Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Real Start Foundations - Team Body Project - Alex and Daniel Bartlett

Real Start Foundations
Team Body Project
Alex and Daniel Bartlett

I have now completed 9 workout plans with TBP and as of the posting of this review worked 6 months straight using TBP videos. And Real Start Foundations is an incredible plan. It has been designed for anyone, and I do mean anyone. This 1 week program has 5 workouts that vary in length from 22 to 32 minutes. There is a lot more instruction than any of the other plans or workouts I have done from TBP. Each of the workouts has someone doing a harder version, the instructor mixing it up, and Tarsh doing the entire workout in a chair. When I did these workouts, It was a very hard and stressful week at work. I was on call and there was not a lot of sleep. These workouts we much harder than I expected because of engagement, but also exactly what I needed. There are a couple of workouts in this plan I will use on active rest days, or days when my time gets crunched. They were all excellent.

As the ninth program from Team body project that I have completed this year, this is if modified easier than any of the others. It would have been a perfect place to start when I came off my sprained knee and started working out again last summer. And I have recommended it to a few friends, one who needs to get back into a habit, and another who has never really worked out at all.

The gear you will need:
Dumbbells (optional)
Chair (optional)

The workouts are:

Week 1
Resistance Foundations
Cardio Foundations
Standing Pilates Foundations
Walking cardio Foundations
Circuit Foundations

I did this program because I knew it was going to be a crazy week. And because I wanted to review it and compare it to the other three Real Start programs, and other plans I have completed. (See links to reviews below.) I honestly was surprised by how hard I could make these workouts, and also how much I enjoyed them. This plan delivers on its commitment to 100% low impact. And if you do the seated version 0 impact. It is fun, engaging, and very informative. The teaching about the how and why’s by Daniel and Alex in this plan is excellent. 

This past summer I wrote a piece called Starting Over in Southwestern Ontario! A Fitness Update! What I started with was the workout videos from team Body Project, and specifically Real Start Just Move. You can watch that video on YouTube, or even workout with it. I had been a member of Team Body Project for three years now, but only just started the videos. I am in my 50th year, and I really needed to get back at it. And the TBP plans have been a great way to do that. If you are starting or like me starting over again, this plan is an excellent place to begin.

Team Body Project is a website, an app and a community. And one of the best parts is the community. The supportive and encouraging community is part of what makes this an excellent resource for your health and fitness. The private community on Facebook and the forums on the website are very supportive and encouraging. But what really helped me is that the workouts in the Real Start programs are geared for anyone. And this one even more so. Each video has three participants. Daniel and Alex lead the videos and Tarsh and Mona. Mona usually works out at a harder pace, and Tarsh at a modified level, and seated. But even when you go beyond those programs, they always offer a less intense version. And pressing pause is encouraged if you need it. 

As I always conclude a TBP review, do not just take my word for it check out Kylie Young’s story or the other testimonials on the site. I can say that TBP is one of the best resources for health and fitness that I have ever come across. 

This is another great program, especially for those starting exercise for the first time or those starting over. Thank you again, Alex and Daniel. 

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Hunger A Texas Gothic Romance - Jane Lebak and Elissa Strati

Hunger: A Texas Gothic Romance
Jane Lebak
Elissa Strati 

I have read many of the books by Jane Lebak and came across this little volume. I picked up and read it while in the house alone on Halloween. It was a wonderful read for All Hollows Eve. And to be honest is very different than anything else I have read by Lebak. 

This short story is a blast of a read. Sarah is stuck in her job as a waitress. If she leaves people will die. And there has already been more death than she wants to be responsible for. The story is told in part going back and forth from the present to the past. Sarah feels that she can’t leave town. And she now there is someone who interests her. When a stranger shows up at the diner one day he can not only see the creature, the monster, or the demon, be he has a trick for distracting it, and shares a secret of how to finally get rid of it.

It is the story of a young woman, who was abused as she grew up, and her mother was a battered wife. When one night something it let loose from a crate in the earth it latches onto her. And her life is never the same. Slowly she gave up her dreams and hopes. But maybe there is a chance, and that new hope twists the tale in a new way.

A fun short story. An intriguing read. And so worth the price. So, pick it up and give it a try. It is a haunted tale with a surprise ending. But I will warn you. The story leaves you wondering what happens to Sarah next. And also who the old man is and more about his story.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Jane Lebak:
Pickup Notes
Love's Highway
Forever And For Keeps
Half Missing

Relic of His Heart
With Two Eyes Into Gehenna
Rain in Hell

Father Jay Series:
Bulletproof Vestments
The Boys Upstairs
A Different Heroism


Seven Archangels:
1.0 An Arrow In Flight
2.0 Sacred Cups
3.0 Shattered Walls
4.0 The Wrong Enemy
5.0 Annihilation

Seven Archangels Short Stories:
2.1 Damage
2.2 Even A Stone
2.3 Hired Man
2.4 Winter Branches
5.5 Once Only

Seven Angels Short Story Bundle 2.1-2.4

The Adventures of Lee and Bucky:

0.5 Upsie-Daisy
1.0 Honest And For True
2.0 Forever And For Keeps

Books as Maddie Evans:

Sweet Grove:
1.0 Love's Highway
2.0 Love's Rules of the Road


Carrying to Term: A Guide for Parents after a Devastating Prenatal Diagnosis


Author profile and interview with Jane Lebak.

Books by Elissa Strati:
Hanson Family Saga:
Love's Odds
Love's Sweet Memories
Love's Laird
Love's Battle

Monday, 9 December 2019

Friendship with Jesus - Amy Welborn and Ann Kissane Engelhart - Pope Benedict XVI talks to Children on Their First Holy Communion

Friendship with Jesus: 
Pope Benedict XVI talks to Children on Their First Holy Communion
Amy Welborn
Ann Kissane Engelhart
Ignatius Press
ISBN 9781586176198
ISBN 9781936260423

I have wanted to read this book since I finished and reviewed, Be Saints! An Invitation from Pope Benedict XVI, but since all three of my children have already completed their first communions I kept holding off and left the book on my wish list for a long time. After finishing it I really wish I hadn’t. I have read this with my youngest two. Both are altar servers, both love mass, and both just a week ago went to adoration with me. And 9 and 11 years old, the are not the normal adoration crowd, at least at our mass. And you will find out what it is relevant shortly.

Since 2012 I have read a dozen books by Amy Welborn. With every book I read, the more I respect her skill, her talent, and her sharing of the Catholic faith. This book was another excellent read. I have read this volume twice now, including just now lying in bed with my youngest as we took turns reading pages. We have already ordered a couple more copies, one for the kids school library, and for for the teachers reserve at the school library. 

In this volume Amy Welborn takes excerpts from the talk given by Pope Benedict XVI and picks a bible verse. There are Questions from the children that were I the papal audience that sunny day. These are presented on two-page spread illustration from Ann Kissane Engelhart. The illustrations are wonderful water color paintings. 

The chapters are:

Pope Benedict’s Memories of His First Communion
Confession and Sin
The Real Presence
The Importance of Sunday Mass
The Effects of Receiving Jesus in Holy Communion
Jesus the Bread of Life
Eucharistic Adoration

And the quotes are:

Luke 24:35
Luke 18:16
John 6:35
Matthew 28:20
John 20:21

Some pages also include questions for reflection. My youngest the first time we read it wanted to think about the questions. Some examples are:

How do you feel after your sins are forgiven in Confession?
How can you help your family to enjoy meeting Jesus in the Eucharist at Mass?
In What Part of your life do you need the special nourishment of Jesus, the Bread of Life?

The message in this book is wonderful. The illustrations are exceptional. I admit I had this book on my wish list for while. I thought it was a little pricey for a book I might only read once or twice with my children. But I should have known better, based on the author. This is a wonderful book, for children and for us older readers also. I was personally inspired and challenged by this book, and I know my children were as well. I know it will be one we reread every few months together as a reminder. And my daughter is already asking to go back to adoration tomorrow night. 

There are few books I am as glad my children love as much as they loved this one. It was an instant family favourite and we plan on sharing it with friends and family. We give it the McEvoy Clan seal of approval. And if you do pick it up, consider getting at the same time, Be Saints! An Invitation from Pope Benedict XVI, they go so well together. Wish there was a way to give it 6 out of 5 stars!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan

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

Friendship with Jesus: Pope Benedict XVI talks to Children on Their First Holy Communion
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
The Absence of War

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

Books by Benedict XVI:

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Learning to Love Journeys Through Life with the Rosary - Father Nigel Woollen

Learning to Love: 
Journeys Through Life with the Rosary
Father Nigel Woollen
Veritas Publications

This is the second volume from the masterful pen of father Nigel Woolen that I have read. In fact, as I write this review I am reading it through a second time. One sentence in the book stood out and felt like it was written directly to me:

“We sometimes feel that everyday we fall short of doing his will, but God loves a good trier and will never let us down, if we keep learning to trust on the way.”


"When we don't know what to pray, recite the lord's prayer it is enough, as it contains everything we need.Trying to pray is already praying - and God loves a good trier."

From the moment I picked up this volume, till I finished it the first time. I felt the words flowing into my heart and spirit. I struggle with reading physical books, but this one was worth the effort not only once but now almost a second time through. The chapters in this volume are:

Introduction: You Shall Love the Lord, Your God

I.  When You Sit in Your Houses:
Encountering the Lord – Joyful Mysteries
The Lord Comes to our House: Called and Chosen
1. The Annunciation: Learning to Receive
2. The Visitation: Bearing the Bearer of All Things
3. The Nativity: Glory to God and peace on Earth
4. The Presentation: The New temple
5. The Finding in the Temple: In My Father’s Company

II. When you Walk By the Way
The Apostles – Mysteries of Light
The Time of Missions: Sharing the Love We Have Encountered
1. The Baptism of the Lord: Learning to Walk
2. The Wedding Feast of Cana: Trusting in Him
3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom: Life in the Spirit
4. The Transfiguration: The Only Way is Up
5. The Institution of the Eucharist: You are What You Eat

III. When You Lie Down:
Sickness, Suffering, and Death – Sorrowful Mysteries
The Greatest Apostle of All: Blessed and Broken
1. The Agony in the Garden: Learning to pray
2. The Scourging at the Pillar: making Sense of Wasted Pain
3. The Crowning with Thorns: Behold Your King
4. The Carrying of the Cross: Out of the City
5. The Crucifixion: Into Your hands

IV. And When You Rise:
The Life of heaven – Glorious Mysteries
Toward the Goal: Their Fruits Go Before Them
1. The Resurrection: New Life
2. The Ascension: Learning to Hope
3. Pentecost: Receive the Holy Spirit
4. The Assumption of Mary: Drawn by Love
5. Mary is Crowned as Queen: Happy Endings

Postscript: Open Your Lips and Let God’s Word Be Heard

But this is not another book on how to pray the Rosary. And it is not a how to book. It is a series of deep meditations and reflections that tie into our lives the mysteries. I have loved the Rosary most of my life. Even when I had fallen away from the Catholic Church, I always kept a Rosary and often prayed it. But reading this book has had a profound impact on me and on my journey. For years now my personal email signature ha begun with ‘Yours, learning to be’. And when asked about it I would state that my goal as a Christian, as a Catholic was to learn to be, and learn to be good at being. Or as Matthew Kelly would put it to work to ‘become the best version of myself’. Or as Pope Benedict XVI would put it ‘Do not be afraid to be saints’. This is a life changing book. A few years ago I was asked to come up with my Top Ten Catholic Books, if I was making that list today this book would be on it. 

This book is a wonderful little volume. I am thankful to have had the chance to read it. I just wish it was easier to get in North America or that there was an eBook edition available. Father Nigel writes in such a down to earth and engaging style that I have loved both his books, and know that I will track down any future releases. I highly recommend this book. Give it a try I am sure you will not be disappointed. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Nigel Woollen:
The Lamb Will Conquer: Reflections on the Knock Apparition
Learning to Love: Journeys Through Life with the Rosary

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Memento Mori Prayers on the Last Things- Theresa Aletheia Noble, FSP

Memento Mori Prayers on the Last Things 
Theresa Aletheia Noble, FSP
Pauline Books and Media
ISBN 9780819850089

It has been a long time since I have been this eager to get my hands on a new prayer book. But after how impactful Remember Your Death: Memento Mori A Lenten Devotional and Remember Your Death: Memento Mori Journal were I had high expectations for this prayer book. And it did snot disappoint. Not since discovering The Handbook of Prayers edited by Reverend James Socias have I found a prayer book so beneficial. At one point I had Copies of the handbook in my desk at work, my desk at home, my backpack, and my bed side table. I also always kept a spare so I could give it away. That is exactly how I feel about this Memento Mori Prayer Book. I wish I could buy it by the case to be able to give them away. And I cannot wait for the eBook edition to come out so I can always have it on me. This is the best new prayer book I have had in years.

The prayers in this book were compiled or written by Sister Theresa Aletheia Noble, FSP. The physical book is a beautiful volume. And I am not normally a physical book guy. It is dark grey leather. It has just an embossed skull on the front cover and “Memento Mori” in Script on the back. It had a single black built in silk bookmark. And silver gilded edges to the pages. The end sheets match the cover of the Memento Mori Journal. The sections in the volume are:

Memento Mori and the Last Things
How to Live Memento Mori
Death: Prayers to Live and to Die Well
     Prayers to Imitate Jesus
     Prayers for a Good Death
     Prayers for the Dying
     Marian prayers for Assistance in Life and Death
Judgement: Prayers to Prepare to Meet Jesus
     Prayers of Repentance
     Prayers for the Dead
Hell: Prayers to Combat the Powers of Darkness
     The Sacrament of Baptism
     Prayers to Jesus, Our Eucharistic Lord
     Spiritual Warfare Prayers
     The Power of the Holy Rosary
Heaven: Prayers for Union with God
     Prayers of Praise to God
     Prayers to live in Heaven
     Marian prayers of Hope
Appendix 1
     Basic Prayers in Latin and English
Appendix 2
     An Explanation of Indulgences

There are a few full-page illustrations in the book. Overall this is an incredible little volume of prayers. I am sure you will benefit from investing in this book, and spending time prayer the prayers within.

Another excellent volume from Sister Theresa Aletheia. I great little volume and tool for your prayer and spiritual warfare toolbox. One of the best prayer books I have ever used, I highly recommend it. This book was so good I added it to my All Time Top Ten Catholic Books.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Theresa Aletheia Noble, FSP:
Remember Your Death: Memento Mori A Lenten Devotional
Remember Your Death: Memento Mori Journal

Memento Mori Prayers on the Last Things 
The Prodigal You Love