Monday, October 31, 2011

Skipping the Middle Part

Heart draw in the beach sand
Several weeks ago I heard a pastor talk about how people often go through rough times and believe that, during those times, God hates them.  This comment came as a bit of shock to me as I don't think I've ever felt that way.   Of course, there have been times when I've wondered "Why me?" or fervently prayed, "Help me, help me, help me...."  But believing God hated me?  Never.  

I pondered this for a while and came to the conclusion that it is probably due to my faith background.  You see, I wasn't raised in church.  Up until the age of about 5, I attended Sunday school with my aunt.  My parent's didn't go to church but my uncle's wife taught Sunday school at a local church.  On Sundays, they would come by my house to pick me up and take me to church with them.  This ended when I was about 5 when they moved out of state.  Although I didn't attend church again until I was an adult, what I learned during those early years really stuck.  Children in Sunday school are taught "Jesus Loves Me" and "Jesus Loves the Little Children."  And most of the Bible stories taught in Sunday school are about how God shows his love.

As church goers age, they're exposed to more serious parts of the Bible and are taught about wrath and anger and that sort of stuff.  Since I didn't go to church during those years, I missed out on that part of Christian education.  Once I started going back to church as a young adult, I already had in my mind a loving God rather than a vengeful one.  No matter how many sermons I heard about God's anger and his desire to punish us, it never shook that foundation of love.  

So I'm glad I skipped the middle part.  Since I never learned about the possibility that God could hate me, I've never felt that way and don't need to be retaught about the love of God.  Perhaps churches should skip that middle part as well; that would certainly save a lot of sermons and time.

(Photo credit:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Quote for the Day

"From pacifist to terrorist, each person condemns violence - and then adds one cherished case in which it may be justified."
~Gloria Steinem

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturdays and Puttering

Chair on empty beach

Although I don't work outside the home in a paid job, I do love my Saturdays. Weekdays are pretty regimented for me as I have certain days on which I perform certain chores and I have regular meetings and errands that keep me on the go.  Even Sundays are busy as we typically go to church and sometimes have other obligations.

Saturdays, however, are a different matter.  I don't have anything scheduled or any place where I need to be.  I just am.  However, don't think I sit on my laurels.  I get a lot of work done but it's all in my own time and I don't have expectations on what must be done.  I don't fret over time or schedules.  Instead, I take my time on tasks and often tackle those things are are on my To Do list but never seem to get done.  I will work for a while then relax a bit, catching up on blog reading or pleasure reading or just listen to music.  It's such a relaxing, yet productive, time, and I jealously guard that day.  Puttering is good for my soul.

(Photo source:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wellness Wednesday

Dollar Sign
Once again, I'm late with the "Wellness Wednesday" post.  This time I've been unexpectedly called out of town and have limited internet access.  However, I can still share some wellness with you!

In my current studies, I've had to explore the Healthy People 2020 website.  This is a government initiative that has been ongoing for over 3 decades and has the goal of improving the health of all Americans.  The Healthy People 2020 press release has something for us all to ponder.  According to their press release, "Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, are responsible for seven out of every 10 deaths among Americans each year and account for 75 percent of the nation's health spending."  

Many of these killer diseases are linked to lifestyle and personal choices and so are preventable.  Imagine how much better off we would all be and how much money would be available for other pressing needs if we took preventative health more seriously.

(Photo source:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Quote for the Day

Master of Wisdom 3
"Fashion your life as a garland of beautiful deeds."

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Wellness Wednesday...On Saturday

Wellness Wednesday is not gone, nor forgotten; it was just postponed this week.  

In doing some research, I found an article about people who are successful with losing and keeping off extra pounds.  It's all very common sense stuff that requires some discipline but the results make it well worth it.  Success boils down to the following:

  • Track food intake

  • Count calorie or fat grams or use a commercial weight-loss program to track food intake

  • Follow a low-calorie, low-fat diet - approximately 1,800 calories and less than 30% fat

  • Eat breakfast regularly

  • Limit eating out

  • Eat similar foods regularly and don't splurge much on holidays and special occasions

  • Walk about an hour a day or burn the same calories with other activities

  • Watch fewer than 10 hours of TV a week

  • Weigh  at least once a week

  • It's all about a lifestyle rather than a dieting mentality.  Successful dieters know that keeping weight off is a matter of burning off what is eaten.  Most people fail when they feel the "diet" is over and revert back to their former eating and activity ha

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Leadership and Authority

    As a Quaker, I tend to bristle at the idea of anyone having authority over me, especially in areas where I am voluntarily associated.  The Quaker ideal is for equality and consensus.  Thus, there are no masters and servants, only fellow human beings working towards a common goal.

    These past few months I've encountered situations where I see individuals in leadership roles abuse their power.  In one instance, I essentially stepped into a hornet's nest.  A friend who also had the misfortune to get involved in that particular situation described it as "evil."  Unfortunately, I cannot disagree with her.  Fortunately, we are no longer involved with that particular group and its leaders.

    In addition, on several occasions, I have found myself in very different settings, hearing leaders share misinformation on subjects about which I either had personal knowledge or had thoroughly researched the topic.  Because they wished something to be true, they declared it to be so rather than taking the time to understand the topic or situation and risking the possibility that they were wrong.  However, because the individuals exposing their lack of knowledge were in positions of authority, they could not be refuted.  In fact, when challenged, I've seen leaders throw what I would describe as "tantrums."  And their "followers," who often weren't themselves educated on the topics, took the misinformation as absolute truth.

    Over the summer, when I attended the Wild Goose Festival, I sat in on a session where Lutheran minister Nadia Bolz-Weber discussed authority.  If my memory serves me correctly, she confirmed that, as a pastor, her position did not convey authority, but that it was the people in her congregation from whom she derived her authority.  Should she do something the congregation disagreed with, her "a** was out of there."  (She's a very colorful speaker.)

    Leadership and authority are complex concepts which I plan to explore more fully.  However, in light of my experiences this year, I will share a few observations.  

    • Those in authority do not inherently have power; it is given to them and can be taken away.
    • Leaders should admit when they do not know or understand something.  Discussing a topic about which they lack knowledge makes them look ignorant and undermines their authority.  Educated people recognize propaganda.
    • Being right does not make one a good leader.  Willingness to listen and to compromise does.
    • Those in authority must be extremely aware that power corrupts.  Power often insulates one from others and can lead to poor judgment.
    • Leaders must be exemplars, that is, they must practice what they preach.  This is difficult (and sometimes impossible) and that is one reason why I disagree with having positions of authority.
    I am far from perfect and make many mistakes on a daily basis.  However, I also do not hold myself up as a leader or as a person with authority.  Instead, I try to associate myself with groups of like-minded people who are focused on problem solving and bettering the world in which we live by engaging in healthy discussion and debate.  

    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    Quote for the Day

    Walt Whitman

    Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you.  Be curious, not judgmental.

    ~Walt Whitman

    Saturday, October 15, 2011

    Catch Up

    Seems like this fall has taken on a life of its own and have neglected some aspects of my life while making progress in others.  I finished yet another class towards my master's degree - three more to go!  I've also been extremely active in several nonprofit ventures in my community, one of which wrapped up two weeks ago and another which is ramping up on Monday.  Usually, I make quarterly goals but this fall I didn't seem to manage to make any as I never took a chance to sit down to contemplate.  I am continuing my annual goal of reading the entire Bible this year.  It has become such a habit that the few mornings when I'm not able to do it, something seems amiss in my life.  I'm WAY behind on reading my friends' blogs and am hoping, with my one week break between classes, to be able to catch up.  As of today, I have over 700 blog posts to read!
    I recently got a nice surprise from my friend Shona of LALA dex press.  A package arrived with two things I love:  a book and a journal.  Shona passed on the book In Praise of Slowness (which I need to take time to savor!) and a beautiful journal she hand made from ledger paper that her office was discarding.  (The photo doesn't do the journal any justice.)  Two of my favorite "R's":  reading and recycling - plus "riting"!  Thank you so much, Shona!

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    Wellness Wednesday

    Green and Red Cherry Tomato

    Once again, a study shows that what we eat matters.  Researchers have found that even those with a genetic predisposition to heart disease may be able to compensate for it by eating a healthy diet.  Read more about the study here.

    (Photo credit:

    Sunday, October 9, 2011

    Quote for the Day

    What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?

    - Mahatma Gandhi

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    Wellness Wednesday

    Winter tree
    As those of us in the northern hemisphere get ready for the winter months, it might be a good idea to look into Vitamin D3 supplements to protect against flu viruses.  According to one study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, "vitamin D3 supplementation during the winter is linked to lower incidence of influenza," especially among schoolchildren.  Read more about this study here.

    (Photo credit:

    Tuesday, October 4, 2011


    Patty of Morning Ramble had this video on her blog.  It's a good reminder of some of the reasons we should limit our consumption.