journeying towards her best life…#5

In Pat’s own, unvarnished words…

At least once a week since forever, I complain (yeah, I do that sometimes) to Mel at work that I DO EVERYTHING at home…the cooking, cleaning, laundry…blah, blah, blah. I told her all I want is some one to take care of me for once. 

Before my diagnosis, as I was starting all the different tests, Kelli [my niece] sent me an email to tell me she was praying for me that morning. She sent me a copy of that day’s saying from a booklet she has. She thought it relevant to what I was facing. 

The first line of the prayer is…”I AM TAKING CARE OF YOU.”

I couldn’t memorize the whole saying, but I repeated that one line to myself throughout the day and every day after that. It took a few days, but one day a light bulb went off and I thought to myself “OMG! You have been taking care of me all along, and only now did I realize it.

I felt so content. I absolutely knew it to be true.

Kathi [my sister] has since given me a copy of this same book and I read each saying on [that] day. I’ve resisted looking forward and reading through the whole thing. 

When I wake up each morning, before I read the passage, I think to myself “What do I have to do today? What will I be facing? What am I afraid of?”

I usually find at least one line [from each saying] I can repeat to myself throughout the day.

It helps…

…until next time…pat.

(Click on my next post, entitled…NURTURING THURSDAYS: I AM TAKING CARE OF YOU…AS SHARED BY PAT.)

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what doth it profit a man…if he gain the whole world…

Readers who have continued to visit, despite my political musings of late, know that I have been engaging in Internet conversations with respect to America’s presidential election. As can be expected, the chatter is fast and furious, with both sides tossing their opinions into the ring. It’s the civilized way of…throwing punches.

Politics, and religion, are not topics most folks care to discuss. Understandably so. Confrontation isn’t something we seek out.

However, defending one’s beliefs and fending off those who would make mincemeat of them, is an honorable venture. And sometimes, as in the case of which path our country should take towards economic recovery…I find it a moral obligation to step up to the plate.

In the process of doing so, I’ve learned some very disturbing facts.

My previous post, declining an award, spoke to my deepest frustration…that our government is where men like oil-billionaire brothers, David and Charles Koch…shop. You might want to see what I’ve written about their infiltration into the U.S. Congress.

Not lagging far behind is my concern about the example being set for younger generations, now and into the future.

Romney

Romney (Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service)

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has proven himself extremely adept at dancing around the truth.

Unlike most, I don’t feel President’ Obama‘s seeming lackluster  performance at the second debate is fully owing… to his lack of preparation…or not wanting to be there…or wanting to appear presidential.

Yes, I think all these things may have been in play. However, I give credence to the President’s assertion that…he wasn’t prepared for…the new and improved Romney. Actually, he wasn’t reformed. He just moved from the extreme right of the Republican Party…back toward the center.

Trying to play to the Tea Party folks, Romney claimed a lot of things throughout his campaign…which he began disavowing in the first debate.

Romney’s opportune transformation back to a moderate Conservative were motivated by his descending poll numbers.

Having been proclaimed the winner of the first debate, Romney’s campaign gained traction. So much so that the race to the finish is now…neck and neck.

Meanwhile the youth of America, as well as the world, see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears, that it’s okay to…sell out one’s values to get what you want…to curry favor with folks who matter when it counts…to rough up your opponent or even knock him to the ground…to say one thing in private and something else in public…to use capitalism as one’s own family crest…to politicize others’ misfortunes to one’s own advantage…to hold oneself unaccountable when asking others to have faith in your promises.

It’s difficult for me to reconcile Romney’s being a man of faith…with what he practices in his professional life.

According to Webster’s, FAITH…1.confidence or trust in a person or thing. 2. belief in God. 3. a system of religious belief. 4. loyalty or fidelity.

How can I have faith in someone who seems to abandon his faith…when it’s convenient?

Is this what we want to teach…our children? How does Romney square what he does…with his 5 sons?

To his credit, Tagg Romney, the eldest, when asked how he felt during the second debate, said he…wanted to go down and take a swipe…at the President.

The younger Romney said what he felt in his gut.

He might have been spared the embarrassing made-for-TV moment…had his father not taken him down the path… by accusing the President of lying in the Rose Garden the day after the attack of the U.S. Libyan consulate.

Moderator Candy Crowley rightfully indicated that the President had, in fact, called the incident “a terrorist attack,” the day after the occurrence.

Truth in journalism…long the hallmark of our beloved Walter Cronkite.

Truth in life.

While we fight to regain our economic standing, to guarantee jobs for everyone, to renew the promise that all can realize the American Dream, to ensure a better future for our children and grandchildren…let us always remember…

For what doth it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and suffers the loss of his soul? 

…leading…by example…

………hugmamma.

As expected, most residents of Utah where Romney’s Mormon faith is headquartered will vote for him. Not everyone, however. Utah’s Salt Lake Tribune  has endorsed President Obama in an article entitled “Too Many Mitts.”  http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/55019844-82/endorsement-romney-obama-president.html.csp

present…and accounted for…

Barack Obama family portrait 2011.jpg…as a husband…and a father…President Obama.

(Photo credit to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_of_Barack_Obama )

Qualities that matter a lot to me…as a wife…and a mother. And yes, as an American enjoying the freedom to choose the person in whom I place my faith and trust to lead us forward in an uncertain world, keeping us safe from harm to the best of his ability.

Without the benefit of a father by my side as a child, mine having died when I was one, I have placed a great deal of faith and trust in my husband as my life partner, and as the father to our only child.

Knowing that he imagines us in those with whom he deals in his professional life, and compares our well-being with theirs, instills a confidence that my husband would do right by all. He wouldn’t knowingly hurt others while striving to make the workplace a better environment in which to function. Effecting change is done with measured determination, with efforts at conciliation, and without malice.

Barrack Obama is a husband, a father, and President of the United States. It’s my perception that he, like my husband, is a man who loves his family and imagines for all of us what he wants for his own family.

An America in which all can partake of the dream envisioned by the Constitution.

An America wherein the wealthy acknowledge their debt to society in willingly giving back.

An America where all are afforded equal opportunity…equal rights…equal benefits.

An America in which a person can preside in the White House, as though ethnicity and cultural and personal differences were insignificant.

…follow your own heart…choose a leader in whom you can place your faith and trust…

………hugmamma. 

365 photo challenge: faith

 this is the real deal…………………………………………………not an optical illusion

have faith, i tell you…..have faith!………………………………………….hugmamma.

formerly homeless poets

Came across poems written by a couple of formerly homeless. I thought you’d enjoy their perspectives on life. Though their circumstances may differ from ours, their innermost thoughts and feelings can sometimes mirror our own. See what you think…

Music Dogs Love: While You Are Gone Released 2...

Image via Wikipedia

Why We Need More Pets than Shelters
by Cathie Buckner

Pets offer love without hoops to jump through.
They are accepting no matter how or to whom we pray.
They never tell us to go away.
They often give us joy and something to live for.
And never make us leave our stuff in the courtyard
where buzzards lurk to pluck it all up.

Music Cats Love: While You Are Gone Released 2...

Image via Wikipedia

They offer safety in all the unsafe places
and make us aware of devils in the dark blue.
They never turn their face or walk the other way.
They share the things we have and are satisfied.
They are always well-calming even when we feel out of control.
Never a tough tongue or bootstrap rap.
They love the way we smell even when there is no water to be found.
They keep us warm on long, lonely nights.
And they keep the rats at bay.

The Struggle
by Jesse Hayes

Time after time I find I’m drowning in a sea of despair
doubtfully I open up my eyes searching for a road that leads somewhere
when it seems that all hope is gone memory brings back to me what your love has done
so I’ll glory in all my tribulation knowing that it will make me strong
surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses
I’ll struggle until the race is won
I’ll struggle until the race is won
I’ll struggle until the race is won

Jesus with children, early 1900s Bible illustr...

Image via Wikipedia

Faith is being sure of what we hope for
certain of what we cannot see
when the trumpet sounds and Jesus comes to take us
I pray my faith will still abide in thee.

valentine sentiments, a lifelong romance

After nearly 41 years of marriage, what can my husband do that still “makes my heart sing?” The quick answer is “give me a musical greeting card that plays ‘WILD THING, you make my heart sing, you make everything…groovy!’ “ Normally conservative, he’s a man of few words. As college valedictorian my husband’s speech consisted of 3 words, “Silence is golden.” As you can see, my husband has a “funny bone.” His humor can be sweet as well. Oh he can tease me endlessly, after all he’s the eldest of 12 and I’m the youngest of 9. But in unexpected moments, he surprises me with the smallest gesture that melts my heart and makes me giggle, like the young woman I was when we first met 44 years ago.

A lifetime of shared memories, of valleys and peaks, of maturing from 17-year-olds with “butterflies in our stomachs,” to seniors purchasing discount tickets and munching popcorn from a shared bag at Regal Cinema. How did we continue holding tight to one another’s hands, so certain we were a good match? I don’t think we knew for sure. Who does? 

It’s always amazed me how complete strangers, foreign to each other in every way, including the blood coursing through their veins, can cleave to one another as is expected when they are pronounced man and wife. That has got to be the one overriding “APT,” or “automatic positive thought” they must fight to keep for the rest of their lives. I can only imagine the civil wars that are waged within marriages between that one “APT” and the overwhelming army of  “ANTS” or “automatic negative thoughts” that bombard married persons every day.

I can only answer for myself that 41 years together has made my husband and me believers in the same faith, if you will. Yes, we are both Catholics, but our faith in each other is more profound than religion. I’ve heard it said, where I don’t remember, those whom we love most and who favor us with the same, affirm who we are. They are the passports for our earthly existence, and we for theirs. In an episode of  “I Love Lucy,” the Ricardos and the Mertzes satisfied the Passport Bureau requirement when they all acknowledged knowing one another, thus enabling them to travel abroad. If not for those who testify to our existence in their lives, we might only be murky shadows, in others’ collective memories. Vague memories which might include “Oh yeah, I remember her. Wasn’t she in our graduating class?” or “He was such a loner. Did he ever date? Did he marry?”

Looking into my husband’s eyes all these years, I’ve seen a “diamond in the rough” looking back at me. His love and unwavering commitment has helped me slowly evolve into the brilliant gem I am today. Light may not bounce off gray hairs, as it once did when it shimmered against dark locks, long ago. But the heart that beats within, remains the same. It still skips a beat when my husband walks through the door, after a long day’s work. Just as it did when I saw the boyfriend who resembled a young Elvis, stride through the front doors of my college residence, coming to collect me for a date.

Maybe my husband heard my beating heart when we were young. These days I might have to amplify the sound slightly. We’re both growing older, together. A funny card and a box of old-fashion candy hearts inscribed with sayings, reminds me that our romance is ageless. While the inscriptions are not as endearing as they once were, I selected a few which held special meaning…”call me, hold hands, soul mate,” representative of our good “young” days. “Shake it, boogie, oxox” are my hope for our lives going forward. One very special candy heart is inscribed “angel.” Our daughter was a gift after 16 childless years. I’m sure God sent us one of his own… to complete our marriage.

treasuring reminders… of priceless sentiments…hugmamma.         

two guardian angels, comcast

My blogging is like speaking into God’s ear. I now have 2 guardian angels looking after me, Mark and Michael. I wonder if Michael’s the archangel who threw Satan out of the Garden of Eden, after he convinced Eve to get Adam to take a bite of the apple? I might be moving up the chain of command. Who knows? I may hear from God. Didn’t I tell you I’ve never had any qualms about contacting the CEO? Bring her on!

I’d sent a lengthy email to Mark, the one who got the “snowball” rolling the last time I had internet connection problems. In response, very quickly I might add, Michael emailed me back saying someone would call me in the morning to finally resolve the situation, and discuss crediting my bill for zero internet service today and yesterday.

I wish Mark and Michael would sprinkle some heavenly dust and miraculously connect me to “internet space,” permanently, none of this to-ing and fro-ing, for h—–‘s sake!  As I said previously, Comcast should bottle their customer service, telephone customer service that is, and this time, share it with their technical services departments. When they get themselves squared away, THEN they might spread it around to other companies. My girlfriend and I were just agreeing today that they spare no effort or expense to get our business, but once we’re “in the bag,” we’re “out on a limb” when problems arise.

But I still have faith in not one, but two, guardian angels. I just know they’re going to perform a miracle. I can just feel it in my arthritic bones.

hugs for mark and michael…hugmamma.

“gays,” a rabbi’s viewpoint

Once again I’m reprinting the opinion of another author in my blog. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach interjects a very interesting and compelling argument in support of gays. None of us are experts, but those so inclined can try to infuse some logic and reason to level the playing field for those among us who have been relegated to society’s periphery.

I am familiar with the writings of Rabbi Boteach; I read his book The Michael Jackson Tapes – A Tragic Icon Reveals His Soul in Intimate Conversation. A compassionate man, the Rabbi felt he could help Jackson devote his talents to a greater cause than self-aggrandizement, in the hopes that his life would be more personally satisfying. Unfortunately, the two men went their separate ways, as it was difficult for the entertainer to relinquish his life in the spotlight. He returned to his fans, whose adulation forever defined who he was, even beyond death.

And so I commiserate with Rabbi Boteach’s empathy for gays. They should thrive as we do, for they are also the children of God.

My Jewish Perspective on Homosexuality

Carl Paladino, the Republican candidate for governor of New York, sparked controversy this week by declaring in a speech at an Orthodox synagogue that children shouldn’t be ‘brainwashed’ into considering homosexuality acceptable. He later apologized, saying that he supports gay rights but opposes gay marriage. The Rabbi who hosted Mr. Paladino’s speech then retracted his endorsement of the candidate.

Some people of faith insist that homosexuality is gravely sinful because the Bible calls it an ‘abomination.’ But that word appears approximately 122 times in the Bible. Eating nonkosher food is an ‘abomination’ (Deuteronomy 14:3). A woman returning to her first husband after being married in the interim is an ‘abomination (Deuteronomy 24:4). Bringing a blemished sacrifice on God’s altar is an abomination (Deuteronomy 17:1). Proverbs goes so far as to label envy, lying and gossip ‘an abomination to (the Lord)’ (3:32, 16:22).

As an orthodox Rabbi, I do not deny the biblical prohibition on male same-sex relationships. I simply place it in context. There are 613 commandments in the Torah. One is to refrain from gay sex. Another is for men and women to marry and have children. So when Jewish gay couples tell me they have never been attracted to members of the opposite sex and are desperately alone, I tell them, ‘You have 611 commandments left. That should keep you busy. Now, go create a kosher home. Turn off the TV on the Sabbath and share your meals with many guests. Pray to God three times a day for you are his beloved children. He desires you and seeks you out.’

I once asked Pat Robertson, ‘Why can’t you simply announce to all gay men and women, ‘Come to Church. Whatever relationship you’re in, God wants you to pray. He wants you to give charity. He wants you to lead a godly life.’ He answered to the effect that homosexuality is too important to overlook, as it is the greatest threat to marriage and the family. Other evangelical leaders have told me the same.

But with one of every two heterosexual marriages failing, much of the Internet dedicated to degrading women through pornography, and a culture that is materially insatiable while all-too spiritually content, can we straight people really say that gays are ruining our families? We’ve done a mighty fine job of it ourselves, thank you very much.

The excessive concern about homosexuality that is found among many of my religious brothers and sisters–in many Muslim countries being gay is basically a death sentence–stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of sin. The Ten Commandments were given on two tablets to connote two different kinds of transgression: religious and moral. The first tablet discussed religious transgressions between God and man, such as the prohibitions of idolatry, blasphemy and desecration of the Sabbath. The second tablet contained moral sins between man and his fellow man, like adultery, theft and murder.

Homosexuality is a religious, not a moral sin. A moral sin involves injury to an innocent party. Who is harmed when two unattached, consenting adults are in a relationship? Homosexuality is akin to the prohibition against lighting fire on the Sabbath or eating bread during Passover; there is nothing immoral about it, but it violates the divine will.

I am in favor of gay civil unions rather than marriage because I am against redefining marriage. But gay marriage doesn’t represent the end of Western civilization. The real killer is the tsunami of divorce and the untold disruption to children who become yo-yos going from house to house on weekends.

I have countless gay friends whose greatest fear, like that of so many straight people, is to end up alone. Should we just throw the book at these people? The Bible says, ‘It is not good for man to be alone.’ All I ask from my religious brethren is this: Even as you oppose gay relationships because of your beliefs, please be tortured by your opposition. Understand that when our most deeply held beliefs conflicts with our basic humanity, we should feel the tragedy of the conflict, not find convenient scapegoats upon whom to blame America’s ills.

Wall Street Journal, 10/15/10 (Rabbi Boteach is founder of This World: The Values Network, a national organization that promotes universal Jewish values to heal America. His latest book is ‘Renewal: A Guide To The Values-Filled Life’ (Basic Books, 2010).)

 hugs for the rabbi…hugmamma.

christians, muslims reach out

Early in the week, an article appeared  towards the back of Section A in the Wall Street Journal. Too bad it wasn’t on the front page, especially in lieu of the current debate over mosques in our country. While a “drop in the bucket,” the news piece reflects that change, when least expected, can happen.

“Turkey Allows Christian Mass At Monastery” spotlights a movement by the Turkish government, which leans towards Islam, to “improve the country’s record on religious tolerance and boost tourism.” While the motive may be mercenary, the hundreds of Christians who attended the 3-hour Virgin Mary Service at Sumela Monastery in the Black Sea region on Sunday, welcome the gesture. ” ‘We came because we think this is our native town,’ said Violetta Popova, a 20-year-old language student and Pontic Greek descendant who lives in Piatagorsk, Russia.” Although Christians have been free to practice their faith, their places of worship have been transformed into mosques, museums or lay in ruins. The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew gave thanks to the government, which kept a low profile in its representation by the  town mayor of Macka.

A second service is scheduled September 19 at the 10th century Armenian Aghtamar Church on Lake Van in Eastern Turkey. At one time it was the seat of Armenia’s national church. It remains to be seen if this event comes to pass given the current political atmosphere. A year ago, when the government agreed to the church services, the focus was “on a Democratic Opening policy, aimed at finding nonmilitary means of ending the country’s decades long conflict with militants claiming to represent the country’s ethnic Kurds by improving minority and religious rights. Those have been key demands of the European Union, which Turkey is negotiating to join.”

Unfortunately the Democratic Opening soured with attacks by the Kurdish Workers Party which triggered a backlash that threatens to dominate the politics of the  July 2011 elections. Negotiations to open the border between Turkey and Armenia are “in deep freeze.”  Turkey’s culture ministry explained that opening the churches was expected to increase religious tourism which would help solve the region’s economic, political and social problems, while improving relations with their neighbors.

Perhaps a leader of the displaced Christians was correct in saying ” ‘No one should fear believers, whether Christians or Muslims. The most dangerous people are non believers,’…”

one step forward…hugmamma.