Thursday, September 30, 2010

30 Days of Blogging - Day 30 - A Dream for the Future

Well this is kind of like the last one but more generally and big-picture ...

I hope to stay on the path we're on now. Would there be some things I'd like to change? Yes. There are some relationships I'd like to step back from in my world right now, and others I'd like to repair. There are times of great busy-ness and stress, and times of ennui/boredom. There are times I wish we could travel more, have a nicer car, live in a bigger house, like almost everyone.

But then I remember - where a year ago we had one child, we now have two. Where three years ago we were renting an apartment, we now own our own home, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a basement, a yard. Where a matter of months ago I had no real job, I now have three. Three very different jobs, all of which both challenge and thrill me to no end. I do have a great family, wonderful friends, and all those things in the first paragraph? We're working towards most of them, and those we aren't working towards are really small things that we can more than get by without.

We are currently living a version of, and moving steadily closer to the complete version of, the life I always wanted. A husband, a home, a job I love, healthy children, and the ability to do fun and adventurous things on a fairly regular basis. While I might ask for more of the same, or for the same to be a bit smoother and easier - I really wouldn't change a thing at its core. XO

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

30 Days of Blogging - Day 29 - Hopes Dreams and Plans for the Next 365

  1. First and foremost is to maintain the positive aspects of our status quo here, which is for the most part wonderful. We have a happy, healthy little family in which I am a wife and mother, we have a lovely extended network of family and friends, and I just hope for those wonderful relationships to be maintained; everyone to be in good health, happiness, etc. I know that can't be perfectly possible all of the time, but we can try our damnedest. Especially when it comes to my two little boys, who are so happy and content and I intend to keep them that way.
  2. On a similar note, finalize Little J's adoption.
  3. Get my full driver's license (in Ontario we have graduated licensing; I have my second stage license of 3; I'm good enough at this point to go for my full license I just haven't bothered because we've been busy, and it doesn't afford me that many new privileges; but it's getting to be about time, if this license expires I need to re-test to keep it, and I've already done that once so I might as well take that test to get my full license and not worry about it again until I'm 80).
  4. Get a teaching contract that meshes well and allows me to keep my job as youth pastor at my church, as right now I'm enjoying both callings immensely.
  5. Travel next summer; we agreed after Walt Disney World that even if it's just a few days to somewhere inexpensive (local camping or whatever), we need to take the time to do at least a little something vacationy each year. We're hoping/dreaming this year for either the Jersey Shore where I used to vacation all the time as a little girl, or Prince Edward Island, where I've never been. Both incredibly kid friendly, with beautiful beaches and comfy accomodations.
  6. Do some of our more urgent home improvements - we have an ancient stove and dryer I'd like to replace, we have some paint that's chipped since we've moved in that I want retouched, our powder room sink is all rusted, etc. Our garden has also gone to weed again and I'd like to fix that.
  7. Sign up for SOMETHING as a family - whether it's art classes with Ari, swimming lessons with Little Tyke, or whatever, I want to get some more structured activities into our days which so often degenerate into 'where do the kids play today, the living room or the park out back?'. That's fine for now and no one's complaining, but I think the opportunity to meet other kids and to get out of our little zone would be good for everyone.
  8. Be consistent in my plan for weightloss, and actually, y'know, lose weight.
  9. On a related note - it is my goal by next spring to run a 5K race. I don't care how fast my time is or how long it takes me, I just want to be able to say I can run 5km.
  10. Actually complete a writing project that is longer/more involved than a blog entry. :)

30 Days of Blogging - Day 28 - What's Inside My Purse

My purse right now is ridiculous and really should be labelled 'what's inside my purseS' because I have a 'Mommy's working out of the house' today purse, and a 'Mommy's not working today' purse. My 'Mommy's working today' purse includes a bunch of church related materials, my day planner, makeup, a hairbrush and some backup 'oh crap the person I'm replacing didn't leave me enough to do' substitute teacher activities.

My 'Mommy isn't working today' purse also includes a hairbrush, diapers, toys, non-perishable snacks (think goldfish), makeup, diaper wipes, hand sanitizer, vaseline, and a bunch of random paper (receipts, junk mail) that I toss in there and haven't gone through.

My wallet and whatever book I'm reading for the day go back and forth between my purses as needed.

30 Days of Blogging - Day 27 - My Worst Habit

Eating. Without a doubt it is eating. I have a sweets and fast food weakness, and am currently overweight to a very unfortunate degree. I am beginning to work on this in various ways that I would rather keep personal at the time being, but it is easily the scourge of my life.

Other than that it's your run of the mill bad habit stuff; don't always put everything away/clean as I go; I'm a procrastinator; I can run late. But 'worst habit'? Food, by a mile.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

30 Days of Blogging - Day 26 - My Week In Great Detail

I'll recount in as much detail as I have in my head ... hmmm.

Monday I don't remember at all. A bunch of housework, marking, church-related stuff, general puttering.

Tuesday I went to the library in the morning to actually do some marking (when I say I 'marked' Monday I really meant I sat at my computer with some schoolwork open while tending to babies and other stuff - I have learned this week I need to leave the house to do work). In the afternoon myself and the men went stroller shopping unsuccessfully. Had dinner out en famille, came home, watched some West Wing, went to bed.

Wednesday Little Tyke had a speech therapy appointment and I had a staff meeting at church. We successfully bought a double stroller and ran some errands in the evening before going home.

Thursday Little J and I hung out at home while Ari and LT went for a run - we went out to the movies (Despicable Me) in the afternoon, and finished up The West Wing in the evening. I also began painting (well really, colouring using paints - it's already drawn) a picture to hang in LT's new 'big boy' room.

Friday I substitute taught for the day, before coming home to spend the evening with my boys; we were going to go to the park but it was a bit damp and chilly so we played inside. Saturday was lazy and other than running a few errands and taking Little Tyke for a walk, reading a book and starting 'One Fine Day', it was pretty quiet family time.

Today is described pretty well in my last post. :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

30 Days of Blogging - Day 24 - Where I Live

I'm not going to post a photo of my house here - just call me paranoid, I know that's probably silly - but suffice to say this: I live in a modest but comfy 3 bedroom townhouse in the South end of Ottawa. :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

30 Days of Blogging - Day 23 - A Youtube Video

I'm going to put two up as I've been on a bit of a kick again of how cool Sesame Street is! Something for everyone adults included. Video 1 is their parody of True Blood (for reals - True Mud). Video number two is Katy Perry's appearance with Elmo, which unfortunately won't make the actual show due to her outfit being too revealing for some. Sigh. Nonetheless - really cute and I've enjoyed these videos the last couple of days. :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

30 Days of Blogging - Day 22 - A Website

I'm going to put a few here I use daily. (must I explain this one? really?) (yes, because I am a celeb gossip fiend) (ditto, re. pro wrestling) (for me, because I'm a political junkie - not so much one? At least check out Dear Prudence, which is by far my favourite advice column ever in history) (straight up news, with a slap on the wrist to me for not using a Canadian news site)

30 Days of Blogging - Day 21 - A Recipe

I'm going to go with an easy and an old favourite from the Kraft kitchen - I have other/better recipes both in terms of taste, health and all kinds of things - but this is a great one for busy families on the go and my brother and I always enjoyed it as kids.

Kraft Dinner Lasagna recipe - CLICK HERE

NOTE: This recipe recommends white cheddar KD; but you can use original just as well. That's what we used 'back in the day'.

Another good, quick and easy one on the same vein - CLICK HERE for the recipe for Spaghetti Pie.

Monday, September 20, 2010

30 Days of Blogging - Day 20 - A Hobby of Mine

Too many ...

Writing (I include blogging here)
Solo sports (walking, swimming, skating)
An unfortunate amount of TV (especially wrestling and Y&R)
An equally unfortunate amount of video gaming (Legend of Zelda, the Sims, etc.)
Travel (and I want to do more)

Is parenting a hobby? If so I'll include it here and at the top of the list. But 'hobby' just doesn't seem to do it - calling, life's work, job, any of those things seem to suit that particular role I play better. But I didn't want anyone to think I just left something so intrinsic to my being off the list. Because those two beautiful boys eclipse and overshadow anything I put up there (especially my lovely electronic time killers lol).

30 Days of Blogging - Day 19 - A Talent of Mine

This is going to be a tough one - and not being all self-deprecating saying I have no talents (I HATE that - everyone has them lol) - just that my talents are distributed a bit differently from some. I'm not one of those that people watch them dance or sing and say 'she's fabulous', or see me act and say 'give that girl an Oscar!', or read something I've written and say it should be published. But I've been told I'm good at all those things. I think the 'Jack of all trades, master of none' kind of applies, so I guess I'll say my talent is becoming good at things - I might never absolutely excel and outshine the real masters who focus on their craft and work at the same set of skills for years; but if I decide to learn something it's very rarely that I suck at it (sports and math aside lol), and I can usually hold my own with the average schmo.

So with that in mind I consider myself to be pretty good at
  • Writing
  • Theatre involvement (I'm a competent actor and director)
  • Kids (as a mom, a teacher, and youth pastor, I've learned a thing or two about little people)
  • Speaking publicly (the above helps, as does having a weekly podcast over on the wrestling blog)
  • Anything trivia - especially stuff I REALLY know (ask me anything Young and the Restless, Wrestling, Musical Theatre, most history .. I've got it).
  • Anything 'word'y - Scrabble, Scattergories, wordsearches, crosswords=aced it. :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

30 Days of Blogging - Day 18 - My Wedding

How ironic that this comes up the 18th of the month - Ari and I were married the 18th of June.

We had an interfaith service, presided over by my childhood minister and a Jewish cantor, at the Kitchener Wedding Chapel, followed by our reception at the New Dundee Country Club. There are lots of little things looking back I wish could have been a bit different - the planning had its moments of stress as all weddings do for sure, we probably should have had an open bar instead of a cash bar, as it was mainly our wedding party who ended up not getting the tickets 'close family and friends' were supposed to get for drinks ... - not so much a fan of my hair and makeup, and the singing during the service was lovely but complicated due to technical issues (everyone's dream for the Windows theme to chime in as they're signing the registry lol) ... but that's just it. Those things were so small. At the end of the day, what I will remember about our wedding is this:

  • Everyone who was important to us in that time and place was there. We wish we knew then some of the people we know now so they could have been there too - but the wedding was such a reflection of our life at that time, it was amazing.
  • Those stupid little things - the drink tickets, the music - they're some of the moments we remember now with the most fondness. Those silly things are what made our wedding, our wedding. So we didn't get to cut the cake ceremonially because the speeches went too long - no one noticed and we all got to chow down on chocolate. Y'know?
  • The thoughtful men in my life. Besides, you know, the one I was marrying, who simply made sure that everything but everything was in place at the chapel before we got there, my dad was at his gracious best that day, giving my mom (his ex-wife) a huge bouquet of flowers for raising his kids right, and my brother, besides giving me the 'if he hurts you I'll kill him' talk wrangled showtunes (and much-appreciated grub for the wedding party being tortured by photos).
  • The hour after our wedding when we had late night munchies at 1:30am and walked down to the corner store from our hotel for Cheetos - so quiet ... just the two of us for the first time in a week ... it was amazingly fun.
  • Shawn Michaels' theme music ("Sexy Boy") playing for the garter removal - and to this day none of us can figure out who clued the DJ in to our wrestling fan-ness.
So was it perfect? In the literal sense ... no. But were those little things, little things, some of which in fact enhanced the day? Yes. And you know what? The fact that I can only sit here and rattle those things off in hindsight, as opposed to the day of, or even the weeks or months afterward ... hey. We must have done something right. :)

30 Days of Blogging - Day 17 - A Work of Art

Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh. This has been one of my favourite paintings for a long time now, although I couldn't explain for the life of me why. I think because it just embodies everything - it is so dark yet so bright at the same time, so forboding yet also peaceful, hopeful ... almost all of humanity. I'm stretching a point here in my art analysis I know - don't think for a second that all this is going through my head consciously when I look at this painting, only now when I look at it. It just appeals to me, and these seem as good and art-critick-y reasons to give as any. :) BTW, any conspiracy/history buffs will also understand why the following painting appeals to me:

Conspiracy, religion, history, very early feminism (!?) all in one seemingly straightforward, uncontroversial, even reverant work of art. Don't get it? Read the da Vinci Code. :) XO

Thursday, September 16, 2010

30 Days of Blogging - Day 16 - A Song that Makes me Cry

Funny I was just talking this up on Facebook a few days ago how I'm such a sap for songs. A few examples ...

  • Cat's in the Cradle (don't know who sings this one but it's a really powerful folk song)
  • Just a Dream by Carrie Underwood (OMG especially if I'm watching the video too ... TEARS!)
  • Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle
  • Christmas Shoes by NewSong

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

30 Days of Blogging - Day 15 - My Dream Home

To show you how not picky I am, my dream home is basically the one I want to settle down in. It's just a bit out of our reach right now, but I'm one regular teaching job away from it, and it's not that different from where we live now. I would want ...

  • 4 bedrooms instead of the 3 we have (one for Ari and I, one for each of the kids, and a guest room).
  • Free standing as opposed to townhouse (more conducive to space in the back yard - with a gazebo up we have no room for wading pools, swing sets, anything like that; and just more privacy overall, not right on top of the neighbours if they're having a smoke, or what have you).
  • Central air as opposed to one measly window AC in our bedroom (barring this being an option only for the filthy rich in Ottawa, this has become non-negotiable after the last 3 summers without it).
  • A swimming pool in the backyard (although I suspect Ari and I might do some head-butting over that one).
  • Zero, or at least only a few minor, renos/updating to be done (this house had a lot of little things updated, but a lot of other things that needed fixing and changing that we don't have the time and/or money for at this point).
  • Overhead lighting in bedrooms and living room - our house is so old-fashioned it has none of that! One of the first things we intend to change though ...
Although mind you - if we're talking 'just won the lottery and are set for life' dream house ... I hear Walt Disney World is developing a whole bunch of McMansions on-site ... hmmm ... :D

30 Days of Blogging - Day 14 - A Non-Fiction Book

I've been on a real kick of religious/Christian non-fiction, so I'm going to throw a few books out there that I've really enjoyed along my journey this past year or two.

  1. David Plotz's 'Good Book' - basically a transcript of his year-long 'Blogging the Bible' project on This is probably the first non-fiction religious book (besides, well, you know ...) that I'd read in awhile and while it's nothing on sitting down with the book itself, it's an incredibly good crash course and an excellent resource if you are unsure of a passage or how to interpret it. My only complaint is he sticks with the Old Testament - claiming that, being Jewish, he doesn't feel qualified to pick apart the New Testament. I hope he changes his mind soon, since frankly, I'd love to read the sequel. :)
  2. A.J. Jacob's 'The Year of Living Biblically' - a look at how silly biblical literalists are; for those who think the Bible is the unerring, must-be-followed-word-for-word, not even once edited by human hands Word of God, this is an excellent book examining how even literalists cherry pick the parts of the Bible they want to follow. It's not quite as good as Good Book, and A.J. can be a bit heavy-handed and pompous at times, but it's refreshing that he acknowledges his shortcomings and still writes an interesting and important book.
  3. Ralph Milton's "This United Church of Ours" - A really easy-to-read, straightforward introduction to the United Church of Canada, the denomination I have attended since my youth. There's a lot about the UCC in here that I knew, some I didn't even as a lifelong member, and it's just a great way to sort of get back in touch with religion as a pragmatic, real-world thing. It deals with issues facing church and parishioners today in a very realistic way that I can appreciate. My only recommendation is be sure and get the most current edition (3rd I think) as it is the most up to date; a lot has changed in the UCC since 1993, when the 2nd edition was written.
  4. Marcus Borg et al's "The Emerging Christian Way" - see my blog post of the same title for a description.
I also recommend Karen Armstrong and Bart D. Ehrman - excellent writers with a more academic/scholarly approach (footnotes beware!). Lots of great material for those wanting to really sink their teeth into faith, and develop an understanding of just what it is they worship, how and why. Not one of these books will answer that question for you - but they will help you develop an understanding of those answers yourself.

Monday, September 13, 2010

30 Days of Blogging - Day 13 - A Fictional Book

Well - I'm going to cheat here, since it doesn't specify 'favourites', and I'd be practically writing you a novel myself if I tried to use that parameter, I'll name the novel I'm currently reading: The Host by Stephenie Meyer (who brought us the Twilight series). It's about a group of aliens ('souls') who have taken over human bodies - all except Melanie's, her brother's, and her boyfriend Jared's. The book starts with Melanie being 'replaced' by the soul named Wanderer - or is she? As Melanie refuses to give up her body and she and Wanderer begin sharing thoughts, they both end up working against time to save Jared from possession. (and no this isn't a spoiler - this can all be gleaned off of the back of the book, and through the first 4-5 chapters or so of the novel. I'm only about 6 chapters in at this point so still too early for me to say if I'm really deeply enjoying it (I'm not devouring it as quickly and insatiably, if you'll forgive the awful puns, as I was the Twilight saga though ...), but it's what I'm reading now.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

30 Days of Blogging - Day 12 - Things I am OCD About

I have to admit I am generally speaking the opposite of OCD as understood by pop culture - I mean, to a fault. Not that I am filthy and a slob or anything like that - I keep a generally neat and clean home, I wash my hands when I eat or use the washroom, shower every other day, stuff like that. But short of the odd moment where something catches my eye and I know better and it bugs me until it's fixed, I don't really care if my bed's not made perfectly, or the boys' toys haven't been put away 'just so', or if the shower I was supposed to have Sunday night ends up being had Monday morning, or I change the bed sheets after 2 weeks instead of 1.

However - OCD=obsessive compulsive disorder. And if we're going to talk obsessions and compulsions, I would be remiss not to mention my relationship with food. Without getting into too many personal and private details, I am actively working on changing this aspect of my life. But in sum - how others might use alcohol, or drugs, I rely on food. And I'm not talking a few too many berries one day or having a white potato instead of a sweet potato (horrors!). So yeah ... that's the journey I'm fighting. For some it's obsessive handwashing, or rituals that, for example, bedtime routines need to be followed just so before someone can sleep. For me, it's all about food.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Emerging Christian Way

OK so I added a new book to my list again this summer after having heard much about it at my church (where I am by the way the new Minister of Youth, Children and Families; yay!). It is called The Emerging Christian Way and it is a collection of essays from very prominent progressive theologians, Marcus Borg, Matthew Fox, Bruce Sanguin, et al.

1. Dead and Gone - Charlaine Harris
2. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
3. Reading Lolita in Tehran - Azar Nafisi
4. The Year of Living Biblically - A.J. Jacobs
5. A History of God - Karen Armstrong
6. Dreams from My Father - Barack Obama
7. Beloved - Toni Morrison
8. 'Tis - Frank McCourt
9. The Host - Stephenie Meyers
10. The Constant Princess - Phillipa Gregory
11. Wicked - Gregory Maguire
12. The Six Wives of Henry the 8th - Alison Weir
13. Eleanor of Aquitaine - Alison Weir
14. Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom
15. The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien
16. The Two Towers - J.R.R. TOlkien
17. The Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
19. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling
20. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling
21. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
22. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
23. Dracula - Bram Stoker
24. Paradise Lost - John Milton
25. The Inferno - Dante
26. Towelhead - Alicia Erian
27. Sex, Lies, and Headlocks - Shaun Assael and Mike Mooneyham
28. The Way the Crow Flies - Ann-Marie MacDonald
29. The Robber Bride - Margaret Atwood
30. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
31. This United Church of Ours - Ralph Milton
32. Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman
33. American Gods - Neil Gaiman
34. Stardust - Neil Gaiman
35. Tess of the d'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
36. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
37. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
38. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
39. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
40. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
41. Deception Point - Dan Brown
42. Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
43. The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown
44. Lolita - Vladimir Nobokov
45. Atonement - Ian McEwan
46. All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren
47. Under the Dome - Stephen King
48. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
49. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
50. Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe
51. A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
52. Scarlett - Alexandra Ripley
53. White Noise - Don De Litto
54. Their Eyes were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
55. Primary Colours - Anonymous
56. Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
57. Ragtime - E.L. Doctorow
58. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark
59. Misquoting Jesus - Bart Ehrman
60. Fast Food Nation - Eric Schlasser
61. My Years as Prime Minister - Jean Chretien
62. Memoirs - Pierre Trudeau
63. Shake Hands with the Devil - Romeo d'Allaire
64. Team of Rivals - Doris Kearns Goodwin
65. The Secret Mulroney Tapes - Peter C. Newman
66. Why I Hate Canadians - Will Ferguson
67. Planet Simpson - Chris Turner
68. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
69. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe - Douglas Adams
70. Life, the Universe and Everything - Douglas Adams
71. So Long and Thanks for All the Fish - Douglas Adams
72. Mostly Harmless - Douglas Adams
73. Fifth Business - Robertson Davies
74. The Manticore - Robertson Davies
75. World of Wonders - Robertson Davies
76. The Donnellys - James Reaney
77. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
78. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
79. Farenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
80. Not Wanted on the Voyage - Timothy Findlay
81. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
82. Coraline - Neil Gaiman
83. The Crucible - Arthur Miller
84. Mirror Mirror - Gregory Maguire
85. The Emerging Christian Way - Marcus Borg et al
86. Sorbonne Confidential - Laurel Zuckerman
87. What Happened to Anna K - Irina Reyn
88. The Silver Linings Playbook - Matthew Quick
89. Hey Nostradamus! - Douglas Coupland
90. Girlfriend in a Coma - Douglas Coupland
91. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
92. The 5 People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom
93. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
94. Interview with the Vampire - Ann Rice
95. The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank
96. The Bonfire of the Vanities - Tom Wolfe
97. Guys and Dolls - Damon Runyon
98. Good Book - David Plotz
99. He's Just Not that Into You - Greg Behrendt, Liz Tuccillo, Lauren Monchik
100. The Ultimate Weight Solution - Dr. Phil McGraw
101. Real Life: Preparing for the 7 Most Challenging Days of Your Life - Dr. Phil McGraw

I enjoyed this book, although it is not always a light read, and I have to say it can be a complicated process to explain, teach and rethink a 2000 year old religion into something that is current, relevant, and interesting to a 21st century audience. Because unfortunately on the surface, religion has become an all or nothing proposition these days; the concept of the open-minded, moderate-to-progressive but faithful tends to get drowned out in the din of fundamentalism, evangelism etc. on one hand and sheer disbelief and atheism on the other, due to religion's perceived irrelevance and even evil nature, particularly as practiced by the former group.

As such, not everything in this book is going to work for everyone; like the Bible, it is a collection of modern-day religious thinkers wrapping their head aroud God, Christ, and how best to share that message within (and outside of) today's church. You won't agree with all, an you may not understand some - but it's worth wrapping your head around if you have ever attended church and though - 'I accept this, but not that, and this other thing really leaves me cold, and as soon as I introduce those doubts though how can I worship God if He and/or my understanding of Him is so flawed?'. Some ideas here will work for you, some won't, but the thought process is definitely worth entering, as to me, this collection of insights and this dialogue is really the only way compassionate religion is going to succeed in the face of its hijacking in some quarters.

Remembering ...

I mentioned a few blogs back that the 9/11 image made me sad/angry. 9 years later, how this day has been stolen and used to propagate hatred still makes me sad and angry. But ...

I also love how in response to a pastor wanting to use today as a day to escalate Christian-Muslim tensions by burning the Quran, the world (most of us) banded together to express our disgust ... but to do so peacefully, encouraging reading of both Holy Scriptures, of prayer, of communication. (And to those who responded by protesting holding placards demanding 'Death to Christians' ... you are what you hate ... much as Terry Jones is).

I love how on this one day, so many (though not all) can let go of politics, as Democratic First Lady Michelle Obama can stand next to Republican First Lady Laura Bush in remembrance and honouring of those who died on flight 93 in a field in Pennsylvania.

It is said major life and world events bring out the best in us. And I believe this; I see it most clearly surrounding this event. May we never forget both the evil, and the healing that 9/11 and its ensuing years have brought, however. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it - this is one generation that never will ... or will at least strive not to. And those of us who succeed, I pledge, will continue to help those that do remember that hate cannot be met with hate, but must be conquered with love. People who are true to God - whatever we may call Him/Her - understand that innately, and wholeheartedly.

Eid Mubarak; Shana Tova. Happy New Year both in Muslim and Hebrew, as for the first time in decades both faiths are celebrating their high holidays at the same time - may that mean something to all of us moving forward. XO

30 Days of Blogging - Day 11 - A Photo of Me Recently

Yeah. This is me today. This is called Sarah with an eye infection. Pretty sight? Yeah ... not so much. lol Recent though. ;)

Friday, September 10, 2010

30 Days of Blogging - Day 10 - A Photo of Me Over 10 Years ago

I'm going to put 2 up here because I couldn't choose ...

#1 - my favourite picture of my brother and I ... we're both a little older (and a teensy weensy bit) wiser now, but I still luvs him a really lot.

The picture I call 'all in the Jeans' ... erm, genes. ;) It's moi, my mom and my grandma. Notice I'm the only one who looks like she has any kind of energy? Yeah ... lol.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

30 Days of Blogging - Day 9 - A Photo I Took

Well I'm hesitant to put up photos of baby #2 yet as he's still a part of an adoption process; but I thought I would take this opportunity to finally get up the nerve and post a photo of my first precious little boy, Little Tyke, at Disney World this year. This photo always strikes my funny bone. I enjoy it. I enjoy it a lot. I like how he totally changes the dynamic of the picture; we go from Walt Disney and Minnie Mouse looking at one another, to both of them looking at LT. Kinda neat, if I do say so myself.

30 Days of Blogging - Day 8 - A Photo that Makes me Angry/Sad

I probably don't even need to explain this one - September 11, 2001. From all kinds of evil, came all kinds of evil. Sad and/or angry do not do justice to how I felt that day - to how most of the world felt that day. It was saddening and angry then, and even moreso now knowing it has led to two wars, increased terror, and thousands dead. So needless ... so destructive ...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

30 Days of Blogging - Day 7 - A Photo that Makes Me Happy

Please note that the photo I want to put up here is one of my two boys - but given that one is in the process of being adopted, I think I want to stay away from anything much identifying. So instead ... here's one that always makes me happy:

This is me, making the same face I see my son make every now and then, referred to as 'happy rat face'. But this is me to this day - when you make a mess and get into scrapes, you might as well flippin' enjoy it and laugh! There's too much in life to take seriously ... no use crying over spilled milk. Or flour, as the case may be. Not to mention? Me=clumsy still to this day. I can make messes faster than Ari can clean up after me ... har har.

Monday, September 6, 2010

30 Days of Blogging - Day 6 - 20 of my Favourite Things

  1. Favourite ice cream flavour: Candy cane chocolate crackle by President's Choice
  2. Favourite vacation spot: Walt Disney World
  3. Favourite season: the Holiday Season (although if Winter could end after January 1 I'd be much obliged)
  4. Favourite wrestler: Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart (tie)
  5. Favourite singer (female): Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Pink
  6. Favourite singer (male): Billy Joel, Eminem
  7. Favourite band: Bon Jovi, Dixie Chicks
  8. Favourite restaurant (fast food): Arby's
  9. Favourite restaurant: Mongolian Grill
  10. Favourite room in the house: right now, bedroom - it's air conditioned! :)
  11. Favourite time of day: anywhere between 7-9am; my whole little family's in bed then, the boys are having their formula/milk, no one's in a rush, it's just nice.
  12. Favourite night of the week: Tie - Mondays for wrestling, Fridays because it's the start of the weekend.
  13. Favourite music video: I'm with the VMA academy AND Kanye West on this one; Single Ladies AND You Belong With Me were awesome videos.
  14. Favourite reality show: almost any talent competition - American Idol, Dancing with the Stars. If those don't count ... I'm big (or was big) on What Not to Wear - is that show even on anymore?
  15. Favourite wine: If I'm feeling cheap - Jackson Triggs shiraz. If I'm feeling a bit wealthier - Wolf Blass Yellow Label.
  16. Favourite flower: Roses. OK perhaps a bit cliche but yeah. :)
  17. Favourite gem: Emerald - my birthstone! :) Diamonds are nice too.
  18. Favourite car: For sheer look and flash - Corvette. What kind of car would I want for my family though? Either a VW Jetta, or a Mazda 6.
  19. Favourite soda: Cherry Coke
  20. Favourite superhero: Superman! :)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

30 Days of Blogging - Day 4 - My Favourite Book

The only reason this one is easier than the previous 3 'favourites' is that I'm not even going to pretend to have a favourite. I am far too avid a reader. I can describe my reading habits, such as they are, however:

  1. 1. I like series'. I'm greedy; when I really enjoy a story I feel incredibly sad and deflated when it's over. So I enjoy stories like the Twilight saga, the Sookie Stackhouse series, the Anne of Green Gables series, which allow the 'story' to continue.
  2. I like non-fiction; particularly political and historical non-fiction or non-fiction about religion. I have loved reading "The Emerging Christian Way" by Marcus Borg et al, "This United Church of Ours", Karen Armstrong's "History of God", and almost anything by Bart Ehrman. On the political side - "Bastards and Boneheads", a history of Canadian public figures by Will Ferguson; "Too Close to Call", an account of the 2000 Presidential election shenanigans in Florida by Jeffrey Toobin, and both Bill and Hilary Clinton's autobiographies. I have also enjoyed Barack Obama's two books.
  3. I enjoy biography. This can extend to almost anyone interesting - I've read several books about Princess Diana, as well as biographies of Eleanor of Aquitaine, the 6 wives of Henry VIII, and the autobiographies listed above.
  4. I DEVOUR wrestling books. Some recommendations: The Pain and the Passion: A History of Stampede Wrestling by Heath McCoy; Ring of Hell by Michael Randazzo IV; Sex, Lies and Headlocks by Mike Mooneyham; World Wrestling Insanity and Shoot First: Ask Questions Later by James Guttman. In terms of autobiographies, ghostwritten or otherwise; check out Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Pro Wrestling by Bret Hart; A Lion's Tale by Chris Jericho, Adam Copeland on Edge by, well, Adam "Edge" Copeland, and almost anything by Mick Foley (though I'd recommend his two earlier books or his works of fiction over the self-serving Hardcore Diaries). Hulk Hogan's second autobiography, while a bit of a tall tale, was still a good read, as was Shawn Michaels' autobiography.

Friday, September 3, 2010

30 Days of Blogging - Day 3 - My Favourite Television Program

This one's a bit easier than the last two, although not by much! I'm going to NOT include professional wrestling or Young and the Restless in this one, as those are not so much favourite shows as part of 'my routine'. Not to say I don't enjoy them, but it would feel to me like saying blogging is a favourite hobby of mine - I suppose technically true, but it's just sort of something that comes naturally and I do.

I'm also not going to include 'past favourite shows' that I might still enjoy - this would include Beverly Hills 90210, and Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Heck, or Jem and the Holograms for that matter lol. While I still find those shows fun and quality, I freely admit a certain amount of the joy I get from them at this point is nostalgia. Which leaves one program I have been royally enjoying of late, and can't believe I didn't find it while it was on the air (well ... yes, I do ... its heyday was while I was at university, sans cable). Please check out, The West Wing. It's one of those shows that has something for everyone, even if you aren't completely into political wonk stuff. It explores the characters involved, and even for those not into politics, it shows you that almost everything IS political. Hate listening to campaign speeches but feel passionately about gay marriage rights? Distrust politicians but draw a hard line on right-to-life/right-to-choice issues? You will still find yourself able to enjoy this show.

If nothing else - in Martin Sheen, Alison Janney, John Spencer, Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitlaw, Rob Lowe, Marlee Matlin, Jimmy Smits, Kristen Chenowith et al, it has a fantastic cast, not all of whom are too painful to look at, and who have taken home a lot of Emmy hardware between them. And the series' creater and writer, Aaron Sorkin? Well - everything this man touches turns to gold. :) Can't say enough. Check out this sampling:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

30 Days of Blogging - Day 2 - My Favourite Movie

This is about as difficult as asking me for my favourite song! lol I'm a sucker for movie musicals, honestly - so my list would consist of a whole lot of Moulin Rouge, Rent, Hairspray, Jesus Christ Superstar, Phantom of the Opera ... all would have a valid claim on my 'favourite movie' title. Quality romantic comedies as well - the American President, for example - or trilogies that do a fantastic job of telling an overarching tale; Back to the Future, Star Wars ...

But one stands out above all, even to this day - one I've watched I don't even know how many times and probably have memorized perfectly. The Anne of Green Gables trilogy by Kevin Sullivan (I understand the 4th got mixed reviews; I haven't seen it, though perhaps I will someday - meanwhile, I consider the Anne movies a trilogy). I acknowledge that the films got further and further away from the story, and the last movie of the trilogy as well as the prequel threw the Green Gables canon out the window. But I still enjoyed the first three, and will probably screw my courage up to see the fourth someday. Either way, this mistakenly-adopted orphan girl, Anne Shirley, will always have an incredibly special place in my heart.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

30 Days of Blogging - Day 1 - My Favourite Song

So this is a tough one because my 'favourite song' can change day to day, hour to hour, depending on my mood. For a long time, my favourite song was 'Unsent' by Alanis Morisette, because every single verse in that song spoke to a crush and/or boyfriend I'd had. I was also a fan of 'Always' by Bon Jovi for a good 10 years (still love it, and would put it on my 'top 5'). And over the last two years, a few songs that I really enjoyed have come out; I am a massive Katy Perry fan, and enjoyed 'Hot and Cold' a tremendous amount; Taylor Swift's 'You Belong With Me' was also fantastic.

But I'm honestly going to say the most recent songs that has just resonated right through to my soul are two Christian hymns that I'd like to share. Enjoy them: