Saturday, April 30, 2016

Tattitude

Dear Readers,

The book I have been working on for the past 4 years is published and can be purchased here:

https://www.createspace.com/6139502



There is also a Facebook page to house pictures of the tattoos discussed in the book.
Tattoos are posted as received from the interviewees.

https://www.facebook.com/Tattitudestories/

Please post your tattoos and stories to build community.


+ Christ's peace and love to all!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Perceived differences

We are human beings.
We come into the world through birth.
We leave the world through death.
Our body or what I like to call our packaging is the same, fingers, toes, eyes, ears…...
We come in two flavors, female and  male. And our gay community enlightens us to the fact our flavor can be different despite how it presents.

We feel joy, sadness, excitement, pain, frustration, peace and more.
Our emotions are shared as we find in the field of emotional intelligence.
Even our experiences are similar.

So what is different between one human and another?

Fingerprints.
Fingerprints are unique like snowflakes.

Look at what snowflakes accomplish together!
They make it possible to ski, snowboard, create sculptors, or a cool sled ramp my siblings and I made when we were kids. They give us our drinking water after they melt.

And snowflakes can be dangerous when they come together to create slippery conditions on sidewalks and road ways. Or if there are too many of them gathering in one place all at the same time they can cause roofs to collapse.

Human beings do the same thing when we come together.

We have the ability to create positive helpful and fun things or dangerous destructive things.

I think it is our perception of our differences that get in the way of staying on the positive side of the equation.

Our unique fingerprint is our chance to leave a positive loving helpful mark on our world.
It gives us the unique opportunity to join with our human tribe in collaboration for the common good.

What is the common good?
I think it starts with everyone having food, safe and warm/cool shelter, clothing, education, health care, infant and elderly care, support for those who need it.

We have not accomplished this for too many of our human tribe.
Oh, how I want to change this fact. I just haven't figured out a way yet.
I have some ideas rattling in my head and I use this blog as a way to work through the rattling.

I know 'we the people' can create the common good for our human tribe by creating a grassroots movement. Just like the snowflakes, we can ignore our uniqueness to gather for the common good.














Saturday, February 13, 2016

Lenten Reflection/Calendar 2016

Beginning today, each of us is invited to write down ONE thing per day, that holds us back or makes us feel "less than" or causes us to "sin" or keeps us from realizing our full potential or keeps us from the love of God or that keeps us from recognizing and sharing God in our lives - some of the "ashes" of your life. 

Keep a running list, perhaps write it down after each Lenten activity provided below.

What do you need to recognize in yourself, about yourself, that perhaps you need to rise from? Or, what/who are the "small g" gods (not God) in your life that take up too much of  your time and effort and energy?

These are the things that keep us from being all that God created us to be.
These are the things that we hope to rise from when Easter comes.

As we discussed, we will "burn" each of our sheets of paper/lists before Easter/during Holy Week. We will symbolically rise from our personal ashes.

Every day of Lent, pray the following verse:
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13
As you pray this verse, know that you pray it in unison with every other person who is also observing this Lenten calendar. We are united in our prayer.


Feb. 10            Ash Wednesday
                        “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
                        Action: Fast today


Feb. 11            “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.”  Proverbs 3:27
                        Action: Make some donation to a charity – listen to your heart to know what to do


Feb. 12            “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
                        Action: Pray all day for someone who has hurt you


Feb. 13            “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he/she is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
                        Action: Clean out a drawer of your choice




Feb. 14            “Six days work shall be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath day of solemn rest.” Leviticus 23:3
Action: Do NO work today


Feb. 15            “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for God, not for men.”
                        Action: Do a favor for someone


Feb. 16            “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
                        Action: All day long, take notice of ALL that you are thankful for. LIVE gratefulness today, and make sure to thank everyone for what they do for you


Feb. 17            “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men/women.” Luke 2:14
                        Action: Pray for peace in the world. Fast from something you love today, and offer it for someone in the world who lives in great turmoil and fear


Feb. 18            “Our Father.” Matthew 6:9
                        Action: Recognize what’s in YOU that resembles God, your Parent


Feb. 19            “For man/woman does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4
                        Action: Fast from one meal today; pray for those who are hungry


Feb. 20            “Pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
                        Action: Pray for someone in the bible group, or church group, or friend


Feb. 21            “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
                        Action: Walk with God today for at least 30 minutes, whether in prayer, meditation or at a church service


Feb. 22            “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Matthew 3:2
                        Action: Pray. Think. Consider. Be honest, and confess something deep within your heart/soul to God



Feb. 23            “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Matthew 8:26
                        Action: Do something that challenges you


Feb. 24            “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105
Action: Open the bible to a section of your choice. Spend 10 minutes reading God’s word – just a verse - What does it say to you?

                                   
Feb. 25            “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
                        Action: If you are able, visit a loved one’s grave site


Feb. 26            “Therefore, even now, says the Lord, ‘Turn to me with all your heart, and with fasting.’” Joel 2:12
                        Action: Refrain from your favorite beverage today


Feb. 27            “For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.”
                        2 Timothy 1:7
                        Action: Clean out a cabinet


Feb. 28            “Praise God! Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens!” Psalm 150:1
                        Action: Praise God and give God thanks today at a church service (sanctuary) or outside enjoying nature (His heavens)


Feb. 29            “For God so loved the world, that He have His only Son.” John 3:16
                        Action: Give something to someone whom you love (whether a word, a call, a card, a gift, etc)


March 1          “Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.” John 21:15
                        Action: Donate money, food or clothing to the needy


March 2          “No one can serve two masters…You cannot serve both God and Money.” Luke 16:13
                        Action: Examine your conscience/life: Whom do you serve, God or money?



March 3          “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Luke 18:16
                        Action: Do something for a child today


March 4          “Jesus sent them out to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Luke 9: 2
                        Action: Reach out to someone who is sick, whether by a card, a call, an email, or a visit


March 5          “I wanted to see what was worthwhile for people to do under heaven during the few days of their lives.” Ecclesiastes 2:3
                        Action: Meditation – What do you think is the most “worthwhile” thing that you do in your life? Pray that God gives you “your work” to do in this life


March 6          “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” Exodus 20:8
                        Action: Do something to make this day holy


March 7          “I saw the tears of the oppressed, and they have no comforter.” Eccl 4:1
                        Action: Refrain from entertainment social media (internet, Facebook, YouTube, etc). Pray for the oppressed in this world – pray for their comfort

                                               
March 8          “O fear the Lord, you His saints, for to those who know Him there is no want.”
                        Psalm 34:9
                        Action: Meditate on The Beatitudes, Matthew 5: 3-12


March 9          “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.” Hebrews 12: 1-2
                        Action: Look for an opportunity to do an act of kindness for someone, whether you know the person, or not


March 10        “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Pslam 51:10
                        Action: Clean your house, or some part of it, in preparation for Easter


March 11        “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2
                        Action: Play your favorite music and spend some time releasing anxiety and renewing your mind


March 12        “When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.” Matthew 6:16
                        Action: Refrain from eating one meal today


March 13        “Jesus asked, ‘Who do you say that I am?’” Matthew 16:15
                        Action: No television today. Instead, spend time in prayer, at church or elsewhere, and answer that question of who YOU say Jesus is


March 14        “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his deed.” Proverbs 19:17
                        Action: Make a donation to the poor


March 15        “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed…nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17: 20-21
                        Action: Start something or do something that you have always wanted to do, but fear stopped you – make a first step


March 16        “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us.” 1 John 1:9
                        Action: Make a confession of your sins – use prayer of your choice


March 17        “Do not accuse a man for no reason – when he has done you no harm.” Proverbs 3:30
                        Action: Reach out to someone whom you have wronged, whether literally or in prayer, and ask for forgiveness


March 18        “Do not set your heart on what you eat or drink; do not worry about it.” Luke 12: 29
                        Action: Fast from your favorite beverage today


March 19        “When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord commanded him.” Matthew 1: 24
                        Action: Today is the Feast of St. Joseph - Pray for people who are unemployed



March 20        “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Luke 19:38
                        Action: Attend a Palm Sunday service


March 21        “He was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Isaiah 53:3
                        Action: Reach out to console someone whom you know is sorrowful, sad, lonely or grieving


March 22        “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way. And the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6
                        Action: No music, radio, etc.  today. Spend time in quiet solitude


March 23        “God is love.” 1 John 4:8
                        Action: Live the love of God today in every way you can



March 24        “This is My body which is given for you; do this in memory of Me.” Luke 22:19
                        Action: Attend a service tonight to commemorate Jesus’ Last Supper, our Eucharistic meal or read Luke 22: 7 – 38


March 25        “And with His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
                        Action: Fast today.  Visit a church or meditate on the cross, and wonder…


March 26        “At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid…they laid Jesus there.” John 19: 41-42
                        Action: Be quiet for at least 30 minutes today, and listen to the silence


March 27        Easter Sunday!
                        “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here…He has risen!”
                        Luke 24:5-6


“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I taught you.
And lo, I am with you always, even until the end of time.” Jesus

Matthew 28: 19-20


Permission granted to publish by Rev.Karen Rezach

Monday, February 8, 2016

Moral compass


Religion of Islam
      1.   Join not anything in worship with God (Shirk)
      2.   Be good and dutiful to parents
      3.   Kill not your children because of poverty
      4.   Come not near to "shameful" sins whether committed openly or secretly
      5.   Kill not anyone whom God has forbidden
      
6.   Come not near to the orphan’s property, except to improve it, until he (or she) attains the age of full strength.
7.   Give full measure and full weight with justice
8.   Whenever you speak, say the truth even if a near relative is concerned
9.   Fulfill the Covenant of God
10.  And, indeed, this is My Straight Path, so follow it, and do not follow other paths, for they will separate you away from His Path.  This He has ordained for you that you may become pious."

Buddhism has 5 precepts that speak about causing no harm to self, other humans and all living things.

I think the cause no harm precept summarizes all of the commandments listed above.

I can work on these commandments/precepts in my life and it can seem easy when I am comfortably at home writing a blog post. 

What happens when I read email or social media sites, go to work or the supermarket and what about interactions with my family? 

What attitude am I wearing? 

Is it one that will help me to continue to work on the commandments/precepts? Or do I fall into the "default mode" of doing what comes naturally, making sure I get what I want when I want it?

I operate in default mode more than I like to admit. It takes a great deal of self awareness to try to follow the commandments/precepts.

Here is a short example;
My husband received a gift of lottery tickets and some of them were winners. I went to the supermarket to cash them in and possibly buy more, greed always gets a hold of me when I have winning lottery tickets. 

I waited on line for my turn. I noticed another person approached the other side of the counter several minutes after I had arrived and was being helped by the same person I was waiting to help me. I wanted to say, "hey, wait a minute, I was here first!" I kept my mouth shut and repeated the word patience in my head with a bit of contempt for the person being helped. I totally blew the cause no harm precept in the short time this was taking place. I ended the "session" with a heartfelt thank you. I continued on my journey with hyper care. Basically avoiding any other encounters that may stir my dark side.

I did better in the next stop to the Italian restaurant because there was nothing to cause a conflict within me. I'll call this the grace and mercy of God.

Right now as I am sitting in the living room writing this blog while someone is in the kitchen is playing music. I had mentioned to this person yesterday that I like to start my morning with silence. This is where we differ. He likes noise at certain times and I prefer silence.

He put the music on very low. I thought, "ok he is being considerate and I can meet him there in the halfway point." I continued writing and he turned off the music to read the paper. Ah, silence again.

I was aware of what I was doing and how I was feeling. I made a conscious effort to just be comfortable with the music playing.

It is hard work to abide the commandments/precepts. It is work I am willing to take on because I see the benefits in my inner being and in my relationships. 

There are much larger issues that I want to be a part of the solution, like homelessness, human trafficking, the nutrition value of our food and how we, the human race/tribe can live side by side without causing harm, joining everyone's efforts to help on these an other issues so that we create solutions to end them.

These topics seem overwhelming and I freeze. I think it is just too big for one person. 

Yet if I know the overall moral compass of these commandment/precepts, become aware of when its application is needed and act with them in mind change occurs. And maybe the change that is occurring within me spreads to those I know, those within my circle of influence, and it builds from there.

I think of the old Faberge shampoo TV commercial where one person tells another and they tell two friends and so on and so on until the whole TV screen was full of people who knew of and was using this great shampoo.        

Do you think we can start that here? 

Will you share this blog post with two friends and so on and so on?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Luke 9:28-43 Faithless


Jesus answered, "You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and bear with you? 

Generally, Jesus is thought of as a kind, gentle loving person.


Though, He sounds pretty tough in this passage and others.


Jesus mission is to encourage, empower, enlighten us toward faith in God, an intelligent being that created everything in peace and harmony.


Generally, as human beings, we are far off from the mark.


Jesus would be saying the same to us today, "You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and bear with you? 


I wonder if he would say even more to us because we are the generations after His crucifixion, death and resurrection. The generation after He showed the way to be, to live and to act.


Maybe he would say something like this, "I went through all that pain and suffering for you and you still don't get it!? YOU have to change YOUR ways of thought and action toward YOURSELVES and EACH OTHER! What will it take for you to get it? I gave you a new way to be, to live and to act. Take a step in this new way each moment of each day."


Jesus came to change us and we are here to change ourselves and help each other.


The scripture passage from Luke talks about a man who came to Jesus seeking healing for his son. Jesus responded as noted above because He knew that the man had the power within to heal his son through faith.


The same is true for each of us. We have the power within to heal ourselves, our family and friends through faith.  


The first step is faith. 

Believing that we can. 

Believing that we are from the intelligent being that created everything in peace and harmony. 

The next step is acting. 

Acting with the confidence that we can. 


Acting with the confidence that the creating power living within us will create the changes for our world to become the world God intended us to enjoy in peace and harmony.

It starts with one step….


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Do not be afraid

John 6:16-27
The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid."

+++++++

Fear is a powerful emotion because it can weaken the strong, turn the active into the inactive, cause harm and confusion, create a sense of helplessness and so much more. If we let it.

If we let it is the key to the handling of fear. I have read that fear is an acronym for false evidence appearing real. The disciples in that boat saw Jesus walking on water. The evidence was clear. Yet they were terrified.

Their thoughts about Jesus walking on water created their fear.
The false evidence is how we allow our mind to interpret what we are experiencing to the point that that becomes our reality.

I had an experience of debilitating fear when I was diagnosed with cancer. I was so consumed with fear it was hard to breath at times. And I knew I had to get my fear under control or it could lead to further illness or maybe, by making wrong choices within my fear, my death.

There was no false evidence about my cancer. It was very real. My doctors and I plotted a course for treatment and a positive outcome.

My fear came from the thoughts I had about the treatment if it didn’t work. And what if cancer came back or who will take care of and support my family?

My thoughts caused the false evidence. My thoughts are projections of what I think I know. Not of what will actually happen because there is no way I know that. Only Jesus does and if I trust Jesus then my fear is unwarranted.
Jesus works all things for the good of those who love him, Romans 8:29.


Changing my thoughts to trust in Jesus’s provision replace my fear with hope and mystery in the unfolding plan.

Next month I celebrate my 5 year cancer diagnosis anniversary. This is a great milestone in fighting cancer. I am grateful to remain in the mystery of the unfolding plan. Thank you Jesus for your love and mercy.