Saturday, December 29, 2012

Review: Zippers, A Short Story

Zippers, A Short Story by Ashley Barron

I love Ashley Barron's stories! Here's one reason why, from Zippers: "My eyes begin to sting. He kneels down and gives my shoulder a squeeze. The sting turns to water."

Ms. Barron has a knack, a skill, for writing in a very small number of pages what it takes other writers hundreds of pages to get out. She understands the human condition, whether she is showing what goes on in the mind of a woman getting ready to go out to celebrate a birthday, or describing a ten-year-old boy's reaction to a tantalizing mystery at a picnic.

Like the ten-year-old, Ms Barron dares to probe, to ask the uncomfortable questions. And like the boy in Zippers, she is rewarded (as her readers are, too) by thoughtful, heartfelt answers that ring true.

I'm always a better person for having read one of Ms Barron's stories, and I will always make time to read them.

I'm already looking forward to the next Ashley Barron story.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Review: Heresy: Ten Lies They Spread About Christianity

Heresy: Ten Lies They Spread About Christianity
Heresy: Ten Lies They Spread About Christianity by Michael Coren

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I found this book helpful in my spiritual life and I also found it intellectually thought-provoking. I admit that I picked this book up more to learn about Catholic apologetics than because it was written by Mr. Coren. The last time I heard of Michael Coren, he was a talk-show host on CFRB, a talk-radio station in Toronto. I was not impressed with his rhetoric. That was years ago, and to the best of my knowledge he is no longer there, but I haven't bothered to verify this.

Since then I've heard that he has, or had, a Toronto-based television show, and that he is an advocate of homeschooling. And that he is a Catholic.

These were all reasons why I decided to invest the time to read Heresy. I liked his premise: Catholics (and Christians, in general) put up with a lot more lies, venom, and misdirected hatred than any other religion in the world and it has to stop. I agree.

In Heresy, Mr. Coren discusses a variety of topics that we Christians regularly have to defend about our faith. To quote from his website: People believe that Christianity "...supports slavery, is racist, anti-intellectual, anti-Semitic, provokes war, resists progress, is repressive and irrelevant, that Jesus didn’t exist, and that there are contradictions in the faith."

I'm a cradle Catholic, and I have never had anyone tell me that they disagreed with Christianity because one of the most horrible persons to ever walk on this planet, Hitler, claimed to be a Christian. So I found a few of these topics to be, quite frankly, inane, the Hitler one in particular. I cannot take anyone who says something that stupid too seriously. I've taught logic and argumentation theory and since learning about arguments back in university, I've always asked myself this question before jumping into an argument: Do I have a realistic chance of changing my opponent's point of view? If not, then I would rather save my breath for a more intelligent conversation with someone else. And anyone who would be stupid enough to attack a religion based on such a claim would not get a defense from me.

But Mr. Coren is up to the challenge. He proves himself to be a great arguer and he resorts to good arguments to state his case, most of the time. He does, however, fall into "talk-radio" mode once in a while. For example, in the chapter about the lies told against Christianity in The Davinci Code, he begins by quoting a scathing review of Dan Brown's writing abilities. Talk about an ad homonym fallacy! I don't believe that personal attacks help to defend any cause, so that tactic failed to do anything more than annoy/disappoint me. I write fiction, so I guess I rarely take any claim made within a fictional story context seriously. But... and this is where Mr. Coren gets someone as cynical as me to agree with him, in the very same chapter he takes Tom Hanks to task for acting in such an anti-Christian movie as The Davinci Code. Mr Hanks says that it's just fiction and we shouldn't take it too seriously (my claim exactly). Mr. Coren's reply: would Tom Hanks act in a movie that claimed the holocaust never happened? And again, I agree with Mr. Coren, Tom Hanks probably wouldn't. But, "they" would argue, The Davinci Code is just an attack on Christianity, so it's fair game. What are we Christians going to do, other than turn the other cheek like our religion requires us to do?

Overall, I found Mr. Coren's writing clear and his arguments cogent and persuasive. The topics are barely touched upon, as he mentions. There is so much one could say about each issue, but he does a very good job laying out the central claims, explaining why the chosen topic is offensive to Christians, and he pours as much historical proof as needed to at least make someone think that they may be wrong. And that's all we can ask for, isn't it? For people who don't know what they're saying to stop spreading false beliefs about Christians, and to take the time to understand Christianity's position before attacking it.

In this secularized world, I'm glad someone is standing up for Christianity and for Christians. Next on my reading list is Mr. Coren's previous book: Why Catholics Are Right.


View all my reviews

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Merry Christmas!

What with all the excitement and brouhaha associated with Christmas, I'm posting this early. I wish everyone a very merry Christmas. I hope you all get to spend time with your family and/or your loved ones. Sadly, these two groups don't always overlap.

I love Christmastime! Not as much as the Lenten season leading up to Easter, but with the Advent candles counting down the four Sundays before Christmas, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary on December 8, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12, Christmas Eve, and then the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord on Christmas Day, there are plenty of opportunities to meditate, go to mass, and pray during this otherwise hectic season!

I wish you all a very merry Christmas. May you discover joy, happiness, and the true meaning of Christmas under that Christmas tree (along with a  box or two of your favorite chocolates), and may you all have a wonderful new year!

See you in 2013!

~ JT~

Friday, November 16, 2012

Review: The Age of Hope

The Age of Hope
The Age of Hope by David Bergen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yes, once again, I've read a book that I love! I'm either on a quite a streak of reading only good books, or I've completely lost any standard! (Maybe a little from column A and a little from column B)

But I loved The Age of Hope. I've been trying to recall the last time I read a novel written my a man who explored the emotional landscape of a woman as thoroughly as David Bergen has in this novel and I cannot come up anything. Not that there aren't any, I admittedly have a poor memory.

Hope is a woman born in 1930, in a small town near Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada. So, this is a novel about my mother (who was born in 1929 in Quebec) and her generation. Hope marries Roy, a man driven by ambition: with his expanding car dealerships he easily provides for his growing family through the nineteen-seventies. Hope and Roy Koop and their four kids live well and Hope's family is as happy as they can be.

Except for Hope.

Mr. Bergen offers many reasons why Hope is unhappy in her humdrum life: for one thing, she is nothing like her recently emancipated girlfriend, a woman who gets caught up in the wild seventies movements, experimenting with pop psychology, drugs, and sex.

Although The Age of Hope focuses exclusively on Hope's life, Hope doesn't have lots of exciting experiences. She just goes along and lives her life; she cares for her family, whom she usually loves, but sometimes hates, and at other times cannot fathom why she should care about them.

Hope gets depressed when she learns that she is pregnant with her fourth child and she ends up receiving electro-shock therapy for her depression. One result of the shocks, besides bringing her back to an even keel psychologically, is that she can no longer bring herself to cry about anything.

Don't get me wrong, lots of things happen in this narrative: women get abortions, people lie, they cheat on their spouses during wife-swapping key parties, they run away from their families... but none of these things happen to Hope.

Yet, I offer a couple reasons as to why I love this novel: the first is that David Bergen (and his editors) let the characters shrug. A lot! I love it! As a writer, I love the shrug, it so easily and realistically conveys so many indeterminate emotions.

The other reason I love The Age of Hope is that, like a Seinfeld episode, nothing happens to Hope, yet she has an interesting life and a life well worth reading about. The reason is that Mr Bergen lets her breathe. He takes the time needed to document life in rural Manitoba and the rest of the world, to examine the sixties, seventies, and eighties eras, and to explore Hope's inner life as she goes from a nursing student to an elderly woman.

I highly recommend this novel to anyone who has never read David Bergen. And when you're done reading this one, read The Time in Between.

View all my reviews

Monday, November 12, 2012

November is Lung Cancer and Pancreatic Cancer Month

The fact that the Canadian Cancer Society recognizes these two types of cancer in November means a great deal to me, since my uncle Ronald died of pancreatic cancer a few years ago, and my father died of lung cancer nine years ago.

A bit about each of them:
My uncle Ronald loved music and devoted most of his life to conducting a church choir. I think he became interested in music when he learned as a child that he could sing anything he had to say with ease, instead of painfully stuttering his way through a sentence. late in life he took conducting classes to better apply his craft, and music meant the world to him. Unfortunately (or fortunately) he never had the good singers in town. Our hometown was a small place, yet there were two choirs for one church. Most of the good singers went with the better choir, since that one had a reputation for being a better choir. Although competition was fierce in that choir, I never once heard that my uncle ever turned away anyone who was interested in singing in his choir. Many of the singers were older ladies, well past their prime singing voices, if they ever had a singing voice to begin with, yet he graciously and gratefully accepted and welcomed them into his choir.

Over twenty years, we all sang at one time or another in uncle Ronald's choir. It was a family affair: My dad sang, me and my brother also sang, two of my uncles played music and sang, along with three of my cousins.

Then uncle Ronald got sick. The doctors discovered it was pancreatic cancer, and he wasted away for months, until God called him to help conduct that big choir in the sky.

My dad:
Family lore claims that my dad was born with a shotgun in one hand and a fishing rod in the other. He was a born sportsman. Through all his admitted faults, he was also blessed with having the patience of a saint. Given who he was married to (my mother was not known as a patient person) my dad needed all the Divine assistance he could get.

The man hunted and fished his entire life. Later on, I taught him to play golf. It immediately appealed to his competitive nature and he played for many years. He hated anything (and everything) from Montreal, I think just because he hated big cities. He loved to hate the Montreal Canadians every Saturday night. I think he also hated the Expos as much as he disliked the Canadians.

Be that as it may, I got a phone call one day from my mom. My dad was on the other line, as usual. They tended to have these endearing conversations between the two of them as I was forced to listen in... My mom announced that Dad had lung cancer. Lifelong smokers the both of them, I can't say I was shocked by the news. Dance with the Devil long enough, he'll come after you...

Dad refused any treatment. He wasn't convinced that they would do any good and he chose quality over quantity of life. He lived for almost five years after the initial diagnosis. From the distance of a whole province away, the only outward change I noticed was that he had shorter breath and maybe he drank a bit more whiskey. Personally, I would probably have been drunk until the Reaper came a knocking.

One night he and my mom went out to play cards at their best friends' place. They came back home a couple of hours later and my dad had trouble climbing the stairs to their second floor apartment. My mom called the ambulance and they took him to emergency. Two days later, he died in ER, still waiting for a room. Surprisingly, this was the only time he went to the hospital for lung cancer issues.

So, that's the human face of pancreatic and lung cancer, for me. Thank you for reading.

~ JT ~

Monday, November 05, 2012

Review: The Time Keeper

The Time Keeper
The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom. He is an author that I will not only move up on my to-be-read pile when one of his new books comes out, I will stop reading whatever I'm currently reading to start his!

And once again Mr. Albom does not disappoint his fans. The Time Keeper is a philosophical/theological themed novel about temporality. Speaking as a Heideggerian (Being and Time, Time and Being) and as someone who has not worn a watch in many, many, many years, I usually dismiss most authors' awkward and feeble attempts to grapple with this subject. But I was curious to find out Mitch Albom's spin on it.

In The Time Keeper, we are presented with three simultaneous and eventually intertwining stories about temporality: a teen girl decides she has too much of it and wants to end her life as soon as possible; a rich man (the fourteenth richest in the world, we are told) doesn't have enough time left because he is dying; and Dor - who first lived around the time of the building of the great tower of Babel - the first man to measure time.

Each of these characters has much to learn about themselves and about their relationship to time. For those of you too busy to read this short novel, the moral that Mr. Albom imparts is that we have all the time we need to lead our lives, God neither apportions too much of it nor too little.

I couldn't have put it any better. And neither could Heidegger.

If you've enjoyed Mitch Albom's previous works, you'll definitely enjoy this one, too. If you've never read Mitch Albom, The Time Keeper is as good an introduction to this great author as any of his other books.

View all my reviews

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Review: Then Again

Then Again
Then Again by Diane Keaton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved Diane Keaton's autobiography, Then Again. It turns out that she is exactly what she's appeared to be since coming on the scene as Woody Allen's la-de-da girl, Annie Hall - an insecure woman trying to find herself, someone who's not a great actress but who makes the most out of every situation. Not that it didn't take her a while to come to terms with that...

I also enjoyed this writing project: to try to write two biographies in one; her own, as the Grammy-winning star of Annie Hall, and her mother's life story, a 1940s-50s homemaker and budding memoirist/artist. I think she succeeded in doing what she set out to do. Alzheimer's stories are always heart-breaking, so she had the emotional impact of that subject matter to fall back on. And, luckily for Ms. Keaton, she had her mother's eighty-five journals for extra material. Many biography writers do not have that kind of material at their disposal. She used it sparingly (I wanted to read so much more of Dorothy's journals than what Ms Keaton included in her book), and she supplied those journal entries with her own memories of the events.

Ms. Keaton also gives the reader (at least, this reader) just enough behind the scenes accounts of her relationships with Woody Allen, Warren Beatty and Al Pacino. Full disclosure, the main reason I read this non-fiction book is because Annie Hall is one of my favorite movies of all time, I loved Reds, and I really enjoy The Godfather trilogy.

By reading Then Again I learned more about Diane Keaton the actress than I ever knew before, I learned more about her roles as a mother and a daughter, and I got a few peeks at the private life of a major Hollywood star.

I found the memoir a satisfying read, and enjoyed the creativity either Ms. Keaton or Random House used in putting the book together. Well done.

View all my reviews

Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy Halloween, but...

don't forget about the Solemnity of All Saints on November 1 and All Souls' Day November 2.

We all know about Halloween: it's the day when you get to knock on neighbors' doors and vaguely threaten them with "tricks" if they don't fork over the "treats". Although it has yet to be proven, I firmly believe that Halloween is sponsored by either wiccans or dentists, or wiccan dentists...

The Feast of All Saints, or the Solemnity of All Saints. Want to know what a Saint is, and why we dedicate a whole day to them? Kathy Coffey's post The Feast of All Saints: God's Glorious Nobodies explains: In case you don't get a chance to read it, here is a summary of her insightful essay:

Perhaps we should celebrate this feast by looking more appreciatively at those around us: saints in disguise or in progress. There we’ll find proof of Thomas Merton’s saying, "To be a saint means to be myself."

So, what do we (I can only speak for myself as a Catholic) do on the Solemnity of All Saints? I plan on attending morning mass, to start the day off. And later, as I recite my Divine Office prayers, I'll be thinking especially of all the saintly people in my life. Those are the people who inspire me to be a better person every day, and for which I'm thankful to have in my life. I'll also be thanking all the martyrs of the Catholic Church. For, without them shedding their blood for the faith, there might not be a Church today for me to partake in.

And on November 2, All Souls' Day, we dedicate the day to the souls of our departed loved ones. My wife and I filled out two envelopes with some of the names of our departed loved ones. These names will be read at church over the next few weeks along with other congregants' names. It is yet another opportunity to remember those who have mattered to us and who are gone from our lives. The whole congregation will pray for their souls. What will this achieve, you ask.

To answer, both of the following quotes are from

Whether or not one should pray for the dead is one of the great arguments which divide Christians. Appalled by the abuse of indulgences in the Church of his day, Martin Luther rejected the concept of purgatory. Yet prayer for a loved one is, for the believer, a way of erasing any distance, even death. In prayer we stand in God's presence in the company of someone we love, even if that person has gone before us into death.

* * * 

“We must not make purgatory into a flaming concentration camp on the brink of hell—or even a ‘hell for a short time.’ It is blasphemous to think of it as a place where a petty God exacts the last pound—or ounce—of flesh.... St. Catherine of Genoa, a mystic of the 15th century, wrote that the ‘fire’ of purgatory is God’s love ‘burning’ the soul so that, at last, the soul is wholly aflame. It is the pain of wanting to be made totally worthy of One who is seen as infinitely lovable, the pain of desire for union that is now absolutely assured, but not yet fully tasted” (Leonard Foley, O.F.M., Believing in Jesus).

So, on November 2, I will be thinking of my departed family and friends, including my parents, both gone now for nine years, and I'll be praying for their souls, that they may get to heaven, and that they may look after me and my family.

Have a happy and safe Halloween, everyone. And if you can, take a moment on November 1 and 2, and give a thought to your departed loved ones.

~ JT ~

Friday, October 26, 2012

Review: Burning Embers

Burning Embers
Burning Embers by Hannah Fielding

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've just returned from a most wonderful trip where I visited beautiful and exotic 1970s Kenya!

No, I didn't really time travel, but I did the next best thing: I read Hannah Fielding's sizzling novel: Burning Embers. The historical romance pits Coral, a headstrong, jealous English photographer, against Rafe, a well-known French womanizer and suspected scoundrel with a nefarious past. There's an immediate physical attraction between the two, but their current circumstances, and troubled personal histories, threaten to keep them apart forever.

Ms Fielding has expertly wielded her plotting and descriptive skills in bringing to life this sub-Saharan love story. And by rendering the exotic scenery and setting with careful and convincing detail, the author puts the reader right on the African continent and involves us in Coral and Rafe's tense romantic adventures.

I thoroughly enjoyed this nostalgic trip on a foreign continent, and I would recommend it to any romance reader experiencing a serious case of wanderlust.

Readers can connect with Hannah Fielding at:

View all my reviews

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review: Story of a Soul (l'Histoire d'une Ame): The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux

Story of a Soul (l'Histoire d'une Ame): The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux
Story of a Soul (l'Histoire d'une Ame): The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux by Thérèse de Lisieux

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Story of a Soul is a most edifying book! If one wishes to learn how a saint truly lived her life, there is no better source or textbook to use as reference than to read her autobiography. St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the Little Flower, shows us how easy, and yet so difficult, it is to live the humble life; more importantly, she offers compelling reasons why we should wish to focus on this virtue.

St. Thérèse claims to be a simple soul who hones her devotion by entering a Carmelite convent. Her life is guided by two principles: 1) to adhere to Jesus' claim that one must be like a child to enter the kingdom of Heaven, and 2) to follow Jesus' example and to humble herself. Towards that end, no task at the convent is too menial for her to perform and offer to God. She wishes to earnestly live her life in childish simplicity, yet she combines that simple outlook with a faith worthy of, well... a saint.

Story of a Soul, besides offering an insight into the life of a saint, is strewn with references from the three texts St. Thérèse relied on to keep her humble: The Bible, writings of St. John of the Cross, and Thomas A Kempis' Imitation of Christ.

This version of St. Thérèse's Story of a Soul can be found here for free:

View all my reviews

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Review: Eternal

Eternal, by Jennie Orbell

This is a wonderful, well-written collection of short stories that reminded me, with their surprise endings, of the stories in the television show Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Most of the stories have a macabre hook to them, and I enjoyed how the author did not shy away from the graphic blood and guts descriptions that contrasted her clean, crisp writing. Ms Orbell's style combines the realism of an accomplished author with the disorienting feeling one gets in those really good nightmares.

To read these stories is to oftentimes embark on a tour of the darkest corners of the human soul - and to be returned safe and sound to one's bed at the end of (most) tales.

I truly enjoyed this collection, and I look forward to reading more fiction by Jennie Orbell.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Review: Astray

Astray by Emma Donoghue

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved Emma Donoghue's short story collection Astray. And I found the Afterward to be as entertaining as the stories themselves.

One of the common themes of the stories in Astray is that they are all based on a true event/real people. They are also all quirky, and they explore humanity from a variety of perspectives: female sculptors, gold prospecting in the Yukon, women cowpokes, cross-dressing, domesticated prostitution, emigration dreams... Ms Donoghue explores it all. The fact that these are all based on true historical events makes the characters that much more intriguing.

Ms Donoghue brings her finely-crafted prose and research skills to each story, breathing life into dry newspaper reporting.

Well worth the time to read, and when you are done with Astray you must read Room, Ms Donoghue's amazing novel.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Review: Lives of the Saints:

Lives of the Saints:
Lives of the Saints: by Alban Butler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Father Butler's Lives of the Saints is an amazing book of devotion, arranged to follow the Catholic Church's calendar of feast days, and so is relevant every day of the year. I enjoyed reading and learning about the daily saints, Doctors, and martyrs of the Church in concise, well-written, prose.

I highly recommend using Lives of the Saints as part of a daily regimen to deepen one's faith by way of being introduced to inspiring examples of faith.

The book, first published in the nineteenth century, also serves as a valuable introduction the early history of the Catholic Church and the fundamental (and sacrificial) roles some of the founders of the church played to ensure the continuation and development of the Church into modern times.

Having read through the book once, I now look forward to being reacquainted with each new day's Saint.

Caveat: I now see that there are different editions of Butler's Lives of the Saints. I must admit that my review is based on the on-line version, so I cannot vouch for this particular edition.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Review: Odd Apocalypse

Odd Apocalypse
Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Odd Apocalypse is one of my favorite Odd Thomas novels. Granted, I'd forgotten most of the last Odd Thomas tale, so this one came as a pleasant surprise.

The story picks up from where the last one ended. Odd Thomas and Annamaria are invited to a multimillionaire movie mogul's mansion. They go, because they need a place to stay, but more importantly, someone on the estate needs their help. Odd Thomas meets a woman in white, riding a Fresian stallion, both of whom are ghosts. With the woman's help, Odd finds a boy, held against his will.

Odd Apocalypse is full of interesting characters, to name a few: Alfred Hitchcock, Nikola Tesla, futuristic pig-beasts, vampire bats, an overweight chef who bakes a mean quiche but otherwise divulges very little information about the troubling surroundings, and Odd Thomas and his plain, but mysterious and pregnant friend Annamaria.

Thanks to Tesla's mad genius, all is not as it appears at the estate called Roseland, but the quick-witted fry cook with the gift of gab and the heart of gold is up to the challenge of unraveling the layers of mystery and horror that enshroud the idyllic place.

Temptation takes many forms in this tale, but when immortality beckons, will Odd Thomas succumb to its calling?

View all my reviews

Monday, September 24, 2012

Review: Impulse

Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed Impulse. Ellen Hopkins uses a psychiatric hospital/bootcamp setting for a group of troubled teenagers who have each tried to commit suicide. Tony, a sexually abused and now confused young runaway who overdosed after his best friend/father-figure died of AIDS; Connor, a popular jock comes from a wealthy family, who finally succumbs to the pressures of the constant competition with his twin sister and shoots himself in the chest; and Vanessa, a cutter, who has been burned during her short lifetime by love, an absent father fighting in the Middle East, and a mentally ill mother.

Ellen Hopkins takes us along on the teens' journey of self discovery, and we cheer each new level of freedom that they achieve, as well as mourn their setback.

I found Impulse to be well worth the read. This novel, oddly enough given the shocking ending, has a more hopeful tone than some of Ms Hopkins other novels.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Down By Contact Blurb

Today I'm blurbing to celebrate the signing of my new sweet romance novella Down By Contact with Fine Form Press.


Miriame Van Housen is the brash twenty-five year old new owner of the New York Giants football team. Her team is heading to the playoffs thanks to the heroics of Dawson Drake, her star quarterback, who executes a last-second game-winning play before getting injured.

When Miriame learns that "Double D" will never again play football in the NFL, she takes matters into her own hands and heads to Winnemucca Nevada to tell the handsome jock that his career with her team is over. Under a windswept Nevada sky Miriame and Dawson soon discover that beneath her cold, business-like personality, Miriame longs to be loved.

That's it: A little NFL football, a little love.

Let me know what you think.


Monday, September 10, 2012


We've all got 'em. Some problems are more serious than others. Some of them, we hope, will resolve themselves, others it seems we have to be proactive because... they are just too important to us to not do anything about.

Today, as I reflected on a recent disturbing issue, something that just doesn't look as if it can have any happy resolution, I was reminded that Mary must have felt overwhelmed quite a few times in her life, especially during the Passion of her Son, Jesus.

Imagine giving birth to a beautiful baby, through miraculous means, and then thirty two years later helplessly watching that grown up baby be tortured unto death like a common criminal. Now imagine having been told that your baby would be the new Messiah. What would Mary have thought of Jesus' ministry on that Friday afternoon, looking up at her Son crucified, suffering, and dying? Would Gabriel's earlier promises have made any sense to her at that point? Probably not.

Yet she did not doubt God's word. Once again she needed to rely on her faith; and it took for Jesus to die, go down into Hell, and rise again, for God to fulfill His promise. But Mary never doubted, even though it had to seem to her on that horrible day that there was no possible way Jesus' ministry would continue. How could it: the man was dead or dying, nailed to a cross, and abandoned by just about all of his followers!

And yet... two thousand years after the "loss" of Jesus, we see how strong his ministry is.

We need to use that faith, especially when the world looks dire, when it doesn't seem likely that we'll get the desired results we'd hoped and prayed for. Let's keep in mind that once upon a time there was much more at stake than whatever small problem is troubling us today, but Mary did not lose faith, and God's will was done.

~ JT ~

Monday, August 27, 2012

Adventures in Mother-Sitting Review

Adventures in Mother-SittingAdventures in Mother-Sitting by Ms Doreen Cox
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I found Adventures in Mother-Sitting to be a very touching book. This non-fiction story focuses on Doreen (Dody's) decision to look after her mother Eva, after Eva has been diagnosed as suffering from Alzheimer's.

Doreen's frank retelling of the joys, happiness, and frustrations she experienced as her mother's Care Bear for the last three years of Eva's life will give the reader an eye-opening revelation of what caregivers live through as they tend to terminally ill patients and loved ones.

To read Doreen's book is to to immerse oneself in the landscape of her mind and in the challenges of daily life, as she explores in a unique way the variety of emotions she goes through caring for her mother. She takes the reader along her journey, and we experience the joys of unexpected successes, the lows of diminishing physical abilities, and the humor that can be found in the oddest, most stressful, circumstances.

This is one woman's soul-searching attempt to come to terms with conflicting emotions and the whirlwind of ideas second-guessing her decisions as she does her best to offer her mother home care. Is Doreen perfect in the execution of her duties? Not by a long shot! Is she honest with us and herself? Brutally so. Doreen's courage, ego, disappointments in herself, and wondrous triumphs are all documented and analyzed as Eva undergoes the inevitable transformation of a loving and caring mother, to a teen, then a child, and eventually to a mostly unresponsive bedridden patient. But the heartbreaking three-year journey of mother and daughter(s), for Doreen also includes her sisters' roles in the care of their mother, is broken up time and again by moments of joy and humor that lift everyone's spirits and offer hope when the situation seems so dire and hopeless.

Bear in mind, this is not an easy book to read. Doreen tells it like it is, so there talk of diaper-changing, toilet messes, and graphic descriptions of body ailments that leave one breathless. But her tale touches on a reality that many of us will face, or have already faced, in this future world of diminishing medical/healthcare assistance.

Adventures in Mother-Sitting should be a mandatory manual for anyone seriously thinking of caring for an Alzheimer's-afflicted loved one.

View all my reviews
Blogger Wordpress Gadgets