Category Archives: Catholic Issues

Can’t We All Just Play Nice?


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Daily Prompt:  P.C.

by michelle w. on August 11,2013

Is political correctness a useful concept, or does it stifle honest discussion? 

My opinion on this is that political correctness DEFINITELY stifles honest discussion.  Way too hot topics are racism, gay rights and abortion.  NOBODY will touch these topics with a ten foot pole; but I really do wish that people would have honest discussions about them.

If we could all put aside our differences and openly admit that we do not know everything and that we each have our tendencies to say or do things that will offend others.  If we can all check our baggage at the door, that would be great, too. Nobody is perfect and hell, yes, we were all raised in different environments, leaning toward one or another belief.  We all have things, pleasant and unpleasant to others, ingrained in us from childhood and though some of us might choose to act differently, what is ingrained in us will never completely leave.  What we CAN do is choose to act different, be more accepting of other people and their right to live how they choose.  That’s not to say that we give up expressing our core beliefs, but recognize that although we are a part of this world; but we cannot control everyone in it to our own way of thinking.

Most importantly, I think, is that we all must be prepared to enter into these conversations open-minded and acknowledge that it might get unpleasant.  We must not be afraid of that but I realize that will be hard to really trust people, I mean really trust that their motives are pure. Also, we must be prepared to deal with ignorance in a less than snarky manner.  We must LISTEN. We must be prepared to face up to our wrongs… and I mean EVERYONE.  This is crucial.  There needs to be a give and take.  There needs to be respect.  I read a book this year called, “The Faith Club.”  This was such a great book about three women, one Jewish, on Muslim and one Catholic.  They each had a burning desire to learn and understand each other, the traditions and well, I think they wanted to understand what made the others tick.  They were wanted to learn so that they could teach their children.  What happened? In a nutshell, it was a rocky road, but they all persevered through their sometimes obvious and sometimes subtle differences and became friends.

Are we all so different that we don’t trust ourselves to tread these waters?  The tension, the hate, the distrust must stop. These are the choices we make.  We have the power to break the mold, but we’ve got to want to do it.  People fit so well into the victim mold and find it more comfortable than they should.  I say that because once in there, you just never want to leave. I’m sorry, but do we really want to be victims forever?  It’s hard to leave the comfort zone, but it CAN be done.

United We Stand,
Divided We Fall
🙂

Fantasy 101


Park Place Expensive Real Estate Monopoly

What can I say.  I have no idea how to fantasize.  Nah that’s not true.  My problem is that I can do it TOO well. Over the years I’ve had to draw back from it because I get carried away too far into my dreams.  They become too real for me or I really, really feel that way, so I’ve stopped to kind of save myself from the constant disappointment.  The tween and teen me could sit in isolation for hours upon hours living out some kind of fantasy in my head.  I wasted too many hours living out a life that was fake… in my head.  What was really odd was that I actually felt that I did those things done in fantasy, in my real life.  I felt the satisfaction, the exhilaration, the sense of accomplishment felt so real.

I bring this up today after experiencing a flash fantasy in McDonald’s.  You know they’ve got that Monopoly game going on right now.  I pulled a Park Place and I could SWEAR that I previously pulled a Boardwalk.  Do you know what this means?  It means a cool million dollars~!  I just asked DH to check again for the match.  I’ve been daydreaming all the way home from there about winning $1,000,000.  Imagine!

The first thing I’d do is get health insurance for our family.  Then I envisioned myself walking into our church’s office and asking them how much their bills were this month (year?) and write them a check for that amount. Then maybe pay for the next step of renovations that are being planned as part of their 100 year anniversary, but I’m sure they can’t comfortably afford to pay for it.  What I really want to do with this is to support my church; and by that I mean to support our local church and not the archdiocese.  I cannot abide with how they are handling the predatory priest scandal and I refuse to give my money to that institution.  The same institution that even after they knew about what was going on, hid it and simply reassigned these priests and effectively foisted them onto another unsuspecting “Community of Faith.”  Let me tell you my trust is gone completely. I have an eight year old boy and it kills me to think that he could have been any of these boys who were betrayed and violated.  So, this is why I try to give my money directly to my church.

After that, I’d buy a house in a school district that best suits my son’s needs.  Yeah.  On the way home, I wasn’t driving and I had the opportunity to daydream about almost every house that caught my eye.  There was one that had blue/pink shingles that was really pretty and reminded me of a beautiful heathered blue yarn.  But then, if I won a million dollars I can have any colored shingle I wanted.  If you want to know more about my house fantasies, I suggest reading Dream Home, Dream On, a Daily Prompt assignment from not that long ago.

Ugh, the final answer is that we have two Park Place pieces.  It was good while it lasted.

monopoly_092611_23

 

 

This is a Bully-Free Zone


Two recent things are prompting me to write this post on a subject that I’m pretty sure I’ve written about before (though I can’t find my post) and that is “bullying”, more specifically, my own. First, as I sat down to check out what was going on with my facebook friends, a familiar name jumped out at me. It was in my high school’s group page and it was the son of an old teacher of mine. It was pretty simple. He wanted her old students know that she was alive and kicking and that she was on facebook; and he invited us, her students, to come to her page and say “hi”. That one post might just have the most comments of the group and it’s only been a few days. Secondly, yesterday a read a post from Single Dad Laughing, “Memoirs of a Bullied Kid” and so many things he talked about happened to me. My story is a bit different, but all the main ingredients were there for me to resurrect my own writing. Oh yes, we try to close our eyes and get on with our lives, but it always comes back every so often to remind us from where we have come and it’s not pretty.

It “officially” started in first grade, but had its beginnings in kindergarten only because there were some kids who shared those grades with me. The torment lasted through to my eighth grade graduation. I went to the Catholic school of my own parish, so you’d think that would be a pretty safe environment. Oh how wrong you’d be. I was always a shy child and hardly ever spoke. I had a terrible stutter and it was literally painful to try to open it up to speak, let alone getting any words out, so I never spoke. Also, I could never speak up quickly enough with what I wanted to say and before I knew it, the conversation was way past, the topic forgotten and my thoughts left unsaid.

One day in June, it was my birthday. My mother bought me a wrist corsage to wear to school. I was bursting with happiness and couldn’t wait to get to school. I remember sitting at my desk and one of the girls wanted to know where the cupcakes were… and the kids around me were not happy about the missing birthday cupcakes. From then on, it was down hill. The verbal abuse was surrounding my weight. I’m sure my mom or grandmother would’ve made them but I’m not sure if they even knew that was the custom. From that day, I became the butt of every joke and prank and this was unending for eight years of the most delicate and impressionable years of my life. I got beat up, verbally taunted, pushed, laughed at, scribbled upon with pens. I got called all the fat names in the book, and it didn’t help that my name could be transformed into the decidedly non-compliment, “D-Bra.”  Yet, when I look back at photos from that time, I realize that I was NOT a fat kid. All those years I believed what I heard and thought I was fat and so, I did become fat, resigned to that imagined fact of fat.

I experienced almost everything Dan of Single Dad Laughing did. I had the vengeful, hateful fantasies about bad things happening to those kids and I had suicidal thoughts. I withdrew into my own little world of reading, drawing and music, in particular Barry Manilow. His music, and I’ve said it before, literally saved my life. I felt his songs reach my heart. Also, do not make fun of a good Catholic upbringing that says that if you kill yourself, you are condemned to hell. This was probably the only reason I didn’t actually kill myself. I laugh at the irony now because I’m not even sure that hell exists. It was a creation of man in medieval times with the intention of controlling the general and ignorant, uneducated public. My brain cannot even do a quote here, but believe me.

One time I went to the bathroom at school, forget what grade, and came back to a tack on my chair. I saw it and my decision to sit on it so that they would know it did didn’t hurt, was the worst thing I could have ever done. The outburst of laughter was so loud, yet the teacher said nothing let alone investigate what caused such a disturbance. That tack hurt me something terrible and I did manage to sit, and remain sitting fort he rest of the class, like it wasn’t there, which probably fueled the idea that I had so much fat that insulated me from feeling it…. ugh.

Okay I could go on and on with details and really don’t want to, but this particular one was a catalyst of sorts to put some of the hate and aside and let go of decades of hurtful baggage I carried. In my late thirties I met some of my classmates at a reunion I dragged myself to, and they acted like those childhood events never happened or maybe they were too ashamed? Nah. So, I thought to myself that I was walking around with all this hate, resentment and with the “victim attitude,” and the people who caused my misery were walking around, living their lives as happy as you please, with no acknowledgement, not a single thought of how they killed my life. What troubled me the most was that these people seemed like nice, good people… with a notable exception of one guy who is still has the meanest streak, though he says that he is a “good” guy now… um.. nope. I see how he treats other people and know the kind of guy he still is.

I think back to the priests, nuns and lay teachers who must have known what was going on… they KNEW, and did nothing. Oh, I know that they knew because at one point, my parents went to the school to complain and nothing was done. I was one of those kids who LOVED school and the learning, yet dreaded every single day of it. I had nobody. CATHOLIC school. I wonder if these religion=pushing people ever think of the disservice, the blatant contradiction of their faith. I was betrayed by the very people outside of my own family who were the most trusted. My family trusted them… but let’s not get into what my own family did or didn’t do to help me with this situation. At one point, they tried to teach me how to fight, but I was a very passive kid who shrunk in the face of a confrontation.  I remember a scene from the 1985 movie, “Back to the Future” when in 1955 the painfully shy, picked on George, with his arm trembling, makes a fist and delivers a whollop of a punch to Bif who was in the process of sexually molesting his future wife Lorraine.  I identify with that scene so much, but it was only a fantasy.  I Imagined myself hitting my bullies with all my anger, rage and frustrations packed into that single, well planted punch.

At least I know, eventually the school administration found out what was going on, if they didn’t know already, because I got in trouble for fighting and got detention. This was a predominantly Irish parish and we Italians were the outcasts, or so my mother described enough as such to justify herself not getting involved with the church or school. Oh, I also remember, and now have as a facebook friend, a girl from school who tried to teach me how to fight. I remembered her kindness through the years.  She didn’t seek to make friends with me then, but had enough compassion and sought to help me in the way she knew best.

But this brings me to the facebook revelation that one of my teachers, 91 or 92 now, is on facebook.  That brought back memories of a kind and compassionate teacher who, at that time, was a mother and maybe a grandmother, or soon to be one.   Mrs. Ann Strazza, my 5th grade math teacher.  I remember her telling me of her story of when she met her husband.  She did ask what was bothering me, but I told her of my fear of never having a boyfriend… HA… I could not tell her the truth, but it was part of the truth anyway.  I remember her advising my parents to give me chores at home, structure.  So, aside from making my bed, I now had to do household chores of washing/drying/putting away dishes, dusting, vacuuming, washing the bathroom… Whew, at least I shared these with my sister who, in the grade behind me, got caught up on the chore bandwagon.

All these memories coming back like a flood just serve to remind me of how hard I have buried them behind the back of my mind.  I don’t think of these things now, but I’m positive the effects haunt me in some way from time to time in just how I live my life.  Thankfully, during the summer of my graduation from that school and before high school I realized that I was going into a new school where nobody would know me.  I could be anyone and nobody there would know me from before.  That thought gave me the courage to look forward to a new era of my life.  That courage was so strong that I actually crossed a picket line to get into the school on the first day.  My mother begged me not to go, as other parents in our neighborhood stopped their kids from going; but I was resolute… I. WAS. GOING.  and I did.  Slightly discouraging, though, things did not change much for me socially.  I was still painfully shy and felt it hard to talk to anyone.  I was still the same plain jane, wore no makeup or fancy clothes.  HA.  The one time I wore a dress, my Spanish teacher awkwardly tried to render me a compliment and told me that I had “nice ankles”… WTF ?  Yeah.  I was still overweight and maybe she was trying to compliment me but could not other than noticing I had slim ankles.  Maybe she was surprised by that.  The major thing, though, was that I was not afraid to go to school.  I looked forward to it every day and when I was “periodic”… (love that word and swiped it from lovable Wendy Williams) I did not stay home like my sister and so many other girls.  It was horrible, but for me, I valued learning more than the pain and discomfort of the monthly.

Gotta give a shout out to Wendy Williams…. I love your show! I never thought I’d watch you for more than the first time because I consider myself serious and a lover of the cerebral (well, which means that I’m not drawn to girly talk) but you have grown on me something fierce. I love your personality. I love how you just speak your mind and never in a nasty way. You are really the only tv personality today who is vivacious and projects a love for life and fun that refreshes me whenever I watch the show.

The end.

Imperfectly Perfect


So, yeah.  I’ve had over a week now to reflect.  Unfortunately, I could not quiet myself down for long enough to get back into that personal quiet place.  I made an attempt here, at Stormy Reflections, but the boy was off from school at the time and I just didn’t get myself far back enough, or quiet enough.  Right now, I’m at Starbucks, enjoying a Christmas coffee, with jazz playing in the background; but this snooty Asian girl is staring at me and I have no idea why.  Is it the fact that my boobs remain unfettered and out on their own?  Could it be that she is oogling my new nail design, or maybe that I tried out a new clear polish on just one nail?  Holy Crap… I really like the wet, shiny finish of  “Looks Wet” Ultra High Gloss Topcoat I just got at the Christmas Tree Shop…. Merry Christmas to me~!  Who knows about this girl, but I really want to get into the topic, so I’ll just jump right in at probably the far left, but it’ll get me started…..

Last Sunday, I served as lector at our church and it was one of those times that you just know the Holy Spirit is right there with you.  My heart burned.  I feel the need to post the readings as I could never explain them.

1 Kings 17: 10 – 16

10 So he arose and went to Zar’ephath; and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.”
11 And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.”
12 And she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a cruse; and now, I am gathering a couple of sticks, that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”
13 And Eli’jah said to her, “Fear not; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make for yourself and your son.
14 For thus says the LORD the God of Israel, `The jar of meal shall not be spent, and the cruse of oil shall not fail, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'”
15 And she went and did as Eli’jah said; and she, and he, and her household ate for many days.
16 The jar of meal was not spent, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD which he spoke by Eli’jah.

Hebrews 9: 24 – 28

24 For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.
25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own;
26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27 And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment,
28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Gospel: Mark 12: 38 – 44

38 And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to go about in long robes, and to have salutations in the market places
39 and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts,
40 who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
41 And he sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the multitude putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.
42 And a poor widow came, and put in two copper coins, which make a penny.
43 And he called his disciples to him, and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.
44 For they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living.”

It’s irregular of me to post scripture readings, but I found these resonated inside and I felt comfort and I felt shame at the same time.  I was comforted because the scriptures were telling me that I could feel free to donate to hurricane victims, despite not having a whole hell of a lotta resources to support our family; and this is because the Lord will take care of us.  The widows of the first reading and the Gospel gave all of themselves, to the point of true sacrifice, whereas the ones who donated from their surplus, were not truly feeling the loss, and so it was not really a sacrifice at all, and not heart-felt by them.  I do have faith in that, but walking the tight rope is pretty scary and fear creeps right back in sometimes.

I feel shame because one of the days right after Hurricane Sandy blasted through, I was approached by a guy asking for money.  I made a judgement that I know full well that I should not have made.  This guy seemed to be lying to me and I refused to give him money.  I never should have done that.  I could have given him a dollar, even, but I didn’t.  Whether he was lying or a drunk or a drug addict is between him and God and now, my refusal is also between ME and God.  Living day to day has played havoc on me in a lot of ways and I’ve grown weaker when I should have been growing stronger all along.  This is my shame.  Also, I failed to set a good example to my kid.  FAIL.  Sigh, I just realized that.  Holy Crud, I’ve been wracking my brain on how I could  teach the little guy to be more giving and there it was right in front of me.  At the time, though, I have to realize I was a little afraid to stop to talk to this guy with my son along with me.  Elizabeth is not a very safe place, but I really should have trusted more in the Lord to take care of us.  It’s gone… but maybe I can learn from this.

I have to look back at the hurricane, which was really nothing for us, and realize that whatever our inconvenience, was just that–an inconvenience.  We did not lose anything but the food in our fridge.  We had no heat, but we had hot water and gas to cook on top of the stove.  Yes, I missed my internet.  I felt so disconnected and isolated and it was a horrible feeling.  My world literally stopped, paralyzed because we could not get any information about what was going on in our city and what was being done to fix the power problem.  PSE&G continuously lied to us and I feel that if they were just truthful about the time frame, that I could have simply made plans to go stay with someone.  The problem was that my dad in PA and my sister in Old Bridge, NJ. also did not have power, though my dad had a generator going.  Then when the schools reopened, that was it for us and we had to stay here.  Pathetic, right?  I thought so when I was finally able to see pictures of our shoreline and how those people REALLY suffered and still are after losing their homes permanently, not just for ten days.  Some of those people, at this writing, have still not been allowed back to their homes.  I’m sure that whatever they have left is gone from mold now.  All I can do is pray for them, for strength to be given to them to get through this.  Gas lines?  Sheesh, is nothing compared to what they are going through.  I guess the only Americans who can really know what they are going through are the Katrina victims.

Okay, so I’ve still not managed to “get inside” myself to do proper reflection, but writing sure helps get thoughts out.  DH and the boy were supposed to leave me alone today and I was planning on it, but those plans fell through.  Sometimes things do not work out and we have to make the best of it.  One thing I do know and that is that I am blessed.  I have a family…. a family that I never thought I’d have and it has surpassed every hope and expectation.  A loving husband and a very happy little seven year old.  My spouse is my rock and my little boy shows me joy and happiness, and both accomplish this with a simplicity that boggles my mind.

Henri J. M. Nouwen wrote of the Wounded Healer.  I am very much a “broken” spirit struggling every step through my life’s journey, which is why the quote below holds so much hope for me.  I try to keep this in mind every day with the goal of serving the Lord in my brokenness.   My comfort, my hope and my joy.  I do believe wholeheartedly that God has a use for us.  Imperfectly perfect.  We will never be perfect, but I find comfort that I have the perfect place, as I am, in God’s Great Grand Plan for the world.  So ironic that we all struggle, we all search for our purpose.  Do we ever realize that we need not really search for anything.  “It”, our purpose, will find us at the right time.

“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing
  from God as my successes and my talents,
  and I lay both of them at His feet.”
   ~Mahatma Gandhi

I am very much drawn to one of my favorite hymns this week, “The Cry of the Poor.”  In this haunting melody you meet the burning need of the poor face to face.

Water Gives Life


Today I attended the 2012 Catechist Convocation at the Paramus Catholic Regional High School in New Jersey. Whew, that was a mouthful!  Usually, I’m alone for most of the day during these things and my schedule today left me free from any workshops from after the opening ceremony, ending at 9:30am, to my scheduled lunch then my first workshop starting at 12:45pm.  Basically, I was left to my own devices most of the morning.  I spent some time browsing the “exhibits”,  but I shall call them vendors.  I pretty much spent almost all the money I had on a book about my favorite author entitled, “Genius Born of Anguish~ The Life and Legacy of Henri Nouwen” and a car bumper sticker that reads:  Abortion stops a beating heart.  Yeah, the book took up 98% of the money I brought.  Normally, I would’ve gotten something for the current RCIA class but there is no class currently in the works.  Thanks to Cyndi for teaching me the proper “etiquette” for these things.  The first time I attended, she got me a booklet and cards for our then class.  Well, after that purchase I headed outside and got halfway around the building, and found a nice gazebo to sit a spell and start this book.  The weather was really nice and stayed there a while until the groundsmen came around with their leave blowers and drenched me full of diesel fuel or whatever they throw in those things…. yuk!

I also attended two workshops:

  • Be An Evangelizing Catechist
  • One Body in Christ:  Sacrament Preparation & Participation in Liturgy for Individuals with Autism

That’s one bitch’in title and I had to write that whole thing when I took the survey with my opinions on the classes.  The first one really focused on the CCD kids.  Some really great ideas for teaching kids and inviting the parents to get involved.  I really enjoyed that class for the ideas, but I spent the whole time getting up and down to get my handouts, which were one after the other the whole hour fifteen minutes.  The up side is that I have the actual handouts to give to the school, and I’m going to make sure I do some of this stuff with Gabe at home.  I think I’ll work on a separate post for that…. Heck, maybe while this Frankenstorm comes through.

The second workshop focused on providing an effective education for, as it says, Individuals with Autism.  This is near and dear to my heart and I took this workshop with Gabe in mind, hoping I could bring some of this home.  My second hope is to try and get the church to develop a program for the autistic student, both children and adults.  Not sure how it will go over, but this is SO important and would go a long way with families who are not yet advocating for their autistic child for whatever reason.  While I didn’t really hear anything new about autism in this class, I found it helpful, though I do wish the speaker was more prepared.  She spent most of the time fiddling with her electronics and getting them to work.  We did not go over all the material she had for the class and that was a downer.  It was a major distraction, all the while I was thinking about the previous instructor telling us we should be well prepared with our lesson before the children walked into the class….  priceless!

Well, getting to the inspiration of my post.  I’m sitting in the cafeteria eating my lunch at 11:15am and I realize that I don’t have any money to buy more water.  The lunch people were very specific as to what we could take:  ONE sandwich, ONE packet mustard or ONE packet mayonnaise, ONE drink, ONE bag of two Oreo cookies and ONE half-bag of chips.  I’ve been guzzling water lately like an elephant and all I had right there was a 16.9 oz. bottle of Snapple Spring Water which was to last me the entire rest of the day.  Snort…. I’m sitting there knowing that will never happen.  So I sat there, counting the minutes till I could get home for a nice frigid cold glass of water …. (glugg… glugg…) I’m thinking that the fountain water was not too bad of a tasting water.  I sat there knitting (yes, I brought my knitting and knit through the whole opening ceremony and keynote speech, though I wasn’t actually there for the speech as I was stifling hot and couldn’t wait to get out of the auditorium.  Let me just say that God most certainly works in His own way and in His own time.  Whenever or however, He knows what you need and exactly when you need it.  Just before I got myself ready to leave the cafeteria, my friend from our parish came out of nowhere and offered me her 16.9 oz. of cold water, unequivocally stating she was not going to drink it.  I accepted her offer with such gratitude that even that completely overwhelmed me.  It was all I could do not to tear up, there.  She really had no clue of my dilemma, yet she handed it over just when I was going through my options.  Even after I finished her bottle, I refilled it with water from the bathroom because that water was colder than the water in the drinking fountain.  It had a distinctly chlorine taste but I told myself that it was sanitized… ugh.  That bottle, though, kept my tongue from drying onto the roof of my mouth and my lips moist and separated during my two workshops.  Oh well, not a life and death situation, but God certainly has looked out for me in many ways and many, many times.

Speaking the Reason for the Season…


“Jesus is the reason for the season” ~

I just googled that phrase and this was the result:

  1. WEB:  About 2,990,000 results (0.15 seconds)
  2. IMAGES:   About 25,200,000 results (0.27 seconds)

Try as I might, I can’t bring myself to pull in one of these 25 million or so images into this post.  Maybe I should go with the Santa suit hanging on the cross?  Brrr gives me the shivers to think that someone thought of that and actually released it on the internets.  That is definitely a good thing.  I’m guessing that at this rate, I’ll never find out who coined that phrase or how it originated; but I can tell you one definite thing.  I hate this sentence.  It’s over used as evidenced by this one, single google search at 8:26 in the morning.  I was never a fan of cliches, and this one in particular.  The rhyming sound of it sounds so cheesy to me.  reason for the season… reason for the season… reason for the season   Great marketing?  Hardly.

I guess we all need our little catch phrases, but I’m coming to believe more and more that using these “fun” phrases is just a way to avoid speaking the beautiful words that can be used instead and I’m not really talking about “Merry Christmas,” though I do like that and “Happy Christmas” is another one I like because it’s different.  Of what I’m really speaking about are the beautiful words that come from our faith.  I’m finding that we avoid using them because we are uncomfortable saying them.  Not all of us are uncomfortable, though.  The most beautiful people in the world go around saying stuff like, “May God bless you” or “I’ll pray for you,” and really mean it.  Those beautiful words just roll off their tongues and it sounds so natural.  After you shake off the shock of hearing it, you realize that you are touched by hearing words of love and caring, yet we hesitate to use them ourselves.

I guess I should interject here that I’m talking from my own experience, but believe that I’m not the only one with these experiences.  IN my own experience, my very first recollection is feeling awkward and embarrassed if someone said something, anything socially having to do with religion to me.  Maybe I too desperately wanted to appear “cool” at a time when I so obviously wasn’t.  Maybe I was just uncomfortable expressing ANY greeting at all?   Anyway, so hearing religious Christmas greetings like wishing people love, joy and peace in the same sentence, verbally, was awkward.  If we never hear these words, we will never use these words, or be comfortable around them.

When I started to practice my faith, I came to know people who openly praised God and regularly said, what I’ll call, “religious” words like God, Jesus, bless, praise God and the list goes on.  At first, I was uncomfortable but as time went by, I grew more comfortable and eventually started expressing myself in the same way…. but only at church.  Little by little, I got comfortable using these words to help express myself in other, outside church social settings… and it felt good.  First, we need to surround ourselves with like people of faith, it’s community we all hunger for.   They are people with whom we can comfortably practice our faith openly.

hol·i·day/ˈhäliˌdā/

Noun:
A day of festivity or recreation when no work is done.

In these days of political correctness, somewhere along the line we stopped being comfortable being ourselves, at least in public, outside our churches.  There are so many beautiful words to use for expressing “holiday” greetings.  I hate that word used in this context.  If we mean Christmas, we should SAY Christmas, or the proper greeting for whatever holiday and stop saying, “Happy Holidays”… pleeease~!  It’s just playing it safe.  That phrase means absolutely nothing and does not transmit joy or any emotion that we most certainly feel when we reach out to strangers in this glorious season.  “Glorious,” another word.

But this... this sound wasn't sad. Why... this sound sounded glad. Every Who down in Whoville, the tall and the small, was singing, without *any* presents at all! He hadn't stopped Christmas from coming, it *came*! Somehow or other... it came just the same.

One of my favorite Christmas book/show/movie is “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”  I’ve not even seen it yet this year and my heart is swelling up three times it’s normal size already.  THIS is the feeling we all need to connect to, then express with all the innocence of Little Cyndi Lou Who, who was no more than two.  Once we all realize, I mean REALLY realize that the Christmas Spirit originates in the heart, then nothing and nobody can spoil it.  Sound those trumpets!

There is no shame connected to honestly expressing oneself.  We look for lightning fast catch phrases, sound bites.  I can’t help but wonder if we just don’t want to own what we say.  Say it fast, exit as fast as possible.  Let’s slow down and savor the moments we speak, which means speak with care and own what you do say.  We just need to take the time to move our lips (watch out don’t give yourself a cramp) and get them used to moving and using those numerous mouth muscles.  I know that often I speak or post very quickly and often put my foot in it.  Even so, I try to own what I say and if I need to apologize, I will.  I do not hesitate about that, and well, being me, I sort of expect it quite often.

Well, I’ve used up too much of my time this morning for this post yet I feel that I’ve failed miserably in trying to communicate the thoughts that flooded into my head during the foggy moments of my morning…. pre-coffee.  So, please if anyone has anything to add or say, feel free to comment and shed more light on my damp, foggy morning.

Like I tell my Gabe, USE YOUR WORDS.

Think About Me.


Think about me when your arms are around my brother.
I could have been there to teach him about the world.

Think about me when you see children in the park.
I could have been there walking beside you.

Think about me when you want a hug.
My hugs are unending and filled with love.

Think about me when you’re in doubt.
My eyes trust you unquestioningly.

Think about me when you marry.
Think about me if you don’t.

Think about me when you love.
I love you unconditionally.

I am your greatest student.
I am your greatest teacher.

Think about me
Think about me.
Just think.

~Debra Sedita-Kosiarski

copyright April 12, 2010

I was inspired thinking about all the what-could-have-beens.   I was also inspired by my son, Little Drake who is five years old this year.  When I think about what my life could have been without him and what it’s been since he’s been in our lives.  I am just sitting here bawling my eyes out.  So much I could have missed had God not deemed us worthy to care for a life.  Motherhood is an experience that I am so grateful for and I simply was not an individual who was mother material…. yet here I am.

Babies are a gift from God, plain and simple.  He graces us with these little bundles of unconditional love.  Think about it.  Children are the very embodiment of God’s love for us.  He sends us a very real, a very touchable manifestation of His love… we can touch it, people!  How blessed it that when so many of our brethren need physical evidence like Thomas the apostle to believe.  What more can we ask for, and so many of us are destroying this innocent gift from God by aborting their pregnancies.   It’s our responsibility to be grateful and to protect and nurture our children.  I don’t care if it’s what some would call instinct or some biological function.  I don’t care…. it’s there, I can see it and I accept it willingly.  A rose is still a rose by whatever name.  Yes, I was nervous and yes, we are not the richest couple in the world and we never will be.  Life is much richer for us because of this child.

Thank you, God!

Update: I’m Just a Lamb….


No, not really!  I just wanted to take the time to write a little update on one of my recent posts, “I’m on the Lam”.    First part:

Well, today I’m officially a woman who is basking in the sweet sunshine of freedom….. this week I paid my bail of $40.00.  The Drake came in with some overtime and gave me a bunch of money, with part of it to go to pay the man.  I was still a little annoyed that day and thought that I would file a complaint about the meter-maid who would not come over to the meter to check out my claim of it being disabled.  I was there early, which btw, they only give a window of 1/2 hour, 9:00am-9:30am for people to come in if they just want to pay the bail.  You have to make an appointment for them to see you if you want to make another court date.  At the last minute when I got to the window, I felt a calm… but I still wanted to complain, just this time, formally.  Oddly, I didn’t feel any animosity towards the clerk who was reading a book well after 9am.  She asked me if I wanted another court date and I said no, just want to pay the bail because I felt that I would go in there predisposed for a failure since I had already missed a court date.  In that case, I might have to pay more, and well, $40.00, while pretty cheap as things go, is still a liability for us.  She gave me a form to sign that basically said that I waive my right to a court appearance…. AND admission of guilt.  That really got me.  I told her that I wanted to lodge a complaint against the meter-maid, but was told that signing the form was an admission of guilt… duh!   So, I had to just let that one go…. but growled all through the signing of my name.

So, there you have it.  I left there with my freedom…… and a receipt.

Number Two.  The famous CLASH OF THE CHRISTMAS PARTIES.   Okay, so I missed two fun parties this year and there might still be a faint twinge lurking inside… but that’s okay.   On Tuesday I got up ready to be into the Rosarian party and I was.  A little suspense for the day included that I could not get into the parish hall to set up everything the day before because the custodian was in the hospital with an ear infection.  Sound familiar?   Because I could not get into our closet to check out our supplies, I had to go and buy coffee and table cloths.  As it turned out, we had plenty.  To be honest, I never saw them there before and so, I come up short on the necessity of knowing my inventory.  I had seen one or two, but didn’t know if we had for all six round tables and other tables for the sides… so I guess I donated them.  So, Tuesday morning, the day of the event, I could not even get into the parish hall at the time the receptionist said that I could get in there.  Finally got in a good 2.5 hours after… wasted time… The good side is that I had plenty of help and took the prerogative of leaving early (presidents can do that) so that I could cook a big thing of sausage and peppers before having to pick up Gabe at school at three, then come home and get ready, myself.  Please understand, as an Italian, I never made this dish… or not in recent memory.  I remember that my mom used to boil the links of sweet sausage first, then brown them after all the water evaporated.  That took a long time, so I am thinking I’ve got plenty of hours by the stove for 4 pounds of the stuff!  Well, a lightning bolt hit me and I got the idea to cut up the links, raw, then saute/brown them in a deep stock pot I have (to keep the splatters inside).  While I value that doing it this way knocked off a lot of time, cutting up raw meat in an intestinal casing was not fun… lots of ground up meat being forced out of the casings and I ended up making little meat balls of the stuff that totally came out…. but not bad.  Everyone loved it and I got to take about one fourth of what I made home… not bad.  Lots of great recipes that night.  Got a break on clean up, too. We ended later than scheduled and the pastor was practically chasing us out.  I did have to hand over my key to the closet to the former president… but that’s not a problem.

Oh, what was a problem is the fact that I did feel like a puppet that night.  I am slowly getting the feeling that I’m just another figure head for this organization.  That’s not a good feeling… though strangely, I don’t mind it.  I guess I’m not really a leader.  I’m more of a team player and more likes to be told what to do, than me telling others what to do.  Maybe that will change as I get more familiar and comfortable in this role, but for now, I’m good.  Well, twice that night the former president told me to do some things that had no purpose and probably showed me to be just a puppet.  That’s what I don’t like.  First, she wanted me to just follow two other people who were selling tickets, a mother and son team (in everything) and all I was doing was following them around.  I was not told even for what purpose.  Then, when they handed out the bonus checks to the pastor and office staff, I was told to stand there and I did, while the treasurer handed out the checks with little comments.  I felt like a jerk.  Sigh… oh well, at least I don’t have to worry about this group again until March.

Oh, forgot that soon I’ll be visiting three of our housebound members to gift them with shawls and cards that were signed by everyone.  See, this is the part that I like and excel in.

Who’s More Deeply Disturbed?


My impulse is to make these words as big as this screen. Today I am deeply, deeply disturbed. I want to discuss the ban on late term partial-birth abortion that was just upheld by the Supreme Court. I’m not disturbed about that. I applaud that ruling. I never thought that I would be happy that Samuel Alito got confirmed, but today I was. Sometimes I am like a being skirting through life and do not absorb the details, but I will try my best to get the facts as I heard them. Apparently, this ban is more complicated than one might expect. There is a dispute over the wording on the ban, learned doctors say it’s vague and they’re unsure about what constitutes *”partial birth abortion”*. Quick solution: STOP DOING THE PROCEDURE. Confusion lifted. My own opinion is very simple, very blunt. If you are a woman who does not intend on giving birth to a baby, do not have sex. Period. That very specific event is what s-e-x is for in the first place. We, almighty human beings have distorted it into a tool (forgive the expression) for our own enjoyment, or lust. We are only concerned with what heights our passions will lead us to; and the sacred act, itself, is abused and it’s true meaning, it’s original purpose is obscured beyond retrieval. Looking at it this way, elevates the animals of the forest and the seas above us human beings. At least when they copulate they are fulfilling the honest purpose of the act, procreation.

UPDATE: 4/20/07 *…*= I added the word “birth” to “partial abortion”.

Let me state here that I am a Catholic and I do not believe in abortions in any way, shape or form, or in what month it’s supposedly acceptable and (healthy) to have one. My beliefs are mine alone; and I do not seek to force them upon anyone else. Oh, I will state here that I would willingly give my life so that my unborn baby might live. That is an excruciating difficult choice to make; but despite the fact that I have a husband I do not want to leave, and I have a 2 year old son that I am definitely not ready to leave, I also could not make the decision to end the life of a being inside my body, created with the love that my DH and I share. It’s hard. Even after writing that, I just know that my flesh is weak and I am balking on the inside; but the way that I see it is that God has given me the power to create, he has given me a partner to create with. How can I possibly terminate a life, a soul that God has entrusted to me?

I have to laugh because I just wrote of my personal beliefs and it was not really my intention, but how can that not come into a statement I make on this subject or any other? Though I have, indeed, stated my personal beliefs, I do not judge others. If someone makes the decision to have an abortion, it is between them and God; yet, I cannot fathom how someone can go through that. I, however, grieve.

GRAPHIC GRUESOME DESCRIPTION IN NEXT PARAGRAPH. PLEASE, IF YOU ARE A MOTHER, THINK TWICE ABOUT READING ON. OR BRAVE IT, AS I DID, BUT BE AWARE THE CONTENT IS DISTURBING. THERE ARE PICTURES, BUT I CANNOT BRING MYSELF TO LINK TO THEM. I am sorry, but I believe that a lot of women out there who had the abortion, seriously do not understand that their baby is actually being murdered. I believe that the doctors who do this procedure are leading on the women to believe that the baby doesn’t actually feel it; nay, I believe they are advising that the baby is not a baby at all, just a massive cluster of cells.

What I am truly disturbed about is what I found out about the procedure, itself. I am truly disturbed about what kind of individual, what kind of person would perform this murder under the guise of practicing medicine in the first place. I just learned today that some of these abortions are performed by dismembering the living fetus, inside the mother’s body, then removing it, piece by piece. Gruesome! Other procedures describe pulling the baby out, except for it’s head. The baby is alive, arms and legs moving about. The nurse must assist in making sure the fetus’ head stays in the birth canal. Then the baby is killed, with it’s head still inside, by stabbing him/her with surgical scissors, scissors used otherwise to save a life, then suctioning out the brains, collapsing the skull, effectively killing the baby. “Technically” the baby is not alive because the head is still inside, so it’s supposed to be okay. I want to know how the men and women of the medical profession can live with themselves, being representatives of the Healing Arts? How can they bring themselves to advise a mother to have one? How can they handle a living baby, up to 6-7 months gestation, then commit an act of homicide? Indeed, if the head slipped out, it would be considered homicide. How can they draw that line?

This is a LIFE we are talking about, an advanced life form, no longer an embryo, no longer an entity that our “learned” men (and women) are unsure, confused about whether it’s a life or not…. it’s a life! Again, women should not be getting pregnant if they are not ready to commit to rearing a child.

I do know for a fact that the women that have any type of abortion experience trauma. Though women are placed into the villain’s hat, they are really additional victims. They are victims of poor education. They are victims of a society that condones, indeed, encourages and facilitates promiscuous living. Personally, I DO know women who have had abortions and it was a traumatic experience for them, but really, did they stop having sex? The answer is no. So, what will happen should they get pregnant again? Will they go and have another abortion? When will it stop?

Women need to start taking responsibility for their own bodies, and I don’t mean claiming the right to terminate the gift inside. There was a time, not too long ago, that women knew exactly when they were ovulating. They were so attuned to their bodies that they knew everything that was going on with it. They knew when something went wrong at the slightest sign. When/Why did we become so out of tune with our own bodies? I believe that all this abuse and modern, fast medicine has alienated us from our own bodies. We no longer know ourselves, inside and out. We cannot even bring ourselves to be comfortable with our own bodies. We turn ourselves off to our bodies; we deny our bodies. What happened?

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