Eleven Months of Memories // Undici Mesi di Ricordi

In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. 
The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. [Psalms 95:4-5]

Nature:

 

Blessings found in visiting lovely places:

(Click ‘Leer mas’ blue button for more photos and maybe even some familiar faces! 🙂

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Helping Here and There: Emphasis on everywhere // Aiutare Qua e Là: Enfasi Ovunque

“Brothers and sisters:
As you excel in every respect, in faith, discourse,
knowledge, all earnestness, and in the love we have for you,
may you excel in this gracious act also.

For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that though he was rich, for your sake he became poor,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.
Not that others should have relief while you are burdened,
but that as a matter of equality
your abundance at the present time should supply their needs,
so that their abundance may also supply your needs,
that there may be equality.
As it is written:
Whoever had much did not have more,
and whoever had little did not have less
.”

(St. Paul to the Corinthians, written in Bible 2 COR 8:7, 9, 13-15)

2nd reading for Sunday mass on July 1, 2018

I loved this reading immediately because it spoke to a question that I know many missionary friends and I myself have considered most especially after reading books that make a great case for making missionaries within the local culture of interest to be effective both in reaching hearts and spending less money on overseas travel and “unnecessary” insurance/living expenses.

I’d like to point out that there is a need for exactly that argument in most cases, because the great majority of the world lives around poverty and will not be traveling, much less have the time to volunteer or study world religions via experience or classes.

However, there are some cases that look differently. Do we need to invest differently in what the socioeconomic level standards consider ‘influencers’ among some cultures? My friend Marie is a ‘different’ case, and that’s worth discerning as she has a history of knowing the Lord and becoming closer to Jesus through work in Nepal and poorer communities within Europe. I have found myself as a ‘different’ case as I initially learned more about Central America (via my first mission trip to Guatemala) and became involved with a God-inspired, God-given, completely-God-accomplished passion acted out in mission work within Peru during young adult years.

I have learned the truth of such a passage: those who ‘we’ (U.S. Americans) consider in “impossibly difficult” living conditions both here in the U.S. and globally actually have a great advantage over the middle and upper class “lucky ones.”

  1. Space and resources must be shared: homes are smaller. This creates a necessity of family bonding via sharing resources within the home. Children share rooms, toys, meals, snacks, and experiences. Parents cannot afford childcare apart from relatives or occasional help, so they need to be on the pulse of their children’s care or (yes I realize worse conditions exist), in the case especially of single-parent homes, this could backfire in that wages are so low that kids have to stay with hesitant neighbors/relatives or average/questionable daycare facilities as the parents work as much as possible just to keep the most basic resources available for their children OR the parents may receive government aid that psycho-socially hurts the parents and makes the family dynamic more difficult for everyone involved.
  2. Free events must be found: staying involved in volunteering, church spirituality and community, and offerings for school events, library events, small driving weekend trips, park recreation, etc. This allows kids to socialize with kids from all over if parental supervision is provided and transportation is accessible. This assumes that the family can feel safe in communities and know enough about the community’s expectations to be able to get involved.
  3. Team commitment to family well-being: each family member is trying to chip in, do their best, and help the family get to a better place and ensure the basic resources needed.

I do understand this can backfire: screens become babysitters, parents work too often and see their kids rarely, teenagers feel like they take up space and find homes elsewhere…this can happen without the HUGE undertaking of a life living out virtue in small and big things every minute of the day, especially when that becomes the hardest choice. This does not have to happen, but it can happen to people with good intentions but the wrong idea of how to plan out virtue in their lives (by living apart from natural law that the Catholic faith does live out over time- there is a reason for so much of tradition based on Biblical Scripture).

How have I learned about this?

Click ‘Leer mas’ blue button to read what values in Natural Law cause in any community.

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Caring for This Skin You’re In!

List of must-haves for *finally* getting away from acne on a regular basis:

*I am not paid or sponsored by any companies. All of these opinions are based on personal experience of VERY sensitive skin and a LOT of expensive trial-and-error…including heavy (expensive) prescription medication over many years…but isn’t it great how the best options are natural formulas? This is an investment, but guess how much I spend on daily make-up? $0.00

If you are a guy who does little to nothing for skin care, you should not read this post. I’m really not kidding- you’ll think this is insane but don’t get me started about the skincare industry…stepping foot into a dermatologist’s office is where prices get outlandish. This stuff is what I’ve found as alternatives to what prices are offered in those offices (anyone understand my pain??)

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I Thirst // Io Sete // Tengo Sed

A reflection that sets my mind at peace EVERY time. I’ve shared it with non-religious and religious alike and everyone has commented on feeling peace // Una riflessione che calma la mente ogni volta. L’ho condiviso con persone non religiose e religiose e tutti hanno commentato di provare pace:

Unwanted: Unspoken disability

Disability: socially constructed phenomenon that results from barriers that are present in the environment.

World Health Organization defines disability: “disability results from the interaction of a person with his environment.”

Wildly Common Disability: unwanted as a fetus

Treatment options: lots (legally and against natural law and human dignity for all of mother, father, and child), but morally: adoption if mother is not able to take on the responsibilities of motherhood at that time. The mother who chooses adoption chooses life for herself (clean conscience and not killing) and life for that valuable life full of blessings that are unexpected and unseen…the miracles to happen are always among the least desired in the perspective of humans.

To be unwanted and defenseless at the most vulnerable moments of human development is the most tragic disability this world has forgotten or disrespected…or even allowed mass killings of those disabled by this “unwanted” label (enter abortion) and taken profit from the business of murdering the defenseless .

Mothers do not get to end the lives of children with disabilities without cutting off the grace God wishes to give them. Mothers may get desperate or feel despair, fear, worry, concern, or just not be in touch with the value of human life.

All these things currently cause the disability of being unwanted.

Planned Parenthood ended the lives of 323,999 defenseless in 2014 (source).

As of 2013, New York City’s abortion rate was 60% of their birth rate (source).

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Getting the Love You Want on p. 16 (by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D): “There is a widely held belief that when a baby is inside its mother’s womb, it experiences a sense of oneness, an Edenic experience free from desire. Martin Buber, a Jewish theologian, puts it this way, “in fetal existence, we were in communion with the universe.” ”

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Why did I pick those quotes to share with this blog? Let me give you a bit more recent reading and I assume you may pick up on the theme:

The United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) recognizes “the inherent dignity and worth and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world.” Further, the CRPD states , “persons with disabilities treated as equals before the law and to be entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law.” (p. 8).

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Translating: From Magazine to What I’d Want to Learn about Life

I do enjoy the occasional free magazine (unused miles about to expire means magazine subscriptions galore), and the recent June 2018 issue of Vogue talks about all sorts of things (as does Travel & Leisure and Real Simple magazine), and of course their twist is biased and sadly not very educated in too many issues concerning natural law as understood by Christians and most especially the Catholic tradition. If I got a chance to translate what I’m reading, I guess I’d put it on a blog…? Hehe well here’s just the first time I’m doing so…TBD if this becomes anything regular (main question: can I pull my thoughts together, get my research right too, or will this be confusing and messy to both myself and reader?)

A Table for One exerpt by Lena Dunham (2018):

“Even if some people like to be alone, nobody likes to be lonely. It’s been the subject of more art than can be consumed in a lifetime, the human aversion to loneliness and also the way we attune ourselves to it, become entrenched in a routine that isolates us. Too much has been said about the way technology allows us to experience the illusion of connection and retreat further into hermetic patterns, but it bears repeating that texts, emails, Facebook pokes, and Twitter faves do not a social life make. People are, it would seem, lonelier than ever and also less used to being alone.”

I must respond in a bit of praise to begin: Lena has a way of noticing sadness and problems in the world and writing about them succinctly.

Lena and I very, very, very rarely (if ever) agree on solutions to issues such as social media overuse/worth issues or many more pertinent issues (mainly concerning the rights of unborn women…and men). Yet, her writing style flows as she describes a commonly understood problem and here I find myself, agreeing with her words in that paragraph.

I know what it’s like to hate being alone, to love it, and to hate being lonely. I’ve never loved being lonely. Her writing fits that life experience.

Yet I pray that her life experience can fit the truth that we were not made to live a life that does not involve God. God created us to guide us to the most personal happiness that He created uniquely to satisfy the precise mix of desires that He can fulfill in His plans.

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New Souls // Nuove Anime

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“Mary”: Met this elderly woman walking into the church in H’s neighborhood (photos above). We talked for half an hour before my brunch date with my amazing aunt. I made sure to give her my journal and pencil, but I felt disillusioned seeing how she did not take to writing anything down. I wrote down the Catholic Charities address and made sure she had a pamphlet for a medical organization to continue medications. This all may likely be routine for her. She spoke of her family and was very concerned about Mother’s Day coming so soon. She spoke of having no home. She smelled like no one had offered her a shower in a few weeks. She was worried about soda drinks and coffee intake due to her medications, and she wanted to know the best way to improve her calcium levels. I gave her holy water on her finger and taught her how to make the sign of the cross. I mentioned how the Virgin Mary is our mother so every Mother’s Day is ultimately in her honor no matter the circumstances. She wanted me to look at her wrist and feet after I let her know about my education (could not manage full wrist flexion). I left wondering how many people were nice to her; L.A. seemed to be the place of friendly, diverse people (a true melting pot in the best sense) and I felt like I was just sub-par compared to other Lyft passengers’ interest in the lives and courtesies for our shared driver. This is why I travel. I met Mary and I loved meeting Mary. She expressed interest in working, but had never worked her whole life (nor had her deceased husband). I thought I had entered that Catholic church to pray for a half hour, but I ended up leaving the church to head to brunch with an important intention for a rosary walk. Of course I looked weird with a rosary in hand to those I passed on Los Feliz amongst grand mansions, but here I was and after meeting Mary, how could I not be moved to pray for her? // “Mary”: ho incontrato questa donna anziana che camminava nella chiesa nel quartiere di H (foto sopra). Abbiamo parlato per mezz’ora prima che il mio brunch finisse con la mia stupenda zia. Mi sono assicurato di darle il mio diario e la matita, ma mi sentivo disilluso nel vedere come lei non si prendesse la briga di scrivere qualcosa. Ho trascritto l’indirizzo Catholic Charities e mi sono assicurato che avesse un opuscolo per un’organizzazione medica per continuare i farmaci. Tutto questo potrebbe probabilmente essere di routine per lei. Ha parlato della sua famiglia ed era molto preoccupata che la festa della mamma arrivasse così presto. Ha parlato di non avere una casa. Odorava come se nessuno le avesse offerto una doccia in poche settimane. Era preoccupata per le bevande gassate e l’assunzione di caffè a causa dei suoi farmaci, e voleva sapere il modo migliore per migliorare i suoi livelli di calcio. Le ho dato l’acqua santa al dito e le ho insegnato come fare il segno della croce. Ho menzionato come la Vergine Maria è nostra madre, quindi ogni festa della mamma è in definitiva in suo onore, non importa le circostanze. Voleva che guardassi i suoi polsi e i suoi piedi dopo averle informato della mia educazione (non riuscivo a gestire la flessione completa del polso). Ho lasciato a chiedermi quante persone fossero gentili con lei; L.A. sembrava essere il luogo di persone amichevoli e diverse (un vero melting pot nel senso migliore) e mi sentivo come se fossi un parente paragonato agli altri interessi dei Lyft nei confronti delle vite e delle cortesie per il nostro autista condiviso. Questo è il motivo per cui viaggio. Ho incontrato Maria e ho amato incontrare Maria. Ha espresso interesse per il lavoro, ma non ha mai lavorato per tutta la vita (né ha avuto il marito defunto). Pensavo di essere entrato in quella chiesa cattolica per pregare per mezz’ora, ma alla fine ho lasciato la chiesa per dirigermi al brunch con un’importante intenzione per una passeggiata al rosario. Certo, avevo un aspetto strano con un rosario in mano a quelli che ho passato a Los Feliz tra grandi palazzi, ma eccomi qui e dopo aver incontrato Maria, come potevo non essere mosso a pregare per lei?

Moments like this made me look into Catholic Charities and realize that when they speak of homelessness services being ‘counseling, education, job training and support’…that is an exact fit with (one of so many realms of) occupational therapy. I had been praying around with an idea to have an OTM (OT On-The-Move) Studio (fine/applied arts for vocational and rehabilitative purposes) by buying easels, etc. and keeping them in a small storage trailer to bring an OT artist space as needed…and as I read about local Iowa Catholic Charities prison outreach, my mind started rolling out possibilities. Let’s pray for this! Amen.