28 November 2009

Things to be thankful for...

I only missed Thanksgiving by two days. Not bad, considering that on Thanksgiving day I felt I had little to be thankful for. Monday, I had two teeth taken out. Both were the upper back molars on either side of my mouth (not wisdom teeth, though they might as well have been.) I'm still recovering from that, and on Thursday, my not-teeth still hurt! And that hurt was compounded by a cold that developed Wednesday night. A bruised chipmunk mouth + runny nose + sore throat + cough does not = a happy Thanksgiving! Let me tell you!

So I'm making up for my general bah-humbug attitude on Thanksgiving by writing up a list of things in my life I'm thankful for:

1. A healthy, happy, beautiful son
2. A generally healthy, generally happy, and always beautiful me! (Also known as I'm thankful for my well-being... because I'm not vain. Not at all. Just amazing)
3. A family who supports me in my endeavors
4. Friends who are willing to go out of their way for lunch on very short notice
5. Natural abilities and talent that enable me to pursue a career that I will enjoy (if I don't decide to join up with the Peace Corps instead!)
6. Amazing books by amazing authors, most notably the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (and now Brandon Sanderson) which I have been following since I was 12 or 13
7. My understanding that god reveals Him/Herself slowly, in unexpected ways, always showing a new side or revelation
8. "The Best Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chunk Cookies You've Ever Tasted" recipe (and the ability to bake them *drool*)

I could probably go on for ages, but I think this list covers the basics, including family, friends, health, and food. I am always thankful for these things in my life, though maybe not always as consciously as on Thanksgiving (or two days after, in this case). Happy belated Thanksgiving!

22 November 2009

My gods

I've never liked the Roman (and Greek, for they were taught to me as the same gods, just different names) pantheon. I'd never been drawn to them in the slightest in my search for gods to call upon. I preferred Celtic and Norse gods mainly, with the occasional Egyptian and Hindu god thrown into the mix. In January or February the Goddess revealed her name to me as Gaia. Oh, the irony. But, perhaps even more ironic, a short time later I decided to convert to Christianity. More irony that after my conversion I decided to continue on as both a Christian *and* a Pagan.

My gods have again given me their names via my studies. They are Christian gods, from the Bible, Gnostic texts, and other non-canonical scriptures. God is Eloah, Yeshua, and the Holy Spirit; Goddess is Sophia, Mary (Magdalene), and the Holy Soul.

Though I'm often unsure of exactly where I stand in my religion, I know the names my gods wish to be called. I say mine, because god is personal. "My" god is not the same as "your" god, even if we were to call him/her/it by the same name. My uncertainty of beliefs is not a weakness. It simply means that I will keep searching, continue my explorations, and not grow bored or jaded. How awful and lonely it must be for those who have it all figured out and have given up exploring deeper, for those who continue day after day or week after week doing what they have always done, because it is the "right" way, for those who stop feeling god during their worship.

14 November 2009

On death and dying and the afterlife

I meant to write this post a couple of weeks ago, when it was closer to Samhain, but something always came up. I've started this post several times, but every time I either got distracted, or it just wasn't coming out the way I wanted it to. Oddly, though, it didn't go away. It's just been floating around in my head.

My favourite story about my infancy took place when I was was first introduced to my extended family when I was only a few days old. My Papa, who as a rule, did not like babies until they could walk and talk, told my Mom, "Give me my baby!" And he took me and held me. And from that day, much to the shock of the entire family, I was his baby. He died, I believe, a few months later. Mom always said he took to me because he knew he wouldn't have a chance later, that he knew something was going to happen to him. Even though I never knew him, I still cry thinking about him. Hell, I'm crying as I write this. I can feel his love.

As a child, when I was just an assumed Christian, because I knew nothing else existed, when I prayed to God, I would also pray to Papa. Sometimes I wouldn't even talk to God, I would just talk to Papa. I knew, with the knowledge only a child has, that Papa was in Heaven, with nothing better to do than to sit on a cloud watching his favourite grandchild and listening to her prayers.

I never dreamed that my views on the afterlife would change so drastically. I no longer believe in Heaven in the way I remember knowing it to be as a child. Heaven isn't where we go for an eternity after we die. Can you imagine how boring that would be?! Walking around on the clouds, with nothing to do?! Ew.

In the show Dead Like Me, the afterlife is personal, although you don't see what actually takes place once a person enters their afterlife: you only catch a glimpse of it. The one I remember most clearly was that of an Irishman. His afterlife was on the cliffs of (Ireland somewhere, I'm assuming) overlooking the ocean. I also remember a young girl's afterlife was an amusement park. It's an interesting concept. One can also see that concept at work in the movie (and book!) What Dreams May Come. The dead go to their own private world, while God is... out there... somewhere. They can choose to remain in their world for however long they wish, then they can return to earth and be reborn.

I find it amusing that my theology of the afterlife is based off of this show and this movie/book. But those views fit in with what I believe, what I've believed for a long time. In one of my books about Wicca/Paganism, the author states that as Witches, we are not reborn in order to learn lessons and "progress," but, rather, because we enjoy living. We enjoy life. This sentiment really speaks to me. Would eternity of no worries or stress really be that awesome? Wouldn't happily ever after become redundant?

After I die, I don't know what great adventures I will have. I don't know that I'll get to have any. But I can only hope that they offer challenges that will sustain my drive to overcome. Perhaps I will get the chance to be reborn. Perhaps the life after this will be in its own place and time, another stepping stone to where ever my soul is headed. But I sincerely hope that whatever it is, it isn't boring!

11 November 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday -- Daring

Jamie Ridler over at Jamie Ridler Studios asks us this wonderful Wednesday:

What do you wish to dare?

I wish to dare to meet new people.

Somehow, as a child, I never developed the necessary social skills needed to make friends easily. Probably because as a youngster (and now!!) I dared to be different, and we all know how children can be to those who choose not to fit in. So now that I'm in my 20's and I'm supposed to be meeting people who will be my friends for the rest of my life... I'm staying at home or just being asocial when I'm out in public.

So I wish to dare to meet new people, which may possibly be one of the most frightening things I can think of. ^_^

You can be a maker of magic and a tender of wishes. It’s easy. Answer the wish prompt above on your blog and then add a direct link to your post in the box below. Support wishes by visiting other participants, leaving a comment saying “As (insert name) wishes for her/himself, so I wish for her/him also.” It’s that simple. There is great power in wishing together.

09 November 2009

this makes me giggle

I thought I would share this site with my lovely readers, who I hope will get a good chuckle out of it, because I sure did!!

mr.deity Click on "episodes" and enjoy!!

Now comes the question: should I find this as amusing as I do? Eh, who knows... But, hey, if you can't laugh at religion, what can you laugh at?

08 November 2009

Church on Sunday

It is Sunday morning and I'm debating whether I should go to church or not. As much as I enjoy the church I go to (it's a Methodist church), I don't really know anyone there. I started going to this church back in April with my boyfriend, and I've made a few friends. But I still don't know them very well, and I feel that they're my boyfriend's friends more than mine... Rather like even though they like me, they are just putting up with me.

Plus the church is in another town, half an hour away. If it was in my town, I would probably be there in a heart beat... But spending an hour in the car for an hour-long service and some hellos is not my idea of fun.

Plus, I don't see the need of a church service to worship/learn about God. Church, for me, is more about the community than God. But what good is a community if it is thirty minutes away? I just wish my boyfriend didn't sound so offended when I talk about finding a church here in town.

Today is a going to be another gorgeous day, I think. (It's gotten up to 74/75 the last two days!!! In NOVEMBER!) I think that perhaps Camden and I will go out to the lake this morning and worship the way we're used to: appreciating and connecting with Nature. At least I won't have to sit there for an hour, worried every second of it that Cam is going to start making noise or running around or whatever he does to be disruptive. lol

07 November 2009

time to get comprehensive

This semester I'm taking a public speaking class, and for it I have to give a variety of speeches. The first was a demonstration speech (knitting), the second an analysis speech (genetically modified crops and their possible effects on world hunger), and the third speech is supposed to be persuasive. There are many things I feel strongly about, that I would love to give a speech on, but many of these things I don't feel I could argue rationally. Such as religious tolerance (what's the big deal? if it's not hurting anyone, let them do what they want! worry about your own soul! etc with a few f-bombs, prolly). Another is equality in marriage laws--aka gay marriage. This nearly makes me quiver with rage, just thinking about it! Especially when the terms those homophobic and (usually) religiously zealous bigots give themselves: pro-family, protectors of the institution of marriage. ... But perhaps that rant is for another post, another time.

The topic I've decided on is comprehensive sex-ed, via whatever source available. Abstinence only sex-ed claims to teach you "how to have the BEST SEX of your LIFE," but for the person who decides to not wait (or chooses mediocre sex) they are grossly under-informed, or worse misinformed, and ill-prepared for sex in what may or may not be a committed long-term relationship. In seventh grade, the abstinence teacher stood in front of my class room and told my class that a condom had to be as thick as a balloon in order to prevent the HIV virus from permeating through it. That when you open a condom, you're supposed to unroll it and look for holes before using it, and since no one does that, that's why they don't work, because there are often holes. That having sex before marriage (aka, I'm assuming, a commitment before God and family since the abstinence teacher was a pastor) would devastate the relationship and all future relationships.

I realise abstinence is the ONLY way to COMPLETELY prevent babies and (most) STD's (depending on what a person's definition of abstinence is). But in today's society, it is unrealistic to expect everyone to wait until marriage, since many people are choosing to pursue careers before settling down to create a family. (Unless of course, you're gay and not living in one of the few states that grants you the freedom to legally express your love for another person with a marriage license, because, then you have to be abstinent forever. /sarcasm) I want to say that places with comprehensive sex-ed have lower teen pregnancy rates/STD rates, but I'm not entirely sure that's true, because I haven't researched it.

Morally, I don't see anything wrong with not waiting until marriage. In Western society, there is no longer that taboo on non-virgin women. Well, maybe so from the religious right, but not from society as a whole. I'm not going to be stoned to death because I had a child out of wedlock, nor am I going to be sent to some unwed mothers' group home. Even though I managed to educate myself about safe sex via the internet, sometimes I wonder if the information would have had more of an impact coming from an authority figure, rather than some teen networking site. I knew I was taking chances, but I don't think I realised how big the chances I was taking were. But I worry about the people who choose not to educate themselves. The ones who say, "well, the sex-ed teacher told us condoms fail all the time, so why should we bother?"

04 November 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday

What do you wish to experience?

You can be a maker of magic and a tender of wishes. It’s easy. Answer the wish prompt above on your blog and then add a direct link to your post in the box below. Support wishes by visiting other participants, leaving a comment saying “As (insert name) wishes for her/himself, so I wish for her/him also.” It’s that simple. There is great power in wishing together.

I wish to experience a point in time where I think to myself: I can do this! In general, I have faith in myself, but that faith is tempered by doubts about the future, my overall abilities, and worries about how others will perceive me. Just one time, I would love to experience an all-consuming confidence in myself and in my life, with nothing dampening it.

I wish to continue experiencing the joy in knowing that in a few years I will be doing what I love most. The joy in knowing I am making a career in music and will be gainfully employed. (haha)
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