Tag Archives: healing the soul

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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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.

Upcoming 9/11 anniversary

This week will mark the anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

I remember that day well–literally as if it were yesterday. I am 36 years old & that i one of the pivotal moments that people of my generation will recall. Our parents recall where the were & what they were doing when President Kennedy was shot. For we late Generation Xer’s, this {along with the ” Challenger” disaster} is pivotal to our place in history. I was in my mid-20’s & still very naive. Although I’d grown up an avid reader , I never was exposed to hatred on any large scale.

I was a college student finishing my last semester at The University of West Florida. I was running late for my firs class, and I walked into the room full of VERY QUIET students { in a room full of communication arts’ majors, silence almost NEVER happens} I also noted that the professor had not arrived.

Curious, I asked a classmate ” Where is Dr Blonde?”

Student: “She is in her office crying. Didn’t you hear?”

Me: “Um , no. What did I not hear?”

Student:” Two planes flew into the World Trade Center in New York City this morning.”

Silence.

I ran the short distance to the Student Union where I knew there was a big-screen television. A huge crowd of students & faculty The _Today_ show was on & they had live reports from what later became known as Ground Zero.

I still have no words for what I felt when I saw what had happened to my sister & fellow Americans Never in my young life had I been witnes to such a display of deadly hatred.

As soon as I could, I called my Dad. he asked me if I’d wanted to come home { it was a Thursday} for the weekend & I said yes. tearfully, I walked back to my place to pack the few things I needed for the trip home. Dad met me at our usual meeting place on campus and all I could say during the 40-minute back to Beach Town was ” Why? Why, Dad ,do they hate us so much?”

Eleven years later, I still want to know why.

Fitness journey update

I REALLY am looking forward to my workout today. One of the best side effects of powerlifting is how I transfer all of my frustration at the world onto some heavy plates & barbells. Although I am not a naturally aggressive person, when I am frustrated I tend to store all sorts of histamines in my body that make me feel ill. I’ve discovered on this fitness program that as soon as I hit the gym or pool, all my frustrations evaporate with my sweat.

Today I am * really* tightly wound, so the gym atmosphere will be good for me in more ways than one. I like that when I go to the gym, my brain totally focuses & I adopt a ” zen” mode. My brain is focused on maintaining proper form & I direct all my energy towards completing sets and/or laps. When I am through with the workout I feel the endorphins rushing through my circulatory system.

What a GREAT feeling it is when I know I’ve done my training session well!

KNOWLEDGE vs LOVE

Today’s Epistle really spoke to me.

Listen to these words concerning KNOWLEDGE versus LOVE.

Th letter-writer says:

“”Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge,but anyone who loves God is known by Him.” { 1 Corinthians 8:3}

God knows us , & he loves us. It matters not how smart we re intellectually, the ” knowledge” og God’s love is something that even the brightest minds debate.

We don’t need to ” know” about God the way one might ” know” about a science or an art.

Some good people mistakenly use Holy Scripture to defend positions that support their misinformed biases. I try hard not to feel anger towards such people ,but it is hard. Knowing, and by this I mean putting one’s trust in, God means to treat others with the same agape LOVE that God shows humanity.

In this spirit, I’ve tried to remain gentle & listen to extreme right-wing Christians express their views on such matters as the role on women in Church. I am totally aware of some of the Scripture quotations used by such folks who espouse this mindset & I know from where they come. This IS NOT easy. One of my biggest pet peeves re people who harbor bigotry against anything or anyone unfamiliar to them.

I pray for patience.

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.

Book review: _Sarah’s Key_

Since I was sick in bed yesterday I finally finish reading the novel _Sarah’s Key_ on my NOOK .

As a whole, I am fairly impressed with the novel. Th author clearly did her research on the topic, until I read this novel I knew pretty much next to nothing on the arrest of French Jews during the Holocaust. Naturally I knew that Jews were not persecuted in *only* Germany & Russia, but this was the first time I had read anything of the arrest & deportation of French Jews.

This is not an easy novel to read. The author describes in detail the horrors experienced by a young Jewish French girl.

As a Christian with Jewish heritage { my Mom is Jewish so by Jewish tradition I am Jewish & VERY PROUD of my heritage} I hope that people ho might not otherwise know much abouy the horrorsof the Holocaust might glensomething from this novel. hae noticed, specialy here in he Deep Souh where I live, that many people do not understnd than anti-Semitism & holocaust-denying that *still* exists even now.

The story is told from the viewpoint of young Sarah and it alternates with a sub-plot of the French-American journalist who researched & wrote about the deportation of French Jews in the summer of 1942. My only complaint about the book is that the author makes the story more & more about the journalist’s family issues the further the story moves along. the last two or three chapters focused almost exclusively on Julia’s{ the journalist} marital problems more so that on Sarah’s story.

In my opinion, the author could have skipped some of the marital drama, even if doing s would have shortened the novel. When I finished with the novel, I did a Google search on French victims of the Holocaust. Any book that teaches me something important is always worth reading, but I must admit that the predictable ending of this novel disappointed me.

Total Health: What is it to Me?

I usually write about my life as it pertains to my Church activities & other ” spiritual ” topics. Lately I’ve been writing about my promise to myself to get HEALTHY in 2012. This includes eating more of the right kinds of foods, reading more to stimulate my brain & regular strength-building exercise. I’ve solicited advice from one of my college classmates on Facebook and I’ve also told my intentions to make this “The Year Of The Healthy Sarah” to Best Dude. He is very supportive of my endeavors towards total health & for this I am grateful.

To me, total health is not just about the physical body. Total health encompasses the emotional, intellectual and spiritual aspects of we humans. During the past few years I’ve come to realize that I’ve used my ack disability as a crutch for NOT working to get my body in shape. I’ve done not badly with the other three areas of health, but I’ve neglected my physical self. For too many years I’ve been underweight & physically weak. But this need not always be true for me: there are elements that I can add to a workout program that will help me attain my goals while still keeping my titanium-infused spinal column safe.

If I do not take good care of ALL of myself, I cannot be a good faithful servant of God.

The only bad workout is no workout….

Due to my schedule today, I went to the gym later than usual.

When I got there, the cardio theatre was closed for cleaning & maintainance. :O( Apparently this is a weekly occurance…from 12 noon until 2 p.m. every Thursday they close ALL the treadmills, stair-steppers & ski machines.GRR! But I quickly regrouped & did 20 minutes of intense work on my legs on the stationary bicycle. I am not a fan of the stationary bicycle, but I did have my NOOK Tablet with me & I read several pages of my book while my legs enjoyed a healthy yet monotonous workout. I’m a runner, not a biker. After sitting all morning I really wanted to get the core of my body in an upright position. But the important thing is that I completed my workout. That being said, I won’t voluntarily use the stationary bikes again.

I still had time left before the strength training with hand weights, so I tried the elliptical machine. My gym only has ONE such machine & my father uses it every morning when he works out. Today was the first time I’d been on an elliptical machine & I like it as much as I like the skier & much better than that stair-stepper. My legs felt like rubber by the time I was finished with the elliptical. It was great.

Today I DID remember all my swim gear & the pool ‘s temperature was a refreshing 80 degrees this afternoon. :O) As soon as I slid into the water, all my aches from the intense leg workout disappeared! I swam my usual 25 laps, but had to make time & room for mask adjustments. When one is swimming with a mask & snorkle, one does not want water in ANY part of the mask or{ especially} the snorkle. I’m adept at clearing my snorkle while in motion in the water, but it is harder for one to adjust a water-filled face mask without one’s nose also filling with heavily-chlorinated water. It took three adjustments, but I finally got the mask to fit correctly on my face.

But, in my opinion, the only truly bad workout is no workout at all.