Friday, December 26, 2008

Heading for Montreal

Early tomorrow morning, I'll be getting on a train for Montreal, and I'll be back late Tuesday night. I hope everyone out there had a Merry Christmas; if it wasn't exactly "merry", I hope you at least enjoyed a few peaceful, quiet moments alone with God, in spite of everything else! ;)

Happily, the Christmas season doesn't end on Christmas Day, and we still have several more days to let the real meaning of this time sink in...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Silent Night, Holy Night

Sungha Jung plays 'Silent Night', arrangement by Ulli Boegershausen.

Monday, December 22, 2008

"Conservative of the Year"

Human Events, a weekly conservative magazine favoured by Ronald Reagan, names The Conservative of The Year (article written by Ann Coulter).

Sunday, December 21, 2008

That was Then, This is Now

Remember this view from my balcony, posted on October 25th?

Here's the same view this morning:




Saturday, December 20, 2008

Catching Up

I'm only now catching up on news and blog posts from the past week, and I came across this piece by the Anchoress on a brave 10 year old named Namrata Nayak. Namrata suffered 40 percent burns during anti-Christian violence in Orissa, India, in August of this year. She remained faithful, hopeful, and prayerful throughout the ordeal, and her burn scars have since disappeared.

Alas, poor Ameneh Bahrami, the victim of a spurned suitor's vengeful actions in 2004 was left disfigured and blinded, in physical and psychological pain. It amazes me that her attacker admits to having thrown sulfuric acid in her face but still claims "I haven't done anything wrong."

Friday, December 19, 2008

Checking In

Today was my last day of work before breaking for the holidays. I feel quite fortunate to have just started a full-time job on December 1st and already be getting two weeks of paid vacation - Thank you, Jesus! The University also closed early today because of a snow storm that came our way.

There are several things on my "To Do" list: Christmas shopping, get a haircut, go to the bank, work on my freelance assignment, help tidy up the apartment (several sub-categories there), get the faucet repaired (unless I can figure out how to do it myself)...

I also want to spend time with my family, visit some friends, and try to maintain my prayer life. Lately, I've been experiencing more peace and joy. This is something I've been praying for, and I'm so grateful this prayer is being answered. I have so much to be thankful for.

I still find myself thinking often about eternity and what it's like to be beyond the reach of sin and temptation. When a very significant loved one dies, it brings home the reality that this life is not forever. I often wonder about my father; I wonder what he's experiencing and doing in the Great Beyond. I say things like "Dad, I hope you're having an awesome time! I hope it's amazing!" I pray that his soul is experiencing ever-increasing amounts of peace and joy. I talk (in my mind) to other friends who have passed on and I say things like "Peter, please say hi to my Dad."

I'd like to find some good books that talk about the concepts of time and eternity, and the relationship between the two.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Shameless Plug

Christmas is coming and, in these challenging economic times, bumper stickers make a nice inexpensive gift! :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Make each moment count...

This week has been really busy. I haven't had time or energy for blogging after working during the day and then trying to complete my freelance assignment and other things in the evenings.

Still, this heartbreaking story has been on my mind, and I'm asking anyone who reads this to please say a special prayer for Dong Yun Yoon and his family. Michelle Malkin has written about it here and here.



Please send a letter or card to:

Dong Yun Yoon
c/o Rev. Kevin Lee
Korean United Methodist Church
3520 Mount Acadia Blvd
San Diego, CA 92111

Friday, December 5, 2008

Answered Prayer

On Tuesday morning I was faced with a challenge that needed to be resolved quickly, and I feared I didn't have a solution. By Wednesday evening, I felt anxious and tired. My spirits were low. I could think of only one person that might be able to provide me with some concrete direction, and I'd already sent her an e-mail on Tuesday but hadn't heard back from her.

I'd been thumbing through all of this month's meditations and scripture readings in my Magnificat. I sensed that God was encouraging me to trust Him; that I should put Him first, do my best, and not worry so much about human opinion or even results. I tried to do this. I prayed, and I asked others to pray too. Although I still felt very low when my head hit the pillow on Wednesday night (around 12:40 a.m.), I made an act of the will to trust Him.

On Thursday morning, I got ready for work and before heading out the door, I decided to check my e-mail. My friend had responded and in her e-mail, she sent me all the information I needed to resolve my problem! I was very relieved and very grateful. A huge weight had been lifted. According to the time-stamp on her mail, she'd written back to me around 1:00 a.m.!

During my subway commute to work, I noticed that the Psalm for Thursday included this verse: "I will give thanks to You for You have answered me and have been my Saviour." (Psalm 118, v. 21) I happily meditated on that verse the rest of the way in...

"...a pantomime horse...

...comprised of three rear ends..."

That's from Mark Steyn's description of recent events in Canadian politics. :) Here's the transcript of Mark's interview on the Hugh Hewitt show (h/t Kathy Shaidle).

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Conservatism 2.0

Watch Michelle Malkin and Joe Hicks on PJTV. I love the internet! :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

This is from the Cherubic Hymn for the Offertory of the Divine Liturgy of St James (4th century AD), and is based on verses from Habakkuk 2:20 - "Let all the earth keep silence before Him."

Here, Cynthia Clawson performs the first and fourth verses. The full lyrics are below the video.

(h/t The Anchoress)

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
and with fear and trembling stand;
ponder nothing earthly minded,
for with blessing in his hand
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
our full homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
as of old on earth he stood,
Lord of lords in human vesture,
in the Body and the Blood
he will give to all the faithful
his own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
spreads its vanguard on the way,
as the Light of Light descendeth
from the realms of endless day,
that the powers of hell may vanish
as the darkness clears away.

At his feet the six-winged seraph;
cherubim with sleepless eye,
veil their faces to the Presence,
as with ceaseless voice they cry,
"Alleluia, alleluia!
Alleluia, Lord Most High!"

Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's Not the Cold War

Mark Steyn's thoughts on the recent terror attacks in Mumbai.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Movie Recommendation

Barbara Nicolosi recommended the movie "The Boy in The Striped Pajamas" nearly three weeks ago. I saw it today. I'm glad I did.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends!

Have a piece of pumpkin pie!

In case you were wondering, Canadian Thanksgiving is in October - the same day y'all celebrate Columbus Day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

And there was Light!

No, that's not a UFO from a B-movie - it's the new light fixture for our kitchen ceiling. The ballast for the fluorescent light had conked out about a week ago, and we decided to get some new circular track lighting instead of just replacing the ballast.

The salesman at one of the lighting stores we went to convinced me that I would be capable of installing the light fixture myself, and that calling an electrician in would be an unnecessary expense.

I'm happy to report that I was successful in installing the new lights - no one was electrocuted in the process and, thus far, the condo hasn't burnt down because of my wiring efforts. Please pray that this continues to be the case...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Vive Le Montmartre!

This afternoon, Mom took me out to a lovely little French restaurant very close to where we live. The occasion was the celebration of my landing a new job which I'll be starting in about a week. I thought I should treat, but Mom being the generous lady that she is, insisted on treating me. "Besides," she said, "it's what your Father would've done!" Well, that's true... I think Dad only ever let me treat him to a meal once in his life. He loved to try new restaurants, but he always insisted on taking his family out and rarely ever let it happen the other way around.

This restaurant is such a wonderful place, I felt I had to make a little plug for it. It's called Le Montmartre, and it's on Sheppard Road, just west of Wilson Heights Blvd. The owner, Marjie Caradant is a very sweet lady trained in Paris and Toronto. She took our order and handled most of the lunch time crowd by herself.

The atmosphere was both classy and comfortable; simple and elegant - French music playing in the background, fresh cut flowers on the table, antique furniture, stained glass, and prints of late 19th century French artists on the walls. The outside of the restaurant is painted Provencal yellow which adds a nice burst of colour to an otherwise plain street.

And the food - oh, the food! I had the Petits tournedos aux poivres vert (Beef tenderloin medallions flambéed with cognac, in green peppercorn sauce) and Mom had Le Foie de veau, sauce marchand de vin (Grilled provimi liver with shallots and a touch of garlic in a delicious red wine sauce). We loved it! I have to say, that was the best tenderloin steak I've had in a long time (medium rare is how I like it, and that's what I got - perfect!).

Remarkably, I didn't have any wine with my meal, because I was feeling a little "headachey" before I got there. I'll just have to go back another time and sample one of their wines (they have an extensive selection) along with my meal. Next time, I'm treating, Mom!

Please check out their site for more info. Le Montmarte is definitely worth visiting if you're ever in the North York area - and if you're not in the area, it's worth the trip!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Take Me In - Petra

This song/hymn reminds me of the sense of awe that's evoked when we spend time alone with Christ, especially in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.

At present, adoration is majorly missing in my life, and those closest to me are paying the price for it because my propensity towards being easily hurt and angered is really acting up. I definitely need to spend time in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Maybe one of the Churches downtown have Eucharistic adoration and I can start going there after work, at least one evening each week...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Good News for Free Speech in Canada!

Ezra writes about it here.

Congratulations Seraphic Single & Benedict Ambrose!

The two are now engaged to be married, and I wish them both well! It's been fun reading Seraphic's site for the last 8 months. While looking through the archives on Dawn Eden's site in March, I found an article reprinted with Seraphic's permission. The article made a good impression on me, and I immediately became a daily reader of Seraphic's site. I always find her entries to be witty or smart or both.

I'm especially happy to hear Seraphic plans to continue blogging - she will now embark on a new blog entitled "Seraphic meets Bridezilla"! This should be fun... :)

Congratulations again, Seraphic and Benedict! May God bless you both, always!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In Flanders Fields

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae,
MD (1872-1918), Canadian Army

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Thank You, St. Joseph!

Yesterday I accepted an offer for a full-time position at the University, starting December 1st! I've been temping there a couple of days a week for the last few months. Thanks so much to all who've been praying for me during this time (Mom, Nana, friends), thanks to those who gave me good references, and thank you to the Holy Souls and the Saints, especially Dad & St. Joseph, for their intercession!

This also gives me enough time to finish up my current part-time freelance assignment. Which I should get back to working on...

BTW, the St. Joseph book I mentioned earlier - "The Glories of St. Joseph" - is a 30-day series of reflections on St. Joseph which includes prayers as well as stories of favours received through his intercession.

I have not been reading the book every day for 30 days (which is typical of me), but I pick it up every now and then and read a little bit here and a little bit there, and I have found it very encouraging. The one thing I do regularly is say a daily novena prayer to St. Joseph with my Nana, and gainful employment has always been and will remain one of my many intentions.

And now, I better get back to work! :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

God Bless President-Elect Barack Obama

You've prayed, you've fasted, you've voted for the pro-life candidate - and Barack still won. Well then, God bless President-Elect Barack Obama and his family, and let's pray harder than ever and put even more effort into advancing socially conservative causes.

It is a historically significant event - the election of America's first black President - and I think the symbolic nature of it will bring many a measure of healing for a time. It saddens me very much, though, that America's first black President is a supporter of abortion...

Nevertheless, prayer is powerful and our prayers are never in vain. Let us pray for the Truth to prevail in the hearts and minds of all God's children, especially those who have the power to implement laws which could protect the most weak and vulnerable in our society.

"But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves that love means willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even His life to love us. So, the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love, that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts." Mother Teresa

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Looking Ahead...



Yes, these are bumper stickers and yes you can buy them! http://www.zazzle.com/belloc

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Communion of Saints

What I love about All Saints Day and All Souls Day is that they put me in mind of eternity. I think about loved ones who have passed on, as well as historic heroes of the Faith. I imagine what it’s like for these souls now in eternity. What is it like to be beyond the reach of temptation and sin? To be in a place where holiness, love, joy, and peace are the very air you breathe? Where even the further purification of your soul is pure joy because you know it’s bringing about the perfect union of your soul with God?

I know these souls still involve themselves in our lives. That’s why we’re always asking the Saints to intercede for us; because we believe their prayers are effective and can bring us God’s graces and blessings. I also ask the intercession of deceased family members and friends whom I’ve entrusted to God’s mercy. Some of them may still be undergoing further purification, but I believe their prayers are still efficacious.

I often think of my Dad - I pray for his soul to have perfect peace and joy in eternity, and sometimes I even talk to him. I also ask him to pray for me and Mom and Nana. And I believe he does! :)

“To see God when full satisfaction had not yet been made Him, even if the time of purgation lacked but the twinkling of an eye, would be unbearable to that soul.”
St. Catherine of Genoa, The Dialogue

“God is the ‘last thing’ of the creature. Gained, He is heaven; lost, He is hell; examining, He is judgement; purifying, He is purgatory. He it is to whom finite being dies, and through whom it rises to Him, in Him.”
Hans Urs von Balthasar

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Please Pray...

...for people who think this sort of thing is okay.
(h/t Blazing Cat Fur)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

That's Heaven To Me

Sam Cooke & The Soul Stirrers, 1957


The things that I see as I walk along the street,
That's Heaven to me:

A little flower that blooms in May
A lovely sunset at the end of a day
Someone helping a stranger along the way
That's Heaven to me

The feeling I have when I hear a touching prayer
It makes me know the Lord is somewhere near
Even the birds flying around in the air
That's Heaven to me

It doesn't have to be a miracle
In order for me to see,
I know the goodness of my Saviour
Is everywhere to me

Even the children playing in the street
Saying a friendly hello to everyone that they meet
Even the leaves growing out, growing out, growing out
growing out on the tree
That's Heaven to me

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Rainy Autumn Day


This was the view from our balcony this morning. It's a wet, grey indoors-y kind of day, but still pretty...

I have a slight headache, but I think it will soon pass.

This week I came across a book called "The Glories of St. Joseph" compiled by the Monks of St. Joseph Abbey. It was given to me a couple of years ago, and I'd never gotten around to reading it. I think now would be a good time to start. Will let you know how it is.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Election Exhaustion

I have spent sooooo much time following the U.S. elections, I feel quite exhausted by it all - and I'm not even American! Meanwhile, the Canadian elections have come and gone with relatively little incident, other than the Conservative party gaining 19 seats in Parliament but remaining a minority government.

Here in Canada there are no legal restrictions on abortion, and same-sex "marriage" has been legalized nationwide since 2005. We also have socialized medicine which, at its best, means you don't have to freak out about the costs of basic medical care - and I am grateful for that. At its worst, it sometimes means you might be near death before they get around to diagnosing and treating your fatal illness...

We also have a real fight on our hands when it comes to free speech because of "Human Rights Commissions". They were originally set up in the 60s and 70s to investigate claims of discrimination in employment and housing. They're now being used to seek revenge against anyone who hurts someone's feelings with the words they use, especially if the speaker of the "hurtful" words holds conservative values.

In following the U.S. election campaigns, it concerns me to see that the U.S. appears to be on the verge of becoming more like Canada, with a presidential candidate who supports unrestricted access to abortion, who would allow individual states to choose to legalize same-sex "marriage", and who apparently leans towards socialism (some might say that's an understatement).

Regardless of the U.S. election results in November, I pray that conservatives, especially social conservatives will re-group and strive to be more united and focused. We can't waffle on the core conservative values that give us our identity, and we have to continually strive to improve how we convey our ideas and beliefs, using all of today's tools to our advantage.

**************

Recently I've been telling myself that winning hearts and changing minds is more important than winning elections and changing laws - then a friend pointed out to me that winning elections and changing laws also SAVES LIVES. She's right, of course. I suppose with God's grace, we should strive to do both. Whatever the results, we can find peace and strength in Christ who encourages us to keep fighting the good fight...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Video from Gloria.TV

Update: Some thoughts below...


Senator Obama says he does not support infanticide and that his votes against previous versions of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act (BAIPA) were based on
a) his objection to language in the bill that he believed would have overturned Roe v. Wade, and
b) laws already in place in Illinois that would protect such an infant.

Senator Obama also says that the final version of the bill (HB 984) that was passed in Illinois after he'd left, is a version he would have also supported because the bill now included sufficient protections for physicians and pregnant women.

Jill Stanek presents links to Senator Obama's votes on BAIPA here. She also has a list of the reasons he has given for opposing BAIPA.

Whether or not you want to characterize Senator Obama as "supporting infanticide", there's no question that he's a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gayle Williams, R.I.P.

Gayle Williams, a 34 year-old British aid-worker helping disabled people in Afghanistan, was gunned down yesterday by two men acting on behalf of the Taliban...



May Gayle's soul rest in peace, and may her killers come to know the Way, the Truth and the Life...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Have I mentioned...


...that autumn is my favourite season in Toronto?

On Saturday afternoon, I went for a walk through High Park with a friend. The leaves are so beautiful right now, and the weather is perfect for walking. There's a slight nip in the air, which means you can wear your favourite comfortable sweater. We also stopped at Grenadier Cafe and warmed ourselves up with some hot coffee and a yummy mochacinno (for yours truly).

We've finally invested in a new camera, and I'm now in the habit of taking it almost everywhere with me so I can seize the moment whenever I see something picture-worthy. Autumn provides LOTS of those moments!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

In Defense of James T. Harris

James T. Harris is a man who has the courage to think outside the box. He holds conservative views and he speaks his mind, even when it's unpopular - and boy, has it been unpopular! Mr. Harris has been called all kinds of names (which I will not repeat here) all for the "crime" of being a black person who holds conservative views, who doesn't support Barack Obama, and who has said so publicly.

I applaud Mr. Harris's courage. He reminds me of those twenty percent of Catholic voters who resisted the temptation to vote for John F. Kennedy in 1960. As much as Catholics wanted one of their own in the White House, especially after years and years of living through anti-Catholic bigotry, some Catholics had reservations about Kennedy's strict separationist interpretation of the First Amendment (the effects of which we can still observe today) and accordingly they didn't vote for him.

Regarding the upcoming election, I can appreciate the historical significance of America getting it's first black President, and I can imagine how much this would mean to black Americans whose ancestors have suffered through slavery and who continue to experience forms of unjust discrimination today. But some blacks have reservations about Barack Obama because they don't agree with some of Senator Obama's moral and political views. And these issues are even more important to them than having "one of their own" in the role of President. And accordingly, they are not planning to vote for Obama, much like the twenty percent of Catholic voters in 1960 who didn't vote for Kennedy.

I admire the courage of anyone out there, whatever their race or gender, who publicly stands up for true conservative values, especially in today's political climate. Mr. Harris definitely has courage...

Melissa Ohden, Abortion Survivor

(h/t: The Practicing Catholic)

A YouTube video from Feminists For Life:

Because it bears repeating...

I posted this excerpt about a month ago, but I think it’s worth putting up again:

"Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. …While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."
(Letter from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, to Cardinal McCarrick, July 2004)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Some Welcome Levity!

Tonight the two presidential candidates were invited to speak at the Alfred E. Smith dinner in New York City - and both of them had some funny things to say:

McCain - Part 1


McCain - Part 2


Obama - Part 1


Obama - Part 2

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

That was better...

Ok - the third presidential debate was better than the last one. McCain came on stronger and feistier than he did the last time and he got in some good points. I was happy McCain was given the opportunity to state his pro-life beliefs. I wish he'd pressed Obama further about his (Obama's) votes against the "Born Alive Infant Protection Act" (see FactCheck.org) and I also wish McCain had raised the topic of the "Freedom of Choice Act" (FOCA), which Obama has promised to sign as the first act of his presidency.

Professor Robert George tell us that "In essence, FOCA would abolish virtually every existing state and federal limitation on abortion, including parental consent and notification laws for minors, state and federal funding restrictions on abortion, and conscience protections for pro-life citizens working in the health-care industry-protections against being forced to participate in the practice of abortion or else lose their jobs."

Read Robert George's full article here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

In his own words...



"Culture wars are just so nineties," says Obama. In other words, fighting for the lives of unborn babies is passé. Alfonzo doesn't see it that way:

Decision Day

Today is the 40th Canadian General Election and I've cast my vote...

In solidarity with those who value free speech (h/t Kathy Shaidle), I'm posting these words spoken by John Diefenbaker at the House of Commons debate on July 1, 1960:

"I am a Canadian,
a free Canadian,
free to speak without fear,
free to worship God in my own way,
free to stand for what I think right,
free to oppose what I believe wrong,
free to choose those who shall govern my country.
This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold
for myself and for all mankind."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Thank You, Fr. Thomas Berg!

Economy Matters, Life Matters -Does the economy trump abortion this year? (National Review Online)

"An economic crisis like the present means that millions of Americans will experience negative, discomforting and, in many cases, dire consequences. But no expert I know of is suggesting the crisis will reach bread-line proportions. And even it if did, the suffering of such consequences comes nowhere close to the moral gravity of human beings directly targeting and destroying the lives of 50 million unborn babies as has been the case under America’s abortion-on-demand regime."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Boring!

There's my two cents worth on tonight's presidential debate.

Yes, it was important to talk about the economy again - but the topics of war, energy, foreign policy, and health care were all covered in the last presidential debate. Do the moderators know or care that there are other issues too - like abortion, like "gay marriage", like immigration, etc.?

How can we possibly have had two presidential debates and one vice-presidential debate, and not once have had the topic of abortion raised??

I also wish that McCain had aggressively stated that much of the current economic difficulty has come about because of banks being pressured by the politically correct crowd to put affirmative-action ahead of credit-worthiness.

I'm not giving up hope for Senator McCain in November, so I'll keep praying.

I'm also setting my sights on a Palin-Jindal ticket for 2012! :)

Classy!

Watch Sarah handle a heckler at a Florida rally yesterday (relevant clip is 39 seconds in):


h/t: Michelle Malkin

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Courageous Woman!

Shelly Mandell, a lifelong democrat who also happens to be the President of the Los Angeles chapter of NOW (the National Organization for Women), publicly announced that she personally supports Sarah Palin, even while disagreeing with Sarah on some issues. Ms Mandell made it clear that she was speaking for herself, and not on behalf of NOW:

Give This Guy More Press!!

Alfonzo tells it like it is:
(he's a little flirty at the beginning, but then he gets right into it)


h/t: The Anchoress

As we enter the final month...

...here's some inspiration from the movie "Hoosiers":

Holy Foolishness

An earnest reflection by Deborah Gyapong.

"We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are honourable, but we without honour." (1 Corinthians 4:10)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Recharging the Batteries

I'm in the seventh and final week of a Life in the Spirit seminar. I did one of these over twelve years ago at Franciscan University, and I've been long overdue for a "recharging of the batteries"!

Here's one of the scripture verses from this week's seminar readings:

"You must lay aside your former way of life and old self which deteriorates through illusion and desire, and acquire a fresh spiritual way of thinking. You must put on that new self created in God's image, whose justice and holiness are born of truth." (Ephesians 4:22-23)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sarah Shines!

I bet half the U.S. (and some Canadians, like myself) were praying for her today! Sarah Palin, uncensored, unedited, unscripted is a delight! I also enjoyed Michelle Malkin's live-blogging while watching the debate.

I suppose I should start paying more attention to our upcoming Canadian elections now...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Two Good Articles

Am I Racist If I Vote For McCain? by Fr. Jim Lloyd, CSP

Sarah Palin: the Thrilla from Wasilla by Dorothy Cummings, The Catholic Register

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Nana!


Today my dear little Nana celebrated her 96th birthday!!

Thank you God for giving her good health, long life, and a super-strong faith.

And Thank you, Nana, for all the good things you've done and continue to do for your family and friends and others. You're a huge blessing and I love you to pieces! :)

In Jesus' Name, We Pray....



Amen!
(Footage of Sarah Palin being prayed over for protection, three years ago.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Woman for All Seasons

In 1998, Peggy Noonan wrote about her experience at the National Prayer Breakfast of 1994 in Washington, D.C., where Mother Teresa was invited to speak to a gathering of political, social, and business leaders. The article never fails to move and inspire me.

"Her speech was a great success in that it was clear and strong, seriously meant, seriously stated, seriously argued, and seriously received. She spoke with a complete indifference to the conventions of speech giving, not only in her presentation— reading the text as if she were reading some dry old document aloud, rarely looking up, rarely using her voice to emphasize, rarely using inflection, expression, or gesturing—but in her message. She softened nothing, did not deflect division but defined it. She came with a sword.

"She could do this, of course, because she had a natural and unknown authority. She has the standing of a saint. May you pursue and achieve such standing as you think and work and write and speak."


Read the full article here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Emilia's Prayer

"Lord, put me back in peace with myself and with others.
Lord, you who rose from death, don't let death win out over me.
It is no longer the time for analysis, for copying others,
For my being or not being able,
For the evil others do me or I do to myself,
But for living now, every now in you alone.
Amen."


Excerpt from meditation by Emilia Vergani (+2000)
Source: Magnificat, September 5th 2008.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Last Waltz, etc.

Heard this playing on the car radio this evening. I started to imagine my Mom and Dad, one day reunited in eternity, dancing together to this song (yes, I am an excessively sentimental romantic). The lyrics are sad, but it's still a beautiful waltz...


Engelbert - The Last Waltz

And since I still can't sleep, here's another soothing tune...


Bryan Adams - Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?

Ephesians 6:12


"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Debt-Free!

Yesterday, I made my last payment towards a long outstanding balance on my credit card. I feel SO relieved! With God's help and the encouragement and support of family and friends, I've now reached two of the three goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year.

I guess it's never too late to start eating healthy and exercising! :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Voting With a Clear Conscience

As Americans and Canadians prepare to vote in their respective elections, many of us are striving to inform ourselves on the issues, and also to inform our conscience on what should be our priorities in voting.

I'm grateful for a booklet put together by Father Frank Pavone, entitled “Voting with a Clear Conscience”. There's a Catholic version and an Interdenominational version. (h/t Dawn Patrol)

"Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. …While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia." (Letter from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, to Cardinal McCarrick, July 2004)

Gianna Jensen's Story

"Gianna's biological mother was 17 when she had a saline abortion in her third trimester. After being burned alive for approximately 18 hours in the womb from the saline solution, Gianna was delivered alive in a Los Angeles County abortion clinic...."

Read the rest here.

Gianna's appearance on Hannity & Colmes:

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Linus Sings "The Police"

LOL! I thought this was cute and well-edited:

A Relaxing Sunday

This afternoon I took my Grandma for a drive through parts of North York and down Avenue Road. I tuned the radio station to one of those vintage shows which played a variety of oldies; Bing Crosby, charleston, ragtime, etc. Nana enjoyed that. When the fall foliage is at its peak, I'm going to take her to High Park where we can go for a walk and enjoy the autumn colours!

I was thinking today that I'm grateful for how simple my life currently is. I'm 41 and I'm happily single. After years of part-time study, I've finally finished my courses and I'm almost debt-free. My employment situation gives me the convenience of working from home, and also travelling downtown. I'm enjoying living with my Mom and Grandma after being away for so many years. I have good friends and good health.

Truly, I have much to be thankful for! :)

Photo from: Royal_Rivers on Flickr

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Orissa Burning

Warning: Some graphic imagery - please continue to pray for the people of Orissa!



Source: Pauline Charism Live

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In Memoriam


Seven years ago today, I was living and working in Manhattan...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Nobody Says it Like Camille!

I've been waiting for her next article, ever since I heard a few excerpts of her take on Sarah Palin. Camille Paglia considers herself an atheist. I'm a believing Catholic. It follows that I don't always share Paglia's views, although in certain areas I do. There are times when I admire her honesty and courage. And one thing's for certain - nobody says it like Camille!
h/t: Five Feet of Fury

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I Was Invited...

...by Seraphic to participate in her "Yves St. Laurent" Meme (also known, in this instance, as "Everything You've Always Wanted to Know About 'Belloc' But Were Afraid to Ask), and I've thought long and hard about my answers to the following 18 questions:

What is your chief characteristic?

At first, I was going to say “Insecurity”, but then it occurred to me that perhaps I was meant to write a positive characteristic. People sometimes tell me I’m compassionate.

What is your principal fault?

hyper-sensitivity

What is your favourite quality in a man?

gentleness; kindness

And in a woman?

inner strength

Who is your favourite historical figure?

Too many to mention, but I’m partial to Francis De Sales and Charles Schulz! :)

Who are your living heroes?

My Mom, my Grandma, and Fr. John Harvey, OSFS

Who would you like to be, if you could?

Don’t want to be anyone else but me; however, there are many people with qualities I would like to emulate – usually people with confidence and courage because I’m often too fearful.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?

Being in the company of close friends, sharing a meal/drink, good conversation, and laughter

What is your idea of misery?

Feeling hopeless or depressed.

Where would you like to live?

I like living in Toronto, although I enjoy tropical places very much

What talent would you like to have?

I would like to be accomplished at playing the piano or violin

For what fault do you have the most tolerance?

perfectionism

Who are your favourite painters?

Rembrandt and E.P. Vicari

Who are your favourite composers?

love all kinds of music, but don’t have a favourite composer – how about Stan Getz or Vince Guaraldi?

What is your favourite colour?

pearl magenta

Of all things, what do you most detest?

lack of compassion

Have you got a motto?

I like the saying “…with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26)

What would you like to do right now?

Take a nap (not enough sleep last night…)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Falling for Fall

We are now officially entering into Autumn - my favourite Toronto season! In a few weeks, the leaves will be amazingly colourful and I can start wearing my favourite comfortable sweaters when I go for walks.

Today was a bit chilly and I celebrated the transition to Autumn by making some hot spiced cider - apple cider, a little brown sugar, cloves, cinnamon sticks, pad of butter, spiced rum - mmmmmmm.....

Sat by the window, sipping my cider and reading "Light from Heaven", the final volume in the Mitford Years Series. A very pleasant afternoon!
Photo from brettandclaires at photobucket.com

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Please Pray...

...for a good friend who just learned that her brother passed away suddenly. The cause of death is still unknown. Please pray for her brother's soul, and please pray for the family to be consoled, comforted and strengthened during this time.

Thank you.

Hope In the Dark Places

Lord, I pray for anyone struggling with depression or discouragement. Please help them to experience your consoling and compassionate presence. Send them people and experiences that will uplift them and encourage them. Give them new hope, new dreams and a renewed sense of confidence in You and in Your plan for their lives. Help us to be instruments of encouragement and hope for one another. Help us to truly relieve one another’s burdens and bring joy and laughter into one another’s lives. We ask all this in Jesus name.
Amen.


His Eye Is On The Sparrow sung by Lauryn Hill and Tanya Blount (not Cece Winans as it mistakenly says on the YouTube video credits):

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Bill Melendez, R.I.P.

Mr. Bill Melendez, the only person authorized by Charles Schulz to animate the beloved Peanuts characters, has passed away. Mr. Melendez was 91. One of the most famous T.V. specials produced and directed by Mr. Melendez was "A Charlie Brown Christmas".

I'm so grateful to Mr. Schulz for creating the Peanuts characters, and I'm grateful to Mr. Melendez for helping to keep them alive! May his soul rest in peace.




(I found the Snoopy gif on www.rogerknapp.com)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

It's Official!

I received my transcripts in the mail - I passed my comprehensive exams and, finally, after 930 million years,
I have my M.A.!!!!!



Thank you, Jesus... :)

(OK - it actually took 13 years part-time, but it sometimes felt never-ending)

Fireworks image from Aussiebeachut at Photobucket.com

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

OHRC - The New Magisterium?

I'd like to say this is unbelievable, but given the way things are here in Canada, it's unfortunately quite believable.

According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), "doctors, as providers of services that are not religious in nature, must essentially 'check their personal views at the door' in providing medical care." [That's not even an opponent summing up the OHRC's position; it's an actual excerpt from the OHRC submission.]

Lorne Gunter responds: "The gall of such a statement is stunning. Abortion? Contraception? Fertility counselling for same-sex couples? How are those not services that are 'religious in nature'? Every one of the world's major religions has had views on these actions for hundreds of years."

Read Lorne Gunter's full article at the National Post (h/t Still Seraphic).

Monday, September 1, 2008

Palin Family "Walks the Walk" Amidst Adversity

Both V.P. candidate Sarah Palin and her daughter Bristol opted for Life at a time when the world would encourage them to a) be rid of the "inconvenience" of a child with Downs syndrome and b) evade the very real consequences and responsibilities of an out-of-wedlock teenage pregnancy.

May God bless and protect the Palin family...

Please Pray for Christians in Orissa!

Violence against Orissa Christians is a wake-up call. (article by John Allen, Jr.)

"What's happening in Orissa this week ought to be a wake-up call, because the fate of India will be critically important to the 21st century."

Can I Be Pro-Choice & Catholic at the Same Time?

Read the latest article by Fr. Jim Lloyd, CSP.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Happy Sunday!

Ladies & Gentlemen...Ms Cece Winans!



"Pray" (Lyrics)

I know that you think you can't pray after that mistake
but I know it's the only way you can make it better
And I know situations get too much for you to take
and you feel like you're gonna break and it makes you say

[Chorus]
I can't take it
When will things get better?
I'm so frustrated, but it's gonna be okay cause
you've got someone in your corner
Who's gonna be there for ya
Just fall on your knees, say a prayer and receive

When the world feels like it's on your shoulders (I pray, you pray, we pray)
When your life seems like its upside down (I pray, you pray, we pray)
When your lonely nights are getting colder (I pray, you pray, we pray)
I pray, you pray no matter how dark the day

I know you think you've gone too far and you waited too late
But I know that He loves you and there's no love greater
And I know that it's hurting and you want your pain to end
And you feel like you can't win and it makes you say

[Chorus]

Our Father which art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy name
All you gotta do is say

Go Sarah!

I’m thrilled that McCain has chosen a pro-life running mate!
Lord, please bless and protect Sarah Palin and her family. Please keep Governor Palin strong in You and sustain her through the rigors of campaigning. Continue to bless her with poise, grace, a strong moral sense, and a clear, sharp mind as she seeks to serve You, her family, and her country. May her graciousness be perceived even by those who don’t share her point-of-view. May her family remain intact and be strengthened through this whole experience. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

(Yes, I am Canadian, and yes, I have an inordinate interest in American politics…)

Friday, August 29, 2008

IMHO...

... this was classy - John McCain's message to Barack Obama on the night of Obama's nomination acceptance at the DNC, which was also the 45th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech:



...and this was NOT classy - Obama's spokesman's response to the naming of Sarah Palin as McCain's choice for Vice President:
“Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain’s commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush’s failed economic policies — that’s not the change we need, it’s just more of the same.”
(h/t: Michelle Malkin)

Update: Some good advice from Kathy Shaidle: "Every American who lives in a town of 9000 and under should write/fax Barack Obama, put up YouTube videos and more, mocking his team for insulting small town America."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!!!

Here's one of your fave tunes for your birthday! :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

YAY!

After a four month hiatus, Fr. Lloyd is blogging again!

High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, --and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of --Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air...
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew --
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.


by Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee Jr., RCAF

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Too Funny!

Listen to what Barack Obama's running mate has to say about Barack Obama and John McCain:



H/T: Kathryn

Friday, August 22, 2008

Obama's Inviable Defense

Read: Ramesh Ponnuru on Barack Obama and the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act on National Review Online.

Watch the Jill Stanek interview on Hannity & Colmes (h/t - Dawn Patrol, Aug.21):



And finally, an important reminder from our late great Holy Father:
"I support with all my heart those who recognise and defend the law of God which governs human life. We must never forget that every person from the moment of conception to their last breath is a unique child of God and has a right to life. This right should be defended by the attentive care of the medical and nursing professions and by the protection of the law. Every human life is willed by our Heavenly Father and is a part of His loving plan."
John Paul II

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Finally!

I've been hoping someone would post this on YouTube! At long last, Jesus Gave Me Water by Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers:

Counting My Blessings

I'm still waiting on my comp results...

Meanwhile, I'm grateful to be employed! I started two new assignments shortly after my exam: I work downtown two days a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) at the University, and I work from home Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for a publishing company. I'm continuing to make progress on paying off my credit card - thanks be to God!

I'm also grateful that God has given me the opportunity to spend time with Mom and Nana - they're the two most important ladies in my life and always will be!

To anyone who comes across this blog, PLEASE PRAY for my friend's Mom who's having an operation tomorrow to remove a mass on her pancreas. Please pray that the operation will be successful and that the mass will be benign.

THANK YOU!


Photo Credit: Camp I Can Website

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Chinese Horse


I did this one a couple of weeks ago, under the guidance of my wise English Professor/Watercolour Artist friend. There was supposed to be a small vase in the foreground, but I didn't space out the drawing properly to include it. I was instructed to start all over again; instead, I stubbornly continued and just left the vase out all together.

I have a long way to go in attaining "an obedient spirit"...

In retrospect, I also think I should've painted the background a pale pink instead of warm orange. Oh well - live and learn!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bring It On Home to Me


I only just learned that Lou Rawls did the background vocals on one of my favourite Sam Cooke tunes, Bring It On Home To Me. No wonder I like that song so much - two of my favourite voices on one song! :)

I've posted a photo of Lou Rawls on the right, since the YouTube video below only has pics of Sam.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Harvey Graveline, RIP

Mr. Harvey Graveline - story-teller, creator of fine cuisine, and connoisseur of good red wine - passed away earlier this week...

"From early 1980, Harvey Graveline worked closely with Fr. John F. Harvey O.S.F.S., Fr. Edwin F. O'Brien (now Archbishop of Baltimore), Fr. Benedict Groeschel and others, to set the foundation for the first Courage meeting on September 26, 1980. He was Fr. Harvey's "right hand man" in New York in the early years when Fr. Harvey was commuting from Washington. He worked tirelessly to sow and nurture the seed that has blossomed into COURAGE INTERNATIONAL INC."

For information on Harvey's wake and funeral, click here.

Click here for Harvey's obituary as recorded in The Republican.

Please keep Harvey's soul in your prayers. I pray he will soon be enjoying a fine feast in heaven! :)
God bless you, Harvey - I'm grateful you kept in touch over the years!

Painting by John Zaccheo

Kyle Lograsso

A touching and inspiring clip about a five year-old golf prodigy and cancer survivor! (H/T: Christine)


P.S. Kyle is six years old now, and here's the link to his website.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Scary Night

Last night I woke up around 3:45 a.m. to the sound of a huge explosion. Looked out the balcony, but couldn't make out what it was or where it came from. Went back to bed and just lay there. A few minutes later, I saw the sky light up orange and heard the sound of another explosion. This time, when I rushed to the balcony, I saw a huge fireball evaporating in the sky, and then I saw the source of flames, about 3 miles south-west of our building. There were about 40 or 50 explosions in total.

It turns out a propane depot exploded. At present, there are no reports of any casualties, although at least two people were injured. Please pray that everyone's alright.

Update: One depot employee remains missing. Firefighter Bob Leek, District Chief died on the scene.

Update 2: A body recovered at the site on Tuesday may be that of the missing depot employee, Parmindar Saini. An autopsy is being conducted.

May their souls rest in peace...

Found the video below on YouTube. It's similar to the view I had last night from the balcony, although taken from much further away. At about 1:50 - 2:02 on the video clip, you can see the explosion that lit up the sky:

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Wisdom from Van Gogh

I just came across this great quote by Vincent Van Gogh, in Henri Nouwen's book The Way of the Heart:

"There may be a great fire in our soul, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passersby only see a wisp of smoke coming through the chimney, and go along their way. Look here, now what must be done? Must one tend the inner fire, have salt in oneself, wait patiently but with how much impatience for the hour when somebody will come and sit down - maybe to stay?

Let him who believes in God wait for the hour that will come sooner or later."


from The Complete Letters of Vincent Van Gogh


Source of Fireplace Image: Ryan Mahle

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Just Because...

I've always loved the dream-like quality to the musical arrangement of this song. It is after all, a song about a dream - "For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her" by Simon & Garfunkel:

Another HRC Notice of Dismissal

The Alberta Human Rights Commission has dismissed the complaint filed by the Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities against the Western Standard/Ezra Levant. Read Ezra's take on the decision here.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Beware of Brideshead!

So says Barbara Nicolosi of the recently released film version of Brideshead Revisited. I like the Evelyn Waugh novel too much to watch what's apparently been done to it in this film adaptation. Very sad...

Update: On the other hand, the Rightwing Film Geek guardedly recommends it.

What to do, what to do? Sigh...

Update 2: IF I see this movie, I am first going to re-read the novel. And even if I don't see this movie, I will still re-read the novel.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Living the Present Moment

"Let us think only of living today well,
and when tomorrow comes, it too will be called today,
and then we can think about it."
St. Francis de Sales

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ferry Cross the Mersey

Gerry and the Pacemakers, 1965:

Jeremiah 15:18

Jeremiah asks God: "Why is my pain continuous, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed?"

The Lord tells Jeremiah that if he repents and turns to Him, he shall be in God's presence and become God's mouthpiece. God will save him and deliver him and make him strong among the people.

God never specifically says to Jeremiah that He will heal his wound; rather, He asks Jeremiah to allow his sense of woundedness to become an occasion for humility, grace, and conversion.

I believe God can and does heal all wounds in His time - but sometimes He allows us to continue to experience certain forms of suffering so that we can become channels of grace for others and for ourselves...

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Good Reading

The Pope vs. the Pill by John L. Allen Jr., Op-Ed Contributor, New York Times
The Anniversary of Humanae Vitae by Joseph Bottum, Editor, First Things
The Vindication of Humanae Vitae by Mary Eberstadt, First Things

Paul VI, Pope & Prophet

Historia de un Letrero (The Story of a Sign)

The winner of the National Film Board of Canada's 4th Annual Cannes 2008 Online Competition is Alonso Alvarez Barreda for his following short film produced in Mexico/U.S.A. (h/t American Papist):

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Choruses from "the Rock"

Excerpt from Part IX:

The soul of Man must quicken to creation.
Out of the formless stone, when the artist united himself with stone,
Spring always new forms of life, from the soul of man that is joined to the soul of stone;
Out of the meaningless practical shapes of all that is living or lifeless
Joined with the artist’s eye, new life, new form, new colour.
Out of the sea of sound the life of music,
Out of the slimy mud of words, out of the sleet and hail of verbal imprecisions,
Approximate thoughts and feelings, words that have taken the place of thoughts and feelings,
There spring the perfect order of speech, and the beauty of incantation.


T.S. Eliot

Sunday, July 27, 2008

"Apple on Plate"


- a.k.a. "No More Exam!"

Today, after my exam, my favourite Professor (also one of my favourite people) guided me through a watercolouring lesson, and the painting on the right was the result.

Full disclosure: My Prof did some of the shading on the plate and stem, and some of the shine and shading on the apple.

What a difference it makes to be guided by someone who knows how to do this!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hallelujah - It is Finished!



Thank you, God - My comps are over!!

Now I just hope I passed...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Father, forgive him...

Please pray for Professor Myers of the University of Minnesota Morris who deliberately desecrated the Eucharist (he says it's "just a cracker") as well as some pages from the Koran in his effort to prove that "Nothing is sacred".

This may have been done on the Professor's own time, and he publicized it on his personal blog which the University no longer links to (presumably because of the complaints they've received).

Still, I wonder how faithful Catholic and Muslim students will feel in the classroom of a Professor who has made it known publicly that he has no compunction about destroying what they consider to be sacred in order to emphasize his own view that "Nothing is sacred".

You can voice your concerns by writing to the University President, Robert H. Bruininks: upres@umn.edu
Most importantly, please pray for Professor Myers!