Equality & the Minority

There has been so much banter about equal rights lately. Well, for as long as I can remember, really. It’s amazing how it changes over the years, and it’s even more astonishing to me as I grow older. In the words of Rodney King “can’t we all just get along”? It’s true. It seems so simple. Why? Why can we not get along? God made us different but I have a hard time believing he wanted us to live in a world where there is so much hatred, negativity and disbelief. I don’t know the Bible well, but I know there are words in there that showcase God’s wishes for love, positivity and trust.

I listened to a talk this last week. It was between two men, both caucasian, that said they are at a point where they feel they are the minority and don’t dare say anything in fear of offending someone. Why should it be that way for them? As long as they are being kind to the people around them, what does it matter? With that being said though, why has it been that way for women in the past? Or African-Americans? Or any race or minority for that fact? Are we all not a minority at some point; depending on our location? Yes, it appears that Caucasian men have had it “easy” in years past, where their words mattered most. That their words were the way of the world. Thank goodness that is changing. I know the concept of “we are all created equal” could be up for debate. Some people are born with certain talents, some are born into certain family structures that cause life to be easier in some ways, some people work harder to move up in the world. So it easy to understand that maybe “we are not born equal”. I have to believe that God wants us all to be loved, respected and supported equally in a positive light.

I grew up with a family that supported me, I surround myself with strong women who work hard to make a positive difference in our world, I get to mold my children to be strong thinkers who help lift their friends up and showcase their passions.

I pray that we continue to move to equality. I pray that we love one another for our differences. I pray that we support each other’s talents. I pray that we acknowledge other’s weaknesses and encourage change for the better.

Morning Goals

I have always been a morning person. For the longest time I woke up at 5:30 to work out. Once I had Stella I woke up at 5:30 so I would be prepared for the day before she woke up. Emery was born and she was my 5:30 alarm! Heck, she was my 5:00 alarm for the longest time. Just within the last few months has she slept past 5:30 on a consistent basis. I thought to myself, maybe I should try working out again at 5:30. When I further evaluated my mornings I knew this was not possible without waking up someone in the house. I decided I needed to wake up at 5:00 to accomplish things I always wanted to do, but had yet tried to do.

For the last month I have woken up at 5:00 and have done the following 4 things consistently before leaving for work:

#1- Deep Breaths

I start by taking 30 deep breaths. My mind easily moves towards the list of things ahead of me for the day, I try to rope those anxious thoughts back to my deep breaths. This step is the hardest for me. I have tried off and on for years to meditate. I probably won’t master this task ever, but I would like to get better.

#2- Tibetan Rites

I move to my yoga mat in my dimly lit workout room. I complete the 5 Tibetan Rites. I first learned of these movements from the yoga instructor I had in Fargo, Andrea Paradise. Like meditation, I have done these “exercises” off and on. They seem to give my body an oomph of energy to get the day started. Supposedly, these 5 exercises are going to keep me young. *wink* I would like to find a good book to explain this theory more. I figure, if I don’t get exercise into my daily schedule, I at least moved my body for 10 minutes. With these movements I also complete a few yoga moves to stretch my body out of its tired and tight feeling- sun salutations, cat and cow and child’s pose.

#3- Prayer & Journal

This next step is the one I am most proud of. I grab my journal and I write prayers to God for 5-10 minutes. I tell him things I am thankful for from the previous day. I ask him to guide the people that surround me, to love them, to be with them during times of hardship. I take a minute to read a page out of one of my devotionals. This forces me to take God into my day in a way other than what I believe I need help with. He gives me something to focus on in his own way.

#4- H2O

I drink 4- 8 ounce cups of water before I leave the house. This is half of what my goal is each day to drink. I find once I get to work it is difficult to drink water.

I have completed these things each week day for the past 4 weeks. The weekends throw me off, but I do find myself yearning for them and come Sunday evening I look forward to waking up Monday morning to head to my space. I use my Bedtime alarm on my iPhone to alert me to go to bed so I get 8 hours of sleep and be awake by 5:00. I love the feeling of accomplishing goals. I hope this is a routine I can keep up with. Dark winter mornings are hard on me mentally, I hope this brings some light to my routine.

Love Wins

We are in a time where we need constant reminders that Love Wins. This seems like it should be common sense, but why is it not? I believe that there are still more good people in the world than bad, but why is it that our kids have to learn ALICE training? Why is it that we have to worry about our kids’ safety at school of all places? It broke my heart to hear about the school shooting in TX. I was fortunate to spend the day with my daughter’s class on a field trip last week. Such innocence ran around the farmstead we visited. They are well aware of what to do if a bad person comes into their school. They know they are to throw any object at the bad guy and they know to take direction from the teachers that hopefully can protect them. To write this forces me to vision my kids in these situations and it causes instant anxiety, broken breathing and tears to form. This world has become a very scary place. We need to come together and end the violence. We need kids to have boundaries. The small troubled fish need to be stopped in their actions before they become big fish that are out of control. Innocent kids are being killed and being threatened in this great world we live in.

The shooting, in my opinion, was a bit overshadowed by the Royal Wedding. Don’t get me wrong, who doesn’t love a prince getting married, especially one as good looking and kind as Prince Harry? The sermon that was given at the wedding by Rev. Michael Curry was incredible. It spoke to me on so many levels. I pray that we continue to love. Again, Love Wins!

Words that won me over:

“We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love” … “And when we discover that, we will be able to make of this old world a new world”

“Imagine our governments and countries when love is the way”… “Imagine business and commerce when this love is the way … No child would go to bed hungry in such a world as that. Poverty would become history in such a world as that.”

Maybe Rev. Michael Curry didn’t intend to discuss love in the way he did at the Royal Wedding, but he had a large audience listening to him. Harry and Meghan seem to be very dedicated to making the world right again through love. It was a fitting sermon for them to hear along with those that tuned in. MAY LOVE CONQUER ALL.

Shirt: Old Navy

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all who are a mother in some aspect. There are so many different kinds of mommies out there. Mommy with a kid, Mommy who had.a kid, Mommy who wants a kid, Foster Mommy, Animal Mommy, Like-a-Mommy and any other Mommy types I may have missed.

I am blessed to have my mom in my life. I gave her a card today that said Best Mom + Best Friend. It is true, she is one of my best friends. I have looked up to her for as long as I can remember. I look to her for advice on a very regular basis on topics that range from being a mom, being a good person, and fun things such as fashion (I take her hand-me-downs often), recipes (we share a love of recipe books) and home decorating (this is where my passion for interior design comes from). I am fortunate to see here at least every other month. I could easily move away from Minnesota, until I start to think about moving away from my mom (and dad). My mom helped form me into the person I am today. I thank her for that and thank her for all of the times she has set aside for me. I love you!

Thoughts during Sunday Mass

Ever since T and I got married we have gone to Sunday mass more often than not. Even with babies and toddlers we both felt it was important to have them there. We would bring toys, books and snacks for them when they were younger and we had to occupy their time. We would remove them if they needed to leave for a bit, but even if they were squirmy we tried to keep them there. This is us teaching them our weekly tradition if you will. This isn’t the mindset of all young parents that attend a church. And that is ok. There is more than one right way to handle this chapter of life. We are blessed to have them now at an age where they can attend Sunday School or Children’s Liturgy of the Word most Sunday mornings. This allows T and I to truly listen to what is said and gives us time to reflect.

This past Sunday I felt like there were more children talking, squirming around us and possibly being escorted out, even Stella needed to go and get a Kleenex. Upon leaving mass we were handed the bulletin. I read the front page letter from the Director of Music & Liturgy, Aana Freihammer. It spoke to me and the thoughts I had of the children in mass that morning. It touched me so much that I reached out to Aana in hopes she would let me share her words. I am thankful she said yes. Please take the time to read them. As a parent, or anyone really, who notices the young children at church, these words are important. To the parents who struggle with their antsy little ones, hang in there! You will get to listen to the words again soon.

From the Desk of Aana Freihammer

April 22, 2018

A few years ago, I was directing a choir for a Sunday Mass. We were about to start the Eucharistic prayer, when a toddler found the light switch for the entire church and flipped it up

and down. After grandma found him, he raced to the altar, grabbed a pumpkin (revealing to the congregation that I had used fake pumpkins instead of real pumpkins, whoops!) and gingerly placed it on the presider chair. He headed back to the altar, while the altar servers shepherded him back to his grandma. Everyone laughed, and the grandma was beside herself with embarrassment. This

story is funny, but every time I recall the family, I get a twinge of disappointment, as I never saw this family at church again, I’m not sure if they ever came back. This is the cautionary tale of how easily we can influence anyone more deeply in the community at Mass or discourage them from ever praying with us again.

The liturgy that we attend every Sunday is a unique opportunity where faithful from all over the Bemidji area participate in the sacrifice of the Mass and receive the Eucharist. The faithful coming to Mass includes people from all walks of life, all ages and every ability. The communal nature of the parish needs every part of the flock. The young and old learn from each other. The walking help those who cannot walk, the seeing help the blind. These dynamics in a catholic community, like St. Philip’s, illustrate healthy parish family. We are all responsible for each other, for everyone in the community. We learn faith from each other, we learn to hope from one another, we learn about God from one another. “The vocation of humanity is to show forth the image of God and to be transformed into the image of the Father’s only Son.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1877)

I do not want to over-romanticize community. Working with others is difficult and taxing. People are annoying, kids are naughty in church, the man next to you may seem a little strange. The communal nature of the church is imperfect, just like your imperfect family meals at home in which food is thrown on the floor, milk is spilled, or someone chews with their mouth open. It is tempting to wish we had a more perfect setting without crying babies, better behaved kids, holier people. The imperfect during Mass can distract us from the transcendent experience around us. Wishing that our liturgical prayer experiences were more perfect would completely miss the point – Christ is here to transform us, and we are not yet transformed, therefore our liturgies are going to be imperfect. “The church is not a museum of saints, but a hospital for sinners. (Pope Francis).”

We can expect then, bringing humanity together to celebrate this liturgy together will be messy. Yes, we will strive to be better at praying the Mass better. Yes, we will strive to have our kids behave at Mass, but expect things to be hard, messy, noisy, complicated. We need to all keep showing up and staying in the transformative experience. Children, and adults will be distracted. Those who do not come to Church struggle with rituals that are foreign and overwhelming. Expect imperfection because none of us are holy yet, and if we judge too quickly we could discourage families from ever coming back to experience Mass with us again.

We belong at Mass, all of us, from those searching, to those full of faith. Even on your own journey, if you do not feel prepared to receive communion, you do not have to receive. Just come and pray with us anyway. Coming together for one hour, from all walks of life is the one of the core principles of our Catholic faith and the essential component to Sunday Mass. “The Church is not a community of perfect people, but of disciples on a journey, who follow the Lord because they know they are sinners and in need of his pardon. Thus, Christian life is a school of humility which opens us to grace.” Pope Francis

https://stphilipsbemidji.org/bulletins/20180422.pdf