Friday, December 25, 2009

From Christmas Chaos to Silent Night

On November 11th, I was offered a new job at the University. This was good news, of course, but it also meant that the next three weeks were very busy at my old position, tying up loose ends and putting things in order. Then I started my new position, which involved two more weeks of frantic activity, getting everything organized for the new semester before breaking for the Christmas holidays on December 18th.

Two days before the holidays began, my little Nana became sick with chest congestion and a cough. For the past nine days, we’ve been tending to her as best we can. Meanwhile, Mom and I were also hurriedly getting pockets of Christmas shopping in, weathering the crowds in the stores, and worst of all, in the parking lots (shudder!!).

When I tried to take Nana to her Doctor’s appointment two days ago, my car broke down three blocks away from the Doctor’s office. Many Good Samaritans stopped to help us (which was truly heartwarming after my previous shopping/parking lot encounters). In the end, the car had to be towed to the garage and the Doctor’s appointment was cancelled. Fortunately, we were able to reschedule the appointment to yesterday, and, in the meantime, my car was fixed.

The Doctor prescribed an antibiotic for Nana, but it will probably take a while to kick in. While she’s much better during the day, her cough still acts up at night. Sometimes, it sounds very alarming.

Yesterday evening, Mom and I went to the Christmas Vigil Mass. I’d resolved beforehand not to set all my hopes on Christmas Mass being a very peaceful experience. That may sound cynical, but I didn’t want to set myself up for disappointment. Miraculously, only one child cried for about a minute during the homily, and this was at a children’s liturgy (meaning there could’ve been much more wailing)!

Also, Fr. X shared in his homily about how he had been in a bad mood for the past week because of various technological problems (I could relate), and how he’d almost missed out on the whole point of Christmas. It was comforting to hear him admit his humanity and weakness. I myself had already lost my temper a few times (sometimes in the worst way) during the holidays. My Mother and my Grandmother deserve better treatment than that…

After Communion, Father turned off the lights so that only the candles were lit, and the entire Congregation sang “Silent Night” acapella. Beautiful! Very peaceful… Mom and I went home to Nana, and we were able to give her Holy Communion because the Communion Minister had given us the pyx the previous weekend (we didn’t want her to come to the house and catch Nana’s cold). At Mass I was given an extra host to take home to Nana.

In the evening, Mom and Nana and I exchanged our presents, had some drinks, and listened to some music/sang some old songs.

Anyway, it has turned out to be a relatively peaceful Christmas after all, although Nana’s still not out of the woods with her cough. Last night her cough was very bad, but then she only started taking the antibiotic yesterday. Please pray that she will get better soon!

(Update: Nana is all better now - the antibiotics kicked in after 7 days. Thanks so much for all your prayers!)

Today is Christmas Day, and we’re relaxing. We’re also preparing for a guest – a friend from the States is coming to visit tomorrow and will be in town for a week. We’re planning to go to Quebec City for a couple of days, because she hasn’t been there yet. I feel bad to be away from Mom and Nana during that time, but I will stay in touch with Mom and hear how everything is going, especially with Nana.

Thank you, God, for bringing some peace to my little family during Christmastime!

Here’s a clip from my favourite Peanuts’ Christmas special:

Saturday, December 19, 2009


GoD and DoG by WJ Francisco

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pink Glove Dance

The employees at Providence St. Vincent Medical Centre in Portland, Oregon put together this little video to create awareness of breast cancer:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

God's Comforting Presence

Today, over my lunch hour, I went to Mass to pray for my Dad's soul (today is the third anniversary of his passing). It just so happened that today's readings were particularly comforting for those who might be thinking of loved ones who have passed on. It was one of those times when I could really sense God's comforting presence throughout the liturgy. At the end of Mass, I silently spoke to Dad, in my heart, and believed he was listening. As I walked back to my office afterwards, the sun was shining very, very brightly and I felt my spirits lifting way up!

Tomorrow I start a new position at the University. Thanks for your prayers, Dad!! :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Funny SNL Parody!

This has to be the funniest "translation" I've ever seen!
(Warning: Occasionally crude, but quite comical, IMHO...)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

New Beginnings

Today is the first day of a new liturgical year. Later this week I will be starting a new job at the University.
Thank you, God, for new beginnings! :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy American Thanksgiving!

"In all things give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you all."
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Political Correctness: An Accomplice Before and After the Fact

While the particulars surrounding the Fort Hood massacre quickly emerged, press reports continued to state that "investigators were searching for a motive". Oy vey!

Hmmm....... let's see - according to various reports:

- the killer shouted out "Allahu Akbar" before killing American soldiers;
- he was opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan;
- he was soon to be deployed to Afghanistan and did not want to go;
- he didn't like the idea of Moslems having to fight against other Moslems;
- he had publicly stated during a talk to other doctors at Walter Reed that non-Moslems were infidels who should be beheaded and have hot oil poured down their throats.

So...What was Major Nidal Malik Hasan's motive?? What could it possibly be???

Political correctness prevented fellow officers from filing a compaint against Hasan - result: 14 people dead (13 adults and one unborn baby). And now, many in the media continue to be politically correct in their reporting of this atrocity - predictable result: others will kill innocent people in the name of Islam, enabled by those who stick their heads in the sand.

Brideshead Restored!

Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus Providing for Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans Entering Into Full Communion With the Catholic Church

Sunday, November 8, 2009

An Autumn Evening

by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Dark hills against a hollow crocus sky
Scarfed with its crimson pennons, and below
The dome of sunset long, hushed valleys lie
Cradling the twilight, where the lone winds blow
And wake among the harps of leafless trees
Fantastic runes and mournful melodies.

The chilly purple air is threaded through
With silver from the rising moon afar,
And from a gulf of clear, unfathomed blue
In the southwest glimmers a great gold star
Above the darkening druid glens of fir
Where beckoning boughs and elfin voices stir.

And so I wander through the shadows still,
And look and listen with a rapt delight,
Pausing again and yet again at will
To drink the elusive beauty of the night,
Until my soul is filled, as some deep cup,
That with divine enchantment is brimmed up.

The photo "Bright Goodnight" is by Katmere on Flickr.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Rush is Not Racist!

You tell 'em, Juan, and you tell 'em, Zo!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Here's an interesting little bit about how a Canadian soldier's bear became the inspiration for a beloved children's storybook!

Friday, October 9, 2009

I know this is way, way late, but...

...since a fellow Canadian made this video about something that really happened to him, I want to host it on my site too!

And, yes, this one is quite late in being posted too (a wedding entrance at a Lutheran Church in Minnesota). Yes, I agree it would've been appropriate at the wedding reception and not at the ceremony itself, but I confess it still makes me smile:

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Profile in Courage

A documentary about my favourite priest is now available through Metanoia Pictures!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

She's Still Mayor!

Hazel McCallion became Mayor of Mississauga in 1978, two years after my family moved to that city, just west of Toronto. Guess what? Ms McCallion, now 88, is still Mayor of Mississauga, and has been Mayor for the last 31 years! Here's a fun clip about Her Honour from The Rick Mercer Report:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Catching Up

Just returned from a great week in NYC and Philly. Spent time catching up with friends and relaxing. Very nice! :)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Two Stories of Hope & Joy!

Please read The Anchoress's entry for August 29th. She's linked to two very wonderful and miraculous stories about hope found at the beginning and the end of earthly life. :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Remembering Michael...

Little MJ (with his brothers) singing "Who's Loving You?" on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1969.


I saw this animated film last Saturday - very nice!

Saturday, August 8, 2009


I saw this film last night with my favourite Professor. I liked it and I think I might see it again...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tewkesbury Road

One of my Mom's favourite poems:

IT is good to be out on the road, and going one knows not where,
Going through meadow and village,
one knows not whither or why;
Through the grey light drift of the dust,
in the keen cool rush of the air,
Under the flying white clouds,
and the broad blue lift of the sky.

And to halt at the chattering brook, in a tall green fern at the brink
Where the harebell grows, and the gorse,
and the foxgloves purple and white;
Where the shifty-eyed delicate deer
troop down to the brook to drink
When the stars are mellow and large at the coming on of the night.

O, to feel the beat of the rain, and the homely smell of the earth,
Is a tune for the blood to jig to, and joy past power of words;
And the blessed green comely meadows are all a-ripple with mirth
At the noise of the lambs at play and the dear wild cry of the birds.

by John Masefield

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Go Team Hoyt!

"The goal of Team Hoyt is to integrate the physically challenged into everyday life. One way to accomplish this is to educate the able-bodied, making them more aware of the issues that the disabled face every day. Another is by actively helping the disabled to participate in activities that would otherwise be inaccessible to them. Team Hoyt targets both of these areas." -- from the Team Hoyt website

Friday, July 24, 2009

The 13th Day

I just heard about this film today...

You can find out more about this movie here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I should've posted this three weeks ago...

...when many people were grumbling that MJ's death was getting more media coverage than the protests in Iran. Apparently several thoughtful souls had the good sense to put together YouTube videos depicting the protests in Iran, with MJ's music playing in the background - a good way of keeping the world's attention on Iran, even while paying tribute to Mr. Jackson.

In my opinion, this was a much more creative and productive response than just complaining yet again about the media and bashing the dead guy, which is unfortunately how some of my fellow conservatives reacted...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

More on The Shack

I finished reading The Shack by William Paul Young a couple of weeks ago, and after Mom read it too we had to return it to the library because there are currently many other folks on the waiting list. Unfortunately, this means I don't have the book in front of me right now, so I'll just have to go on memory.

I liked the story very much. One can look at it from both a literary and a theological perspective. I'll try not to give away too much of the story, but here's what I liked about it:

- God shows personal interest in an individual's suffering;
- The main character encounters God in the place that once caused him the most pain;
- The unique depiction of the Trinity (an example of Divine accommodation);
- The focus on forgiveness;
- The emphasis on living in a dynamic relationship with God;
- The reminder that those who have passed on and who are at peace with God are definitely in a better place, and are filled with joy.

There were some sections of dialogue between the main character and God which I'll admit I read over a little quickly because I found the exchanges to be a bit cumbersome. I remember thinking that I would probably have had the main character ask God different or additional questions to the ones that were asked - and I would probably have depicted God answering some of those questions in a different way or with a different emphasis. (But then, I wasn't the one who took the initiative to write such a creative story, and Mr. Young, as the author, is free to have his character ask God whichever questions he wants!)

I remember one paragraph raising a question-mark in my mind - it had to do with the hypostatic union and I remember thinking the paragraph should be re-worded. I've also read one article on the book in which a Catholic reader felt that God sounded too much like Luther in a discussion on the relationship between grace and good works. My impression was that the author of The Shack wanted to convey that being in relationship with God was the most important thing - that good works naturally (or supernaturally) follow from that, but that the primary thing was to be in communion with God.

I don't have the energy at present to write a treatise addressing all the theological points raised in the book - besides, that would require me to have a copy of the book in front of me, which I don't. I will say that in my ideal world, Mr. Young's manuscript would have somehow passed through the hands of one or two of my Catholic editor friends before the book finally went to print... :) But since that didn't happen, I'll just address the book as it currently is and say, "Thank you, William Paul Young, for writing a unique and moving story which helps people to see the extent of God's love for the individual, as well as the importance of forgiveness."

Read more about William Paul Young here and here.

The Power of Your Love

The choir sang this today during Mass. They sounded lovely...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Rush on Sarah's Resignation - "It's All Speculation"

Brian Maloney, the Radio Equalizer, caught up with Rush to get his thoughts on Sarah Palin's decision to step down as Governor of Alaska.

(h/t: Kathy Shaidle)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

And to my American friends...

Happy 4th of July!
I found this cute image at

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

And before I forget...

... Happy Canada Day!

The Shack, Michael Jackson, and other things

We finally got a copy of The Shack (by William Paul Young) from our local library! I've started reading it, and will write more about it later.

I haven't had any energy for blogging lately, even though there's so much I could've written about: the Sri Lankan protests in Toronto, the protests in Iran, the murder of poor Neda, various celebrities passing on...

Right now, I'm trying to be proactive in fighting against headaches, insomnia, and my tendency towards depression, by doing the following:

- daily exercise
- eating healthy food
- taking vitamin supplements
- going to bed earlier during the week
- cutting down on caffeine
- improving my spiritual life

I'm also grateful to good ol' Rush Limbaugh for smacking down those who claim to have absolute knowledge that Michael Jackson did bad things to children: Please read this and this.

For me, Michael peaked with his Off the Wall album, released in 1979. I also saw him and his brothers in concert in Toronto, in 1981 (I think). As someone who grew up listening to a lot of pop music, I really enjoyed Michael Jackson's musical talent in my earlier years. Jackson music was often playing in the background during fun times I had growing up. I could've done without the crotch-grabbing that he incorporated into his dancing in later years, and I felt sad about his excessive plastic surgeries - I often wondered if anyone close to him ever tried to say to him, "Hey Michael, this is a bad idea - don't do this!"

The news of his death was a shock - I took a while to write anything about it on my blog, because I was embarrassed to admit just how much pop music and pop culture had been part of my earlier life, but the truth is I am sad about Michael Jackson's death, and in many ways, I'm also sad about his life. Michael's passing also made me feel nostalgic about years gone by.

For the last few days, a number of folks have been upset that MJ's death is being given more news coverage than other important events. Others have even referred to MJ as "a pedophile" and "a sick predator". I was disappointed to see that some of the folks using these terms were conservatives. Then, I read what Rush had to say (see earlier links a few paragraphs up) and my faith was restored - the King of Conservatives did not let me down!

I pray Michael's soul is now singing and dancing in God's mercy and peace.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Farrah Fawcett Received Last Rites

A Catholic priest was summoned to administer the Last Rites to Farrah Fawcett before she passed away.

May her soul rest in peace...

Goodbye, Michael...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Lord Jesus, let my heart never rest until it finds You, who are its center, its love, and its happiness. By the wound in Your heart, pardon the sins that I have committed whether out of malice or out of evil desires. Place my weak heart in Your own divine Heart, continually under Your protection and guidance, so that I may persevere in doing good and in fleeing evil until my last breath. Amen.
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Favourite Atheist

This evening I heard Camille Paglia speak at the Royal Ontario Museum. The Dead Sea Scrolls will soon be on display at the ROM, and Camille's talk was the final segment of a three part Signature Series, a preamble to the Scrolls display. Her topic was "Hollywood and the Bible".

I like Camille Paglia because, although she's a social commentator who frequently discusses politics, she's more interested in Truth than she is in politics. Although she's an atheist, she sincerely respects those who believe in God, and she sees how vitally important religion is to society and culture. Although she has sometimes described herself as "openly lesbian", she respects the beliefs and freedom of those with same-sex attraction who choose not to build an identity around homosexuality.

Camille shared that her Italian-Catholic upbringing is deeply ingrained in her psyche. It comes through in many ways, and I enjoyed her passionate story-telling this evening and her enthusiasm about her topic. I especially enjoyed the selected clips from The Ten Commandments, along with her commentary. Some elements of her talk even seemed prophetic to me.

There's so much more I could say, but it's getting late and I have work tomorrow. Anyway, I'm grateful for an interesting evening - thank you, Camille, and thank you, God! :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Solemnity of Corpus Christi

“Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day.”
(John 6:53-54)

Saturday, June 13, 2009


A short animated film by Sheldon Cohen, 2004 - National Film Board of Canada

Camille is coming to town!

Camille Paglia will be speaking at the Royal Ontario Museum this Tuesday, June 16th, at 7:00 p.m. Her topic: Hollywood and the Bible.

I've bought my ticket! :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Scarborough Campus Revisited

I visited Scarborough Campus this past Sunday. There were a number of alumni at this reunion event, which included a barbecue, music, speeches, friendly people, games for kids, student-led tours and various University of Toronto memorabilia. It's not something I would normally be interested in, because I only knew a few people well when I was in University and I didn't think any of them would be attending this event; however, S. wanted to go, and I was a little curious to see the old campus. So off I went on Sunday afternoon. It turned out that S. and K. and their kids were indeed the only faces I recognized...

It was interesting to see what was the same, to see what had changed, and to remember old times. I always loved the valleys and trees that surrounded the campus - those are still there in abundance.

There have been a lot of additions, and some renovations. The library looks great - it's been reconstructed and it has a completely different layout now, with lots of computers. There's also a new Arts & Administration building right where the drive to the front of the buildings used to be. An extension has been added to the end of the Science wing, the Leigha Lee Browne theatre has been completely renovated, and the portables at the end of the Science wing have been removed. Instead, they've put a few portables right smack in the middle of the stretch of grass between the S-wing and the north residences. I'm glad that's a temporary measure because that area looks too crowded now. There's a new Management building south of the Humanities wing. It looks quite nice.

There are also a LOT more places to eat on campus now!

We walked floor by floor through the Humanities wing and remembered the offices and classrooms where our favourite Professors and courses used to be. The only nameplate I recognized from years gone by was Garry Leonard - I took his American Lit classes many years ago.

S. and I talked about Professor Jim Howard, one of our favourites, who passed away in 2007. We would like the University to honour his memory in some way. I have to think about that...

It would've been nice to see some of our other classmates from our English program there, but at least we're still in touch with some of them. There'll be other opportunities for us all to get together again.
(The photo above is from the University of Toronto Career Centre site.)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Happy Birthday, Church! :)

One the eve of Pentecost Sunday, after attending the Vigil Mass, heavy grey clouds suddenly accumulated in the sky, strong winds started to blow, and rain began to fall. What had been a mostly sunny day was rapidly changing into a dark and very wet evening. The sky was so ominous, it looked like it might rain for hours - but then, just fifteen minutes later, it stopped! The sun broke through the far end of the clouds, and we had a beautiful view of a double rainbow!

Trust the Holy Spirit to arrange something dramatic and beautiful like that on the Church's birthday! :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Msgr. William Kerr, 1940 - 2009, RIP

Read Damian Thompson's article on Msgr. Kerr here (h/t Kathy Shaidle). Interesting account of how the Rosary protected one of Ted Bundy's intended victims from attack. Bundy also sought out Fr. Kerr for counselling before his execution.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Just Because...

"Dream a Little Dream of Me" by Mama Cass with the Mamas and the Papas

Archbishop Chaput on Notre Dame & President Obama

Archbishop Charles Chaput has written this statement about Fr. John Jenkin's invitation of President Obama to give the commencement address at Notre Dame's graduation ceremony this past Sunday. Archbishop Chaput also addresses Fr. Jenkin's introductory remarks, as well as Notre Dame's conferral of an honourary law degree on the President.

Here's a video link to President Obama's commencement address.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I've started writing a book about heaven. I hope that, unlike earlier writing projects, I will stick with this and come up with something publishable.

Monday, May 11, 2009

It's Official!

Seraphic Single and Benedict Ambrose have tied the knot! We wish the newly married couple much joy and happiness!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Saturday Update

My blogging seems to be less and less frequent these days. Work has been very busy lately because of an event we're holding next Friday; consequently, I've been avoiding getting on the computer any more than I have to, since I spend most of my work time in front of a computer screen.

I also worked late almost every evening this week because I took Friday off to attend my friend's Mom's funeral. It was a beautiful funeral Mass for a lovely lady. I can still remember the first time I met her, in the sixth grade when my friend invited me over after school. Mrs. D. was very joyful and funny!

Today I look seriously bug-eyed. The unfortunate combination of allergies, a sleepless night, too much time on the computer, and weepiness from yesterday's funeral have resulted in a rather raccoon-like appearance. I must go douse my eyes in cold water.

Later this morning, I'm off to an art show at Todmorden Mills. My favourite Professor is part of the Don Valley Art Club and has invited me to attend this event as her guest. I'm looking forward to it!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Nell Husbands Martin Coulter, RIP

Read Ann's touching tribute to her Mom, who passed away last Tuesday.

The Wedding - Julie Rogers

This evening, I was driving my Mom somewhere when the following song played on the radio. This was a song my parents both enjoyed. Seems like a good time to post it here, since a few of my acquaintances currently have marriage on the horizon!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Ashes to Ashes...

Today, on this bright, sunny Saturday of the Easter Octave, one day before Mercy Sunday, I accompanied my Mom to the funeral parlour because she wanted to finalize plans for her cremation. Happily, Mom is in good health and doesn't appear to be in need of cremating anytime soon - she just wanted to make sure all the plans were already in place so that I wouldn't have to worry about things "when her time comes". While I sincerely appreciate Mom being so organized, I was dreading making this trip with her.

Both my Father and my Mother opted for immediate cremation, for reasons of economy and simplicity. When my Father died, we were given permission to have a private funeral Mass at home. The urn containing my Dad's cremated remains was present. A dear Priest-friend who had heard my Father's final confession, given him Holy Communion and anointed him, also said the funeral Mass. The only people present, besides the Priest and my Father, were my Mom, my Nana, three close family friends, and me. Although Dad knew a lot of people, he had specifically requested a small funeral, and it was special in its own way.

Later the urn was placed in a niche in a mausoleum. The cemetery is not specifically Catholic, and it occurred to me today that the niche was never blessed. When my Priest-friend visits this summer, we're going to ask him to bless the niche which contains: my Father's urn, a rosary, a memorial nameplate, a photograph of Dad, his watch, and a little teddy-bear which I gave him when he was in the Hospital.

When Mom passes, she wants her urn to be placed with my Father's, in the same niche.

I suppose it's just as well that the task of making these arrangements took place during the Easter Octave. Rather than get depressed over the contemplation of one day being separated from another parent by death, I'm focusing instead on the Resurrection! :)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hallelujah! He is Risen!

I found this in my e-mail this morning and wanted to share it on here - Thanks D.D.! :)

RESURRECTION HOMILY - Saint John Chrysostom

LET ALL PIOUS MEN and all lovers of God rejoice in the splendor of this feast;
let the wise servants blissfully enter into the joy of their Lord;
let those who have borne the burden of Lent now receive their pay,
and those who have toiled since the first hour, let them now receive their due reward;
let any who came after the third hour be grateful to join in the feast,
and those who may have come after the sixth, let them not be afraid of being too late,
for the Lord is gracious and He receives the last even as the first.
He gives rest to him who comes on the eleventh hour as well as to him who has toiled since the first; yes,
He has pity on the last and He serves the first;
He rewards the one and is generous to the other;
He repays the deed and praises the effort.
Come you all: enter into the joy of your Lord.
You the first and you the last, receive alike your reward;
you rich and you poor, dance together; you sober and you weaklings, celebrate the day;
you who have kept the fast and you who have not, rejoice today.
The table is richly loaded: enjoy its royal banquet.
The calf is a fatted one: let no one go away hungry.
All of you enjoy the banquet of faith; all of you receive the riches of his goodness.
Let no one grieve over his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed;
let no one weep over his sins, for pardon has shone from the grave;
let no one fear death, for the death of our Savior has set us free:
He has destroyed it by enduring it,
He has despoiled Hades by going down into its kingdom,
He has angered it by allowing it to taste of his flesh.
When Isaiah foresaw all this, he cried out: "O Hades, you have been angered by encountering Him in the nether world."
Hades is angered because frustrated, it is angered because it has been mocked, it is angered because it has been destroyed, it is angered because it has been reduced to naught, it is angered because it is now captive.
It seized a body, and, lo! it discovered God; it seized earth, and, behold! it encountered heaven; it seized the visible, and was overcome by the invisible. O death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?
Christ is risen and you are abolished,
Christ is risen and the demons are cast down,
Christ is risen and the angels rejoice,
Christ is risen and life is freed,
Christ is risen and the tomb is emptied of the dead:
for Christ, being risen from the dead, has become the Leader and Reviver of those who had fallen asleep. To Him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Good Reading

I recently re-read "To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee - now that was time well spent! :) I haven't seen the movie in a while, but I've put a hold request on it at my local library. Hope it comes in soon!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Palm Sunday Praise

Cece Winans singing "King of Kings" (music starts around 1:52):

Wishing everyone a prayerful and transformational Holy Week, united to the heart of Christ!

John Paul II Remembered

Carole Brown wrote a touching tribute to John Paul II on his death anniversary last week.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Prayers, Please

To whomever comes across this blog, I have a prayer request: There's a project I'm trying to get finished at work - I'd like to complete it by the end of this week and I'd like to do it well. I'd be grateful for any prayers you can send my way, to that end!

I'm happy because I completed both my US and Canadian taxes this weekend - it didn't make for a very fun weekend, but at least they're done! :)

I also had a generous friend treat me to dinner on Saturday evening. We went to a restaurant called Mt. Everest on Bloor Street. It was quite good!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Another Spoiler Alert

You may not want to read this if you haven't read Graham Greene's The Heart of the Matter, but plan to.

All I'm going to say about it is, it probably wasn't the ideal thing for me to read right after feeling depressed over Tess of the D'Urbervilles... Two sad stories in a row is a bit much for me.

I do like how Greene interweaves Catholicism into the daily experience of his characters, especially in the grittier aspects of their lives. I remember liking that about The End of the Affair too.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

This & That

Not much to report - just spending my evenings completing my Canadian and U.S. taxes - sigh...

Also reading "The Heart of the Matter" by Graham Greene.

On Sunday, April 5th, I'm planning to take Mom to see "Arsenic and Old Lace" at Theatre Etobicoke. A friend of mine is acting in it. That should be fun. :)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Christopher Leadership Course

This week, I completed my Christopher Leadership Course in Effective Speaking. I have to say I really enjoyed that class! We had very good instructors, and a LOT of fun. I also had a great bunch of classmates.

I wouldn't say that I'm now perfectly qualified to be a public speaker, but I think I've been taught some basic skills - and I've been given several opportunities to put these skills into practice and build some confidence.

I do recommend this course to anyone who's either trying to overcome a fear of public speaking or even those who just want to fine-tune their speaking skills.

There is a second level to the course which starts in about three weeks, and I've put my name on the waiting list....

Friday, March 13, 2009

Depressed by Tess

Warning: I'm about to write about "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" - if you haven't read it and plan to, don't read this post, in case I give away something that's crucial to the story.

I'll refrain from writing an essay about this book right here and now on my blog, because this wouldn't be the place for it - but I do feel moved to write an essay on this very sad story. Maybe I will do so privately. I finished reading the book last night and I woke up feeling depressed. If I was to write an essay on this book, the topic would be something like "The Treatment of Mercy and the Divine in 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles' ".

What stood out most for me in this novel was Angel Clare's unforgiveness of Tess. He couldn't forgive Tess for the same sins that he had committed - and in Tess's case, she was sinned against, not sinning. Even when he finally forgives her, he still doesn't seem to realize that he had done the very acts that he had despised her for doing.

What a sad, sad life.

I felt pity for each of the characters at different times - even Alec Stoke-d'Urberville...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

St. Stephen, Pray for Us!

Sometimes you open up your mouth and just let the words come out.

Today, at my public speaking class, we had to give an impromptu talk. We were each given a topic and had only five minutes to prepare for it. I asked St. Stephen to intercede for me since he seemed particularly good at giving impromptu speeches - Ok, so St. Stephen was killed after he gave his powerful speech, but that was because he had the courage to speak the truth so boldly!

Unlike St. Stephen, no one tried to kill me, and I did not experience a theophany while speaking; however, I did find myself speaking pretty openly and I had plenty of experiences to draw upon - my topic was "trying to fit in at school." Actually, I found myself digging into some painful places from many years gone by to give my little two minute presentation, but I think I managed to present my topic both honestly and positively.

I'm really grateful to the instructors of this class for providing a course like this, and I'm also grateful to my very encouraging and supportive classmates. I must be sure to thank each one of them personally before this course ends!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

More from Zo!

Here's Zo, still on a high from CPAC! :)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

This & That

All is relatively well in my little corner of the world. Nana had a sore throat, but we cured it with some Strepcils. Yesterday, Mom got together with some old friends she used to work with, and they had a good time catching up. It's nice that Mom's starting to get out a bit more often!

Last night I met my favourite professor at the Al Green theater and we saw a couple of short films at the "Reel Artists Film Festival". I won't comment on the particular films we saw because they didn't really move me, but it's always nice spending time with Prof V. The pre- and post-film conversation was good! :)

This past week, I received the "Most Improved Speaker" award at my public speaking class. I was very grateful for the encouragement! I still have a tendency to wring my hands together when I speak, instead of keeping them at my side and only using them for gesturing. Anyway, we still have two more classes to go, and then the graduation dinner/ceremony.

Humble admission: I've decided not to do a low-carb diet for Lent. I did it for six days (starting on the Monday before Ash Wednesday) and I did lose three pounds; however, I was already in the acceptable weight range for my height even before I started doing it. I think what I'm more in need of is exercise, so my new commitment is to exercise three times a week, either by walking or going down to the fitness room in our building. I'm now thinking of this as more of a personal improvement commitment than a specific Lenten commitment.

A kind priest recently told me that according to St. Francis De Sales, the best Lenten sacrifice is to embrace more fully the crosses we've already been given...

In other news, the Conservative Political Action Convention (American) was held from Thursday through Saturday in Washington, D.C. It sounds like the participants had a great time - how could they not? Any event that brings together Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, and Zo - that has to be a good time! :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Playground In My Mind - Clint Holmes

I remember this song was popular when we first moved to Canada (lyrics below video). One of those sunshiny, happy songs from the early seventies...

When this old world gets me down
And there's no love to be found
I close my eyes and soon I find
I'm in a playground in my mind
Where the children laugh and the children play
And we sing a song all day

"My name is Michael, I got a nickel
I got a nickel, shiny and new
I'm gonna buy me all kinds of candy
That's what I'm gonna do"

Oh the wonders that I find
In the playground in my mind
In a world that used to be
Close your eyes and follow me
Where the children laugh and the children play
And we sing a song all day

"My girl is Cindy
When we get married, we're gonna have a baby or two
We're gonna let them visit their grandma
That's what we're gonna do"

"My name is Cindy
When we get married, were gonna have a baby or two
We're gonna let them vist their grandma
That's what we're gonna do"

See the little children
Living in a world that I left behind
Happy little children
In the playground in my mind

See the little children
See how they're playing so happy
In the playground in my mind

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The View from My Window

Today the snow started coming down in the early afternoon. Here's what I saw from my balcony a few hours ago. It's another one of those days when I love being indoors where it's warm and cozy. We found some lobster tails on sale earlier today, and I'm about to have a delicious dinner, thanks to Mom's excellent culinary skills!

I'm planning to give up carbs, caffeine and alcohol for Lent. Accordingly, I've stocked up on veggies, meat, cheese, strawberries - those kinds of things.

Yes, my motives are mixed because I am hoping to lose a few pounds, and I'm hoping the discipline encouraged by the Lenten season will help me to do it. I'm also hoping to save some money by not eating out during Lent. But believe me, giving up sweets, bread, rice, coffee, and good red wine will indeed be a sacrifice! I truly enjoy all of these things.

I'll have to make a heroic effort to be more charitable since sugar-withdrawal usually tends to make me less charitable towards everyone in a ten-mile radius. My previous experience of low carb diets is that the first few days are usually the hardest - for me and for everyone else around me - until my system adjusts to the lack of sugar.

As a wise priest friend once advised, "If your Lenten sacrifice is turning into a penance for everyone else, you may want to re-think your sacrifice." Hmmm, I'll have to really watch myself...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

"Love is free; it is not practised as a way of achieving other ends. But this does not mean that charitable activity must somehow leave God and Christ aside. For it is always concerned with the whole man....... A Christian knows when it is time to speak of God and when it is better to say nothing and to let love alone speak. He knows that God is love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8) and that God's presence is felt at the very time when the only thing we do is love."

from Deus Caritas Est, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Luther Vandross - Never Too Much

And while I'm posting oldies, here's another... Luther's voice is golden! :)

Bebe and Cece Winans - Meantime

Wow - I can't believe this song is over 20 years old now!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Free-Speech Groupie!

Today, I was an unashamed, full-fledged groupie! I went to the Ontario Legislative Building to hear Mark Steyn present at the agency review of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. This building is right across the street from my workplace, and I was thrilled that I could attend so easily!

Having gotten there just in time for Mr. Steyn's presentation and having secured a seat right across the aisle from him, I seized the moment and went over and shook his hand, quickly introducing myself as a fan, then immediately seated myself and waited for the proceedings to begin.

I also recognized Kathy Shaidle (Five Feet of Fury) sitting two rows in front of me. I was very excited, to say the least.

First Mr. Steyn spoke briefly (I started to clap when he finished, but quickly realized that wasn't part of the "protocol"). Then he answered the Standing Committee's questions. He was great - I almost laughed out loud a couple of times over his witty responses. Update: Please read the whole transcript here.

When Mr. Steyn was finished and left the room, it seemed like nearly half of those present left the room too, because he was the main reason they'd come. What an inspiration! He was confident, eloquent, and funny - obviously speaking from the strength of his convictions.

Continuing in "groupie" mode, I went over and introduced myself to Kathy Shaidle, and was also very pleased to meet Denyse O'Leary, as well as RightGirl! I then did the ultimate "groupie" thing and asked them if I could please take their photo and they very kindly obliged (Here they are from left to right: RightGirl, Kathy Shaidle, Denyse O'Leary). I also took a photo of Mr. Steyn being video-taped by RightGirl (see above).

That had to be the most exciting lunch hour I've ever had! I was lamenting the fact that I had to return to work after finally meeting some of my free-speech and blogging heroes. I overheard some talk about them possibly going somewhere for a drink, since "it's five o'clock somewhere", but I don't know if anything came of it, since I had to go back to work. If I hadn't to return to my job, I would most certainly and pathetically have tried to tag along.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Mark Steyn in Toronto tomorrow!

Mark Steyn will be appearing before the Ontario Legislature's Standing Committee on Government Agencies tomorrow. Read about it here.

This is taking place across the street from where I work! Mark speaks at 1:30 p.m. I'm going to see if I can take my lunch hour from 1:15 to 2:15 tomorrow...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Mr. Michael Dubruiel, RIP

Here's a link to the last column written by Mr. Michael Dubruiel, husband of Amy Welborn. Mr. Dubruiel died suddenly on Tuesday morning, February 3rd - may his soul rest in peace and may his family find comfort and consolation.

Please read the whole article. Mr. Dubruiel had just finished writing it on Monday night, the night before his unexpected passing. It's a timely message on trusting, even when tragedy strikes.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

In case you missed these... are a couple of great articles from "Big Hollywood":

"Why We Fight" by Andrew Klavan (h/t: Ann Coulter)

"Flashpoint! A Woman's Right to Choose" by Gary Graham (h/t: Barbara Nicolosi)


Since NBC refused to air this ad during today's Superbowl, I hope every pro-life blogger does their part and promotes this video in some way:

Saturday, January 31, 2009


I've FINALLY finished my freelance assignment! A courier will pick up a hard copy of my work next week and my spreadsheet will be e-mailed to my supervisor, probably on Monday. I'm so relieved that it's over. Now I can properly concentrate on my day job.

Here in North York, more snow has been quietly falling this afternoon. This evening I'm meeting a friend for dinner at a nearby Indian restaurant. There are a lot of things on my to-do list, including phone calls I want to make to some long-neglected friends.

It will be nice to rest a little and catch up! :)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

"And so it begins..."

I know that phrase is no longer novel to those of us who've seen The Lord of the Rings a few dozen times, but sometimes it's most appropriate...

President Obama signs legislation to fund abortions overseas with taxpayers' money.

The Federal Drug Administration approves the first human trials of embryonic stem cells.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

36th Annual March for Life

Tomorrow, the Annual March for Life will be held in Washington, D.C. My thoughts and prayers will be with all those who are marching to proclaim and protect the personhood and life of the unborn baby.

This might be a good time to look back at a 2002 article by Gregory Koukl.

This image is from the Illinois Right to Life Committee website.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Words Matter

Here's a link to the full text of Obama's inauguration speech. Much of it is well-written. Some phrases jumped out at me while I was listening to it on streaming video today during my lunch hour:Add Image

"The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness."

"We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you."

Meanwhile, the news reports that as one of his first presidential acts, Barack Obama is planning to lift a ban on federal money going to international family planning groups that support and provide abortions. He is also considering lifting restrictions on embryonic stem cell research.

Please pray that President Obama will take the words of his own inauguration speech to heart and apply them to the unborn. For the good of the United States and of the world, I pray that he will be a good President.

Again, Thank You President Bush!

The Anchoress bids farewell to President Bush.

I found this photo on Kathy Shaidle's site.

Thank you, President Bush, for remaining gracious and committed to the objective good even when so many people were demonizing you and mocking you. May God bless and protect you and your family.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Well, it's been a busy week. My freelance assignment is nearly complete. I think I should be able to submit everything by sometime next week (yay!). My day job has also been busy - I feel like I have much to learn, but I think I'm making progress.

Since I didn't blog yesterday, I first want to say Thank you, President Bush, for keeping America safe since 9-11, and for nominating John Roberts and Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court. I admire President Bush for putting principles before popularity, and I pray he will soon enter the Catholic Church, just like his brother did.

Secondly, Welcome to Toronto, Father John Harvey! My favourite priest on the planet is in town until Tuesday. He has a busy itinerary, speaking to various groups of people, including youth and seminarians. But we (my Mom and Nana and myself) are spoiled - we have him all to ourselves on Saturday evening and Sunday! We will, however, share him with a fun Catholic writer on Sunday evening. :)

Finally, I started a course on Thursday evening, to help me manage my fear of speaking before others. It's called the Christopher Leadership Course, and it looks like it's going to be quite enjoyable - the first session was very encouraging. Will write more about it, as the course progresses!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Just because...

Dusty Springfield singing "I Only Wanna Be With You"

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Getting There

I haven't had much time or energy for blogging this week. After working each day, I continue to spend my evenings and part of my weekends completing my freelance assignment - can you hear the violins playing? Please pray that I will be able to finish that assignment soon - I start to get a little testy when I don't get enough down-time from working. I do remain grateful for employment though! :)

A lot has happened this week, and since I still don't have energy to write about it, I'll link to other folk's articles:

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus passed away, may his soul rest in peace. An article Fr. Neuhaus wrote and published in 2000 entitled "Born Towards Dying" is worth reading.

Anti-Israel rallies are held in Toronto. I wish I'd gone to support the counter-protest. Dawn Eden also has a thought-provoking post on the topic.

On a much, much lighter note, The Anchoress posts an amusing piece about the show "Hollywood Squares" (which dates those of us who remember it). :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

For the record...

...I LOVE Ann Coulter!

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Today, Father spoke of the wisdom, humility, generosity, and perseverance of the Three Kings who came from far off bearing gifts for the Christ child. He encouraged us to show our love for Christ, by bringing our own gifts forward in service to others, especially in our parish.

I'm thinking of ways in which I can participate more fully in the life of my parish, beyond just attending Sunday Mass...

At home, we mark Epiphany with the all important arrival of the 3 statues of the Wise Men at the manger scene. Throughout Advent & Christmas, we usually move them closer and closer - this year I forgot to do that, and today the Three Wise Men took a giant leap from the far end of the table to the heart of the manger!

Friday, January 2, 2009

It's that time of the year...

...when I suck it up and publicly proclaim my New Year's resolutions. I figure that declaring my commitments where anyone in the world can read them will prompt me to actually follow through on my word!

Last year, I achieved two of my previous three New Year's goals: I paid off my credit card and I completed my Master's (thank God!). I did not however consistently stick to any kind of diet and exercise plan, except for occasional bouts of low-carbing it. Fortunately, Mom says I don't presently look overweight and Mom is quite honest with me about such things - she once told me that I'd gone from looking as anorexic as Karen Carpenter to looking like I'd swallowed Karen Carpenter, may her [Karen's] soul rest in peace...

At any rate, here are my resolutions for 2009:
- to take good care of my Mom and Nana
- to save a particular amount of money (Mom knows the actual amount I'm aiming for)
- to get rid of as much clutter as possible
- to take a course in public speaking

I also have some spiritual goals, but I'll keep those between me and God for now. I'll probably be writing about them from time to time throughout the year...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy Feast Day of Mary Mother of God!

This is the interior of Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral (Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde) in Montreal. It's the Cathedral Church of the Archdiocese of Montreal and it's the third largest Church in Quebec.

It was just a block away from our hotel.

Happy New Year!

I know the following video clip has been on the internet for a while, but I just saw it again recently as a link on Ann Coulter's site, and I thought it would be a nice way to start off the New Year.

Steve Harvey (Comedian) introduces Jesus Christ: