Monday, 29 December 2014


Ah Christmas.  Such a busy, hectic, crazy, money-guzzling...amazing time.  I love Christmas.  It was so nice to be able to spend time with family the last few days.  Christmas eve through to Boxing Day, we spent with my family, and the 27th was my wife's family gathering.  It really hit me (again) this year what a blessing it is to have such a wonderful family on both sides.  It's something that I realize not everyone has.  I know many people who are estranged from their parents, siblings, or children...and I can't imagine what that would be like.  I feel for anyone in that situation, and hope and pray for reconciliation.

The more I think about it, the more I know that I am blessed to have a great family that loves me, who have shared ups and downs with me, with whom I have amazing memories, and who share the same faith and beliefs that I have. And I married into a family that's the exact same way.

If you have such a family, count your blessings this Christmas - and everyday.  We are some of the lucky few.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Happy Birthday!!!

Today is a special day in the Maassarany household - it's my son's 2nd birthday!

He was born 12/12/12 (which is pretty cool).  But the past two years have whipped by.  He's talking in full sentences, laughing, being naughty, being's just gone way too fast...

It's amazing how much joy he brings into my life.  You always hear parents say that, and if you're not a parent it can get annoying...yes, I know.  But it's so true.  I come home, see him, and a smile comes from deep down.  When I have to discipline him, I HATE it.  I know I have to and that it's good for him, but it's so hard for me to make my son upset, even when it's for his own good.  I would do anything to keep him safe.  He's my boy.

I know that time flies.  I'm trying to cherish every moment.  Perhaps one of my favourite things right now is how excited he gets when he hears me pull into the driveway.  I open the front door and hear him running down the stairs yelling "Daddy, Daddy!!"  And then a HUGE hug...oh, his hugs are so good.

My boy, happy birthday.  I love you so much.  I'll try to always be the best dad I can.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Christmas Traditions

Tomorrow on the All New Breakfast Club, we're doing a talk-back show on Christmas traditions. I think we may have started a couple of new traditions in our family.  Christmas usually rushes by for me...the season gets so busy that it's hard to slow down and really take it in.  I'm happy to say though, that this Christmas has started off a bit different, for a couple of reasons.

My son is almost two years old, and he has made it his mission to yell "CHRISTMAS LIGHTS!!!" every time we pass a decorated house.  It was funny the first few it's a bit deafening, lol.  It's especially tough when we pass five houses in a row that are all decorated.  But every time we're in the car, it's a constant reminder of what season it is, instead of driving by the beautiful lights and barely noticing.  Ah, the enthusiasm and excitement of kids...

We've also started doing something new this year.  We've titled it our 'Fantastically Fun Friday Family Film Fest!"  Which basically means that every Friday night for the month of December, we watch a Christmas movie together.  This is a rare treat in our house because we don't have cable and also don't let our son watch too much on Netflix (we'd rather have him playing and engaging in hands-on learning).  So this is a bit of a change and it's nice to sit down together as a family and relax.

And finally, my wife created an advent calendar for our son.  Everyday in leading up to Christmas, we read a bible passage and then he gets to open one small gift (from the dollar store).  He loves it, and it's fun for us to watch as parents.

So I guess the link in all of these son.  I didn't realize that until I wrote this post.  So although you'll likely never read this, thank you Leonidas, for helping me to get into the Christmas spirit earlier this year.  Yay, it's Christmas!

Friday, 14 November 2014

It's a special day...

My wonderful wife turns one  It's her birthday!

My wife always puts me to shame when it comes to gift-giving.  Actually, 'puts me to shame' is putting it nicely.  She destroys me.  Every year, for every occasion.  I really try, but I never stand a chance.  Our first Christmas was a very humbling experience...I bought her one big gift, and she sat and watched as I unwrapped her nine gifts.  I told you - destroys.

I think I've done okay this year.  Here's the spread (there was also her favourite ice cream - Ben and Jerry's Coffee Toffee Crunch...but that was eaten before this picture was taken).

We'll also be heading out tomorrow night to celebrate with an evening that I've planned (sorry, can't spill the beans).  I'm hoping I've moved up at least half a notch when it comes to gift-giving.

Oh, and I took some time at lunch this afternoon to do this:

Wednesday, 29 October 2014


It shocks me every election how few people vote.  Numbers usually come in between 30-50% of eligible voters who actually cast a ballot.  In central Ontario, the highest voter turnout I saw was in Owen Sound, 52%.  The lowest? Barrie, 31%.

This post is not to rip on anyone who didn't vote.  It's to encourage you to think about voting next time around (hint hint - federal election, October 2015).  Voting is a privilege.  People around the world fight and die for, and dream of the opportunity to have their voices heard.  There are dozens of countries like North Korea where the people are so oppressed...and we're on the complete opposite end.  We have freedom.  We can express ourselves without fear of persecution, jail time, torture, or even death.

If that's too dramatic an approach - although in reality, it's not - then bring it back to your life personally.  I always think it's funny when people complain about the government, specific politicians, high taxes, horrible roads, a failing school system...or whatever else bothers you (take your pick), and then an election rolls around and they don't vote.  I've always been of the mindset that if you're going to complain, you should have a solution to go along with it.  Complaining doesn't do much.  Solutions fix problems.  If you're upset with the way things are, one solution is to vote.  It's important to note that this also goes the other way - if you like the way things are, then vote to keep it status quo.  Otherwise, things might change and you'll be on the other side of the fence ("Oh, it's too bad that person didn't get re-elected...")

To me it's sad in general that we don't realize the incredible privilege we have to vote.  But it's even more sad after everything that happened in Ottawa last week.  Corporal Nathan Cirillo's death was a reminder that brave men and women have fought (and continue to fight) for our country, and they protect the freedoms we have today.  People would die to have the privileges we have.  And last week, one man did just that.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Being a dad...second time around

My new son is just over three weeks old...and growing like a weed.  What's the deal kid??  Slow down already!  My goodness, the newborn stage is so short...

Fatherhood.  Awesome.  I love coming home and seeing my 22 month old.  He's fun.  He's happy (usually).  I absolutely love watching him learn about the world around him - new words everyday, how things work, the highest stair he can jump from, etc...  He teaches me patience, innocence, genuine excitement, trust, selfishness (yes, selfishness), and what it means to love unconditionally.  The most heartbreaking thing though?  Watching him cry.  Can't stand it.  But I know that sometimes it's necessary for discipline, or it's part of the learning process (I.e., when he realizes, 'Oh, that stair was TOO high').

And now, there's a second one.  I know it's only been three weeks, but it's funny how much you learn the first time around.  I'm much more relaxed with this newborn.  I've learned to try to REALLY cherish the time that he's young and small, because it flew faster than I could ever imagine with our first born.  I've learned to just sit with him and enjoy.  Just stare.  Take him in.

I've also learned that with two kids so close in age, sleep can be a rare commodity, and diapers begin to take over life.  Even still, I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014


I'm not a 'Dancing with the Stars' type of guy, but this is perhaps one of the best things I have ever seen.  Enjoy a trip down Memory Lane.

Friday, 19 September 2014

I need a good, unique this one!

I love a good challenge...and something that's unique.  I wish I could be as creative as some people.  I saw this video today, and it got me thinking...what can I do right here at home that's a neat challenge like that?  No special effects, no expensive production crew required, just something creative and pretty epic...  I'm going to think about what I can do...ideas are welcome!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Bittersweet moment

Alas, another bittersweet moment in the saga of my son growing up all to quickly.

This past Friday night we moved him from his nursery room into his big-boy room with a big-boy bed.  An exciting time as he's growing up...but tough on my wife and I!  How did this day come so quickly??  We decorated the room last week (my wife mostly) and made it fun for him.  We made sure to get him excited about his big-boy bed.  And when the moment actually came, it was no problem at all - he slept all the way through his first night, and has been great since.

That full night sleep is an absolute blessing, but it's a bit tough too - my wife laughed as she mentioned how she wished he would cry out a bit so she could go in there and comfort him, haha.

I was not upset at that part at all (I like my sleep), but more so at his old room being empty.  That's when it hits me - when I walk past there or in there at night, and he's not there...what happened?

Love my kid.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Why is summer so busy!

Whoops, it's been a while since I've blogged!  It's the busyness of summer...summer gets loaded with so much 'stuff', and before you know it, it's over.  It seems like every weekend gets booked with work, family get-togethers, plans with friends, church activities, and if you're lucky, a chance to do some of those tasks around the house that need to get done.  After all that though, there's barely any time for you and your family.

So how do you stop and smell the roses in such a busy season?

1) Stop.  It's as 'simple' as that.  Notice how simple is in brackets?  I realize this is a difficult thing to do.  But sometimes we just need to stop everything we're doing and take a breath (or 10), and smile at the blessings around us.

2) Deliberately schedule time to rest.  This can also be a tough one.  When there are so many things on the to-do list, it's hard to schedule time to not do anything.  This may lead to an inner battle, where you'll be fighting to tell yourself that you are not wasting time in those moments.  But rest assured, you are not.  You are giving your mind and your body some much needed rest.

3)  Enjoy the small things.  Not everything has to be big for us to enjoy it.  We don't have to go on a road trip every weekend.  We don't have to make it to every out of town family gathering.  Some things on the to-do list can wait a few months.  An hour at home or at the park with the family can be better than driving two hours to get somewhere 'fun'.

4)  Don't forget about God.  When life gets busy, what's the first thing that gets dropped to make room for everything else?  Let's not sugar-coat it, for a lot of us, it's our devotions.  But when you're doing 'busy' without God, that's a recipe for disaster, stress, fatigue, and the classic 'grass is greener' syndrome, to name a few.

There are lots of other tips, but we're already busy enough without trying to remember 15 different things.  Pick one or two of these, try them out, and see how you feel.

Now to put it into practice, those roses outside my window really are quite pretty...

Friday, 13 June 2014

It's all in how we react

I'm debating what to blog about this week - take the easy way out and blog about excitement over the World Cup, or jump into the deep end and talk about the provincial elections.  Meh, I've never been one to play it safe...

So Kathleen Wynne's liberals won a majority government yesterday.  A surprise victory, as no one predicted a majority government.  Everyone thought it would be a tight - at least, tighter - race.  Not so the case.

What I wanted to write about is our reaction as Christians.  Much of this stems from what happened on the LIFE Facebook page yesterday and today -, and scroll to Thursday night's comment about congratulating the Liberals.  (I'm also seeing a lot of people posting their outrage on their personal Facebook pages).  It's not wrong to have an opinion, but we must be careful about how we express it.

If I can make a large generalization here, it's no secret that most Christians are Conservative, or at least not Liberals.  So the Liberals winning a majority is not what many Christians wanted to see yesterday.  Nonetheless, we have a choice in how we react, as we do in every situation, every day of our lives.  We can be upset, grumble, complain, and even trash-talk.  Or we can offer our congratulations, and pray for our new leaders, even if we disagree with their stance(s).  I believe that's taking the high road.

There is already too much negativity associated with Christians and Christianity.  We are seen as judgemental, mean-spirited, rude, ignorant, and narrow-minded.  Reacting with anger to an outcome we do not like simply perpetuates these thoughts.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love."  The best thing we can do is show love.  Whether we or not we agree with a party or an election outcome.  Whether we're happy or not.  We are called to show love.

A pastor friend of mine posted the 1 Timothy 2:1-4 passage on his Facebook page, about praying for our leaders.  So many of us have posted and referenced this passage during the election.  But I love what he said about the passage - "Let us remember who was in government when Paul penned these words".  That's a great thought.  Paul was oppressed, at risk for his life, constantly beaten and imprisoned, and yet still he encouraged people to pray for our leaders.  He did not speak negatively of them.

Let's mimic a great example set by a great apostle of Christ.

Friday, 6 June 2014

You can't have it both ways...

The story out of Moncton, New Brunswick this week has been absolutely devastating.  Three RCMP officers killed, two others severely wounded, and an entire town gripped by fear and locked in their homes.  No individual, family, or community should ever have to go through that.  My heart goes out to every person affected.

As I've been watching this story unfold over the past couple of days though, something odd has jumped out at me.  On the news, I've been seeing signs on businesses and store fronts.  I've seen it all over facebook and twitter.  I've heard it said in conversation.  "Pray for Moncton".

I 1,000% agree.  I think we all would.  What strikes me as odd, though, is that people are turning to prayer.  It's a great thing.  But our North American society - generally speaking - has become anti-religious, anti-God, anti-prayer...anti-anything to do with religion.  Laws are passed to keep religion and God out of our schools, workplaces, public places, etc.  Those who do speak up about their faith are often ridiculed and laughed at...or at risk of being suspended or losing their jobs.

Then a major tragedy like this hits, and the first thing we do is turn to prayer.  And I don't mean Christians, I mean our society.  "We offer our thoughts and prayers to the families affected".  How many times have you heard a politician say that?  People post on Facebook reminding others to "Pray for Moncton".  It's the big message everywhere that everyone is echoing.  But give it a few weeks.  Once this tragedy fades from our minds, it'll abruptly be back to "no religion in our society, thank you very much."

If we as a human race instinctively turn to God in our pain and weakness, shouldn't we also turn to Him when things are good?  Wouldn't a God who created us want to know us at ALL times, the good and the bad?  We can't just call out when we need Him, take His help to work through the pain, and then ban Him from our lives when we don't need Him anymore (or think we don't).  Talk about an abusive relationship.

Sorry God.  That's pretty mean of us.

Friday, 23 May 2014

5 years!

Yesterday my special lady and I celebrated 5 years of marriage.  I realize that for many people reading this, 5 years is nothing - we're still in our 'infancy' in our marriage life.  That being said, there are a lot of marriages that don't get to the 5 year mark...but that's not what I'm here to talk about.

It's been a great 5 years.  She is awesome, and I am blessed.  We're actually quite 'lucky' because we really don't argue all that often...we're generally on the same page with everything.  I guess that's what marrying the right person can do - you think the same way, laugh at the same jokes, and have the same beliefs, all of which are important and guiding factors in all of our lives.  Having someone on the same track as you makes life a whole lot simpler.

I've also learned that marriage - and fatherhood - is a lot of work.  Great, rewarding work, but work nonetheless.  It takes time.  Effort.  And perhaps hardest of all, self-sacrifice.  But that last point is huge.  I think part of the reason our marriage has been so smooth - among many other things of course - is that we always put each other first.  That means that when we're sitting on the couch downstairs and she mentions that she's thirsty, I go get her a glass of water.  Even if it means getting out of my comfortable, cozy position on a wonderfully warm couch, and walking all the way upstairs when I'm tired and all I want to do is sit and relax.  I do it because she's first.  And that means that when I did the morning shift for so many years (pre-kids), she would wake up with me at 4am everyday to fix me a breakfast and lunch.  It means you put the other person's needs above your own.  (This is biblically based stuff too - check out Philippians 2:3-4, and Mark 10:44-45.)

I know we're only at the 5 years mark, but I look forward to many more years of serving my wife.  And to any unfortunately immature guys out there who think that's me being "whipped", it's not.  It's the key to a happy marriage.  Try it.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

T-shirt war

I'm not one to talk about celebrities.  In fact, I generally couldn't care less about their lives, pop-culture, and the media fascination.  But this...this is different.  This is fantastic.

Macauley Culkin has become my hero for the day.  This t-shirt battle between him and Ryan Gosling is epic.

It started with...(still don't know why he is wearing this...)

To which Macauley Culkin replied:


Now if the photoshoppers are actually able to predict the future and this happens, I'll be thrilled:

Now while this is truly fantastic, it's not the best t-shirt war to grace the world, and it's not the original. THIS is perhaps the best t-shirt battle ever created.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Boko Haram

The world has been gripped by the news of what's happening in Nigeria - 276 teenage school girls kidnapped by an extreme terrorist group called Boko Haram (which means 'western education is sinful'), who are looking to implement a strict Muslim state.

If you've listened to LIFE for a while, the name Boko Haram is not new to you.  You've heard it several times on 'Beyond the Comfort Zone', where I look at the struggles and persecutions of Christians around the world.  Nigeria is one of the worst places because of Boko Haram, and every couple of weeks a new story emerges of Christians being slaughtered, churches being burned, etc...  Hundreds of Christians are chased down, and brutally tortured and murdered by this group every year.  (In fact, the group kills thousands of people each year - a quick internet search will turn up dozens of stories, many of them recent.)

Now there's this story of the captured teenage girls.  It's maddening that this still happens in our day and age.  It's infuriating that people still haven't learned to treat each other with respect, that some see themselves as better than others.  And it's frustrating that it takes the capture of almost 300 teenage girls for the world to finally take notice of one of the worst terrorist groups in the world.

Now on the positive side of that last frustration, it's good that the world has finally noticed, and is doing something about it (better late than never). Canada, the US, and Britain have all offered help in finding the girls.  There is mounting pressure on the Nigerian government, international news coverage, and several social media campaigns.  We pray for the safe return of these girls.  And we pray that this will be the catalyst for the world to start to take note of Boko Haram, their religious extremism, and their persecution of Christians.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Think Big

I've been challenging myself to think bigger lately.  It's really easy to fall into routine.  You do the same thing day in, day out.  You know exactly what's expected of you, and exactly how to do it.  You know when your alarm clock will ring, when you have to be at work, when you'll finish, what your job entails, etc...   and if you don't watch out, it all becomes standard and, dare I say, boring.

I'm not at the point of boredom, certainly not, but I do find myself falling into routine.  It's easy.  I find myself knowing exactly what's expected of me at work, at home, at church, with my friends...  I know how to do it well (or at least fool people into thinking I know what I'm doing, haha).  Worst of all though, I find that I sometimes fall into the routine of praying the same things...over and over, so much so that they've lost their meaning.

Hence, the title of this post.  I think an important cure for this trap of 'the routine' is to think big.  It's when we get tunnel-visioned, caught up in only our own little worlds (remind you of a Matthew West song?) that we start to fall into the ordinary and unimaginative.  We see only our own needs, our own desires, and only what we want to achieve.  We forget to see the bigger picture - that there are people in need; that we can do so much good with small gestures of love and kindness; that spending time at work and with family are blessings, not obligations.  Most importantly though, we forget that God is calling us to more.

Here's one of my absolute favourite quotes:

To sinful patterns of behaviour that never get confronted and changed,
Abilities and gifts that never get cultivated and deployed -
Until weeks become months,
And months turn into years,
And one day you're looking back on a life of deep intimate gut-wrenchingly honest conversations you never had,
Great bold prayers you never prayed,
Exhilarating risks you never took,
Sacrificial gifts you never offered,
Lives you never touched,
And you're sitting in a recliner with a shriveled soul,
And forgotten dreams,
And you realize there was a world of desperate need,
And a great God calling you to be part of something bigger than yourself -
You see the person you could have become but did not;
You never followed your calling.
You never got out of the boat.

- Gregg Levoy

I don't want to be the guy that misses out on 'a great God calling me to be part of something bigger than myself.'  Hence the challenge - think big.  Think God's kind of big.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Easter reflections

This Easter is standing out to me in a unique way.  It`s the first Easter since my trip to Israel with 33 LIFE listeners in November, and I'm finding that I'm thinking about it a lot differently than I ever have before.

It`s different reflecting on Easter when you've actually been to the places you're reading about.  They take on new meaning and significance.  Journey with me for a second, you may see things in a new light.

This is the Garden of Gethsemene, where Jesus spent His last night before He was crucified, praying to His Father and calling for His will, despite the pain that Jesus would suffer.  I pictured Jesus walking among the trees the same way that I did, but remembering how He created each tree in love, and looking at the temple a few hundred feet away...and crying that the people (that He loved so much more than the trees) did not understand His love and what He was trying to do.

I remember picturing Jesus being led from the garden and up these steps after he was arrested, escorted by an angry mob.

Those steps are right beside the house of Caiaphas, where Jesus spent his last night before He was crucified. Never once have I thought about what Jesus last night must have been like...until I visited the house of Caiaphas.  He spent it in a damp, dark, disgusting, 20 foot deep pit, where the only way in or out was by being lowered through a hole in the ceiling.  What a long night that must have been.  I bet He didn't sleep a wink.  He must have spent the whole night in prayer, praying for the souls of those about to crucify Him, and for the strength to go through with the pain and suffering He was about to endure.

In Nazareth we saw a replication of a cross from Jesus' day.  The crosses we have today in our churches and homes and around our necks are perfectly carved, ornate, and beautiful.  The cross we saw was a log for the crossbeam, mounted on another log, both jagged, both rough.  It also had a seat on it, which I never knew.  I knew that those being crucified would suffocate, then push up to get air, then go rest a bit, then push again, etc...horrible torture.  The seat prolonged that torture so that the person could sit for a few seconds, and then push up...awful.

It's believed Jesus was crucified here (can you see the skull in the mountain?  There's actually 2-3 of them)...

...and laid here (far left)...

...and the stone was rolled over the entrance...

As you reflect on Easter, remember the suffering Jesus went through.  The (perhaps) bittersweet feeling of walking through the Garden of Gethsemane, the long night in a dungeon, the beatings before the cross and the pain of the cross itself...  And it was GOD that went through that for US.  Doesn't make sense, should be the other way around.  Talk about leading by example - that's complete sacrifice..

Monday, 14 April 2014

Jim Flaherty

The details have been announced for Jim Flaherty's funeral - it's this Wednesday, and it's a state funeral.  I'm really glad it's a state funeral, he deserves it.  Although I'd never met this man, I respected him and felt a unique connection to him.

It's hard to be in a position of leadership.  But to be in charge of an entire nation's finances, with all the critics (as you definitely can't - and won't - please everyone)...that takes a strong person.  I always thought Jim Flaherty handled himself with class, even in the face of criticism.

When the world economy crashed in 2008, it was Jim Flaherty's guidance and leadership that kept Canada on the straight and narrow.  Yes, there were others involved of course, but he was the head.  Canada's was one of the strongest economies in the world.  While almost everyone else's was collapsing, Canada stayed strong.  Other nations even started adopting Canadian policies.  That says a lot about our country's financial policies and practices, put in place by our leadership.

I mentioned at the top that I felt a bit of a personal connection to Jim Flaherty, despite never having met him.  As the News Director here at LIFE - and the sole newsperson for 6 years - it was my responsibility to cover every election, every budget, every financial update, etc...  I would be done my shift for the day, and would come back in to cover a budget update.  I've watched Flaherty deliver every budget since I started at LIFE in late 2005.  I've watched him give dozens of speeches, answer questions tactfully, and go about the duties of one of Canada's highest ranking politicians with class and dignity.  His character made me respect him.

Mr. Flaherty, I know you resigned before your passing, but I will miss watching you during the next budget update.  As a proud Canadian, I thank you for your guiding hand.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

April Fool's Day

A few years ago, AJ the Wonderdog pranked me on April Fool's Day.  This was back when I was doing the morning shift.  I came in at 4:30am to find everything on my desk tied to my chair with fishing line. But of course fishing line is almost invisible, so I didn't see it until after I pulled out my chair and everything on my desk came crashing down.  Frustrating.  After cutting all the lines and putting everything back in order, I began to do my work.  Except that when tried to type up my newscast, what I was typing was not showing up on the screen.  Different words were instead.  AJ had set up a couple of macros that changed certain words.  So every time I typed 'Tim Maassarany', the macro automatically changed it to 'fart'.  Funny, but annoying.  Then when I tried to write stuff out instead, I found that the ink in all my pens had been replaced with garlic powder...and my office stunk for about a week after that.  And finally, there was an alarm that kept going off every 15 minutes all old cell phone that he hid in the ceiling tiles.

This year, my revenge.

I started out in his office.  That's BBQ sauce on his ear piece.  You'll also notice that there is tape on the tab that pops up to give you the dial tone, meaning the phone will keep ringing until the tape is removed.

Then onto the mouse.  It's funny how much frustration one little piece of tape can cause (perhaps you have had this done to you?).  It's simple - the mouse won't work and you can't figure out why...until you turn it upside-down.  Post-it notes work well for this too.

For good measure, I also removed all writing utensils from his office - pens, pencils, highlighters, markers, everything.

Step three, the cell phone.  I hijacked this for a couple of minutes and did as much damage as I could in a short period of time (this is why you lock your phone by the way).  First was to change the home screen.  Now AJ will always remember me, or parts of me.

Then I changed all the sounds for everything - his ringer, texts, facebook and twitter notifications, calender reminders, etc...  I wanted to change the language, create fake calendar reminders, and upload an embarrassing ring tone, but I didn't have time.  There was still more to do before AJ got off the air at 9am.

The gem is the car.  I ended off by snatching his car keys and moving his car to the opposite end of the parking area that also happens to be hidden.  Since I had access to his car, I also lifted his steering wheel as high as possible, moved his seat as close to the steering wheel as it would go, and cranked the radio to max for a fun surprise the next time he listens to LIFE.  But my favourite - besides moving the car - is using AJ's own maple syrup, which I grabbed from the staff fridge.  His shift stick now smells great.

There were about four other ideas I had that were really good, but I ran out of time.  I'm pleased with my efforts though.


Now that all the pranks have been discovered, my favourite two parts of the day were when AJ came into my office at 9:30am and yelled, "You're driving me crazy!"  And that was just all the office stuff, he hadn't gotten to the car yet...which leads to my other favourite part of the day, when he went out at lunch and his car wasn't there...  Yup, it's been a fun day.

Saturday, 22 March 2014


Some of you may be wondering why I haven't been on the air the past two weeks...well the title of this blog post says it all - I've had laryngitis.  There are few worse things for a radio dj to get then laryngitis.  My voice is my job, and without it I can't do anything.  The good news is that I've started to get it back, hopefully it'll only be a couple more days.  But it's been a long week.  I've been under doctors orders to completely rest my voice, meaning no talking at all.  Living a week without being able to talk teaches you a few things....

1) Having a spouse that is on the same page as you is crucial.  I've always known this one, and that's one of the big reasons I fell in love with my wife - we have always been on the same page, and we have always known what the other person is thinking before they say anything.  We're on the same wavelength, we think the same way, etc.  Now with laryngitis this past week, this has been a saving grace.  It's been tough not being able to speak, but my wife has almost always known what I was trying to tell her.  Sometimes it was just me pointing at something, or a look at each other, or just mouthing a word and she would know exactly what I was saying.  It made this week a lot easier.

2)  This past week has taught me how tough it is for persons with disabilities.  So many people have thought I was a jerk this week, simply because they would talk to me but I wouldn't (couldn't) talk back.  At the store you bump into people, or someone asks you a question, or they say a quick joke in passing, and you can't respond...and they give you this weird look like, "Wow, you're a can't even acknowledge what I'm saying."  Or the look is them thinking, what's wrong with this guy?  And you can't explain yourself, and it's brutal.  This week I've carried around a dry-erase board wherever I go.  That's helped, but what a hassle!  It's been eye-opening.

3)  You can gain so much by just being silent and listening.  Again, I've always known this one, but I've noticed it much more this week with my son.  I always make noise when I talk, play, discipline, and laugh with him.  This week I've had to do that without words.  It's been tough, especially when you want to acknowledge something great that he did, or stop him from doing something bad.  But instead I've learned that just watching him is a joy in an of itself.  We still play, but I hear a lot more of his laughter and his 'words'.  It's been fun.  Long and difficult, but fun.

4)  God's timing is perfect.  On Monday my wife had an unexpected and rather significant medical issue that required us to take her to the emergency room.  Thank God, everything is fine.  However, this week has been a week of rest for her, staying in bed most of the time and making sure she doesn't overdo it.  And with a 15 month old bucket of energy running around, I don't know what she would have done if I was at work all week.  However, God's perfect timing allowed me to be home to take care of both her and our son, and allowed her to rest.  She's convinced that I got laryngitis this exact week so that I could stay home and help.  Looking back, I think she's right.

So yes, I've learned at lot.  It's been an interesting week...but a long one (have I said that enough?)  I'm thankful for what I've learned, but I'm looking forward to getting my voice back and being able to speak.  And with Sharathon this week, it can't happen a moment too soon!

Thursday, 13 March 2014


This has been an abnormal winter for me.  I used to be an iron horse - I never got sick!  If I did, it was for a day at a time and mostly a head cold.  I'd sleep it off and feel better the next day.  A fever, cough, sore throat - I'd get that type of sickness every few years.

This winter though, this winter...*sigh*...  I got sick three weeks ago and spent a few days in a row in bed.  That started with my son getting sick, passing it to my wife, then to me.  All three of us were down for a while.  I eventually got over that and then a week ago I started to get that feeling again...that feeling where you know the sickness is coming.  And sure enough the next day my throat was scratchy and I've been coughing since.  I've been to the doctor a couple of times, I'm taking vitamin C, cough syrup, Advil, drinking hot water with lemon and honey, etc...doing all the things your supposed to be do when you're sick, and yet this cold is taking its sweeeeeeeet time.  And because of my cough and sore throat, my voice is shot.  I sound like a kid going through puberty...not very good when your job is being on the radio.

So what happened?  Why can't I fight off a cold now?  I think I figured it out...

I have a kid!  Don't get me wrong, I love my son and by no means am I blaming him, but things change when you have a kid.  He gets sick and his germs are EVERYWHERE.  He doesn't quite have the same etiquette adults have - no covering of the mouth for a cough, no wiping of the nose, no washing of the hands, etc...  So he passes it on.  On top of that, he doesn't sleep well at night because he's not feeling well...which means, yep, parents, you're not sleeping either.  Deal with that for several days and nights in a row while working full time and doing everything else you need to do...and your immune system eventually wears down.

Again, I'm not blaming my kid, but I think it's just reality.  I've had a few parents tell me that the same thing happened to them when they had kids, so it's nothing new.  And it gets worse when he starts going to school because he can pick up so much more from the other kids!  We're not there yet, but this winter has been good preparation for that I think - I realize that I need to be more proactive in making sure I stay healthy.  That means vitamin C more often, ekanasia, no running out to the car to grab something without my coat on, washing my hands more often, etc...

Experienced parents, if you have any more tips, lay'em on me!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014


On February 11, Dara Howell made Canadians everywhere proud - she won a gold medal in the first ever slopestyle skiing event at the Olympics!

This past Friday night the town of Huntsville celebrated their hometown hero.  And what a celebration it was!  5,000 people crammed into Rivermill Park to celebrate Dara's victory.  Fireworks, music, and special messages from the mayor, MP, MPP, even the Premier!  But I'm jumping ahead of myself a little bit.  Let's start at the beginning.

Being a Huntsville station, LIFE couldn't miss this amazing local celebration.  I was the lucky representative who got to go.  It started out with a press conference where we got to ask Dara whatever we wanted.

Dara answering a question, and Dara with Mayor Claude Doughty

She then posed for pictures...

She let me hold the gold medal - it's heavy!  (notice her gold nail police...nice touch)

And perhaps one of the coolest parts of the evening for myself...

Then after all the picture taking, I got a chance to sit down with Dara and chat one-on-one.  What a cool, down-to-earth young lady.  She's only 19, so she's just starting out here career.  It's neat to see how much she loves Huntsville, and how excited she was to hit the slopes again (it's been a whirlwind couple of weeks!) . I'll try to post some of that interview here, but you can also here it on LIFE today at 4:45pm and 6:45pm.

Then it was on to the actual celebration...

Dara was just beaming as she was brought in on a fire truck, escorted by police and the RCMP.  She beamed every time she took them mic and spoke to the crowd.  And the crowd loved it - they loved her, the home town girl!  And perhaps the biggest honour - as a permanent memorial to Dara, the town is renaming the street in front of River Mill Park as 'Dara Howell Way'.  (She also got a very nice Audi SUV for winning her gold medal...not to shabby!)

I think though, that perhaps the best part of the evening was what happened afterward.  Dara promised to stay and sign autographs for everyone who wanted to meet her.  And she kept that promise.  The line was SOOO long..and 20 minutes later when I look back, it had not shortened at all...and then 20 minutes later again, it was still just as long...and Dara stayed and met every person and signed every autograph.  Classy.  And humble.

I'm looking forward to seeing more from this young Huntsville gold medalist, who is just full of potential.

Friday, 21 February 2014

The week it's been

You may remember from my last post that my son was quite sick (croup).  Well that sickness jumped to my wife, then to me.  All three of us were sick for several days, making it a rough few days.  I stayed home in bed the past three days, trying to get better.  Not fun being sick - and not fun being sick on your birthday! - but at least there were a couple of bright spots.

One was being at home with my family for a few days.  Again, we were all sick, so it's not like we were playing games and going out and having fun.  We stayed at home, did nothing, and tried to get better.  But it was still nice to be together.

The second thing was that I got to watch a lot of the Olympics!  Sick at home in bed, what else am I going to do?  I love sports and the Olympics, so I wasn't complaining about this part.  In hockey, the quarterfinal game between Canada and Latvia was amazing, and the women's gold medal  game was fantastic.  Seeing Jennifer Jones win gold was cool too, as was the gold for the women's bobsleigh team.  It's great to see Canada doing so well, and it's really fun watching the Olympics...and yet...constantly in the back of my mind is the fact that they spent $57 billion in setting up these games.  No matter how fun and exciting the games are, can we really justify spending that much on sports when that money could be used to do SOOO much good around the world?  There are starving people who need food, wells that need to be built for clean drinking water, homeless people who are just trying to stay warm at night, and thousands of other social issues...  These are matters of life and death, and we spend $57 billion on sports??  Yes, the Olympics are a global stage, yes they are about uniting mankind and humanity on something we can all enjoy, yes they are about dreaming big and striving for your goals, yes it's about inspiration.  Yes, clearly it's about more than just sports.  But are we really uniting mankind when half the world's population is too poor to have a TV or internet to follow the Olympics, and when many countries aren't involved?  Is someone who is wondering where their next meal will come from - and if they'll even last till then - really going to be interested in who the best skier in the world is?

I wasn't intending to write a blog on social conciousness when I started this post, but it's near and dear to my heart, and as much as I love watching the Olympics, I can't separate it from the bigger picture of a broken and hurting world.  It just seems like we have our priorities off-kilter.  Imagine half that money was used for social good - $28.5 billion.  How far would that go??  Now imagine you were one of those starving/thirsty/homeless people, and you found out that $57 billion was being spent on sports while you were on the verge of starving to death...  Changes things a bit, doesn't it...

Monday, 10 February 2014

The pain of fatherhood

I know I talk on the radio and blog about my son a lot, but I can't help it, I'm a proud papa.  But what happened last night showed me that I REALLY love him.  I mean, I always knew that before of course, there was never any doubt, but last night just made it more real.

Yesterday my son (13.5 months old) had a pretty bad cough.  We decided that if it got worse we'd take him to the doctor.  Well last night, it got worse.  He had that cough that sounds like a seal barking...that really painful cough in the back of your throat and in your lungs.  But what made me really nervous was hearing him breathe.  He was labouring, especially when he was coughing.  Every time he inhaled, it sounded like he was struggling for air.  It was killing me, I couldn't stand to hear him like that.  So there I was in the middle of the night, trying to comfort him and get him back to sleep while my wife was surfing the net looking up what kind of cough he had.  We found that it sounded a whole lot like whooping cough, and then I found out that that's potentially fatal for young kids...and at that point sleep was out the question for me.

You might be wondering, "If you were so worried and it sounded so bad, why didn't you take him to the hospital right away??"  Simple.  Because it wasn't actually that bad.  I'm a first-time parent who was over-reacting a bit, and I knew it.  He only had one or two short coughing fits throughout the night, but the rest of the time he was sleeping well, breathing fine, and not coughing.  Deep down I knew it wasn't as life-threatening as I was making it out to be in my head.  But those couple of coughing fits...some of the worst sounds I've ever heard in my life.  I was just wishing I could help, wishing I could do something, anything to make it better, wishing I could take it for him so he could just sleep and not be struggling or in pain.

And then I realized...that's how much God loves US.  I'll let you take that one to think about.

For those that are curious, we took him to the doctor this morning.  He has a respiratory infection, maybe slight signs of whooping cough, but nothing that won't go away with the use of an inhaler.  He should be okay in a few days.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Festival of Hope

This past Wednesday I was privileged to go to a very cool event in Toronto, the launch of the 'Festival of Hope'.  This will be a three day event at the Air Canada Centre, September 12-14, where Franklin Graham will preach the gospel message.  His father did it in 1995, now he's doing it.  His father brought DC Talk and Michael W. Smith.  Franklin is bringing Lecrae, the Newsboys, Michael W. Smith (for round 2!), Kari Jobe, Thousand Foot Krutch, and the City Harmonic.

There are three different reactions I think we can have as Christians.

The first is that I'm sure many of us will feel a draw to attend - after all, it's Franklin Graham and a bunch of fantastic Christian artists!  But we have to remember the biggest thing - this event is not for us.  It is for us to bring our friends, family, neighbours, co-workers, hockey buddies, etc...  It is an opportunity for them to hear the gospel message in a clear and unintimidating way (it's at the ACC, not at a church).  If we show up as Christians without bringing someone who needs to hear the gospel message, then we're just taking up a valuable seat.

On other other end of the spectrum are those who will be cynical.  For a lot of Christians, myself included, it can be easy to think of this as 'one of those cheesy televangelist/crusade events that don't work anymore".  But that's not the case.  First off, it's not just a weekend event.  There is a whole slew of events and activities planned for the months leading up to the September weekend.  You can find it all at  The goal is to get as many churches as possible to be active in this, to reach out to their individual communities, and to work together...and that's a pretty great way to spread the gospel!

Secondly, it's Franklin Graham, with the Billy Graham name behind him.  It's not about him of course, because it's God that will change people.  But let's be honest, a name garners attention, and the bigger the name, the more interest it generates - for Christians and non-Christians alike.

Thirdly, I loved what Franklin shared.  His father Billy always says that there are three keys to any major event like this - prayer, prayer, and prayer.  This event is being doused in prayer from thousands of people across the GTA, for months.

The third reaction would be the perfect one - we're excited about the event, and we're already thinking and praying about who we can invite.  If you fall into this category, NICE!  Inspire others to follow your lead!

This is going to be huge, with lives won for Christ.  I'm excited.  It's great to see churches coming together to work on a huge initiative like this.  It's great to see so much prayer happening for the lost.  It's great to see Christians excited about possibilities.  It's great to see a big scale event that you know will have a wow-factor happening at the ACC.  And I encourage you and your church to get involved and pray.  Check out the Festival of Hope website.

One last thing, a sidenote.  I arrived early on Wednesday for a press conference.  As we were sitting waiting, a gentleman walked in and started shaking everyone's hand and getting their names.  I was sitting closest to the door so I was first.  As I looked up at the man, I thought, "This looks a lot like Franklin Graham...but it couldn't be...could it?"  I was just so surprised that he stopped and chatted with each one of us instead of going straight for the mics to make his big announcement...especially as he was SO busy that day.  That's something that will stick with me for a long time, and it says a lot about Franklin's character.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Grief turns to joy with God

This was a tough week.  Last Sunday, an incredible young woman from my church was involved in a car accident and she passed away.  Talented, athletic, literally brilliant, infectiously warm, and a lover of God.  Amazing girl from an amazing family.  It was a jarring, heartbreaking loss.  There's so much to say about her, but I want to focus on a bit of a different aspect below, so you can get a brief synopsis about Amanda here -

I went to the funeral today, and it's amazing how God works.  In the midst of tragedy and heartache, each of her family members took the opportunity to talk about her love of Christ during their eulogies, and then to tell of how Christ's strength was keeping them strong.  They were witnessing!  They were laughing!  They were full of joy!  They were excited for their daughter/sister in heaven!  It was incredible to see their faith and their strength.  About 1,000 people were at the funeral, many non-believers, and they heard the message of Christ loud and clear - several times from many speakers.  That in itself was a testament to Amanda's faith and legacy.

I really can't say enough about this girl and this family.  I had so much respect for them before this all happened...I didn't think it was possible to gain even more respect for them, and yet here were are today.  Meanwhile, her boyfriend is in hospital with serious injuries.  I have just as much respect for his family (who also go to our church).  Both families are truly anchored in God, I have always looked up to both, and both have always inspired my faith in the past, and even more so now.

In the end, there were two things that captivated me today, shared by Amanda's family.  One was her determination to excellence.  No matter what she did, she gave it her all.  1 Corinthians 9:24-27 says that we run a race, but only one wins.  We should run to win, and train our bodies for that - we push our hardest and strive for our best, and it's all for God.

The second thing was that we have no fear in death.  As Christians, we really do have no fear in death because death means something better for us.  Philippians 1:21 - "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."  The family got that message across clearly.  In fact, if there was one thing that was comforting all week, it's been picturing Amanda having the time of her life in heaven, and just waiting for everyone here back on earth to join here.  She's thrilled right now, and we as Christians have no fear in death because we have something better that awaits us!

Still, it is hard for those left behind right now.  We will miss her and grieve with the family.  But Christ is our strength and our joy, and her family did so well to remind us of that today.

Friday, 3 January 2014

NEW YEARS!!...resolutions...ugh...

Does anyone still make these anymore?  Apparently so.  I really like the idea - starting a new year, starting a change, starting fresh...  But I think it all comes down to the approach.

Forbes says only 8% of people actually achieve their resolutions each year.  This is just my take, but here's why I think so many people are unsuccessful.

Unreasonable goals.  It's a bit ridiculous to say, "I'm going to hit the gym 4-5 times a week" when you've never hit the gym in your life.  It's unreasonable to say "I'm going to lose 200 pounds this year" because...well, because that's a lot of weight and it takes time.  It's unreasonable to say "I'm going to fall in love this year" because you never know when that's going to happen, and forcing it is usually a bad situation.

Goals are too generic.  You can't make a resolution that you'll make more money this year without having a plan to do it. You can't tell yourself that you're going to spend more time with your family without looking at your schedule and figuring out what you're going to drop to free up some time.  Telling yourself you're going to lose weight this year without creating a reasonable plan to do it will get you nowhere.  Well actually, that's not true, you will to one place - a point of frustration..

Discipline.  Perhaps the biggest one.  Anyone can make a New Year's resolution, but only a select few will follow through with it.  Most people stick with it for 2-3 weeks, and then it's back to the daily routine they had before New Year's hit.  That's where the two points above come in handy - having a reasonable goal, and a proper plan to achieve that goal will help keep you motivated.

I didn't make an official resolution this year, but I did join a gym.  My plan is to go 1-3 times a week, and I'm not going to kick myself if I miss a week, I'll just try to get back at it the next week.  At the beginning I'm not setting specific goals until I actually start hitting the gym and seeing where I am, and then how quickly I progress.  Then I'll evaluate and make a plan of how much weight I'd like to lose and by when, how good I'd like my cardio to be, and how much I want to be able to bench press (for example) and by when.

For me, I'm working at a slow and steady approach, and trying to make it something that won't overwhelm me.  That'll just lead to failure, and I want to be in that 8%.