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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My Lenten Sacrifice




As Lent draws to a close and the promise of Easter and, I hope, spring at last arrives, I remembered a little piece I had begun last year, as Lent began:  

I confess:  I am not aging gracefully.  And a recent photo of me, taken at my mother’s 80th birthday celebration, left me feeling old, fat, irrelevant.
            It is also Lent, a time for prayer and self-denial in preparation for Easter.  So, since I am an early riser, l often try to make morning Mass.
            I am a rather recalcitrant Catholic, but I love the Mass.  And I love the St. Therese chapel at St. Helena Church in Blue Bell.  The walls are mostly white.  There are two huge stained glass windows behind the tiny altar, and many of the panes are pastel blues and greens and lilacs.  The ceiling above the altar is painted blue and dazzled with silver stars.  Even on a gray day, the little chapel is bright and airy.  That particular day, the chapel was radiant.
            So, maybe that is why, before the priest was even out on the altar, my spirits lifted considerably.  A little voice from somewhere reminded me:  “You can change how you feel about yourself, you know.”
            I can’t say I dropped twenty pounds or twenty years off my life that morning.  However, I sort of felt like I had.  And when the priest read the gospel, it was the same gospel read at my Aunt Renee’s funeral.  I felt as if she were encouraging me, too.
            So, I left my oldness, fatness and irrelevance in the St. Therese chapel.  I gave them up for Lent.
            Funny thing… As I was leaving Mass, a woman caught up with me and asked, “Did you leave your backpack under the pew?”
            No, someone else must have left his or her baggage, there, too.
Since then, I have certainly felt much lighter.

As I read, what humbled me was how much lighter – physically, emotionally, spiritually – I have become since then. This Lent, I really didn’t “give up” anything.  Rather, I have embraced a positive outlook and resolved to trust in whatever has brought me back to Cape May.  

Happy Easter and Happy Passover and Happy Spring to all!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Emerging from a Long Winter's Sleep


Julie Owsik Ackerman

Recently, I had a migraine that lasted for about a month. Yes, this sucks. If you ever find yourself with a headache for several days, call a neurologist and a masseuse pronto. Give up caffeine if you can. I heard this suggestion 15 years ago, and only managed it five days ago, so I understand if you can’t. Reluctantly, I will report, five days without caffeine, and five days without a headache. Bye-bye coffee. I will miss you, but we had a good run. I’m also trying cranial sacral manipulation with an osteopath, which is awesome. And, of course, self-care: more rest, more down time, slowing down, cutting things out of the schedule, healthy eating, etc.

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Do I have to get up?

Now that I’m feeling more like myself, I feel how I imagine it may feel to wake from a coma. The house is a disaster. We had no diapers, no clean clothes, no toilet paper, no food: you get the idea. My challenge this week is to ease back in to normal life, without overdoing it. I did spend some time tidying up last night and this morning – ‘tis the season after all. Of course I stocked up on essentials, but I will try to keep up my regimen of rest and self-care, reminding myself that after being sick for a full month, I will not immediately be able to resume all normal activities. I may need to tie a string around my finger as a reminder. Taking it easy does not come naturally to me, and after a month of illness, and this long brutal winter, I am more than ready for spring!


How can I gently celebrate spring’s arrival? I’d love suggestions!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Following Facebook...What's Not to Like?


Recent (and not so recent) photos on my timeline
Chris Brady

I checked my Facebook page this morning for the first time in three days and was struck by the life going on while I was away:

  • A former co-worker was married this week on a beach in the Keys.  (Like, Comment)
  • A friend got away from it all in Jamaica.  (Like, Jealous)
  • A friend achieved a significant honor as a public speaker.  (Like, Comment)
  • A friend is turning 60 and has launched a new business.  (Like, Comment)
  • A friend who lives at the Jersey shore is enjoying winter on a Florida beach. (Like, Jealous)
  • A friend is at Phillies Spring training. (Like)
  • A former co-worker’s 19-year old sister has died.  (Condolences Comment)

Before Facebook, many of these events would have occurred outside of my sphere of awareness.  (Most notably the former co-workers’ life events.) 

I’m guessing it’s the same for you.

I have family members and friends who claim they have never been on Facebook (and  infer that they never will).  They prefer real vs. virtual communications.

I agree that face-to-face and ear-to-ear communications are superior experiences, but I can’t deny the pleasure of Facebook. It’s reality TV, but with people I know or have known.

I’m not exactly a Facebook stalker (someone who reads but never posts) but I admit that I am not sharing as much as most of the people I follow. It’s not that my life is less interesting from the people I’m following; I just don’t take the time to photograph and share. 

But I am so glad that my family and friends are generous with their moments. I smile almost every time I open up my page.  

And today, I was saddened too.  

But happy or sad, I felt a connection to others.  

And what's not to like about that?

Are you a Facebook fan or a Refusenik?

How often do you post on Facebook? 

What kind of posts do you like/ not like?