Tag Archives: THINK

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.

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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.

New Year= New Promises

I do not bother to make resolutions. If I resolve to do something, I’ll break it. But, I’ve discovered that if I have a PROMISE to myself to ae a change in the New Year & follow it up with a plan of action, I’ll accomplish my goal. One of my friends from my parish is also committed to achieving her fitness goals for this year, so we are” gym buddies”.

My workout starts with { after stretching of course} a mile long jog on the treadmill followed by three minutes on either the skiing machine or the stepper. Then we hit the pool for some laps…this is BY FAR the best part of the workout. I love to swim laps, once I get going the warm water of the { covered} pool swimming invigorates my body & lifts my soul. While I am not too fond of jogging in place on a treadmill, I do like the fact that I can control my speed AND set my distance goal. On Wednesday I plan to try the ski machine in lieu of the stepper, since the stepper left me with some * really* sore gluts in time for my parents’ New Years’ Eve party. { This was not fun at all}

I also need to remember to pack my workout bag the night before L. & I go to the gym. She picks me up at 7 in the morning & I’m not usually cogniscent until I’ve gulped my first cup of coffee. I’ve also discovered that I need my own water bottle in the gym, as it isn’t advisable to try to step off of a moving treadmill to get to the water fountain in the gym!

My goal is NOT to grow big musculature! I’m small-boned & five foot six inches tall. Instead , I’m focusing on cardio health,further developing my core body muscles and building arm & shoulder strength. Right now I am doing three sets of 10 repetitions with the hand weights & my goal into lift 10-pound hand weights by Easter. Strength is my workot for this year, not muscle growth.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Advent with ++KJS Day 8 ” How can We Keep from Singing?”

Today is Day 8. Bishop Katharine gave me a challenging meditation on which to ponder.

She tells a story of bringing Communion to some residents in a nursing home. In this particular nursing home , Bishop Katharine inadvertently gave Communion to a Jewish woman who had come to receive the Bread & Cup of life.

Now according to our Church’s canons, one must be a baptized Christian in order to receive Eucharist. Those who are not yet baptized but wish to come forward during Mass can receive a God’s Blessings in the form of words pfrom the priest. Unlike our Roman Catholics some Lutheran synods, we Anglicans do not practice a truly ” closed” Communion. Ideally anyone who comes to the altar for communion does so because she or he believes that Jesus Christ died & was raised from the dead in atonement for our sins.

I do not agree with the closed Communion policies of the Roman Church, & some synods of the Lutheran Church. yet I can see why ou Anglican tradition’s canons have the policy about all baptized Christians invited to receive at our Table. Yet I can also see the arguments of some Presbyterians whose position is that ALL are welcome at the Lord’s Table.

A few years ago I read a fabulous book by Sara Miles called _ Take This Bread_ .

Ms Miles, a self-proclaimed lesbian, super-liberal atheist suddenly found herself sitting in Mass at St Gregory Of Nyssa Episcopal Chuch in San Francisco. Miles says that she walked into the nave of the building simply because of curiosity. Her experience of inclusion in our Church’s Holy Communion was the catalyst for a radical change in her life. Not only did Ms Miles eventually get baptized, her initial experience of Church was when the priest let all the canons surrounding reception of Holy Communion go & do what God asked of him.

St Benedict of Nursia said that rules are meant to be a guide to follow…not a rigid law. Hmm.

Maybe our Canons should be revised at the next General Convention to permit priests to allow ” seekers” to receive Communion. Our Mass is not for members of an exclusive club. A Presbyterian minister I once knew when I was younger always ended he Prayer before Communion by saying” The feast of God for the People of God.”

Amen. { Thank you Reverend Nan of the Presbyterian Church, USA for your inspiration for me to live out the tough questions of faith.}

Advent with ++KJS Day 7 ” City of God”

++ Katharine & Me , May 2009.

This week is Advent 3, 2011 in the Church Year.

During yesterday morning’s homily my priest talked about how the third Sunday in Advent has been known as ” Rose Sunday. Contrary to popular belief, this nickname has nothing to do with the Blessed Virgin Mary–rather it marks the ” halfway” part of Advent. This was pertinent in the Early Church because Advent had been more of a penitential season{ more like Lent than Christmastide or Pentecost}.

On the Third Sunday of Advent, we who use the Rite One form of the do not recite The Prayer of Humble Access & we do not say a corporate Confession. The pink { or rose-colored, if you must} candle on the Advent Wrath was lit yesterday during Mass. Some clergy own colors of a pinkish hue which are worn on this particular Sunday in Advent.

I read yesterday’s lesson from my Advent study with Bishop Katharine’s first book this morning. Appropriately for this season of hope, she talks about the origin of the word ” Shalom”.

Generally we think of SHALOM as meaning merely ” peace be with you”. Bishop Katharine reminds us that the meaning of the root word describes a peace that is describes in some parts of Scripture as “a city of God”. Shalom isn’t a place which can ben found using a Global Positioning System.

This City Of God that our Presiding Bishop discusses is a place where all who hunger are fed, all have adequate clothing & shelter & no one is without needed medical care. This City is a place where there is no racism, sexism, heterosexism, ect. It is a place where humans see interact with each other based on the quality of character & NOT on any extrinsic differences.

As baptized Christians, part of our responsibility is working with each other to further this image of Shalom. If we are truly acting out our baptismal covenant, we should focus more on feeding the poor, ect. No matter what our economic situation, there is always something we can do for or give to someone else in need. We can educate ourselves about other races or religions as part of working towards total Shalom.

No one is useless .. { My Pap always said that ‘ God don’t make no junk.’}but many Christians do not see themselves as possessing any gifts that the Church could { and would use to work to further Shalom. I spent many years thinking that my physical differences excluded me from serving God in the best way I can. It is only through prayer, work, reading that spiritual maturity is worked towards. When we dedicate ourselves to serving God through serving others, we are both furthering Shalom & becoming more mature in our personal yet metaphorical walks with Our Lord.

Shalom, y’all. Amen.

Advent with ++KJS Day 2: “Collective Memory”

I should have read this sermonette during Thanksgiving week. But the Holy Spirit had other plans for my Advent study time!

Bishop Katharine talks about he proverbial family meal where ALL the relatives come together around one table to share food & drink. This calls to mind many a Christmas supper at my grandparents’ house in PA when my brother & I were little. It was the ONE time during the calendar year when all the petty family drama{ most of which occurs between certain sister-in-laws on Dad’s side of the family} ceases & everyone comes to the table as members of the same familiar body.

Bishop Katharine draws a parallel between the family meal & the Meal that we Anglican Catholic Christians share every Sunday. We gather at the altar with members of the parish family who were baptized into OUR family, the family with God the Father & Christ at the head. No matter what our petty differences, we are all welcomed, as baptized members of the Christian family, to partake of the Feast of God/for the People of God.

Our Episcopal Church is a big branch of the Anglican family. Like all families, we are sure to not always agree on matters pertaining to our life together. Some of us wish to exclude baptized Christians from partaking in the discernment process because said people were born differently than most of us in some ways or another. Some Anglican Catholic provinces in oher parts of the world wish to withhold Holy Orders from duly called individuals based solely  on gender. But at the end of the day, we are a family & we love each other.

In my opinion, disagreement is natural yet it is NOT. At the Mass, we re-member that Christ made the ultimate sacrifice, His early life, so that those who believe in Him shall have eternal life . We re-member that ALL of us are sinners yet our amazing God loves us so much that he sent His Son, first to be born of a woman live His life as an earthly human & the die a hideous death so that WE may have access to the Kingdom beyond this life.

When we participate in Mass, we -re-member that we are one holy , catholic Church. When you find yourself at the altar during Mass this Advent, perhaps make a point to stand/kneel beside a brother or sister Christian with whom you might disagree with on some subjects. Recall that at the communion altar we re-member{ gather together} the complete Body of Christ on Earth.

Amen.

What does ” Abundant Life” mean to you?

Today’s Quote: ” Abundant Life means venturing beyond the corral”++ Katharine Jefferts-Schori.

It is Advent & all around us we see advertisements bombarding our eyes & ears with must-have stuff”. This Wall Street madness started before Halloween & will { no doubt} continue until after Christmas Day. Best Dude & I watch TV on some evenings & it never ceases to amaze me how many inane commercials beckon consumers to find the ” perfect Christmas gift{s}” at ____________ department store. Ugh.

But in my opinion, the worst offenders are the auto commercials. I want to know just who are the car companies targeting this season? The economy is a mess & so many people are without jobs. Those people with jobs must deal with rising costs in necessities such as food, shelter,clothing & medical care. No one but the upper 1 percent of Americans have enough capital to finance a new car for someone’s Christmas. As the youth say now { I guess} give me some *real talk*! Last evening I was viewing the Steelers’ game on prime-time TV & I lost count of how many car commercials I avoided…}

Thank goodness for muting buttons on the TV remote, as I will wear out that button this season silencing commercials. :O)

What do we really need in order to have ” abundant life”?

Jesus tells His followers that in order to follow Him, they should sell ALL their possessions. Yup. While most Christians do not take these words of our Lord literally, I’ll suggest that perhaps ” abundant life” for we Christians should not be about the acquisition of more ” stuff”. Abundant life should be measured in that which is literally priceless.

During Lent, 2011 I focused my prayer life on contentment. Each day I spent my prayer time asking God how I can grow closer to God by not denying myself yet not coveting mere things.Naturally I like nice things too, yet God has shown me that a rich, abundant life can be measured in relationships.

My life has become more abundant through service to others in my parish in my role as coordinator for Family Ministries. Along with my rector & an awesome group of adult volunteers, we’ve started our own Episcopal Youth Community at Small Parish. Although I recently ” retired” {again} from teaching children’s Sunday School,my life has been even more enriched by the time I spent teaching three amazing little boys.

I’m also abundantly blessed by two teens whom I’ve known since they were 5 and 4 years old, respectively. I’d worked as these siblings’ babysitter for several summers when their parents both worked all day. Although I’ve not spent time with these two teens since they’ve grown up they still are important to me & we keep in touch via Facebook. The are growing into fine young people & I am so proud of them.

The advertising industy might want us to believe that ” abundant life” can be bought but I challenge myself to venture out of my comfort zone { My ” corral”} & seek to make a difference in the lives of those around me . Building relationships is NOT my forte–but the challenge of getting to know people brings me unfathomable riches.

This week, look to get out of your corral. Try a new ministry, interact in a positive way with people who do not subsribe to the same cultural norms as you. Take time to learn about different people in all age groups. Listen to today’s children & youth, don’t just *talk at* them.

Find abundant life by giving of yourself this Advent.

Amen.

Halloween & Christianity

Halloween isn't evil!

Until I moved to the Deep South, I never thought much about Halloween as an anti-Christian celebration. I’ve lived deep in the {Protestant} Bibe-Belt for almost 13 years every Halloween I am reminded of the stark anti-Halloween sentiment that is rampant throughout all the schools & many of the churches in this part of the nation.

When I was a child & a teenager, Halloween was a time to don fun costumes & ” play pretend”. Sure, many children{ and adults} dressed as witches, zombies ghosts, ect but it never entered or minds that Hallowen meant anything other than harmless fun & A LOT of candy. One of my very favorite Halloween traditions in elementary school was the annual ” parade” of students from all grades dressing in costumes & walking around our playground. In the evening , my brother & I went trick-or-treating on our road & the adjacent subdivision where many of our schoolmates lived. It never occured to either my schoolmates nor myself that Halloween was somehow connected with the occult.

Traditonally, Halloween comes from the evening before All Saints’ Day, wich occurs every November 1. On this day we Christians honor those ” Saints”; people whom we’ve known as exemplanary Christians during their lifetime.

All Hallows’ Eve, October 31, is a day that is known to Roman Catholic Christians ” Day of the Dead” a liturgical vigil that included visiting graveyards wit the purpose of praying for the souls of the departed.

This holy day was not coupled with fun things & good food until the Christians in England , Ireland & Scotland would cover their dining table with a clean cloth & serve such delicacies as cider, curds and pancakes. After the meal, the family would recite together Psalm 129 { Source: _Catholic Encyclopedia Online_}

Personally, I find comfort in praying for the souls of our departed loved ones. In our Eucharistic litugy , we Anglicans include prayers for the souls of the recently departed as well as intercessory prayers for the Church, her clergy, our government & its leaders & intercessions for living people who suffer in mind , body or spirit.

May God bless you & your loved ones this All Hallows’ Eve weekend.

Ten years later: Part 1

I am so glad that I am not a priest , preaching the Gospel on this Sunday would be extra-tough. Why? In case you have been hiding under a rock for the past month, Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. As was the attack on Pearl Harbor,this date in indelibly imbedded into the collective conscience of we 21st Century Americans.

Defensively speaking, we’ve accomplished much since then. We did capture & kill both Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Both ” needed a killin'” & I am VERY glad that our military came through & rid our world of these horrible men. But I question the validity of the continued campaign in Afghanistan… will the presence of our military in that region really keep al Qaeda away? While I hope & pray that our defensive tactics will keep another terrorist attack away from our country I doubt that we’ll * ever* be completely free of al Qaeda. Now that bin Laden is dead, is our continued presence in the Middle East justified? I don’t know the answer for sure to that rhetorical question. I know that killing bin Laden was necessary, but yet I cannot imagine a continued war with al Qaeda as a good thing for our great nation. The more we antagonize these extremists over in the Middle East, I fear that we’ll ” digging our hole deeper” when it comes to our national security. It’s true that al Qaeda hates us & wishes harm to befall our nation, but will violence on our part adversely affect the ” big picture” that is our future? Again, I don’t have any answers.

Another topic I’ll address this week is the phenomenon of what Lisa Bloom, in her book _THINK_ called ” blind patriotism.” It seems as though the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 bring out some frerce tribalism among many Americans.

Of course I love my country but at the same time , I believe that metaphorically ” wrapping onself in the flag” is not right. I do believe with all my heart & soul that we live in the best nation in the world, but I * do* try to remember that not every government of every nation in the world wants to be Americanized. Maybe if we dropped less missles & engaged in diplomacy with ACTIVE LISTENING between hostile nations & ours we might lose less American lives?

God Bless the USA!

My vacation’s reading list

I leave for my annual vacation/ quiet retreat{ note that I did not say ” silent ” retreat!} in less thn one week. As usual, I’ll take my trusty laptop computer & several tomes, as I’ve discovered that my annual lake retreat is one of the best places & spaces to read with reckless abandon.Nobody bothers me there & cell phone recepion is nonexistent there in that valley. There is, however, spotty wifi access, so I won’t be totally off of the communication grid dring my time there.

Yours truly needs a break, y’all, & I welcome this upcoming respite. Heck, I MIGHT even get some work on my novel done while on vacation.

I’m packing Colin Powell’s & Euodora Welty’s biographies in my carry-on bag along with a novel by Kathy Reichs that I have yet to read. As per my custom, I’ll probably also buy a cheap papeback book at the Atlanta airport * just in case” the reading material I packed will not suffice.

Many women I know spend most of their discernable income on clothes & makeup. My big shopping addicton is buying books.:O)