{December 18, 2010}   The Digital Nativity Story

Brilliant video I’ve had shared with me a couple of times as a Youth Pastor – enjoy!

{December 15, 2010}   Cans for Comments Update

Hi all – know I might not get comments on this one as it isn’t particularly fascinating but I just wanted to let everyone know that as of now I will be donating 9 cans to the food bank … please remember between now and Christmas to post on my blog posts – and be sure and visit the blogs along the side I mentioned playing along with this game too. XO

{December 10, 2010}   The Magnificat
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.”

Lovely words in themselves … right? I’m sure at moments of happiness and peace, almost all of us can muster up either these words or their equivalent depending on our belief system. But … can you imagine the strength, the courage, the faith, to utter them at perhaps one of our lowest or scariest moments? Mary, Mother of Jesus, recites this, the Magnificat, upon learning she is pregnant with the Christ Child. Now, this in itself is wonderful news … but picture the realities in this world, in terms of what this otherwise-magnificent news would lead her to face. Young, single, unexpectedly pregnant in the last century BCE/first century CE … risking the loss of her fiance, the potential loss of any hope of a future respectable marriage, bringing perceived shame to herself and her family … yet then … even then, she was able to praise God, and steel herself to face the enormous task ahead. Just food for Advent thought …

Mary did you know, when you kiss your little baby
You kiss the face of God?

{December 8, 2010}   Updated Reading List

So I realized I hadn’t updated everyone on my 101 books in 1001 days project in awhile. That is in large part because I haven’t *finished* any new books in awhile lol (ACTUALLY THAT’S NOT TRUE – please find my review for ‘The Lost Symbol’ by Dan Brown, below the book list – AND I’m halfway through quite a few so there will probably be like 5 or 6 reviews shortly after the holidays). But I did change a few books on my list (again all of a similar length so I’m not trading 900 page books for 200 page books or anything like that – and where I have, I have also replaced a few shorter books with some longer ones so it all comes out in the wash). So I wanted to update everyone on that score. New books below are found in bold:

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. The First Christmas – Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan
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. God’s Problem – Bart D. Ehrman
101. Jesus for the Non-Religious – John Shelby Spong

(and please note that while those last two books did replace Dr. Phil books, it is not because I don’t appreciate his work, so much as his books are actually not long or hard to get through, and as such I feel like I can read those AND complete the books on this list)

While I definitely enjoyed the Lost Symbol, I can also say that if you’ve read any other Dan Brown, it won’t surprise you much. For once, they don’t have one of the good, supportive guys turn into the villain at the end, so I suppose the lack of a twist is a twist, lol, but otherwise it is simply a very smart thriller. If you’re interested in American and Masonic history, as opposed to Roman Catholic history, as portrayed in the last two Robert Langdon novels by Brown (Angels & Demons and the Da Vinci Code), and you enjoy the Robert Langdon books, you’ll enjoy this one; and if you don’t, you won’t. It is very true to Dan Brown’s history and style. Which is to say, while I enjoyed it, and recognize a lot of research went into it, the plot itself was as formulaic as you’d expect, although still riveting and pageturning at the same time.

{December 7, 2010}   Science and Story

I wanted to put a plug in here for one of my fellow Parishioners’ incredibly intelligent, thoughtful, thought-provoking blog, Science and Story. Please check out Arlene’s journey in faith and discussion here:

I will also link to her in my blogroll, to the right. While I was vaguely aware that this was something she did, tonight I was inspired to click the link at the bottom of an email she sent to me – and she is definitely on my reading list from here out. Brilliant.

Check out this video – as various pseudo-celebrities from Tonya Harding to Roger Moore to David Faustino, Jason Alexander, Glenn Close and beyond sing John Lennon’s ‘Let it Be’.

Right – and keep it on up with the comments for cans. XO

So I don’t want to make all my upcoming posts about Cans for Comments, but I wanted to thank folks for my feedback so far – I’m at 5 cans so far, thank you folks – and quickly be sure to give some link love to everyone (I know of …) playing along right now. 🙂

Here are the links so far – I’ll put them in my sidebar as well.

The founder of this particular feast – Tatiana at
My darlin’ friend Alex at
And Cindy at

Meanwhile, I may or may not get the opportunity to post tomorrow. Why??? Because I am going to a very dear friend of mine’s wedding. L and I have known each other almost ten years now and have been through a lot together. We’ve had times of being very close, times of being out of touch (we have probably spent at least half our friendship living in different cities), but I have always considered her a very special person and a wonderful friend who truly deserves the happiness she has found with S. I am sure they will have just a beautiful day tomorrow and I’m thrilled Ari and I get to be a part of it.

Meanwhile, Little Tyke gets to spend his weekend with Nana so as not to haave had to take the 6 hour drive here (Mama misses you, though, my big little boy), and Little Pup came along with us so his grandparents here get some grandbaby love too. Second night of Chanukah with my in-laws. A nice steak, a nice glass of wine, and beautiful candles. Yup … shaping up to be a lovely weekend. Hope the same is true for everyone else. XO

{December 2, 2010}   Advent and Chanukah

It’s a big week – heck, a big month – in the Daigen house. Tonight was the first night of Chanukah, which we celebrated by dancing (was that a hora, Ari?) and singing and opening gifts. Because we also celebrate Christmas, Chanukah we do a bit differently; we do a gift exchange where each person gets one gift a night; in a family of 4, this means two gifts apiece. Eventually, this will turn into a draw, where each family member draws two names out of a hat, and has their name in a hat twice, and such. This way, Chanukah still gets celebrated and acknowledged, but we don’t go nuts trying to figure out which gifts are Chanukah, which are Christmas, which are from Mom and Dad, which are from Santa, etc.

Tonight was also the first night of advent. And inspired by a blogger friend of mine, Tatiana (click HERE to see her blog, the Dubious Hausfrau), I’ve decided to give back this Holiday season. So from now until Dec. 25 (my ‘Merry Christmas’ blog), I am going to totally copycat her ‘Cans for Comments’ gig (and while I usually find copy catting annoying, I figure doing so in the name of a good cause, and giving credit to the person who gave me the idea, is fair game 😉 ).

How does it work? Well, during the time specified above, I am going to donate a can or box of food to our local foodbank for every comment I get on my blog. So – comment on this post? I’m donating a can to the foodbank. Right up to Christmas day. So a bit different from Tatiana’s game, but that’s OK too. So please come – post away. XO!

et cetera