Confession, Penance, and Individual Mandate

Standard

​As a writer, I tend to overshare. 

If I talk about some good deed I’ve done or random act of kindness or whatever, I’m never trying to get a congrats or a pat on the back. I like to show people how easy it is to be kind, to be patient, to simply be nice. I’m not better at it; I just try to be aware of the opportunities when they arise, and in sharing them, I think it shows everyone how the smallest things can affect people.

The same goes for my spiritual postings. If I can feel this, so can you; if you want to. And I do truly believe that we all learn from each other; from each other’s mistakes and from our smallest of victories.

By that same token, I never know if I’m supposed to write about and share the penances I’m given. There is nothing better than that moment my priest says, you are absolved. Second to that is the satisfaction of having completed a penance, whether difficult or easy, rote or inspired. Although honestly, none of them are easy or rote.

In my growing up and seeing confessions on television, I’ve always thought of them as your deepest, darkest secrets that are supposed to be kept hidden away, never to be talked about again.

What I’ve found in practice is much different.

Continue reading

Travel – Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania

Standard

Groundhog’s Day is my husband’s favorite holiday. He despises Valentine’s Day – too commercial, but he loves Phil.

A college friend had grandparents who lived there, so she grew up with Punxsutawney Phil, the myth, the groundhog.

Except that it’s winter in western Pennsylvania, I think we would try to take a vacation there for February 2nd. Maybe one day.

For information on how to get there and what to do, here are some useful links:

The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club
Visit PA on Groundhog’s Day
When I was a teacher many years ago, I tried to find unusual books to read to the kids that wasn’t your typical Winnie-the-Pooh or ABCs. Those books have their places in classroom and they’re fun for the teachers as much as for the kids, but sometimes it’s good to introduce them to children’s literature and expand their horizons.

You may remember Crocket Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon. He also wrote a wonderful, simple book for Groundhog’s Day. It is my favorite:

Will Spring Be Early or Will Spring Be Late?​
We should know by now. Let me know in the comments.

5-52 – February

Standard

Pin provided by Penzeys Spices. (c)2017

February comes in cold and goes out colder.

It is the shortest month, and yet feels like the longest. Why is that?

There’s snow and more snow, sometimes a little bit each day. There’s also the thaw that lulls us into the deception that spring is coming. Spring is not coming! Not yet.

I’m finally used to using my calendar, my day planner without thinking twice about grabbing it.
Black history, Groundhog’s Day, Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, Presidents’ Day.

There’s winter recess, Father-Daughter dances, crawling under cozy blankets with Netflix, marathoning those DVDs gotten for Christmas.

Hot tea, hot cocoa.

Chocolate chips and marshmallows.

Cookies and warm milk.

Stews, soups, and crock pots.

Book News

Standard

​This update was supposed to appear at the end of last week. Unfortunately, chaos happened. Taking down the tree, planning my daughter’s sleepover birthday party, avoiding politics and failing all contributed to not completing my writing the way I wanted it to.

I did manage in the days before the chaos to get some introductions and background info on both House and Wales. They are by no means complete, and they’re barely first drafts, but they are something and I plan on continuing little by little. These updates not only get the job done, it gets it started and it gives me something to post on those biweekly Fridays.

Stay on track and Accountability.

Continue reading

Election Reflection – Executive Orders

Standard

Wow. Where do I begin?

Actually, I should begin with what’s got everyone up in an uproar at the airports.

Immigration.

Refugees.

Five Year Old Terrorists.

And seventy-five year old grandmothers who’ve had a green card since 1997.

One of the worst things I’ve noticed about this Administration isn’t the blatant racism, the showy signings of Executive Orders without regard to real people, it’s the lack of discussion and basic knowledge of how things get done. Legally.

I don’t even mean discussion with me or the rest of the American people, although that would be nice. I’m talking about discussion with the appropriate departments who oversee these issues. The President comes and goes. There’s a reason that the civil servants who serve all Administrations are called Lifers. They’re not appointees. They’re not political hacks. They’re experts in their field.

And the President and his people ignored them to make headlines; to give us a false sense of security while making our lives and our world more dangerous.

I have no words for Steve Bannon. He’s said himself that he wants chaos. He wants to see the world burn. And now, with him on the NSC, we’re halfway there. He has no place there, not to mention no place in the White House.

I can’t think of anyone in this Administration who President Trump listens to who is a professional. Not one.

They’re all defensive.

They’re all dismissive of the American people, especially those of us in the actual majority.

Representative Ryan is spineless. As is Senator Rubio. Senator McConnell wrote the playbook on obstruction. He won’t like that we were taking notes. Moderate Republicans need to stand up and speak out.

We’re relying on Senators McCain and Graham to take care of the Russians and the refugees. They need allies.

Name calling has no place in the White House.

And a religous test goes against the tenets of our society and our Constitution.

No Muslim ban.

Block the actual terrrorists.

Ways You Can Help:

You can find resources on my page, We the People.

Follow the ACLU on Facebook.

Follow the Women’s March on Facebook.

They both have actionable recommendations that everyone can do regardless of their levels of involvement. Most importantly, speak out. Don’t get complacent. Rise up.

4-52 – Carrie Fisher

Standard

Protest poster from the Women’s March on Washington. 1/21/17. Unknown to credit at this time.

I have long admired Carrie Fisher from the moment she appeared as a repeated hologram with Luke’s connection to her becoming mine. The long white robe, the cinnamon bun hair, the lower register of her voice and the slight rasp. She was a Princess but she wasn’t like any of the princesses we’d encountered before. She was the daughter of a Senator; her identity seemingly connected and overshadowed by her father and the other men in her life until we really met her.

She was the leader of the Resistance. She didn’t let her hair get in her way, and she wore it how she liked it. Her clothes and style never defined her. And neither could we.

That was true for her real life counterpart.

For me, Carrie Fisher, like Jamie Lee Curtis, Melanie Griffith, and later on Rashida Jones, was a bridge from oldtime Hollywood to a new generation of strong women from strong women. My mother watched Debbie Reynolds and Vivian Leigh; We both watched Tippi Hedron, and I watched Peggy Lipton and then their daughters.

Just when you thought Carrie was a one hit wonder, diving head first into drugs and promiscuity, she would come out with something else; something funny, something remarkable, something for all of us.

When I discovered that she was a writer, I jumped for joy inside my head. As a wannabe writer, I loved finding other writers, especially those that had done something else before. It can be done at any age, and Carrie was the epitome of doing it at any age. It also showed  me that it was attainable. Yes, she had some connections and people wanted to hear her stories that were somewhat autobiographical, watching her do it made it attainable for me too.

That is so important to a budding anything; to have that one person who you can look to and say, hey, that’s kind of me, I can do this. I got this.

I looked forward to the new Star Wars so I could see what Leia was up to more than thirty years later, but I also looked forward to how Carrie was doing. She was unstereotypical, unabashed, and unfazed. One of the more recent things I read from her on Twitter was a response to a comment from some troll who thought she hadn’t aged well. She said:

“Please stop debating about whetherOR not I aged well.unfortunately it hurts all3 of my feelings.My BODY hasnt aged as well as I have.”

and

“Youth and beauty are not accomplishments, they’re the temporary happy biproducts of time and/or DNA. Don’t hold your breath for either.(sic)”

I needed those statements in a point in my life that they came and I was reminded of how much I loved and admired Carrie.

A few more of her gems:

Instant gratification takes too long.

Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

I was street smart, but unfortunately the street was Rodeo Drive.

There is no point at which you can say, “Well, I’m successful now. I might as well take a nap.”

I really love the Internet. They say chat-rooms are the trailer park of the internet. but I find it amazing.

I don’t think Christmas is necessarily about things. It’s about being good to one another, it’s about the Christian ethic, it’s about kindness.

I don’t want my life to imitate art, I want my life to be art.

I am a spy in the house of me. I report back from the front lines of the battle that is me. I am somewhat nonplused by the event that is my life.

I did the traditional thing with falling in love with words, reading books and underlining lines I liked and words I didn’t know. It was something I always did.

I don’t want to be thought of as a survivor because you have to continue getting involved in difficult situations to show off that particular gift, and I’m not interested in doing that anymore.

I’m fine, but I’m bipolar. I’m on seven medications, and I take medication three times a day. This constantly puts me in touch with the illness I have. I’m never quite allowed to be free of that for a day. It’s like being a diabetic.

Writing is a very calming thing for me.

Me, too, Carrie.

Thank you, and rest in peace. ❤

Tao of Carrie Fisher