Welcome to the Future

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Back to the Future, that is.

Today is the day that Marty McFly (portrayed by Michael J. Fox) travels thirty years ahead to change his son’s future. For better or for worse, after today it will all be in the past.

Check out some predictions made in the movie, some have been created before today, and some we’re still waiting for.

Hoverboards anyone?

While you’re at it, check out Christopher Lloyd (who played Dr. Emmett Brown) and Michael J. Fox in this new video from Toyota.

And Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, and Lea Thompson on the Today Show this morning.

This movie trilogy is a good reminder to us all that what we dream about can come true as long as we stick to it, and have faith in ourselves.

And I’m all for anything that has fandom on the tips of mainstream tongues.

The Living Rosary

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On Tuesday night, my church held a Living Rosary. There is music with our organ and the choir. There is a candlelit procession of all the beads on the rosary. There are prayers, and the benediction of the adoration that’s been in the church all day. It is a wonderful, faith filled, and beautiful tribute to Our Mother, Mary.
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There is so much beauty in candles being carried into a dark church. The organ playing, the choir and congregation singing. And then the rosary being spoken as I pray on my own beads.

The Glorious Mysteries were read and prayed on:

1. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
2. The Ascension of Jesus to Heaven
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit
4. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven
5. The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth

There is so much to admire about Mary. Her acceptance of G-d’s will, her bravery and determination to walk on a path that was so foreign to her and to the times in Ancient Israel. Often people look at her as a background figure. The Bible is filled with Jesus’s deeds and Words, but not so much of Mary’s. That’s fine, but we forget that his public ministry began when he was thirty. Prior to that, he was just a boy; a little Jewish boy growing up and doing the things a boy at that time and in that place would do.

He’d have friends. He’d play with them. He’d learn carpentry from Joseph, his father. He’d learn to worship and pray. He must have had chores. Did he make his bed or tend the sheep? How often did Mary have to remind him to wash his hands or shake the dust from his sandals. Did he have to prepare the table for eating or did he help with cooking. Or lighting the fire?

In the so many ways that He was different from us, he was also the same.

After the candlelit rosary, Father J talked about Mary. He began by mentioning Pope Francis’ devotion to Mary and how it began in Germany when he was a student. I began to smile. I couldn’t help it because I knew this story. This is my favorite devotion to Mary. Pope Francis grew attached to a stained glass and a painting in his church. Before I knew of his devotion, I had already formed my own to Mary, Untier (or Undoer) of Knots. I carry that particular prayer card in my purse daily, which I showed the father after the service.
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Mary, Untier of Knots speaks to me on so many levels. I do especially think of her when in the very tangible job of untangling my daughter’s necklaces, but also in the broader spirit of fixing things.

Everything can be fixed if we try at it long enough. We can pray on it; we can think on it; we can ponder and ask questions and sleep on it. We all have knots in our lives. How will we pay that bill? My son is sick, what can I do? I had a fight with my spouse or my child; or my parent.

The knots of our everyday need untying, and Mary can help us with that through her intercession.

Anything that can be done, can be undone.

There is nothing that can’t be forgiven.

A Barrel of Joy

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I had a ten minute conversation on where I wanted to eat lunch, most of that with myself.   I finally decided on Cracker Barrel. Good food, reasonable prices, good atmosphere for writing. I have my rituals for pretty much every place I go. Cracker Barrel is a glance around the store and a trip to the bathroom before I get settled in my seat with whatever I’ve brought to do. Today it was my kindle and keyboard.

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Retreat, Day 2: Anointing Mass

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My church has a twice yearly Anointing Mass for anointing the sick. It is also called a Healing Mass. Everyone is welcome whether for a physical or a mental ailment. Many of the neighboring nursing homes and assisted living centers bring in their residents for this special mass. This was my third one. I go for both my depression and my knee pain.

Obviously this is for people of the Catholic faith, but belief or not I still think it is a wonderful experience of community and sharing our joy which halves our pain*. Seating is every other pew so the priests can move through to anoint and offer the Eucharist.

There is music and singing; there are prayers and scripture reading. It’s a Mass so it includes the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

The Mass is followed by lunch. I usually attend alone, so it’s always a surprise who I will be sitting with. So many people go to so much trouble, cooking, setting everything up, decorating. There are prayer cards and a favor to take home. One of the volunteers makes them. They are so thoughtful and creative; it makes me want to go home and create something.

In yesterday’s writing, I mentioned having an object to help with meditation and contemplation. Today we were given a small medal with a cutout of a cross. I have been given this week’s object, I see.

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I encourage you to look up today’s readings. They are always a link from the past history to our daily lives. One of the things I enjoy about going to Mass so often (usually four times a week) is that despite the words being thousands of years old, they still speak to me. I relate to them on a regular, almost daily, basis.

First Reading: Lamentations 3:17-23

Second Reading: James 5:13-16

Gospel: Mark 7:31-37

My prayer

card:

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Julian of Norwich is one of my favorite mystics. Her work is said to be the first one written in English by a woman (1395).

One of my favorite of her quotations struck me when I first heard it. Ironically, when I am in a pessimistic mood, I will still often say that everything will work out; it will be okay.
Her words:

“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well”

is so close to my own sentiment that I did a double take the first time I heard it, which was appropriately at my first healing mass.

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[Borrowed and paraphrased with permission from Dumbledore’s Army and the Year of Darkness.]

Retreat Week, Day 1

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My family went away this morning and have promised to return before The Walking Dead’s second episode of the season. This is probably the first fall television season that we’re watching so many shows as a family. Our oldest son usually skips out, but he did spend six weeks with us watching the premiere season of Fear the Walking Dead. Considering that he doesn’t watch the main show anymore,  this was quite an achievement.

Well, it’s retreat week again. It’s funny how it always seems to fall during this week in October. I really don’t plan it that way. I make some kind of a preliminary plan of activities, and when I look at the calendar, it’s this week again. It seems to have moved from psychologically necessary for my mental health to traditional week that is necessary for my mental health. Regardless of the changes in my reasoning behind the retreat, it is still important to me, and a necessity to keep me going until the next retreat.

My retreats vary from writing to spiritual to creative to a combination of all of those things.

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My Fandom History, Abridged Version

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In high school I wrote fan fiction (although we didn’t call it that then) for The White Shadow.; Mary Sue self-insert. I wrote RPG spy fiction. Again Mary Sue self-insert, but with a little more character development. I wrote band fic; less Mary Sue, more career exploration. I was a photojournalist for the opening act, and I guess except for the band, I kind of try to do that now with my blog. It reminds me of the inspiration and the you can do anything feeling that I forgot about in my thirties.

I like to think I’ve gotten better, both as a writer and a creator of original content. Those three examples are not something I usually share. It’s in the embarrassing box of teen angst, and hiding my fan side in the closet. It’s okay with certain people, but not others, and that’s how we give off the aloof, quiet, introvert vibe. Some of us are those things, but as a whole, fans are exuberant and fun and loud; very loud.

My first fandom was Star Trek. I was in every aspect of fandom. I watched every episode multiple times, I knew every episode by heart, I learned Klingon, I went to conventions. I bought the books and set my clock by Starlog’s publication date. Star Trek led me into every other science-fiction/fantasy from space to dragons to magic to time travel. There were watching parties, and special menus for mystery dinner nights. I could recognize later generation actors out of their makeup by their voices or body language. I’ve stood hours in line for autographs, but in those early days, we didn’t pay for them.

As a TV junkie, I’ve followed many actors on their careers. Shaun Cassidy for one; William Shatner and George Takei for others. I’ve gone in and out of fandoms, although most of them continue to have a place in my heart. I was recently reminded of H.R. Pufnstuf, one of my favorite shows and Land of the Lost by the same team of Sid & Marty Kroft.

I belonged to the SCA, which in and of itself is its own fandom; the fandom of medieval history. I’d claim to be a history buff and a political junkie, but those are just different words for fan and for the fandoms.

Fandom now is far more extensive and out in the open than I ever imagined it would be. There are mainstream stores in the malls dedicated to them: Hot Topic, and you can find licensed merchandise from Minecraft to Lego to DC and Marvel Comics franchises in Wal-Mart and Target. You can’t get more mainstream than that.

When my daughter was three, I found a beautiful, mostly historic rendition of a velvet scarlet Spanish Renaissance gown with a matching velvet tiara for Halloween. That was in Target, and it was less than $20. It would have cost three times that or more for me to make it for her. The only princess costume I could ever wear as a child growing up were those plastic ones of Sleeping Beauty. My face still gets hot when I even think about it.

We’re not embarrassed to say our pop culture loves, and there is no wrong way to be in fandom. Many of us wax and wane on our involvement, and which fandom gets the most attention at one time.

Harry Potter was the book series that brought me into today’s fandom. It was loaned from a friend who thought I might like it. I did. With Harry Potter came movies – in fact, Prisoner of Azkaban was the first movie I ever attended alone. In addition to the movies, I discovered a whole new world on Live Journal of fan fiction, and from there found other fans, and groups, and sub-fandoms, and meta – the analysis of the details. No longer would the minutia of details be relegated to small groups meeting in basements and youth centers once a week or month. Now, the minutia is everywhere. There are headcanons and alternate universes (AUs). There are wikis for individual television shows, movies, and comic book characters. There are kinks and squicks, which aren’t always sexual in nature, but preferential, and their are triggers and spoiler etiquette.

I hear my non-fandom friends expressing fandom sentiments like canon and ships. Many of my closest friends are originally from fandom. What we’ve discovered in fandom is that in addition to our mutual love of fandom, we also have families and jobs and our mundane life doesn’t need to be so mundane as our friendships broaden and include people from across the country and around the world who we never would have met if not for our intersecting fandoms. In turn, we share our views and our values, we accept and learn.

I would say that the fandom I am most involved in is Supernatural. I’m sure most people would have guessed The Walking Dead, and while I do consider myself in that fandom, I don’t get to meet and know the people who are also in it except for Norman ReedusFacebook and Instagram.
With Supernatural, there is tumblr, conventions (even though I don’t attend), watching parties, meta, fan fiction, discussions, speculation, compassion and kindness. Every day I witness those last two in the fandom. It was there already, but is even more pronounced with Misha Collins’ charity, Random Acts and gishwhes, his annual scavenger hunt.

Supernatural showed me a literal whole new world, and was instrumental in my recovery from depression. I love the shows, I love the plots and the characters and the fan family, but I also keep Supernatural on as my background noise. I know many of the episodes so it doesn’t interfere with my writing or my living for the most part, but the voices give me the soft comfort, the hand on my shoulder, the short, quick hug when I need it. We all must have something like that in our lives, and for me, Supernatural is it.

Fandom is here to stay, and I for one, am glad of it. It is so much of my life that I forget when I’m talking to a non-fandom person that they don’t know the details; that the casual viewer doesn’t recognize the reference back three seasons, or the foreshadowing.

Fandom is a life unto itself, and a life unto others. It is supportive and comfort in a loud, sometimes angry world. It can be hope and faith, some of the things that most of my fandoms ascribe to be; a better world in the future, a future of exploration and creating; of ideals and compassion, and so many of the things we embrace and try to emulate in our own lives.

Birthday Cheesecake

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My son’s birthday was yesterday. He is my only child that gets a homemade birthday cake. One year he wanted pumpkin brownies for school, which weren’t too bad, but one year he asked for a cheesecake for his birthday cake.

Now, every year I offer and he accepts, and it’s his favorite. This was the first year with chocolate chips.

Yum.