Category Archives: About this blog

The Future of the Four Last Things Blog

I have spent much of this past month discerning the future of “The Four Last Things Blog.” Originally it was to be an auxiliary to Sober Catholic but focusing on the specific subjects of Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell (the four “last things” we are all going to face one day), rather than general recovery topics from a Catholic perspective. Purgatory, too. Although that isn’t a “Last Thing” as it precedes Heaven. This was because these subjects are rarely covered in Twelve Step meetings. However, despite the good intentions, I haven’t really done much. I never intended to blog extensively here at “The Four Last Things” anyway, but I had hoped to delve somewhat more into the various topics, even wandering off into metaphysical speculations and other randomness, as well as any possible grief recovery blogging. There are just over 150 posts which averages to nearly 18 a year. A lot are repetitious ones from prior years on All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days, cemetery visits and devotions and the like. But, “I never intended to blog extensively anyway” when combined with a slacker-blogger attitude has resulted in the blog being essentially undeveloped.

More activity has been found on the blog’s social media Pages on Facebook and Google+. I might keep those. That’s part of the discernment. I could just as easily post Four Last Thing’s material to “Sober Catholic’s” social Pages in the future, I just don’t know. It might be better to just consolidate. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a way to export content from a Facebook or Google+ Page and import that content into another one. There are points to continuing the Pages or deleting them (or consolidating them into “Sober Catholic’s” if that’s possible.)

So, given that the stated purpose of the blog was to bring a focus onto the Four Last Things as they are mostly ignored in the real life rooms and online universe of addiction recovery, and as this blog’s publishing has fallen way short of that desired goal, I think that the most reasonable solution is to combine “The Four Last Things Blog” into “Sober Catholic.” Relevant posts can be published there, and in case I feel a need to blog on matters such as death, dying and the afterlife but without the recovery aspect, those posts can go on “Paul Sofranko’s Blog.” At any rate, “Four Last Things” type posts will be far more visible than they are now, continuing to exist in the post-shutdown afterlife 😉

So, the possible plan for shutting it down will be to export the blog’s file, then import that file into Sober Catholic. This file includes all posts, comments, categories, tags and media. I have to manually transfer blogrolls and sidebar widgets; one of the latter, the “Find a Grave” widget, will go to “Paul Sofranko’s Blog.”

But for now I’ll just post this here for now and think about it. One historical sidenote: way back before I self-hosted my blogs they were on Google’s Blogspot servers; I decided once to delete “the Four Last Things,” then changed my mind and resurrected it. So, there’s been some doubt all along as to whether this is a worthy standalone effort. However, it has been in continuous existence since 2010.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

The Four Last Things on Social Networks (Another reminder)

Just another reminder to whomever reads this that this blog is more active on social networks on the “Triduum” of All Hallow’s Eve, All Saints and All Souls’ Days. There’s only so much that I, an ignorant layman, can write about on those days. Maybe once in a while I can come up with something original, but typically I just spend them in prayer and recollection and just post links to other peoples’s stuff on this blog’s social media Pages.

Last year I had this about The Four Last Things on Social Networks and I already “blew it”. Read the post to understand, but today I “spammed” the Facebook and G+ Pages with interesting stuff from across the Catholic Internet.

Next year will be different!

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

The Four Last Things on social networks

NOTE TO SELF: “Self, maybe next year, and every year thereafter, remember to start posting interesting links on Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, Halloween, All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days, Ghosts, Near Death Experiences, and other such things starting on October 29th and 30th, when they start being published, rather than ‘all at once’ when you finally get a Round Tuit. Keep that Round Tuit handy so that you don’t overload the blog’s Pages on Facebook and Google+.”

In case you’re wondering what that was about, this morning I posted, shall we say, “A Lot” of the above to this blog’s social network Pages. So that you can keep up, (if you didn’t know already) those Pages are here: The Four Last Things on Facebook and The Four Last Things on Google+. We’re also on You Tube: The Four Last Things on YouTube.

Please “Like” or “Follow (or “Circle”) those Pages on Facebook and Google Plus, for there is a lot more activity on them concerning this blog’s work than on the actual blog itself. Mainly, “interesting links on Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, Halloween, All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days, Ghosts, Near Death Experiences, and other such things” that don’t really merit a blogpost, but that I think you might find fruitful.

Oh, by the way, for those who already follow those Pages, I think I’m done posting today. 😉

I think…

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Death is gain

The Second Reading from Today’s Mass for the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time is from St. Paul’s Letter to the Philiippians:

Philippians 1: 20C-24: “Brothers and sisters:Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me life is Christ, and death is gain. If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. And I do not know which I shall choose. I am caught between the two. I long to depart this life and be with Christ, for that is far better. Yet that I remain in the flesh is more necessary for your benefit. Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ.”

via USCCB.

This is one of the two essential “missions” for this blog. One being to discuss certain things that don’t get much traffic in Twelve Step meetings; the other is a way to express my yearnings for the afterlife.

The latter is by no means a suicidal wish for I will remain on the Earth for as long as God wishes to keep me here.

But I do long to “depart this life and be with Christ,” for that is truly better. But, unless I am mistaken, I feel that He still has plans for me in this life, plans I continue to discern and carry out to the best of my ability. Which quite often seems very insufficient.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Reader help (no longer) needed to support Sober Catholic (UPDATE)

UPDATE: Thanks to a few readers and friends, I have received enough in donations to renew the hosting account, as well as the domain names, for three years. I am very grateful to them that they think enough of this work. So, the Sober Catholic bleg drive is over. If you were thinking of donating, but hadn’t yet, please consider some other worthy blogging endeavor, or contribute to your parish. Perhaps your parish has a website? Maybe they could use financial help with their hosting fees.

I am asking for help from readers. The various fees associated with running and maintaining this blog are due for renewal in a month, namely for web hosting and domain name registration, and I need your assistance as we cannot afford to pay them…

Bloggers sometimes bleg (“bleg” means “blog beg”) when money is needed. It could be for any reason. My wife and I have incomes, live frugally, make do with what we have and are grateful for them, but we have had some financial hits recently and the cost of renewing Sober Catholic is coming at a bad time.

So, if you appreciate the work behind this blog, the PayPal “donate” button is way over in the upper left hand corner of the blog, where it says, “Please consider donating, if you like this work.” It’s between the blog title and the “Follow me on Twitter” widget. Nearly $300 is needed (if we were to renew for the most “cost effective” term of 3 years.) Any amount donated in your one-time gift would be appreciated. If you don’t like to use PayPal, you can email me at sobercatholic at gmail dot com to obtain other contact info (or use any method in the How to find and contact me Page.) Prayers are, of course, also appreciated!

We have explored other hosting options, there are none really cheaper. In anticipating a probable common reaction, “Why don’t you just move to a free host?” That is an option of last resort, and one that I am unwilling to do for several reasons:

1) Traffic and readership would be lost. Sober Catholic was originally hosted for free, and when I went to a paid hosting service many people did not follow along, despite numerous notices left up at the old site. Also, links everywhere point to this location.

2) Paying for a host rather than going free establishes “brand name” credibility if your blog is about a service. If I only had a personal blog about my own joys and sorrows, thoughts and opinions, that would be free. But I feel that Sober Catholic deserves its own location. I don’t feel that Sober Catholic is completely mine, it also belongs to those who appreciate it and have been helped by it. I do have 2 other blogs hosted on this account, but Sober Catholic is the only reason the account exists.

3) Having its own location guarantees independence; one isn’t subject to the whims and decisions of a free host. There is greater control over what one can do if the hosting is paid for by the owner or from revenue that is generated.

As I said above, any help to defray or cover the cost is greatly appreciated. Every donation adds to the total.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Paul Sofranko (a/k/a “paulcoholic”)

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Reader help needed to support Sober Catholic

I am asking for help from readers for my primary recovery effort, Sober Catholic. The various fees associated with running and maintaining it are due for renewal in a month, namely for web hosting and domain name registration, and I need your assistance as we cannot afford to pay them…

Bloggers sometimes bleg (“bleg” means “blog beg”) when money is needed. It could be for any reason. My wife and I have incomes, live frugally, make do with what we have and are grateful for them, but we have had some financial hits recently and the cost of renewing Sober Catholic is coming at a bad time.

So, if you appreciate the work behind Sober Catholic, the PayPal “donate” button is way over in the upper right hand corner of this blog, where it says, “Please consider donating, if you like this work.” It’s above the Matt Talbot Way of Recovery link. (It is is the upper left corner of Sober Catholic). Nearly $300 is needed (if we were to renew for the most “cost effective” term of 3 years.) Any amount donated in your one-time gift would be appreciated. If you don’t like to use PayPal, you can email me at sobercatholic at gmail dot com to obtain other contact info (or use any method in the How to find and contact me Page.) Prayers are, of course, also appreciated!

We have explored other hosting options, there are none really cheaper. In anticipating a probable common reaction, “Why don’t you just move to a free host?” That is an option of last resort, and one that I am unwilling to do for several reasons:

1) Traffic and readership would be lost. Sober Catholic was originally hosted for free, and when I went to a paid hosting service many people did not follow along, despite numerous notices left up at the old site. Also, links everywhere point to this location.

2) Paying for a host rather than going free establishes “brand name” credibility if your blog is about a service. If I only had a personal blog about my own joys and sorrows, thoughts and opinions, that would be free. But I feel that Sober Catholic deserves its own location. I don’t feel that Sober Catholic is completely mine, it also belongs to those who appreciate it and have been helped by it. I do have 2 other blogs hosted on this account, but Sober Catholic is the only reason the account exists.

3) Having its own location guarantees independence; one isn’t subject to the whims and decisions of a free host. There is greater control over what one can do if the hosting is paid for by the owner or from revenue that is generated.

As I said above, any help to defray or cover the cost is greatly appreciated. Every donation adds to the total.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Paul Sofranko (a/k/a “paulcoholic”)

NOTE: this was reposted from Reader help needed to support Sober Catholic.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Cemeteries in the quiet places

I ran across a blogpost today from Katlupe of Homesteading On The Internet that I found of interest.

“Homesteading” has various meanings, the easiest is living simply off the land as much as one can. Usually a homesteader has a house and small farm somewhere, or at least a house with sufficient land around to grow things. There are also “urban homesteaders”, people who live in cities and make the most of their small surroundings.

It is an interest of mine as my wife and I live in the country in a nice house with lots of acreage. Eventually I hope to go beyond small vegetable gardens and live far more “self-sufficiently” than we presently do. Anyway, the point of all this is Katlupe’s post:

Little Country Cemeteries On Back Roads

She wrote a nice piece on country cemeteries that pop up in the rural countryside. You are driving about and suddenly just by the roadside is a small, possibly slightly overgrown and always very old, cemetery.

My attraction to these places is one of the reasons why I started this blog. I intend to (but alas, haven’t done so just yet) take my small digital camera with me on my days off from work, and when I see these country cemeteries, stop off and wander through them and take pictures of the headstones. Not all, just those that strike my fancy for whatever reason. This “project” was planned to be an major theme of this blog.

Perhaps I shall start doing this. My work schedule has changed and this makes it easier for my wife and I to take day trips throughout Western and Central New York State (we live near Lake Erie, and I am originally from the Syracuse and Utica areas) and cameras are a requirement for our travels (Rose is a photographer, see: ARTIST4GOD: Rose Santuci-Sofranko)

Small cemeteries in “the middle of nowhere” are a wonderful reminder of one’s mortality, and the peaceful surroundings help you to meditate on that and reflect of God. Death is not always an enemy.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

My interview on American Catholic Radio

Well, it’s out! Judy Zarick’s interview with me, scheduled for this week, is available here:

American Catholic Radio looks at Ash Wednesday, conversion and social justice

The program is called “Living Faith with Judy Zarick.”

(Via Franciscan Media.)

All in all, the editing was great. It is a 5 minute distillation of a 20-25 minute-long interview.

(The only issue is that although the physical link to my blog is correct, at the end she spoke the old Blogger link. No matter, it just gives me a greater reason to edit the old site so that it is clear it is the defunct version.)

Anyway, click on the link above and give a listen!

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Sober Catholic/The Four Last Things Facebook Page

Updated: I deleted the “Four Last Things” part of the Facebook Page, that blog will have it’s own Page.

I am not sure offhand what I am going to do with this, and it may serve a purpose in promoting this blog, but there is now a Facebook “Page” for Sober Catholic and The Four Last Things, click below:

Sober Catholic/The Four Last Things Facebook Page

I suppose if readers have Facebook accounts and you all want to meet up there and discuss things, that’ll be nice. That may be an advantage in blogs having a Page on Facebook, additional interaction and “community.” If you wish to interact and build community, while maintaining anonymity, there is still always:

Recovery for Christ

Anyway, the Facebook Page will remain, and grow into something hopefully useful.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Memento Mori

The original intended name for this blog was “Memento mori” and was to be a part of the URL (website address). I couldn’t get the URL I wanted and ended up settling for “The Four Last Things.” I didn’t know that you can have a different blog title from the URL at the time. But no matter.

This is just a reminder as to what this blog’s focus is on: Death, as in it’s going to happen and you can avoid it.

So, “be mindful of it” (that’s what “memento mori” means in Latin) and start accounting for your moral behavior.

(Link to information in the first line on what “Memento Mori” means is courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"