Category Archives: news

Reflecting on President Hinckley

 Last night the leader ( the prophet) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints passed away, Gordon B Hinckley died at the age of 97. I have many personal memories of this man.

When I first joined the church in 1997 he was the leadership already, actually he served in church leadership most of his life and his influence has been felt in every area of the church’s life and direction. Temple building under him brought temples closer to families. There was no longer the need to put off temple work.  Under him there were two proclamations that effected members and their daily lives: one on the Family and the other on the Living Christ. He was great with the media bringing the church more and more into the mainstream of religions today. He definitely was one who brought the church forward in his almost 12 years as leader.

Personally I want to write of two times that I was personally touched by him. First was almost 11 years ago to the day. A letter arrived at the home of my now Ex husband. It was from the office of the first presidency. It was signed by him giving me and my ex permission to go to the temple for our marriage. I remember touching the ink, and thinking wow he signed this note…well the marriage was short but I do have a dear daughter out of it. So thanks Pres Hinckley for her.

The other was Roo was a baby and we first came back to Canada and low and behold who was coming to speak at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton but Pres Hinckley with his wife. I was one of that HUGE crowd that went to hear him and take in the spirit that was there. It was a good day.

 The church will go forward I am sure but President Hinckley will be missed. As Thomas S Monson is sustained in the days and weeks ahead I wonder what is instore. There is a plan for each of us, and I am thankful that I learned that at least..so good night President  Hinckley.

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A Great Contesting Story

I haven’t blogged about this yet and really I wanted too! I wanted to wait though till cheques where out there. That happened last week. Now I can share the story of the school community here in Toronto that could and did win big for our school!

Back in August Please Mum hosted a contest. Parents could fill an online ballot and vote for their favorite school. The school by September 15th with the most ballots won, and10 parents across Canada would win too. Parents won $500 in a Gift Card for Please Mom which I am sure helped make a dent for several families and their back to school shopping.

When I first saw the contest it was post on the Frugal Shopper forum, I filled out my ballot and voted for my daughter’s school: RH McGregor here in Toronto. The more I thought about it I thought hey our school could use the money and we are always looking for an easy “fund raiser” so I sent off an email to the co-chairs of our school advisory and home and school committees. Well the home and school chair took it to her executive meeting that was happening the week before school started and ran with it. On the first Friday in amongst the hand outs was one telling of the contest. Parents basically had a week to get online and enter and enter they did! The parents all have a we can do attitude!

Well almost a month later our dear principal who really didn’t pay attention to all home and school was doing to enter this contest got a call from Please Mum, our school won! So how would he decide to spend an extra $5,000? He could choose from a huge dance party, books for the classroom, gym equipment, or art supplies. What would you of picked for your child’s school? I think he did well when he choose books. So our wonderful librarian now gets to shop for the classroom libraries.

Now the story of the contest win doesn’t end there. You see my daughter’s school is one with a great home and school organization that does have the ability and does raise thousands for the school. So a decision was made to help out another school locally who isn’t as lucky as we are right now. So another school is getting $1,000 to help with their libraries.

For me a mom I thought the win was great but what a great lesson to instill to the kids: when you are blessed, bless others!

About The Golden Compass Debate

Okay first we all know the movie The Golden Compass is about to be released this holiday season. The movie is based on the first book in a series of fantasy novels. Up here in Ontario, 2 of the Catholic boards have removed the books from the shelves saying they are anti God. They say this because the author doesn’t believe in God. They removed the book after one rate payer( that means 1 tax payer complained). They even went so far as to say because the Scholastic forms for December which have the book as one that could be ordered by students and their parents they would not be handing the December forms out. When I first heard of this I got angry for several reasons but it really does come down to freedom to choose. It seems from what I have heard much of the religious right want the book banned.

I personally don’t think a movie could reduce my faith in God, either could a book, my faith is based on my belief in God not based in the world of utter fantasy. The book is just that a fantasy novel. It has won many awards and is worth the read according to this parent. By the way if you want to pick up the book on the cheap see the Scholastic order form.

Would I allow Roo to read it? Yes! Just as I let her read Harry Potter, and the Narnia series….they are well written books and don’t we as parents want to our children to be well rounded.Yes the imagery points to a struggle of the good verses the evil. Is the Catholic church that anal? To take away and say don’t read this, and oh by the way you can’t even have an order form where the book is listed because we don’t want it in your homes either,  what do they think it is going to do ? Rob kids of their faith? I think not. By banning a book that is well written we are robbing our children of a good read. We are raising smart children. Children that know what fantasy is, that know what faith is..Even at 9 Roo knows this and I trust that she will not lose her eternal soul for reading a really good fantasy book just because the author doesn’t believe. What happened to Canadian diversity and sharing with our children what is out there so they can tell right from wrong, so we can have dialogue. By taking the book off the shelves they stop dialogue and there is so much that we can learn from one another when we talk about what things ( including books mean and what they don’t). The Catholic boards have gotten it wrong this time and big time. This from a mom who loves God and wants Roo to know there is other ways to think too or how else we she ever come to a FAITH that is truly hers.

Today I am thankful for a faith that can question and be questioned and that is still real after it all. I believe in a loving God that gives us the choice to embrace him or not, and to even believe that he does not exist.

Inconvenient Truths

Today there were two news stories that caught my eyes and ears this morning. Both have to deal with inconvenient facts..

First was a shameful story I think for all Canadians. We are living our children in the dust. We were rated 12th out of 21th western countries in how we treat children. Too many of our children live in poverty. One in 4 has a child in just like mine.We live we below the poverty line and live off less then $1300 a month in Canada’s largest city. ” Compared with other industrialized countries, our children are suffering from unacceptable rates of poverty, obesity, mental illness and violence that have persisted or increased since Canada ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991,” Unicef Canada President Nigel Fisher said in a statement. So what do we as Canadians think is important? Right now federally we are running at a surplus. Can not some of these funds go to what is really important: our children? I will give some concrete example of where we fall short:

1 in 4 families will at some point use a food bank

Wait times in Ontario to get a child diagnosed with a learning disability or ADHD run between 18 to 28 months( meanwhile they fall further behind on school work and it is often difficult for these children to get caught up).

Wait times to get OT assessment in the Toronto District School Board average one year.

To get a pscho ed assessment in the Toronto Board can take 2 years or more.

To access mental health programs for children in Toronto you wait over a year even after diagnosis. Roo has been on a wait list for such a program for 10 months now.

 Sports programs are offered for free to all who qualify for Toronto’s Welcome program but when people go to sign up classes are often already full, so there child goes without.

Educational Assistants and Special Needs Assistants are in short supply( in fact the Toronto board layed off lots of these this past year) and these are the people who help our kids get the education they deserve under the law.

As a mom who is cheaper than cheap I am always on the look out for ways I can save money so I can spend it making sure Roo is getting what she needs…that is why I became such a cheap mom. I supplement where I can, enter contests, volunteer etc..I try my best to give her a typical childhood but I know I am lacking in so many ways and if funds were there so much could be done to better increase her chances for success later on. I am fortunate though I know how to find ways of doing things that can help her be the best her, I feel for those who haven’t figured out the how to’s yet and there are so many of those.

Now as for the other story it is about going green so I will right the second half of this post tomorrow.

Christmas Tipp#12-So many charities come looking for money this time of year and there are so many places were we can put our giving dollars–can I recommend you live to help the poor locally in your community: here in To I recommend both the Salvation Army and Scott Mission for the amount of work they do to help the homeless as well as feed poor families..

Gratitude for today: I am thankful that I met with Roo’s teacher and found out behaviorally over all she is having the good beginnings I dreamed of and we now have a plan on how to work on some goals we set for her.

World’s Largest Stocking and Tom Brown

World RecordPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketToday at the Sony Center on Front street, we took part in the making of the world’s largest Stocking! Roo and I went out and bought a couple of large unwrapped toys this morning(thanks alot GC’s). Then it was time to head down to the Sony Center. We got there at 11 and already there was a line! I think this speaks volumes to the generous hearts of Torontians. All the toys are headed to the Salvation Army to help families here in To have a better Christmas. When we got there, cookies and hot chocolate was offered up to all of us waiting our turn…Then it was a quick dash inside where Roo struck up a conversation with Tom Brown, yes the CTV weatherman. She ended up doing the lunch time weather with Tom and then they both had there picture taken. Then they both made a mad dash up the stairs to where they could both put toys in the 9o ft  stocking. Soon I had my daughter back and we stood in line for a quick pic gifted to us by the fine folks of Sony and then we headed up the stairs where Roo put our second gift in the stocking. She was so excited that she was on tv. It was funny because when we got home there was a message from my aunt saying she saw her on the news. It was great fun to be part of the action today and all for a very good cause and at 4 pm it was annouced that we had the record!

Christmas Tip#7- Before in with the New, think recycle and get rid of the old. I have Roo clean out her toys boxes and we give her toys that she no long plays with to the local shelter here. As well I use this time of year to get rid of things that no longer fit. You have to have room for the new stuff right!

Today I am thankful for a fun day out with Roo that taught all the right stuff!

Fare thee Well George for Now…

 I know I know I have already broken the Post a Blog a day pact. Im sorry. The last 2 days have been very hectic here as I took a very temp job to try and get some extra cash for Christmas.

Tonight I knew as soon as I heard the news that is now being reported everywhere that my post today would NOT be my usual frugal kind of post.

Today George Osmond passed away. If you don’t know who he was. He was the dad to Donny and Marie and seven other. 

For those of you who don’t know this: I grew up in love with Donny as did many girls my age.  I was excited when Donny lived here in Toronto for a wee bit during his performing time up here and we were in the same ward.

 When I think of his dad and the impact that dad had on his family I couldn’t help but think of two things. First the incredible love that was shown between all family members and it started from the top and flowed down and back up. Secondly they lived there faith. Then my thoughts were drawn to sacred covenants made at alters long ago and what they mean to those who call themselves LDS.  One of the primary beliefs that are held is that we can be together as a family unit after death. With that in mind. I know the Osmonds will miss their patriarch but I can just imagine right now a certain dance in the heavens between a man and his eternal bride who used to dance together to make money. I am sure as they grieve they will also be comforted by their faith.

Today I am thankful for my own family…For having had and having loving parents , and the bestest daugther.

Christmas Tip #5This is more a local request for those that live here in Toronto. Down at the Sony Center on Thursday, Nov 8th they are attempting a world record. What record: an attempt to fill the worlds largest stocking with unwrapped gifts for the Salvation Army. If you can please bring a large unwrapped toy between 12-3 pm to 1 Front St E please do so. If you are one of the first 1500 to do so you will receive as a thank you a ticket to White Christmas for the Nov 22nd performance. As well they will have lots of hot chocolate and cookies on hand and I have hard even a few giveaways….so come lets help some of the kids who need it have a brighter Christmas.

If you aren’t here in Toronto may you make giving somewhere somehow part of your holiday season.

Can You Vote?

I just got this email from my friend and I am asking you for your help in helping her help her close friend…this was a major news story here and I think we can help her honor her uncle. Please help me help her honor him..he was killed protecting the neighbourhood I used to live in.

The letter below is from Rob Plunkett’s niece, who is in the running for the opportunity to carry the 2008 Olympic Torch over one of the legs of the 2008 Torch relay.  She wishes to dedicate the run to her Uncle Rob (Plunkett), a York Regional Police officer who was killed in the line of duty this summer…take a look and vote if you wish!  See link below…


Hi Everyone;
 
I am excited to announce that I recently submitted a short essay to a contest sponsored by Lenovo (a Chinese computer company that recently purchased the IBM line of PC’s).  They have chosen my essay as one of the 20 finalists from 11 countries to compete in Phase II of the contest.  The Grand Prize winners will get the opportunity to carry the Olympic torch over one of the legs of the 2008 Olympic Torch Relay across China.
 
To win Phase II I have submitted a 30-second video to the www.lenovo.com/torch website to be judged by the general public.  The three winners that will be chosen will be the ones with the highest number of votes.
 
Please take a minute to go to the website and cast your vote. 
 
If chosen to win I would like to dedicate my relay run to my uncle Robert Plunkett.  Constable Robert Plunkett, an Ontario Officer with York Region Police Services, was a leader in both the community and to the Special Olympics organization. Constable Plunkett was involved with the Law Enforcement Torch Run for over 15 years and the 1997 World Winter Games.  Through his long standing support of the organization he also served as the Chairman for the 2000 Special Olympics Ontario Provincial Games. Through his leadership over $1 million was raised for the Special Olympic Games.  In addition, as a result of his devotion and support the Law Enforcement Torch Run has grown significantly in Ontario raising funds and awareness for athletes with an intellectual disability.
 
My uncle Rob was killed in the line of duty on August 2, 2007, while making an arrest in conjunction with an automobile air-bag theft.  Rob is an inspiration to myself, my family and the community.  I would like to honour his legacy with this once in a lifetime chance to carry the Olympic torch.
 
If you are compelled, please don’t hesitate to forward this e-mail to anyone you know.  I will need all of the support I can get (literally around the world!) to win.
 
Thank you in advance for helping me realize this dream,
 
Erin Roy