a reader's life · Books · Challenges · read-a-thons

2018 Reading Challenge

December’s only just started, and everyone is already getting excited about their TBR piles for next year, it seems. I usually wouldn’t post about this so soon (I mean, I haven’t even finished my pitiful Goodreads challenge of 40 books yet. I have no idea what happened – actually, I do, it’s school), but I wanted to save the challenges I like before I lose them, so I thought that I would just go ahead and post.

I came across this amazing list from one of the reading groups on facebook I’m on, and it sure gave me many ideas from which to choose. First of all, I’m going to try to read 60 books. I read quite a much wider variety of books this year – from teaching books like The Elements of Teaching to political books like Ann Coulter’s Adios, America to some Victorian YA (Libba Bray) with even a little poetry (John Keats) mixed in.

Along with the Goodreads challenge, I want to try and do the Books ‘N Tunes challenge because when I read a book I really enjoy, I usually associate certain songs with it. Why not try to do it with all, or most, of the books I read this upcoming year? I’m also going to keep the A-to-Z Challenge (because it would be interesting to try to cover each letter of the alphabet) as well as the POPSUGAR Challenge (I’ve already printed it out) in mind for some reading inspiration, but I won’t be too sad if I can’t complete them because I’d rather focus on reading the books on my shelf that I’ve wanted to read for a long time.

Another sort-of-related-to-reading goal:

  • I’d like to try to improve my phone photographs and make my instagram a bookstagram. I took a couple pictures I’m pretty proud of (namely this and this and this and this and this), but those were far and few between.
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Educate Yourself · The Bad & Ugly · today's society

Polygamy – Bad for Both Men and Women

A friend of mine messaged me this morning wondering if I had any thoughts on the polygamy debate (from arguments of reason rather than those of religion). Not only was I glad to help, but I got interested enough to do some digging of my own.

Polygamy usually manifests itself in polygyny (one male with several females) rather than polyandry. While this might sound great for the guys, it only works out well for some men. While high-status men can gain several wives, men with lower status won’t be able to have any. Since the sex ratio in humans is close to 1:1, polygamy means that many men will be left without wives at all. Wives are like wealth – one may dream of a utopian society where everyone may take as much as they like, but the truth of the matter is that there’s only so much to go around. It sounds much better for everyone to be equal instead of the top 1% keeping the most to themselves, is it not? (Looking at you, Big Business.) Uncomfortable with that analogy to wealth? That’s the whole point – in polygamy, wives (or husbands) are made into mere possessions, rather than a partner to work with and to love. Polygamy objectifies people, rather than respecting their dignity.

Continue reading “Polygamy – Bad for Both Men and Women”

Christian/Catholic · Milo Yiannopoulos · the modernist church · today's society

RE: The Catholic Magazine Interview with Milo They Refused to Print

It’s no great secret that I’m a fan of Milo Yiannopolous. His charisma and his refusal to be afraid to mock political correctness delighted me, giving hope to a young woman who is still trying to learn not to be afraid to show the world who she is. I learned about him when I was going through a difficult time, still trying to figure myself out. (But that’s a story for another day.)

Unfortunately, I was recently very disappointed to see Milo, who had before proclaimed that he was against same-sex marriage, even though he was pursuing a homosexual lifestyle, change his mind recently. I still pray for him, of course. A Catholic priest remarked that Milo doesn’t have the usual obstructions to leaving his lifestyle that most homosexuals do, simply because he realizes the sin of his lifestyle. Therefore, I still have hope for him.

… which leads into our topic of the day. Milo just came out with a particularly zingy article and I just couldn’t help myself but post a short commentary on it.

Continue reading “RE: The Catholic Magazine Interview with Milo They Refused to Print”

Christian/Catholic · Homily/Sermon Notes · Ordinary Time

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost ~ homily notes

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Feel free to listen to this heavenly version of “Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes” as you read through today’s homily notes. That’s what I’m doing. (Thanks for the song rec, Mariela!)

 

There are two lessons that can be taken from today’s Gospel reading. The first is this – we see that Christ doesn’t heal the lepers right away, but upon their request, gives them a command. The lepers show humility, and only upon their obedience are they healed. God wishes for our obedience and humility, even if we do not understand.

The other lesson is the important of gratitude. The person who keeps asking for favours, but never shows thanks, soon wears out his welcome. This is also true with God. When the one leper returned, we see that Jesus appreciated the gratitude of the Samaritan, and felt the ingratitude of the others keenly. Some commentators think that the leper left the schism of Samaritanism and became a Jew. Once the apostles started to preach the Gospel, he became a Christian and began to help spreading the Faith due to his gratitude of the favour Jesus had shown him. The other lepers were received back into society, but did not receive the spiritual graces the other did.

In a way, when we spread the knowledge of the Kingdom, God becomes indebted to us. He promises great happiness in Heaven for the little we do here on earth.

 

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Music Reviews · Musicians · pop(ular) music · Taylor Swift

Look What You Made Me Do ~ song + music video review

Has Taylor Swift gone and become a completely new person, bitter and enraged by her exes, the media, and the ill treatment she has undergone — or is her new song commentary on all of the above (as in “Blank Space”)?

When I first got to the chorus of LWYMMD, I was appalled with Taylor’s new music style. The lyrics seemed to scream bitterness – as a friend of mine commented, when it came to harsh treatment from the media and people in her life, she didn’t seem to be able to “Shake It Off” anymore. The lyrics that shook me the most are probably, “I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh… because she’s dead.” The instagram post on which Taylor captioned, “There will be no further explanation. There will just be reputation,” only seemed to confirm my fears. And then that music video starting with a zombie Taylor Swift… *shudders* It wasn’t looking good. But after following Taylor’s career for so long, and seeing her appear to lose that sweetness and enthusiasm she used to have, perhaps I was just too emotionally involved and that blinded me.

Continue reading “Look What You Made Me Do ~ song + music video review”

Christian/Catholic · Homily/Sermon Notes · Ordinary Time

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost ~ Homily Notes

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Jesus healing the deaf and dumb man

(Father Shannon’s homily on Sunday, August 20, 2017)

In today’s gospel, Jesus uses words and actions to heal. We may ask why – since Jesus is God, He could have just willed it to happen. However, Jesus did this to use His human nature (although in a perfect way, unlike us) as well as for our benefit. As humans, we use our senses and God never acts against the human nature He created. If Jesus had not used actions and words to appeal to our senses, it might not have been obvious that the healing was due to Jesus’ powers.

The sacraments were also established by Jesus while taking our human nature into account. A sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to bring grace. In the sacrament of baptism, the pouring of water and the words are the outward signs which accompany the sanctifying grace. Our Lord did all things well in establishing the sacraments this way – appealing to our physical bodies and spiritual souls. Each sacrament is composed of matter and form. For example, in Confirmation, the matter is the holy oil. Form is always the words spoken.

All things are done well by God – and by knowing this, Catholics may come to know the infinite wisdom of God.

Christian/Catholic · Homily/Sermon Notes · Ordinary Time

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost ~ Homily Notes

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Gospel: Luke 18:9-14

And to some who trusted in themselves as just, and despised others, he spoke also this parable: Two men went up into the temple to pray: the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself: O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publican. I fast twice in a week: I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven; but struck his breast, saying: O God, be merciful to me a sinner. I say to you, this man went down into his house justified rather than the other: because every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled: and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted.

 

Notes taken from Fr. John Shannon’s homily on August 13, 2017

Humility is the virtue in which, realizing our own nothingness, we attribute all our good works to God. Everything we have has come from God.

Publicans often were guilty of extortion and adultery. The Publican was indeed a sinner, but we see him being truly sorry for his sins. Ironically, the Pharisee is guilty of the same sins he sees in the Publican. When someone becomes puffed up with pride, he or she falls into the same type of sin which he or she judges. The Publicans hid their extortion with religious hypocrisy… the latter sin of which the Pharisee is guilty. The Pharisee is also guilty of a kind of spiritual adultery.

It is important to remember that the only comparison that matters is that to Christ, the model of virtue. It is sometimes tempting to look down upon others, especially those who do not belong to the Catholic Church (or those who we deem to be more sinful than ourselves), but we must not fall into this trap.

country music · Educate Yourself · The Bad & Ugly · today's society · war

Country Star’s New Song about Veteran Mistreatment

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There’s no way in the world that I support the American and Canadian military today – going off to the Middle East, causing unrest, and stealing oil. I’m against radical Islam terrorism, but I also believe that the American military sent off to Islamic countries also causes the problem in the first place.

But I’ve also always been very interested in war and its consequences ever since I was a young girl reading books about World War II (now, the veterans of that war I can praise). I remember how much the old Jason Aldean music video for “Tattoos on this Town” touched me back when it was still on YouTube – a song about making memories together comes to a climax in which the young wife learns that her soldier husband is dead. I can’t help but feel a throb in my heart on November 11th and every single time I see John McRae’s “In Flander’s Fields.”

That’s why I was so intrigued to see Milo Yiannopoulos’ post about Brad Paisley’s newest song, “Love and War.” (Well, new to me… the album was released in April.)

I don’t know much about how war veterans are treated, although I have heard about unfair treatment (although in generalities more than anything). I have to say – even if a young man has misguided ideas about what he fights for, I think he should be rewarded for having the guts to go to the front lines. Nowadays, our men all seem to be beta cucks who are insecure about their masculinity. Usually, these kind of things make me laugh, but at some point, it’s just really depressing.

Does anyone know more about how veterans are treated? I’d love to hear more from someone who is a little more informed.

 

In other words, on a more superficial, I think Brad Paisley’s new album sounds A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Definitely getting this one.

Big Brother (Censorship and the Like) · Christian/Catholic · Current Events · Educate Yourself · Education · The Bad & Ugly

The Destruction of the Education System (Alberta and Beyond)

“Just a regular day for Alberta Christian schools…. gettin’ attacked for morality,” I started a Facebook post before continuing in earnest.

I grew up being told that I was lucky to live in Alberta because I could actually be homeschooled here. There was a couple of pesky teacher visits a few times a year, but other than that, my parents were mostly left alone with their decisions of how they would homeschool my sister and me. It’s been four years since I graduated and left homeschooling behind (until, perhaps, my own children down the road), but the changes that have happened since then are rather disheartening. For several years, Christian and Catholic schools have been under constant attack for pro-life and anti-homosexuality, anti-morality statements, etc.

And now this. (Go ahead, read the article. I’ll wait.)

Have we really gotten to the point where we have to censor books because something is offensive? It’s the same old story (pun intended). Even if we were to look at the Bible as just another piece of literature (well, a library of different types of literature, really), the same idea remains. This reminds me of hearing about the controversy over The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (one of my favourite novels ever). “This word is too offensive,” the anti-Huck people say. “We must censor this word out of the novel.” And yet, the entire point of the word ‘nigger’ appearing in Twain’s novel was to illustrate the power white slaveowners hold over their slaves.

I hear some schools use revisionist history textbooks; if this is the case, we’re doomed to repeat history. (We already see this with ANTIFA, calling people names and beating them up — sounds rather totalitarian, doesn’t it??) Junior High English no longer exists here – it’s called “Humanities,” and I have learned from parents and students I tutor that the “melding together of Social Studies and English” is just a way to all but remove literature from the schools. Not only does this harm the students in that they are left with a gap in their knowledge, entering high school with no knowledge of of grammar or reading comprehension of literature, …. but it’s a dumbing-down of the population. I was shocked to find out in university that most people had no idea how to write an essay. That was MY GENERATION. Imagine how much more stupid the children that are ten years younger, or the next generation will be (it’s not their fault – it’s ours, for letting it happen).

It’s morality and education that are at stake here. I’m begging my peers, my future teachers, my future parents who can complain at their schools – we need all the help we can get. Even if there’s nothing else you can do, at least pray.

I’ve grown up seeing way too many people just sitting on the fence, not caring to do anything. That was my parent’s generation, and the generation before. But I’ve also seen many young people starting to realize the problems in their political and social surroundings. It’s very heartening to see so many people of my own age taking the red pill.

But it’s not only being “woke,” as the kids these days say. We have to do something about it.

country music · Lady Antebellum · Uncategorized

Anna’s Favourites Day 16: Lady Antebellum

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2. Which is my favourite album or EP from this artist?

My favourite album would probably be Own the Night, although Need You Now comes in a close second.

 
3. What is my favourite song from this artist?

“Love Don’t Live Here”“Need You Now”“Hello World”“Wanted You More”  (I would avoid watching the video for certain sections) … “Love I’ve Found in You” … “Goodbye Town” … “All For Love” (below) … “Bartender” (ignore the wacked up bartender haha)

I don’t have too much description for the songs below because I think they’re pretty self-explanatory – since they’re so spot on.

 

Continue reading “Anna’s Favourites Day 16: Lady Antebellum”