Tuesday, September 22, 2009

La musique

I posted this on the FTN Forum, and I thought I'd share it here too! Maybe you'll find another artist whose music you enjoy!

*Coldplay (my favorite band...I love their latest CD, but I really like their old style too. Current Alternative)
*Loreena McKennit (AH. She is AMAZING! I remember thinking when I first listened to The Book of Secrets, "Her voice matches and melds with her music so perfectly." It's amazing that she writes all her own music, and reading the notes in the booklet is fascinating. I love all her CDs, and my favorite song is "The Mummer's Dance". Current Celtic/World)
*Rob Thomas (I really like a lot of his songs...some of them have a bit of language, but they're mostly good. I really like his love songs, especially "Ever the Same" and "All That I Am". Current Rock/Pop)
*Simon and Garfunkel (We have the CD The Best of Simon and Garfunkel, and I love every single song on it! 1950's through 1980's Folk/Alternative)
*Phil Collins (I gotta say, I love 80's music, and he has a great voice. 1980's Pop)
*Kate Bush (Amazing singer!!! Now, not everyone would like her...her style is a bit odd, but if you like odd you will love her. My favorite song by her is "Wuthering Heights" - the new version - "Running Up That Hill", "Breathing", "And Dream of Sheep", and "In Search of Peter Pan" are good too. I like most of her songs. 1970's through 1990's...not sure how to classify her!)
*Rihanna (Pretty much every song by her that comes out on the radio I love, and I also love her style in clothes! Current Pop/HipHop/RnB)
*Black-Eyed Peas (They have some TERRIBLE songs, but I really like a lot of the ones they release as singles! I like "I Got a Feelin'". Current HipHop/Rap)
*Laura Nyro (More people should know about her! I like "And When I Die" and "Upstairs By a Chinese Lamp". 1970's through 1990's Folk/RnB)
*The Beatles (Pretty much everyone likes the Beatles.)
*Hayley Westenra (She has such a beautiful voice, I love it! My favorite CD by her is Pure. Current Classical Pop/Modern)
*Sarah Brightman (I don't always like her voice...it can get kind of squeaky... but she was brilliant in Phantom of the Opera and I love her CD Eden. 1980's through present Classical Pop/Broadway)
*Taylor Swift (Mmm, I don't like her as much as I used to not - I'm not at all a fan of country music - but I love "Love Story"! The music video is awesome too, I love the P&P look! Current Country)
*Chicago (I listened to them at the house of some good friends when I was 10, and I've liked them ever since. 1980's-90's Rock)
*Josh Groban (Need I say a word? ;))
*Regina Spektor (I started listening to her after hearing "The Call" at the end of Prince Caspian, and I really enjoy her unique voice, inventive lyrics, and beautiful piano playing. Current...not sure how to classify her either.)
*Imogen Heap (I started listening to her after hearing "Can't Take It In" at the end of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - I'm eager to see what great artist will do music at the end of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader! I love her beautiful voice and all the really cool instruments she uses - one of my favorite songs is "Headlock". Some of the songs do have objectionable lyrics, but a lot of them are so poetic you can't really tell what she's saying. haha Current Alternative/Techno)
*Camera Obscura (A Scottish band my sister discovered...they have a really neat sound...sort of vintage, in a way. I like "Lloyd I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken" and "Let's Get Out of This Country". Current Alternative)
*Alicia Keys (She has a beautiful voice and beautiful songs. A lot of people I know think she's sort of boring, but I like her a lot. Current RnB)
*The Killers (They certainly have a strange name and some of their songs have not-so-great lyrics, but they also have some good ones. I really enjoy their sound and the lead singer's voice. I like their song"Romeo and Juliet". Current Rock)
*Linkin Park (Some songs have language, but they have so many that I like, especially "Shadow of the Day", "In the End", "New Divide", etc. Current Alternative)
*Red Hot Chili Peppers (I like their sound, and the song "Dani California". Current Rock)
*ABBA (Of Mamma Mia fame. My mum thinks their music is cheesy, but my sister, my dad, and I love it! I have this guilty fondness for disco music. haha 1980's Pop/Disco)
*The Cranberries (A band from Ireland...I haven't listened to them much but I like what I heard! 1980's-90's Alternative)
*Jukebox the Ghost (I love this band, especially the song "A Good Day"! They have a really cool sound with a lot of piano and a lead singer who can sing reallyreallyfast! Current Alternative)
*Feist (I've listened to her CD Live and Let Die - some of the lyrics are objectionable, but a lot of the songs are really nice. My favorite songs by her are "Mushaboom" and 1234". Current Alternative)
*Keane (I've only listened to their CD Hopes and Fears, but i hope to listen to the others soon. They seem to change their style a bit with each CD - I like the style of Hopes and Fears a lot, it's very dream-like. My favorite songs from it are "Sunshine" and "Somewhere Only We Know". Another band, though, with lyrics so poetic I can't understand them! haha Current Alternative)
*Clannad (I've just started listening to them...can't understand how I missed them before! I love their Celtic-meets-80's sound. They're naturally good, being Enya's family! 1980's-90's Celtic)
*Billy Joel (I've only heard his music from the musical Movin' Out, but I really like it! I need to listen to one of his actual CDs. 1970's-80's Rock)
*The Fray (They have a beautiful sound and I really like the lead singers voice. Their songs are mostly very good and interesting. I really like "You Found Me" and "Cablecar". Current Alternative)

I also like a lot of musicals, especially Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Fiddler On The Roof, Cats, Peter Pan, Movin' Out, The King and I. I also like the soundtracks of movies such as LOTR, Narnia, King Arthur, North and South, Chariots Of Fire, Master and Commander, Ever After, and Pride and Prejudice.

Classical music is something else I enjoy...my favorite composers are Debussy, Faure, and Tchaikovsky. I really like Debussy's "Le Mer" and "Burgamusque Suite" (I really want to learn it on piano!). A good CD of choral music is Choral Moods, performed by the choir of Trinity College. The only problem I have with it is how they sing Gregorian chant incorrectly. Other than that, it's beautiful!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

40 Days For Life

I'd like to call your attention to the upcoming fall campaign of 40 Days for Life, a wide-spread pro-life outreach. Through the combined prayerful efforts of over 200,000 people (this fall, the campaign will be present in at least 212 communities in the U.S., Canada, and Denmark) in the past 5 years, 1,561 lives have been preserved from abortion, 18 abortion clinic workers have left their jobs, and 3 abortion clinics have closed their doors completely. Through much prayer, fasting, and peaceful picketing of abortion clinics and family planning centers, many dedicated people have helped effect a wonderful beginning of change.

Would you like to be a hero and a voice for God's voiceless? Click here to find out if your community is hosting a 40 Days for Life campaign. It will start September 23 and end November 1.

What exactly is involved in participating in the campaign? You will sign up for one one-hour period a week (although signing up isn't strictly necessary - it can be difficult to know your schedule that far in advance, and for that reason you can also just show up) to pray in front of an abortion or birth control provider. You might hold signs, and if you're Catholic you will most likely pray the Rosary and perhaps the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

People can get upset about seeing picketers, even if they are just peacefully praying. They may shout and be a bit abusive - for that reason, it's often good to pray in groups and if you're by yourself, always have a cellphone handy. Just remember to always be kind and charitable to them, and redouble your praying efforts!

To avoid getting unwanted attention from the media for being "disturbers of the peace", there are a few things to keep in mind. One, stay off the grass - if you're on their property, the clinic can legally have you arrested. Two, don't put signs too near the road or in a place where they could obstruct the vision of oncoming traffic. Three, don't argue with people - it will give the completely wrong impression of our movement!

Praying outside of clinics can be an emotionally draining experience, for sure. Once last spring a man came and began shouting obscenities at our group. It was also very upsetting to read the terrible things people had written about us and the pro-life movement on the website of our local newspaper, and the biased opinions of the media. Father, forgive them - they know not what they do! Please grant us patience!

Of course, there are also the good reactions! Countless people drove past and gave us the thumbs-up sign, even some very unlikely looking ones! This has never happened to me, but several people have said that passers-by have stopped and shared some personal story with them. For example, a young man told a lady I know that his mother had almost aborted him, and had later gone on to have 2 abortions - the mother is now a mess emotionally and physically. He was very thankful to see people praying.

All in all, participating in the campaign is a wonderful thing to do. You are helping to bring about a greater respect for life, to restore some sanity to our world, to preserve beautiful innocent lives. It's worth all the rude comments, frozen fingers, and early mornings. If you're young, it's especially inspiring for others to see you out there. Let's show the world that teenagers are not selfish beings, incapable of controlling themselves. We are the future, and we will fight a good fight to save lives and bring our world back into the light of God!

To learn more about 40 Days for Life, visit their website.

Pie Jesu

This is a slideshow I made of our choir singing "Pie Jesu". The recording qualtity is terrible, but I really like how the pictures turned out - they're even going in time with the music! I'm working on some more slideshows to accompany music from our choir...I will definitely post them when they're finished!

The solo part at the beginning was done by myself and a good friend (the one who joined the convent, who I mentioned below).

The pictures of churches were taken in various churches of the Institute of Christ the King, and there are a few of the Cathedral Basilica of St Louis.

Friday, September 18, 2009

What would you preserve?

I learned about this on someone's blog - Sony is doing a promotion for their movie 2012, asking people to vote on which works of film, art, literature, and music they would preserve for future generations if a world catastrophe happened.

Twilight is in the lead for books! How pathetic is that? It beat out great classic works such as Lord of the Rings, Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet - it even beat the Bible. That's just sad.

So if you have a few extra minutes, click here and vote. To be sure, Twilight also won for films (which is absolutely ridiculous...did they have a pack of raving fangirls go and repeatedly vote? *rolls eyes*), but it would be nice if something more truly classic and enduring could win for literature. Make your first choice the Bible! Obviously it deserves to preserved, over any other book.

Voting ends September 20.Link

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Missing Link

I said goodbye to one of my very good friends yesterday. She is going to become a sister in Italy, and I won't see her for a year. I can't even write for four more years. It is such a bittersweet occasion - I'm rejoicing wholeheartedly for her beautiful vocation, but my heart is anguished with missing her.

She was the first best friend I had, and we were fast friends from the time we met five and a half years ago, when she was 13 and I was 10. For that first year and a half or so, we really were like "one soul in two bodies". We told each other just about everything and loved one another devotedly.

But clouds must shadow every friendship, and they did ours. Hasty words were spoken, feelings hurt on both sides, and for about a year we didn't even speak to each other. We were each going through very different times in our lives - I was becoming a teenager, but she was becoming a young lady.

Thanks be to God, we completely forgave and forgot about two years ago. Things could naturally never be as they used to be, but soon we were once again as close as we had been, just in a different and more mature way.

This past summer I didn't talk to her as much as I wish I had. It was a very busy, stressful summer for both of us, but certainly more so for her. I think that whenever we have to say goodbye to someone dear to us, we will always wish we had had more time with them.

It makes me miserable to think that I'll never celebrate another Christmas or Easter or birthday with her, that if I get married she won't be a part of the wedding, that she will most likely not see my kids when they are babies, that I won't be able to tell her all about college - simply that our lives are now going to be forever separate. She won't be there to laugh with me, to cry with me, to comfort me when I need it.

But I am happy for her - so happy! She has been given a beautiful and mind-blowingly wonderful vocation. She'll be living in a beautiful country, be part of a religious order, be the spouse of Our Lord Himself. She'll be so happy.

There was a Mass for her a few weeks ago, and in his sermon our priest said she is going to be one of the "missing links in the puzzle of life". He said that vocations are like many steps on the ladder - some are closer to heaven, others farther away, but we need all of them or else we wouldn't have a ladder. The steps closest to heaven are those occupied by priests, sisters, and brothers, and lately we've had a shortage of them. He said that, hopefully, she will be one of the missing links - fill in a gap at the top of the ladder.

This is my acknowledgment of her, you could say. I'm happy that she is my friend, that we have so many good memories, that she was blessed with such a beautiful vocation. I miss her terribly - I always will, and I'll always look forward to seeing her. Saying goodbye to her was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I ask your prayers for her, on her behalf.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

So many books...so little time!

I've been on the computer way too much lately, I've decided! And you know, what I really should be doing is reading. I have so many books started...it's a very bad habit of mine.

So, as of today, here are the books I'm reading:

  • The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien. This would be the second time I've read it. I really want to read the appendixes this time, too!
  • The Bridal Wreath by Sigrid Undset. My mum loves those books (she recommends them to everyone!), so I want to read them. There are two others in the series - The Mistress of Husaby and The Cross.
  • The Quiet Light by Louis de Wohl. An excellent novel about St Thomas Aquinas! It's so well-written...there is such a difference between the sections about him and the ones about his family. You can feel the peace emanating from Thomas and the monastery, and the excitement of the life of his noble family.
  • Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray. I just started reading it and I really haven't heard much about it outside of references in old books. It's quite funny!
  • Anne of the Island by L.M.Montgomery. I have no idea how many times I've read the "Anne" books, and now I just read them in any order and they still make sense! I felt like reading about her college life...
  • The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis. I'm the process of re-reading the Narnia books and I'm almost done! I love those books so much... Mum read them out loud to my sister and me when I was 8 years old, and they are now closely entwined with my imagination and memories of my childhood.

So those are the books I'm reading right now...wow! I really want to read Black as Night and Waking Rose by Regina Doman, and the last book in C.S. Lewis's Space trilogy (the name escapes me at the moment). I'm also thinking about re-reading Little Women.

Ha, and don't even get me started on the movies (both new ones and ones I want to re-watch) I want to see!

So I just wanted to give a bit of an update, and with that, I'm off!