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18th September 2007

5:55pm: Moving
For personal reasons as of this date my journal will be moved.
Current Mood: confused

9th September 2007

12:16am: Prayer and Worship
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September 8, 2007

Prayer. What is prayer? Is prayer merely a whole bunch of Our father's or Hail Mary's? Is it begging God for things or improved health or bringing a family member back to the faith? (I hear that last one a lot but that's a topic for another time.)

What is worship? In ancient times it meant bowing down and trembling before God. No one can look upon the face of God without dying the Bible tells us. Is that the way we view things today?

What is the difference between awe, worship and respect? Do we look upon our heros with awe or worship or respect? I suspect many do, especially sports stars or rock stars.

Do we look at God the same way or is it different? For me, in looking at fandom be it sports, rock stars or other well known people like movie or tv stars it would appear that these stars are worshiped more than God.

This brings up a good point. How do we worship God? How do we worship something we cannot see, feel or hear (notwithstanding those who claim that they can hear him)? Is it impossible or is it that we need to redefine what worship is today? When we see a sports hero do something great he or she is given the high five sign. Can you imagine giving God a high five? Why not? Is God so scary that we cannot conceive of such an act?

Awe, respect and worship can go hand in hand if we allow it to. Would we be terrified of an alien species if they came down to Earth? In the Star Trek movie "First Contact" Zeff Chocrane met the Vulcans half plastered. But how would we react, scared terrified or would we look at them with awe and respect; after all traveling between the stars is a daunting proposition to say the least.

We hear it said all the time that God cannot be understood by the human mind, that we cannot conceivably begin to even grasp the tiniest part of God. But does that make God Scary, with a capital s? But should we react with fear and trembling? Digging into the Trek files again we hear at least one species talk about the primitive fear threat reaction upon coming across a power we don't understand. Plenty of science fiction movies show that as well as we try to "defend" ourselves from the invaders as in "Independence Day".

Primitive says it quite well. I hope that I have an open mind enough to look at God without a "fear threat" reaction. True, coming face to face with God would scare the shit out of me and I suppose that I would die of a heart attack, stroke or other cause if I came across him/her. I would hope that God was big enough to know this and tone it down until we got to know each other.

That is what my prayer life is - looking in awe at all that God has created and trying to get closer to this deity so that I won't be scared to meet him/her. I hope that in some small way I succeed.
Current Mood: content

6th September 2007

8:45pm: The Awsomeness of God
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September 6, 2007

This is a spiritual journal, not a diary. However, if I am honest I cannot exclude day to day happenings from my spiritual experiences. Sometimes the day to day experiences that I have seem to have no relationship to the spiritual journey, however, that is because I haven't looked at them deep enough or that I am too lazy (or too tired or both) to recognize the spiritual gems within.

This past weekend was the Labor day weekend with the Muscular Dystrophy telethon on Sunday/Monday. The telethon starts on Sunday night at 9 pm. I watched the beginning of the telethon among channel hopping. Jerry Lewis said something that is so true. It is not the diseases that kill us but the common cold. Our bodies weaken so badly that the common cold turns in to pneumonia and it is the pneumonia that kills us.

I was scheduled for an on air interview on Monday morning on the telethon. I really didn't want to do it as I feel I sound like I'm mumbling when I speak. Watching tapes of me being interviewed last year I felt this. Also I feel that because the doctors do not know what I have I should wait until they do. But it is for a good cause and I said yes. Lovie was all excited and I was a combination of slightly nervous and p. o. ‘ed because it sounded to me like a summons rather than a request. Also being in the morning and me having to get up at 7 am I wasn't happy about it. I told Lovie to be careful about my appearance because this was "live" tv and all kinds of things could happen. Well sure enough things went bananas right from the start. First of all we were told we were to wait in the "green" room. Well surprise of surprises we never went to a green room but waited outside where all the doughnuts were. I was scheduled to appear at 10:40 but the national break didn't happen until 11 am. When I was to go in they handed me a check to present. The lady from MDA told the emcee that I was to be interviewed after the presentation. No interview as they cut to the next camera and I was hustled off. When our Star Trek group went on to answer phones they threw us in with some Shaws people so we were actually lost in the shuffle.

Afterward one of the club members mentioned that those watching at home didn't know anything was amiss and the telethon went on. So true. So my ego got bruised after I pissed and moaned to Lovie about going on. I should grow up.

While I was in the studio answering phones Lovie and B were eating with the others out in the eating area. One kid probably between 8 and 15 who was in a wheelchair and probably had MD, went around complaining and whining making everyone around him miserable. I realize these diseases are bad and ruin your life, I also realize it is tough on children. Yet it is sad to see us take out our frustrations on others, especially in public.

I continue to ponder things and think about spirituality, especially my own and what I believe. I have been reading some space books lately including one on cosmology and one on finding new planets. As I mentioned in my August 27th entry the scientist in me can get up in all of this and question my beliefs. Yet my experiences of God do not fit in the purely scientific models. Yet like I mentioned, while I believe the church's position, sometimes their presentation leaves much to be desired. Like I said then "As a Christian I can rely too heavily on pat answers..." My catholic faith has a deep and wonderful spiritual history and pat answers do not help me.

I am reading the book "Francis and Bonaventure" by Paul Rout. In the section I am reading now Rout mentions how Bonaventure was influenced by Pseudo-Dinoysius. Rout's description of Pseudo-Dinoysius' thought gives the following. "God is goodness",

"However, since God is essentially beyond description, it is not possible to identify God with our notions of goodness and mercy.",

"...rather it is an insistence that God is not to be equated with any human understanding of goodness. God is far greater than anything that we can conceive."

I really can get a feeling for that line, "God is far greater than anything that we can conceive." Yet how often today do we see Christians, even my beloved Catholic Church, try to stuff God in a box. Typically the box is the Bible.

Oh how often I hear that everything we need to know about God is in the Bible. But if God is far greater than anything that we can conceive, how can it all be in the Bible? I suppose it is all contained in the phrase "all we need to know". But what does that mean? Is it true-all we need to know? Did God really ask the ancient Israelites to kill all the people of certain villages? We know that ancient Israel knew that in order to preserve their religion that they had to keep it pure from out side influences so are such directives from God or their own leaders?

If God is love and far greater than anything we can conceive how can he direct us to kill an entire village? In the Bible we also read that God spared people, an entire village (see Jonas) because they repented. Did the traveling Israelites give these small villages a chance to repent? How much of "man" made it into the Bible, how many editors who changed things to read the way they wanted it, and how many translators just changed certain passages in the Bible?

We should teach the wonders of the Bible as revealed in finding of God and not allow a culture of the past to speak for a God who is far greater than anything we can conceive.

If God is love how can we speak of him exacting revenge on people who don't know or even understand? We can't and we should not put words in God's mouth. Yet we hear this time and time again from the pulpit.

As Christians we believe that God "inspired" these people to write the Bible. However, God did not write the Bible for them. He allowed the authors to use their own intellects, times and culture in the process. The culture that the Bible arose from, tended to be a culture of revenge, an eye for an eye. So it is easy to see how some of these concepts became part of the Bible even though God's revelation was one of love and compassion. It took until the time of Jesus to make the concept stick even though the Old Testament repeatedly told us of God's love.

How sad I am to see that people do not seem to really believe...God is far greater than anything that we can conceive...and that...God is love... They still stick God in a box and tell us that if we do not believe then we will be condemned to hell. As I write this I am listening to a gospel song that I like, yet it still contains those hints of condemnation.

That is why I like the Franciscans. They speak of love. The talk of not being in the grace of God, is more a sadness than a condemnation. It means more about how sad it is that we do not reach our potential in and with God. It is a plea to open our eyes, for me to open my eyes, and place yourself in the love of God.

The pat answers of those who say they know all that God has revealed bothers me. The church with its rich spiritual history has people who do the same thing. Why can we not concentrate on God's love and not pat answers that supposedly tell us everything about God constricting our access to him? Or at least scaring us so that we are afraid to get to close to him. Let me not fear God.

Well, I see I've meandered. I guess I'm trying to fumble around with the concept of the awesomeness of God without the fear of him. The love that Francis found without the constrictions of outdated images and ways to present things. I really dislike it when others try to beat you over the head with narrow mined points of view and restrictive images. When it is done out of sincerity because the person believes this way that is that is understandable, unlike narrow minded know it all's who try to cram their own beliefs or interpretations down your throat in the guise of teachings or beliefs of the church (when it really isn't).
Current Mood: contemplative

27th August 2007

11:04pm: More reflections
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August 27, 2007

I see it has been a while since I wrote in this journal. Oh well, that is what I get for being active in the process of life.

Reflection continues to be a big part in my life. Who and what is God? From a Christian point of view the answer is easy. Looking in the Bible can give plenty of answers. However I am a scientist as well, abet an amateur one, and such answers are not as easy when one studies the nature of the universe. As a Christian I can rely too heavily on pat answers, on allowing the church to tell me what to believe. As a scientist I can question too readily. There is no proof there is a God, but easily as well there is no proof than any of the new theories about the universe are accurate in any way.

Where do I go? I certainly cannot rely on the church or modern science to answer these basic questions. What can I rely on?

The first thing is knowing that the belief in God is a faith thing. So the question is: have I ever had an experience of God, was it good or bad, and what can I get out of it?

The answer is easy. Yes I have an experience of God. It is not like those of others and while it was powerful, it was not like that of, say Saint Francis, but it was enough to get my attention. Of the many experiences two stand out. One of them was with a faith healer. When she touched me I was slain in the spirit, as they say. What a powerful experience. Another one was when I got married. When we exchanged rings I got a charge of power that I can only describe as God's spirit touching me. It was great.

All my experiences of God, be it powerful or gentle, have been good. Thus seeing God as the punishing vengeful God is not in my experience. Mine reflects the Franciscan spirit of love and Joy.

Lovie and I were discussing one of the reflection in our Living Faith book. It was about Christ dying on the cross. The author of the meditation tells us Jesus told us to expect suffering. When we read it we disagreed and we could not remember Jesus saying that. I did remember where Jesus said it, however, I think I disagree with the author. Too many times authors and well meaning priest, bishops, popes and theologians twist the scriptures to make a point. I guess we all do that but it distresses me as spirituality is difficult enough with out being terrorized.

How much did Christ know? We talked about this as well. Was he just an enlightened man or God who knew all? A further question: If Jesus is the son of God, and God as well, did he really know what was GOING to happen or was he aware of what could have happened? I'm glad I'm not a theologian I'll let them tackle those subjects. Perhaps they already have, especially when all those ancient councils were held. It certainly is not a question that bothers me as I have enough of a time dealing with what I have to deal with.

One of the subjects we touched on today was the times and places in which the Bible was written. The culture at the time was one of revenge is sweet and it is reflected in the scriptures, especially the Old Testament. I guess that is what made Jesus and John the Baptist so different. They didn't advocate that attitude. They knew what to do to mend old wounds.

Sadly many today cannot separate our times with the times that the Bible was written in. They seem to think that we can take many of the O.T. themes and apply them today without taking cultural considerations into account. It just can't be done without messing things up.

Finding the spiritual path is difficult enough without taking inappropriate attitudes and cultural beliefs into account. Those who do so do spirituality a disservice. I hope I do not do that.
Current Mood: contemplative

11th July 2007

6:49pm: When things don't turn out the way you hoped
July 11, 2007

The spiritual journey is difficult. All too often we think the spiritual journey deals with only spiritual stuff. But it doesn't. It is difficult when daily life gives you a blow. When you have a difficult situation and you pray about it you hope that you can deal with any answer you receive from the good Lord.

It is hard to watch others struggle and not learn from advice. I do not say that I don't fall into that category, I do. But usually I come to my senses sometime and am able to look at the advice or learn from a situation. It is hard to watch others who won't follow good advice even when they know they should.

Becoming a Secular Franciscan took a long Journey for me. About 15 years, yet it was worth it. I am still on the journey and who knows where it will lead. At times the journey became exasperating and it seemed like it would take forever. But I learned and adjusted to things that I found made me cringe. In the end the items I fought with really were not that bad it was just my attitude.

Several people tried to make the journey with me and Lovie. Slowly, one by one they all dropped out to pursue other avenues of spiritual growth. All but three of us Lovie, X and I.

Lovie and I struggled but it did not make the journey less enjoyable or fulfilling. Yet for X, the struggle appeared more difficult. Rules and regulations bothered him. It felt like he just wanted to sign on the dotted line, pay some dues and that would be it.

However there is more. X Has some serious problems both in health and in mind. He needs to go to a doctor and see a psychiatrist. He knows this but does not want to go to them. Doctors have prodded and poked him too much, he says and he does not want that. (I know what he means but if it is for your health.... so he should go. I hate it but I go as I need to take care of myself as much as I can.) He refuses to seek professional help for his mental health needs claiming that they cannot help him. Sadly he will not allow them to help him and I do not believe he will help himself. Which is the first step in the process. He told us his history and I know that the past plays a great deal in his current problems. Abuse is difficult to get over and he has had a lot of abuse in his life. He has to deal with that before he can move on.

So he came to us with all that baggage and tried to become a Secular Franciscan. He had an immediate conflict with the formation director. He has problems with women, especially women in authority. While I'm no psychiatrist I believe that he is transferring problems that he has with his mother to all females. While we tried to encourage him to follow us on our journey, he found the rules and processes we had to follow unacceptable. He disappeared for months at a time. When we moved from one stage to the candidacy stage he just plain disappeared for almost a year.

He dropped out so much he had to start all over again which didn't make him too happy.

We, Lovie and I, have struggled with him for quite a number of months trying to get him to catch up. Sadly he had discontinued his phone because he cannot afford it, so it is difficult to get in touch with him. So he continued to fall behind.

He came to us on Saturday to have a talk and not a lesson. Some of his talk was very good and appeared to be the proper direction that a formation should go. Yet in other parts of his visit he was out of touch with reality. Very out of touch. I do believe that he is seeking a vocation like the priesthood where he can run away from his problems. Somehow he transmits that attitude without saying it.

We received a call today from the formation director. She told us not to give him any more lessons and that the council will deal with him from now on. Even she knows that he needs to seek professional psychiatric help.

While I agree with her conclusion and I welcome that it is not my duty to tell him he cannot continue, it hurts. He is so confused and will blame me, Lovie, the formation director anyone but himself. He will feel that he is rejected again and he will run away again. He will not talk to us and will lose another friend. Sad, sad, sad. So I ask the Lord to be with him.
Current Mood: sad

1st July 2007

1:50pm: Writing and writer's clubs.
I have to chuckle. I am part of the group that hangs out with Goldenmane and Tikimother. I have to laugh about the events of this past weekend. After our Timmy's incident we were ready for Borders the next day. When we arrived at Borders they had torn their cafe apart and it was under construction to be reopened sometime during next week. So no TGIO.

I have to laugh at the whole thing. GM talks about having write ins and writing meetings for 5-8 hours and that places don't want us for that long. Well come over to our house and there will be no problems. Writers welcomed. Nanoers or Script Frenzy fans and writing clubs. Bring your own eats and we'll supply the coffee if we can get the cofee maker away from AJ. Big big Grin. Besides I can sleep late. :)

25th June 2007

9:44pm: Portcon 2007
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This past weekend we all traveled down to Portland to participate in this years PortCon 2007. I am not into anime believing that it is cartoons. I have heard an explanation of the differences but I still stand by my beliefs. However after attending this convention I am willing to use the term animation for both genre. I feel anime is almost elitist. It seems that followers of this genre believe that only the Japanese can do anime. If one is talking about a form that originated in Japan I would buy it, however...... The style might be Japanese but the form (animation) has been around forever, ever since someone discovered the art of putting images together on separate pages in corners of books and flipping the pages to make the characters move. Steamboat Willy (the early Mickey Mouse) was one of the early styles of animation. Anime as we view from Japan started much later. I remember Astroboy. But that was in the 60's. So Japanese animation is relatively new, so to speak. Their style might be different, but not so different as to make me think it is entirely different from the form we call cartoons.

I did note that today's American cartoons are geared for children. That means there are certain themes that are no, no. So the story lines are all the same. The shows are simple. Japanese anime does tackle some more complex themes. Even adult themes.

But surprisingly enough, I actually enjoyed it. I attended four panels. The first one was on making costumes, the second was on the Japanese language,
The third was on starting an anime club, the forth was on writing, drawing and Manga.

The panel on making a costumes was very good. I learned some and had a good time. I got some ideas for our Star Trek club. The panel on how to start and run an anime club was good as well. Again it gave me some ideas for our Star Trek club. The discussion on the Japanese language may or may not have been good. However, I had to duck out because the air conditioner was turned to full bore and I froze so I had to leave. It was a little disappointing. The panel on writing characters and drawing was the most disappointing because the panelist had the intelligence of a tree stump. Although it was made up of a group from a comic book company in Maine, they were all very young. The entire panel spent the entire time horsing around making crude jokes and laughing. The panel contained about 10 members and one member of the panel called another member of the panel on his cell phone. (The member was on the other side of the table.) This was as a joke. Not to me. I walked out of the discussion. I should have reported them.

I went to the entire cosplay (costume play) and had a good time. Some of the skits were very good. Others were so-so. Some of the costumes were fantastic. The details and workmanship was excellent and I enjoyed it.

I did happen to notice that several of the younger girls (especially one 11 year old (?)) were dressed very inappropriately for their age. If I were a parent they would not go to a con dressed like that. I am not a prude and I believe that the United States culture has a sex paranoia and has a repressive society as far as sex is concerned. However, we have what we have and young girls dressed that way at a major public event is not appropriate.

We also went to the dance. Because this is anime and because it is Japanese the kids like to listen to music from the series, the games based on these series and the music called J pop. I found the music sounded all alike. They had the same thumping beat similar to Blondie's "Heart of Glass" only faster. Each song sounded like the last song and I could not tell when one song ended and the next one started. The kids did but I didn't.

We may live in a sexually repressed society, however, the kids have not learned that yet, or don't care. Many of their moves were much more than suggestive. Although there were guards and chaperones, I'm willing to bet there were some extra activities after the dance in the rooms. There was one girl with that looked like she was inviting every guy to her room just by the way she moved.

I quickly tired of the sameness and loud music. So I went back to my room to watch the Red Sox. (They lost.)

In the end I had a very good time.

Thoughts:

I found it interesting that I felt much better this time than I felt at the retreat. I just wonder if I hadn't been in one of my frequent bouts of heat failure from about the middle of December (after I got sick) until a week before our PortCon trip. I guess getting sick just isn't good for me. I guess I should watch it in the winter. How can I prevent this from happening?

29th May 2007

12:04pm: Retreat Reflections
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The retreat is over. I had a very good time at the retreat this year. This year's retreat director was a friar from the Community of Franciscans of the Renewal. I found his presentation very inspirational and I got a lot out of it.

The retreat's theme was on Chastity, Poverty and Obedience for Secular Franciscans. This was a good theme for me and I got several good insights from it.

I particularly enjoyed his remarks on being called. We do not know when we will be called (or if we will be called). We can be called at any time young or old.

How we are called is important as well. Will we be called at church, at a shrine or at our own home? We must be ready to answer at any time and be aware of being called and all that it implies.

When we are called we are also called to give all. But what does this call of giving all mean? We generally think of it as giving our money as the Bible says "Give all you have to the poor and follow me." So naturally we think of this as being our money. However, it can also mean giving of one's time and one's health.

(My thoughts)

We can be called to give our time instead of money. In this method of being called we are called to be present to others in their pain. So many times all a person needs is an sympathetic or understanding ear. Often times we are not even called to supply answers or even talk. But there are many out there who just need someone to be with them in their pain and woes. We must be able to give them this time. It does not mean we do this in place of being with our family, but it means we give up that favorite TV show, or game time on the computer. We must be there when they need to talk and to be there in their pain. We can pray for them or with them if it is required.


(My thoughts)

We do not want to believe that we are sometimes asked to give our health. Why would this be and what can come of it? Some answers that I have come up with are : We are asked to give up our health in order for us to understand some one else's pain. When this happens we can pray for them. Prayer is effective because it brings us closer to God, the saints, and all who have gone before us. If we pray our pain, through it and with it, we begin to understand the pain of others. I also believe that our prayers unite with others and help them as well. It is like when we all hold hands we can bridge a gap and connect to each other.

If we give up our health we can use it to draw closer to God, if we take the gift that is offered to us. When you are in constant pain, or if you have a condition that prevents you from working, you can devote this time to prayer, reflection, meditation and contemplation, avenues that help you draw closer to God. You may not pray constantly (ie. the Our Father or other prayers), however, you can pray constantly in your pain or disability by being present to them in all they do to you.

Giving up our health and adjusting to it can prepare you for a ministry of helping others who find themselves in the same situation or who "suddenly" find themselves in that position. By being present to your own painful condition, in whatever mode it manifest itself, you can share the journey with those who are on the same train as you. Life is a journey not a destination goes a saying and you can be a passenger to another who finds themselves in a similar condition.

These are just thoughts on what the friar said about giving all when we are called. He specifically mentioned that money was not always what we had to give up.

I also like his comments on obedience in ones calling. He sited several incidents where his obedience was rewarded by being at the right place at the right time. Yet he also spoke on how an organization like the SFO can break down if we all go off on tangents of our own. While there are things that we may not like, obedience is essential. Where would civilization be if we did not obey. For example: road rules and the like. What a mess things would be.

His talk on Chastity was nice but did not touch me as much as the other two Obedience and Poverty. He talked about Chastity and love which was very good. However, the rest of his talk on Chastity did nothing for me.

Of course the talk on poverty resonated with me. Above my computer is the postcard from John which depicts an empty room with a table, chair, bowl, cup, crucifix and light. Nothing else. That is the kind of poverty we should strive for because too many people in the world live that way. Even if we can't do that it is always good to be reminded of what poverty means. Yet poverty does not always mean giving up all your possessions, although we should not forget that aspect. But health, time and energy are some other aspects of poverty.

So, I had a great retreat with lots of things to help me reflect on my Franciscan and Christian vocation. It was fun.

The thing that did not make it fun is the fact that my body has changed and all these changes made it more than trying for me. It was down right dangerous. I almost fell in the confined bathroom, more than once. My knees are in such bad shape that I nearly fell every time I stood. Because of the pills I take and possibly IBS I need to use the toilet frequently. Because I had to sit for hours and everything was non accessible, and the bathroom was too tight for someone with a disability like mine, I had problems with my bowels. I had trouble sleeping which meant all balance and accessibility problems were magnified.

These issues I will have to address before next years retreat.
Current Mood: awake

16th May 2007

11:02pm: Good Bye Dear Friend
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Sad news has struck the family today. Our old cat, Snuggies, died in her sleep. I am saddened by this. It is amazing how these pets creep into your heart and become family. It is so hard to deal with their passing away.

When I was young I was really touched by the passing of our dog Misty. Unlike Snuggies it took her three days to die in the ‘living room'. The family wanted her to be with her people when she went. It tore me apart as we watched her grow progressively weaker. A day before she died we watched the fleas jump off her body and run. That was the hardest thing for me to watch.

Sadly Pookie, our other cat, did not get along with Snuggies and we had to keep them apart for so long; so Snuggies had to stay in the big bed room for way to long. Finally we decided to let her free for part of the day and watch them closely. Poo was constantly picking on Snuggies, but I think she finally got it through her head that we didn't like all of her picking. Of course she did it behind our backs. But it seems the two cats came to an uneasy truce. Lately Poo did not seem to pick on her as much. Did she sense Snuggies was dying? We'll never know. I'd like to think she did.

Our pets snuggle their way into our hearts and make a home there. These animals teach me that love encompasses a wider definition than a dictionary entry. I loved Snuggies like I love those who make their way into my heart. This morning when Lovie told me that Snuggies had died, she could not see my own tears through her own, but they were there. We had a good cry and I tried to be there for her. I don't know what I can do for Bec because it was her cat and a cat being in the family for 16–17 years leaves a big, big mark.

I know that I will get through my grief quicker than Lovie or Bec. It does not mean I do not grieve as I do but on a different scale than they do. Lovie and I still grieve for her mom and John even though they have been gone for a few years now. We will never get over them or Snuggies. We care and I do, even though my caring comes from a different angle, approach and learning process. Perhaps grieving for my own loss of body function changes how I perceive loss. Who knows.

I am crying as I write this. I am sad and it is hard to lose someone you love, even our pets. I would like to think that God grieves with us as well. I believe he does.
Current Mood: sad

15th May 2007

5:13pm: Struggling
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Trying not to be Grumpy Bear has not succeeded for me. Daily I find more and more places that I have lost ground in. Even the things I find pleasure in, turns into a point of anger as my energy wears out and I am left unable to do some of the simplest things.

It seems like I wake up refreshed only to feel totally exhausted a few hours later. Getting ready for the day seems to take more and more out of me. Simple things have become difficult. When John was alive I helped him make what we call a reachy stick. A wooden dowel with a cup hook on one end and an eye screw with a leather/ or yarn rope to hold it. It helps you reach things that are just out of reach when you are in a wheelchair. I've made many of these. I went to make me a long 3' one yesterday and I found I could not even hold the eye screw, let alone have the strength to push it in while turning it. I had to have Wifey help me. How frustrating.

I am looking forward to the retreat this weekend. Maybe I can find some spiritual healing down there so I do get so angry about this loss.

I am reading a book on the history of the Catholic Church. How sad it is that there has been so much controversy through the years. Myself I look at it as spiritual things verses control issues. It has not helped that politics have played such a big part in the history of the church. Oh well. I love the church warts and all. I find what works for me. 99.999999% of the rest really doesn't affect me, so why worry? For example the kind of vestments the priest wears, particularly those underneath, don't even come into my attention or a particular way they say mass. I can't change that so why worry?
Current Mood: cranky

4th May 2007

9:49pm: Just Living
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This comes from Goldenmane who got it from one of her friends.

I don't know if you believe in this: I certainly don't. But it was fun.

Your past life diagnosis:
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I don't know how you feel about it, but you were female in your last earthly incarnation.You were born somewhere in the territory of modern West Africa around the year 1200. Your profession was that of a dancer, singer or actor.
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Your brief psychological profile in your past life:
Ruthless character, carefully weighing his decisions in critical situations, with excellent self-control and strong will. Such people are generally liked, but not always loved.
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The lesson that your last past life brought to your present incarnation:
Your lesson is to combat violence and disharmony in our world, to understand its roots and origins. All global problems have similar origins.
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Do you remember now?

To do this yourself follow this link. http://www.thebigview.com/pastlife/

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In my last post I mentioned the loss of many body functions. The loss continues. I have noticed even more loss over this last month. So it would appear the losses from the winter continue. I have not felt well this past month (April) and I don't know quite what to do about it. Reading and watching tv seems to be all I can do.

I am trying hard not to be "Grumpy Bear". I suspect once it warms up I can go out and my outlook will be much better.

I am sensing more spiritual things lately, reading a few inspirational pieces, a page or two from "The Sign of Jonas" and other publications. I am reading the briefs from the Zenit news line that I subscribe to. I still think that the Star Wars Saga with the Jedi philosophy which means, to me, spirituality. I see so much of the Jedi in our faith and Spock's logical philosophy. The part about non-attachment still strikes me. It is also part of what I should think about as far as my health should be concerned. I should not be attached to it.

Much of this philosophy I believe in, especially when I note the connectedness of the Catholic Church, especially those of the mystics, and the type of ideas we see with the Jedi. Mindfulness, detachment and the like. I have not achieved anything like this, especially the Franciscan mind set, but I am working on it and I see some progress which encourages me. So I will continue, abet slowly.
Current Mood: chipper

10th April 2007

9:09pm: Praying for Patience
`
April 10, 2007

My prayers today were for help in living with all of this stuff I have to live with, physically that is. It seems like I have lost a great deal since the beginning of winter. In truth I have not lost that much, however, what I have lost has been that which has taken me from difficult to do-to the nearly impossible to do.

I am so unsteady now on too many days that it seems like I have to live in my wheelchair. I feel like I have a six foot barrier around me now. I keep running into everything and when I drop things I need help in retrieving it as it seems that I cannot reach things anymore even when they are near my chair, either I cannot reach it or I drive my joy stick into my guts-which hurts. Regular stuff is out of my reach as well because I can no longer stand well without help. It is frustrating and I find that I have a very short temper lately.

I realize, from being in the MDA support group, that this is normal and happens as our condition changes. As I heard in past we take it out on the family that we live with. When I heard those words and saw the people who were going through those frustrations I was single. Now I am married and I am forever taking my frustrations out on S. My family and friends call me Grumpy Bear all the time-which is true.

So today I prayed about that. I need to work on this. I love S and it is not fair that I blame her for my body breaking down on me when we all know it is the Muscular Dystrophy and not her or the rest of the family. I need to keep this in mind. So I prayed today.

I am a member of a Secular Franciscan bulletin board on Yahoo. Recently Willbur Kern posted an article about a lesbian couple who are Catholics. This couple got married and it was plastered across the Wyoming papers. Of Course the priest had to tell them that they were in violation of the church if they got married. After they got married the priest had to deny them communion. I take it the priest did this with a heavy heart. Willbur asked for comments.

The comments that he received tended to be those that I thought he would receive. "The church says this and that's THAT!"

How sad when people quote dogma's instead of feeling for people. Where is our compassion? I am sad for this couple because they can no longer participate in the church. Who needs most to receive communion the already saved, those who feel they are superior to others or the sinners of the world? I know who I choose, the sinners; for did not Jesus eat with sinners, tax collectors and prostitutes?
Current Mood: content

1st April 2007

7:19pm: Lenten Reflections
`
April 1, 2007

Today is Palm Sunday and lent is quickly drawing to a close. The plans I had at the beginning of lent have fallen by the way side as they have for several years now.

In actuality I spent my lent struggling with health issues. I have lost ground this past winter and have struggled all through lent adjusting to it.

So I have to say that struggling has been my lenten practice. My knees hurt, my legs have swollen, the skin on my legs and feet is very tender because of the swelling and my strength seems to have diminished. So every day seems to be a struggle. I guess that is what lent is all about and I have done my share of coping with things like this.

I went to mass today and today is the dramatic reading of the gospel. Not my favorite because there is nothing dramatic about it. It generally is bland.

Afterward we went to Burger King to eat, then back to the church for the reconciliation service were I went to confession.

The priest I went to related to me a story about a man dying of aids. He was given a rosary which he loved. Using it he repeated these prayers, one on each bead. "I am dying", on one bead then "I am living", on another. On the next decade he would reverse the order. The priest suggest meditating and also doing a regular rosary. Do this every day.

I think that is good and many other prayers can be said. Many meditations can be made with these. The idea is to say that even though your body is not functioning right, you can look at the positive. "I am Living". I will try to remember this.
Current Mood: content

15th March 2007

5:46pm: `
March 15, 2007

Things are going well here. Everyone is in good health and we are doing fine. I called Mother today. She is doing fine after her surgery. She is being fed through a feeding tube in her stomach because of some damage she received when they poked a feeding tube down her throat and hurt it. She has to recover, so in the meantime she is still using the feeding tube.

Lent this year continues to be difficult. I am trying to listen to spiritual music and be mindful of the season. I hope that I can make it to confession this year. It would be good to do so. So I will try to visit either Father T or Father F.

The annual Franciscan retreat is coming up on May 18, 19 and 20. I am looking forward to it. We will have a grey Father from the ETWN group. I hope he as good as Father Grochell.

I have taken another Star Fleet course and have passed with honors (which means I only missed one question). It was in Genealogy. I am attempting to take the second genealogy course, a military history course and another VAC course.

Financially we continue to struggle but we pray the good Lord will help us in some way.
Current Mood: cheerful

26th February 2007

5:42pm: Giving thanks
`

February 26, 2007


On the 13th I noted that Mother was in the hospital and might need an operation. Come to find out, that was indeed the situation. It seems that her cancer treatments blocked up her arteries with calcium and helped mess up one of her valves. Last Friday (the 23rd) she had her operation and came through with flying colors. Dad called me as soon as it was over. D, N and S have gone to see her. I called D to find out how well she is. They have her sitting up in bed and moving a little. Sadly she is doped to the gills and at times is incoherent.

I called the hospital this afternoon (at one-ish) and she was still in ICU. She might be in there a day or two more. But it looks as though things are going fine. That is great.

I did an awful lot of "thank you" praying on Friday. A Rosary, a Precious Blood Chaplet and a lot of thank you's, after I heard the good news.

Lent has started and I have decided to do my office and the Precious Blood Chaplet. So far I am doing well. I missed yesterday getting in only two decades of the PB while B was getting her schedule. But I went to church and allowed that part to be my spiritual fulfilment for the day. I feel good about this years lent, better than last years lent. I hope I can make it through this year without giving up in exasperation. So it is good to get back into the swing of things again.
Current Mood: cheerful

13th February 2007

6:40pm: Worried
`

February 13, 2007

I am continuing to read Mattie's book. I find that he was quite remarkable.

I was going to write more only I found out Mother is really sick and possibly needs an operation. I have to find out more, but right now I'm just too worried.
Current Mood: scared

12th February 2007

11:01pm: Mattie
`

February 12, 2007

Yesterday our Star Trek club helped in the first annual Bangor Mall Walk here in town. Going in uniform and appropriate Kasimar dress 9 of us entered the walk raising $131 for the cause. We had a good time there meeting old friends and making new ones. One lady there saw us on the telethon last year and ‘knew' we would be there at the Mall Walk. Her sister is a big Trek fan and wants a club to join. We had a good time meeting her and talking to her.

The Portland office sent some ‘thank you' presents for us including a book by Mattie Stepanek with Jimmy Carter titled "Just Peace: A message of hope". I had gotten a kick out of seeing Mattie on the MDA telethons over the past several years. I was saddened when he died in mid 2004.

So I started reading the book. I am very impressed. The young man was very smart, articulate and knew what he wanted out of life. He knew his limitations and that he would die young so he lived his life as full as he could. Carter was his hero and he got not only to meet him, but to become friends with him as well. They shared many e-mails and Carter came to visit Mattie and Mattie came to visit Carter. They both appeared together on one of the early morning shows (Good Morning America) and developed quite a friendship.

Mattie did not shy away of saying that he was afraid to die or that he doesn't like being disabled. He has a good sense of spirituality and understands the differences between faith, spirituality and religion and how each can support the other and how religion can be misused.

I am so impressed with this book. I think I will get a copy of my own.
Current Mood: cheerful

9th February 2007

6:02pm: To pray or play
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February 9, 2007

What does one do when prayer comes hard. Not a short prayer like an occasional "Our Father" or "Hail Mary", but when it is an inability to do an entire rosary, or spend an hour with the Lord like some orders recommend? Perhaps there is a major difference between wanting to do and actually doing.

There is a common saying among the churchy that goes something like this: If your not putting God first, then you're putting the world first. But what if it comes down to helping someone via a chat room last night and helping a friend this morning. Because they aren't prayers or reading the Bible does that mean they are less in God's eyes? What does God want from our everyday lives, an hour of praying in the morning before breakfast, or praying for the right words "while" we help our friends and those who come to us?

"To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven." I think this Bible passage has it right. There are patterns in our lives, seasons, and times for them; be they decades, years or merely weeks. At times we can get fully emerged in our faith, then emerged in our work or family or what ever it may be, then slowly we come back to our faith. Cycles. Like waves with their highs and lows always returning to us like waves lapping the shore.

Today I feel like doing things other than churchy things. Star Trek things, game things, just watching TV things. It does not mean that I gave up my faith or that I put God second. God is with me all the time and as I write this I am in communication with that great unknown we call God. Duh? How can I forget about God when I'm writing about him?

So worries about praying might not be the real worries. Worry that your not putting your faith into the things you do, about not allowing your fath to shine through, about not letting your faith guide you through the every day dull things or the exciting things even when they seem to have nothing to do with your faith.

Its time to go play games :)
Current Mood: cheerful

28th January 2007

6:09pm: Getting adjusted
`

January 28, 2007

It has been a busy last few days. In order for me to be the first officer I had to pass OCC. Well it was one tough test I was a mess hoping that I would pass it. I was hoping that I would pass. I almost choked when I got the results back and received a 100 on the test. I couldn't believe it. I have told Matt all about it and have begun to try to see what Matt wants me to do.

I know it is hard to be spiritual when these things happen but at times I think the spiritual part comes in with them. So I feel as much a part of the Franciscans as I do a Trekie.

So today I am feeling good about things. My sleeping is still a bit erratic but I'm doing much better.

I need to talk to M about being the Exec and see what he needs of me.

Lord I pray that I can keep both my Franciscan vocation and Trek interest alive and do well for both clubs.
Current Mood: cheerful

15th January 2007

7:18pm: First Officer
`

Well the shuttle Hawking got a big surprise this past weekend. The shuttles Commander got elected to the position of First Officer of the USS Kasimar this was an interesting development. The new first officer goes into the position on February 10th.

I hope that I can do a good job. I do think I am qualified and I feel good. Better than I have for years. I have several ideas to try out so wee will see what happens.
Current Mood: cheerful
7:00pm: First Officer
`

January 15, 2007

Busy weekend. Over the past few months the Captain of our Star Trek group stepped down and the first officer took his place. This left the first officer's position open. So the club took applications for the first officer so I applied. I did not think I had a chance because there were several qualified candidates. It was a laugh thing.

Well the laugh is on me and I was chosen. I do feel that I can do a good job and I realize that I need to do things in order to keep myself active and not wizzle up in front of the computer playing computer games. I know others who have done that as their diseases progress.

So I am excited about this I take the position on Feb 10th. I have been preparing by doing a few odds and ends like making folders, getting my briefcase emptied of the trash I have collected. I do have a few ideas thst the club could pursue.

I have done the remote formation article S asked me to do. I hope it is what they wanted. I hope that is it for now. Gonna rest by playing some games on neopets.
Current Mood: cheerful

12th January 2007

8:34pm: Recovery
`
January 5, 2007

The cold that I have been battling seems to have gone, for the time being leaving me with a tremendous hack. I seem to be hacking all the time. But it feels great to be better. I won't be able to go to church this weekend because of the hack, but I hope to go next week.

I sent in an application to the Kasimar to be first officer which threw the Captain for a loop. I didn't realize it would cause such a problem. Oh well It was a situation where I thought the club should have a choice. After I talked to M, A showed up to feel me out about being the first officer and talk about the club. He gets so wound up about things in the club and doesn't seem to know the words "calm down". He claims that M is vacillating which he isn't because he is getting used to the position and is working through things. He has been captain for only a month so I told Arnold to give him a chance.

Y has called several times this week and we have had some good talks. I was worried about our Fair Share contribution because it will be $60 for us. So I talked to Y and asked her if we could pay it in $10 increments. She said yes. So we will do that.

Tomorrow we go to the Star Trek meeting. They want us for the exec committee so I guess we will go to that. Groceries afterwards. It will be a long day I think.

5th January 2007

10:28pm: Relationships
January 5, 2007

It is amazing what you can find on the web. So much of the stuff on there is absolute rubbish, as the English say. Buy, buy, buy, more, more, more. You can't live until you have that. The sad part about that is that the next day you trash it all and buy more. What a waste!!!

I was reading on one of those entertainment sections on one of the latest break ups of marriage between two big stars. The marriage lasted a whole three months. ???.

It is sad to see that people do not work as much on their marriages as they should. It has been said by others, not me, that one needs to work constantly on their marriage. Boy is that so. It is so easy to slip into the destructive patterns. Taking a partner for granted, not caring, thinking that everything is okay when things need to be discussed. When was the last time these people made love, not had sex, made honest to goodness love? It is so easy to let a relationship wither away from disuse.

Lovie and I have had some good times this holiday season in spite of repeated visits to the hospital. This Christmas season was a great one filled with comfort and joy. It was a little hectic but that's our lives. It keeps me awake. In spite of the cold and feeling miserable I have enjoyed this holiday season.

God is letting me see how much I love S and how very important our marriage is to me. I wish I could give more in the form of financial support and to be able to do some of the things I want to like taking trips, but I am learning, ever so slowly, to give from the heart and not to worry about the materialistic parts. I love her and really hope to strengthen our relationship. So I am working on paying more attention to her and making sure I see all of her good points and laughing and having a good time with her. Last night we watched "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" with Jim Carry. We had some good laughs with that and I really enjoyed watching the movie with her. Lovie, I love you.

Sad news today. Mother is battling another round of cancer, intestinal. She goes in for an operation on Tuesday. So many times over the last two years. Sad, sad. I am praying real hard for her.
Current Mood: cheerful

2nd January 2007

7:22pm: The New Year
January 2, 2007

Well, the new year has started out in not so fine shape. I have been sick since December 17th when I came down with a tremendous cold. I have been to the emergency room three times since the 17th. The 17th, 20th, and 30th. Each to treat this thing along with a visit to Family Practice today and I have another appointment for next Wednesday.

The 17th visit was to see how bad I was. They said I had bronchitis. They put me on an antibiotic and an inhaler. On the 20th I went in because my flem contained some blood. After numerous test they said the blood was because of the cold and I should keep tabs on it. On the 30th I tightened up so bad it was difficult breathing. So into the ER once again. They gave me some strong pills and in about an hour and a half I could breathe again. They gave me an additional inhaler with a different medicine in it. Lets see if it works. Today I went in for a post ER check up. I am to continue the pills and the inhalers. Lets hope it works. This is the sickest I have been with a cold in a long, long time.

This year like many of the past years I have made no New Year's resolutions. They never seem to work anyway so why make them. Instead I plan to work more diligently on the spiritual side of my life with prayers, readings and meditations. I have started out good so far and I hope to continue it throughout the year.
Current Mood: calm

26th October 2006

12:08am: Thoughts on Tuning in
October 25, 2006

Love was reading a Molly Wolfe article from the Daily Blessings. Along with Richard Rhor today. We started talking about what these Daily blessings meant to us. In MW's article she talked about how we sometimes don't tune God in. I made a comment on how true that is. She asked:

TikiMother: ???? what you mean love ?
Rigel K: God whispers on, say the food network, and we're tuned into ESPN. you can't hear God if you ain't tuned in. And there are some days its hard to tune in. You feel lousy, things aren't going right and it just seems like everything is against you (chaos). So you wallow in the yech of the day missing God because you're too wrapped up in the lousy day. Do you see what I mean?
TikiMother: sure do and you should put this whole thing in your journal as an addition of spiritual thought for it is so very, very true hon for sure.

So I will do as she suggested. It is best to put our thoughts down when they occur rather than waiting until later when you've forgotten them.

I'm still working on a novel from last December even as I prepare for this years Nanowrimo. How much of our faith goes into the stories and characters we write. I'll bet quite a few.
Current Mood: content
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