Quote of the day

Monday, August 30, 2010

John The Baptist And One Messed Up Family

Yesterday was the feast of John the Baptist.
Now John was a prophet who in his own words said that he was preparing the way for one greater then himself.One he was not even worthy enough to tie the sandals on this man feet who was called Jesus.
After Jesus was baptised by John the Old Testament ended and a new one began.
John,in his own words said he had to decrease and Jesus increase.
Herod,not the one who murdered the innocent but his son,had encountered John who told him straight out it was wrong to be married to your brother wife.First because your brother is still alive and second so is your own wife,aah the little technicalities in life.
Herod was angry with John and had him imprisoned for saying such things.
But Herod found John to be very interesting and felt he was a holy man and although John criticized his marriage Herod liked to hear what he had to say.
Being a king I'm sure not many people stood up and spoke truth because to offend such a man as Herod could mean being imprisoned or worse.
Herod's wife Herodias,according to the Gospel,is upset with John and has a "Grudge" against him.
A grudge doesn't mean to simply dislike someone it means to go out of your way to make their lives difficult,its hatred with more depth.Even the word grudge sounds very heavy like carrying a great load.
Herodias needed to find a way to rid not only herself but her husband of this man John,who Herod was now beginning to listen and like,thus putting John in a more powerful position then her.
Back in those days in order for women to have influence and power they had to be able to influence the men in their lives.If Herod took to much of what John said to heart she might be not only not married to Herod but also not able to remarry her former husband,Herod's brother,then where would she be power wise.
Herod's birthday came along and he and his drunken friends decided they wanted Herodias daughter,Salome, to dance for them.
This must have been some dance because after she was done Herod promised her up to half his kingdom.
Being a daughter she ran to her mother and asked her what she should ask for and the mother replied "the head of John the Baptist on a platter".
Now there's a mother daughter moment,no problem with Herodias using her own daughter to gain her ends.
So,Salome went back and told Herod what she wanted and he being upset could not go back on his word and lose face,not to mention his pride,agreed and Johns' head was brought to her on a platter,nice thing to give your daughter,talk about parental indulgence.She then brought the platter to her mother who was very pleased.(Now there's one messed up family).
This beheading of John must have bothered Herod because later when news was brought to him about Jesus and the wonderful things he did,Herod thought it was John the baptist raised from the dead.
I think this whole story has to do with the forces of light and darkness.
John was the light he knew what he stood for and was not afraid to speak out unto his death.
Herod had done bad things but was intrigued by this light,The closer he seemed to be getting to the light the more the forces around him worked to bring him back toward the darkness.
In the end Herod went toward the darkness by destroying John.
Later when Jesus came along,Herod still had haughtings of the light,thinking that maybe John had come back.
I don't know if Herod hoped John had come back or dreaded the idea he might have come back,possibly seeking revenge on Herod.
In the end even Herod had a choice.What he did to John he did willingly and Although Herod was a powerful man on earth he was a weak man in spirit.
By destroying John Herod also destroyed himself.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mother Teresa Light

Today is Mother Teresa 100Th birthday.

Last night I was reading the Gospel passage of Mathew 5:14-19

You are the light of the world,A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket,but on a lamp stand,and
it gives light to all who are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men,that they may see your good works
and glorify your Father in heaven.

It struck me today this is truly Mother Teresa's passage,weather she knew it while on earth or not.
You know we are all lights to the world and Mother understood that one match can cause all the darkness of the world to seem brighter,it was a beacon,a goal,a warmth.
Darkness can never crowd out light unless light becomes dim on its own.The dimmer a light becomes the more the darkness envelopes it and us.
If you do good works and are a light the people around you will not only draw from you but according to this passage they will glorify "your Father in heaven",not theirs,yours.
Mother Teresa knew that if you did good works daily to the least then every person you helped you gave a spark of light to.
A lamp on a stand enlightens an entire room and all those in the room gain from its glory.
We in our electrical society,take light for granted and do not understand its simple power.
Have you ever been in a completely black room with not even a speck of light? Do you get a frightened feeling? like you are no longer even sure you are still connected to your own body? Suddenly you feel alone even if you have some one standing right near you.
How wonderful it feels when a simple match or candle enters the room.
Like you are safe and engulfed in warmth, from this single flame.
You now see every one around you and understand that your not alone.
This is what Mother's generosity gave to the people of the world.
She understood that actions speak louder then words and goodness can over come any religious differences.
Its funny that Mother Theresa came on the scene after Gandhi's death it was as if he won India liberation and she was needed to help heal the wounds of a country still at war with itself.
She was from a different country and religion then those she served in India but she brought Jesus mercy to them,not by words but by action.
This small simple little flame enlightened the word and brought respect and love to everyone with her healing actions.
Thank you Mother Teresa you will never know how happy you made the world feel just by your simple acts of love and faith and your mar being.
When you were present people thanked your God for your warmth and sunlight and you helped decrease the darkness by being the city on the hill.
So much from such a small spark that caught fire to the world...Thank God for you...

Reading

When I was a small child my parents read to me.
Slowly I was able to read a word and associate it with an object and vice verse.
When I started first grade I began to read books like "Dick and Jane".
Has I progressed through school grades and reading became more intricate,I came to a point as a senior in high school that I was not only able to read Shakespeare but understand large parts of it.
I read allot and in many cases have no problems with what I am reading unless it is something I consider "above my head".
Several days ago Fr.Peter and I were talking about reading formal prayers and the teachings of the mothers and fathers of the church.
I have several Orthodox prayer books and must admit I don't read them very often because they just don't seem to make a whole lot of sense,lots of words saying lots of things. I tend mentally to shut down and lose my attention span,wandering off to more worldly subjects.
Today I was thinking about reading and Shakespeare and remembered how easy it seemed to me to comprehend while my friend sitting next to me would shake his head and say "I don't get this stuff,do you?"
I think I have come to the point of understanding that the prayers,sayings and writings were done by very holy people whose spiritual level is way beyond my own.
When I was a first grader If you had put a book of Shakespeare prose in front of me I would have looked for pictures and tossed the book aside because it was above my level.
So maybe that's where I am with spiritual readings.Right now I need plain and simple to comprehend and advance toward the more complicated.
Now that doesn't mean I will not continue to tackle these holy peoples words but maybe it means I can only take small amounts and work on them.
Instead of taking a whole prayer maybe I need to start with a sentence or paragraph until I'm not stumbling over the words and losing my attention and patience.
Religion is very overwhelming,if you allow it to be.
But no person can ever know all biblical things.There are Christian and Jewish scholars who spend their whole lives studying bits and pieces.
So I guess the goal is take it in small bites and try not to get side tract.
The devil always sets up stumbling blocks and clouds the mind with negative reactions to things,wanting,no encouraging us to give up.
Jesus says "Love the Lord your God will all your mind heart and soul and love your brother as yourself". This is what all the laws and all the Prophets hing on.
In other words start out by loving God,your neighbors and your self and the rest is more enlightenment to help you full fill those obligations.
Saints and holy people are not only the ones who hit the mark but they are also the ones who help us to measure our own growth.
We may never be perfect but their examples and teachings help give us direction to grow toward.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Meeting Needs

In the days when Jesus walked the earth families either had or had not.
Life was very basic and people possessed few things except what they needed and some people did not even have that.
Jesus talks many times in the Bible about giving to the poor and helping those in need.
He said if someone is asking you for something to not only give them what they asked for but more.
He didn't often talk about helping people with money but said that we should be willing to give the coats off our backs and not expect to get them back.
Give freely.
When St.Paul came along he taught on the importance of Christians holding all things in common and dividing things up as each one had need.
He talked of raising money and goods for the poor,widowed and orphaned.
We have now become a more socialist society instead of the churches meeting these needs now the government does,allowing churches to wash their hands of such things.
But we as churches are not suppose to be allowing the government to take over what we are called to do.
Granted our churches are no longer filled to capacity with people and in most cases only a few fill the pews on Sunday.
But why would this be?
Maybe because during the good years when churches were filled to capacity we as Christians forgot the relevance of helping the poor and needy and chose to close our selves off so now we are reaping what we sowed,which is little or nothing.
We have allowed the government,someone with lots of money,to step in and become our new churches.
Today people have no need to turn to God because the government is meeting the needs with food,clothing,housing,medical,social services and even judgement and fairness.
Why should someone turn to the church.
Church seems irrelevant because we has parishioners have allowed it to become so.
Many people complain that being a small church does not allow them to do great things,this may be true but Jesus never talked about doing big things he focused on helping in the small areas.
We as "church" have to start becoming more relevant because even if the government can meet all needs they can not meet the spiritual coming to God one.
When you allow the government to put themselves in to an all giving,all knowing,meeting all your needs position then how do you fault people,who have no religion or faith,to not see government as a kind of god.
We as church need to be relevant to our communities or we will continue to falter and grow smaller and smaller until there are few of us left.
Then we'll be sitting around asking how this could have happened to us.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Morning Coffee

This morning,like every Sunday Morning that I do not work,my day started with getting out of bed,gathering together what I was planning on wearing to church,then heading downstairs to have a cup of coffee.
This is my wake up call.
Coffee helps to settles me into my morning ahead,giving me a warm feeling all over.
Since I am the only one in my house who drinks a morning cup,I usually make something instant to save on dirtying extra dishes.
While putting the freeze dried coffee crystals and sugar into my cup a word popped into my head "control".
Suddenly this strong need came over me to just throw the ingredients in my cup away.
This all seemed rather silly,at first and after several seconds of arguing with myself,I decided to pour it down the sink.
As my husband and I got into the car,panic started to fill my head."Great what am I going to do I'm sure to get a terrible headache with out my first cup of caffeine,how will I function?"
As we continued on our way my stomach began to grumble from hunger and I started to feel really ill.
Thinking I don't know why I just didn't have that cup and be done with it,but also knowing in my heart this was no plain suggestion but a call to follow through.
I tried to keep my inner grumbling quit and focus on the task at hand,attending church.
Once in the pew I kept getting these intermittent moments of nausea followed by a feeling of almost dizziness,like I would fall over if the pew in front of me was not there to hold on to.
Trying to not focus on my human weakness I continued to sing and listen to the Gospel reading and then the sermon,which by the way,was about "fasting".
As the service came to its culmination and we got ready to go up to receive communion I said to myself "God why did you not want me to not have that cup of coffee? What was the importance of all this?"
To which came the answer,or should I say question "If you were denied being with me would you feel as bad as you felt over one cup of coffee?
Wow talk about making a point!
I must admit the idea of missing Liturgy or prayers has never made we want to argue about the loss or feel physically ill.
Saying no to these things can sometimes seem almost easy,no guilt involved.
Has I went up for communion and saw the icon of Jesus I thanked him for opening my eyes to something very important.
Never in my life,before today,have I ever felt such real joy,to the point of wanting to smile and be grateful for the gifts being offered and given to me from that chalice.
Who would have thought that denying myself a cup of coffee would be such a revelation.
Maybe there is something to this whole fasting thing after all.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Words

We spend a great deal of our waking hours using words.
Some words are good,some are not and some are just useless.
Do you know that God tells us we will be accountable for our idle words on the day of judgement.
Thank goodness the man upstairs has an eternity for judgement because if your like me this is going to take awhile.
Words have the power to heal but they can also kill.
We praise God and with the same words we use to criticize and talk about our neighbors.
We speak all the time and in many instances do not even realize the effects we have on another person state of mind or heart.
One word can lift a person to new heights while another can cause them to lose their soul.
We all feel that everything we hear we are entitled to have an opinion on. We measure and meter out our love or our poison to everyone we come in contact with,weather they want to hear it or not.
Great people use great words to inspire while ill people use sick words to depress and deflate.
We are all subject to our own state of mind and abilities,just by our own words.We can achieve the greatest of things or we can cause ourselves loathing.
Words come from the heart and mind,then enter into the world and set the tone for ourselves and those around us.
What is the difference between a critical and easy going person? The words they use,an affirmation of themselves and the world around them.
With our words we can call down the power of the saints or call up the power of the devil.
Words when not chosen with care can be like a knife for wounding.
Did you ever wonder why at Pentecost,God symbol for the holy spirit was the tongues of fire over the heads of each apostle?
God understood the power of our words.
From that point on the Apostles speech was to be the most important words to ever come out of their mouths.
We live in a world made up of words and we,as Christians,need to understand how much power we hold when we use them.
We hold the power of good and evil,life and death with just the use of a single word.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Proving Love Electronically

On the news there was a woman doctor who claimed she could prove,through a type of electrical scan,if people were truly in love simply by checking the color of the areas of the brain as they were seen by the test.
For an example she took a newly married couple and showed how highly lite up sections of their brains were because of the amount of excitement they felt for each other.
For the next 8 months this newly married couple took a motor cycle and traveled around together and on their return they were rechecked.
The wife brain showed she was still as excited to be with her spouse as day one.But the husband not as much.
Both confessed to still deeply loving each other even though the test showed other wise.
When I saw this I told my husband this was a ridicules study because no one who spends all their time with the person they love is going to love that person the same way they did when they were first married.
To me this study only proved that the husband love had begun to mature while the wife had not yet gotten to his point yet.
Just because you do not see fireworks doesn't mean its not true love. All it proves is that life has come along and now you have to readjust and face the world together on different terms.
True marriages last because people love grows and matures.We all change and being able to adjust to each others changing needs is what makes a marriage strong.
The marriages that don't work are the ones where people become self centered and must have everything as it was in the beginning,change causes them to lose their ability to adapt and adjust.
No scan has to be done to tell me my husband and I are not the same people we were twenty or so years ago.Both of us have grown and matured and have come to love and become closer to each other in different ways.
True the excitement is not always what it used to be but now we are each others best friends.We talk more about things that concern us and feel much more comfortable in each others presence.
We have nothing to prove to each other we are pretty much equal in our relationship and this is a wonderful thing.
I'm sure if we got hooked up to a scan we would both score very differently then we would have 20 odd years ago,but that's OK by me because I like what I have and would not want to go back to those awkward years of uncertainty and immaturity.

Prayers In Many Forms

When I think of prayer what comes to mind is verbal,sometimes formal and premeditated.
But do you know that prayer comes in many forms not just words?
Yesterday I decided to wash the walls in the kitchen at our church hall.
We,as a church group, want to start some fixing up to make us more compliant with state regulations,then we can become a more community and monastery friendly kitchen able to increase spiritual outreach making us more God compliant.
When I got to the hall I had forgotten that Fr.Peter was at the hospital with his parents while his father was having some outpatient surgery done.
Wondering how I was to get in I stopped at my friend Laura house to pick up the hall key because lets face now I was on a mission,not only to wash the walls but to get in.
As the morning went on welcomed help,in the form of Laura, showed up to assist with cleaning of other things in the kitchen.
Cleaning an older building can become a bit overwhelming it seems like the more you clean the more dirt you find.
But if done with a right heart and spirit you can over come those feelings of depression.
As we scrubbed Laura brought up a very interesting thing that we were practicing a form of prayer,whether we knew it or not.
Today I began to ponder on this and the different forms of prayer in our daily lives.
In the Old Testament they talk about prayer in the forms of dancing,singing and using instruments.
At our church we have what is called stewardship,we do not pay dues like a club,but we not only give money but time and talent.
All these,when done in the proper spirit are also forms of prayer.
Everyday when we help another person even in a small way we are praying and glorifying God.
I think we get wrapped up in the thought that prayer consist of going to church and saying formal words but you know looking up in the sky and seeing a bird fly and stopping to admire its beauty is also an form of gratitude and prayer.
When we pray we are to not only ask God for things but we are to praise,glorify and feel gratitude toward him and the world around us.
So yesterday we had a very prayerful day of work with little complains,done with a pure hearts and sense of accomplishment.
Now that the walls are done let the painting begin and the good things I know this kitchen can accomplice for our new monastery,ministry and out out reach.
This is a prayer I know God will answer.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Airport Kindness

Today I heard that while on an airplane a frustrated mother,whose child would not stop crying,slapped the child.The air plane attendant saw what had happened and demanded to be given the child and the police were called.
These parents were questioned and held and the child examined for child neglect.
After a thorough examination by a physician and child welfare they and the child were allowed to leave but were to meet with another investigator in the near future to prove they are not monster parents.
I don't know about you but after spending 2 hours in an airport,having luggage and shoes checked then being questioned and treated like a criminal,many is the time I have walked onto a plane and wanted to slap some one my self.(only kidding)
Plane travel is no longer a pleasure it is an act of stress from the minute you enter the airport until your family rescues on the other end.
We expect so much from parents it is just ridiculous.
I know that we are suppose to always be in control but give me a break the woman slapped the child she didn't beat her into submission.
Many years ago my ex sister in law Patty, her 2 year old daughter,my son and my self,were flying together to Kansas to visit both of our children's grandparents.
It had been a good flight and we had a long lay over at the connecting airport.My son,who was also two at the time,was playing quietly with a toy while my niece decided to take her shoes off and throw them on the ground.
Multiple times my friend asked her to stop it,finally after time number 5 I bent down to pick them up and my friend slapped her daughter on the thigh and said "Now stop it".
The lady sitting across from us made some unkind remark to which my friend said "stay out of this,it doesn't involve you!"
The woman got up and left.My friend apologized to me and we gathered our children.
She picked up her cane and we walked to our gate.
That's right "she picked up her cane" because she was 36 years old,had a 2 year old child and m.s.
See the lady that gave us the remark did not know the whole story and kindness on her part might have assisted us in this situation.
Now this stewardess might have made things better if she also took a minute to find out why this child was crying and why this mother was so frustrated.Maybe a simple act on her part could have made for a happier flight for everyone involved.
It doesn't matter if you believe in slapping or not maybe you need to offer some human kindness first.It could make a big difference and the ending might be more toward every ones liking.

Judgement

"It is required in stewards that one be found faithful."
"But for me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by human court.In fact I do not even judge myself."
"Judge nothing before time,until the Lord comes,who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the heart then each one praise will come from God."Corinthians 4:1-5

We live in a world that is very judgemental of all things. And being in the connected world can bring this news to our lives by just a click of a button or mouse,in a second.
How many times have you heard a story on TV. computer or radio,and prejudged a situation by simply listening to the media source?
My husband and I tend to lean on the conservative side of life and as such we listen to things like fox news because we are in agreement with most of their stands on the subjects they present.
We have friends who lean more toward the liberal side and feel CNN is their new source.Now it is interesting how I may have heard one side of a story and my friends another and when we get together to discuss what we each know it is not even close to the real story that lies some where in the middle.
Judgement is like that when we hear something we assume what we hear is the whole truth because we feel the source is well informed,but in reality it is one sided.
Usually what we hear is the side we prefer to hear,since it fits into our train of thought and experience,so the judgements we make seem rational.
Today we have people in news stories like sports figures,politicians,actors and musicians,that we regularly crucify with out understanding... "the rest of the story."...(has Paul Harvey used to say.)(I know old guy move on)
We forget that the life we ruin by judgement is not our life but someone distant and removed.
And besides their rich,they deserved it. right?
The above bible verse tells us that to judge others is wrong because we do not understand what God knows and as a matter of fact we do not even understand ourselves well enough to judge us.
You know It's hard to bring the light of judgement to others when we our selves are sitting in darkness.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Moving Mountains

"Assuredly I say to you,if you have faith and do not doubt,you will not only do what was done to this fig tree,but also if you say to this mountain,'be removed and cast into the sea,'it will be done.
And what ever things you ask in prayer, believing,you will receive." Mathew 21 verses 21 and 22.


This story is not just about physical mountains it is also about mental and spiritual mountains.
In order to be a true believer you have to be right with God.
Being right requires you to not only have clear thoughts and speech but also a clean heart.
See everything in our being is connected if your thoughts are bad then your heart picks up on it and your words produce it.
We all like to think and talk about others,to the point where we do not even pay attention to what comes out of our mouths.Have you ever heard yourself say something and thought "now where did that come from?"
It came from your heart when you weren't paying attention.
We all want so much from God and we think by attending church,praying and reading the Bible we are instant Christians clean and pure.
Unfortunately just confessing the words of being a part of Christ kingdom is just the start.The real work comes when you have to not only follow the rules but understand and "want" to follow them.
This is where our mountains come in.
We all have stumbling stones and blocks which keep us away from God. We probably don't even realize that if we want true good in our lives we need to move our mountains and cast them into the sea and be done with them forever.
In order to be filled,truly filled,with God presence we have to be emptied of our own self centeredness.
Is this an easy thing to do?
No!
We have habits,actions and thought patterns cultivated since our child hood and in order to move our mountains some times we need to do it one wheel barrel full at a time and if need be,one stone at a time.
Prayer and healing happen to the degree we allow God to work through us.If we ask for anything with a pure heart and and right mind we will receive what ever we ask for if its in compliance with God.
Lets face it we already know when we ask for things that if it is not done with a clean mind and a right heart it will probably not be granted us.
I know people who belong to prayer groups in order to help others with their sicknesses and problems.These groups are a wonderful thing but do you know in order for the person in need to be helped they also need to be in some kind of favor with God.
You as the person doing the praying must be right but also the person on the receiving end has to be willing to open themselves up in order to be helped.
Some one once told me God puts his hand out in front of us but if we refuse to grasp it how can he help us.
Once you decided to make the concise effort to try and clear your thought patterns then your heart and mouth will go with it.
Sometimes one small step a day will reveal to you another step that you didn't even know was in you.
Don't be supervised if your in a situation and something that would normally have your passions up moving your mouth suddenly doesn't even seem to affect you and for some strange reason that seems alright by you.
At that point you'll know you've begun to move your mountain.

Monday, August 16, 2010

"True Faith"

In our Liturgical Service,after communion, we as Orthodox Christians say "We have seen the true light,we have received the true faith worshiping the undivided Trinity who has saved."
But what exactly is the true light and the true faith?
For me Orthodoxy is my true light.
I have gained in faith many folds and have become a better person because of the beliefs I practice and hold.
But you know there are many types of Christian religions.
I feel no one belongs to a religion or faith and does not believe they also have the truth before them.
In the Muslim religion they believe that it is wrong to criticize another sect of your religion.
Now this can be a good and bad thing.
The bad thing is it allows the off track radical churches to do things that you as true believers do not up hold as honest doctrine and teachings and can label an entire religion as radical and fanatical.
The good thing about this sort of idea is it forces you to respect those who are not in your sect.
We as Christians have a hard time trying to understand that just because we all don't worship or believe every thing another Christian group believes that we are not all part of the same family.
Sometimes I think we get so hung up on splitting hairs we forget that we are all followers of the same person,Jesus Christ.
We worry to much about how the mother of God died,was she a virgin all her life,did Jesus have brothers,were they step or real brothers,was Jesus married.
And if that wasn't enough then we start to criticize how other churches are set up and run.Do they have bishops,priest,ministers,church councils,women leaders,men leaders,gay leaders.
Are their churches opulent or plain? Do they have a choir or cantor? And on and on it goes.
It is all to much and it is all unnecessary all this does is divide us into groups of "I'm right" "your wrong" and "we have nothing in common".
I know what I believe and I know why I believe it.
If another church chooses to do things different then me does that make them less then me and my church?
We need to understand that no one belongs to a church to believe that what they are taught is not the true faith.
I was once told that there are so many different types of Christian groups because there are so many types of Christians and we need to find what fits us.
When we tell another group they are wrong because they don't believe exactly as we do then we are,what Jesus called "Lording it over",thinking we are better then another group.
This is not humility this is arrogance.
How will we be united in Christ if we are constantly at odds with each other.
Jesus did not die on a cross for us so we could bicker.He died so we could be saved.
In order to be saved we need to believe and feel that where we are as christian followers is the best place for us to be at this time.
You get out of God what you are willing to put in and you get out of religion the same way.
I read all sorts of different books by different christian writers and every book I have read gave me a clearer understanding of what I felt in my heart was an awakening moment.
We can learn and gain from each others religions if we understand that tolerance is needed in order to have true Christians fellowship.
You will never convert others over to your ways of religion or faith if you are tearing them down and exalting your self.
Jesus said that the healthy do not need a doctor the sick do.
There are varying degrees of sickness in this world just like there are varying degrees of doctors.
We need to find the physician who is right for us and sometimes it takes many visits to many different specialist until we find the one who works best for what we are ailing from.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Envy

Growing up I was the second of three children and as such have true middle child behaviors.
All the insecurities of trying to be noticed and praised through out my younger years have stayed with me.
Easily hurt when not recognized,passed over when others get to do things,needing to be closer to my friends then my family always needing to be the peace maker,feeling obscure and marginalized.
But of all my center child issues,envy has to be my worst enemy.
Its a struggle I fight with just about every day of my life and though I make steps of progress here and there I still battle with it on an on going basis.
Now being a child of,and created by God,this is not a good thing.
We are made in his image and likeness and he doesn't make junk.
I am exactly who he wants me to be and my success and failures are not mistakes.
God doesn't see me every day and say "are you still dealing with this or doing that?"
The problem with envy is its like a chain tying you to the ground,never allowing you to hold your head high and feel good enough.Never paying attention to the fact that what you want may not be suitable for you.
Just because you or the world deems something worthy does not mean your talents and abilities are any less important then others,its just yours are hidden from you because you have not chosen to meditate and pursue your own callings.
From what I have come to understand when we envy others we are not only one step away from jealousy but we insult God.
We basically are telling him we don't think he knew what he was doing when he made us.
But you know what we are not a surprise to him.
He understands our very being,good and bad and designed us to be exactly the way he wanted us to be.
So as I continue to struggle daily with my envy issues I will try to reaffirm to myself that God loves me for who I am and he is perfectly happy with the talents he has given me to develop.
Now my challenge is to work on finding,expressing and expanding on them.
Envy is a petty thing.It does not build us up but tears us down.
Feeling bad about our selves is not a gift from God but a weight around our neck from the other guy.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Actions Of Love

Several days ago I decided to take out my rotisserie and make a turkey for supper.
I had bought it three days prior and it was defrosted enough to cook.
Now although it was very warm that day I decided to start it at 8am and it was to be done in three hours.
My husband and I pulled it apart,sorted all the slices into several dishes,including one for the dog and once everything cooled we froze most of it leaving enough for sandwiches with fresh garden tomatoes for supper.
Now why,you may ask,would I go through all this trouble in the middle of summer? Well because this is what Vic likes and sometimes its a good thing when your married to go through all the trouble to make something special just to say "I love you and you are important to me".
After supper I decided not to clean the whole rotisserie but to just wash some of the smaller parts saving the rest for the next day when I got home from work.
Well funny how that didn't happen.
Being a long day yesterday and coming home late I quickly made supper and sat down to the computer then went to bed forgetting to clean my messy,greasy rotisserie.
This morning I decided enough was enough and I must clean that silly thing.
After I finished the dishes in the sink I moved on to the rotisserie which to my surprise was not down stairs but stored away.
"Oh no" I though,"I hope Vic didn't think its was clean and put it away greasy".
So up to the spare room I went to find it neatly stowed away all washed and shiny clean.
I went down stairs and asked him if he had cleaned it,to which he said "yes".I was so happy I told him he did a great job and I was very proud of him.
This is what love is really about. Its not the words you say its the actions you do for each other that proves the worth of the relationship.
Always take the time to say I love you and when necessary use words.....

Perception

How do you perceive things? Are you a sight person,sound person or thought person?
Do you know that if two people see an accident or crime both will come away with different stories and descriptions of what each feels they saw or heard and what things seemed most important to them.
I was once told there are three sides to every issue.Your side,my side and the truth.
Now this does not mean what you perceived is not truth it just means we both viewed things differently.
When I think of the Apostles I think of 12 men with 12 different personalities and although most of them had similar back grounds,educations and religious upbringing,after the Ascension they all went into the world with different types of ministries.
All of these men sat in the presence of Jesus.
They ate with him,were taught by him,witnessed miracles and each came away with a different perspective of what they heard and saw.
Now they all got the basics right,evident by the Gospels themselves and their similarities,but they all felt differently about their own ministries depending on where they were.
Some felt that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Torah,some that the Gentiles needed to be a part of their ministry,Some that even the Romans who crucified Jesus truly got right and felt sorrow after the deed was done,some felt that the Jewish leaders were to be blamed,some that they should not.
We are all products of our past and our personalities we tend to stress what we feel is most important to us and the world around us.
We as church members have this same issue.
Some people are very much into traditions and exactness,crossing the t's and dotting the i's are very much a part of their religious life and belief,others are less formal but still as spiritual and correct in their faith.
Many times it surprises me how Fr.Peter can read the Gospel on Sunday morning,during liturgy and each of us can come away with a different idea of what we think is important.
I'll bet if Fr. handed out a piece of paper and asked each of us to write what we heard, most of us would have the same basic story but each of us would perceive what we heard differently.Every message that was gained would be different.
This is not a bad thing,this is what make us who we are and gives us the ability to enter the world with our spiritual message for the people around us.
It is important for us to embrace each others differences,even when we don't always agree with them.We live in a world that needs lots of ministries from lots of people with the right basic ideas but different teaching styles.
God says that he needs many field hands because the crops are ready but the hands are few.
In order to assist with the reaping we all need our own personal tools to work most efficiently in the field we are given.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Would You Want To Know?

Today on the 6:30 pm news,there was a story of how they may have discovered a way to tell if you have Alzheimer's disease by testing your spinal fluid.
How would you feel about this? Would you want to know if you have a sickness that could not be,at this time,curable.
One of my friends just found out she has m.s. and told me she was not sure if this was such a good thing because there is no cure and at least when she didn't know she just chalked it all up to clumsiness.
Now that she knows she has to decide what medicines and vitamins to take,how to eat,how to tell her youngest child,how to move on with her life.
And what about her marriage will it last,how will she support her children,will she end up in a wheel chair and should she go to school to work on her RN.She just wants to know does she have a future.
I have always thought that some diseases are just not worth knowing about especially when it seems like there is nothing anyone can do for you.
This must be where faith comes in.There comes a point and time when even knowing everything is no substitute for faith in the almighty.
My friend has told me that even though she is afraid that she has decided to give it up to God because she just has no control at this moment and it is just to overwhelming.
Most people don't understand that every time you have a medical test done the answer may not be what you want to hear,then you have to make decisions about where you go from there.
We all have different ways of handling things and no one answer is the right answer.Some people need to know everything and some people need to know nothing.
But no matter what type of person you are the ultimate thing is we just can not control all things in our lives and we just have to do the best we can and leave the rest to the man upstairs.

Stop The Phone

For almost a week now,the phone has been ringing off the hook to remind us that Tuesday August 10th is both the Democratic and Republican primary and every one wants us to come out and pick their candidate.
Now I'm usually pretty voter knowledgeable and try to keep up on whose running and what they stand for, but this year no such luck.
Very little has been said about those who are running and what they stand for so the choice has been a tough one.
Today when I stopped at the Town Hall to do my civic duty and pick some one.It became a flip the coin choice because only one name seemed familiar and the rest,well sorry to say, were just names.
Now you know you live in a Democratic town when you walk into the voting area, say you are a Republican, and the people at the table jump up with gladness just to know there are more of their kind out there,you know conservatives.
It kind of scared me,for a minute I thought they were going to embrace and kiss me.It was like they found a long lost relative.
So anyways home again and the phone keeps ringing and the call of democracy is still heard loud and clear,weather I like it or not.
Oh boy I can hardly wait til November.I have a feeling this could be a long three months.
Excuse my while I get the phone....I'm back.Thank Goodness my husband and I are in the same political party.Could you see the numbers of calls we'd be getting if we were in opposite parties.
Hang on I'm coming already....So let freedom ring...But do you think maybe it could ring at my neighbors house for awhile?...please.

Charlie St.Cloud

Last night a friend and I went to see the movie Charlie St.Cloud.
Basically it was the story of 2 brothers,one a Senior in high school and one a 10 year old,who have a special close relationship to each other.
The mother,a nurse,has to work allot of hours to support the boys so the oldest,Charlie spends time taking care of the younger brother.
Charlie graduates fron High School and is getting ready to go off to college but promises his brother that before he goes he will meet him in the woods, and play ball with him every day for an hour, until school starts.
One night while both boys are in a car they are hit by a drunk driver,while in the ambulance charlie flat lines and is brought back but his brother does not make it.
At the grave site service, charlie sees his younger brother and follows him into the woods and for the next seven years charlie goes to the woods everyday to play catch with his brother.
Charlie works at the grave yard as a care taker and does not go to college.he surrounds him self with his deceased brothers boxes of things and can never let go of any of it.
Suddenly charlie meets a girl and is torn between being with his brother spirit or being a part of the world and going on with his life.
Of all the people I have lost in my life I think the hardest thing is to let go and move on.We always want these people near us and the grief of letting go can be more difficult then moving forward.
Sometimes we just don't feel we can move on especially if the person is a young child or suicide victum.
We carry the guilt of their loss like luggage thinking we are doing honor to their memory when all the time we are to afraid to move forward and live our lives.
How do you live on when things are not closed between you and that person.A wrong may not have been righted,a word or action done in anger and goodbyes left unsaid.
We are trying to live with the dead.We lose the fact that we are here for a reason and to go forward is a way of truly remembering that person.
When my mother died it was very devastating to me,she was my best friend and I did not know how I could possibly live with out her guidance.Who could I talk to about my issues,problems and joys?
One night when I was asleep I had a dream about her,I was very upset and kept telling her "how could you have a reception and not invite me?" She kept trying to tell me it was not my time but I continue to argue with her.My brother,who had passed away some 20years before was sitting next her and I said"Oh you invited Jerry but not me how could you do that?" she said "you were at work" to which I said "I would have left.All you had to do was tell me and I would have come to you." She then said "you don't understand you have work to do and its not your time."
Thats was when I realized it was time to move forward and live my life until it was my time. Hopefully I will do much and not allow the shadows of the past to drag me into their lives.Instead I hope to bring their light into my life and the world until it is my time.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Battlefield Of The Mind

In the past two days I have resolved to pay attention to my negative thought patterns,especially were others are concerned.
I can not tell you the number of times I catch myself thinking critical,negative things about those around me.
Total strangers can stand near me and thoughts come to mind like how could they wear their hair like that? or dress in those clothes? Be so rude? be terrible with their children and so on.
This morning I resolved that when ever these thoughts come to my mind I will try and say something nice in my mind about this person then follow it with a simple prayer for them.
The mind can be a battle field and I must tell you today felt like a war zone.Every time I caught myself thinking negative thoughts about others I would try to follow my above routine.
By 5 pm in the afternoon I had had it.Not only was my head tired but my brain felt like a sore over used muscle.
All these corrections got me to thinking tonight just what a battle with the devil this is turning out to be and how this is going to take some real concise work on my part.
Now I know this is going to take more then one day and will need to be repeated until the habit breaks but I try to remember that all negative things are not of God.
Between you and me I must say that I did have one break through.
My husband and I were in the subway station in Boston today,trying to catch the T to get back to the lot where we parked our car.
There was a man,elderly and dirty looking, sitting up against a trash can playing his harmonica,the same song over and over.
Normally this would set my brain off thinking what a bum,why do the police let this thing happen? But instead I reached into my wallet pulled out a dollar and put it in his bucket and went back to standing waiting for the train.
Someone,walking by,threw something in the trash can but it fell over the top and landed in this mans' bucket.
At that moment I took the time to really look at this person face and thought "God help this poor man" then climbed the steps of the train and sat in my seat.
So in the end I got to walk away from a situation feeling better about what I had done and that no matter what this man does with his money it has no bearing on me .
Plus I was not judgemental about his appearance and felt pity for some one in need.
Now I know this will have to be a daily purposeful thought process but if I can correct even one wrong thought with a positive helpful one then maybe this battle of the mind will become easier and easier.

Sweet William

In 2001 the building I worked in was closing its doors and I decided to move over to one of this companies other Nursing Homes.
When I started there I meet Mary who was to be my new nurse and she and I became friends very quickly.
Mary had been married to Bob for many years they had three children and he was a seven days Adventist teacher,principle and minister.So they spent many years moving from school to school and church to church where ever the need was greatest for his services.
Their children had grown and as life does they grew apart,Mary wanting to just settle down in one place and Bob wanting to continue pursuing his teaching and preaching lifestyle.
Since their oldest daughter now lived in Thompson,ct with her children,Mary decided to move back north and do her nursing at a near by Nursing home in Webster,Mass.
One day while we where working Mary mentioned to me that she and a male friend,who was also an Adventist principle,were about to break up.With him living in Maryland the long distance relationship was not working out and she was tired of being alone.
I amusingly said "Mary you sure do like school teachers don't you?" to which she laughed and agreed.
I told her "you know my husband brother teachers the 6th grade,is about your age and also has children you own children's age,would you be interested in meeting him?"
To my surprise she agreed and when I got home I spoke to my husband Vic and aked him to work it out so Bill and Mary could meet.
They went out on one date and Bill,being very shy found it rather nice to be with some one has full of life as Mary.
Several weeks later Bill stopped by our house to pick something up and asked if I thought Mary would want to see him again,I knew she would and passed the information on to him.
To make a long story some what shorter they have now been together for 9 years and at Mary daughter,Karen,recent wedding,she had her father as the minister to do her ceremony and Bill,whom she affectionately calls Sweet William,walk her down the aisle.
Funny how things turn out. When I introduced Bill to Mary I though I was getting two lonely people together but instead I ended up giving them each a family complete with sons and daughters,grandchildren and in-laws.
Each seemed to have gained something they needed and as for me this is the first and last couple I have ever played match maker for and think I will quit while I'm ahead.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Perception

How do you perceive things?
Are you a sight person,sound person or thought person.
Two people can view an accident or arguement and come away with two totally different ideas of what happened.
What you saw or heard may be very different from what I did.
I was once told there are three sides to every story.your side,my side and the real side.
This does in our perpectives.
I has always amazed me how the 12 apostles,men who not only spent three years living,eating and being taught by Jesus,himself... the son of God,could walk away
go into the world and teach in totally different ways.
Each precieved what they were taught and although they basicaly got it right they all taught in different styles to different groups of people.
The gosples show this.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

News From A Friend

What do you do when you find out a friend,whom you have known for quite some time,may have a very terrible disease?
Today one of my friends whom,I went to nursing school with,is looking at the possibility of having something very bad.
It all started 2 weeks ago when she was walking through the parking lot at work and for what seemed like no reason fell to the ground.Thinking her self clumsy she got up and showed me her knee.
Neither of us thought much but we applied some ice and she took some Tylenol and we continued with our day.
Last week she was leaving for work when she felt dizzy and funny,she called an ambulance went to Worcester and was told she had possible vertigo but they would do a ct scan just to be safe and sent her home with some medicine to help her dizziness.
When she came in the next day I gave her a big hug and told her everything would be alright and she needed to take life a little easier since she can be a workaholic.
Today she told me that some of the xrays may be questionable and she would have to go and have more test done.
I offered to go with her on her appointments if it where on any of my days off and encouraged her not to put the cart before the horse to wait for the test results.
Now I can tell you being nurses in this situation is never a good thing.Knowing the test they want to do,the questions they are asking and what the out come may be not to mention how one would have to spend the rest of their life with such a sickness is just plain scary.
Its never a good thing to know to much,some times ignorance can be bliss.
Monday is the start of her vacation and I have made it clear to her that I think she and I need to go to chili's resturant have some food and a few Margaretta's.
Times like this make me wonder why things happen in my life and why I'm where I am.I know that nothing ever happens for no reason and here I am. Now how do I be her support if this does not turn out well?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Garments And Hems

Today while reading Mathew 14 verse 34 to 36 it said:

"When they had crossed over(by boat both Jesus and the apostles),they came to the land of Gennesaret.
And when the men of that place recognized him,they sent out into all the surrounding region,brought to him all who were sick,
and begged him that they might touch only the hem of his garment.
And as many as touched it were made perfectly well."

I have been reading up on Mathew and it seems he was very Jewish in his faith and tries to link the things Jesus does with the Old Testament to find fulfillment through Jesus.
While I read these verses it struck me that in many stories,both Old and New Testament,that garments and hems get mentioned a great deal.
Healing's happen when Jesus hem gets touched by not just these people but also the woman who was bleeding for many years.
As I began to think about Moses he was told by God not just how to set up the alter but also the vestments the priests will wear.
He pays particular attention to the edging and hems of their garments talking about pom poms made like pomegranates even what color the pom poms should be,everything in great detail.
I remember reading that to this day men from the Jewish faith wear a sort of tee shirt with tassels on the ends in certain colors signifying certain things.Great detail is placed in the number of strands and how they are tied.
Everything on these shirts mean something.
Fr. Peter has told me several times the importance of even the hem of a robe and how people in the Orthodox Christian faith will kiss the hem of a priest garment in reverence,not to the priest,but to God.
The colors of the garments signify certain times of the year and feast days.They are elaborately colored and fine because it is to be in the glory of Jesus not the glory of the person wearing it.When we are in church we are in the presence of God and as such it should be as if having a king in ones palace.
We don't tend to make much out of a garments' hem.It is usually rather plain with no real meaning unless we are dressed in our finest of clothes and there may be some lace or trim on it,especially women's clothes.
But God seems to be a very detailed person it seems he finds beauty in not just the top of the garment but the edges and the bottom.
Nothing is to simple for him.
I got to thinking maybe God does this because he wants us to understand that in our church family the top is no anymore glorified then the bottom.
The Patriarch who is near the top,or neckline,is no more revered or beautiful then say the least of the people sitting in the church or in the streets.
We in Gods' sight are all beautiful in color and glory and brilliance.
The entire garment is beautiful and the trim adds to the glory of God be it on the bottom or on the top.
God and Jesus are the heads of the church and we his beautiful spectacular garment make up the royalty of what he chooses to wears.
We are some thing he is proud to put on,like a king in a robe trimmed with Ermin along the edges and bottom,sewn in as one gleaming for all the universe to admire.

Ain't Nobody's Business

Saturday evening while at my friends wedding reception,there was an older woman dancing to the music of most of the songs being played.
Swaying back and forth and moving around slowly just enjoying herself and the music.
The D.J.,who was a character,put on a Michael Jackson type black hat,pulled it over his eyes and nose and played the song "Ain't nobodies business".He then proceeded to dance and do moves like Michael Jackson all around the woman,who was a great sport,and kept on her slow dancing while he danced around and up and down her.
At the end of the song he danced in circles around her,faced the people watching wagging his finger during the part that says "ain't nobody's business but mine and my baby's"
When the song ended he got down on his knees,put his arms around her thighs and lifted her up in the air and turned her around several times,then gave her a big kiss on the cheek for being his partner.
We all had a great big laugh and it was the hit of the party,something we will always remember.
This morning while reading Acts,in the bible, I came across the part that talks about how we are not to make people conform to our rules but allow them to conform to the rules between them and God.
Dogma does not change but rules,like what to eat and not eat are personal.If we make the rules more important then the relationship to God and cause that person to lose faith and stumble then we are at fault.
Paul says "who are you to judge another mans servant."
At that point I began to think of the song I heard "ain't nobody's business but mine and my baby's" and thought funny how those two things go together.
We are all made differently.How I choose to be near God is probably very different from you.Just because I do not conform to a very rigid church code does not mean I do not have a very close and faithful relationship with God.
Only he can judge me because only he understands me.
I have come to realize that tolerance over the small things is what wins people over.To force someone to conform to your rules and regulations as you see them,could put a person in the postion to offend and fall away from God.
Dogma is important and never changes but general rules are bendable and made for guidance.Jesus says that "Rules were made for man but man was not made for rules."
So the next time I want to rush to judgement about fasting or prayer I need to take the time to understand that my relationship to God is not yours and its not my business how you choose to do things.
In the end we will both fall or stand in the eyes of God.
You will be judged and so will I but on our own merits,not on each others.