It appears that the worst Y2K bug has been the flu bug. I know a lot of people who have been ill, most illness occurring since the calendar odometer turned over. My motherly advice is to wash your hands a lot, drink plenty of fluids (caffeinated drinks don’t count, as they dehydrate rather than hydrate), and use whatever immune boosters you rely on. I’m fond of Vitamin C myself.
Welcome and Bright Blessings to Lyon Oak Fletcher, who arrived into the world at 10:07 on December 14, 1999. Anyone who would like to say blessings to him in person should check out the description of this month’s ritual.
Final notice: it’s time to make sure everyone who is receiving the newsletter still wants to receive it. If you would like to continue to receive the paper newsletter, please let Catherine or me know. If you are receiving the e-mail newsletter, you don’t need to “renew.” Look for an asterisk on your address label – that indicates you are renewed. The purge of non-renewed addresses will take place after this newsletter.
My thanks to everyone who contributed to a lovely and enjoyable Open Full Moon last month. I hesitate to try to name everyone who helped, but I wish to recognize my covenmates, Adrienne, Stephen, and Marian, who willingly threw themselves in the breach with me to make sure that we had a good ritual on short notice.
The January Open Full Moon will be on Friday, January 14, 1999, at 7:30 PM, at the First Unitarian Church, 1400 Lafayette, Denver, CO. The doors of the church open at 7:00. We like to begin at 7:30.
This month’s ritual will be presented by Dragon’s Tide, (since they had to beg off of last month for some reason) and will be a wiccaning of Lyon Oak Fletcher (oh, right, that was the reason…). All are invited, and anyone who wishes to will have a chance to give a blessing to the baby.
We have determined that our break-even point is about $3 per person.
We aren’t going to start collecting at the door, and no one will be turned away for not having a donation. However, we would like to suggest a donation of 3 to 5 dollars per person. (The extra is to cover the pagans that can’t swing $3.) If you can’t afford it, you are still welcome – if you can afford more, we’d be delighted to accept it.
NOTE:Hearthstone is a church and your donations to Hearthstone are tax deductible. If you would like to write a check so you can keep track of your donations, we can certainly handle that as well. And if it is simpler to write a check occasionally rather than come up with a few bucks every month, believe me, we understand!
This is the time of year when so many of us adopt resolutions. We use the changing of the year as a springboard for the changing of ourselves. Eternal hope and bright promises to ourselves encourage us to embark on great makeovers. We'll stop smoking, lose weight, quit drinking, start exercising, conquer procrastination, and/or generally become wonderful persons.
We start off like gangbusters. We do cut down on the sweets, add work outs, or cease puffing on the cancer sticks. Diet centers and gymnasiums gain the majority of their new memberships this time of year, for example. Some persons are successful in changing their habits. However, within a few weeks, most of our resolutions are so much dust.
There are two main causes, it seems. One, our resolutions are not enough in resonance with our inner selves, and two, we try to permanently overcome bad habits via short-term brute force.
The more we believe in a resolution, the more likely we are to stick to it. That would appear to be obvious, but too many of us pick resolutions without careful consideration. Say, for example, a young woman named Selena dreams of being a firefighter. Applicants for such work must pass physical fitness tests. Selena resolves to build up her strength and stamina, in order to pass these tests. She is more likely to succeed with this resolution than is the average person, because it's in line with her deepest hopes. It resonates with her true self.
Of course, too many of us expect to turn around years of bad habits (say, too much beer-and-television-time) with a sudden display of virtue (say, nothing but diet soda and Melba toast). Guess what, friends? 'Taint likely to work. For one thing, diets are bad for us. Let me repeat that, in all caps.
DIETS ARE BAD FOR US.
They make our bodies think that there's a famine going on, so our metabolisms slow down. As soon as we resume normal eating patterns, we start gaining flab. Yo-yo dieting makes gaining weight ever easier and losing weight continually more difficult.
Personally, though, I did manage to lose a 30-pound spare tire. It has stayed lost for over twenty years. And this is despite a genetic predisposition to overweight. How?
I realized that it's more fun to be a person in good shape. So, I resolved to become one of them. But, I didn't succeed during the first several months. I tried too hard. I bought a weight set, an exercise bicycle, dumbbells, and such. I tried archery, Nautilus machines, free weights, jogging, and more. I displayed lots of virtue. And sore muscles. And exhaustion. My motivation went into hibernation.
Then I tried reasonableness. I resolved to take small steps toward fitness. Every day, I'd walk up at least one flight of stairs at work, rather than use the elevator. When I went shopping, sometimes I'd deliberately choose a parking place far from the entrance to the store. I started taking walks through my neighborhood. Mall-walking was boring, but I found a couple of parks more to my liking. One of them had steep hills. I discovered that I'd gradually become fit enough to enjoy the challenge of running up and down one of them. Then two of them. Three. More. Eventually, I was running several miles a day, several times a week. Also, there were some dances and Frisbee-playing and the like. All enjoyable ways of burning some calories. All fun.
Once a week, I'd look back at how well I was keeping (or neglecting) my resolutions for that year. The progress I was making helped a great deal. (The fitness was helpful in coping with 70-hour workweeks, too. )
Of course, sharpening one's mind can be fun, as well. There are many things available to help us learn new things and hone old skills. Sketchpads, pens, pencils, paints, and more help those inclined to the visual arts. There are calendars with facts and reminders each day. Several different English vocabulary email lists exist. Speed-reading books or courses may help one cope with today's deluge of information. Crossword puzzles have been said to stimulate brain cells. Some research has indicated that listening to classical music may enhance learning. In addition, it's a great way to decompress.
Which is another good idea to consider including in one's resolutions: schedule time for your soul. Quiet time.
Time for friends and family, prayer and meditation, hugs and talking. Time to share, and to listen, and to do something good. One of my successful resolutions in this area is, "Several times a week, visit the website of a group that does something worthwhile. " Some examples: The Hunger Site donates food to UN aid efforts when you click on their button. It costs you nothing; the food is paid for by advertisers. They support a good cause, and reach socially aware netizens.
NetAid Home - Remember that big web/TV/radio simulcast to help people? They do.
Sometimes it is difficult to help another person. But, helping others, whether by buying food for a homeless shelter, giving blood, donating through a website, fighting pollution, or some other way, warms our souls. There is another resolution that is occasionally difficult to keep, but also warms us:
The other night I asked my spousal unit which vegetables he simply refuses to eat. (He's variable and it's hard to keep up with him on this...) He said, "I'll eat anything but squash and Brussels sprouts."
It's amazing how few people like Brussels sprouts. And that's a shame, because they're such tasty little vegetables, in addition being a good source of vitamins A and C. Like teensy tiny cabbages (which is indeed what they basically are) they are composed of tight layers of leaves in a strange shade of light olive drab green which turns bright and sparkling when they are cooked "al dente. " Fresh Brussels sprouts, while delicious, tend to be expensive. (And they're not all that easy to grow for yourself, either. Just ask Alia!) They have an almost buttery flavor nestled within the mild, earthy vegetable flavor of the leaves. Perhaps because of their size, they don't share the sharp pungency of their cousins the red and green cabbages. They stand up well enough to strongly flavored companion ingredients, but are equally good with just plain butter and (if desired) a little salt. They also pair well with other vegetables.
The following recipe (the original, commercial source has been deleted to protect the innocent consumer from really tall guys who talk like Santa Claus...) is a very tasty way to introduce yourself to Brussels sprouts. Or to renew your acquaintance, if you're a long-time fan whose fresh crop just didn't make it this year. (No, I'm not referring to anyone specific, am I?)
Glazed Brussels Sprouts And Baby Carrots
Yield: 4 servings
Cook Brussels sprouts and carrots according to package directions; drain. Bring brown sugar, orange rind, and juice to a boil in a saucepan over med. heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Toss with vegetables. Garnish as desired.
A long time ago, a friend of mine explained that in the universe of one science fiction role playing game, there were characters who were shaped like cabbages. She referred to Brussels sprouts as the babies of this race. Therefore, eating Brussels sprouts was unacceptable for a vegetarian. Perhaps people who really dislike Brussels sprouts can think of them that way. . . . yeah, you're not eating a cruciferous vegetable. You're eating a baby alien. (Nah, it won't convince my spouse, either, but it's worth a try...)
by Ken Cannon
Guns--I have nothing against them, and have done some pretty stupid things with them in the past, but…Just after Thanksgiving, a friend and I went to the Buffalo Creek area to take a few pictures, and found there something which caused me to wonder about how far our lack of community has brought us from nature. [Or maybe it's the distance from nature which has brought about our lack of community. ] What we found was a healthy, 30' tall and 12" diameter fir tree which literally had been gunned down. Someone had shot it so many times, they had cut it in two about 4' off the ground. The still-green top had fallen to the east of the stump. The top of the stump contained numerous slugs from a high caliber gun.
First I felt intense anger, then disgust, and finally sadness. Had I known who did it, I would have turned them in, even though I don't know if it's against the law to gun down a tree. (It is legal to shoot in most national forests, so I wonder if what this yahoo did is not also legal, even though it is illegal to remove the smallest flower, feather, or rock. But that's a rant coming on, so I won't follow that thought. )
That discovery soured the afternoon for us, and we took very few pictures, which is not like us at all. And for the next couple of days, my thoughts kept going back to the person who did it. I was finally able to see that the shooter may never have felt connected with nature, or worse, actually may have felt disconnected from it. I don't believe anyone who has even the slightest connection with nature could do that.
Later on, I realized the shooter had done violence to his own soul of a worse sort than that which he did to the tree, as is karmically just. But how much more often will this sort of thing occur in the future, as more and more people spend more and more time indoors, involved with the virtual worlds we have created? Spending time interacting with electronic devices of one kind or another, we lose touch with nature and each other. It seems to get worse all the time.
As pagans, we honor nature, but as Americans, we are by and large separated from it. Like many of us, I try to see ways we can stay connected. I look to others for ideas, of course, and lately I've been reading a lot of Wendell Berry*, who strongly believes that in order to have true community, we have to live close to nature, interacting with it daily in ways that have more to do with "making" than with "doing". He defines "doing" as more or less mindless activity in which our creativity is not really involved. "Making" is creation. He has a good point. We do laundry, but we make or cook dinner, and doing lunch is a whole lot different than making it.
Berry's thoughts have been helping me to understand how important it is for humans to have daily, practical interactions with nature. It also has been helping me to understand just how difficult it is for those of us who live in cities, which is by far the great majority of us, to even have minimal contact with the plants and animals that make up nature.
I think Earth Community Outreach Pagans was better named than we realized – more insightful than we knew. The name speaks to what we need to be doing, not only as Pagans, but also as human beings.
*Wendell Berry is a Kentucky farmer-philosopher whose writings touch on the truths behind many of the ills of our world.
On the recycling front:
The above information was taken from a Recycle Express flyer I found at Wild Oats.
Next ECO Pagans meeting: Saturday, February 12 from 10 am to noon at Wings.
If you have something to say, and are willing to let Alia edit it slightly, (generally for grammar – I have the soul of an English teacher) please feel free to submit your writing.
Content will not be edited. We can usually make room for more voices.
Please note that information and opinions contained in the articles in this newsletter are the responsibility of the authors only. No endorsement by Hearthstone Community Church, Inc. is implied.
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