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

7 Goals for 2016

Can you believe its almost 2016? Yes, Twenty Sixteen! Have you made any new year’s resolutions yet? Here are 7 of mine:

7 goals for 2016 New Year Resolutions Talking About Family

  1. Pray Pray Pray

Spend time every day with God. Read Scripture. Read my Magnificat. Do a bible study. Pray as a family / couple every day. Continue to journal.

2. Find a place for everything

I’m really trying to declutter, downsize and get organised. I made a big effort to donate items and clear out during Advent, and I have no plans to stop. Its too easy to get attached to things of this world and accumulate stuff. My goal is to find a place for everything, or throw it out!

3. Health and Fitness

I lost quite a few pounds in 2015, through a combination of diet and exercise. As I have somewhat abandoned the diet, the weigh loss has plateaued, so I intend to get back on track in 2016 and lose the last stone!

I also aim to run at last 15k a week (3 x 5k), and complete a 10k in the first half of the year. I took up running after having my daughter, and did my first 10k last year- hopefully I will complete it in a faster time this year!

4. Find a place for technology

My number one resolution for 2015 was to read more on paper than on screen, which I think I achieved. As a mother of a growing girl, I am increasingly aware of the impact of my tech use on her life. I am also currently reading Reclaiming Conversation by psychologist Sherry Turkle. This podcast is well worth a listen.

 

So, 2016 will involve a digital detox, and hopefully I will find a happy, practical balance.

5. Read Read Read

In 2016, I hope to rediscover my inner bookworm, which I lost while doing my BA, about 15 years ago.

Reading list to follow!

One Thousand Gifts Ann Voskamp6. Be Grateful

I am (also) currently reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. Voskamp’s perspective and life is transformed when she starts counting her gifts and graces, even amid the pain that life throws up.

In 2016, I am going to start counting my own gifts, the things I am grateful for.

7. Learn 1000 words in Irish

My husband is fluent in Irish and speaks as Gaeilge to our daughter. I don’t want to miss anything!

Also, I hope to learn several prayers and parts of the Mass including:

  • Hail Mary
  • Lamb of God
  • the second part of the ‘Our Father’
  • Holy Holy

This will come in handy when the priest slips into Irish, as occasionally happens here in Ireland!

Do you have any goals for 2016? I would love to hear from you 🙂 Happy new year!

For more quick takes, visit This Aint the Lyceum.

 

7 ways to prepare for Christmas simply

A simple Advent7 ideas

Christmas glitter and sparkle has been in our shops now for months. In the last few weeks, the Christmas songs have been turned up and people began wishing each other “Happy Christmas” on 1st December!

But wait!

Advent is a time for waiting, during which we prepare our hearts for the birth of Christ, our Saviour. I find it easy to be swept away by not only the consumer culture, and the idea of a Pinterest-perfect Christmas, but also by preparations; I want to have an Advent wreath, make Advent and Christmas decorations, celebrate the feast days, make my own Jesse tree… I am just realising that these things, celebrations and traditions are built over years rather than in a single Advent.

So, this year, I am living Advent simply. Here are 7 simple ideas (that don’t include glitter, baking or glue!) to help make the most of Advent;

  1. Prayer and reflection
    • Do you have a regular prayer time? Maybe now is the time to start
    • Do you do an advent reflection? This year, I signed up for Matthew Kelly’s Best Advent Ever. Its been very good so far- I recommend it!
    • Read a book. My reading list includes
      • Joy to the World by Scott Hahn
      • A Feast for Advent by Delia Smith
      • Advent and Christmas with the Saints compiled by Anthony F. Chiffolo
  2. Give up something
    • Simple as that. And offer it up! This year I am giving up coffee
  3. Prepare your home
    • Resist the temptation to put the decorations up straight away. See how long you can hold out- I am aiming for Gaudaute Sunday (aka pink candle Sunday or the Third Sunday of Advent!)
    • In the meantime, how about a “Advent clean”? Make a list and tick one thing off every day. Tidy the spare room, wash the skirting boards, and do those jobs that you put on the long finger!
  4. Donate to charity
    • While doing your “Advent clean”, its a great opportunity to declutter and donate to charity. Set yourself a target of things to throw out or give away, like one bag or 10 things a day.
    • Be ruthless- are there things you can give out that would make nice gifts? Do you have a cosy wooly jumper you no longer wear and could keep someone else warm?
  5. Get Christmas shopping done early
    • I did most of my Christmas shopping by 1st December. That way, I have more time for Advent reading and reflection
  6. Hold off on the Christmas music
    • I love Christmas carols and music. In Ireland, we have a station called Christmas FM, which my car radio is permanently tuned to during December. This year, however, I am making a concerted, although not grinch-ish, effort to avoid Christmas music until Christmas.
    • I recently listened to Haley and Christy of the Fountains of Carrots podcast discuss Advent music and the Advent playlists- a great idea
  7. Be Christ to others
    • It’s what we are called to do as Christians! With a to-do list as long as your arm, and the increasing hustle and bustle in town, take time to help someone in need, visit someone who is sick, in a home, or housebound, or simply give the gift of a smile to a passing stranger.

What are you doing this Advent? Do you feel overwhelmed by Christmas preparations? I would love to hear your ideas and comments 🙂

This post is part of the 7 quick takes link up at This Aint The Lyceum. Thank you to Kelly for hosting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

n nn

bxfffffffffffffffxv

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

 

All Things New

All Things New

Linking up with Kelly over at This Aint the Lyceum for another 7 quick takes!

Here’s what happened chez nous

1. I went to my first ever football match (or soccer match, if you are reading this on the other side of The Pond!). Premier League giants Liverpool vs a local Irish team, Waterford United. Talk about David and Goliath! I didn’t really know what to expect, but I enjoyed the match, the cheering from the stands and the family-friendly atmosphere. And, in case you were wondering, Liverpool won, 6 – 0.

2. Its been a bit quiet on the blog for a while… I have been beavering away finishing an essay for my studies, which was about how the EU and the UN shape the socio-political context of the family. It was an eye-opener to see how radical groups that often represent a minority can influence policy.

3. Things I’ve done since the pressure of an essay deadline has been lifted– relaxed on the sofa with my husband, a family trip to the park, tidied the craft room and tonight, maybe even an episode of the West Wing!

4. My Kikki.K planner arrived! #Kikkikplannerlove abound! Its blue, with gold polka dots and now I am going to be the most organised girl in town!

5. T got something new this week too…  Her first pair of shoes! She’s 15 months old and has been cruising and walking while holding my hand for a while. Now she has her new shoes she is even more keen to practice her walking skills and I wonder if she will ever sit in the pram again?

6. We don’t always make it to Mass during the week. Sometimes, it seems impossible to get out of the door on time, its too wet or there is simply too much to do. I know, all rubbish excuses, right? Well this week was one of those grace-filled weeks where, despite the rain and the business, we managed to to Church. Thank you, Lord!

7. With my essay in the post, its time to move on to a new module– Love, Marriage and Family: A Psychological Perspective. I am totally new to psychology but really looking forward to getting stuck into this module. Watch out for a few psychology-related posts in the next weeks!

How was your week? I would love to hear from you 🙂

Head on over to This Aint the Lyceum for more 7QTs!

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: Discoveries

7qt discoveries

Happy Friday! I am linking up with Kelly from This Aint the Lyceum again, for seven quick takes on the past week. This week has been a week of discovery on many fronts so, here we go……

 
WP_20150505_0011. Seedlings: This week-end was a bank holiday weekend in Ireland. We went away for a few days and when we got back, I was shocked to discover that the seeds I had sown in an early-morning gardening episode one morning have actually sprung up! A lovely welcome home!

ssm posters2. No posters: These were another surprise that greeted me on my return! I’ve mentioned we’re having a referendum on the redefinition of marriage in Ireland on 22nd May. I hadn’t seen many ‘no’ posters on my travels, but on my return, they were all over town.

3. Novena: On the subject of the referendum, a novena has been organised to pray for the cause of marriage and family. It will begin on 13th May and finish the day before the referendum. Please pray!

4. Toddler hacks: I was feeling a bit under the weather this week, and serendipitously, an email arrived in my inbox: 40 ways to entertain your toddler while lying down. Perfect!

5. Bloglovin: I finally discovered it. Its great! How ever did I follow blogs without it?


focus-banner-for-web6: Catholic Answers Focus: 
love Catholic Answers, a daily apologetics radio show hosted by Patrick Madrid, and often listen to podcasts when I am on the go. This week I finally subscribed and what a goldmine of podcasts I discovered! Definitely worth a look.

7: Thriftin’ again: Last week I was thrilled with a few books that I picked up in my local charity shop. I headed back this week, with an upcycling project in mind. I bought a kitchen chair for €15. Hopefully, I’ll have it upcycled by next week. Watch this space!

For more 7QTs, head on over to This Aint the Lyceum