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Friday, August 26, 2016

Anam Cara - John O'Donohue

With spiritual insight using Celtic, Zen, and Christian wisdom, O'Donohue reveals the sacred in every day experiences.

The Mystery of Friendship is the sense of fulfillment and belonging we feel among those we love. Here he speaks on the Celtic "Anam Cara" or soul friend that he titled his book after. Toward a Spirituality of the Senses explores the beauty we experience every day through our five senses. Although many of us loathe or fear being alone, O'Donohue seeks to show that Solitude is Luminous. Work as a Poetics of Growth shows how even dissatisfying jobs or chores are worthwhile. Aging: The Beauty of the Inner Harvest helps us find the importance in growing old. Fittingly, he ends his book with Death: The Horizon is in the Well.

Although it's not uncommon to find Christian theology mixed in with Celtic spirituality in these types of books, I was surprised to find Zen mixed within the pages. The Zen pieces he chose to include were mixed in well without interrupting the flow. Observations and invitations encourage the reader to consider ones own experiences in the past and to use new ones in the future to create a meaningful spiritual life in the mundane that we often seem to occupy. This ponderous piece is not for the serious study, but for those who are more whimsical in their search of the divine.

More by this Author:
Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong
Beauty: The Invisible Embrace
Echoes of Memory

Recommended Reads:
The Celtic Way of Prayer - Esther De Waal
Sayings of the Desert Fathers
Zen Flesh, Zen Bones

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Brian Selznick

Hidden within the walls of the train station lives a young apprentice, who lives off of what he can steal from the patrons. Afraid that he will be discovered as an orphan, Hugo continues to repair the clocks around the station to keep others from discovering his uncle has disappeared.

When he's caught stealing a toy to repair his own machine at home, Hugo finds himself in an impossible situation filled with unexpected enemies, friends, and secrets that lead him on a path of self-discovery and wonder. The mystery of the items Hugo's father left behind, may be his salvation, if he can only find the right person.

I was enthralled throughout the entire book. The simple storytelling made it an easy read, while the stunning black and white drawings brought the drama to life at the most extraordinary moments.

More by the author:
The Marvels

Movie Adaption:

Friday, August 12, 2016

Sacred Parenting: How Raising Children Shapes Our Souls - Gary Thomas

Parents do their best to mold their children into good people by doing things like enrolling them in school and other activities, by teaching them life skills, and bringing them to church. Often parents are so focused on their task of raising their children that they don't notice how much their own children are influencing them. Any relationship effects a person and the parent-child relationship is no exception.

In thirteen chapters, Thomas shares his experiences with how his children have changed his life, especially his understanding of God and his personal relationship with his faith. In the very first chapter, Thomas sets forth one of the keystones to his book: Just like he looked up to his father, his children look up to him. This knowledge leads him to make different decisions than he would without them. In chapter three, he explains how to use guilt to plan future endeavors, rather than tearing oneself down.
In chapter eight, he reveals the "The Glory behind the Grime" by sharing experiences he and his wife have shared. In chapter eleven he explains how he learned the importance of his own behavior when seeing his own son do the same actions.

Backed by scripture, Thomas provides a faith-filled read that includes not only his family's experiences, but the experiences of other Christian parents who share his ideals. Anybody wishing to strengthen their Christian faith along with their growing family will enjoy this book.

More by this author:
Sacred Marriage
Sacred Pathways