Monday, April 21, 2014

Imma Let You Finish...

Handel, Imma let you finish, but Mahler had one of the best Resurrection themed pieces of all time...of all time.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Don't Need No Stinkin' Planned Parenthood

Well I've got my first 'women's' appointment at the women's clinic. Not at the Planned Parenthood...Strange...I'm going in for women's healthcare...and yet I don't have to go anywhere near a Planned Parenthood. And yet all the talk says that the only place that I can go to get reproductive health services--not baby killing mind you, real services like pelvic exams and mammograms--is the Planned Parenthood. LIES. There are plenty of places that a woman can go to get real and true help or the non-baby killing variety.
Now, this may be a little TMI, but I feel it needs to be said. It is a lie that women can only go to Planned Parenthood to get health services. That is a straight out lie. Besides! Who would let one entity get all the cash from women? What business minded folks would allow for a monopoly like that? You mean for decades, with all the women who need real health services, NO ONE ELSE would try and set up a shop for ladies? NO ONE AT ALL? They would just let Planned Parenthood get all the cash? And what about charities? No other charities would try and pitch in and offer help to women who don't have health insurance or a lot of money? They would just let the Planned Parenthood take up the slack? I don't think so. Do not believe the lie folks. Don't buy into the hype. Planned Parenthood is a human chop-shop dedicated to destroying the bodies of human beings, and ruining the lives and souls of the mothers, fathers, grandparents, family members, of the destroyed human being as well as the 'doctors' and others who supported, encouraged, coerced, and participated in the slaughter. The Planned Parenthood will do anything for the blood money that comes from the humans they destroy. Women's health is nothing to them.

If you don't like what I've said, well tough. Deal with it. It's the truth. You support Planned Parenthood, you support the annihilation of your fellow man.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

4th of July Hilarity

Is it not hilarious the way everyone goes around saying: "Happy 4th of July!" to anyone they see walking the streets on July 3rd and 4th? Isn't it funny? Especially since at Christmas people freak out about saying Merry Christmas. At Easter, people freak out about saying Happy Easter. Apparently it's because no one wants to offend anyone. Not everyone celebrates Christmas and Easter. Not everyone believes in what Christmas and Easter stand for. But what about the 4th of July?
Well I can tell you that not everyone is an American for one. Isn't that offensive to the people who are not Americans? I wished my friend from India a happy 4th--certainly I made quite the offensive remark! That must be why he brightly smiled and wished me the same.
What about the people who are in America but hate it nonetheless? I'm sure there are people like that here and there, just as there are plenty of people who hate Jesus at Christmas time. Shouldn't we be considerate of their feelings and beliefs before we carelessly shout: "Happy 4th of July!"
What about the British who happen to be in America? What about the descendants of the English soldiers who fought during the Revolutionary war? Certainly wishing them a happy 4th, seeing that they were on the losing team, is quite the politically incorrect thing to say! 
What about the African Americans who's ancestors didn't get their freedom until nearly 100 years later? Why, telling people of African descent in America happy 4th of July is just as bad as wishing a Jewish person a Merry Christmas, is it not?
What about people who don't celebrate the 4th of July? I didn't this year. Where is the special consideration for my feelings? 
No. We don't really take these things into account. It is America. And if you are in America, like it or not, you get to celebrate America's special day with everyone else. Why tip-toe around peoples feelings or thoughts or beliefs? The 4th of July really is a special day and no one should be excluded from the joy and festivities.
But what about Christmas and Easter? Those are far more special than the 4th of July. Those holidays celebrate our eternal freedom, not just our temporal freedom that is, to be honest, quickly fading away. Why does everyone get all up in arms about the well-wishes and festivities of Christmas and Easter? I know the answer to this question as much as you do, dear reader. I just want to point it out that we've got an obvious double standard (surprise, surprise). America's roots for the most part are Christian. Why are we trying to deny that for the sake of those who aren't Christian, hate Christianity, etc.? Isn't that like denying the special-ness of the 4th of July because it may upset the people who aren't American, aren't patriotic or hate America? Without a second thought we say, "Happy 4th of July!". That is because this is America, this is the land that we are in. If you don't like it, well that's tough, get thee to a barbecue and watch some fireworks! But more and more people balk at the idea of saying: Merry Christmas! or Happy Easter! Why? Those are two special days in the faith that brought up, not just this country, but the entirety of Western civilization. 
Again, I know that you know that I know that you know that I know the answers to these questions. I just wanted to throw these thoughts out there. I've been thinking these things for a while but I just haven't really said anything about it until now. 
God bless, and happy belated 4th of July--unless you aren't American, hate America, aren't patriotic, don't celebrate the 4th of July, are the descendant of a British soldier, British, African American, communist, socialist, from the planet mars--oh brother, never mind. Happy belated Thursday--unless you don't believe in the days of the week, hate Thursdays or follow a different calendar...

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hair

My hair has grown. And I am starting to love it. But I must cover it. This is for God.

I may have said in another post what I did to my hair in July of 2010. I took my brother's clippers and sheared it all off. I, for all intents and purposes, was bald.
Why did I do this you ask? For two reasons. One corporeal. The other spiritual.

 Let's start with the corporeal. I had my hair relaxed--chemically straightened. I hated it. I had my first relaxer when I was 15. The stuff they put on my hair burned like the dickens, it made my hair strands thin and brittle. The salon visits were expensive and were required every few weeks for conditioning or relaxer application every few weeks. On top of it all, I was lazy. I didn't take care of my hair. I didn't moisturize it. I didn't always cover it before I went to bed. I didn't do anything with it. I just pulled it back into a pony tail. I didn't go to the salon just because I didn't feel like it. My hair had become just a hassle. Something I really didn't take care of, didn't care for, and found to be more trouble than it was worth.

  And it showed. My hair had gotten so bad that at one appointment I had to have my shoulder length hair cut into a pixie cut because so much had broken off in chunks in different places making it look patchy. It was dull and rough. The pixie cut was nice, but I still didn't take care of it. By July of 2010, my hair was so fragile that to slightly tug on it saw strands breaking as if I had yanked on it as hard as I could. I needed a fresh start. I wanted to go natural.

  What is going natural? Going natural is growing the afro-textured hair of those of African decent without using chemicals to straighten it. In other words growing out your hair, letting it stay the way it was made and doing cool things with it like braiding and twisting and all sorts of other cool styles. I wanted to do that--or at least the letting my hair stay the way it came, cool things couldn't happen because I planned on keeping it covered. That was because of the spiritual.

 The spiritual. It had been on my heart to cover my hair again. 1 Corinthians 11 was on my mind again. You see, I had covered my hair when I was 19 for about 3 months. I did it all wrong. I didn't cover with silky fabrics so the cottony fabrics caused my hair to break off. I didn't take care of my hair underneath it. And worst of all, I let my mother get to me. My mother was like many Christian women who catch wind that you cover your hair and decide to rip you to shreds or make fun of you. My mother teetered between the two. Yeah. Good times. One day the pressure of my damaged hair and my mother's ridicule got to be too much and I stopped covering. I went to the salon and got my hair conditioned and relaxed and it was beautiful. My mother was pleased. I felt like I put God on the shelf, but I ignored this feeling the best I could.

  Fast forward to 2010, I was getting this tug on my heart. I needed to cover my hair. I especially felt this at Mass, but I managed to ignore it, especially since my mother was so dead set against it and her opinion at that time influenced me greatly. But I was doing a lot of spiritual reading that summer and Lectio Divina and I seemed to have something happen to me on the spiritual level. My spiritual life had become very robust--and I wish I had not stopped what I was doing because while my spiritual life isn't bad, it's not as nice as it was then. It was to the point that when I would go into church, I would smile because I could actually feel the presence of Christ. I had this Joy. It makes sense that taking up the veil again weighed heavily on my heart.

  But it wasn't just covering my hair, that pulled at me, it was also restoring my hair to its natural and greater glory (greater than the processed hair that was falling out of my head). I had been contemplating just cutting it all off and starting fresh, but I couldn't. I was too afraid. Until one day I was listening to some spiritual talks, I believe by Fr. Corapi (pray for him). I felt the pull. I had to cut my hair. This had to be done. So I went to the bathroom, grabbed my brother's clippers and sheared off all of my hair. And then I cried.

  Why did I cry? It wasn't because I was now bald. It looked awesome--especially when I tried on some earrings later that night. I cried because I felt that that was what God wanted, but didn't know why He was asking it of me. Why did I have to go and stick out like a sore thumb? Why did I have to shave my head and start over so that my hair could be my glory again as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 11? Why? Why? Why?  I didn't get an answer.

   In any case cutting my hair was the right thing to do, both corporeally and spiritually. I didn't regret it. Now, in 1 Corinthians 11 it says that a woman's hair should be long. It seems counter intuitive to go and cut my hair to be in accordance with God, but what was on my head wasn't really my hair. It was something else entirely and it was falling out strand by strand. It is not uncommon for women who decide to cover their hair to get it cut one last time to remove a perm or dye-job to revert back to the natural God-given glory we were born with. Maybe we're wrong. Maybe by cutting our hair when we feel called to follow 1 Corinthians 11 we were being disobedient, but rest assured, many of us plan on never cutting our hair short again. We become women shorn in order to start our head covering saga.

  I didn't immediately start to cover my hair. I was at home and while my mother loved my bald head she was still against my covering it. I also was being disobedient to the call I felt and spent my last few days dressing immodestly, head uncovered and all. The last shebang was a church pool party where I wore a red sleeveless low cut dress, my bald head and dangly earrings. I hope and pray I didn't call anyone to sin or stumble by the way I was dressed, especially the priest. After that, however, I started to cover up, including my bald head.

  So fast forward to now. My hair has grown out. I take care of it. I only cover it with silky or nylon type fabrics that have little to no friction and don't absorb moisture which can lead to breakage of afro-textured hair. I love my hair. And it is getting to the point that I wish I could wear it out. Before, I preferred wearing my scarves to my hair, because it went through some awkward phases as it grew. Now, it has reached a nice length and when I put on my earrings before I put on my scarf, I feel a little bit of a yearning to go outside with my head uncovered, with my hair looking nice and natural in its many braids. But I don't. This is my small, maybe even superficial sacrifice to God. I cannot go without my head uncovered when I pray or when I leave the house (both because of prayers and my all my actions oriented towards God during the day, and the presence of men--I don't cover around women). I simply can't, no matter how nice my hair looks. No matter how good it might feel to have to wind blow through it--heaven knows my hair hasn't see the light of day in 3 years.

 In a way I'm glad I have gotten to this point. Wearing a head covering day in and day out gets to be part of the routine. It was never really was as difficult as it is for some for me in the first place since I've always marched to the beat of a different drum. I'm good at standing on my own, even though I do like to blend in. I had a lot of pretty scarves and used to wear them a lot, but now I normally wear a black scarf or snood just to cut down on the morning fuss. In other words covering was something I got used to and it didn't feel like too much of a sacrifice after a certain point--except for when I take a step back and realize how much it makes me unable to blend in when I'd like to, and puts me on the front lines visibly in a world that hates the Trinity and Its followers.Or when it's hot. But now, each morning when I wet and moisturize my hair and see how nice it looks, I cover it up with my black scarf that looks nice, but not as nice as my hair. I go from a me that looks carefree, fun and natural to a me that looks, sober and hidden. This is good. I guess you could say that I'm glad that my hair-shirt itches.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

My Conversion

This is my conversion story:
I was a Protestant mostly in the Baptist persuasion, but with a military father and mother who was constantly trying to find a church that she could call home, I've been to more churches than I can count, from tiny nondenominational churches held in hotel conference rooms with a 5 person congregation, to a massive nondenominational mega church with at least a thousand people in the congregation on Sunday. I had never felt right at church. For as long as I can remember, going to church has been an extremely uncomfortable experience for me. I can remember being 3 years old and not feeling right in church. I could never put my finger on the feeling. I couldn't describe it and even if I could I simply couldn't tell anyone because, to put it bluntly, I hated going to church. It was almost painful. I'd go but I just felt so uncomfortable. I knew I had to go, nothing could stop me from going, not even the intense dread I felt towards my late teens. I'd sit in church for the two hour duration staring at the floor aching to get out and when it finally ended, I felt great. I’ll admit, great because I was relieved that it was over, but also because I did what I had to do to please God. I'd try to do extra things through out my childhood in order to make me 'like' church more. Youth groups, choirs, being an usher. Trying to read the Bible, going to Bible study. No matter what I did it didn't matter. I couldn't even watch church programs on TV without feeling very uncomfortable. I was even baptized a second time, thinking it would make things click.

Anyway when I became I teenager, the idea of the cessation of the church on Sunday mandate in my home was in the back of my mind. Once I turned 18 and was out of the house, church would not be something I had to do. But I wanted to. I knew in my heart of hearts that it was the right and good thing to do, so I knew that even if I didn't have to, I would no matter what. Even if it was like getting my teeth pulled every Sunday. When I was 15 I started dabbling in the idea of finding another way of worship that was more comfortable. I looked into Judaism. It was awesome! I had a school project on it so I got to study it somewhat deeply. It looked right! I was considering becoming Jewish when–BAM! No Jesus. I found out that they don’t have Christ. That’s why they’re Jewish and not Christian. So they were missing a key player. I looked into the Orthodox church(es) as I loved the Russian language and was interested in Russia. I found it to look pretty interesting. The only reason I didn't go further into Orthodoxy was because the nearest church was several miles away and I had no car.

I had sort of given up my church hunt after that. With college looming on the horizon I knew I would run into church issues. Mother would not be there telling me to go. I hated going to church. But I wanted to go to church. I knew that I’d just hop from church to church to church while in college until I simply stopped going...its hard to continue to do what is painful even if you know it’s the right thing to do. I was very worried about going to college as I knew that I would fall off the church going wagon.

And suddenly, out of the blue, it happened. My key to the faith appeared. See I grew up in the library. My mother took my brother and me to the library all the time and inspired a love of reading in us. The library I frequented had a section of free books in which an assortment of free books could be found. Now, this section had disappeared. One day they simply ceased to have free books. For months the shelf was empty. But one day it reappeared, but in a new place and the only reason it stood out to me was because it reappeared in the form of a heavy box of books haphazardly set on a glass display case. Naturally, I’m thinking to myself, ‘why on earth is this on this case? It’s an accident waiting to happen’. I asked the librarian and they simply said they were free books to take. So I did. After going months without free books, I was rather excited. I found all sorts of books. Adventure, romance, mystery and so on. I tend to take any books that look at least moderately interesting to me for two reasons. 1. I love to write and therefore using other books helps me to write my own stories with plot, tense and other elements, and 2. I love to write and because I use other books to help me write I need them, but they are expensive so free books are a quick and easy access to valuable resources. I found a book called ‘Born Fundamentalist, born Again Catholic’ (from now on BFBAC) by David B. Currie and I put it back. It really didn't look all the that interesting. If I really wasn't into Christian things (I loved God but what I was exposed to in terms of Christianity made me uncomfortable) then why would I read a book about Christianity? I could hardly get myself to church! The picture on the front looked kind of dry and boring and I am greatly influenced by the cover art. I was about to leave with my mother when I decided to go back for the book. I have learned over the years from free book collecting, garage/yard sell meandering and thrift store shopping that if you have even the slightest interest in something, get it as there is no guarantee that it would be there if you changed your mind. So I went back and got it. 

Of the 7 or 8 books I got and was excited to crack open and read, it was BFBAC that I actually read. The other books were put on a shelf and I've only read one or two of them about 6 months after I got them. But BFBAC? I read in about two days. The one book I didn't really want and was sure I’d never read. It was the authors account of what took him from being a Fundamentalist Protestant to his conversion to the Catholic Church. Everything he described about the Church clicked in my head as what I had been looking for and yearning for since I was three years old. I wrote all over the margins as the things he said about the Church would click in my mind and I’d make notes of my thoughts. It practicably turned into a journal. On March 21 2008, when I finished the book I became Catholic. It wasn't until Easter 2009 that I was confirmed, but that was the turning point in my life. I went to my first Mass about a month later and I haven’t looked back sense. 
In the end, God used my love for free books, my desire to please Him on Sunday, my seeking of something more and more comfortable, and an inability to leave free books behind to His advantage and lead me Home where I could not be happier. 

Summer Dream Dress Follow Up

So I couldn't make the summer work dress of my dreams. That's OK. I bought three instead and they are excellent. They are made of Tropical Breeze Fabric and come complete with capes. I was going to do some modifications with the cape for ventilation but I have worked all day in the dresses in 90 degree weather and didn't have problems with being hotter than I would normally be. Plus the long skirt is like a giant ventilation shaft anyway. I also love how the skirt is long enough for me to bend over, crouch, sit, crawl and a plethora of other strange things to get the job done with full--and I mean full--coverage. I have two skirts that I have tried to work in, but the minute I kneel is the minute I'm battling to keep things kosher. And one isn't so great when there is a good stiff breeze. I love my dresses.

  That being said, I do feel a little silly working out in the field looking like a Laura Ingles wannabe. No one has said anything, at least to my face and I figure people chalk it up to me just being from another planet. At my research station I am one of 4 black people, the only black student. I am the only one without a Southern accent. I cover my hair and did so last year when I worked there so they knew that already. Now I'm just doing something else that makes me different. It can be daunting to go out to the field in a dress, but then I think about the alternative. The silliness I sometimes feel in a dress is very surface level. It's a superficial feeling. However when I think of the alternative--my one pair of athletic shorts--I have a feeling that goes deep down. And that feeling is No. Absolutely not. I don't know why. Heaven knows my life would be easier if that were not the case. Since it's not, I bite the bullet and get my Little House on the Prairie groove on, and stand out like a sore thumb. But no one says anything, and everyone I work closely with accepts me just the way I am, head-covering dress and all.

I'm putting the "girl" back in Farm Girl.

(Disclaimer: the last sentence is just an expression. You can be modest and feminine in jeans and t-shirts and all that.)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Prayers for the Little Babies

In China abandoned baby was found in a toilet sewage pipe. You may or may not have heard of it. I could talk about how twisted people are these days. I could talk about how the world is going to hell in a hand basket. But I don't want to. I want to talk about some good things. The first is that this little baby is alive--this little baby was spared the evil of a society that has become so grotesque and twisted that it would try to kill a tiny little baby in such a twisted and grotesque way.
 There are other good things. One is hope. For as long as there is life, there is hope. I have hopes for this little baby. I have prayers for this little baby.
 I pray that this little baby finds a warm loving home and family.
I pray that this little baby experiences the joy of the Catholic faith.
 I pray that this little baby grows up big and strong.
I pray that this little baby has many wonder friends.
 I pray that this little baby excels in school.
I pray that this little baby graduates with honors.
 I pray that this little baby becomes whatever he or she dreams to be.
I pray that this little baby lives his vocation is truth and love.
 I pray that this little baby will praise God with heart and soul.
I pray that this little baby have a wonderful life full of adventure, love and hope.
 Praise be to God that this little baby was spared.