Where’s your church?

November 21, 2021

Early this Sunday morning, after I let the cat out, I went back to sleep for a while. I dreamed I was in a church. It was a large, crowded church and I couldn’t find a seat. The choir was singing, the preacher preaching and everyone was swaying and raising their hands. I went to the back of the church and visited with the others left out in the lobby.

I am a firm believer that church can be anywhere. It’s not a building, although most denominations seem to have buildings. Church doesn’t belong to one certain denomination. It’s more like that faith lives inside you. You can abide faith as well.

When our kids were elementary school age, we took them hiking every Sunday to a trail on what was then the outskirts of town. We’d stop at the very top, sit on bench in the small covered shelter with all the Daddy Longlegs spiders. Looking out at the trees, birds, and sky, we proclaimed to now be in church. This picture of Colorado looks like church to me as well.

As many, many peoples do, I have a ‘little altar’ in my room. It helps me focus and quiet my mind. I think, give thanks for my life and my parents. I pray for all those who are sick or having troubles. I pray for peace.

According to 1st Thessalonians 5, Jesus said to pray without ceasing. Questions: Do you believe prayer works? To whom do you pray? Is it just a universal plea or to God? What or who do you pray for? When do you pray? Let me know

Also read my previous post “Going to church in my mind


It’s the time of the season

October 31, 2021

In the past few months, I lost my sweet, lovely hairstylist–she was only 43 and I had been her client for 15+ years. Several friends and extended family have lost loved ones to Covid-19 and other illnesses. It’s still a hard time for so many of us. My Sunday sermon is short: Love your friends and family while you can, be kind to others–even if they are annoying–and take care of yourself.

A few years ago, I went to an Austin City Limits concert “The British Invasion.” One of the groups who performed, with all the original members, was the Zombies. This song Time of the Season struck such a chord with me, it became one of my favorites again.

Tomorrow is Dia de los Muertos This can be the season of being sad or rejoicing. Remember there is balance in the universe.

Photos from around San Antonio by B Kay Richter Dia de los Muertos

My frozen tangerine trees are coming back.
I got an EXPANSE hat and shirt.

Could things get any more weird?

October 15, 2021

Every week I get an e-newsletter from Jason Stanford. He always has something pithy and inspiring to say. This week he spares us no false hope that things could return to ‘normal.’ “The end of this pandemic will not mean that whatever follows will be the raw, unfiltered honey of good times.” As my Bulgarian friend George used to say “You should know this!”

Every day the good, bad and the ugly on social media get weirder and weirder. I’d like to quit scrolling, but I’m drawn like a moth to a flame. A flame it seems that is setting our tempers on fire and tempts us to indulge in stating our opinions ad infinitum. Today, Lindsay Graham, you know Lindsay, the old guy that’s continues to fawn over the former guy, said ‘40,000 Brazilian immigrants are headed to Connecticut wearing designer clothes and Gucci.’ If that were true it would mean they are more affluent than most of the citizens of this floundering nation.

Gucci Bag only $1K. I want this one!!

Also, “a school administrator in Southlake, Texas has advised teachers that if they have a book about the Holocaust in their classroom, they should also have a book with an “opposing” perspective.” (per @NBCNews) WTF is an opposing perspective but and out and out lies!

It’s hard for me to understand how families, especially with school aged kiddos at home are coping with the flip-flop mask mandates, the crazy anti-vaxxers and zoom, no zoom, zoom again school policies. Not to mention the teachers!

Post Office backlog from the LA Times

Oh, and now we’re back to the Democrats are trying to screw up Christmas. Will the Post Office deliver our presents on time? Fox–not really the news–mentions ‘Christmas’ 106 times in it’s broadcasts on Thursday. In their bubble of bullshit they never acknowledge many families in America are facing homelessness, hunger and unemployment.

Climate change is also a bugaboo subject. There are several views out there, many of them are doomsday projections. Here is a good article from ‘Wired Magazine’ on why companies may come around. Even the Queen is an advocate of actions to fully address the issues of climate change.

Antivaxxers, flat-earthers, members of Congress who can’t spell, parents against masking in schools… As my friend George also said many times “some people are stupid like chickens.”

I think about so many things every day and sometimes in the middle of the night. What will happen to us when our $$ runs out before we do? What will become of our country if the states are able to keep hobbling our voting rights? What of all my family and friends who are facing loss of loved ones and other obstacles? I know we are not guaranteed happiness in this life. But there is much happiness and joy amid the sorrow. And, I am grateful for that joy. It’s just the way life is. God loves us, but sometimes shit happens.

I don’t know what really, really happens at the end of the road
I don’t know what really, really happens at the end of the road
I don’t know what really, really happens at the end of the road
(Maybe nothing)
But my trip is mad
I ain’t finished, I got loads
(from ‘The Experiment’)


Freedom and Fireworks

July 4, 2021

On this particular July 4th 2021, I get a feeling that America is on shaky ground. Voting rights are being hobbled in many states. White supremist are becoming bolder. ‘Freedom fighters’ and faux patriots are ramping up their militia to do harm in many ways. Democracy is being challenged even in the halls of Congress where insurrectionists smeared feces on the walls during the January 6th invasion.

Meanwhile one-third of the population refuse to get inoculated against the COVID virus. Climate change is here to stay with extreme heat, cold and wet. Power grids are failing, buildings are collapsing and the ocean is on fire.

This is not negative b***s***, it’s the truth!

A friend of mine posted this Langston Hughes poem today. I read Langston Hughes way back in college in 1967. It’s hard hitting and poignant. Fits my mood today perfectly. Yes, it’s long. Just give yourself a minute of enlightenment and read it.

Let America be America again.

Let it be the dream it used to be.

Let it be the pioneer on the plain

Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

When the fireworks in your neighborhood wake you in the middle of the night tonight, say a prayer for our nation. Then decide what you can do to help make America be a place for the good of all it’s citizens.


What do you remember from elementary school?

March 24, 2021

Just a quick post today before continuing to cut and remove dead trees and other plants damaged in the Great Texas Snowmageddon.

The title of this post, ‘what do you remember from elementary school’ comes from a question asked on #Twitter this morning. It got me thinking. I attended four different elementary schools up thru the 6th grade. That’s the way it is with Army brats.

I attended Kindergarten and 1st grade in Iowa. I don’t remember much except I walked down a big hill to get there. In Kindergarten, we took naps on floor mats after lunch. At the same school, I learned to read in 1st grade and fell in love with books.

Second and 3rd grade was in Texas. Our 3rd grade teacher read us the “Wizard of Oz.” which became a life long favorite. I was able to walk to and from school and even came home for lunch. I stopped by the candy store in the afternoons for 5¢ treats. Horribly sugary stuff! I think we received our polio shots at school as well. Oh! and there was a Duncan YoYo salesman who came by and did tricks and then sold us yoyos. I actually got fairly good with one–all forgotten now.

Next, we moved to South Carolina. Again, I was able to walk to school cutting across several peoples’ front and back yards. How I learned that particular route is a mystery to me. My mother thought I wasn’t learning enough. So when we moved on base, I took the bus to Catholic school.

Now, we weren’t Catholic. In fact my folks only sent me there because the school was much better. We went to Mass every morning–still in Latin at that point. I prayed to Jesus and the Saints, and fainted during a High Mass with the Bishop. The nuns wanted me to convert, but I wasn’t having it. However, as one of life’s little ironies, later on I enjoyed working for 20+ years total with two different Congregations of Sisters. I also still pray for whomever the ambulance is rushing to save.

Jesus and the Saints

I’m convinced the older I get, the more it’s good brain exercise to remember things about my life. I was fortunate to experience many different people and places, travel and cultures, and interesting adventures. I’m not done yet either!!


Caring for our Earth is a soulful expression

February 27, 2021

As Psalm 24 tells us, “the earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it.” We are called by God to treasure and care for the earth as a sacred trust. A friend of mine asked me yesterday why I was so worried about what the recent Texas Snowmageddon did to plants and animals–as opposed to the people. I told her just because I was concerned for plants and animals didn’t mean I was ranking them higher than my concern for the humans in our community. We all live together on this planet. This is part of the story.

If you know the signs to look for, it becomes clear that the Earth itself is breathing.

Katharine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist and professor of political science at Texas Tech University, where she is director of the Climate Science Center. She her husband, Andrew Farley, co-authored a book called A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions, which addresses the ways in which climate science reflects conservative Christian beliefs. Read more,

Though I am not attached to any specific religion–I was raised in a Christian family, I do consider myself spiritual. The following quote is close to the way I feel.

“Spirituality does not come from religion. It comes from our soul. We must stop confusing religion with spirituality. Religion is a set of rules, regulations, and rituals created by humans, which were supposed to help people spiritually. Due to human imperfection religion has become corrupt, political, divisive and a tool for power struggle. Spirituality is not theology or ideology. It is simply a way of life, pure and original as given by the Most High. Spirituality is a network linking us to the Most High, the universe and each other.” Haile Selassie I

How would you explain your human soul if you can’t include the environment in which your human body lives? It sustains us and supports us, and we as humans were tasked by the ‘Most High’ with caring for our planet. When we do, we express a soulful caring for all living things.


Texas weather and other weird shit

February 17, 2021

Since Monday, weather in Texas has been really weird. It got really, really cold and snowy and wet and frozen. Then, it got worse. The electricity went out over most of the State. Not because of frozen windmills and the Green New Deal–which isn’t even really a thing, but because the State energy manager failed Management in a Crisis 101. Blame the State leaders who decided that our power management company should be separate and unregulated–which really means make money for the board, politicians and management and fuck the citizens.

In San Antonio where I live the power went off and on and off and on ad infinitum for several days. Then the water system, who must have felt left out, began losing pressure because of all the burst pipes and stopped or barely trickled. Now we’re boiling our drinking water–this is pretty much state-wide as well.

All this in the middle of a pandemic.

Oh, and did I mention the previous assault on the Capitol? Insurrectionists, anyone?

In my 73 years, I lived through a lot, but 2021 so far has taken the prize for weird shit happening.

On a good note, Rush Limbaugh died.

Also, plumbers and other tradespersons will make tons of money. Which, you know, is a good thing.

More weird shit: February 18. It’s actually snowing again!! Three inches and counting. We’ll be closed up for another two days.


Still Waiting…

November 14, 2020

Lately we seem to be in a perpetual state of waiting. Kind of like living in a version the Samuel Beckett play “Waiting for Godot.” Unlike the play, there are millions of characters. Like the play, what we are waiting for ‘invites all kinds of social and political and religious interpretations.’

  • This week I’ve been waiting for: The election results to be confirmed.
  • For the current President (and I use that title loosely) to concede to the rightful winner.
    • Biden Harris
  • So many people to finally understand there is a deadly virus wrecking havoc and death on many people, institutions and healthcare facilities.
  • For my Social Security check to hit the bank
  • Things that did happen: I got all clear on two medical tests.
  • My sink got all new plumbing and the dishwasher works better than it ever did.
  • My friends and family all checked in well and safe.

Tip of the Day

Wear a Mask. The life you protect may be your own or a loved one.


The past is past except when it isn’t

August 15, 2020

I’ve been asking myself lately, why, oh why, do I keeping thinking about things from my past–specifically from the 1960s and 70s? Especially, when I can’t remember what I ate for lunch or my neighbor’s last name?

I questioned does this happen to others and why? I Googled: why do older folks dream of the past?

Dreaming of the past and the world beyond

An article by Katy Waldman calls it the ‘reminiscence bump’. “The basic finding is this: We remember more events from late adolescence and early adulthood than from any other stage of our lives. This phenomenon is called the reminiscence bump.” A robust line of research shows that there really is something deeply, weirdly meaningful about this period. It plays an outsize role in how we structure our expectations, stories, and memories.”  Voile! That makes sense to me.

Kate Morton, a truly resplendent author, says this about memories in her book The Clockmaker’s Daughter. “Human beings are curators. Each polishes his or her own favored memories, arranging them in order to create a narrative that pleases. Some events are repaired and buffed for display; others are deemed unworthy and cast aside, shelved below ground in the overflowing storeroom of the mind. There, with any luck, they are promptly forgotten. The process is not dishonest: it is the only way that people can live with themselves and the weight of their experiences.”

I reached a moment of clarity when reading her comparison of sentimentality to nostalgia to “Sentimentality is mawkish and cloying, where nostalgia is acute and aching. It describes yearning of the most profound kind: an awareness that time’s passage could not be stopped and there was no going back to reclaim a moment or a person or to do things differently.” However, as I have previously stated, I have no deep regrets and I hardly ever say “if I had only…”

So out of my head and on to the stars for a moment as I embraced the cosmos with one of my favorite persons on twitter Sarafina Nance, who goes by the handle @starstrickenSF she is an Astrophysics PhD, a stargazer and an eternal optimist.  She greeted today with an out-of-this-world observation about the universe

…some stars explode, their light as bright as entire galaxies, while others collapse in on themselves, stuffing all their mass into a tiny yet supermassive blip in space-time. Some stars are so massive, and their photons so many, that the stellar surface simply floats away, forcing the star to disintegrate others are so small, barely larger than Jupiter, that they live on for trillions of years, bearing witness to the cosmos in a way nothing else can. 

She has also said all of us will be stardust someday, how cool is that?

 

 


Slow dancing to COVID-19

August 6, 2020

Are we there yet?

This was a constant refrain on road trips when we were kids. Now in the 21st week of most folks’ isolation life we are asking “are we done, yet?” NO we are not done—not even close.

There are still lots of folks who deny there’s a very contagious disease out there. In a week or two, when some schools start up with in-school classes, we’ll see another wave of infections–this time in children, teens and adults. I can’t imagine the complexity of the question whether to attend school or not. That it is possibly a life threatening decision, makes it even more difficult.

I like this chart of suggestions, though some of these may be easier said than done. Alas, we are slow dancing this pandemic so we have time to work our way through.  Because it didn’t just disappear, it’s not going away, and, no, we are not there yet.