…only ourselves…

…to blame.

We are a changing democracy, whether we like it or not. America was never going to remain as it was in the “good old days.” What were the “good old days” for some, was a living hell for others. At best we are in the purgatory phase of our country’s evolvement, on our way to the heaven we all deserve.

The mass shootings that are occurring more and more frequently are not the product of any one group or individual. The tone of hatred for others different from ourselves is being promoted and yes, even tolerated, by many of us. Just as the world stood by during the Jewish Holocaust, so too is the world looking heavenward as hateful rhetoric spews forth from every corner of the world, including America.

God is not the answer to our problems, we are. He gifted the earth with enough bounty to share among ourselves; instead, we have evolved into a world of haves and have-nots. It was only a matter of time when the tide would begin to turn against those who have greedily hoarded more for themselves.

The ability to stop the inevitable is within our power. It’s never too late because we are a forgiving and resilient species. We just need to love all others as we love ourselves. Picking and choosing who can partake and who can’t is no longer an option. Not if we want to realize…

…a heaven on earth.

………hugmamma.Nashville 09-2010 00063

 

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nurturing thursdays: love one another…

In keeping with the season, I think it’s fitting to remember that we are all children of God.

That includes those among us who choose to turn their backs upon the rest, even going so far as to massacre innocent people.

God the Almighty Father will determine their fate.

We know not what lies deep within one another’s hearts…our sorrows, our anxieties.

Only God knows.

Rather than sit in judgment, we should rally with one another to heal any divisiveness.

Our fundamental humanity should bind us one with the other.

We should put aside our robes of many colors…racial, cultural, religious.

Those who would lead us astray and isolate us one from the other are themselves enemies of humanity and…of God.

“I am the Lord thy God…thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

“The Lord is my Shepherd…”

Let us not follow graven images eager to raise themselves up to be false gods.

They are only interested in amassing personal wealth and an army of followers to rival all that has been created by the one, true God of all people.

God does not choose one race over the other.

God does not choose one culture over the other.

God does not choose one religion over the other.

God created all of us  with love.

God will have the final say…

…about what we have done with His love.

………hugmamma.

(Note…more inspiration can be gathered from ladies of wisdom at…
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2015/12/03/nurt-thurs-peace/#comment-26089 )

whatever our belief…

I cannot imagine that the Almighty from whom all life flows, views the casual taking of life in His name…to be a good and just thing.

Young men with nowhere to go and time to kill…literally…have taken to effecting some violent video game upon the rest of the world.

Hard to imagine that grown men industriously working to further civilize mankind, are unable to bring nomadic zealots to heel.

Is the gift of life so cheap that it is thrown back in the Almighty’s face with disregard and disdain?

What of the parents and families who have nurtured these young men? Do they bless their offspring or do they pray for the Almighty’s forgiveness?

Evil is not how most would describe the Almighty.

Evil is how these young men portray who they are…by their evil acts.

Is it possible then  that they believe in an Almighty who is evil?

I prefer to think that no such Being exists.

The Almighty in which these young men believe is…

…a phantom of their violent imaginations…

…nothing more…nothing less.

………hugmamma.

 

 

nurturing thursdays: journeying towards her best life…#15

I can only imagine what went through Pat’s mind yesterday as she learned how her life will unfold going forward.

We all try to take each day as it comes.

For most of us it’s a simple undertaking. It’s the same old, same old. There may be a few variations on the theme, and some can be major…like changing jobs…retiring…moving to a new home…having a baby.

Life-threatening illnesses, however, takes it to a whole other level. One for which no amount of preparing, mentally and physically, can ever be enough.

Pat’s journey with multiple myeloma and amyloidosis is daunting, to say the least. 

It’s like walking through a tunnel, not knowing what the darkness holds in store along the way.

Holding onto hope and positive thoughts are like the light at the end of the tunnel. And that’s what human survival is all about. Hanging on with all of our might.

That’s what God intended when He gave us life. He meant for us to squeeze every ounce of goodness from His gift. 

Happiness is that warm, fuzzy feeling when something good lights us up…from the inside out. And that feeling occurs in small and large doses throughout our lives. 

Never give up on happiness. It’s there for the taking. We just have to accept it.

And why wouldn’t we? It doesn’t make sense to turn away from it.

Don’t worry! Be happy! As the song tells us.

Easier said than done. Perhaps. And yet what’s the alternative?

Letting life slip away without any say in the matter?

That’s not Pat’s style.

…and it’s never been mine.

………hugmamma.

(Enjoy other inspirational thoughts at
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2015/01/29/nurturing-thurs-boiling-water/

 

 

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.)

…heavenly blooms…

I came across a beautiful message while perusing the blogs of fellow contributors to nurturing thursdays. Credit for bringing these wonderful words to light goes to crowing crone joss at
http://crowingcrone.com.

“The earth recognizes people in whom God flowers. There is a sensuousness, a centeredness, a grace to their movement. There is a relaxed gentility of power flowing quietly within and beneath their action. There is a humble assuredness about them, a reverence, a sense of humor and a sense of the sacred entwined. They are the magical people, for whom the earth has longed. ” -Ken Carey

Perhaps you know of someone “in whom God flowers.”

Someone I know comes immediately to mind.

…my husband.

………hugmamma. 

...the most serene person i know...like the "eye of the storm"...

…the most serene person i know…like the “eye of the storm”…

a small victory…

In a previous post, doubting thomas, I wrote that Mark Zmuda had been fired as the vice principal of Eastside Catholic School because he had married his gay partner during the summer. It seems that an overwhelming protest by students, parents, alumni and community supporters has brought about the resignation of the woman who fired Zmuda, Sister Mary Tracy, former president and CEO of EC.

Only time will tell how Eastside Catholic  moves forward from this landmark event. Catholics nationwide, perhaps even worldwide, will probably stay tuned to the fall out. 

At a time when the Church is still recovering from a black eye rendered by priests accused of molesting boys, the fact that faithful in the community are voicing their support for gays who are trying to live their lives openly with loved ones while contributing to society is a step in the right direction. 

In my opinion rules that suppress those who try to use their God-given gifts and talents to help others, are archaic and should be changed.

I must admit to being a johnny-come-lately to the cause of gay and lesbian equality. I grew up with the same taboos as many in my generation. When it came to homosexuality, I left the thinking to the adults. 

Since I’ve become that adult, I no longer subscribe to the hokum that I was spoon fed as a child and teenager. 

As with any prejudice, overcoming it occurs when we get up close and personal.

I’ve not only exchanged greetings with any number of gays and lesbians, I’ve hugged them, laughed with them, rejoiced with them, and yes, even loved them for who they are…without reservations. There’s no BUT in my regard for these men and women. I will proudly stand with them before God on the day of reckoning, just as I will with non-Catholics and atheists.

All I ask of friends and family is that we join together in valuing others lives as we value our own.

God gave Moses the following Ten Commandments…

  1. I am the Lord, your God.
  2. Thou shall bring no false idols before me.
  3. Do not take the name of the Lord in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
  5. Honor thy father and thy mother.
  6. Thou shall not kill/murder.
  7. Thou shall not commit adultery.
  8. Thou shall not steal††.
  9. Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
  10. Thou shall not covet your neighbor’s wife (or anything that belongs to your neighbor).

There is no reference to the so-called sin of homosexuals.

Yes, the Bible as men have written it makes mention of the atrocities associated with sexual deviants. But I would include heterosexuals who commit such depraved acts upon unwilling persons. Why these should be welcomed into God’s kingdom, while good men and women who only ask that they be allowed to spend their lives with whomever they love, is incomprehensible to any thinking person. Irrational, really.

I never doubt God…but I’m always wary of the wolf in sheep’s clothing who seeks to lead me astray from the goodness I feel in my heart for those who are three-dimensional like me.

Unlike Hester Payne the adulteress in A Scarlet Letter who was forced to wear the letter “A” as a badge for the crime she committed, good folks of a different sexual orientation should not be made to live apart and in shame as though they were less than the rest of us. 

I know I’m not better than. I only know I am equal to.

I’ve not walked in their shoes. So who am I to sit in judgement?

…i am not God. 

………hugmamma.IMG_3121

nurturing thursdays: give up the martyr

Some folks continue to believe that suffering is a necessary aspect of living.Imported Photos 00428

It builds character.

Or so they say. They being Catholic school nuns. I’m sure of it.

Religion has a way of rationalizing everything. Nothing wrong with that. We all need spiritual stroking now and then.

However when spirituality hinders us from improving our plight, then it’s time to relinquish the ties that bind.

I believe in the God of my faith, who like a mother wants us to figure out the best use of the gifts we’ve been bestowed.

It may take some longer than others to find their way, but find it they must. 

I no longer buy into suffering for the sake of suffering, especially as a means of living happily-ever-after.

Why wait for heaven in the hereafter, when we can gain entry into something closely approximating paradise on earth.

With God at my side, I’m encouraged to make choices for a pleasanter, more positive life. And when I cross through valleys, She’s there to give me a hand across the precipice.

I wholeheartedly turn toward happiness, and turn away from suffering.  The two are not interchangeable in my book.

My God is one of hope and encouragement…

…for happiness on earth…and in the hereafter.

………hugmamma.IMG_0437

Personal Story out of Darkness

Another story inspiring hope and self-help. It may take some time, but we do have it within us to make changes for the better.

………hugmamma.

Godly Stewardship

image

I had symptoms of mild depression for more than a year at one stage. I was grieved, felt like my world was just hopeless, life was meaningless and my future seemed bleak. I was disappointed and extremely discouraged.

I also remembered being sick for a very long time perhaps 3 months or so and I could not go to work at all. At the time I was very alone- my parents were interstate and they had no idea what I was going through I kept it hidden. I did not know either that it was actually depression, heck I didn’t want to admit it.

I thought I would be able to make it better by just avoiding the world. So I Isolated myself. What did I do? I cleaned the house- it was always spotless. The rest of the time- pitied and felt sorry for my self.

Perhaps cleaning was…

View original post 795 more words

God and…football?

A photo of Tim Tebow at the US Army All-Americ...

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Not one of my favorite pastimes to be sure. Too long…watching men chase down a ball…back and forth…back and forth…back and forth. I’m not one for sitting around much. Too many things to do to be a couch potato. But give me a nice Master Piece Theatre series on PBS, and I’m hooked…no commercials to deal with either.

I’ve heard all the to-do about Denver Bronco quarterback Tim Tebow. He’s an attractive, young man in a football jersey as well as a suit. I think any mom would love to greet him at her front door if he came calling for her daughter. Hint, hint. Especially since he’s a church-going fella who obviously loves his mother. I’ve seen a picture of the two together.

While perusing today’s Wall Street Journal I came across the following article by Fran Tarkenton, “an NFL quarterback from 1961-1978,…the chairman and founder of OneMoreCustomer.com.” It seems religion is not new to sports…just more fashionable now.

Does God Care Who Wins Football Games?
by Fran Tarkenton

English: Demaryius Thomas, a player on the Den...

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On Sunday, when Denver Bronco wide receiver Demaryius Thomas caught a pass from Tim Tebow on the first play of overtime and ran it all the way for a game-winning touchdown, the stadium erupted. At once, people cried that it was a miracle, and Mr. Tebow went down to pray on one knee in his signature pose. Millions of viewers already knew the first words he would say whenever a reporter caught up to him for a postgame interview: ‘First of all, I want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!’
     Tim Tebow is not unique. Even on his own team, there are notably devout players like safety Brian Dawkins. In fact, the NFL has had a number of players who were outspoken in their faith. Think of quarterback
Kurt Warner, who famously went from stocking shelves at a grocery store to a pair of league most-valuable-player awards and three Super Bowl appearances. Or Reggie White, one of the greatest defensive linemen of all time, who was also an ordained minister, nicknamed the ‘Minister of Defense.’ The list goes on.
     Religion certainly played a role in the game when I played. I grew up the son of a Pentecostal Holiness minister–we were charismatic before charismatic was cool. I was in church Wednesday night, Friday night, Sunday morning and Sunday night–every week of my childhood. I was there at the first-ever national camp for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, in Estes Park, Co., in 1956, along with everyone from legendary NFL quarterback Otto Graham to a young Don Meredith (although fellow quarterback Don and I didn’t make it to many of the meetings). When I went to the NFL, I needed special dispensation from the church to play on Sundays.
     As a player, though, I never understood why God would care who won a game between my team and another. It seemed like there were many far more important things going on in the world. There were religious guys on both teams. If God gets credit for the win, does he also take blame for defeat?
     For what it’s worth, my forays into hoping for divine intervention didn’t work out. I prayed fervently before each of the three Super Bowls we Minnesota Vikings played in. We played against the Dolphins, the Steelers and the Raiders. I don’t know about the first two games, but I was sure God would be on our side for the game against the Raiders! After all, they were the villains of the league, and it was hard to believe they had more Christians on their team than on our saintly Vikings. We lost.
     Faith had a place in every locker room I was in. When I played for the New York Giants, team owner Wellington Mara, a devout Catholic, invited half the priests in New York City into the locker room before games. Sometimes it was hard to find my team-mates among all the priests. I’m sure Mara hoped it would somehow help the team win, but it was never enough to get us into the playoffs.
     Before every game, no matter what team I was on at the time, the coach would always ask the most devout player to say a prayer. This would happen after we’d already been out warming up–so we’d all seen the crowd, we were in full uniform (complete with eye black doubling as war paint), and the intensity of the week had built up to a near frenzy in the locker room.
     The prayer was always pretty much for the same thing: Let there not be any injuries, let everybody play a good game–anything except to win the game. No one ever asked to win the game, probably for fear that God would punish us for asking. After this moment of devotion, the team would all shout in unison, ‘Now let’s go kill those S.O.B.’s!’
     We often attribute supernatural origins to football success, from Roger Staubach’s 1975 ‘Hail Mary’ pass to Franco Harris‘s ‘Immaculate Reception’ in 1972, and we enshrine plays with names like the ‘Holy Roller’ in 1978 and the ‘Music City Miracle‘ in 2000.
     Although faith has been a part of football so long, a player like Mr. Tebow can still be extremely controversial among fans and pundits. But seriously, isn’t it refreshing that the chatter around the NFL is about a great athlete with great character who says and does all the right things and is a relentless leader for his team–and not about more arrests and bad behavior from our presumptive ‘heroes’?
     Tim Tebow is the story of this football season, and a great story it is.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame member and Atlan...

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I couldn’t have said it better myself! I might be a fan…might…if the media broadcast more news touting the exemplary behavior of super star, moneyed athletes. Most of what’s reported is about their bad-boy behavior and their holding out for excessive millions in contracts. I’ve no clue what Tebow earns, but who cares……when he’s a role model for good-guy behavior…

…thanks for telling it…like it was…and still is… ………Mr.Tarkenton… 

a baked potato with butter

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………hugmamma.  😉

 

English: 2009 ESPN Zone Chicago Ultimate Couch...

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details…little known facts

Secret Service agents in response at the assas...

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In summing up what I’ve learned about President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan from reading I Love You, Ronnie, a couple of details came to light which I’d not known before. And according to Mrs. Reagan, only those close to what occurred at the time, knew. The first dealt with the assassination attempt on the President’s life 3 months after he took office. The second was an incident that probably caused the premature onset of his Alzheimer’s. Only a handful, it seems, were privvy to both occurrences.

Waiting for news, Nancy Reagan sat with Sarah Brady, whose husband Jim had also been shot in the attempt on the President’s life.

As we waited, I looked out the window and saw how, in the buildings all around the hospital, people had thrown sheets out the window saying things like GET WELL, MR. PRESIDENT and WE LOVE YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. Every now and then, a nurse would come and report to me on Ronnie’s progress. At first, the doctors were having trouble finding the bullet, which was a devastator bullet, the kind that explodes inside. One time, the nurse came and said, “We just can’t seem to get it out. We may just have to leave it in.” Well, that didn’t sound so good to me. And then another time, she said, “They’ve found it, but the doctor is having a hard time removing it–it keeps slipping from his fingers.” Finally, she came back and told me that the doctor had gotten it out, but I almost lost him then. The bullet had been lodged an inch from Ronnie’s heart.

We were lucky–we didn’t realize how lucky, in fact–because when Ronnie had arrived, all the doctors were in the hospital for a meeting. No one had to be called in. Everyone Ronnie needed was right on hand, and there was no waiting. …

I wanted to stay there all night, but the feeling was that it would be better for the country if I left and went back to sleep at the White House. Otherwise, people would have assumed the worst and there would have been panic. As it was, Ronnie’s aides had to do all they could to calm the country down. The briefings made to the press were partial, to say the least. The assassination attempt was really a much closer call than people were led to believe at the time. Everyone was trying not to frighten the people in the country, but the fact was, Ronnie almost died. It was a miracle that he didn’t. And I knew all along how serious things really were. …

Needless to say, I was terrified. After the shooting, every time Ronnie walked out the door to make a public appearance, my heart would stop–and it wouldn’t start again until he came back home safely. Ronnie knew how scared I was. But if he was frightened too, he never let me know it. As always, he was cheerful and optimistic. God had spared him, he believed; there had to be a reason why. By making jokes…he tried to take the edge off my fear.

The Reagans wave from the White House after Pr...

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Who could fault the First Lady’s hovering over the President thereafter? No wonder her seeming control of his life, personal and public, for which the media liked to criticize her. I know because they had me convinced she was running the country with her husband, an unofficial cabinet member, as was constantly written and spoken of in the news. How the spinmeisters love to slant the facts. Readers, beware!

Fast forward to July 1989, after the Reagans had left the White House. Visiting with friends Betty and Bill Wilson at their ranch in Mexico, the President went riding. An accident occurred.

Ronnie had been thrown off his horse. He was riding with some other men, going up an incline, when one of the ranch hands had hit something that made a loud noise and spooked Ronnie’s horse.

The horse reared once, and Ronnie stayed on. It reared a second time, and Ronnie stayed on again. Two Secret Service men tried to move in and calm the horse, but they couldn’t do it. The horse reared a third time, bucking so hard that Ronnie fell off and hit his head on the ground, miraculously missing the jagged rocks all around.

President Ronald Reagan

Image by edalisse via Flickr

We got him on a plane and immediately took him to a hospital in Tucson, Arizona. He should really have stayed there, but it was my birthday and the Wilsons had planned a celebration, and Ronnie was determined to go back to the ranch. We went back–but at my insistence, we took a doctor with me.

The day after…we flew home. I was very uneasy and kept at Ronnie until he agreed to get his head X-rayed. We went to the Mayo Clinic, where we’d gone every year for checkups. It turned out that Ronnie had a concussion and a subdural hematoma. He needed to be operated on right away. It all happened so quickly that I think, once again, I was in shock. …

I’ve always had the feeling that the severe blow to his head in 1989 hastened the onset of Ronnie’s Alzheimer’s. The doctors think so, too. In the years leading up to the diagnosis of the disease, in August 1994, he had not shown symptoms of the illness. I didn’t suspect that Ronnie was ill when we went back to the Mayo Clinic that summer for our regular checkup. When the doctors told us they’d found symptoms of Alzheimer’s, I was dumbfounded. Ronnie’s fall from the horse had worried me terribly, of course, and I’d had to urge him to take time out to recover after his operation. But I had seen no signs of anything else.

There’s no telling if President Reagan would have enjoyed more years of retirement, free from the debilitating symptoms of Alzheimer’s. How fragile the brain, with only the skull as protection from the hazards of everyday life…like horse back riding. Spared from the assassin’s bullet, Reagan succumbed to no less a devastating end. As his devoted wife, and true witness to her husband’s last 50 years on earth, Nancy Reagan suffered Alzheimer’s alongside him.

Senator Corker greets former First Lady Nancy ...

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…First of all, there is a feeling of loneliness when you’re in this situation. Not that your friends aren’t supportive of you; they are. But no one can really know what it’s like unless they’ve traveled this path–and there are many right now traveling the same path I am. You know that it’s a progressive disease and that there’s no place to go but down, no light at the end of the tunnel. You get tired and frustrated, because you have no control and you feel helpless. We’ve had an extraordinary life, and I’ve been blessed to have been married for almost fifty years to a man I deeply love–but the other side of the coin is that it makes it harder. There are so many memories that I can no longer share, which makes it very difficult. When it comes right down to it, you’re in it alone. Each day is different, and you get up, put one foot in front of the other, and go–and love; just love.

I try to remember Ronnie telling me so many times that God has a plan for us which we don’t understand now but one day will, or my mother saying that you play the hand that’s dealt you. It’s hard, but even now there are moments Ronnie has given me that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Alzheimer’s is a truly long, long good-bye. But it’s the living out of love.

Photograph of Newlyweds Ronald Reagan and Nanc...

Image by The U.S. National Archives via Flickr

…blest by true love…even in the face of adversity…hugmamma. 

 

an easter gift to ourselves, feeding the hungry

Spent a couple of hours Saturday evening volunteering once again at the community hall serving dinner to those who wandered in from the street. My husband and I decided to fill in wherever needed, rather than commit to a regular schedule. As with most who offer their time, it’ll probably work out to be once-a-month that I prepare a dish that we bring along for the meal.

While 2 or 3 of the women are there more often because they coordinate the effort, others like us are there now and then. As for the needy, most seem to be regulars who are familiar with the routine. They’re very respectful as they enter the hall. Early by about 15-20 minutes, the men and women mill about, settling into chairs while they wait. If dessert is set out some might help themselves to a little, probably too hungry to wait, while others wander about aimlessly, perhaps too antsy, and hungry, to sit still.

Meatloaf

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The woman-in-charge was delayed, so we waited until she arrived to serve up dinner. We didn’t know where the second pan of meat loaf and a side dish of cauliflower were, or if they’d even been delivered. The coordinator arrived, the food was found warming in the oven, and the meal was ready. Meanwhile, the diners had lined up along one side of the hall, patiently waiting to be invited to step up and be served.

Salad with vinaigrette dressing

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I served the meatloaf, another woman served the risotto dish she’d made, a middle-school boy helped with the tomato/mozzarella salad with balsamic vinaigrette I’d assembled, while his mom served up an ambrosia fruit salad. The diners helped themselves to garlic bread and the dessert of homemade strawberry shortcake.

There were a couple of newcomers that made me reflect. One was a young boy about 15 years old, I think. He looked as though he’d not bathed in a while, his hair disheveled, his face streaked with dirt, his ti-shirt and pants wrinkled and perhaps a little smelly. He arrived late, quietly approached the table, and mumbled that he was starving. My mother’s heart quickly sprang into action, offering him a couple of helpings of meatloaf, huge servings of mashed potatoes and risotto, and several slices of the tomato/mozzarella salad. He also got a spoonful of the cauliflower dish from another volunteer.The boy accepted everything gratefully, as they all do. Of course they may not like everything, but they’re not forced to eat it all. Later I did see the young man very discreetly throw out what remained on his plate, including the tomatoes and cheese. I felt for him as he stood at the  trash bin, seeming unsure as to whether or not he should discard the food given him. I think he did, finally. I’m glad. Just because he’s destitute, doesn’t mean he’s not free to still choose. My husband said he’d encountered the boy as he neared the hall. Standing outside until he could be useful, my husband informed the boy who asked what time it was, that, in fact, a meal was being served for any who desired to partake. My husband was also touched to see such a young person obviously in need of something to eat.

strawberry shortcake

Image by QuintanaRoo via Flickr

Late into the meal, a mother pushing a stroller arrived, accompanied by a younger relative carrying the baby. We had to scrape together what remained of the food, except for the salad of which there was lots left since I’d brought 3 platters. The latecomers seemed happy to be getting whatever they could. They, and the others, are a reminder that there are those who will eat anything, rather than have nothing whatsoever to eat.

As he did the last time we volunteered, my husband got to work scrubbing what serving dishes were emptied of food. Most had been cooked in disposable aluminum foil pans which were tossed, so there was less to clean up than before. As a result we left earlier than others who remained behind chatting. In taking our leave, we agreed that it was another evening well spent at the community hall. It felt especially good since we were celebrating Easter the following day. Feeding the hungry meant we were doing what Christ had done.

What Good Are These For So Many?

Image by andycoan via Flickr

giving to others…what we take for granted…hugmamma.  

celebrate life…every day

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic C...

Image by sarowen via Flickr

It’s kind of a running joke in the Catholic Church, actually it’s probably true of all religious denominations, that there’s an explosion of attendance on two annual occasions, Christmas and Easter. Regular churchgoers have to literally suck in their breaths to make room for the masses of people who join in celebrating the birth of Jesus, and then His resurrection from death. But all are welcome, regardless if they only come once or twice a year.

I acted as a meet and greet person for 8 a.m. Mass this morning. Seems to be a volunteer job I’m becoming more and more adept at doing. No cowboys here though, like there was at my previous gig. Just regular folk in their Sunday best. My husband helped usher people. We arrived about 15-20 minutes before the start of services, so there weren’t a ton of empty spaces left in the pews. I had a hunch we’d be one of the many standing the entire time, which we did.

After fulfilling our tasks, I remained in the vestibule where I’d been welcoming fellow worshippers with “Good morning. Happy Easter.” Meanwhile, hubby stood directly opposite me at the other end of the church. We could’ve waved “hello” but we didn’t. We were respectful, and minded our “P’s and Q’s,” or at least I did. He’s always reverential. Did I tell you he was a seminarian studying for the priesthood when he was in high school? God decided he had a more difficult job to undertake…keeping me on the straight and narrow, which he’s done, at times with difficulty. I’m not the kind of sheep who’s easily led. I like to ask “but..why?”

Because I was standing where families gather, outside the glass doors that separate them from the other parishioners, I couldn’t follow the priest’s words very well. With babies and toddlers cooing and talking, or parading up and down the aisle, or running in some cases, I quickly decided that God was also present among them and all of us standing on the periphery, not just within the main body of the church where the altar was. So I watched, and enjoyed, the children and their parents interact. Jesus, Mary and Joseph must’ve carried on like any one of these normal families.

La vierge aux raisins

Image via Wikipedia

A young couple whom I had brought over to an empty chair in front of me, were wonderful to watch. The husband encouraged his wife to sit with their baby in her lap. Taking off his jacket, and draping it over the back of the chair, he gently stroked his wife’s back as she tended to the little one’s needs. At times, he would lift the girl up into his arms to give the mother a little respite. Once he left, taking his daughter with him. They were gone a little while so I wondered if he’d taken her somewhere to change a diaper or use the restroom. Of course I didn’t know for sure, but he seemed the considerate type who wouldn’t flinch at the task. At the kiss of peace,” I wished them a “Happy Easter,” and told them how much I enjoyed their wonderful family.

It’s always rewarding to notice God’s handiwork in the smallest moments of daily living. Happiness, I think, is an accumulation of all such worthwhile minutiae. Approaching life this way has meant that I’m able to sustain ongoing joy. I’m better able to keep the “valleys” in perspective, not letting them drain me of my positive resolve. It’s an ongoing struggle, for sure, but one which I’m determined never to lose.

My favorite author, Leo Buscaglia, makes the best case for celebrating every day as though it were Easter, or Christmas, or any other sacred occasion.

A Rose to Brighten Your Day

Image by TT IN THE DESERT via Flickr

Life is meant to be a celebration! It shouldn’t be necessary to set aside special times to remind us of this fact. Wise is the person who finds a reason to make every day a special one.

hugs for every day of your life being special…hugmamma.

   

creation of the world according…to sylvia

Here’s a springtime fable from my good friend Sylvia. It’s probably one of the better ones out there, so be sure to pass it along. It should be the one we hand down from generation to generation as it’s so worth retelling. I’m sure the women of humankind will agree that it’s “the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help us God.” Especially since it was She who created us all, the best among us in her image.

A little girl asked her Mom, “How did the human race appear?”
The Mom answered, “God made Adam and Eve and they had children,
and so was all mankind made..”

 Domenico Zampieri, Adam and Eve (1623-25) (Wikipedia)

 

Two days later the girl asked her Dad the same question.
The Dad answered,
“Many years ago there were monkeys from which the human race evolved.”

 


The confused girl returned to her mother and said,
“Mom, how is it possible that you told me the human race was created by God,
and Dad said they developed from monkeys?”
The mother answered,
“Well, Dear, it’s very simple. I told you about my side of the family
and your father told you about his..”

need we say more…except…amen, amen, amen…hugmamma.

“balancing action and inaction,” life

Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey

Image via Wikipedia

Today is Palm Sunday, signifying Christ‘s triumphal arrival into Jerusalem. A week from now we will be celebrating His resurrection from death. That is the pivotal point for all Catholics, when we are saved from eternal damnation. And so today begins the holiest week in the Catholic Church, and the busiest. Each day provides us an opportunity to participate in the ritual leading up to Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.

During Jesus life on earth this next week, Holy Week, unfolded as his own personal hell. He went from riding on a donkey, his followers waving palm branches as they honored Him, to being scourged and made to carry a wooden cross, upon which he would then be nailed, a sign over his head mocking Him as king of the Jews.

The Passion of the Christ

Image via Wikipedia

Actor/Director Mel Gibson‘s movie shown several years ago, was the most horrific representation of Christ’s suffering from the moment He was struck repeatedly with leather straps whose tips bore lead beads, to the crown of thorns shoved mercilessly into his scalp, to the huge nails that were hammered into his hands and feet. I was unable to watch most of the film, and I tried to muffle the sounds by shoving my fingers into my ears. I hadn’t imagined how overwhelmingly gruesome the depiction would be. That is one movie I will never be able to watch again. Never.

I find it difficult to fathom the suffering human beings can endure. After today’s lengthy reading of the scriptures, Father Brian launched into his homily. The contrast was jarring. Somber words one minute, near-shouting the next. A mimimum of movement one minute, bold, sweeping ones the next. He spoke of a friend with whom he visited in Bellingham, a town bordering British Columbia. It was almost as though Father was speaking of Job, the man who couldn’t get a break from the bad stuff life was throwing his way.

Andy, Father Brian’s friend, was married, with a baby on the way. At about the time he and his wife learned of her pregnancy, he was stricken with cancer throughout his abdomen. He was going through chemotherapy treatment, which left him depleted. Advice from friends and loved ones runs the gamut from fighting the disease with all of his might, to letting go and allowing God‘s will be done. Needless to say the ordeal has Andy wafting in and out of depression. Somewhere along the line, the doctors discovered that the cancer has spread throughout his spinal column.

Jesus calls Lazarus to Life

Image by Lawrence OP via Flickr

Wouldn’t it be nice if Father Brian had the ability to relieve Andy of the cancer, by performing a miracle? That’s what the non-believers taunted as Christ hung on the cross. If He was truly the Son of God, then why didn’t His Father rescue Him? That, as we know, was not God’s will.

While Andy’s situation exemplifies human suffering at its worst, Father Brian drew a parallel between his life, Christ’s life, and our lives. Though our challenges may not be as great as theirs, like them we vacillate between agressively promoting that about which we are passionate, to passively accepting our fate and putting our lives into God’s hands. We are constantly seeking the right balance. In doing so Father concluded that we should not only pray for guidance, but that we should also find someone with whom we can openly share our sorrows.  Both will enable us to shoulder whatever burdens we will bear throughout our lives.

a fine balance…this gift of life…hugmamma.