Category Archives: real world

Blue blue Christmas

According to the liturgical calendar:today was supposed to be a Sunday of rejoicing.

No one at Small Parish felt like rejoicing this morning. :o/

Due to the recent events happening in the nation, today was not a day to celebrate. At Small Parish, we grieved & remembered the victims of the Newtown school shooting. We started the Mass with reading responsively the Great Litany. After the Lessons were read, our priest helped us address the sadness that we collectively feel about what happened on Friday morning.

We also prayed for the victims by name . That was really hard for me, as I’ve spent some time working in a public school system & many years working with and among children & youth of the Church. I noticed that the fellow & sister educators of m parish are especially affected by this tragedy. We never thought about a scenario such as this when I was working at an elementary school.

As I’ve already said, these things just should not happen.

I keep thinking about the families of the slain kids & the Christmas that won’t happen for so many people in & around the Newtown, Connecticut area. :O(

Years ago, my Presbyterian minister offered a ” Blue Christmas” service in December for anyone & everyone who might be grieving during this ” most wonderful time of the year”. I’d lost my beloved paternal grandfather that August, so I went to church on that designated Sunday evening. It was a time for we Christians to grieve in community & it was very cathartic.

This morning’s Mass at Small Parish had the same cathartic effect for me{ and probably for others in attendance , too} Grieving in community is healthy , both for the mind & soul.

Today I am grateful for the Church Universal’s gift of ” presence” & community.

Amen.

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Tikkun Olam

 Shalom Shabbat, y’all.

Coming from an interfaith family– I am a huge fam of both Christmas & Hanukkah. Naturally Christmas means more to me, but my Jewish heritage is a gift–and one that I have never taken for granted.

Anyhow, I came across a Hebrew term this evening that I had not known until now. It is : ” Tikkun Olam” & it is { very loosely} translated as ” to fix what is broken”.

As Christ-followers, we have a responsibility to fix what is broken in our world.  The Advent/Hanukkah/Christmas season is the perfect time to reach out to our sister & fellow humans who are suffering in mind, body or spirit.  Instead of focusing on materialism, we should take time to help another person { or people} who are needy.

Although helping to provide basic needs is a great way to start, sometimes people who ” seem” to not need help are the neediest.  There are many lonely souls in the world : & I know from experience that the loneliness amplifies itself tenfold during the holidays. Reach out to someone who is struggling emotionally or spiritually this Advent. Give to your local food bank. Visit an elderly person who might not get may visitors. Donate toys to a shelter for homeless families.

 

Spread shalom this holiday season.

Black Friday…

Happy Thanksgiving!

Best Dude & I had a nice day. We went over to the beach & had our Thanksgiving meal of…fried Gulf seafood! YUM.

I am saddened by all the media frenzy over ” Black Friday” Shopping. I know that many retail outlets are either opening late tonight or super-early tomorrow morning in order to accomodate shoppers.

I grew up in a retailing family–and I am totally aware of how important the holiday shopping season is to retailers’ fiscal year. Inasmuch as I do NOT & never have gone shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving  can understand{ sort of} why hardcore shoppers might enjoy doing so. But what I fail to comprehend is how much RETAIL has encroached on a day that is suppose to be all about family, friends & thankfulness.  To me, celebrating a day of ” thankfulness” by wrangling  more THINGS at stores is counter-productive. It is just another symptom of society’s consumerism.

Cannot people wait ONE more day until the official holiday madness begins?  I mean, if people want deals, isn’t it much less-stressful to shop all year for Christmas? I do this & I’ve gotten *great* gifts for my loved ones.  Actually, most of my holiday shopping was done online. I hate shopping: even doing weekly grocery runs is hard for me. 

I am NOT a Grinch. Christmas is one of my favorite times of year. I love the music, the food, the Advent Scriptures read at mass & the fellowship with loved ones.  While I like getting gifts , to me this is much more than a mere commercialized ” season” that it has become in recent years. It is sad to me that even a day of corporate thanksgiving has seeminly turned into another comsumers’ feeding frenzy.

This non-shopper is staying HOME on Black Friday.

Amen.

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.

Update:6 months into the new Fit & Healthy lifestyle & other sundry happenings

This is a fun way that I work out at home. Thanks, “L” for introducing me to this form of exercise.

I am remiss…I have ignored this blog for several weeks.Best Dude I watched my parents’ house & dog-sat their HUGE{ but very lovable Chocolate Labrador retriever while they went to Europe for 18 days. { How lucky are they?!}

Speaking of dogs, Best Dude & I had to return ” Sally” back to foster care. It turns out that she could not get over her fear of men & is a biter. :O( This made both tofus sad, but we know there is a dog just waiting to come meet his or her ” Forever Family”. Taking care of Casey while my parental units were away just reinforced the notion that Best Dude & I are totally dog-lovers.

It has now been 6 months since I started this exciting yet sometimes exhausting fitness & health campaign. I am proud to say that I have never looked nor felt stronger in my 36 years of life{ Yes, 36 years…shush!!} When I began this journey in January I was determined to not let fitness & health become just another failed New Years’ resolution{ Because we know what happens to New Years’ resolutions come mid-February, right?}

Anyhow, in addition to my swimming regiment, I am still lifting weights at the gym twice weekly. And{ drumroll, please} I am FINALLY seeing some visible results when I look in the mirror. Amen! Alleluia!

I am not a fast swimmer, nor do I swim various strokes. Most of the time I stick to swimming the breaststroke but on occasion I will swim the crawl or the butterfly. Since I have some back problems, I have discovered that the breaststroke places the least amount of stress on my spine. Usually I swim 25 minutes but I have ben known to swim continuously for 30 minutes. My goal is to swim a 45 minuet mile with my godfather ” Wild Bill” when I travel North to see them in August.

While at the doctor last week, the nurse asked me to step on the scale. I’ve gained back ALL the weight lost after my dental surgery * and* I put on two more pounds!

People always ask me if I eat a lot, since I take my fitness seriously. OF COURSE I eat–and I eat more than many women in my age bracket-with the way I exercise, good nutrition is paramount.

The secret that my friend { and fitness guru}” L” advises to eat small, protien-based meals each day & to eat ” clean”. By ” Clean”, it is meant to stay as far away from processed foods as possible & to base one’s diet on lean animal protein & fresh fruits & vegetables. I admit that eating as clean as I wish to eat has not happened , but I’ve cut a lot of junk from my diet & am concentrating on the quality of the food that passes my lips. Thisway of eating isn’t easy , but since we’ve started eating cleaner both Best Dude & I noticed a change in our overall health.

My biggest clean-eating obstacle is…ICE CREAM. I love the stuff…and the more exotic the flavor of the ice cream, the more I wish to taste it!

Going home….

Today’s Gospel has Jesus returning to His hometown. Rather than lauds, he faces harsh judgement & criticism by the people who knew Him when he was young.

Every year, I spend approximately one week up North. While I do anticipate this trip with joy, there is a bit of apprehension that follows me on the plane rides to the Pittsburgh International Airport. I’ve not live in the Greater Pittsburgh area for 13 years & during these past 15 months, Florida has truly become my home.

Here is an example:

While I still passionately follow the Pittsburgh Steelers, Best Dude & I faithfully watch the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team. When the Bolts play against Pittsburgh’s hockey team, its sort of odd to cheer AGAINST a Pittsburgh sports team but I do. Florida is home & besides, I never followed hockey much before Best Dude & I got together.

Am I a Greater Pittsburgher or a Northwest Floridian?

But, I know I AM a member of God’s household.

Amen.

epic fail….

I failed today.

Although I listened to & read aloud today’s Psalm & Gospel lesson, I failed in maintaining my Lenten discipline today because I just have no musings to share regarding today’s lessons. :o/

Much weighs on my mind this evening & I just * cannot* find words of wisdom in today’s appointed Scripture.

I am sorry. But I know that God knows of my intentions to keep this discipline, & I take comfort in knowing that God loves me..as God loves all of us… in spite of imperfection.

Amen.

Psalm 41 : Happy are those who consider the poor…

Many Christians observe Lent by denying ourselves of something in order to ” make room for God”.

The Psalm for today reminds me of yet another way that we can observe a holy Lent.

In this season that was traditionally when new Christians prepared themselves for Baptism, today I am reminded that Lent is a good time to rededicate ourselves to serving the truly needy. Here in the western world, sometimes it is easy for we middle-class citizens of the world’s wealthiest nation to remember the poor.

When Best Dude & I drive trough certain neighborhoods here in our lovely beach community in Florida, I am reminded that poverty exists everywhere. Here in Northwest Florida one can literally ride by several gated waterfront housing developments yet five minutes later find oneself driving through neighborhoods of poverty. It is easy & convenient to turn away from poverty here at the beach & I am not sure why this is so. Maybe no one wants to thnk about the needy people wo happen to live here in ” Paradise”? I don’t know the answer to that question, but today I am reminded that God loves the poor & his Son ministered with & and among the poor of first century Judea.

Instead of denying ourselves, maybe Lent should be more about increased GIVING to those wh have less food, iadequate shelter or no healthcare. What are your thoughs on this subject?

Your body is a temple….

Today I went to they gym for an early strength-building workout.

In order to get to the main area of the gym I attend,one must walk trough the bike/elliptical machines. As per usual, a woman was on the same exercise bike dressed in a gray sports bra & matching gym shorts. She has the TV tuned into some cooking program and the volume at full throttle.

I mention this particular ” gym rat” ince I am concerned for her health. Without sounding alarmist, she literally looks like a skeleton covered with skin. Her wasted body makes it hard to even discern her approximate age. I am both fearful for her health yet also repulsed by hr gaunt appearance. It makes me sad to see anyone look as unhealthy as she does. Of course there is a chance that I * could* be wrong about her eating disorder but I am doubtful. I do understand eating disorders better than do most laypeople & some health professionals & this woman looks sick!

She is at the gym every morning I go & try to withhold judgement. It isn’t easy, as I know all-too-well what poor bodyimagecan do if taken to an extreme. My anger is not at this woman, but at a society that still tries to inundate women with “Skinny is Sexy” ideas.

Some may argue that I work out obsessively, but my intentions are not to lose weight, but to add STRONG MUSCLE to my already too-thin frame. My guess is that some patrons at my gym probably think I am suffering from disordered eating but I can only hope & pray that I never let myself look as stick-thin as this woman.

She always dresses in the same workout clothes, uses the same exercise bike & blasts a cooking show on the television. Once my workout buddy, EPC, asked this woman if she was, indeed, watching said cooking show{ Since this woman appeared to read a magazine} inasmuch as I feel compassion for this woman, when she is there the last thing I want to do is be in the same part of the gym as she when I am working out….I’ve come a long way from my ” diseased eating” days & I do NOT wish to return to that sate of mind.

Our bodies are well-made machines crafted with the utmost care as are some of the finest architecture in the word . It saddens me to know that some people { women especially} abuse their bodies in this way.