Category Archives: news

In the wake of the school shootings….

madonna

My heart breaks tonight. Words cannot suffice regarding how I feel about the most recent school shootings. I ache for all of the victims’ families & the entire town of Newtown.

This should NOT have happened.

A priest-friend of mine asked on Facebook” Where is God in all this?”

Where is God indeed?

I am glad I am not the only person who wants an answer to that question. How can a loving God ” allow” such slaughter of innocence?

Yet I am comforted { at last a wee bit} by the image of The Blessed Mother holding the Infant Christ on her lap. On my desk in our home office is an icon card of the Blessed Mother holding the Christ Child. Although I am not sure of the name of this particular rendition of ” Madonna & Child” I’ve always been comforted by the image of a tiny, vulnerable Jesus of Nazareth wrapped safe in His mother’s arms. I imagine that this very Jesus welcomed each of the innocent victims of yesterday’s school shooting tenderly & gently.

Scripture tells us that our loving God will not & has not given up on humanity. Humans can be evil creatures & I am sure these acts of evil sadden our Creator. No matter what Israel did, God was steadfast in God’s love. No matter how many times God’s People screwed up, God never reneged on God’s love.

It is times such as these that my Catholic faith really anchors me. I do not know WHY this happened to these families in that town in New England. But I do know that God has NOT forsaken humanity— regardless of what ” the culture ” might try to show us. Somewhere & somehow, love & Shalom will prevail .

Amen.

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” required” post-election thoughts…..

I am sad about the results of the Presidential election. But, no matter which of the candidates from the two major parties won, I’d still be sad. However, I am thankful that I was able to vote for someone whom I feel IS qualified to be President. Although he didn’t win{ as a matter of fact, he did not even make a dent in the general electorate}  I am grateful that I had the option to vote for someone who DID NOT have the {D} or {R} behind his or her name. :O)

No, I did not ” waste” my vote. In my opinion, the only wasted vote is the vote that is not cast.

I am sad that  US politics is so partisan.  During the course of this election season, I saw & heard such negativity from supporters of both Republicans & Democrats. never in my 36 years have I witnessed an election that brought out the worst in people. There was so much negativity that I felt weary of the whole election process by May of this year.

I did not watch either convention nor any of the debates.  I read the commentary from both CNN & Fox News & both major cable networks left out Gary Johnson. If Gov. Johnson had been invited to debate, I would have watched every debate. But Big Media gets their ratings  in part from partisanship– so it would defeat their purpose to encourage independent thinking & critical analysis of facts. This political season reminded me of a heated Super Bowl rivalry instead of a serious part of history.  It seemed that these hardcore Democrats & Republicans seemed to act like cheerleaders { either for Team Obama or Team Romney}

Although I live in an area of the country that is heavily Republican, I saw much of the same ugliness among the Democratic minority here in Northwest Florida. Most of my family are die-hard Democrats who were baffled that I could not support Obama. Many of my friends here are Republicans & of course they wanted me to vote for Mitt Romney. It was hard, but I maintained my Independence & rejected the candidates of the two-party political ” machine” in favor of someone who has strength & courage to step outside a mainstream political label.

I declared my Independence. I am free from partisanship. Alleluia.

 

thoughts from a journalism major on the Fox News blunder

Every now & then, my Communication Ethics class that I took at The University Of West Florida as a journalism major comes back to haunt my brain. This evening is one of those times.

This afternoon Fox News inadvertently aired a car chase gone bad. Apparently, an attempted carjacking ended in tragedy when said carjacker left the stolen vehicle, ran into an open area, and shot himself in the head with a gun.

I don’t watch Fox News so I did not see the event aired live, but from what I read on { reputable} web sites, the accidental airing of this unfortunate man’s suicide was a result of human error.  Shep Smith, the anchor who wa reading the news at the time this occurred, apologized vehemently for this error.

 Tonight I am  thinking about what constitutes  responsible journalism.{ Yeah, I know it is  dangerous when I start to ponder life…please bear with me. Thanks.}

Is it ” better” for news services to air  live action reports of such violent images?

Do  they have a responsibility to censor themselves when it comes to showing violence on the TV? Should bloody & gory  footage such as suicides or other such bloody footage caught on camera be ” fair game” for live newscasts?

 I agree with the former position. I do not think that showing{ albeit inadvertently a suicide of a person is never ” fair game” for TV . 

Those who say that ” live” footage of such  images is real & therefore should not be ” cleaned up” for the  newscasts. Some people argue that we Americans are so  saturated with { fictional}  violence everyday that  real newscasts showing blood & guts *should* be totally desensitized .

But let’s  face it most people know the difference between  the fake guts spilled  during an episode of { for instance} _Bones_ or _NCIS & the video recording of someone’s suicide or { shudder shudder shudder} someone’s death sentence carried out by the State.  Where do we draw the invisible line between informing the public & sensationalized disturbing events in order to try to boost advertising revenue?

No I am not voting for Obama…nor will I vote for Romney.

I am not voting for Obama’s re-election.

I cannot wholeheartedly support Mitt Romney’s candidacy either, so I will most-likely vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson

The GOP, to me, has a bad connotation, one that I cannot seem to move beyond. In my mind, the GOP stands for a racist, sexist, homophobic rich-people-only elite. The ” Religious Right” have ruined any chance for this progressive Christian to vote for any of their candidates.

While I think that both the Democrats & the Republicans have good ideas in theory–in practice both parties are fatally flawed. democrats want government to act like an overprotective mother yet the Republicans see the role of government as the morality police.

The Obama administration as been nothing but disastrous. No, I am not better-off than I was four years ago  neither is anyone I know. But I also know people{ mostly family members} who vote the Democratic party line.

I declare myself an Independent. Just because I made the mistake of voting for Obama the first time, does not mean that I am doomed to repeat that mistake.

All of us are sons & daughters of Abraham

This picture is more than 1000 words.

In light of what happened at the US Embassy in Libya, I feel like this art piece echos what I feel is the solution to all the violence between the US & the Middle East should start with understanding. Weare ALL heirs of the promise God made to Abraham…we are ALL ” People of The Book”.

Why can’t we pray together & have interfaith dialog? Let us forget name-calling & focus on educating each other about the three faiths with Abrahamic roots.

Why don’t we start by praying together, s the two women depicted in this piece of artwork I posted are doing. Show some hospitality & invite the ” other” inside for a meal & a prayer.

Amen.

Storm 2012

I came back from my vacation up north & a big storm enters the Gulf. :O( Great. Although I know the storm’s coming to the Gulf area has NOTHING to do wth my arrival home , it is an eerie coincidence for me.

Anyhow, we storm-proofed the house & the storm changed courses. We’ll still get some of the easterly{ the ” bad” side ” } of the storm, but t looks like it will be a lot of heavy rain. Best Dude & I dd some shopping this morning & caught a band of heavy rain on our way home this morning.

It is now heading directly for Louisiana. While I am VERY grateful that the Florida Gulf Coast is spared the wrath of ” Isaac” but I am praying for the people who live & work along the Mississippi/Louisiana coast. Thanks to the media, I cannot forge that ” Isaac is coming ashore on the 7th anniversary of “Katrina”. If I recall correctly, Katrina” was initially aiming for the Florida Gulf Coast, but took a sharp loop west & hit New Orleans.

Weird.

I told Best Dude{ and anyone else who would listen} that I MUCH prefer blizzards to named tropical , moving storms.:o/

Olympic Fever & Training Fever!

It has been a busy week in my life, so I apologize for my lack of writing lately. My brother & sister-in-law visited from Atlanta last week, and, since Best dude worked many hours, I spent a lot of much-neede sibling time at Casa Familia Florida.

My brother a workout veteran for 20 years, showed me some new arm & shoulder training moves  in the gym last week.

He informed me that eventually my current training routine will ” plateau”–meaning I will  stop feeling & observing effects from my training regime.. This has yet to happen, but I now use some more advanced repetitions with the free weights at the gym in addition to my usual legs, glutes , back training routine.  i’m happy with the results of the seven months of training, but I see areas that still need some improvement if I am to be ” competition fit” by February, 2013. 

As for the competition, I am still undecided  as to if I will enter it. While the slightly competitive part of my nature really wants to take on the challenge of a fitness competition, the “prep diet” that is part of getting oneself totally prepared to compete scares me. I do not gain weight & muscle mass easily & the idea of the minimalist eating plan that most competitors endure scares me. I’ve worked so hard these past few months to overcome my body-image issues & fear that that diet will make me sick{ both physiologically & psychologically. Sure , I DO possess the willpower to stay on that restricted eating plan, but if it will cost me my mental & physical health I am not willing to subject my body to that sort of denial.

Anyhow, that is quite enough about me & my training. Have you watched the Summer Olympics lately. Wow. Although China { BOO HISS} is ahead of pretty much everyone in the medal count, I saw an AMAZING mens’ freestyle relay swimming race last night. Team Swimming USA captured the silver medal, but France took the gold, by what looked to me like 100th of a centimeter!   Hot dang….

Since I’ve been swimming & lifting weights, I’ve been paying special attention to both men’s’ & women’s’ swimming events & women’s’ weightlifting.  Yesterday I read that the US women’s weightlifting team did not place in my weight division{ the extra, extra lightweight} Other weight classes compete later this week & I hope to at least record them on the DVR.

I also watched a bit of the women’s gymnastics last evening. Since I know nothing about how the judges score events in this sport, I was just happy that the US women seemed to score well.

 

Feed My Sheep

Anyone who knows me knows how much I dislike our never-ending hot summers here in Florida.

Best Dude & I are watching my parents’ Labrador Retriever, Casey this week while Parental Units are in Pittsburgh this week. Brother & his wife arrive tomorrow afternoon , so after church I’ll need to clean The Homestead in preparation for their summer visit. I am hoping that the weather gets better in time for their visit—it has been rainy, humid and YUCKY here since the Parental Units left for their annual Burgh Visit.

But the long summer we have here has its perks, and one of those perks is Pensacola’s monthly ” Gallery Night”.

Last evening Best Dude & I met some friends downtown for the monthly Pensacola block party known as ” Gallery Night” Our priest is a bass player in a band,and the band was featured as part of the festivities last evening. I must admit that pizza & mixed alcoholic drinks are NOT part of my healthy-eating plan ut I’ve learned that it is fine to deviate from healthy eating on occasion. :O)

Anyhow, I FINALLY got to meet a Facebook friend of mine whose work I greatly admire. Father Nathan Monk is an Orthodox priest in town who has started and maintained a ministry to feed homeless other very poor people in the city. Fr Monk has received several sanctions from the City government–but nothing stops this young man of God from doing exactly what Jesus would want His followers to do. Father Monk was at Gallery night with his now-famous ” FEED THE POOR ” sign and was selling handmade rosaries to help further his mission work with Pensacola’s most needy. I’ve wanted to meet Fr Monk since I first read about him & his ministry in the local newsrag & was delighted to meet him in person and shake his hand.

In the aftermath of my own branch of the Church’s general Convention, meeting Fr Monk reminded me again that we are , above all else, supposed to serve others . This world is full of hurting & needy people{ and many right near where we make our comfortable homes} who are truly poverty-stricken. Fr Monk’s sig ” FEED THE POOR” was a stark reminder to me that the Church isn’t about polity & politics.

The wake of some of the actions voted upon at The Episcopal Church’s 77th triennial General Convention has caused a media blitz that is causing many Church members sorrow. While I recognize their deeply felt pain, at the same time our Church{ and any church in Christendom} is first and foremost about following Jesus & doing what he would do. If I had my wish, I’d remove ALL social politics from the life of the institutional Church so that we and our leaders can focus more on what Our Lord wans us to do regarding loving Him and loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Why don’t we discuss more about how to feed hungry ” sheep” rather than build socioidealogical barriers between our fellow & sister Christians?

Stop the Fighting. Lets Work on UNITING!

Amen.

DioCon2012, how I missed y’all

For the first time in two years, I was not an attendee of my Diocese’s Annual Convention. Best Dude & I ha planed a trip long before we knew the dates of DioCGC12, so I took this as a sign from God that it is time fo someone else to experience serving a lay delegate at Convention.

By the way, y’all, I am * very* curious to know how this year’s Convention went–a friend whom I’ve met there these past two years told me that the gala was excellent. So , please email me your thoughts on the happenings in Mobile this weekend. Photos from the event won’t be available online until at least Monday, so when they are posted I shall post some from at least the closing Mass.

Last year Best Dude & I were delegates to the Convention that was held at the diocesan camp & conference center. On thursday evening, we attendees had the rare privilege to witness our first ” class” of vocational deacons receive Holy Orders. Words cannot explain how Spirit-filed that Mass was & I shall never forget that experience. As a matter of fact, the Mass when our first class of vocational deacon were ordained is right up there with the Mass I attended in 2009 with ++ Katharine Jefferts-Schori.

I also recall that last year we delegates voted on whom we wished to send to the General Convention that will occur this summer. I was glad to see that a good friend of mine who is a priest will represent us this summer. It as one of my dreams to attend General Convention when Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts- Schori was still our Presiding Bishop, but I do not think that will happen. :O)Sadly for me, Bishop Katharine’s term will be done two years from this summer.

I am totally aware that not everyone thinks highly of Bishop Katharine, but I adore her. Liturgically, ++ Katharine is not ” liberal” & theologically, she’s just trying to lead people to follow Jesus. Isn’t that what we Christ-followers are supposed to be doing?

Best Dude and I were driving the long way from Urban Sprawl, Florida all the way to Redneck Riviera on Friday. I want to thank my friend Cindy for streaming the Convention live online– eventually I will at least view the Bishop’s Address.

Maybe I’ll go next year.

Shalom, y’all.

Tending to the body is part of Stewardship of Creation

” You want me to do something–tell me I can’t do it”~Maya Angelou.

I’ve determined that 2012 is the “Year of the Strong & Healthy Sarah”. I’ve got a workout plan that includes gym time & t swimming laps in the { heated, covered} pool. Since I’ve been swimming laps since this summer, I’ve developed good core musculature, but need to work on making my legs my arms stronger. I’m tired of people asking me if I’m sick or anorexic. Yes, I’m undeweight…and YES I EAT!

While I’m content to be a small-boned woman, I can add some muscle to my limbs & increase my cardiovascular capacity. My pool time occurs after my gym workout–as I love to swim & use swimming laps as my” reward” for getting though the tough stuff in the gym. :O) When I emerge from y workout, I eel refreshed; Yeas: I am a bit sore but as they say” no pain, then no gain”. My workout time is almost contemplative in nature. I settle into me repetitions & my mind is free to focus on contemplative prayer.

God gave us each one body & it is up to ME to take the best care I can of the body I have.