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Today,April 20,2014 is Easter Sunday—Happy Easter everyone! So is the spring weather which is so late this year. Considering that Spring officially started on March 20,2014, with this year’s crazy,prolonged and unpredictable winter season, well, I guess that Spring’s arrival is better late than never.

In spite of all the ongoing problems and disasters in this world like the still missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 ,the Ukrainian crisis, the South Korean ferry disaster,the Mt. Everest avalanche,etc.,etc., it’s still imperative that we not lose hope and persevere in resolving these ongoing disasters and subsequently accept their respective outcomes(good or bad) and then move on with our lives.

Life is hard with all its struggles and problems but dealing with them is part of living. The celebration of Easter brings hope,renewal and expectations of a better tomorrow in whatever degree it is.

The delayed arrival of spring weather is a physical manifestation of the coming hope of fantastic weather and the forbearance of summer after dealing with a very difficult and harsh winter.

Since both Easter and Spring are here right now, I couldn’t help but feel that they both parallel one another in terms of their innate significance(harsh winter ,great spring weather,life’s problems,life’s hope and renewal).

Enjoy each day as it comes and make the most of it. Only then will you  look back later on and say that you had no regrets in making your life your own and to paraphrase a famous song , you did it your own way.

Bonjour! Joyeux Pasques!

 

Josie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ever since the ongoing saga of the still missing  Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 plane which started on March 8, 2014, the entire world had been constantly entranced with the ever constant changing details of a massive investigation / search  which involved at least 8 countries pooling together all their latest technology resources and agencies like the intelligence services,military,navy,etc.

The fight to run against the clock especially in trying to find a plane that’s  missing without a trace inspite of today’s high-tech world and possible survivors make this entire scenario look like  riveting episodes of a Hollywood movie thriller.

While the media coverage has been constantly updated as soon as available information comes in , all kinds of speculations,arm-chair experts,conspiracy theories,security concerns  also come into the mix.

In a post-Sept. 11 world , it’s to be expected now that all possibilities have to be ruled in .No stone will be left unturned especially when the plane isn’t found yet.

A lot will be learned from this very unfortunate episode and for sure, the entire airline industry and its security details will have to be modified and updated.

Another aspect that we have to consider is the ongoing grief,angst,anger and despair of the flight crew and passengers’ loved ones and friends dealing with this ongoing tragedy and the worst part is not knowing what really happened…no answer…no means of closure , affirmation nor reassurance which adds a huge salt on their emotional/mental wounds. They don’t deserve that nor even the flight victims.

I pray that the plane will be found. Only then will the process of closure whether good or bad will start for everyone’s sake.

I pray for everyone involved in their ongoing search for answers in this gripping mystery.

Josie

Ever since  November 8,2013, the Filipinos living in central Philippines known as the Visayas region, life has never been the same again. At that time, a supertyphoon for all ages(international code name:Haiyan; local name: Yolanda) had swarmed over them leaving a great path of destruction and loss of lives, the total count yet to be determined.

The typhoon victims suddenly got face to face with a real -life struggle to survive amidst apocalyptic proportions—a combination of Mother Nature’s severe aftermath and shoddy logistics care of their local and federal government in reference to providing much needed aid.

High risks of anarchy could evolve if their basic needs for food,water and shelter aren’t met in due time. In terms of the mental and emotional losses whether in themselves or surviving their relatives from the typhoon, these will have to be addressed as soon as possible.

It makes me appreciate what I have right now in terms of living here in Canada and receiving basic services for daily living. It keeps me pretty grounded as to what my priorities are in life.

The news in that part of the Philippines is still ongoing and hopefully,the situation will start to stabilize once the much international aid has already been distributed to those who really need it.

Filipinos are known to be religious by nature and resilient in adversity. They take their faith in God as their guide to get through because they strongly believe that as long as there’s life,there’s always hope.

My prayers are with them!

Josie

Mon ami!
So sorry to not being able to keep in touch lately. As I had told you before,I was apt hunting and once found my nouveau maison, to prepare for my eventual move. On Moving Day, I was busy setting up my new home when once my phone line got connected, I got the terrible news from my sister that our mother had passed away in her sleep, exactly on my moving day.
My initial reactions were numb and I was on auto-pilot just going on my business. Don’t get me wrong, mon ami. Things have to be done. Eventually, I do break down and give myself a good cry about losing my mother but then, knowing her, she would want me to soldier on. Crying can be good for the soul too. It can be cleansing and soothing at times. It’s no good for our mental health if we keep all our ill feelings inside. It just might drive us to the point of insanity.

My mother’s funeral will be held tomorrow and I’ll be taking some time to spend with the rest of my family before I head back to Canada next month. But as I told you before, I will blog if there’s something of great interest to me. I will not be denied of that opportunity.

As I reflect on the events of this past week, all I can say is that I live my life as a book . A book contains any given number of chapters. I will start a new chapter of living in my new home once I get back as well as living a new chapter without my mother’s existence around even though she doesn’t physically live with me even before that. You know what I mean,mon ami , by that of course.

We all practically live our lives as books. It’s what we make of them in terms of the plot that determines the prologue, main story,epilogue and conclusion so distinctive and uniquely all our own. Add to that too is God guiding us every step of the way in this life of ours. He has a plan for all of us before we all go home to Him some day at His time like what my mother’s journey in life had been.

Take care and regards to your family! Will keep in touch!

Au revoir!

Josie

Easter is a Christian festival when Jesus Christ’s return to life is celebrated on a Sunday in March or April, thus the coined term Easter Sunday.

As we all know, Christ had risen from the dead on the 3rd day after His crucifixion. It gives us this pondering thought that there’ll always be hope after the darkness of despair. It’s a celebration of life itself,a new beginning which would be timely in terms of a new season called spring. A period of renewal indeed.

Other Easter items that came up probably were products of  the western world . One would be called the Easter egg. It’s made of chocolate and shaped into that of an egg that is given as a present at Easter. In some countries, Easter eggs are hidden and the children would then start looking for them. In other parts of the world, they would use hard-boiled eggs and paint the eggshells in all kinds of colors and designs before hiding them for the Easter egg hunt. Another would be the Easter bunny, an unofficial ambassador of the Easter spirit, IMO.

Easter Sunday is a happy day and we celebrate it the best way we can, affirming our relationship with God, our fellowmen and ourselves as God’s children.

Happy Easter, everbody!

Joyeux Pacques, mon ami!

Josie

Good Friday is the day on which Christians remember Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. It’s the Friday before Easter Sunday.

Observance of fasting and shunning “hot” meat(beef,pork,chicken) on this day is being practiced except if one’s infirmed or pregnant for example. You’re allowed only 1 full meal on that day but if you can’t do it, it should be replaced with acts of charity. Seafood is allowed to be partaken on this day as well. At times, we also give up any pleasurable activity for that day as part of self-sacrifice and atonement considering that Christ gave up His life for us for the sake of redemption.

No merrymaking like loud noise and music for example are allowed. Most stores are closed on this solemn except for essential services like the police , fire dept  and hospital/medical services.

Churches are open on this day though  regular church services are limited. For sure, there will be a ritual called Stations of the Cross wherein the priest would go from 1 end of the church to another stopping at each mural depicting Jesus Christ’s trip to his crucifixion. If one wants to get married on Good Friday, one will be allowed to but without church music and to keep the wedding ceremony and entourage simple in light of this auspicious day.

Good Friday makes us reflect on  Christ’s suffering and death on the cross as well as all our efforts to lead a Christian life. We acknowledge our limitations as human beings and to strengthen our resolve to  improve our lives as best as we all can, not forgetting to ask God for help if necessary, knowing that He is always there for us all.

Josie

Passover is also known as the Feast of the Unleavened Bread(“matzo’ or flatbread) which was hurriedly baked and eaten by the Jews after their hasty departure from Egypt. Also known as the Feast of the Seder, it’s a Jewish festival that begins in March/April and lasts for 7/8 days.

Passover came about when the Angel of Death would pass over the Israelite slaves’ homes after seeing lamb blood smeared  on their respective doors as previously instructed by Moses, thus sparing their lives especially their firstborns. This occurred on the 10th day, a new  plague which would be #10 (all firstborns living in Egypt will die) and afterwards, the Pharaoh( himself who lost his own firstborn due to  this 10th plague) had set the Israelites free to leave Egypt with Moses for the Promised Land.

To all our Jewish brothers and sisters, may you all observe Passover,remembering how your ancestors took the chance to flee from the shackles of slavery and taste everlasting freedom.

Josie

Eversince Pope Francis’ historic conclave vote last 3/13/13 inside the Sistine Chapel, there was 1 incident that mystified a lot of viewers(including moi) during that momentous day—the day of the 5th conclave vote that finally produced a pope.

There was a seagull(not a cardinal, no pun intended) that constantly perched on top of the chimney which was hoisted on the Sistine Chapel’s roof so that black/white smoke would come out from it. That seagull appeared to be keeping watch while the  5th conclave voting and deliberations were going on inside the Sistine Chapel.It became known as the Sistine Seagull and instantly had a Twitter account as if one would think that it had the inside scoop inside the Sistine Chapel.We probably will never know what it heard as if it could even speak to us humans at all. Like the other cardinals, that seagull also took the vow of secrecy.

I just thought that perhaps the seagull is a signal from Mother Nature that whoever would become the new pope will be an advocate for animals. In my 3-14-13 blog about Pope Francis I, I mentioned that Cardinal Bergoglio took the papal name Pope Francis since St. Francis of Assisi was an advocate for the poor. I also mentioned in that blog that St. Francis is the patron saint for animals. Coincidence or fate?

If that Sistine Seagull was instead a white dove, I might start associating it with the Holy Spirit since in my catechism lessons, the Holy Spirit is symbolized as a white dove. As if I would be thinking that the Holy Spirit is providing literally inspiration to the cardinals by appearing as a dove on the chimney top.

Food for thought indeed!

Josie

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After my recent blog(3-14-13) on Pope Francis I, I noticed all the recent media coverage about Pope Francis’ easygoing manner in approaching people as if he’s at the same level as them. He appears independent-minded in deciding how he acts with people and on how he goes about performing his papal duties.. He comes across as your local friendly pastor. His Vatican security staff must be experiencing anxiety attacks and ulcers in trying to balance a fine line between protecting him from unsavory ,dangerous people and allowing him to socialize with the laity. He draws big crowds wherever he goes largely because of his magnetic yet humble persona.

In light of this, he has become known as the People’s Pope,essentially a people person.

His recent and formal  investiture as the pope as witnessed by the entire world holds hope that he’ll be able to draw back disillusioned Catholics and perhaps invite new Catholics.

Hopefully, he’ll be able to solve the problems of the Roman Catholic Church that he inherited. It definitely won’t be easy but something has to start somewhere at least.

He’ll need our prayers as well since he constantly tells us to do so.

Josie

On March 13,2013, 76 year old  Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio became the first Non-European as well as South American pope after the 5th vote in the recent papal conclave which ran for 2 days. This makes him the 266th pope and Pope Benedict XVI’s successor after Pope Benedict XVI’s historic resignation last month. (My 2/19/13 blog had already discussed this papal resignation)

He took the name Francis after St. Francis of Assisi, a well-beloved saint known for humility, simplicity and helping the poor. He’s also known as the patron saint for animals which is why on St. Francis’ feast day, people would bring their beloved pets to church to have them blessed by their pastors.

Some say that since he’s a Jesuit and the first Jesuit pope at that,that he took the name Francis from St. Francis Xavier, a known Jesuit.

Considering the news streaming out that he had lived a life of simplicity and humility throughout his religious work in Argentina, the name Francis indeed appears fitting for him.

Whatever, it’s a new moment in the Roman Catholic Church . Considering that the greatest number of Roman Catholics comes from Latin America, electing a pope from that side of the world makes a lot of sense.

Pope Francis I was also known as a social advocate  for the poor and wasn’t afraid to spar with the Argentinian government regarding gay marriage and contraceptive use,both issues that he’s against of but would respect people who adhere to them nevertheless.

In the days to come, we will see how he runs the Roman Catholic Church especially how his views on religious matters would affect his decision-making.

Habemus papam! (We have a pope!)

May God bless him!

Being a Catholic myself, it has been a proud day indeed!

Josie