Thursday, March 31, 2011

Degree In Food Buying

I don't know about you but I am beginning to think I confuse the grocery store with the library.
God knows I spend an awful lot of time reading and studying in both places.
I'm really beginning to envy my parents and grandparents back in their days ignorance was bliss and food shopping was a matter of just walking in,picking out what you wanted then paying for your products.
Their biggest issue at that time was do I have enough cash in my wallet to pay for all these items or does something need to be returned before heading to the register.
Today shopping for food requires a Master Degree in Science and Economics.If you are unable to read and decipher what is written on the labels,the chances are you will be making bad choices.
Going into a grocery store and picking up a can,box or bottle of anything requires date recognition,basic food ingredients understanding,chemical recombination skills,Math in weights and measures and a geographic understanding of the world and their issues with cleanliness,or lack there of.
No longer do we walk into a store and casually pick up a can then walk out.
Now we must date read for freshness and expiration,cost price as it pertains to the other like items on the shelf by weight and size,understand the basic make up of each chemical and ingredient as it effects the health of not only our adult bodies and minds,but also those of our children and elderly population related to their disease factors and allergens.
Buying a can of corn can take you ten minutes as you decipher the label for ingredients like sugar,salt and possible additives to maintain freshness.
My new reading adventure as become trying to remember to make geographical checks of where a product is produced as it pertains to our world wide economy.
No longer can we look on a label of Pennsylvania Dutch mushrooms,with its black silhouette of an Amish horse and buggy on the front and assume it comes from the U.S.A because on closer inspection you will find it is a product of China.
Things like this can make shopping time very frustrating indeed.
It's no wonder most of us walk around with high blood pressure,increased cholesterol and stage 2 diabetes,because lets face it,how much time can we possibly spend reading each and everything on a package and still have time left to go home and make it for supper.
I have gotten into the habit of trying to never buy food unless I can give myself a proper leeway of time to make wise choices,trying to buy when in a rush puts me in the position of buying food items that I would not normally have purchased related to my time constraints.
With modern technology at our finger tips,our search for proper food can become very
Dealing with things like irradiation or farm raised salmon and scallops only serves to make our healthy choices far more unnatural and difficult to say the least.
I'm not a food yuppie--junkie,but I don't think it should be to much to ask for that we have good food products in this country,maybe under the supervision of a health agency looking out for the well being of the people in this country and not the manufacturers or the world.
Personally I thought that's what the FDA was set up for,but once again I guess I'm wrong.
In all reality you can't trust the government to look out for you,so you must look out for your self.
No I am not telling people what to eat,if you choose Twinkies over an apple that's your choice,but I just want to know when I choose an apple it is fresh and clean of unnecessary chemicals and what country it's grown in.
At present I may not feel like eating an apple from say Libya or Japan.
Here are a few of my issues: 1) print things large and clear,I don't have time to play eye glass tag 2)don't mislead me with labeling that looks American,if Pennsylvania Dutch mushrooms are produced in China put a rickshaw on the front instead of a horse and buggy and 3)Don't call something all natural if I can't pronounce the first three words on the list of ingredients,if your trying to impress me with big words then its probably stuff that I don't want to eat anyways,why else would I be feeling confused?
Spending two hours in a grocery store reading each and every thing printed on the item is very time consuming for me and my day is already crammed with a million and one other things I need to focus on.
This year I have decided to not only make myself a small garden but to also try and go to more of the local farmers markets when possible,true they may not all be chemical free but at least I know its produced in this country.
My dream is to some day walk into a grocery store,as my grandparents did,get my purchase in a short amount of time,return home,put my items away and still have enough time to sit down and read my newly purchased magazine...Now how nice would that be?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Donating Food At The Grocery Store

At the start of this year I,like most people,made some resolutions but the one I am proudest of,and have followed through on,is my 10% grocery shopping rule.
Every week when I do my major food shopping,I make it a rule to spend 10% of my total bill on buying groceries then putting the food in a food bank basket in the store.
I have not only been able to help 2 local food banks but also a cat connection in Webster,Mass.
Now I know allot of people are unable to do something this drastic,related to their own food cost but since times are well for my family at this stage we are able to assist others in this way.
You may be asking what exactly you could do if you do not have the ability to spend much on helping others.Here are some ideas I have not only come up with but have also used to help me spread my same 10% dollars more abundantly.
Buy things that are a bogo(buy one,get one free)you can either give the free item to the food bank basket or you could give both of the items away.
Today I needed to buy a can of pie filling for a recipe and found a coupon for the item I needed and a free box of cake mix,which I donated.
Also I try to find items that if I buy one box or can of an item,I get the second box or can for a certain amount off.
While at the store I bought a box of instant potatoes and got the second box for $.55off thus giving both boxes to the food bank basket.
Many stores double or even triple a coupon,the item ends up costing only cents making you investment small but your donation great.
I check my weekly grocery sales paper,where I happen to be shopping and try to find the cheapest and most nutritious canned or boxed items and in this way I can spread my donation dollars on more items.
When you turn in your empty soda bottles or cans use the change you receive to buy a food item then donate it.
Remember if you are fortunate enough to be able to buy food every week then please be kind enough to think of another person and buy an item or two and add it to the food bank basket.
Anything you give allows one family to add to their meal,a can of string beans may seem small to you but it can be a greater gift then you realize.
Happy donating.

It's Lent Listen To Your Inner Voice...

This morning I got up around 8am and decided it was time to go have my fasting blood work done,since it has only been due for three months,today seemed like the day.
Now don't get me wrong its not that I hate having someone stick me in the arm with a needle,its just I have a tough time remembering when I get up in the morning not to drink coffee,before I remember to go to the hospital,just 10 minutes down the road.
This morning was the day so off to Hubbard Hospital I did go,only to spend 20 minutes registering then waiting in the lab for a two minute procedure.
Moments later happily trying to find my way out of this maze they call a hospital to the parking lot,which by the way is always on the opposite side of the building I just exited,I walked out,found my car and decided I should reward my self by stopping at Friendly's and having breakfast.
Funny Monday morning seems to be a popular time for this restaurant with most of its tables filled with hungry customers.
A nice older waitress came and seated me quickly bringing me my most anticipated cup of coffee.
As I awaited my stack of pancakes with pineapple topping,I watched this nice waitress who had seated me,rush around taking special care of each and every person at all these multiple tables,knowing just what everyone needed and answering each and every call,she was a pro like no other.
While finishing up my last bites of food I heard her talking to a customer near by,She said "we have to make the place look nice the big bosses are coming today."
Funny just that morning on my way to the hospital I was thinking about DPH and our yearly survey.
My how I hate those things,everyone running around trying to impress and make everything look right,and me always hoping to not be there for the med pass part.
So much pressure just to be deficiency free.
I finished my last few sips and she,being ever the professional,brought me my bill for $8.32.
When she handed me the small black folder, I caught a glimpse of her pretty,yet plain,silver cross around her neck and thought,how simple yet eye catching.
I began to dig through my wallet and came across a twenty dollar bill.Thinking I will do as I normally would,handing her the bill,awaiting for my change,then tipping her several dollars.
Feeling good and going about my day.
Suddenly a voice in my head said,leave the $20.00 bill there and walk out,why not give her a nice surprise and a lift to her day.
So with that I put the money in the black plastic folder,grabbed my coat and walked out the door,just imaging her delighted when she realized her tip was greater then the bill its self.A little happiness for what might have been a stress filled day.
It came to my mind,as I was driving to the grocery store,that Fr. Peter,my priest and spiritual advisor,had asked me what I had done that was different for Lent and at that time I could not think of anything to tell him.
But this is also part of Lent,it's not all about the fasting from food its the taking the time to do something different from your normal pattern.
I feel that sometimes God ask us to do things and that little voice we hear,like with the $20.00 is him saying "this is something different are you willing to do what you just got asked by me?,or are you going to second guess and just give the the normal,the minimal?"
Its my belief that we are a part of a bigger plan,that maybe the person on the receiving end is gaining more then we think we are giving.
It's Lent take the time to listen to that internal voice and do something different.
Answer the call.
Give to the food bank,be kind to another person.
Stop and take the time to be proud of your self,because when you do something nice for someone else you do something nice for you too.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Nazi,Racist Whats In A Word

Maybe it's just me,but it seems lately when some people disagree with what others are saying or doing the word "racist" or "Nazi" rolls off their tongues like water over a fall.
The problem with continually using these terms,out of context and for the shock value of shutting another person up,is it diminishes what these words mean and how terrible they are.
Most times when we are in a dispute with others if it gets to the point of name calling we have just stepped over the line of clear knowledgeable debate to personal attacks and are now out of control and in a desperate need to win.
Most younger people seem not to understand the real context of these words.
When I was growing up all of my Uncles served in World War 2.
I was taught by them what a "Nazi" was and why it was so important to defend not only our country from them but also the world at large.
During the rise of Hitler the national social organization was brought to the fore front and used out of context by not only Hitler but his deluded followers,who were not socialist but really fascist,which most of the German people at that time,did not understand.
When Hitler and his group rose to power they showed who they really were.
Anti religious,anti Jewish,anti any body who did not follow their theories and were the wrong sorts of people.
No Blond hair,no blue eyes,then no use for you.
They believed in the deaths of those who were not what they considered part of the perfect race.
They wanted to over throw the world and march into Jerusalem and kill all the Jews.
They murdered at will and destroyed every ones lives who they considered a threat to their ideals.
This is a Nazi....
As a teenager the nightly evening news brought to my knowledge what and who a "racist" was.
Black American people being beaten with billy clubs,hosed with fire hoses and attacked by Police Dogs all because they did not fit into the southern mans white world.
How hard they fought in the south to be equal.
At that time a "racist" was some one who chose to keep the African Americans down and unequal to everyone else.
The Klu Klux Klan were part of this racist world, they hung black men,Jews and catholics,burned crosses on lawns in an attempt to frighten people into keeping the south segregated.
this is how I view a "Nazi" and a "racist".
To use these terms in ways for personal attacks over trivial matters,shows how much we have lost prospective of what these words really mean.
Choose your words carefully and understand their power.
To water them down makes them less then how horrible their meaning really is.
And they do have a horrible meaning.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Support From This Country

Seems our president has decided we need to join with the U.N.and enforce a no fly zone in Libya.
I find it very disrespectful that our leader should enter into an agreement with the United Nations but not have enough respect to go to Congress and the Senate to get their endorsement on this action.
As a mother who sent not only her only son,but her only child,to Iraq for a year,I can tell you we should not be in such a hurry to send other parents children to what may be an unwinable,long term issue.
I am not anti war but I am anti sending soldiers into dangerous areas,which by the way houses people who hate us,to assist in a no fly zone not even condoned by our representatives,who by the way were never asked.
Every war we have ever entered into,we did so with the belief that they would last no longer then 90 days,no one planned on the multiple years they actually ended up taking.
Libya and all its surrounding nations are areas caught on fire and our presence is not going to help them remain struggle free unless we make a long term commitment,which everyone seems to think will not happen.
The last war we followed France into,lead us into 8 years in Vietnam.
The French where smart enough to know they could not win,unfortunately John Kennedy then Lyndon Johnson,did not also see the writing on the wall and we spent years in a futile war which we ended up walking away from because we had no exit plan.
Yes we should always assist other nations in humanitarian assistance because we are a nation of much and are required to help those with less but we should not be in a hurry to bomb and kill others so we can be the enforcer to the world.
Before President Obama got into office,every day we had an American body count of each soldier killed in Iraq,now while in Afghanistan we seem not to have this same running count.
Just because the media doesn't give us the daily numbers does not mean we do not lose soldiers on a daily basis.
Maybe we have forgotten or become numb to the idea that we are killing our young people everyday in foreign lands.
This country should never be put in the position of entering even into a no fly zone situation, with out the support of the people or their representative.
Thank God my son did his time and came home safe but we should not so lightly throw other peoples children into harms way with out,at the very least having a plan to win,and at the very most the support of the people of this country.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Getting To The Basics

When I was a child in grade school,one of the hardest subjects for me to learn was Math.
No matter how hard I tried,or what teacher I had,I just had the most difficult time figuring it out.
It all seemed such a waste of my time and energy,so in disgust I just tuned it out.
To this day I am not even sure how I passed into higher classes being my grades were so dismal.
When I got into college I needed to take a course in Calculus,in order to get my Associates Degree.At the time I could not even imagine how I was going to pass that course,since basic math had been 12 years of struggle.
But wanting a degree was more important to me then one single course.
So after several weeks of disgust,it became clear to me that if I wanted to,not only learn this course but pass it,I was going to have to do something radical,on my own,like start from chapter one and remain in that chapter until it all made sense to me,then move on to the next chapter.
The key here was get the basics down and the rest,I believed would follow.
To my great surprise,in less then a one week period I had not only gotten to the point where I was able to catch up with the class but also understood what I was doing.
I passed this class with an A average,which at the beginning of the semester seemed an impossibility.
Some time later,while at a party,a friend and I were talking about Math and I told him my story,to which he replied the reason,he felt,I had not done well in grammar school wasn't because I was a stupid child,it was because the teachers who knew Mathematics had higher degrees and in many cases probably found it difficult to start at step one,with novices,who had zero concept of what was being taught to them.
I have been a convert to the Orthodox Faith for about 6 years now.
In that time I have read multiple books by people like Alexander Schmemann and Bishop Kallistos Ware.
Very well educated,highly respected men in not only their day but also at present.
I must confess,that sometimes when reading these books,which are very spiritual and considered basic books,for their level,I can not help but feel I am back in grammar school Math class trying to figure out what exactly it is I'm reading and why I don't always get or retain the information,very well.
One of the issues with people who are well educated is they forget most people are not,at least not in religious matter or historical understandings of why the church does and says what it does.
What they consider basic is very high level to the non monastic or religiously uneducated world,we the common people.
Last night,after Presanctified Liturgy,I asked myself "What exactly are all these Psalms about and why am I listening to them? How does this pertain to me sitting in this pew?"
Well like most things in life God always seems to find an answer for me and I found it in the form of a DOXA Quarterly Review I had received several days prior, from an Orthodox Church in New Mexico,which explained the Odes of Ascent used in the beginning of most Presanctified Liturgies.
According to the Author,whose name I can not seem to find on the article,he says that during the time of the Apostles and Jesus,Pilgrims would make the trek to Jerusalem to worship in the Temple.They would joyfully,sing the 15 Odes of Ascent Psalms 119 to 133.As they made the climb up to the Temple Mount.
The Psalms told of ancient Israeli's past struggles,Jerusalem and the Temple,God's presence in the Temple and our prayers ,also the home,children and the families.
(The Psalm 132 dealt with the solemnly moving of the Ark from Kiriath-Jearim to Jerusalem.)
In other words these pilgrims made a joyous procession up the Mount singing about the Temple,their God,their Arc of the Covenant,their prayers and their families.
Believe it or not,these people who may have spent days,weeks or even months walking to Jerusalem,were happy to climb a mount,not a hill mind you but a mountain,to go to Temple to praise God....imagine that...
Not only were they happy they were joyous and singing..on their way to Service...My how times have changed.
This pamphlet gave me more information,in basic easy to understand language,then I have probably gotten from most formal books on the subject,which tend to talk more about the spiritual parts then the physical historical parts.
This is not a ditch to those who are educated in the religious ways,but sometimes I think if the real basic reasons of why something is done and how it ties into what Jesus,the Apostles and the pilgrims of that time period understood and practiced,Maybe people would feel less confused when getting ready to pick up more advanced studies by religious intellects.
To me,people who attend services should know what all these prayers and rituals mean.
Yes they are beautiful and spiritual,they have to be or I would not have converted over to such a wonderful faith.
Maybe we need to spend some time connecting the dots of the Old and New Testament and why it is important in our study of our faith.
Maybe we too could see what it feels like to joyfully attend Liturgy,like the Pilgrims did in the time of Jesus.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Take The Challenge Buy American Made

Here's a challenge for you.
From March 4Th through April 4Th,for the next 30 days, try to buy only American manufactured things.
When grocery shopping turn cans or packages over to see which are made in this country and buy the ones stamped USA or America.
This has nothing to do with pro union workers this has everything to do with pro American Workers.
If your like me,you probably spend an awful lot of time complaining about how much food and goods we import from other countries.
We say it bothers us that China holds so much of our debt.
We feel we are getting second and third class inferior quality products from these foreign countries,yet we continue to purchase in mass quantities,their items.
Five years ago,after my mother passed away from colon cancer,I decided to always try to buy meat and produce that was organic grown containing no antibiotics,growth hormones or pesticides.
It takes me much longer to shop and sometimes we go with out certain meats or produce because I can not always find organic,but I have decided my health comes before my wallet or my desires.
Now I feel with the bad quality of imported food stuff and goods,it is time to also start seriously thinking about the economy of this country and how we can advance our nations betterment.
If your one of those who is waiting for the government to right the ills of our economy,forget it,they are just to deep in debt with the Chinese.
Besides many people forget that China is a human rights violator,so why are we putting them first before our own nation and helping to increase our dependency,we do have our own farmers who,by the way, need to sell their goods.
OK lets say for one month we all try to buy one American item,a week, rather then a foreign good.That would equal 4 items a month and you would be helping to make a difference between some who may be on the verge of possibly getting their hours cut or being laid off.
Lets be honest here do we really need to buy Mandarin oranges from China when a can of Dole oranges,made in the USA,sits on the same shelf right next to it,for a few cents more?
Whats a few cents,we spend more on useless junk in a day,then a few cents.
Are you interested in making an investment into our economy and maybe help some one keep their job?
Then,like me, step forward and for the next 30 days try to buy American made when ever possible.
A worker in a factory,possibly your own neighbor,will thank you for the extra hours he or she may be able to pick up this month from your simple purchases.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Forgiveness Sunday

Has an Orthodox Christian I spent,like most people,a year of hating my fellow brothers and sisters,not always intentionally,but mostly with out much notice to my internal remarks and external attitudes toward all I come in contact with on a daily basis.
Today as we are about to begin Lent we observe what is called Forgiveness Sunday.
At this time we remember Adam and Eve being cast out of Edan for eating of the fruit of the tree of good and evil thus disobeying God law by doing what they were told not to.
I happen to really like this custom of Forgiveness Sunday for once we are put in the position of understanding that the things we say and do effect those around us and to ask them for forgiveness is a very humbling,if not difficult procedure,to say the least.
We are even required,on this day, to ask our priest for forgiveness and he to ask us in return,thus showing our humanity to each other.
Due to my work schedule this is but the second time I have been able to attend this very personal service.
The one thing I can tell you is that I and the other members of my church,may not at that exact moment of asking for forgiveness,be really feeling what we are asking for from each other,but I think the very fact that this external action is being taken,gives us a sense of now it is easier to forgive from the heart after hearing it said from the mouth.
There is just something about speaking our confessions out loud that gives us some form of conformation that what we say and are hearing is what we will soon be feeling and working towards when dealing with others.
Just like standing before the Icon of Jesus opens our eyes toward who we are confessing to,seeing another person face and looking in their eyes also reminds us that we are here for each other and they are flesh,blood and feeling just as we are.
To forgive or ask for forgiveness gives us a chance to release our pent up hostilites and displeasures that we live with everyday,allowing us to relieve the internal baggage we are carrying around with us 24/7.
Like atlas shouldering the weight of the word we shoulder the weight of our hatreds.
If we do not ask for or are able to forgive,we move farther away from God's love and live in a constant state of underlying guilt and anger with each other.
I have heard that it is so important to God that we make peace with each other that the Bible says if you have anything against your brother put down your offering to God and go make peace with him with whom you have wronged.
In other words don't try to worship God until you have settled your disputes with each other.
No matter how many things you give up to God in worship or sacrifice you are not yet complete in the eyes of God.
All the people that you encounter every day are God's children and he doesn't play favorites.
When you hurt or insult another person,hold grudges or talk badly you wound God.
Now God may be a big Deity he can defend himself but his children are another story.
Of the ten commandments the first three deal with you and your relationship with God while the last seven deal with your relationship with each other.
When we look at the face of another person we should see the Icon of Jesus in their eyes.
Every one has the breath of God in their being and to insult and hurt your brother is to wrong the Almighty himself.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Where Have All The Boys Gone

Today while watching the evening news the announcer pointed out a recent study that shows that fewer boys are attending college while the number of girls have vastly increased.
One must now ask where have all the boys gone from our higher educational systems?
When I was a child growing up,back in the 60's and 70's,most girls did not even consider going to college,we all wished to find that perfect man,get married and have children.
Going to college was something you did until you meet your Soul mate.
He on the other hand got the degrees then the good paying job,affording the whole family a comfortable life style.
If you has the wife decided to work outside the home,it was just to have some spending money or fill your time while the kids were in school.
I recently heard that today more women go to Medical School then men do.
Seems women have decided that having a job is just not good enough,now days you need a good paying professional career.
Well good for all those women who have the ability to not settle for working for low wages on poverty levels.
This study points out that when girls are young they are more able to speak and communicate at an earlier age then boys do.
Boys on the other hand have a more hyper lifestyle so things like sitting still and paying attention is just more difficult for them in a class room situation.
When I was a teenager girls were not encouraged in the math and science areas while boys had the upper hand in these subjects.
More teacher time was spent encouraging them to do well in these areas because it was assumed that someday they would marry,have a family and need to be able to support a wife and children on a professional persons pay scale.
Many young men at present only make it through high school then prefer to do more manual labor which unfortunately,in our present economy affords them little since many labor jobs are on the decline related to our decrease in housing and construction markets.
In our present economy more women are employed in the work world and many hold managerial positions,although they still do not earn as much money as men at a similar job.
I have a feeling that will change soon.
Our main problem at present seems to be how do we encourage boys to get back into the college world again and help them establish them selves back into the competitive world of education and professionalism?
Maybe the issue is some boys are being raised by strong,professional,single mothers and they see no reason to emulate her since they are boys,so taking second place and not trying to be more then what they feel is necessary seems to them the correct way,in their minds, for a man to act.

Living On The Financial Edge

This week gas prices have gone up,so what else is new?
Gas is now almost $4.00 a gallon and the barrel price of crude oil is $102.00.
How are you financially?
I know many people teetering on the edge,only a pay check away from financial ruin.
Every dollar earmarked for food,rent,gas,electricity and so on.
It has been many years since I have had my own lights turned off and telephone disconnected.
Working at a minimum paying job with a baby in the house.
Divorced,alone and on a very fixed income.
Many was the month that I had to once again ask my mother for money to buy food or gas,feeling like a failure and wondering how I would get by.
Hard times hit us to show us how strong we can truly be and how when we are given much then much is expected from us to assist those around us.
Do you know someone in need?
I'll bet you do but you just don't know how bad off they are because they have not confided in you.
One day while at work one of my nurses aides told me she had called her mother,the day before because her husbands' unemployment check hadn't come in yet and now they would be down to two choices food or rent.
Her mother helped out until the check was received and the loan paid back.
Last month while at the movies with a nurse friend of mine,she told me how in November,when she was unable to work due to illness,she spoke to her supervisor about working on Thanksgiving Day.When her supervisor asked why she wanted to work when she could have the holiday off she told her "we have no money to buy a Thanksgiving meal so I may has well work,then the kids wont know why we're not have a traditional dinner."
Her Supervisor went out that day and bought her an entire turkey meal.
I have known my friend for a long time and at no time did I know things were that bad.
Take the time to care for the people you know,or don't know.
Times are only going to get harder and as oil prices rise so will food prices,gas prices and maybe even more lay offs,farther down the line.
You have two choices be greedy and worry only about you or reach out and really understand that its tough out there.
What little you have may be great in the eyes of someone who has less then you.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Marriage Or Cohabitation

Several days ago I received an email from my cousin and her husband,who will be renewing their wedding vows in the up coming weeks.
First let me say I never thought I would know someone,my age,who would have been married for 35 years,not because of all the divorce rates but because I'm just not old enough,well at least not in my mind anyways,to know anyone married all those years.
I recently read an article that cites that fewer and fewer people are getting married each year.
It suggested that most people are marrying at an older age,in their late twenties and mid thirties and most older people,in their fifties and sixties are simply not marrying at all.
The article said that many woman today opt to graduate college and choose not to marry until they have become comfortable in the work world.
Many younger couples choose to live together in order to establish themselves financially and obtain property before jumping into marriage and having children.
Older couples,on the other hand, do not feel the need to be married since many are equally self sufficient with both jobs, personal finances and grown adult children from previous marriages.
Also Social Security financial payments are more in favor with being single then being married,so to legally wed would turn into a monetary negative situation.
We have begun to lose the reason why marriage is so important and have decided that cohabitation is a more reasonable choice.
In my own case my husband and I lived together for many years before we decided to marry.
Both of us felt that it was in our best interest not to be married.
We mutually understood that a piece of paper was not going to give us a better relationship and besides we both owned separate properties,only adding to the complications if a divorce were to crop up.
Five years ago we decided to marry feeling that the time had come to make this very personal commitment.
I remember,weeks after being married our priest asking me if I thought things were in anyway different,to which I answered no,only to find out that I was wrong.
Marriage with the right person is a real partnership with deeper significance.
We at present are more committed to each other and seem more settled and harmonious.
When your married walking out is still an option but you put more thought into how can we work this out rather then just leave.
The Bible says and the two shall become one.
How is this done?
Basically through compromise,give and take and most of all growth with each other in new ways.
You learn to live for the betterment of the partnership rather then just your self centeredness.
Many people think marriage is an old idea whose time is coming to an end.
How sad is that.
We live in a world were fewer and fewer people are choosing to be married and soon the idea of knowing someone married for 35,40,50 or even 60 years will be an oddity, just a story book tale.
No more "and they lived happily ever after"...If they did for how many years?...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Guilt/Who Is To Blame

Who is to blame for the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ?
Was it the Jewish council,temple members,the Roman soldiers,how about Pontius Pilate or the gentiles in the crowd?
What about you? What about me?
Are Good religious people of today or yester day to blame?
Where do we put the load of shame?
Everybody? Nobody?
Today the BBC published an article by Pope Benedict stating that the Jews are not to be blamed because the entire Jewish nation was not there at the time so how can you blame an entire religion for what happened to Jesus.
So does that mean then we are all to blame,since were all God children?
Maybe yes but probably no.
Why you may ask,not.
Because God is not in the business of guilt or blame,he is in the business of love.
God sent his son to us to be the new Adam,to follow all the rules,that the old Adam did not and to show us how its done so we in turn could emulate him.
Guilt is not God's way it is mans way and the devils way,but not God's.
We are told that what is brought to God,in true repentance,is cast behind him.
He doesn't put it on his left or right side,because he does not want to have it constantly near us to be reminded of all the things we have done wrong thus making us relive our guilt over and over,just to taunt us.
God cast it away,out of sight behind him,He knows we are not perfect and we are going to make mistakes,he made us who we are and he knows our real nature,better then even we do.
You do not grow in life,or in grace,if you are afraid to make mistakes then spend the rest of you life reliving the shame.
In my mind to be held in constant guilt is to live in hell,not in heaven,so how can this be God like.
Jesus lived in a time where men of great prominence,be they religious or not,felt they were more important then whom they claimed to rule and believe in,much like today.
They forgot what the true meaning of loving God was all about and spent more time loving themselves and judging their brothers.
Jesus told the Pharisees that they put great loads on men's shoulders and when they stubble or fall they do not lend one finger to help them.
Sometimes people,be they clergy or not,forget the beauty of their garments do not reflect the same quality of beauty in their hearts,just has the crown on Pilate head did not reflect true justice.
Jesus talked of white washed head stones with dead mens decaying bones inside.
In the end we can all be counted to blame for the death of Jesus,but He was not sent here to burden us in shame,guilt or humiliations.He was put here to liberate us and teach us exactly how much His Father loved us,so much so that He would send his only beloved son into hell in order to bring us into heaven.
Shameful and undeserving as we may be.
Now that does not sound like a God who takes pleasure in our guilt's and failings.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Walk The Walk

I have found that the closer I get to God the more people I begin to see in need.
How can this be? you may ask.
God has promised us that when we begin to love him and our fellow men we begin to notice things about them,our heart is made soft.
Suddenly we look into peoples faces and are caught up by their sadness,their weariness and their frustrations.
We no longer just look at people we now see them for who they are,just like us,but down and maybe a little bit out.
The more you do for others,total strangers,the more driven you become.
Suddenly God opens our eyes and hearts like a flood gate and we are almost overwhelmed by the number of people in need.
Today I listened to something very interesting.
This preacher was talking about carrying a bag or wallet especially to help others.
In it she talked about having gift cards for food,restaurants,clothes and so forth,to be given to those you notice in need.
She called it being a spy for God.
Not being asked for needs but being able to help those who are sad,tired and just fed up.
You may ask what can I do I have little?
It really takes very little and your reward will be great.
Don't be afraid to give some one a cup of coffee,your time,your patience,your understanding.
Do you know a mother with children,maybe she's alone or her spouse is out of work,how about a gift card to McDonald's? or the movies?
Say "you look tired,you look like you need a good smile here take this and you and your family have some fun,because God loves you and so do I."
As Christians you are called to help those in need.
You are a valuable person and you are God hands.
So instead of complaining about how bad the government is,the job situation,the cost of food, fuel and gas realize that some live on the edge of nothing and do something nice.
It doesn't have to be anything expensive,it could just be your time has a babysitter to a mom whose working two jobs and just needs to have some alone time.
Yes it may seem odd to you at first but you can do it now step up to the plate and make it happen.