Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Paper or Plastic?

**Another coincidence of an article found related to this blog's topic
Next time we're in Chicago, we are definitely going there to eat!

There is always something that is brought to my attention that makes me go, "Wow! Why don't WE do that?" 

Since today is Earth Day, this was extra-timely information to receive.  Having a conversation with my daughter, I learned just how far behind in recycling the United States is compared to the EU. She went to the market to drop off some bottles...and boom...Five Euros in her pocket! That's close to $7.00 US!

We have landfills everywhere. I've learned that Germany hasn't had a landfill since 2005.

We may recycle our plastic bottles and newspapers but guess what? Germany is recycling glass, plastics, cans and aluminum, and biological waste (such as veggie peelings and bones etc.).

You may have a total of 5 bins that you use weekly, there, to separate your garbage but I can see where it becomes less cumbersome over time and use and more a welcome lifestyle. There are very efficient methods of collection and if it's missed, you can actually call them back for a pick-up. Amazing!

For those of us who take our garbage and place it all together to be dumped in landfills, including prescription drugs, batteries, and other hazardous materials, we should be ashamed. Such an effort is being made in Europe, Canada, and Australia, and more that it appears they, alone, care about what happens to the planet we all inhabit.

When I mentioned glass recycling, let's add the stunning part of this plan Germany has instituted. They are of course, separated by color...the glass, that is. The non-refundable glass and plastics is what is put in the bins. You can actually take your (NONPLASTIC) bags of refundable glass to supermarkets and liquor stores, drop into the reverse vending machines and receive a receipt good at the market for cash or toward your purchases!

When I heard that, my mouth dropped! What an incentive! That is possibly the best incentive one could set-up for people who refuse to pay attention to the HUGE footprint they are leaving on Earth.

The only dilemma I could come up with is being robbed by someone who wants to steal your bottles.

This could help so many people who need the extra money. People take peeks into the waste cans on the streets in Germany just in case there's something there they can return. This could help people now who are underemployed or unemployed to have a little cash for them and their families. It could, obviously, decrease the amount of garbage going into the landfills, since it takes millions of years, IF the glass decomposes, at all.  It takes less time for other materials but we're still talking about anywhere for weeks for food and paper to hundreds and hundreds of thousands of years for other materials, such as disposable diapers.

For the couple of minutes it would take to separate your garbage into a couple of bins, each person could make a tremendous difference in the amount of pollution released into our atmosphere from the decomposition and burning of items that can be recycled and reused, up-cycled by others, or free-cycled to others.

Although corporations like Coca-Cola may be against such recycling due to financial concerns, we should really take a closer look at how other countries are managing their waste.  We could learn a lot. Considering the average American amount of waste that is thrown in landfills and/or burned amounts to 251 million tons per year, we are bound to run out of space to put our garbage, eventually. Europe recycled or reuses 70% of their waste, whereas the U.S, was at about 33%. How embarrassing!

We have to stop using our home as a garbage dump, if not for us then for the future generations to not have to breathe in and step over it.

In researching this, I still have not found an acceptable reason why we haven't jumped on this yet.

Happy Earth Day!

Friday, April 18, 2014

GOOD Friday??

A German artist named Matthias Grunewald (1475/1480-1528) painted a work that is in Washington, DC.  It hangs in the National Gallery of Art.  I can not WAIT to visit this art museum one day!

It is called The Small Crucifixion.

I've seen a picture of it only. There is no way to describe the beauty and pain of it. Like many people, I hope, I don't care what color he is portrayed.  I just know it's Him and that's fine with me.

There is a dispute among Christians who decided they are against all religions. What they are saying is that they have a problem with 'organized' religion, as it is named. What they don't realize is that if they did reading of what they believed, how they came to believe it, and why, the road would lead them backwards, directly to a religion.

People tend to forget, especially anti-Semites, that Jesus was Jewish, as was his mother, his foster father, all of his cousins, friends, and all of the Apostles that he selected. The only Gentiles came along later through St. Paul's and the Apostles' conversions. He had previously under the name of Saul, persecuted harshly, anyone who professed to be a Christian, which shows what changes God can bring about.

Therefore, Jesus practiced as a Jewish person would, with all of the rites, laws, and temple rules...a religion. He grew to begin his ministry as God's son with the Holy Spirit guiding him to build his church on Earth.  However, not everyone Jewish was ready to hear what he had to say. They were not ready to recognize, no matter how many miracles witnessed and love shown, that he was their long-awaited Messiah. He challenged everything they believed. He turned ideas of how God is upside down to them. We like to think that if we were there, we'd be on his side and believing but it took a great deal to commit to the thought. You could be placed imprisoned and/or killed for believing Jesus is the son of God. Many lost their lives for that kind of Faith.

To deny their unshakeable Faith in their God, their religion, resilience, and belief that caused such pain as beheadings, stabbings, ruthless killings that could have been avoided if they'd only said they didn't believe, is an insult to them AND to God, especially since there are Christians still being martyred in other countries. Would you be convicted and imprisoned if you were accused of being a Christian? We need to ask ourselves that everyday, if that is our belief.

The Church began with Jesus, by Jesus, for Jews and Gentiles alike.  That's why the Mass is similar to practices you would see in a Synagogue today. It's practiced the same as thousands of years ago. People tend to take what they read in the Bible very literally. This leads to misinterpretation of the Bible. Some are taken figuratively (like believing the Eucharist is just 'symbolic') and others literally. And, yet, when it comes to a Gospel like St. Matthew's in 16:17-20, where Jesus declares Peter as the rock upon which he will build his Church, it's conveniently overlooked. To quote Fr. Roderick Petrie OFM, "History, Church History, did not begin in the sixteenth century." For over 1500 years, if you were Christian, you were Catholic. It was all that existed from the beginning of Christianity.

This reading was Jesus making Peter (Cephas-stone) the first Pope to be followed through the centuries in Apostolic succession to be his visible Servus Servorum Dei, the Servant (or Slave) of the Servants of God. I love that Pope Francis is taking that job seriously in a Holy way that I think Jesus loves! There have been good, not-so-good, and absolutely rotten Popes through the ages but what never has and never will change is the Church Tradition and the Magisterium and the Bible. None can exist without the a 3-legged stool. (The history is fascinating and enlightening to read, whatever Faith you profess to be! I love delving into my own and other religions as it leads to better understanding and respect of others and, well, peace!)

So, Jesus trekked through deserts and towns, laboring and teaching until it was his time to offer himself as salvation for our original sin. Back to Adam and Eve we go!

Therefore, this is a day that we honor and relive the sacrifice made for us. He would have done the same and suffered the same if it were just you and no one else. That's Love, Man!

On this day, as from Holy Week's Magnificat reader,"Grunewald paints the landscape in a peculiar greenish-blue color as a reminder that the sun darkened and creation itself groaned at the hour of Jesus' death on the cross", witnessed only by his mother, one apostle, and Mary Magdelene, he died what was then a shameful death on a cross.  Everyone else had deserted him. He had to deal with the physical pain of his wounds, of blood (an irritant) dripping from the wounds in his head into his eyes from a crown of thorns, speaking his last words in agony because each word came from his diaphragm causing him to inhale and lift which caused more pain from the stakes in his hands and feet. He had been rejected, spat upon, hit, insulted, stripped, scourged, and abandoned by his friends. He came to experience everything we do and feel in life. That's how he is so loving, kind and merciful. He knows. He rose from death triumphant but he remembers our everyday pains. He knows.

HE KNOWS. And, that's 'good' for us!

That's your Catechism for today, Guys! Next topic, Party games with string, a hot dog, and a candle. :-)

Have a blessed day and Happy Easter!


Monday, April 14, 2014

A New Me?

The last 5 weeks have been a BIG OLE Reboot for me!

I'm jazzed about doing some Spring Cleaning this month, reorganizing, decluttering.  Did I really just say that? Seriously, this is a PLAN! I've even started Freecycling some items online.

My friends know that I've been DIY'ing a lot of hair products but have now moved down to my face.  I have, from my 'natural' chemist's basket and kitchen, concocted everything I need for hair and now find I have the ingredients for facial products, as well.  Thank you again, YouTube!

Lately, I've watched Lisa Pullano, AndreasChoice, XO_DVF and many others picking up tons of tips on clearing and preventing acne, brightening dull skin, and reversing ageing, sun damage, etc.  I've learned that there are young ladies with TOO many shoes, clothes, make-up and nail polishes that they've organized like a retail store!  It's amazing.  I thought I had too much eye shadow, but these girls put me to shame! I don't even wear most of them. I have this weird idea that I have to use something up before I buy or use another. I know it makes no sense but it is what it is in my brain.

I've lost at least 10 pounds during this time (Hold applause until the end, please) and my energy was pushed to its limits while I attended classes to become a certified volunteer guardian ad litem. Now that's over and graduation has been completed, I'll be meeting with my supervisor to choose my first case. I'm excited and terrified at the same time but I feel called to do this for a child or be their voice.

I haven't had white sugar, potatoes or rice, meat or fowl of any kind (except an occasional egg) in 5 weeks.  Now, THAT has been an accomplishment in itself.  There was a time if I didn't eat meat of some kind two to three times per week I was not pleasant to live with. Let's leave it at that and see if I can keep it up. I've greatly limited the amount of white flour, if any, that I eat. You will NOT see me scarfing down any 'yoga mat bread' from Subway, Burger King's or  McD's, either.

I was able to stay off of Facebook except to check for direct messages from my daughter, did NOT play Candy Crush at all and did some major reading and reflection.

I now have a calendar that I'm actually using and...hold on...I was invited to a group therapy meeting!

If anyone wants to try this, I say, go for it.  You will be stunned, amused, touched, angry, and confused, but makes you think a little deeper. I watched, mostly, unless the facilitator asked me a direct question after a short exercise done with a couple of people. I've never seen a room full of people so loving, open and direct with one another! I've never seen a room like that where no one jumped on the other person for BEING honest about how they perceived them before. Basically, I've never seen anything like it besides on the Bob Newhart Show!

Without violating anyone's confidential information, I can say this because I want, desperately, to share this with younger, and older, people who have not considered some of what I learned that night.  For instance, if you are looking for a woman or a man to be your mate, you must know their history.  You must know their relationship with their mother. Sex, alone, tells you nothing about how life will be down the road with this person. It is the ultimate info in telling you what to expect, to determine if you even want to pursue a relationship, if you are willing to put the work in to make a healthy relationship, and what will be needed to do it. 

It made so much sense and was put out there in such a simple way.  Define what Love means to you.  Find out, does it mean the same to him or her? Is there a barrier of neglect, abuse, divorce, addiction, adultery, mental or emotional illness, or over/under attachment that would prevent your mate from being in a healthy adult relationship with you? You can't over-communicate where all of this is concerned.

If I had to choose a theme song for my relationship with Left-Brain, at first it'd be Taylor Swift's song, "I Knew You Were Trouble When I Met You". But that's ok, because I knew what I was dealing with and how to...God bless him! Now, the song is Etta James, "At Last". The effort was more than worth it.

Then there was a conversation regarding children and how they should not be made to feel responsible for what their parents do or say or how they act.  Everyone always thinks a mother or father should be perfect and will always show love and caring for their child. Not always. Parents are human beings. There can be problems. The most disturbing one discussed was referred to as "emotional incest" in which a parent 'overshares' with the child, at whatever age, personal grownup information...usually involving the other parent. It's not fair, but it happens more frequently than I like to think about. Furthermore, when a parent tries to fix 'parenting' by giving everything a child asks for it doesn't correct this in any way, in fact, it can cause long-term damage of anger, guilt, shame, and lack of ability to express themselves due their 'secret-keeping' status. Therefore, the child grows with their own issues in trying to obtain or maintain a relationship.

I heard a story about a woman who was severely maltreated by her own mother but through therapy, who is able to be there for her now that the mother is aged and sick. She had forgiven her. "Mother" never asked forgiveness but "Daughter" found it within herself to love her damaged parent, regardless. She's healthier and happier for it and able to be a better wife because of that. It didn't happen overnight but, apparently, it was worth it. The lesson was that one must accept loving, at times, without receiving love in return.

Help is something that is offered selflessly. Kindness is shown. It's said that Love is not Love until it's given away. Forgiveness, however, should not be what we think is owed to us. It is not. It needs to be expressed to others, whether they ask for it or not, and to ourselves, also.

We all need love, help, kindness, and forgiveness in our lives. We need to show it as well as receive it. That's what I learned last Friday night. I'll be honest, I thought I was aware of my own failings in some areas and I'm feeling more connected now. So, I'm glad I went, glad for these weeks of Penance that gave me nothing but time to focus on what matters, and I'm glad I've learned a lot this Lenten Season.    

In closing (I hate that phrase!), I'd like to share part of a homily from Palm Sunday.

There was a Special Olympics race for children. Eight children lined up and on the signal began running around the track. One child, however, fell and began to cry. Every child ahead of him turned and came back to where he was. They helped him up, dusted him off, and wiped his tears away. A child came from the stands to where they were and kissed him, saying everything would be alright. All 9 children crossed the finish-line together that day and all were winners.

Corny? Maybe. But what are we if we don't reach back and help someone get to where we are trying to get to? Wouldn't it be great for us all to get there with no one left behind?

Happy Easter Season to Everyone!