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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Not only a review, but some thinking to do....

I recently read a book ~ Margaret Chittenden's This Time Forever ~ for part of my book challenge (here) and it led me to all kinds of introspection... particularly regarding reincarnation and the Catholic Church.

Yes, I'm Catholic and it works... for me. But I have four children, none of whom are tied to any particular religious beliefs. Not sure why, both my husband and I are Catholic ~ both raised in the faith, even though my DH is from the Ukranian tradition while I was brought up in the Roman tradition. Not any big differences and no problems with either of the families ~ after all we were both marrying a Catholic ~ and a practicing one at that. And Yes, I do think that sometimes the "practicing" part can be rather humourous... I do have, after all, a rather odd sense of humour!

Anyway, all our children were baptised, went through the various sacraments, went to church with us every Sunday... in fact, grew up in the Catholic faith. But now?
Well, our son Stephen goes to church with us ~ if he's around ~ Christmas Eve and Easter. They all will come to church with us for any major celebration; and I'm pretty sure that they do that for us not because they feel a need. Our oldest daughter, Lisa, is living in Cairo and, while ostensibly an agnostic, followed Ramadan during the month of September. Her boyfriend follows Islam and Mo seems to be a believer. Our second daughter, Meagan, really isn't into following any beliefs of any kind. She does admit to believing in God ~ or more likely ~ a superior power. Funny how her boyfriend ~ and best friend ~ is also a Catholic, but Tim attends Mass weekly.... *grin* Our youngest, Teresa, has mentioned that she would consider herself a believer in Buddhism ~ not traditionally a religion, and she does come to church with us fairly regularly ~ but then Teresa has never wanted to cause any trouble. *shrug*

Now I can't say that I'm thrilled with the fact that none of our children think of themselves as Christian or even hold any religious beliefs. But I also realize that my beliefs are just that ~ mine ~ and that I do not, in any way, shape or form feel that I have the right to insist that they conform to my way of thinking. I mean, shoot, we worked their whole lives so that they would actually learn to think for themselves... and me telling them what to believe? Nuh uh!
I do not agree that religion is "the opiate of the masses". I believe that people need to believe in something other than themselves and the concrete world around them. I believe that belief in God, however we see Him (and yes I'm rather sticky about the gender, even though I believe that God is far more than any label that we use... labels are for us humans... we need to categorize to understand... but that's another discussion for another time.) is something that people need; something bigger than themselves that can stand up to anything ~ something that will support us when life throws curves of any kind.

ANYway.... (see I can get off-topic so quickly and soooo easily... and end up miles away from where I started. *sigh*)

The Catholic church does not agree that reincarnation exists. Personally I think that the church, being made up of people... fallible people at that... has to have certain rules to follow so that the "church" may be united. Not sure that I agree... actually I don't really... and that might make me a *bad* Catholic or something, but I try to live my faith insofar that I don't hurt others, that I follow God's directives ~ believe in one God with all your strength, all your mind and all your heart AND love your neighbour as you love yourself; but I don't think everything that's been ordained as TRUTH through the church is just that. But that too, could be a discussion for another time... probably not, but it could be! LOL
Okay, back to the story whereupon I started this rather lengthy and meandering blog: This Time Forever. I've read other stories that deal with two people who, throughout their various past lives, are never able to fulfill their love and so they continue on through generations and centuries.
Two of my favourite reincarnation stories are Linda Howard's Lake of Dreams (novella) and Jayne Ann Krentz's Dreams Parts I and II (originally published under the Harlequin Temptation imprint), and now to those titles I add Margaret Chittenden's story (originally published under another Harlequin / Silhouette imprint reprinted under the defunct Dreamscapes: Whispers of Love imprint).

Okay, here I will insert my review of this story, along with the blurb from the back of the book... just 'cause this is my blog and I can do it! *grin*

Margaret Chittenden; This Time Forever; Silhouette Dreamscapes
I loved the theme of eternal love between two people who, not finding it in various shared lifetimes, are given another opportunity ~ love, love, LOVE this type of story! I really liked the characters of Liz and Matt ~ they experienced such an intense connection before either knew who the other was. There were some secondary characters as well ~ Liz's divorced parents, Catherine and Jake, and Matt's partner, Ione ~ that really added a depth to the struggle that Liz and Matt were undergoing. A very nicely portrayed journey of love.

Excellence: 4 stars of 5


He'd waited a lifetime for her
Liz Brooks felt like a swimmer caught in a powerful undertow. One minute she was an ordinary businesswoman. The next she was swept into the past. How could she not feel out of her depth, finding herself in another woman's body, thinking another woman's thoughts, consumed with hunger for another woman's man? She needed answers...desperately. Dr. Matthew Lockwood was just the man. For many, he had opened doors to the past. But with Liz he struggled to maintain a distance. He could help her, yes ~ but not because of his professional skills. Matthew knew intimately who she'd been ~ and loved passionately who she was. But would he be able to keep her this time, forever?

I know that I started off talking about a book dealing with an eternal love and how the H and h experienced various lives, yet were never able to come together, and from there segued into how the faith I grew up in, and still practice, teaches that reincarnation is not an acceptable belief. From there I went on to how I disagree.
Now if only I could have said so in that few words, eh? Yeah, right! *snort*

What I did want to get across is that I believe that any set of beliefs that limits what you can believe in is, first and foremost, flawed. Not deliberately ~ at least not the majority of the time... or so I would like to think ~ but because we as human beings need to have limits, especially if we belong to a group that is more than one person big.
I also believe that by presenting such limits to people that we are, fundamentally, disregarding that God, the Spirit, the whatever we believe in, is far more than we can even begin to understand.
I'm always reminded at these times about the following bit of wisdom, courtesy William Shakespeare: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
And I guess my final question is, why do we think that we know all there is? Why we figure that what we have to say is the final word... because to tell you the truth, I truly do believe that what we see God (or whatever your belief is) as is only an iota of the truth.... As humans I don't think that we're able to truly absorb the absolute that is the Creator.

Okay, and now I'll get off my rather tattered soap box and let you poor people try to recover. But Hey! I had fun....!

Have a great one!


  1. Heh, Kathy, you're so cute.

    I don't normally talk about religion or beliefs because, you know, it's one of those things that are so personal. And also, I've never been good at articulating what I feel.

    But I feel you to be a very non-judgmental person.

    I was brought up in a very strict fundamentalist Baptist type home and it was so restrictive that I hated and resented every moment of it and was plotting my escape from 7 years old and on.

    You have no idea how jealous I was of my best friend who came from an Irish Catholic home. I thought she got off so easy only having to go to Mass for 1 hour a week to my all day Sun. plus Wed. night bible study/prayer nights.

    Even having to go to catechism seemed like fun compared to what I had to do. Although stories of strict, hand smacking nuns wasn't such a turn on.

    One time my parents let me go to Mass with her after I begged continually and her parents agreed to let her come to our church one time. I thought it so much fun to sit, kneel, stand, sit, kneel, stand...

    I was such an active, restless kid and I always got into trouble messing around during our sleep inducing church services. So getting to do so much in Mass, it was so much fun and went by so quickly.

    Because of my strict upbringing though, I refuse to align myself with any organized religion. I saw over and over how dogma and rules ruled over acting like a compassionate human being many times and it pissed me off.

    I am a very spiritual person though, but have sort of taken concepts that make the most logical sense to me from many religions. From 14 on though, I naturally gravitated towards Eastern philosophies, which feels very natural to me. So reincarnation is a belief that I hold.

    By the way, how ironic, none of my sister are religious either and my one sister being gay rules out any kind of stricter christian church since they are against that. And my mom, converted to Judaism when she married her husband, and practices the most orthodox version of it.

    And my dad, who was very strict, is one of the most open people I know now. He will help anyone, even the single mom stripper who lives next to him, without any judgments or conditions at all. Life has a way of making us see that all is not black and white many times.

    I really like when a book makes me ponder different concepts.

    Now after I've rambled all over your blog, I'm still curious as to what your point was. LOL

  2. Hi Leah...
    I know, I do talk about potentially very touchy subjects... but not because I want to argue ~ 'cause I don't; I get way too emotional when I argue and then I stop making sense... uh if that's not already evident. *grin*
    But sometimes it's those touchy subjects that really can have an effect on who we are and I like to delve into the "whys" and "wherefores". LOL

    And frankly I think you talked about your past very well ~ and I can't imagine growing up in such a negative atmosphere... and to feel that sense of *imprisonment*... that's harsh! But I think that it's made you who you are ~ especially your struggle and I gotta say I like the you I've gotten to know.

    And Hey! Ramble all over my blog anytime that you want to. I do! And I'm never averse to hearing what other people have to say.
    I hope that I'm non-judgmental as you say ~ it's definitely one of the attributes I value in others! 'Sides, we're all going through our own stories and who'm I to say someone else's is so-and-so... I have enough to deal with in my own life. *grin*

    But I guess when I'm talking about my own experiences with regard to religion ~ or whatever ~ then hopefully people will understand that I don't mean it as a criticism ~ again 'cause I don't ~ but just to explain exactly what it is about a subject that leads me off into my little... uh, forays of rambling? Good word, BTW!

    Ah well, I've gotta run and take poor Mitka for another set of X-rays ~ this time for his spine. I was referred to a Dog Aquatherapy Clinic for his *arthritis* but after talking to the therapist ~ and oh boy! did she make sense ~ Mitka's problem is neurological. Huh.
    But she showed me some exercises and stuff that I can do with his front shoulder and elbow and, Lo-and-Behold, he's actually been able to use his right front leg! N-I-C-E!

  3. Kathy-- you. are sooo deep. Who knew? LOL

    I read the rest of your post and I guess I should have waited to post a comment for that.

    No you don't come across as judgmental in any way shape or form and I felt you were very articulate. And I really resonate with your idea that we don't know everything. In fact, I like the idea that not everything can be known. It leaves room for constant exploration of one's truth, which I do believe can change and morph based on life experiences.

    I have many friends of all different beliefs and even when they have a belief system so diametrically opposite of mine, I'm still capable of seeing them in their essence and not only get along, but really like them. I only have problems when people try to literally impose their system on me and I don't have choices then.

    Now, OMG, I have to read this book. I too love the theme of eternal love.

    A TMI true story. :D

    My second big love in this life time and I were making love one night when I suddenly started getting all of these weird images in my head. In fact, it felt almost as if I'm living them in that I had a violent physical visceral reaction, like I was actually living it.

    I was wearing a dress with a bussel and had a hat on. The man I was with was wearing a top hat and long coat of the late 1800's. He was in such a rage with me and started bashing my head in.

    I was so in this that I actually lifted my hands to my face as if to protect it and started screaming, pushing my guy off me. He was so freaked of course, like WTH? I was like "you bastard! You killed me." LOL

    I was very freaked by that, but it never happened again, thank God.

    But it did make me think a lot about reincarnation and how we might be re-meeting people we've been with in former lives who we might have incomplete issues with.

  4. Leah,

    EXACTLY! See, we're sisters of the mind / heart... whatever! I always knew that there were a lot of other intelligent people *out there*... LOL

    "...I suddenly started getting all of these weird images in my head. In fact, it felt almost as if I'm living them in that I had a violent physical visceral reaction, like I was actually living it."

    Whoa!... if that'd happened to me... holy COW! I'da had one, that's for sure. And I'm not surprised that that is a memory that stuck with you... wow!
    But what a way to kill the mood, eh? And I bet once was enough ~ especially with such a vivid and violent experience.
    Sends little shivers up and down my spine!

  5. Oh, BTW, if you want to borrow my copy I'd be more than happy to loan it to you.

    And I've gotta say just how VERY much I'm loving the eBookwise. Oh I'm having a ton of fun downloading books... and *psst* my DH can't see how many books I've got! Bonus.... < eg >

  6. But what a way to kill the mood, eh?

    Heh, poor guy was apologizing to me for weeks. LOL He was very upset that he might have done something so horrific in a former life. Ya, who knows really.

    Oh, BTW, if you want to borrow my copy I'd be more than happy to loan it to you.

    That's nice of you Kathy, but I'm terrible with books. I'm a real spine cracker/ dog earer. And anyway, I saw that it's like $.01 on Amazon and there is a seller in WA. It would cost you more than that for shipping.

    And so glad you're enjoying the eBookwise. I'm just so in love with mine. I played around with the Sony in Borders and didn't like it. I'm an old lady, I like a back light and big buttons. Yeah, it's not as thin or light as the Sony, but It's fine. The only drawback is that there are books only in formats that librarian can't convert and that's a downside.

    But, yeah, hiding the amount of books you're buying from the DH can come in handy. ;)

  7. Leah, it's not just the number of books that I'm buying that floors him, it's the number of books that I KEEP... Poor dear, he just doesn't get the whole re-read thing. *grin* He doesn't get watching movies over again either.

    And I thank you, in absentia, many, many times for letting me know about the Librarian. I've been able to download a LOT of my ebook TBR and reading around the quotes turned into question marks is so not a problem. And then when I've read 'em I can delete them from the bookwise and then upload some more.
    I've still got soooo many ebooks to read that I've not even *visited* Fictionwise more than once or twice.
    I especially love being able to take a book ~ either print or electronic ~ anywhere with me... and I've always got at least one when I go out.

  8. I've not even *visited* Fictionwise more than once or twice

    You know, eBookwise's web site offers book sales, which are the same as Fictionwise except that they only offer the books from Fictionwise that are in the eBookwise format.

    And even though they are the same company, currently, ebookwise is offering all it's books 20% off at the moment.

    And if you are at eHarlequin then you must know that they are have a $.89 sale on Spice Briefs and Nocturne Bites from Nov. 3-7 if you buy between noon and 3 PM EST.

    Apparently it also includes "sexy historicals."

    I'm gonna get a few. Can't beat $.89.

  9. Geez... you think, knowing that I'm at eHarlequin every day, that I'd notice stuff like the 89¢ sale. And I do so love the sales!

    So, hey... you spending some time hanging around eHar ~ or just a lot more observant? LOL
    Probably both.... *grin*

  10. Actually, Portia Da Costa posted something about it on Lust Bites blog and then on Twitter she posted the link that I posted here. So that's how I know.

    She's been dreaming of writing for Harlequin since she first started writing and now her dream has come true in that she has a book out on the Spice Briefs line. She she's kind of squeeing all over. Very cute!

    Sometimes it pays that I'm a dirty old lady reading erotica. :D

  11. Kathy, have you found a way to convert eHarlequin pdf to text for eBookwise?

    I just downloaded a few books thinking they are non-DRM pdf, because I didn't see anywhere where it said it was DRM pdf and I can't convert them. Do you know a way?

  12. Hi Leah,

    Unfortunately no... and when I checked my "Adobe Digital Edition" where all my eHarlequin titles were stored I had to update ~ according to Adobe... and now I can't even access the books I had on there before?, I'm going to have to check the website and see if I can figure out just how I'm supposed to fix / or get it fixed. *sigh*, Kathy

  13. Well crap. This means I won't be downloading any more Harlequins. I hate reading a book on my computer. It hurts my eyes and it's so uncomfortable to sit and read with my laptop on my lap. I have to change my position a lot because of back and neck pain, which is why I love the eBookwise.

    Dang. That's disappointing unless I can find a way to download to DH's PDA, since he doesn't use it that much.

    I hope you find your other books. Whoa, that's scary to loose them like that.