Saturday, November 26, 2011

Buy A Gift ..Help An Organization

With all the things to buy this Holiday Season,one of the best things you can do is see how many items you can purchase from places like Church Christmas Fairs or other organisations in need.
Last year this was one of the things I tried to do with most of my gift buying and am hoping to follow through this year.
There are so many small organisations and family businesses that we need to stretch our dollars as far as possible and help those who can really benefit from our spending.
One of my gifts this year is calenders made at our nursing home,some of our patents took art classes and their pictures were photographed and turned into calendars.
All the proceeds go to their activities fund and helps them get items they are in need of.
Things like this become a win,win situation and at $12.00 a piece I have several relatives who would appreciate a lovely,well made calender to hang in their homes.
So this year see how many creative things you can buy with your dollars and spread the wealth...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

Wal Marts in Putnam Conn. opened its doors on Thursday evening at 10 pm so all those people in a hurry to get,what they felt were bargains,bought all night long.
There is just something not so right about this whole Black Friday scenario,a time when we can not even let the settling of our Holiday suppers be done before we rush out and trample each other for that so called "perfect " Christmas gift.
Christmas has become a time of shared greed.
Black Friday plays on this greed by allowing perfectly sane people to become pushy and rude all for the sake of material items which will be forgotten about in several years.
Most people will justify this by saying its a gift for a loved one,but really its our own need to be liked and loved by each other,at least for a fleeting amount of time.
When Jesus was born he received three gifts and very unchild like ones at that.
Frankincense,mur and gold,none of which he could play with but all of which had special meaning in his entire life.
We forget the real reason for Christmas and that is the birth of Christ.
Many people will spend Christmas day in a frenzy trying to open gifts and eat food and will probably never even step one foot in a church nor take a minute to wish Jesus a happy birthday and thank God for his allowing his son to come down into our world,to be treated badly and killed,in order to save us.
Now There is nothing wrong with enjoying the season or buying gifts,the problem comes when that is what we feel is the most important part of this festive season.
Multiple people hate the Holidays and all it entails because they have lost sight of what it's really all about,if more people spent time helping those in need,instead of those in material want,we would be able to understand the true joys of Christmas.
In the up coming month of December people will speak daily about how they have to rush out and buy this and that for family members and friends, because their lives would not be complete without these material items,and we never want to disappoint any one even when we have to almost go into bankruptcy to gain their love and respect.
But how good is love when it must always be bought and months later spent in repayment.
Jesus tells us to store our treasures in heaven not in earthly things that will rust,rot and become moth eaten.
A large amount of things sitting in junk yards,at one time where precious and special in some ones eyes,but like all things in life they tend to lose there luster, so what is important is not the items we buy but the people we love,not the material possessions we buy and give but the heart felt words, hugs and kiss we give out.

Real Thanksgiving

What did you do on Thanksgiving this year?
I worked and though that may sound sad it really is not.
I have done this line of work for over 20 years and have found being with the lonely is one of the best ways one can spend,a Thanksgiving day.
This year I was invited,three times,by one of my patent's,to come to the main dining room and join he and his wife for this special meal,knowing I probably would not be able to,due to my busy work schedule,I promised to do my best.
My afternoon worked out well and by 1 pm,when I went to the main dining room to get my meal,both he and his wife were still sitting at the table eating their deserts,so I was able to spend 20 minutes sitting,eating and talking to them.
When we where done I thanked them for their invitation and they told me how glad they were that I had been able to join them.
A simple act of sitting at a table,a few minutes out of my day,helped to make a difference and a blessing for all of us.
This time of year many people give of their time and money on this special day doing good for others.
Here in Thompson groups of people get together to do the annual Turkey Dip.Getting up early on this cold Holiday morning,they go to Quadick Lake and literally jump in the water,raising money for the m.s. society.
Some parts of this country people run races to raise money for cancer societies,some feed the poor and needy at community meals,some give away winter coats and some walk the streets to spend time with the homeless handing out food and blankets.
Thanksgiving is a day when we should be grateful for not just our own families but our extended brothers and sisters of the world.
Take the time to spend an hour or so making another person happy,giving of your self to those around around you.
If nothing else go to a lonely or elderly neighbors home and bring coffee and cake and be a friend for an hour,listen to the same stories they tell you a hundred times and act as if its the newest most important story you have ever heard in your life.
Jesus says we should invite to our homes and parties those who can not give back to us like the poor and the lame,then we will understand what the real measure of giving is about.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

25 Days To Read The New Testament

Advent is upon us and the birth of Christ is not far off.

This year our priest Fr.Peter has set up a challenge to read the entire New Testament in 25 or 40 days,depending on how much time period one chooses to devote daily.
I have decided to try,no wait,to do the 25 day readings because I'm either an over achiever or a nut case,either way the past 7 days have been filled with great determination,ambivalence and satisfaction.
With 7 to 8 chapters to read a night,this can become one internal roller coaster.
The first two chapter are always started with great enthusiasm and by chapter 4 and 5I'm starting to try to talk my self out of reading any farther,the last three chapters I'm counting the pages and before I give up in disappear its chapter 7 or 8 and I'm not only done but proud of the fact that I completed my task.
Reading has always been a love of mine and reading the Bible always a relaxed situation,but this sort of reading not only does not give you time to reflect but with a deadline in mind to finish can bring out a whole realm of feelings like why am I doing this,I could just quit and do better tomorrow and how will this help me when I'm not fully paying attention?
Fr.Peter tells me that if a group of people take on this challenge good things can come the groups way.
If nothing else good words fill my brain and lets face it,its better then reading or listening to garbage on T.V.
We shall see how this will all work out in the end,maybe our Church will benefit and be blessed and maybe someones life will be enlightened and that is a good thing.
So off I go to read my next 8 chapters and try not to talk my self out of it,any ways this will be a good Christmas gift to myself,once I finish the last page of Revelations.

Friday, November 18, 2011

When Necessary Use Words

Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words...St.Francis of Assisi

Much of my spiritual life is spent trying to find ways to help those around me.
Last night was our Church annual Thanksgiving Turkey Community Meal.
This year to our delight we had about 100 people in attendance and many of those who came graced us with their home made deserts.
This is always a welcomed sight because when you do good it,like a ripple in a pond, stirs up the waters surface and extends to the outward shores.
Many times when things like this become successful it's hard for those who started the process to step back and take a chance on something else.
It is said that when ever you try to do something new for the first time you get those around you who first agree with you,then second try to talk you out of it and when you prove it can be done,every one wants to jump on board and do it in their own Churches.
Today while at work I was talking to a fellow nurse about how I firmly believe the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi,especially his saying of teaching the Gospel always and when necessary using words.
We spoke about how Jesus never drew as many people to the synagogue as he did to the mountain tops,that most people can not make their way into a Church but can accept fellowship from an informal setting with food and parables.
Seems enjoyment makes for excitement.
No sooner had we finished talking when one of the house keepers came to me and said "you are correct and you keep teaching those words".
It pretty much shocked me that others heard our conversation and felt the words spoken were truth.
We are always worried about how many people,number wise, attend church but forget that those that attend fellowship opportunities,like breaking bread are just as important,if not more so.
Jesus talked about the sick needing a physician not the healthy and in my own life I find it much more comfortable to talk about Religion in simple ways with simple words.
I have never felt closer to God then I do when I feel closest to another human being with words and deeds.
In the Orthodox Faith we like to use lots of flowery words and long prayers,but in the end its all about those we speak to and touch with our daily words and actions.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

10,000 Steps

A journey of 10,000 miles begins with one step...Lao Tzu

Several weeks ago we attended a wedding in Florida for our nephew.
The last day we were there we decided to do some sight seeing with my husband cousin from Indiana.
Has we began to walk she pulled out her pedometer and said "lets see how many miles we do today."
After a morning and afternoon of fun we ended up walking 7 miles.
Last week while at Wal Marts I came across the very same type of pedometer and decided to buy one for my self,since I'm always wondering how far I walk,especially when at work..
This is a very easy little device to use and not only does it calculate miles walked but also steps taken.
I once read somewhere that in order to be healthy you should aim for 1o,ooo steps a day.
The first full day I used It was while at work ,to my surprise in less the three hours I had already walked over 3,000 steps,my total for that day ended up being 13,000 steps in a nine hour period.
The following day was 13,600,no wonder my legs ache after 3 day of working straight.
Friday was my day off and I decided to try for 10,000 steps,even though I had gone to a very large grocery store and did what I thought was a great deal of walking,by 4pm I had only taken 3,000 steps.
So outside I went at 5pm with flash light and dog in hand to attempt to complete my appointed steps.
Down the road and into the near by fenced in Little League field I went to walk around at least 5 times,then home again at which point I checked my meter to find 9,000 steps had been completed.
Saturday fared even less,a walk around town only totaled 7,000 steps,I can see this is going to be harder then I planned.
With all this in mind it is very obvious that my days off require much more physical activity,if I can only get my legs to co-operate.
Oh well tomorrow is back to work day so I'm sure to meet my goal with out even trying..
They say the first step is always the hardest but in my case the first 3,000 steps are a breeze its the next 7,000 that are a killer.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Off The Grid

Believe it or not,I actually know people who choose to live with no electricity provided for by a corporate company,people call this "being off the grid."
Though it may sound very grandiose,the sad truth is most of us do not have the luxury of this choice since we tend to work full time jobs and can not afford the amount of time,labor or money it cost to live by sources like solar or wind.
My nephew and his wife for several years did indeed live this lifestyle,since they where both young retired engineers,it was a challenge they felt they could meet.
So they ended up with a house smaller then 9oo sq. feet and a cellar filled with batteries,to store the sun energy from their solar panels which accumulated through out the day.
Now living up in Vermont can be a challenge,what with short days and cold nights,but between their wood stove and batteries they did very well,except for the part where you could not even leave a night light on while sleeping for fear there would be no power left in the batteries by morning.
I like doing with out most things but unfortunately lack of power at my finger tips is not one of them.
Some might think it quite comfy to live like the colonialist did except when you realize most of them did not live long,due to harsh lifestyle and all lived by their modern day technologies.
Trust me if they had heat at their finger tips they would not have choosen to haul wood and stoke a fire place to try and keep warm.
Modern technologies are not all bad things,especially when you live in the country and work at a job where you need to commute.
I'm all for green but even that can make you a fanatic.
During Orthodox Lent we give up all sorts of foods,things like dairy,meat,fish,egg,olive oil,wine and on it goes,basically we try to live a Vegan Diet.
Now we do this for restraint purposes but when it gets to the point where you are thinking more about the food ingredients and less about the spiritual parts then you've lost the reason for why your doing this.
Not everyone can be that good just as not everyone can be that green.
Twice,at our house this year we lost our electricity,first when Irene struck and last weekend storm.
Irene left us with one week of no power and this past storm we went without for three days.
Its always kind of fun the first day,quiet and challenging,but I can tell you by day seven with a generator and camping stoves,it sure turns into hard work rather quickly,like fasting,you begin to calculate everything in your mind before hand.
I personally like having convinces at my finger tips.
Hot water and heat all seem like a blessing to me and why not?
The best situation now seems to be embrace one green thing in our daily life and do it,lets face it most of us are not meant to be off the grid be it mentally or
physically, and personally I can not work 40 plus hours a week and haul wood or remember not to run a night light when I go to bed.
After spending one week with no electricity I learned its no fun having to heat water on a stove at 6 am to simply wash my face and brush my teeth.
Maybe some day,in my retirement years,I can devote my life to green living on a full time basis and enjoy it to boot,until then I will make do with modern technologies and convinces,trying to remain conscious of how I can daily make small changes to my consumption areas.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Last week my husband and I went to Florida for his nephew wedding.While there we decided to go visit my niece and her mother,my ex-sister in law from my former marriage,whom I call friend.
Patty and I have known each other since before my niece and son were born,over 31 years ago.
She is the strongest most christian living person I have ever had the pleasure to know and is an inspiration for me in times of trials.
She was born one of 5 children who came from an abusive family,her father was a cheating alcoholic who had a temper and and showed no restraint in using it against his children.
Her mother was an nurse who worked the night shift.
My friend turned her back on traditional religion,when while growing up her cheating father would force the children to attend Sunday service while he carried on affairs,very openly in front of his wife and children.
Now the thing with Patty is she is the most giving,loving person you will ever meet and although for the past 34 years she has been battling ms,she is never one to complain to much or not see the bright side of life,even when her husband left her and her daughter for another woman,one of her best friends.
When her daughter decided to go to school in Tampa,my friend moved out there to be with her,giving all the financial and physical support she could muster,though the money was tight the love never was.
With our nephew wedding came the opportunity to visit my good friend.
Vic and I spent the day in Clear water at her nursing home,see Patty is now in a Geri chair,with breathing issues and paralysis on the right side of her body.
Though limited in movement,this 56 year old is still the dearest most Jesus like person I have ever met.
We spent most of our three hour visit reminiscing about our times together and her daughters future as a tax consultant at Price Water Company.
Although her voice was not strong and her ability to speak difficult,I would consider this the best part of my Florida trip.
This is a person whom against all her adversities kept repeating how good God had been to her and how lucky she was to have the love and devotion of her beautiful daughter.
There is little to say about my own life that can compare with Patty love or how fortunate and blessed I am to have her in not only my life but my memories.
How can one person be so good and kind and yet sit in a Geri chair unable to move most of her physical body.
But this is a person whom God has given the ability for flight in the spiritual world,touching not only my life,my heart and my soul but also all those around her in her day to day life.
Although I have heard about saintly people,this in my mind,is what a real saint is like.Having the ability to not only take on the terribleness of life burdens but to decide that being happy is more important then any material thing,including ones limiting body.
Her soul is like that of a great eagle and some day when it is freed from her cumbersome body she will fly across the skies,over the mountains and into the loving arms of God her Father.
And I can in gratitude,know that I have met a gift from God in my every day life and hopefully have appreciated her wit and wisdom enough to carry it through to all those around me in my own ever day life.