framework within which to construct a sensible and realistic historiography of Western science. . . . At different phases of their history, science and religion were not so much at war as largely independent, mutually encouraging, or even symbiotic."

Unfortunately, as Mark Twain said, "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes." The purpose of this booklet is to help the truth catch up to the lies about the Catholic Church and to show that there is no contradiction in worshipping the God who created the universe and in using science to explore and understand that creation."

And this book then goes on to counter many of those lies and misconceptions about the church and its stance on science over the years. He debunks a lot of myths, and provides a reality check from historical sources. Of particular interest were the chapters on Intelligent Design and the section on Stem Cell research. 

No to be honest not all of the answers in this book are easy to take, especially in a western culture that has drifted so far from its roots. But the book does give clear concise answers that are in alignment with church teaching. This book was a bit more of a surprise than some of the other books. But in many ways that made it even a more important read for me.

This is a wonderful book in an amazing series! Another great read from Catholic Answers and Trent Horn.

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

Note 2: Currently this is an amazing series of books is being offered at a 50% discount so get it while you can. 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 year 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 Church - Trent Horn
20 Answers Witchcraft & the Occult - Michelle Arnold
20 Answers Apparitions & Revelations - Michael O'Neill
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


Monday, 24 April 2017

The Shop of Ghosts - G.K. Chesterton

The Shop of Ghosts
G.K. Chesterton
eText

eText 
Audio Version



This short story first appeared in the London Daily News, and later in 1909 in the collection Tremendous Trifles. It is interesting the first time I read this story I was a little bewildered. Maybe I did not give it enough attention, maybe I was distracted but I found it lacking, and yet something about the story pulled at me. I came back and read it a few more times, and with each reading I liked it more.  I have found a number of sites that have various text versions of the story, with or without commentary. There is also a wonderful audio version available here. And to be honest I like listening to the story almost more than reading it.

It was interesting seeing Father Christmas meet Charles Dicken, Sir Richard Steele in a shop on the side of the street that spans space and time. 


This little story is worth a read and a listen. And I have found that the more times I read the more I appreciate it. But from the title and the recommendation I received it was not at all what I expected!

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

Books in the Classic Wisdom Collection:
Be Not Afraid: Wisdom from John Paul II
Christ in Our Midst: Wisdom from Caryll Houselander
Comfort in Hardship: Wisdom from Thérèse of Lisieux
Courage in Chaos: Wisdom from Francis de Sales
Inner Peace: Wisdom from Jean-Pierre de Caussade
Intimacy in Prayer: Wisdom from Bernard of Clairvaux
Life's Purpose: Wisdom from John Henry Newman
Path of Holiness: Wisdom from Catherine of Siena
Peace in Prayer: Wisdom from Teresa of Avila
Secret to Happiness: Wisdom from John XXIII
Secrets of the Spirit: Wisdom from Luis Martinez
A Simple Life: Wisdom from Jane Frances de Chantal
Solace in Suffering: Wisdom from Thomas à Kempis
Strength in Darkness: Wisdom from John of the Cross

The Shop of Ghosts - A Short Story


Sunday, 23 April 2017

Second Sunday Of Easter Reflection - Amy Welborn from Daybreaks: Daily Reflections for Lent and Easter

Daybreaks: Daily Reflections for Lent and Easter 
ISBN 9780764826870
ASIN B01N4QF53K



Note: I posted the first devotion from this book with permisssion, on Ash Wednesday. And this is the last devotion in the book. I plan on writing a full review but loved this reflection and wanted to share it. I highly recommend this book pick it up and read it next year through lent.

Second Sunday Of Easter 

Today has five names. It is the Octave of Easter, the Second Sunday of Easter, and Divine Mercy Sunday. Before the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, it was known as Low Sunday to indicate that it was the end of the eight days and that Easter had been duly celebrated and now it was time to bring the celebrating down a few degrees. Before Vatican II, it was also known as Sunday in White to indicate that this was the last day those who had been baptized during the Easter Vigil wore their white baptismal garment. 

So no matter what title you prefer to give this day, it might be good to blow a trumpet or to think about a trumpet on this eighth day of the Easter season. In the world of the Bible, a trumpet sounded the religious assembly, particularly that one at the end of time. It is designed to call the faithful to the final gathering and to awaken the dead to the resurrection promised by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

A trumpet can be found in the Book of Revelation "on the Lord's day" (1: 10). John of Patmos hears "a voice as loud as a trumpet" (1: 10) telling him to write a message to seven churches; the letters inform the members of the church about their faithfulness to the message of Jesus. In most of biblical literature, a trumpet is a sign that God is speaking; however, in this case, it is the risen Son of Man who is telling John what to write. John, of course, hearing the trumpetlike voice, is scared. "Do not be afraid," Jesus tells him. "I am the first and the last, the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever" (1: 17- 18). Then the Son of Man begins to dictate his letters to his secretary, John.

The trumpet summons us on this Lord's day to join others around the world in continuing to celebrate the Easter season, which lasts for six more weeks and ends with Pentecost Sunday. Unlike Thomas, who needs to see the risen Christ in order to believe that God has, indeed, raised him from the dead, we hear the trumpet summoning us to receive the Holy Spirit, who sends us on our mission with this good news. Hopefully, we are counted among those whom Jesus declared to be blessed, "those who have not seen and have believed" (John 20: 29). Thus, every day we profess our faith in the resurrection is a little Easter. Listen for the sound of the trumpet!

"I was caught up in spirit on the Lord's day and heard behind me a voice as loud as a trumpet." Revelation 1:10

Books by Amy Welborn:
Reconciled to God Daily Lenten Devotions
Wish You Were Here: Travels Through Loss and Hope
A Catholic Woman's Book of Days
de-Coding Da Vinci: The Facts Behind the Fiction of the Da Vinci Code
Loyola Kids Book of Saints
Loyola Kids Book of Heroes: Stories of Catholic Heroes and Saints throughout History
Prove It! God
Prove It! Church
Prove It! Jesus
Prove It! The Catholic Teen Bible
Here. Now. a Catholic Guide to the Good Life
The Words We Pray
Praying the Rosary: With the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries
Decoding Mary Magdalene: Truth, Legend, and Lies
Come Meet Jesus: An Invitation from Pope Benedict XVI
Be Saints! An Invitation from Pope Benedict XVI
Mary and the Christian Life: Scriptural Reflections on the First Disciple
Adventures in Assisi: On the Path with St. Francis: On the Path with St. Francis
Prepare Him Room: Advent Family Devotions
Daybreaks: Daily Reflections for Lent and Easter 
Parables: Stories of the Kingdom

Prove It Series:
Prove It! God
Prove It! Church
Prove It! Jesus
Prove It! Prayer
Prove It! You
Prove It! The Catholic Teen Bible


Saturday, 22 April 2017

Divine Mercy Sunday 2017

Divine Mercy Sunday 2017

Tomorrow is divine mercy sunday, April 23rd 2017. This painting is at my parish, Saint Agnes, Waterloo. Of all the versions of this painting I have seen I love this one most. I have been told it was painted years ago by a friend of a former pastor. There is to the best of my knowledge no profession photo of it. I keep taking pictures hoping to get one that I can have prints done up from for my kids room. This is the best so far, still not completely satisfied with my efforts. Part of the problem is the size of the painting adn the lighting. But I love this painting and wanted to share it on this the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday. 


And a second Photo for scale of the original.  


Photo's taken at Saint Agnes, Waterloo Ontario.

Friday, 21 April 2017

20 Answers Islam - Andrew Bieszad - 20 Answers Series from Catholic Answers

20 Answers - Islam
20 Answers Series from Catholic Answers Book
Andrew Bieszad
Catholic Answers Press
ISBN 9781941663295
eISBN 9781941663318
ASIN B01HC2U0E4



Fist I must state that writing this review will likely be the hardest of the 20 book in the series; in part because of walking a fine line between personal belief, and caution because of the current political climate. And in part because many people in today's culture see disagreement as criticism or attack. Andrew in the introduction to this booklet states: 
"With more than a billion followers and fourteen centuries of history, Islam is one of the world's great religions. Among all the world's religions, however, no other has posed as great a challenge to the Catholic Faith. Muslims and Christians have attempted to convert and conquer each other since their first encounters more than a millennium ago, and in the present day Islamic militancy presents an ever-growing threat to Christians around the world.
Islam claims to be derived from the same Abrahamic faith tradition as Christianity, but in many ways the two religions are as different, and as incompatible, as oil and water. What are these differences? And how can we articulate them to others?
My goal in writing this book was to give Christians, and Catholics especially, a basic introduction to Islam: its beliefs, its practices, and its unique challenges to the Faith today. It is my hope this booklet will serve as a firm guide in learning more about this fascinating religion, and as a mission-challenge to the Church in the years to come."
And I believe he does a very good job of that. This past Lent I did the 20 Answers Challenge, read all 20 books in the Catholic Answers series.  Currently you can get all 20 books for 50% off, an amazing deal, so get them while you can! They are some amazing reads. I rated 18 of the 20 with 5 out of 5 stars, and the other two got 4 stars. Holding a Religious Studies degree I have encountered Islam in a few courses during my undergraduate degree. And this booklet does a good job of being fair and objective about what Islam is, and how as Catholics we should interact with people of this faith. The 20 Questions that Andrew Answers are:

What is Islam?
Who was Muhammad?
What is the Quran, and how is it different from the Bible?
What are the "satanic verses?"
What are other sources of Islamic teaching?
What is the difference between the Sunni and Shia?
Do Muslims worship the same God as Christians?
What do Muslims believe about Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary?
What is the Islamic view of non-Muslims?
How did Islam spread?
What is sharia?
I have Muslim friends who are good and peaceful people. Doesn't that prove that Islam is a religion of peace and that Muslim terrorists are disobeying the teachings of Islam?
Isn't it unfair to criticize the Quran when the Bible also contains divine sanction of violence?
During the Crusades, didn't Christian armies once do the same kinds of things we criticize Muslim terrorists for today?
Is modern Islamic hostility towards the West a result of Muslim memory of the Crusades?
Doesn't Islam have a special relationship with Christianity and Judaism, because all three religions come from Abraham?
Aren't Muslims pro-life, and our allies in the fight against secularism?
Is Islam a threat to the Church?
How do you respond to people who claim that it's not tolerant, charitable, or even "Christian" to criticize Islam?
What's the right way for Catholics to dialogue with Muslims?

Of the 69 quotes used in this treatise about half are from the Quran, about a quarter are from the bible and the rest are from other supporting sources. Andrew does a great job of summarizing the history of Islam and specifically the drastic changes after the move from Mecca to Medina. He also clearly presents the 5 pillars of Islam. He also draws attention to the clear differences between the Bible and the Quran, and also the different views and approaches to Jesus and Mary.

This book is a challenging read, and as stated in the political climate will be even harder to practice. There will be many who read it and accept the politically correct or easy way out and just ignore it. Many will not even make the effort to read the book and be informed. But it is clearly and concisely written. Because of the size of the book can easily be read in 2 or three sittings by most adult readers. And will be a real challenge to both those who agree and disagree with Andre's answers.

This book is one of the few in the series with no overlap with any of the others. It really is a single point focus. With this being one of the more difficult topics in the 20 Answers Series, it must be stated that it is well worth the time to give it a read.

This is a good book in a great series, I highly recommend both.


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

Note 2: Currently this is an amazing series of books is being offered at a 50% discount so get it while you can. 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 year 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 Church - Trent Horn
20 Answers Witchcraft & the Occult - Michelle Arnold
20 Answers Apparitions & Revelations - Michael O'Neill
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


Thursday, 20 April 2017

Just Citrus Juice

Just Citrus Juice

Great taste I have been doing this one most days for a few weeks now. It provides so much energy and is a great pick me up. I have done this in both the juicer or just hand juiced. There is also a great variety in flavour based on individual fruit, some times more tart and others more sweet.

Ingredients:
1 Lemon
1 Lime
1 Orange
1 Grapefruit

Directions:
Either hand juice or peal and run through a juicer. You can run it through the juicer without pealing the fruit but some people have problems with the oils in the skin, and with the skin it is even more tart.


I will continue to post new recipes from time to time as I get back into experimenting with Smoothie and Juice recipes. And I collect mine and favourites from around the web you can find them shared here in a OneNote notebook, there are subsections for Juices, Smoothies, Gluten Free Options and Other. 

Note: Formerly I used EverNote, but am not updating it anymore.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Notre Dame Chapel - St. Jerome's University Waterloo Ontario

Notre Dame Chapel 
St. Jerome's University Waterloo Ontario


 
















These are some photo's I took back in 2001. Unfortunatly this chapel has now been converted to a class/meeting room. The Catholic community is now rasing funds to renovate the old Sweeney Hall into a larger permenant sanctuary. When I was on campus I loved stopping in for non hour mass or just to pray. It was a great little oasis on a very large campus at UWaterloo.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Quetzalcoatl's Zahir - Manuel Alfonseca - The Sleuths of the Spanish Transition Book 1

Quetzalcoatl's Zahir 
The Sleuths of the Spanish Transition Book 1
Manuel Alfonseca
Schedas
ISBN 9781542686594
ASIN B01MR9C22P


This is the first book by Manuel Alfonseca that I have read. This book was specifically recommended to me, and I am very grateful. It Is a wonderful read. A number of years ago I went through a phase where I read a lot by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jose Saramago, and this book reminds me very much of those authors. But the story also reminds me of some of Paolo Coelho’s earlier works. This is a very well written story, and though written for the young adult audience I believe it could find a large following among adult readers as well.

This story begins with a partial misplaced letter. The letter is found by Gonzalo in a copy of Don Quixote from the library. When the contents of the letter grab his attention and interest he approaches Vicki the young librarian to find out who had the book before him so he can try and return the letter. The letter itself is a mystery, but what it alludes to is an even greater mystery. And we have Gonzolo trying to solve the problem, the growing friendship between him and Vicky and also Gonzolo’s older brother Leon who is in the military. The story writing during the last days of the Franco regime is set in a different time.

There are a number of references to classic science fiction books, references to a few movies, and some references to literary classics. The book has a number of hat tips to those who have gone before. And yet none of them seem overdone or forced. The main characters are wonderful, and the extended cast are also well written. And it is very interesting to watch Gonzalo and Vicky piece together he clues from the letters and research to work towards solving the mystery.

This book is available in English and is translated by the author himself. The other three books in this series are unfortunately not available yet in English, but hopefully soon. I loved this story and the characters. Before I even finished this book I had picked up a few more from Manuel to add it to my ‘to be read pile’. I highly recommend this little adventure mystery and look forward to reading more my Alfonseca soon. If you are a fan of Coelho, Marquez or Saramago you owe it to yourself to give this novel a try! Or if you just love a great mystery or adventure to read. Again I highly recommend 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

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

Non-Fiction:
Human Cultures & Evolution
World Population: Past, Present, & Future

Monday, 17 April 2017

Seeking Christ in Reading - Rev. Eugene Boylan

Seeking Christ in Reading
Rev. Eugene Boylan
Scepter Press
ISBN 9781594172953 



I have read this booklet three times now, first in 2007, then in 2010 and now in 2017 the new eBook version. This booklet has been completely redone and is an excellent little read. Originally there was just over 200 booklets in the series from Scepter, I believe, that were available in English and it is great that they are being made available again. I also believe that this is the only booklet by Eugene Boylan in the series. And this booklet is an excerpt from This Tremendous Lover. And at just under 40 pages it packs a lot of punch. The chapters in this booklet are:

Gripping The Imagination 
The Barrier Of Boredom 
Essential For Progress 
Love, Not Sentiment 
The Educated Catholic 
A Disease Of The Mind 
Religious And Laity 
Reading As Food 
A Daily Exercise 
Unfortunate Biographies 
Ask For Help 
As Essential As Eating 
Reading And Meditation 
Indefinite Boundaries 
About The Author  

The introduction states: "Now if there is one thing for which modern conditions have produced a special necessity, it is the regular practice of spiritual reading. It is, of course, only a question of degree; for reading, or some other form of instruction, was always necessary" It has been a Christian practice since nearly the beginning. But today it is one that often slides by the side over taken by the urgent or that which easily distracts us. The purpose of this booklet is to remind us of the need for spiritual reading, but also to be cautious in all that we read. This booklet written well before the internet age raises some great questions about that with which we occupy our minds. And in today's technology age the distractions, which Rev Boylan speaks about are even more evident. Boylan goes on to state: "What has been said of periodicals is no less true of books taken generally; and there is another effect common to all such reading: it produces a distaste, not merely for the things that really matter, but also for the style and manner in which those things are presented in spiritual books. The result is that when one does by an effort force oneself to open a spiritual book, it requires a still greater effort to keep it open, and not to close it with a yawn. And, truth to tell, it is not always the reader who is to blame." And as an avid reader I can say that it is so true. It is easier to pick up a Clancy, Baldacci, Ludlum, or Robert B. Parker then to tackle an Aquinas, de' Liguori, Pope Benedict, or a Taylor Marshall. But this book reminds us of the importance of the effort and the greater reward from engaging in spiritual reading.   

Boylan declares: "Even if a man's reading of Catholic theology were only enough to teach him to know how much he does not know about it, a lot would be gained. But there is no reason why any educated Catholic should not go further, and bring his knowledge of Catholic theology up to the standards of the other branches of his knowledge - in principle if not in detail." And it is a worthy challenge. 

This is an excellent little read. And I am sure it will cause you to look at what you read, and how you read in a different light. This is one of the original Scepter booklets; in fact it was booklet 130. I was able to track down only print copies of about 60 of the original booklets, and am so excited that they are now becoming available in eBook formats.


It is now available for free in a wonderful eBook edition, along with many other booklets from the series. Scepter is in the process of updating all of the old booklets and making them available in a new format and presentation. I have read a number of the booklets and look forward to them all being available again. This book and the whole series are amazing resources to help you grow in your faith. And you really cannot beat the price! So why not give it a try.

PDF for free from Scepter.

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

For reviews of other books and booklets from Scepter click here

Saturday, 15 April 2017