My Reading List for 2016

Did I ever mention I am doing an MA in Applied Theology? I don’t think I have ever talked about it much on the blog… Anyway, I am two years in and I am currently on a ‘study break’, mainly to discern what to do my dissertation on as I have no idea! That’s what I am hoping to do in 2016.

This is the first time I have ever created a reading list. The main aim of it is to keep me focussed during my year of discernment. The majority of the books have come across during my studies and I books I would like to read or re-read. I have also included some books I would like to read for pleasure, because, well, variety is the spice of life!

reading list 2016

One Thousand Gifts Ann VoskampJanuary

  • One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
  • Reclaiming Conversation by Sherry Turkle
  • Fatal Misconception: The struggle to control the world’s population by Matthew Connelly

February

  • Unplanned by Abby Johnson
  • I Just Came For Ashes
  • The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations by Christopher Lasch
  • A Feast for Lent by Delia Smith
  • The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton

March

  • Haven in a Heartless World: The Family Besieged by Nicholas Lasch
  • Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI
  • Rediscover Jesus by Matthew Kelly
  • Familiaris Consortio by Saint John Paul

April

  • Called to Love by Anderson and Granados
  • A Civilization of Love by Carl Anderson
  • The Way, Furrow, the Forge by Jose Maria Escriva
  • Deus Caritas Est by Pope Benedict XVI

May

  • The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur
  • Mulieris Dignitatem by Saint John Paul
  • Liquid Love by Zygmunt Bauman
  • The Transformation of Intimacy by Anthony Giddens

June

  • Extreme Makeover by Teresa Tomeo
  • Takedown by Paul Kengor
  • Mystery and Sacrament of Love: A Theology of Marriage and the Family for the New Evangelization by Cardinal Ouellet

July

  • Mother Angelica by Raymond Arroyo
  • Psychology as Religion: The Cult of Self Worship by Paul C. Vitz
  • The Abolition of Man by C. S. Lewis

August

  • Love and Responsibility by Karol Wojytyla

September

  • The Story of a Soul by St Therese of Lisieux
  • God’s World and Our Place in it by Fulton Sheen

October

  • The Domestic Church by Cooper O’Boyle
  • Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton

November

  • Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset
  • The Year and Our Children by Mary Reed Newland

hahnDecember

  • Joy to the World by Scott Hahn
  • Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives by Pope Benedict XVI

Liturgical Living for Beginners

LiturgicalLiving

Liturgical living. Its something I have been thinking about starting for a while, but I have never quite known where to start. As I pause to ponder liturgical living in our small family, I realise its something we have already begun; the Advent wreath on the kitchen table, lit every night, shoes outside the bedroom door on the 6th December for the feast of St Nicholas, pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, celebrating name days… These are things that we learned from our parents. They may not have called it liturgical living- these things were simply family traditions.

Today, Christianity is counter-cultural. Against the backdrop of today’s post-Christian culture, liturgical living is an important witness to our children, families and community.

This weekend, a new liturgical year begins with the first Sunday of Advent. I plan to begin anew, being intentional about liturgical living. While websites, blog posts and Pinterest boards are full of inspiring ideas, they can be a little overwhelming to a newbie like me. Here are 7 simple ideas for liturgical living for beginners, to get the liturgical living ball rolling!

  1. Mark your feast days on your calendar
    • Here in Ireland, the Dominicans produce a fantastic free calandar, with all feast days etc. printed on. Pick a calander up from your parish, and hang it where you will look at it every day!
    • Use the Universalis app, or add Universalis to you Google Calander (that’s what I did, its easy! Click the link at the bottom of the page)
  2. Choose a few feast days to celebrate each month
    • We began with our own name days, and pick a few of our favourite saints too. I also wish a happy name day to friends and family members, and use the occasion to send them a text, email or card.
    • Do you have a family patron saint? What about your parish patron saint? Celebrate them too!
    • Choose a novena to pray every month or so. Pray More Novenas offer a great, free, service, delivering the novena prayer to your inbox every day.
  3. Create an altar, or prayer focus
    • Don’t put it off, waiting to create the perfect space. Rather than wait, I put a statue of Mary, a few candles. a picture of St Therese and the bible on our mantelpiece- its a perfect prayer focus, and focal point for the room.
  4. Keep holy the Sabbath Day
    • Growing up, shops were closed on Sunday, there was no vigil Mass in my parish and Sunday was a day for worship, Sunday lunch, family outings and activities together. After I left home, things began to slip and, until recently, Sunday was a day for chores, shopping and finishing off work. We recently re-evaluated how we spend out Sundays, and have decided to be more intentional; to make Mass the focal point of the day, to cook something special, to avoid chores and shopping and to spend time together as a family.
  5. Pinterest
    • I already mentioned how Pinterest can be overwhelming! Don’t be put off! Start your own Pinterest boards for each month (I find searching by month narrows the search, making it less overwhelming and more relevant!)
    • Pick a few recipes, craft activities or colouring pages to do each month
  6. Don’t just go to Mass on Sunday…
    • How about making a regular weekday Mass, on your own or as a family? First Friday, Saturday morning, or a weekday Mass? Perhaps your parish has a weekday evening Mass you could attend together.
    • Pick a Saturday of the month e.g. 1st Saturday, to go to confession together. Mark it on your calendar- create an event if you have to! Celebrate your absolution by going for hot chocolate together afterwards!
    • Make sure you observe Holy Days of Obligation. There are slight variations depending which country you live in. In Ireland, there are 6 Holy Days of Obligation:
      • Immaculate Conception (8th December)
      • Christmas Day (25th December)
      • Epiphany (6th January )
      • St Patrick (17th March)
      • Assumption of Our Lady (15th August)
      • All Saints (1st November)
  7. Books
    • Read a book related to the liturgical season. As I write, we are coming to the end of November, and I have been reading Holy Women by Pope Benedict XVI, and learning about some amazing female saints. Hopefully I will be able to share some of this stories with my daughter when she is older
    • Read the autobiography or biography of a saint who has an upcoming feast day
    • Buy a book for Advent or Lent. Magnificat Magazine publish excellent Advent and Lent companions
    • Don’t keep your bible tucked away! Leave it somewhere you see it, so you will pick it up more often

What tips do you have for liturgical living? I would love to hear your ideas and inspiration!

Thank you Kelly for hosting 7 Quick Takes! Head on over to This Aint the Lyceum for more quick takes

 

7QT: Encounters, Books and Prayer

encounters books and prayer
Biswithflowers_zpsd1d39156
1. A blessed meeting
– Have you heard of the Blessed is She community? It’s a community of women online, who connect via blog and Instagram. Every day the Mass readings for the day and a short reflection by a member of the community arrive in my inbox. It sets me up for the day. Through this online community, I connected with a Blessed is She sister who also lives in Ireland, and we met for the first time at the weekend! A happy encounter and the first of many, I hope!

2. Park life– the sun has been shining this week so we have replaced indoor play with outdoor play and trips to the park. Sometimes twice a day! Little T loves the swings and the toddler slide. And watching the other kids, the dogs, and the man cutting the grass… happy days!

3. Longer runs– I’ve mentioned before I recently completed a couch to 5k programme, and I am hoping to run a 10k at the end of the month. Well, I have no official training plan, other than do a couple of 5k runs and one long run per week. The few weeks, I have started doing those longer runs (6k, 7.5k and 8k) and I love them! Changing my route really distracts me from the fact that the run is longer and running up hills I thought I could only roll down has made me appreciate how much my fitness has improved.

4. #UNIRL– #UNIRL, UN Ireland, was trending on Twitter this week. Why? Because a UN committee have said that Ireland must have a referendum on abortion to ensure women and girls in Ireland can fully realise their economic, social and cultural rights. The Committee said that the Irish Constitution appeared to “elevate the unborn to the status of a citizen” and said there was a “contradiction between” the Irish Constitutional right afforded to the unborn and the rights guaranteed by the Covenant “to a woman’s right to life and to health”.

This is being pushed further by so-called human rights organisation, Amnesty International, who fight for human rights while simultaneously denying a person’s first right- the right to life. It’s sad and disheartening to see UN agenda being played out in our small country.

walk softly5. Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag– Teresa Tomeo, host of EWTN’s Catholic Connection, published this devotional book at the end of last year. I have been dying to get it and it finally arrived through my letterbox this week! Yey! I have only read a few of the reflections, but lets just say, I won’t be putting this book on the bookshelf, I will be carrying it round with me in my bag so I have it to hand when I have a few free minutes for some reading

6. Dawn Eden– speaker and author came to Ireland this week and I managed to catch her on her tour. She is a faith-filled, inspirational woman who has overcome a difficult start in life and is now a convert to the Catholic Church, and writes and speaks about chastity and healing wounds. She shared her testimony on EWTN’s The Journey Home. I’m looking forward to reading her new book- the Thrill of the Chaste- Catholic Edition!

7. The Sacred Heart Novena- The novena for this great feast began last Thursday, so I should have been praying the novena all week. Well, I thought about praying it every day, and desperately wanted to do it, but it didn’t quite work out… until Thursday, one week later. I did all the readings, prayers and reflections for every day in one go. I know, its not an ideal way to pray a novena, but I am learning that, as a mum, prayer time and Mass time are different!

How was your week? Post me a comment in the box, I would love to hear from you 🙂

Head over to This Aint the Lyceum for more quick takes!

7QT: Travels, Studying and Toddler Life

7QT Talking about Family Travels Studying and toddler life talking about familyAnother week has flown by.  I’m linking up with Kelly at This Aint the Lyceum for 7 quick takes of the week. These are my quickest ever takes. Hold tight. Here we go!

  1. Flying- Last weekend I flew with a new airline at my local airport called FlyVLM. What a wonderful surprise I had on board- the plane took off and landed early, it was a great flight and we had complementary drinks, sandwiches and chocolate! Ooh, and the views. Check out the view of County Wexford, Ireland, above. Beautiful, huh?!
  2. Maryvale– Did I mention I am doing a MA in Marriage and Family? Well, the purpose of my trip was a study weekend in Maryvale Institute, a Catholic distance learning college. I had a blessed and joyful weekend with the students, staff and Bridgetine sisters.
  3. they say i say talking about familyThey Say, I Say– I am not academically minded by a long shot. I love reading but when it comes to essay writing, I struggle. My tutor suggested this little pocket book which has really helped me get my head around academic writing. I totally recommend it!
  4. Naptimes– Back to real life, baby Teresa is figuring a new nap schedule. Two days this week, she had a monster two hour nap. Just when I was thinking “I could get used to this”, she napped for 30 minutes. The whole day. One half an hour nap!
  5. Sweetcorn fritters– My new favourite food, and Teresa’s too! We’re addicted! I tried these for the first time a couple of weeks ago but have made a double batch of them. They are so yummy, for toddlers and adults alike! They freeze well and you can cook them from frozen in 8 minutes.
  6. Running– still running, post couch 2 5k! Mixing up my runs, doing some 30 minute runs, some 5k+ runs and chopping and changing my routes.
  7. Card making– Ah! Gone are the day-long card making sessions, experimenting with design ideas and making a host cards for different people and occasions. When I have the opportunity, or the necessity, to make cards, I come to the craft table knowing exactly what I am going to make and make ten of the same, simple design. Keep it simple, do it well!

Thank you for hosting, Kelly! Why not head on over to check out more quick takes!

7QTs: Praying, thrifting and books!

7QT: Praying Thrifting and Books Talking about family

Another week has gone by and its time for the seven quick takes on the week that was, hosted at This Aint the Lyceum!

1.parish talking about family Daily Mass: There are so many excuses not to go to daily Mass, a toddler and a to do list being two of them. I read somewhere recently that if you make time for God, He makes time for you. Well, God definitely made time for me this week. Thank you, Lord!

2. Prayer alarm: My husband and I are yet to nail couple prayer. We started a renewed effort this week, as we agreed on a set time of 7:30pm to pray together and I set a daily alarm for this time. However, the way the cookie has crumbled, we have only been together once when the alarm has gone off and at 7:30pm every other day of the week at the most inopportune times… in the middle of Pilates, while reverse hill start parking on a busy street… we must pick a new time!

3. Praying and running: Continuing on the theme of prayer, I am currently doing a couch 2 5k programme. My podcast tells me when to run and when to walk, as well as playing ‘running music’ for the duration. This week, I turned the volume of my podcast down and prayed a rosary each time I ran. Bonus extra prayer time!

4. benedict xvi mother teresa talking about familyThrifting: I went into an SVP charity shop to look for a wooden chair to upcycle. Instead (and much to my husband’s relief!) I came out with two books about Blessed Mother Teresa, and one about Pope Emeritus Benedict. €2 each, and they were three for the price of two! Win!

5. Shopping my wardrobe: When I became pregnant two years ago, I stashed away a blue Ikea bag full of clothes that I knew I wouldn’t wear for a while. Well, I retrieved said back from the attic this week. It was like going shopping, for free! And with all the running I’ve been doing, the clothes fit me better than before!

6. Essay writing: I have an essay due for my course next month and I am on a new study schedule, trying to write a few hours a night every night, instead of spending one day a week on it. So far, things have worked out well. I hope it continues…

7. extra virgin kitchen talking about familyBook loan: Another free perk this week, a friend lent me a copy of The Extra Virgin Kitchen. At the moment, I am simply savoring the recipes of the delicious wheat-free, dairy-free, sugar-free treats, before I decide what to try first.Praline cupcakes and 6am toddler cookies are top of my list!

Thanks Kelly for hosting the 7QTs link up! For more quick takes, visit http://thisaintthelyceum.org/

7QTs: The Easter Edition

7QTs The Easter Edition Talking about family1. Good Friday

I mentioned last week how much I had been looking forward to attending the Easter ceremonies, but was realising that plans would change with a baby! We were fortunate enough to be able to attend the Stations of the Cross at the Cathedral. It was beautifully done, with a small choir singing meditative Taizé chants every few stations. I spent quite a few Easters in Taizé, an ecumenical community of brothers  in a village in France known for its beautiful simple songs, so this struck a chord with me and was really special.

Easter Vigil Black Abby Kilkenny Talking About Family2. Easter Vigil

The Easter Vigil is my favourite Mass of the liturgical year. The gathering outside by the Paschal fire, the processing into church, lighting our candles from the one flame, the Exultet, the Old Testament readings, the Gloria, the bells, the Risen Christ! What a joyous celebration! He is risen! Alleluia!

Easter Cake Talking About Family Coffee cake3. Easter Sunday (and cake!)

We spent Easter Sunday en famille with my parents. As well as Easter eggs, and an Easter lamb for Baby T, we had Easter cake! This cake deserves a 7QTs mention because its actually the first cake I have ever baked! It was a dry run for baby’s first birthday later this month, but it turned out well. Everyone seemed quite surprised by how nice it tasted. I credit Delia Smith and her idiot-proof recipe! Thanks, Delia! (As an aside, did you know that as well as being a legendary English cook, she is a major shareholder at Norwich F.C., is Catholic, and has written Advent and Lenten reflection books? What a woman!)

st bridgid cross handmade hoop art4. Baptism gift

This week I have been working on an embroidered St Brigid’s cross. It’s a baptism gift for a little girl.

5. Sowing seeds

I have black fingers. Despite this, every year, I get excited about growing vegetables. Every year, I give it a go. This year, I’ve kicked off the seed-sowing season with some rocket salad and spring onions in containers, and beetroot on the window ledge. No point putting a photo here. Nothing to see! Watch this space!

6. Date Night

Usually the weather in Ireland is pretty cloudy, grey, windy, wet and cold in this part of the world. However, this last week has seen temperatures rise to a sweltering 18 degrees Celsius! Phew! We celebrated with an impromptu date night; I picked my husband up from work and we drove to Ireland’s answer to Miami Beach- Tramore! Seriously though, it was nice to do something different after work, to enjoy the weather, go for a walk, have a meal. After becoming new parents, date night went out the window. Now our little one is nearly a year old, and we are beginning to get the hang of this parenting thing, we have no excuse! Date night is back on the calender! Yey!

7. Book Shopping

liquid love meg meeker md fatal misconception

A couple of books for my course and one for me! I am really excited about all of them. Liquid Love is about human relationships, how traditional bonds are changing and the liquidity with which these new bonds can be tied and untied. Fatal Misconception is a very interesting read about the struggle to control the world’s population. And, for some light reading, I bought The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers. I often hear Dr Meg Meeker on Ave Maria Radio. She is a Catholic wife, mother and pediatrician, so I am really looking forward to reading one of her books.

How was your Easter?

Thanks to Kelly for hosting 7QTs! For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!

7QTs: Alternatives to Easter Eggs

Alternatives to Easter eggs

Do you have any kids in your life that don’t eat chocolate? Or know anyone with a dairy allergy? I know several of these people, and I’m always stumped at Easter when it comes to getting them an alternative to an Easter egg. So, this year I put my thinking cap on and did some brainstorming. Here are a few ideas…

 

 

 

 

— 1 —

An Easter book- a book telling part or all of the Easter story. I recently heard about The Donkey that No-One Could Ride by Anthony DeStefano. Its a really sweet book, and beautifully illustrated. It tells the story behind the donkey that Jesus road into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. You can hear the author narrate it here

— 2 —

Small inexpensive toys- hit Dollarama, Eurogiant, Poundstretcher, or whatever happens to be your local store. They have a tonne of toys to choose from. Last year I popped some bubbles, a bouncy ball and some chalk in a little Easter basket for a little guy- he was delighted!

— 3 —

Healthy snacks- one year I put small healthy snacks like nuts, yoghurt coated raisins, dried fruit etc, inside little plastic eggs. Or, how about an Easter egg fruit pizza?

— 4 —

The Easter egg symbolises new life. Why not give your choc-free friend some seeds to they can plant new life instead! For little ones, give them something quick and easy to grow, like cress, lettuce, sunflowers or sweet pea. Children will get immense satisfaction from watching their plant project growing, and even more if they can eat it too!

— 5 —

Easter egg alternative- Quail eggsAlternative eggs- Is your chocolate free friend an adventurous eater? How about giving them some quail eggs or duck eggs instead? Quail eggs are considered to be a delicacy in some countries, including here in Ireland, but these are touted as being super nutritious and as having numerous health benefits, as well as being an excellent source of vitamin D, iron and amino acids.

— 6 —

Craft kit / supplies – Why not check out your local craft store to see what Easter craft kits they have in? My local store had a bonnet making, egg cup decorating and Easter card kits. You could also google “Easter Crafts” and get ideas from there, and make up your own kit.

— 7 —

Boiled egg for breakfast? Why not gift someonDrops Egg Cozye an egg cup and/or, if you are feeling crafty why not knit, crochet or sew an egg cosy? I love this one from Drops

What about you? Do you have a chocolate-avoider in your life? What do you get them for Easter?

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!