Saturday, April 30, 2016

Lessons in Swimming Lessons

My youngest grandchild is 20 months.  I take her to swimming lessons.  Adults are in the water with their little ones.  Today was the first session.  While paddling around teaching my little one to reach and scoop with her hands, I overheard a dad coaxing his daughter.  She was frightened and didn't want to take her hands off him.  She had him in a choke hold.

"Let go."

"NO, no, no..."

Then the dad said something that caught my attention and made me smile.

"I will never let go of you.  You will let go of me, but I will never let go of you."

Isn't this exactly like our relationship with God?
 He never lets go of us.  It's we who let go of Him.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Goliards

I love John Allen.  I loved him more when he was with the Globe, but I love him still.  I was reading Crux, the Knights of Columbus' independent Catholic news site, where John Allen is editor and read his article, http://www.cruxnow.com/church/2016/04/17/in-italy-goliard-style-blasphemy-rides-again/   where I learned that goliards were bum clergy who mocked the church and went around holding blasphemous ceremonies.  Their lifestyle was sheer depravity and they reveled in it.

They were around in the medieval era.  It seems that some men of noble families, who weren't first born were sent off to be priests when they really didn't have a vocation.  They had nothing else to do.  They must have thought they were pretty smart and showed off their knowledge and humor and mocked what the populace considered sacred.  They must have thought they were above all that.

Anyway, it's back.  It seems that in Italy, as many as 60 people have been holding parodies of religious ceremonies.  The police have arrested them for offenses against religious laws.  The accused did it out in the open.  It was even advertised on facebook.

Why do people mock what others consider sacred?  Do they think that proves that they're smarter?  Do they think it's funny?




Thursday, April 28, 2016

Jesus Walk With Me

Yesterday's experiment failed.  Bert said that when he asked God, "Jesus walk with me," his head involuntarily popped up.  He couldn't put it back down.  And he challenged me to ask Jesus to walk with me.

I did.

Nothing happened.  My head stayed down and I continued walking with my head down.  I was trying to think if I had said the wrong thing, done it wrong, etc.  Then I thought how silly it all was.  Jesus doesn't come when magic words are spoken.  He's here, all the time.  He doesn't obey us; we obey Him.  We don't command Him--WALK.  So I walked and prayed, meditating upon these thoughts.  So Bert's head popped up involuntarily.  Maybe God was showing him the way.  Maybe Bert should look ahead.  Whatever!  Whatever God is doing with Bert is his business.  And I trust God to show me my way.

Jesus walk with me.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

An Experiment

Last night, my friend Bert, gave me an experiment to try.  He said that his customary way of walking
was plodding along with his head down.  He was praying and the thought came to him to ask Jesus to accompany him.  So he said, "Jesus walk with me."

The minute he said that his head popped up, involuntarily.  He was surprised.  So he did it again.  And again.  He could not put his head back down after he asked Jesus to walk with him.

He challenged me to do the same.  I will.  Do you want to try it?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

One More Reason Not to be the Last to Leave Mass

This morning I was reading an article, "5 Reasons to Stay Until the End of Mass," by Sister Theresa Aletheia Noble.  Her reasons include:

(1)     Community
          Stay awhile after the Mass concludes and catch up on neighbors' news.  Greet and welcome
           newcomers.
(2)     It's rude
          I'll say!!!  Although I never noticed this until I had children singing in the choir.  I couldn't get
          over that the people in the choir are looking at you, eyeball to eyeball, and you turn around and
          leave!  How rude!  Stay and sing. Stay, tell Father, "good homily," tell the Lector, "good job,"
          tell the altar servers, "excellent job," -- you get the idea.  You're in church; you should be
          concerned about your neighbors, not self absorbed.
(3)     Mass is not just an activity
          Mass is not on a "To Do List."  Is kiss your family on a "To Do List"?  Mass is an act of love,
         not a chore.
(4)     There's a final blessing
          Yes, the priest blesses everyone at the end of Mass.  And!  these blessings are very beautiful.
          Listen to it.
(5)     You get more grace
          There's a story told about St. Philip Neri.  He would have the altar server chase after those
          who left before the final blessing.  And the altar server was holding the processional candle.
           So everywhere the parishioner went, he was was followed by a candle bearing altar server.
(6)     You need to wait for the priest to recess out.
           Once the priest has left, kneel down and thank God for the Mass.  You have received a great
          grace.  You are Catholic and have received the precious Body and Blood of Jesus.  Not every-
           body is so blessed.


Monday, April 25, 2016

9:00 News


Paddy and an Englishman were sitting in a Boston bar watching the 9:00 news.  There was an announcement that a man was going to jump off the Zakim bridge.  Paddy said, "$ 20 the man will jump."  The Englishman said, "You're on."  Both men put $ 20 on the bar.

Paddy and the Englishman watched the news and saw that the poor man did jump off the Zakim bridge. The Englishman said, "Well, you won."

Paddy looked at the money and thought. "No, I can't take it.  I saw the 6:00 o'clock news and saw that he jumped."  The Englishman said, "Actually, I saw the 6:00 news too.  I didn't think he'd jump again!"

Paddy took his money.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Rte. 110 in the 1950's


Here we go again.  Another Saturday ride to the beach, where I fight carsickness--squashed in the middle of the backseat. The youngest, the skinniest is wedged between Grandma and Auntie.  There was always some kind of hump on the floor that forced me to place a leg on each side of it.  Sometimes, I’d place both feet on the protuberance and my knees would stick up like straws in a frappe.  My sister drove and Mama and Dad rode with her, in the front.  Are we there yet?

Look the cows are laying down.  Get up! Get up!  Mama would explain that the cows lying on the ground meant it was going to rain.  Sometimes we’d stop—to look at the cows—if nature called—if I felt like throwing up.  Are we there yet?

Somewhere around the corners in Haverhill, hugging the Merrimack River, Dad would turn around and point at me.  “You may think you’re pretty smart, but the man that was born there was wittier.”  Then he’d lower and raise his eyebrows a couple of times, as we passed a sign that announced, “Birthplace of John Greenleaf Whittier”.  We would all groan.  Are we there yet?

Riding on Main Street into the town of Merrimac we’d pick out houses we’d like to live in.  We always picked old shacks for Dad and mansions for Mom.  I always liked long ranches with attached garages—that made them seem even longer.  Are we there yet?

The houses entering Amesbury were spread far apart and I was kept busy by keeping track of which side of the street had the most mailboxes.  Are we there yet?


Actually, we are there. 
The road ends in Salisbury Beach.
See the sun speckled waves
of the mighty Atlantic Ocean.
Car sickness and boredom forgotten!
Swimming, golden sand, fried clams,
roller coaster and arcade.
Hooray!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Oops!


The other night I was the last to leave my women's club meeting.  It was abut 9:15 PM.  I was carrying an armful.  My pocketbook was hanging on my shoulder and my hand on that arm was carrying a coffee pot.  My other arm and hand carried a bag with stuff that went with the coffee pot--extension, creamer, sugar, stirrers, and two prizes I had won in the raffle.

I walked slowly and carefully.  I plopped everything on the hood of my car.  "Whew! Made it."  Then I searched in my pocketbook for my car keys.  But when I pushed the unlock button I didn't hear anything or see the lock pop up.  I pressed again.  And again.  Huh?  I wondered if it needed a battery.  I tried the key in the door's lock.  No way would it go in.  I pressed unlock and nothing.  Maybe if I pressed lock and then unlock.

I did.  I pressed "lock."  Just then I heard a beep--from across the street.  I looked.  There was my car across the street all lit up from my pressing every button on my gadget.

All this time I had been trying to get in Father Jack's car.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Story About Joe


The other day I heard the funniest story about my friend, Joe.  Joe lives downtown in one of the houses he owns.  He is an elderly man in his late 80's.  He's retired and lives a peaceful, routine--happy life.  His day begins with his walking to daily Mass, eating breakfast, walking to the town library, reading the newspaper in the library, sitting outside on the library's bench on Main Street and watching the world go by.

One day as Joe is sitting on the bench, a stranger drives up in his car, stops, and hands Joe a little bag.  The man gets back in his car and drives off.  Joe opens the bag and inside
is a sandwich.  Joe doesn't know what to think, never mind what to do.  But after awhile, he eats the sandwich.

Another day, another sandwich.

It happens again--and again.

Then comes the day when a mutual friend of ours is in Dunkin Donuts.  He is friends with the man who's been giving Joe the sandwiches, but he doesn't know about the sandwiches.  But he does see his friend buying a sandwich.  To make light conversation he says to his friend, "I thought you were on a diet."  The man responds, "Oh, it's not for me.  It's for the homeless old man who sits on the library's bench."

!!!!

No more sandwiches for Joe.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Panel Discussion



Yesterday was crazy.  Here's my schedule:

Prose Poetry Memoir Workshop--9:30-12:30
Lunch
Drive friend home
Writer's Group--1:00-3:00 but I left early to go to colloquium
Go Home, wait for ride at 3:00
5:00 at Boston College for colloquium
7:00 eat supper at Panera's
10:00 come home and crash

It's the colloquium that I want to tell you about.  The subject to be discussed was The Theology of Pope Francis: Real Reform or Window Dressing? The speakers were:

James T. Bretzke, sj -- prof. moral theology at BC, media spokesperson
Susannah Heschel -- prof. Dartmouth, prof. Jewish studies
Kristin E. Heyer -- prof. theology at BC
M. Cathleen Kaveny -- lawyer, scholar focused on law and morality
Thomas J. Reese, sj -- reporter for National Catholic Reporter
Michael Sean Winters -- reporter for Tablet and National Catholic Reporter

The answer to whether the theology of Pope Francis was real reform or window dressing was both.  The most interesting part of the night was  the questions from the audience.  People wrote down their questions on index cards and the panel answered them.  That was where most of the time was spent.  Each participant took a minute or two to answer the question on reform or window dressing, the rest of the time was answering questions from the audience.  How easy is that!  I was thinking of how to use this easy model of a panel and then audience questions in my groups--RCIA, adult faith formations, writers' groups, etc.

Of course, the subject and discussion were good.  But that is expected.  But my mind is occupied with the method of how they delivered the message.  I'm having fun planning.

Today's schedule:

Morning -- hiking group
Afternoon -- RCIA
Night -- Women's Club


Pray for me.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

They Just Don't Want to Believe


Yesterday, I was babysitting.  I had to explain the same reasons--many times.  And watching my "cloistered brothers" explain to the dogs they are training, over and over again, I was not surprised to hear and read Jesus' response to unbelievers: I told you and you do not believe...  

I think the problem is that they find it hard to believe and so they've closed their minds to it, although they see others believing, so they still ask.  They really don't want to believe.  They're hoping for a really good excuse not to believe but they haven't found it, yet.

They're still searching--not to believe, but to not believe.

My husband does this to me constantly.  I want to do something that he doesn't want.  First, he doesn't hear.  Next, he'll forget.  Then, he's waiting.  I think he's waiting for me to forget, or something to interfere with my request, or the world to end and he won't have to do it.  For example, I have always wanted a two-way closet in the kitchen.  The closet in the kitchen will be all shelves for storage.  On the other side, in the other room, the closet will be a coat closet.  I have talked about this for 45 years! Well, the other day we had a carpenter over to knock down the wall to open up the kitchen/living room area.  But there's a support beam that has to stay.  The carpenter asked to just extend the wall, or he could make a closet (Brilliant Idea!)  Hubby calmly says, "My wife is debating what to do with it."

DEBATING!!!!  For forty-five years I've wanted a closet!  It's a good thing I was there to hear this conversation.  I jumped right in and said, "The closet idea is perfect."  The carpenter agreed.

I told you and you do not believe.  The problem with Jesus' unbelievers and people like my hubby is that they really don't want to believe.


Monday, April 18, 2016

Locked Out

Sometimes mistakes are fun.  That's what happened today.  This morning my grandchildren and I were alone in the house.  It was beautiful today.  We were going outside to play.  My oldest went out the door first and left it open.  The baby and I went out next and closed the door.  "Oh-oh.  "

I just knew the door locked behind us.  "Oh, no."  My phone is locked inside the house.  My car keys, likewise.

Luckily, it was beautiful outside.  There was no wind to chill us.  It was a perfect day.  We played on the swingset.  We climbed and played inside the tree house.  We picked flowers and pinecones.  We are trying to toilet train the baby but I couldn't and she kept pulling at her pants like they were uncomfortable.  There was nothing I could do about it.

I knew that grandpa was coming in a couple of hours with lunch.  We had no choice but to wait.  When he did come, we hungry kids took the lunch and ate it in the tree house, while Grandpa went to Mama's work for the house key.  It was fun eating in the tree house.  That was my first time!

Afterwards, during the baby's nap, we painted rocks for the garden.  The air was perfect for drying.  We could paint the rocks, and in ten minutes we could decorate them.  And even if I'm saying it myself, we did a good job.  See.

Sometimes making a mistake works out better than the plans we had.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Game Face

Game Face

Now
A chilly yet sunny  morning
in autumn.  We moms chat and watch
our sons kick around a soccer ball--
pre-game warm up.

Eighth-grade boys trying to look
so grown-up.  Some boys succeed--
too well.  Some boys have reached
puberty and sport whispy mustaches.

There are boys as tall as men
next to chubby-kneed children.
I see a huge gruff monster knock
down a skinny stick of a boy.


“Oh I hope my little boy isn’t
matched against that big monster.”
Just then the monster turns and
looks at me with my son’s smile.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Almost a Priest

This is a busy weekend for me.  Since I don't have any obligatory services to do, I thought I'd go to the last Mass on Saturday, so I'd have two completely free days of "no demands," i.e., Sunday and Patriot's Day.  At the 7:30 PM Mass, I saw a familiar face walk down the aisle dressed as in priest vestments.  It was Matt Conley
.  I know him from prison ministry.  And I didn't  know he was a priest.  I picked up the bulletin and read that he was a transitional deacon.  A transitional deacon is a breath away from being a priest.  In fact, Matt gave the homily and he mentioned that in one more month he would be ordained a priest.

His homily was good, too.  He talked about Amoris Laetitia.  He told the congregation to read it.  (It's 255 pages of theological/pastoral directions.)  But you know, I probably will read it because my "cloistered brothers" read that kind of stuff.  They'll want to discuss it.  He tied the pope's exhortation to the Gospel, John 10: 27-30.  Marriages need Jesus in the center.  That's what Amoris Laetitia is all about and that's what the Good Shepherd does.  Follow the Shepherd.

Friday, April 15, 2016

A Rosary A Day Until the Election

Agenzia Fides has a short article about a Filipino bishop asking the people to pray a rosary a day until their elections.  I think everyone should do this.  We could do this for our own elections.

Reminding the people of the power of prayer, the Filipino Bishops urge the faithful to pray the rosary every day until the elections of May 9. "Pray the mysteries of joy, light, sorrow and glory every day, until May 9. Pray for the family. Pray while you are traveling. Pray in offices and factories. Pray in the world for our national elections", says His Exc. Mgr. Socrates B. Villegas, Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan and President of the Bishops' Conference, in a message published today, April 15.
The text, sent to Fides, emphasizes "the power of prayer" and its "ability to influence major events", as seen in the history of the country. "Our best contribution – say the Bishops - is to pray so that the Lord of history guides every voter and guides each candidate".
"May God enlighten our decisions. God can hinder the plans of evil men and women who want to destroy social order. God can give us the best leaders for the good of all", says the statement. "With the power of the rosary, we can stop the evil of electoral violence and fraud. With the power of the rosary, we can win the battle for peaceful and credible elections". "Let the rosary melt our hardened hearts and arrogant lips", he concludes. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 15/04/2016)

Thursday, April 14, 2016

A Remote for My Husband


If I could find that remote to control my husband, I could redirect his thought process.

If I could find it:
--not in the chair cushions
--not fallen under the table
--not left on top of the TV
--not under the newspapers

If I could only remember
where that remote is hiding:
--am I getting hot
--am I getting cold

If I could just retrieve that lost remote:
--I could have hubby do the looking
--I could have him bring it to me
--I could have him wait on me

Now I know why I can't find the remote!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Lectio Divina for Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter


Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectio
Gospel John 6: 35-40   The other scriptures of the day are the First Reading  Acts 8: 1B-8 and PS 66:1-3A, 4-5, 6-7A, and the Memorial of St. Martin I – Pope and Martyr, and the Memorial of Blessed Margaret of Costello, according to the Liturgy of Hours for the Order of Preachers.
Jesus does not reject anyone
Jesus said to the crowds,
“I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.
But I told you that although you have seen me,
you do not believe.
Everything that the Father gives me will come to me,
and I will not reject anyone who comes to me,
because I came down from heaven not to do my own will
but the will of the one who sent me.
And this is the will of the one who sent me,
that I should not lose anything of what he gave me,
but that I should raise it on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father,
that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him
may have eternal life,
and I shall raise him on the last day.”
Studium
The Gospel begins with Jesus declaring that He is the bread of life.  St. Augustine tells us that we will always hunger and thirst for God.  Is not bread called the “staff of life?”  And Jesus begins by telling us that He is Our Bread.  Jesus reproves those who do not believe Him.  …although you have seen me, you do not believe.  Without a deep trust and faith, one cannot satisfy their hunger and thirst for God.  Jesus is there, always.  We need to accept Him because He … will not reject anyone …  Jesus wants us to enter into relationship with Him.  He is offering Himself, completely and forever.  We need not worry that we are not worthy because He promises He will not reject anyone.  This is what God wants.  And if we accept Jesus, we will have eternal life.  Eternal life—where our hunger and thirst will be satiated.
Two examples of deep faith and trust are Pope Martin I, whose feast day we celebrate today, and Blessed Margaret of Costello, who  is venerated by the Order of Preachers.  Pope Martin I suffered greatly, yet held on to his faith.  Martin was elected pope in 649.  It was a tumultuous time for the church.  He was imprisoned and tortured to death.  Martyrdom is the ultimate manifestation of belief in Christ.  Likewise, Blessed Margaret of Costello’s life gave witness to her commitment to Jesus.  Born deformed and blind, in 1287, she was rejected by her parents, but not by God.  …I will not reject anyone who comes to me.  Despite Margaret’s infirmities, she believed.  Physically blind, she saw Jesus with eyes of faith.
Meditatio
Everything that the Father gives me will come to me,
and I will not reject anyone who comes to me,
because I came down from heaven not to do my own will
but the will of the one who sent me.
 
These words of Jesus reassure us of His constant presence.  Sometimes we may question “Where is God?”  God is always there.  He doesn’t move.  We are the ones who move away.  If we are honest with ourselves, we should see that it is we who have loosened our grip on God’s hand.  But we must not worry.  It is God’s will that Jesus not “lose anything of what He gave ...”  Grab hold of Jesus and never let go, as Pope St. Martin I and Blessed Margaret Costello exemplified.  Persevere in trusting God.
Oratio
Bless us Father with Your ever constant grace.  May Your love always embrace us.  Ungrateful as we are wont to be, please accept our petitions.  Help us to persevere in faithfulness.  We want to love You and be with You eternally.  Through the intercession of St. Martin I and Blessed Margaret of Costello may we never let go of Your hand and get lost.  May Jesus always find us.    Amen.
Contemplatio

We remember how You loved us. 
And still we celebrate
For You are with us here.
Lord, we remember; we celebrate;
we believe.

Acevedo Lecture

Gladys Emilia Acevedo Wilson left funds to establish an annual visiting lectureship in memory of William N.H. Potterton, to be presented to an English language scholar recognized by his peers, at Dean College.  Gladys Emilia Acevedo Wilson was a 1938 graduate of Dean Academy.  William N.H. Potterton was a much-loved professor.  Last night, I attended the lecture by the recipient.  Marsha Nourse, Associate Professor of Literature is the Inaugural Acevedo Literary Scholar-in-Residence Spring 2016.

I found it awe-inspiring.  I took notes when I was inspired.  A page full!  Besides subject matter, I was inspired by the format of the presentation.  As a teacher, catechist, president, facilitator, I am often giving presentations, and the variety of visual and audio aids, introductions to a speaker, and the poetry readings, gave me some new techniques to try.

Marsha Nourse led us through the years, by decade, from the founding of Dean to the present. It was the history of Dean through the eyes of poetry:

1865-1875  -  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
1875-1885  -  Walt Whitman
1885-1895  -  Emily Dickenson
1895-1905 -  Celia Thaxter
1905-1915  -  Carl Sandburg
1915-1925  -  Edna St. Vincent Millay
1925-1935  -  Langston Hughes
1935-1945  -  Elizabeth Bishop
1945-1955  -  Robert Frost
1955-1965  -  Allen Ginsberg
1965-1975  -  Robert Bly
1975-1985  -  Donald Hall
1985-1995  -  Jane Kenyon
1995-2005  -  Stanly Kunitz

Perfect.  The poets chosen to represent the various decades covered their "times" with poetic consciousness.  Looking at history through the eyes of a poet is such a change from the usual political and social view.  It was a refreshing, relaxing, and thoroughly enjoyable lecture.



Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Difference Between Night and Day

Last evening, I went to a talk by Joel Hoffman.  He is an American scholar, linguist, translator, and of course, speaker.  I enjoyed his presentation.  He is quite entertaining.  I learned more of what I thought I knew.  The Bible is composed of different genres and has been translated many times by people with limitations, e.i., cultural biases.  It was good to have my knowledge expanded by Dr. Hoffman.

I listened with interest his take on the Bible's stand on homosexuality, when life begins, pacifism and the ten commandments.  In short, it's the opposite of what is commonly thought.  This is what surprised me and elicited the most discussion afterwards.

So I went home, jazzed.  I did go right to bed and immediately fell asleep.  However, I woke up a couple of hours later, thinking about Dr. Hoffman's take on today's cultural "hot spots."  I had the urge to get up and hustle out an email to my pastor.  I was going to tell him that the Interfaith Council had been tricked by the rabbi into allowing an anti-Christian speaker to present his screed. Hoffman attacked our Christian beliefs.  What our Biblical scriptures teach, he tried to prove was wrong.  In essence, he was saying that we Christians base our faith on false scriptures.

Of course, I know that you don't get out of bed and dash out an email.  You'll be sorry, later.  So I turned over and went back to sleep.  Planning, however, to write in the morning.

Morning came and I couldn't be bothered.  Besides, what was I thinking?  I was thinking exactly like Dr. Hoffman said the scripture writers and translators thought.  As human beings, we allow our feelings, culture, misinterpretations, and imaginations flourish our view of scripture.  There is more than just words to take into consideration when reading the Bible.  There's history and culture of the times, and don't forget our own personal take on the subject at hand--whether it's in the middle of the night, or after a good night's sleep.


Monday, April 11, 2016

Comparative Genre to Witness

Compare this prose poem to yesterday's.  Which do you prefer?

Beer, Broken Bottles, and Blah


Every weekend after payday, I’d lay in my bed and listen to my parents bicker.  It was the same old stuff, over and over again.  “You did this…  You did that… I should’ve…  I shouldn’t have…  You shouldn’t have…  You should have…  Your father said… Your brothers don’t …  If…”   Blah, blah, blah, and blah until I blahed myself to sleep.  Blahing, crying, hoping, talking, praying, but mostly feeling sorry for myself, until the sandman came.  There was one occasion when there was no arguing.  Dad had come home late with no paycheck.  Instead, in his arms were two big grocery bags, filled with big bottles of booze.  He never made it through the door.  Mom snatched a neck of one of the beer bottles and smashed it over Dad’s head.  She was screaming.  I was screaming.   And blood was streaming out of Dad’s head, as he lay on the floor moaning.  The floor was covered in a layer of beer, blood, and broken glass.  He was trying to get up but he was slipping and sliding and staggering.  Mom was calling the doctor.  In those days, doctors made house calls.  By the time I helped Dad get in a chair, the doctor was there and I was out of there.  It was Dr. Bain—one of my classmates’ fathers.  I was over his house once; I doubt if he’d remember me.  But just in case, I hid in my bedroom.  Specifically, my closet--a proven place for pity parties. The doctor didn’t ask why or anything.  He just sewed Dad up (no anesthesia needed) and departed.  No one spoke.  Dad slept in that same chair at the table.  Mom cleaned the mess up, “blah, blah, blahing,” under her breath.  And I waited for the merciful sandman.  


Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Witness



No Pay Check

He was holding two big 
bags of beer bottles
in both arms.
   No paycheck.   

He was already drunk,
as a skunk or sailor,
heinous husband,
profligate parent.


She smashed a beer
bottle over his
besotted head.


The floor flooded with
beer, blood and
broken glass.


Screams summoned
the doctor who
stitched without
pain killers.

He never felt
anything.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Who Are You?

google image
Yesterday, I was reading something about Colonel Sanders.  I would like to give the magazine credit,
but I can't find it.  I've looked back in two, and I can't find where I read the little biography.  What impressed me about it was all the stages of his life.  Likewise, so are we.

So which person was Harland David Sanders?  Was he the responsible babysitter of his younger siblings?  Was he the neophyte cook in his family?  Was he the 10-year-old farm laborer who worked for neighbors?  Was he the seventh-grade drop-out?  Was he the homeless teen?  Was he the soldier in the Army?  Was he the railroad worker?  Was he Josephine King's husband?  Was he the grieving father of a son?  Was he the proud father of two daughters?  Was he the part-time student?  Was he the disgruntled employee who was fired?  Was he the lawyer?  Was he the lawyer who lost his license to practice for brawling with his client?  Was he the life insurance salesman?  Was he the man who lost yet another job for insubordination?  Was he the ferry boat owner?  Was he the bankrupt man?  Was he the adult male who had to move back home with mommy?  Was he the gas station owner?  Was he the bankrupt gas station owner?  Was he the restaurant owner?  Was he the man in the shootout?  Was he the man with the "secret recipe" for quick frying chicken?  Was he the womanizer?  Was he the divorcee?  Was he the unfaithful husband?  Was he the successful franchiser?  Was he the good philanthropist helping women and children?

Actually, he was was all these and more.  They are all him.  But wouldn't it be unfair to say he was the school drop out who couldn't hold a job?  The past doesn't define you?  Everything changes, including you.

*Most of this information came from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonel_Sanders

Friday, April 8, 2016

Our Queen

So my TOPS chapter celebrated 2015 achievements, this afternoon.  When a person achieves their weight goal, we call them a KOPS (Keep off pounds sensibly).  It's not easy.  KOPS is what every member is striving to be.  It is the pride in personal accomplishment that becomes the motivating force to keep each person striving towards that goal--KOPS.

To achieve this sought after status a member must learn the discipline of the weekly weigh-ins, the counting of calories and carbohydrates, drinking a lot of water, undertake exercise, eat 3-4 servings of fruit and vegetables, and arguably most important--face their personal weaknesses.  This requires a lifestyle change.  It's not easy to change habits and attitudes.  But that's what they do.

During the year 2015, Lillian, achieved KOPS status.  She also constantly maintained her healthy weight goal, not going 3 pounds above, nor 7 pounds below.  She is very successful.  As such, she was named the Queen of our chapter.  Congratulations, Lillian!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Letter to TOPS People

Friday, T.O.P.S. is having its Spring Awards Luncheon.  This means we are going out to EAT.  For a nutrition conscience group, this necessitates preparation, of course.  Most of our members are in TOPS to lose weight.  The others have diabetes or irritable bowel issues.  The point is, going out to eat requires foresight.  Here's my letter to all the members of TOPS 463.

The first thing to do is eat before you go.  Too many people skip breakfast with the result being they're ravenous by the time its meal time.  But these breakfast skippers say that eating breakfast makes them sick, or they have to take medication on any empty stomach.  I hear them.  But my answer to that is to eat as soon as you can.  Don't eat a full meal the minute your eyes crack open.  Wait a couple of hours and have some toast.  

Since we are going out for lunch, I suggest eating an apple on the way.  I'm just concerned that you'll make the wrong choices on the menu because everything will look good.  And the menus will push diners to buy certain foods.  Be aware.  The upper right-hand corner is called the "sweet spot."  That's because people seem to gravitate towards looking there, first.  Or, menus might put all the expensive dishes together and one a little lower in price.  (Guess which one they want you to buy.)  People will choose the more reasonably priced.  Restaurants also know that people choose things that are listed first or last.  And of course, dishes that are highlighted, or in a box, or the speciality, get chosen more.  Beware of combo meals.  They look like a better value and money-wise it probably is but most people order it because it's a quicker decision.  (If you didn't get the combo, you'd have to make three or more decisions--potato, vegetable, meat.). If it weren't included in the combo, would you order the fries?

If you can, copy Lillian, our chapter Queen.  Watch the first thing she does when her meal arrives.  She will divide it in half--to bring home and eat later.  This is something we all need to strive to do.  Restaurants serve us too big a meal and  too many calories than we can burn.  And it's just automatic that we eat it all and clean our plates.  Also, because we're among friends we talk while we eat.  This is good, but also, we're not paying attention to our eating.  Since we are all in TOPS, encourage each other to slow down and enjoy the food and the companionship.  

The first thing to do when the waitress approaches is order water.  And drink as much of it as you are able.  Refuse the bread, IF you can.  Save your appetite for the main meal and eat your bread with it. Be alert to NOT mimic.  If your companion says the bread is her favorite part of the meal and dives into a couple of rolls, don't copy her (Even if she purrs with pleasure.)  People are generally not aware of their mimicking behavior, but we all do it.  It's part of being social and fitting in.  If your companion orders a drink, most people will also order one.  Or a desert.  Or a side order of onion rings (Of course you'll be offered to share in the order, they're so-o-o tasty.)

Think.  You do know you can ask for substitutes.  Instead of french fries, order another vegetable.  If you order dessert, share it with your companion, i.e., one dessert with two spoons, please.

Keep in mind the time of day.  You are going to have supper later.  No?  This is going to be your main meal?  Ha!  Who do you think you're kidding?

Monday, April 4, 2016

Ta Da!

Yesterday we gave a presentation on the Trinity.  Our final demonstration was a big hit.  Our thesis was that the Father was the Lover, the Son was the Beloved, and the love between was the Holy Spirit.  We stressed that Love was an action verb.

Then we took some vinegar and called it the Father.  We poured it into a glass bowl that had half a cup of baking soda, calling it the Son.  When we poured the vinegar into the baking soda, it exploded.

Ta Da!  Ladies and Gentlemen!  I present to you the Blessed Trinity.

Everyone sat up straight for that.  When the fizz spilled over the bowl, I pointed out "And the Mystical Body of Christ."

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Signs are meant for direction--"New York Exit 9".  They tell you where to go--"Turn Right".  They explain--"Frost Heaves".  They tell you what to do--"Exit."

They are all brief and to the point.  However, this one sign was food for meditation.

This was in a Yarmouth, MA, harbor.  I'm talking about ocean water.  Doesn't all the ocean contain rip currents and heavy surf, and dangerous marine life?

Think about it.  We know this anyway.  We swim, boat, and play in the water, regardless.  However, when confronted with a sign that tells us something we already know, we hesitate to go in the water.

Maybe we should put signs in bars, warning of the dangers of alcohol.

Maybe we should put signs in gun stores, warning of the dangers of guns.

And maybe we should put signs on our refrigerators and kitchen cabinets, warning of the dangers of over-eating.

Potential hazards in __________________ may include:

*     bloating
*     bingeing
*     unnecessary calories
*     unhealthy choices
*     weight gain
*     adverse health reactions

OPEN AT OWN RISK

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Another Prose Memoir

Snap, Crackle and Pop

It was the longest day of the week.  It was the biggest boring day of the week.  It was the most monotonous day of the week.  It was Sunday.

A day of rest is supposed to be important for our health.  Unfortunately, in my family, Sunday was a cause of unhappiness and tension.  This was probably due to the fact that I never understood what was going on and no one bothered to take my concerns into consideration. We began the day by dressing in our most uncomfortable clothes—shiniest shoes, dressiest dress, warmest coat, ugliest hat, and even white gloves!  Of course, I couldn’t play in them—at least play anything that involved running, falling, climbing, skipping, jumping, leaping, hopping, bouncing, dancing, etc.  Eventually, we went off to church. Dad was left behind.  He was always drunk and no one wanted him to come to anything, anyway.  On the way to church, we picked up Grandma and Auntie.  Grandma and Auntie were Lithuanian and didn’t speak good English.  They couldn’t even pronounce my name, which is Faith.  The way they pronounced it sounded like, “Face.” So Mom and Grandma and Auntie talked in Lithuanian.  I never learned the language.  It all sounded like gibberish to me.  Next was church.  It was a Lithuanian parish.  In the 1950’s the Mass was still in Latin.  And when the priest wasn’t speaking Latin, he was speaking Lithuanian.  (Sigh)  After forever and a day, Mass came to an end.  The worse is yet to come.  We always went to Grandma’s house.  Even though I wasn’t an only child, I was an only child.  My siblings are much older than I.  Much.  This means I had no one to play with.  Alone, I wandered around Grandma and Auntie’s big house and touched things I shouldn’t touch and played on the piano that was verboten too, because my banging on the keys knocked it out of tune, (or something), and listened to the drone of gibberish in the background--harsh, bold, guttural clearing of the throat, Lithuanian. They didn’t even have a TV. Breakfast always included rye bread, eggs, and potato pancakes, for which I was supposed to be thankful to have something different than my usual rice krispies.  And when I think back that’s what I missed—my usual snap, crackle and pop.  My Sunday break from my usual snap, crackle and pop was long, lazy, lackluster and lifeless.  I didn’t want a change.  I didn’t need a break.  I wanted another day of snap, crackle and pop.

Friday, April 1, 2016

The End is Near

Today Reading is Peter 3:18-4:11.  Peter's advice to us is to slow down.  Relax.  God has everything under control.  Stay faithful and all will be well.  Comforting, is it not?

The consummation of all is close at hand.  Therefore do not be perturbed; remain calm so that you will be able to pray.  Above all, let your love for one another be constant, for love covers a multitude of sins.  Be mutually hospitable without complaining.  As generous distributors of God's manifold grace, put your gifts at the service of one another, each in the measure he has received.  The one who speaks is to deliver God's message.  The one who serves is to do it with the strength provided by God.  Thus, in all of you God is to be glorified through Jesus Christ: to him be glory and dominion throughout the ages.  Amen.