Tag Archives: Celebration

Happy Easter

 

 

This is a day late, but we had partying to do this weekend.

The Easter Vigil starts in darkness. Everyone takes an unlit candle and finds their place. The priest lights one candle and then, from that person, we all light each others’ candles. There are several readings from the Old and New Testament, and then, after weeks of waiting, the lights come on, and we sing “Glory to God in the highest,” and we celebrate and worship because Jesus beat death.

Happy Easter everybody!

 

 

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Politics

I didn’t vote. Many of you will be incredulously wondering “Why?” For me it was a matter of conscience. I did not feel that either candidate deserved my support. Of course no one is perfect. Everyone has some “dirt” on them. However, it seems to me that Mrs. Clinton is far too untrustworthy, and Mr. Trump has said far too many offensive, and quite frankly, disturbing things about far too many people, and I for one, believe that language matters.

What has been more disturbing to me, however, is how this election has affected relationships. Long-lasting friendships have fallen apart because of a presidential race. The fallout has even reached my fourth graders. Truthfully, I don’t know much about Hillary Clinton outside of what I’ve seen on TV, but I thought she gave a really great speech today and accepted her defeat honorably. I can honestly say I’m proud of her for that.

What I would love to see is the rest of society doing the same. I don’t like Trump, but the fact of the matter is, he’s my president. That isn’t going to change now for at least four years, so whether you’ve been a life-long Democrat, young progressive, Independent like myself, Republican, or anything else, it’s time to face facts. It’s time to band together. Our president is not our country. We are our country, and we make America what it is. Quite frankly, I don’t like the party system. It makes politics exactly that: politics. It takes the focus away from real people and real issues and narrows in on the superfluous competition. It becomes a question of who will win and who will lose, rather than, what can be done to make our country better.

What will make our country better? The short answer is: love. The longer answer is uncertain. It’s really up to us. Among other things, we certainly need to be kinder on the internet. We need to pay attention and learn what it means to be good Samaritans; we need to really see people. We need to recognize the significance and effects of language. We need to forgive. We need to be ready to speak and fight for what we believe in, and be kind while doing it. We need to learn how to take a hit. We need to learn how to graciously and quietly accept defeat. We need to laugh. We need to accept that jokes are meant to be taken as jokes. We need to celebrate. We need to read. We need to have fun. We need to stand behind our president and support our government when they make good decisions and be ready to fight when they don’t. We need to recognize, love, and use our freedom.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Today I’m A Pirate (With A Tiny Parrot)

Tonight I will be dressing up as a pirate and celebrating Halloween. Halloween has always been fun for me. When I was a little kid I loved to dress up and get a ton of candy, which I inevitably never ate. When I was in high school I liked it because I was interested in the occult. Now I like it because it’s an excuse to hang out with my friends, eat fried chicken and watch scary movies. I also enjoy coming up with cute or creative costume ideas. My best ever was when I dressed up as a soldier, and my dad made a cardboard tank to go around my wheelchair. I realized I could have requested a pirate ship be made for tonight, but we ran out of time.

Of course it’s Halloween season, but somehow my dad and I got on the subject of Christmas a few nights ago. I think we were talking about politics and somehow ended up there. Last night I realized something, however. I like Halloween more than I like Christmas. I don’t mean I dislike the essence of Christmas or the reason we celebrate it. I dislike what Christmas has become. Our culture has turned a religious holiday of great importance into not much more than reason to go shopping. Our Jewish neighbors celebrate it, and my friends, a Hindu, Atheist, and Agnostic, all celebrate it. It is no longer a Christian holiday, but I still feel like I should celebrate it as a Christian, and that can be a headache sometimes.

Halloween has also abandoned its origins, and maybe this bothers someone, but I just don’t know. For me Halloween has always been a completely secular, and completely innocent holiday. It’s just fun, and that’s all it will ever be. The point I’m trying to make is that I don’t feel like I have to fight anything when it comes to Halloween. I don’t have to defend its roots. I don’t have to work so hard to re-make it spiritual. Honestly, Christmas, like Halloween has been very secular since before I was born, so I don’t really even have a place to start. I’ve just had to wing it when it comes to making it spiritual.

This is also why I like Easter so much better. While things like the Easter Bunny are weird additions, it’s still a very Christian holiday. At Christmas time, my family throws big parties. We eat a ton of junk food, stay up late, and revel in gift-giving and silliness. We don’t do that at Easter. We go to church, and our parents still give my brother and me Easter baskets, but that’s about it. I usually do some writing and praying and celebrate in my own quiet way, but there’s nothing else to it. No lights, no decorations, no parties. It’s a lot more subdued, but it feels so much more genuine. From what I just described, you might be thinking we’re not happy on Easter, which would be missing the point. Actually, I always feel very happy on Easter, and I’m in a celebratory mood. I’m just not celebrating with so much stuff and so many people. Part of the reason for that is that we don’t have many super spiritual people among our family or friends, but part of it, I think, is that the “stuff” distracts from the purpose of it.

My mom has a cousin whose immediate family doesn’t celebrate Christmas at all because it has become something so vastly different from what it originally was meant to be. I think not celebrating at all still misses the point. While it’s hard to ignore the commercialism of it, I think it’s necessary. Maybe it’s because there’s a part of me that’s still a fighter. I just don’t want its original purpose to disappear completely.

Last night I had a very timely dream. In the dream I found some kind of magical document that opened a doorway to another world, and I spent the remainder of the dream scurrying around my house trying not to get killed by weird magical creatures. It was dark and creepy, and I woke up thankful that it was just a dream. At the same time, it was fun because, well, it’s Halloween. The truth is that Halloween is a perfectly good day to celebrate what Jesus did for us. In fact, considering what this day still represents for some, it’s probably an even better day than most. It is what you make it, and for me it’s a day to celebrate silliness, It’s a day to celebrate being alive, and yes, it’s a day to celebrate my salvation.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Giving Up Facebook And Getting A Bird

As many of you know, I am Catholic, so I gave up Facebook for Lent. I’ve found the experience interesting because I’ve found that while I am more productive without social media, I’m not as productive as I thought I would be. I guess I should add that I’m a little obsessed with being productive. I feel like I have a responsibility to the world to accomplish things because I was blessed and lucky enough to be born and raised in upper middle class America.

That being said, I think I have a slightly different idea of what being productive means than some people. Being productive to me doesn’t always mean completing tasks. Being productive to me sometimes means trying new things or making sure I’m enjoying time with people I love, and letting them know how much I love them. I fully believe that love is contagious and can be spread more easily than people might think.

Because I’m not on Facebook, I am getting a lot done, however. In fact, I’m amazed at just how much I can get done, and how much free time I still have. I didn’t realize just how much time I was wasting on something that was really rather pointless.

However, Facebook does have its merits. When I decided to quit the day before Ash Wednesday, I was sure I was going to miss a lot. I was convinced that when I got back on I would be completely out of the loop. Facebook allows us to keep up with what’s going on in our friends’ and families’ lives so easily, that the thought of not knowing is a bit scary. My family is friends with a lady named Charlene. She’s in her early sixties and doesn’t use Facebook. She comes over once or twice a week with her silly little dog to hang out and chat, and she was telling us yesterday (March 2nd) that she had been completely unaware that one of her friends had recently lost their dog, and another friend had had a child.

My mom is on Facebook, and we’re “friends” with a lot of the same people, so I don’t actually think I’m missing much. If I was, she’d probably tell me. I do intend to start using it again after Easter, but I intend to use it a lot less than I was. I still need to use it for my music, and I don’t want to be completely in the dark as to what people are up to. Plus I have a hilarious surprise for everyone.

On Friday I’m going to New Hampshire to buy a bird. I had a parakeet several years ago, and he died at the age of 12. I’ve been petless for far too long now, so for graduation my parents are buying a conure for me. If I get a boy his name will be Seamus, and if it’s a girl, her name will be Lucy. Only a few people know I’m getting him/her, so it’ll give me an excuse to be random. I’ll post pictures here, too because, let’s face it, I get way too excited about cute animals: especially when they’re mine.

Some people say giving something up for Lent is silly and superficial. I think in many cases it is, and I usually don’t do it. Instead, I try to get rid of bad habits or adopt good ones. This year I’m trying to get rid of a very old, and in my opinion, very bad habit. I don’t feel comfortable posting about it, and I’ve actually tried and failed several times. It’s too personal, and it involves someone that is very important to me. This person doesn’t know about it, and it doesn’t really even affect them. It’s just something I don’t like about myself, so I’m trying to get rid of it. In the past I’ve tried using negative reinforcement, and that hasn’t worked, so now I’m trying positive reinforcement and that seems to be working a little better.

Ultimately, I guess what I’m trying to say is that Lent doesn’t have to suck. It can actually be that little extra push that people need to get something done or make a change or just attempt at being a little more conscious of spiritual matters. Sometimes I don’t do anything at all, and I kind of feel like I’m missing something if I don’t. I actually feel like it’s an opportunity that is easily missed.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Procrastination Holiday Mash Up

Since high school my Christmas list has gotten shorter and shorter. There’s usually one or two things I want that I’m too cheep to buy, and one or two things I need, and that’s what I ask for. Otherwise I just buy stuff myself whenever I need/want it. It’s partly because I learned how to save money, and partly because I’ve had a mini-job for the past couple years so I can do said saving of money. It’s also because since probably my junior or senior year of high school, I feel weird asking my parents for things that I can afford and don’t necessarily need or that I can wait for.

The thing is, my parents like buying stuff for my brother and me. We have an obnoxiously huge beanbag chair (it’s not actually a beanbag chair but I don’t exactly know what to call it) in our kitchen in front of the TV. Our kitchen is obnoxiously huge, so it’s basically part kitchen, part dining room, part living room. Anyway, two summers ago it was ridiculously hot, and because of that (or maybe just because of coincidence) I got sick and projectile vomited all over the nest (that’s what we call it). We went 4 or 5 miserable months without a nest, but our parents surprised us with a new one that Christmas.

Maybe it wouldn’t have made sense to get a new one if my brother and I weren’t home all the time. Sam and I are both in college, but I commute, and he comes home every weekend. We’re both about half an hour from home in opposite directions.

Last year my parents surprised me with a 5 gallon fish tank and a beta fish for Christmas. His name is Raskolnikov because Dostoevsky is a genius. I know we have a ten gallon tank lying around somewhere, so I’m thinking about upgrading and getting a few more fish. I don’t think I’d move Raskolnikov because he seems quite content all by his lonesome, but it might be nice to have some more little friends. I’m weird. I talk to my fish.

I do need a new set of headphones for my computer. Last year my aunt got me a wireless set, and they stopped working. I’ve decided to ask for a set of wired ones for Christmas because wireless anything and I have never been friends. In fact, technology and I have never really been friends, but that’s a whole different story. I know it’s the thing you plug into to charge them, and it’s not the charger itself that isn’t working because I’ve tried a different one and it still doesn’t work.

My brother and two of my cousins and I did ask for the new Pokemon game for Christmas. Yes, I’m 21 and I shamelessly admit that I like and play Pokemon. There’s quite a bit of nostalgia involved. When we were kids, Star Wars and Pokemon were our obsession. That and, gosh darn it, they’re fun!

Otherwise, that’s about it. My list is short this year. It drives our parents crazy, and it drives our aunts and grandmothers crazy, too. I could use a new amplifier for my guitars, but that can wait. I suppose I could ask people for Guitar Center gift cards. I’d like to go and try things out for myself. That upgrade probably won’t even happen for a few years anyway, though.

I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but it seems like Christmas and Thanksgiving are really close together this year. Thanksgiving is kind of the start to our Christmas season anyway. The past few years we’ve gone up to Maine and gone out to eat with our family. We used to have it at our house, but my grandfather got really sick, and my grandmother didn’t want to go far. We’ve just gotten used to doing it that way, I guess. We used to stay for one night, but last year we stayed for two because my grandfather died two days before Thanksgiving and we had to stay for the funeral. This year we’re staying for two nights again just so we can have time to see everyone and hang out. We usually go and get our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, but since we’re staying for two nights we’re doing that just before we go home. It’ll be fun just to hang out in Portland and play with our cousins. I think we’re going to bring the Wii so we can play Mario Kart in the hotel room.

Our family is insane. My oldest first cousin is 9 years older than me, and my youngest second(third?) cousin is 16 or 17 years younger than me. My mom has about 50 first cousins, which means I have over 100 cousins of varying degrees. On my dad’s side I have 2 second cousins who have no kids, and 2 fist cousins. One is my age and one is two years younger than me. For Thanksgiving this year we’re meeting up with 27 people. Some people have asked why we go out to eat instead of going to someone’s house. Part of it is that we have too many people, and part of it is because it’s significantly less stressful. It makes it fun.

I’ve seen posts on Facebook about people stressing about Christmas already. There are ways of making it less stressful. It’s not that hard. I’ll admit that there are things about Christmas that bug me. It’s almost like there are two holidays going on at the same time, and a minority of people remember the real reason why we celebrate it. The point isn’t to have the biggest tree in the neighborhood (we have the 2nd biggest only because our neighbor has taller ceilings). The point isn’t to get the biggest and best presents. The point isn’t to give the biggest and best presents. The point isn’t to have the most decorated house (our mom goes nuts anyway, and it’s fun!). The point is to celebrate the birth of our Savior, and that’s WAY less stressful.

I know some people freak out about the “secular” stuff and say it’s creepy or evil and that Jesus was born in April, which may or may not be true. The same people don’t celebrate Easter for the same reason: it’s become too secular. Honestly, I don’t think it really matters. The point is that we remember the real reason why we celebrate. The other stuff just makes it fun. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have fun. The only thing I might do differently if I had kids is I’d probably skip the whole Santa Claus story. It just seems kind of pointless to me. I’d still get a tree, I’d still eat massive quantities of junk food, and I’d still get together with all the magnificently crazy people.

I think it’s true that people get a little nicer around Christmas, and a little more generous. Maybe the love gets thrown around for some of the “wrong” reasons, but the point is that the love gets thrown around, and I am perfectly okay with that. So have fun. Don’t stress out. Go to church if you want to. Don’t feel bad if you don’t. Just remember why this holiday exists.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Find A Reason To Celebrate

I’ve read a lot of things: blog posts, Facebook posts and stories about Christmas, people’s plans, etc. Tonight my mom took my brother, and cousin and me out to get coffee and drive around to look at Christmas lights. We were listening to Christmas music on the radio and I mentioned that I generally find the secular Christmas songs annoying, but the religious songs I’m alright with. Some of them I’m just indifferent to, but others I really do enjoy. My brother suggested that it was the performance and not the subject matter that effected how much I liked certain songs. I thought about it, and I think he’s right.

Driving around to look at Christmas lights is a tradition for us. Oddly, there weren’t too many decorations this year. There were a few really decorative houses, but most houses were simple or not decorated at all. We had a good time anyway. “The Little Drummer Boy” came on the radio, and my brother said, “I can’t take this song seriously. It sounds like they’re saying ‘rub a bum bum.'” We had a good laugh about that.

A lot of posts I’ve been reading have been rather melancholy. It’s been affecting me a little, to be honest. Christmas should be a happy time. For Christians it is a celebration of the birth of our savior. For most people it is a time to celebrate life and generosity and to get together with family. I believe that Jesus is the savior of all, and I know he would want everyone to be happy at this time of year. I know it can be hard when everyone is dealing with stress and work and school, not to mention any other issues, but I just hope and pray that you would all try to find a reason to be happy this Christmas; to celebrate the Lord’s birth or just to celebrate life and joy and goodness.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!