The Sabbath

“Remember the Sabbath Day; keep it holy

The 4th Commandment ripples through my mind repeatedly on Sunday mornings, as I sit and try to listen to the sermon being given this day. Sometimes, I think I should lighten up. I mean, yes, so it’s a bit of a distraction from said sermon but, at least, my fellow parishioners made the effort to get up on a Sunday morning. They dressed in their best–even if it is their best pair of jeans, or a sweat suit, and sneakers–and came to hear His word, to sing His praises. To worship. How many others are still abed, worshiping St. Mattress? Who am I to judge? I mean, really, what anal gland unleashed its fury on me again?

I’m talking about cellphones, of course.

I made the later Mass this morning and managed to get there early enough to join my friends in the choir loft…where I had a bit of a bird’s eye view of the other parishioners below. I didn’t bother to count the number of cellphones in hand, the number of people web-surfing on their smartphones while Father Tom gave his homily. All I kept thinking was, “How rude!” Common courtesy, to my way of thinking, should dictate we give him the courtesy of at least looking attentive while he gives the homily–even if we are not. Instead, heads were bent, thoughts and interest zeroed in on whatever the Twitter or Facebook community was about. Instead of giving at least half an ear to our Lord and Savior, and the message He has for us through Father Tom’s homily.

I know. That’s their business. And I’d like to believe that His word will reach these distracted ears through osmosis or something at least. But I also find myself getting angry because it isn’t only their business. Around each and every smartphone addict at least a couple of other heads were bent or leaning in to share the latest media gossip. The light-up of the screen drew eyes away from the altar. Distracting…

How rude.

And, perhaps, I’m being uncharitable. Again, it is their business but I can’t help but think how disrespectful it is. And how He asks us to keep this day holy, to remember Him…one day out of the 7 each week. Is it so much to ask? While any attendance at church is a positive, if you’re focused in on your cellphone instead of the sermon, how much are you really attending? I mean, why bother? He deserves at least that much. And your fellow parishioners, those of us who truly want to be present and hear His word, to sing His praises…TO WORSHIP…will thank you for leaving these modern wonders off and in your pocket or purse for a single hour each week. So we may enjoy without the distractions they create.

Yup. I probably should lighten up. Take a deep breath. Breathe. Remember the centering of the week on the yoga mat. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Again, at least they came to church. They remembered. Forget the pet peeve.

But, as another light flutters somewhere to my left, what was that Father Tom just said about loving my neighbor as myself? Okay. I’ll start practicing what I preach and get off my Sunday soapbox.

I really wish I’d caught the first half of that homily though…

May God bless you & keep you!

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A Writing Habit

This is another short post but, another benefit I’m finding from this public office here at the local coffee shop, or public library, depending where I land, is that when I am at home in the actual home office, I write.

Internet accessibility? I read my emails. I read others’ blogs. I touch base with friends and loved ones on Facebook. Nothing wrong with any of these activities but I am finding that, without the Internet at home, when I decide to sit down to write, with only Word available to me, I actually do just that. I WRITE! Suddenly, I’m re-working characters, getting back in touch with all of them, developing them so that they are more three-dimensional. And I’m loving it. I actually feel like a writer. And, of course, I’m adding content to my book. It’s no longer collecting cyber-dust.

Now, if I could only convince the local library to open their doors for more than 3-5 hours per day, I might be able to write longer posts, get more homework done, and even squeak in a few more Treehugger articles. Ho-hum!

Maybe just a little break from having 24/7 Internet access until I truly develop that writing habit. Instead of indulging the distractions. Keep our fingers crossed!

May God bless you & keep you!

Feeling the Blahs

I think it’s the weather: high winds, a lot of rain, some sleet last evening. Last night I slept, serenaded by the whistle of those winds gusting around the house. A good setting for a horror film but this is reality. A little worry for power outages, tree limbs coming down–or worse, as the National Weather Service warned that even whole trees could possibly come down. With a barnyard full of critters, the worry is, of course, for their safety. Though they balked, especially Chester, my big handsome Nigerian Dwarf (which sounds like an oxymoron but Chester was wethered (castrated) by his previous owner because he is large for the breed–too large to safely breed to little Felicity, or any other typically-sized Nigerian), who wanted to stay out, despite the rain and the wind, but inside they went. Momma rested a little easier then.

Still battling a case of chronic fatigue syndrome and only a few minutes left before I have to head off to work. Just wanted to make a quick post to let everyone reading this blog know I’m still with the land of the living and will be back with longer, more interesting posts soon.

May God bless you & keep you!

Trusting in Jesus

I confess. I have been caught up in the post-inauguration hype on Facebook. Nothing really wrong with that but it has been a distraction, keeping me from the more important things that matter, and using energy that would be better used in other areas in my life.

Granted, if I hadn’t worked yesterday at the dealership, I would’ve walked in one of the local marches. I was there in spirit. I admire the unity and strength that has sprung up between such a diverse group of people against–dare I say it?–a common enemy. Maybe too strong a word for Donald Trump. He’s not necessarily “the enemy” but I’m in the anti-Trump camp. I don’t believe he has our best interests at heart. I believe he thinks he does but his agenda, so far, suggests otherwise. He’s crude, vulgar and crass; not exactly the personality one would want to represent this great nation. But, who knows? I may be wrong and, underneath that crudity and vulgarity, may be a heart of gold. I can’t judge by the outer package; only God knows his heart…even if it is topped with a bad comb-over. (Sorry…couldn’t resist) Chauvinism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia and his head in the sand about the environment–this last, as I posted about in November when he became the president-elect, was my reason for not voting for him. And, for that reason, as well as his derisive and demeaning talk about women, would’ve been behind my marching. Again, I was there in spirit.

As for the environment, and the next four years that leave me quaking in anticipation for his lack of appreciation for our natural world, and Mother Earth’s very violent warnings that we truly are in trouble, I can only pray. And put some of the energy I’ve been wasting debating this whole inauguration/march on Washington thing into leading by example. Every small effort counts. And more, I have to trust in God’s promise to Noah, a promise not to destroy the Earth.

It’s not easy though. I know what tar sands/oil shale drilling/mining looks like, what it can do to the earth. We would be better served with an investment in greener energies (which would also equal greener jobs…), and an infrastructure in our cities and towns similar to Amsterdam, where the whole city is designed around bicyclists and foot traffic rather than bumper-to-bumper auto traffic. I recently posted on my Facebook page an article from Treehugger, with a video of downtown Amsterdam, where even 4 year-old children get around on bicycle, already accomplished cyclists, due to this being part of their culture–and they didn’t wear helmets. What few motorists shared their streets and byways were respectful and mindful of the many cyclists–rather than aiming to take them out. (How dare they share the road with our gas-guzzling, carbon emitting selves???) In Scandinavia (sorry…can’t remember which country; I think it was Sweden), they’ve figured out how to recycle factory emissions to heat their cities. Implementing such methods, I believe, would be a win-win situation for all of us.

These are some of the things I’d like to see. But maybe that’s not His plan. While everything looks hopeless from an environmentalist’s perspective, maybe Trump being elected, and compromising our fair planet even more with his big oil plans, is part of a bigger plan He has. And who am I to question His wisdom?

Again, it is not easy. If our polar ice caps melt completely, and our oceans rise the 40 feet scientists predict they will (and this based upon well-documented evidence), it will be too late to say we should’ve focused on the real enemy–climate change–and taken a stand. But, while my heart aches for the many species of life on this planet who are struggling to stay alive in a rapidly-heating world, and I intend to do everything in my power to bring awareness and promote their protection, I’m giving over the reins to Jesus. I, and you, and everyone else on this planet, can do all things through Christ.

And that’s a promise I’m willing to put my trust into.

May God bless you & keep you!

Another Benefit

Adding onto yesterday’s “Public Office” posting, I’m definitely seeing another merit to using a public facility to write/study. Here in this booth, I am in my own little world and yet, life is swirling all around me. It’s rather comfortable.

More importantly, I am also being forced to be a little more pro-active in completing my homework assignments well ahead of their due date. As long as we’re boycotting Charter’s high prices, I cannot procrastinate and then “cram” Sunday night when everything is due. Everything closes down fairly early in Northeast Connecticut on Sunday evenings. The public library, my first choice for working in public, isn’t even open on Sundays. And the hours are pretty limited during the week: M/W 2-7 (I work 3:30-7:30), T/S 11-5 and Th/F 2-5. I didn’t make the 2 p.m. time slot this afternoon so I’m back at the coffee shop with another cup of tea. As it is Friday, two days’ before my assignments’ due dates, and I have already turned them in, I am feeling pretty good.

So far, the only drawback I can see is, as it is a public venue, video viewing, which is part of my education, may be limited. I may lower the volume but it also eats a lot of battery juice so will have to seek out booths and tables with an outlet under them…just in case. Otherwise, this isn’t a bad deal at all.

It also gets me out of the house. I really am the hermit in the woods, tending to be a homebody these last few years. And, because I am taking up public space, and trying to be respectful about it, I’m also focusing on the essentials…rather than the multiple newsletters and free webinars I lamented about a couple of posts’ back. Come springtime, and my investment in an adult-sized tricycle (they come with handy little hauling baskets between the back wheels…I also have balance issues, despite the yoga), I can add 1/2 hour each way of exercise to my routine…and a reduction of my carbon footprint. Not a bad deal at all for a $1.79 cup of tea…or a free book rental from the local library to curl up with when my work day is done.

May God bless you & keep you!

Public Office

No, I’m not running for any election or government position. I’d be a terrible politician. And probably get myself bumped off due to my tree hugging, Bible thumping, no kitty left behind, tightwaddery views. Every petroleum based industry would be wanting to stick my head on the proverbial platter. So, no, not looking for a career in government any time soon.

“Public Office” is literal. I am currently sitting in a public coffee shop typing this up. The reasons are two-fold. The first is Charter Communications keeps jacking their prices up to where it has become too expensive to keep Wi-fi/Internet/cable TV etc. at home on a part-time income. Mom and I do not watch the boob-tube enough to justify the expense (though Mom is sure to miss her HGTV from time to time…), and I can’t remember the last time I saw a good, quality TV show. Though there is still the expense of a cup of tea at the local coffee shop, when doing the math, it is much less than Charter’s bill. (And before all the aunties start coming out of the woodwork with pitchforks after me, the decision to remove cable and internet from the house was Mom’s decision; she approached me with it). I know all about licensing expenses and insurance and keeping folks on the payroll, as Charter must do, but sometimes you have to take a stand and we’re doing it by withdrawing our business.

The second reason is part of the first because it has forced me to take the advice of other work/study-from-home friends who say they are way more productive sitting in a public place away from home distractions. And I certainly have them. While I’m a pro at ignoring the telephone, knocks on the door–whether the outside door or my home office door from Mom–cannot be ignored without appearing rude and/or anti-social. Here, I have one responsibility: to write. Whether it is schoolwork, blogging, or work on one of the three novels I have “in the works”, this is all I have to do. And, though it is only my first day in this “public office”, I’m finding my focus is much stronger. And that’s worth the $2 and change for a cup of delicious Chai tea…albeit it may knock the 30 lb. weight loss plan out of the ballpark.

May God bless you & keep you!

We All Have Our Weaknesses

I love learning. It is one of the reasons I went back to college in my late-40’s to earn my degree in creative writing, and now, at 50, I am two years’ away from graduation (Yay!). Yes, I already know how to write but, the perfectionist in me wants to be a better writer. And there is always room for improvement.

However, this same love for learning is also what trips me up when it comes to one of life’s most precious commodities: Time.

I am a sucker for the free webinar. Every armchair expert that comes out of the woodwork with a “free” webinar to teach you how to be a better person, to write a better blog, to earn more money, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah and I am signing up. Granted, I have found some really awesome online communities that I belong to and enjoy. It has also led me to make some small but sound investments in some of the programs being pitched in these free webinars. But one must really be discerning.

I’d like to think that I am discerning. I may initially sign up but, oftentimes, I simply delete the email notification when it lands in my Inbox. It seems like a good idea at the time and I’d like to learn more about (fill in the blank) but, really, there are just so many hours in the day. No one person could ever watch all of these webinars. So why do I do this to myself? What is the compulsion to sign up for these events in the first place? And, funny, I actually feel a little guilty when I delete these notifications. Though the notification is probably on some automatic service and not hand-sent by the webinar’s host, still, I feel like I’ve wasted someone’s time and gotten their hopes up that maybe they’re snagging a new client somewhere down the road. Granted, again, some have won me as a client. And I have no regrets. I just haven’t figured out why I feel the need to sign up for nearly every one that crosses my path. I do this with newsletters, too. Again, there’s only so many one can read in a day’s time. It seems every so many months, I am going through my Inbox and unsubscribing to skeighty-eight hundred webinars and newsletters because my Inbox has gotten too cluttered.

Whatever the reason behind it, this compulsion has me firmly in its grip. “If it’s free, it’s for me”. If I subscribed to this philosophy with kittens, I truly would be the crazy cat lady!

Though we are a number of weeks away from Ash Wednesday, I’m thinking that may be my Lenten vow this year: not to sign up for any newsletters or webinars for those 6 weeks. It would surely free up a few extra hours in my week…hours that would be better spent being more of a writer.

May God bless you & keep you!