A Spiritual Renewal

I’ve been thinking for some time about unfriending myself from Facebook, due to the many things I’ve come to dislike about it:

  • Lots of fake news that too many people continue to believe and worse, pass along to others who believe it
  • Too much talking-point or meme-oriented politics, with little open and honest discussion
  • Often, any attempt to have open and honest discussion is reacted to with vitriol
  • Sometimes I mindlessly scroll and scroll and scroll through countless posts. When I add up all the minutes, it seems a waste of time that keeps me from better ways to spend my time
  • Privacy issues

However–and this is what makes the decision so difficult–there are also a few seemingly irreplaceable things I love about it:

  • Staying in touch with friends and family I wouldn’t otherwise be in touch with
  • Seeing photos of families, vacations, etc.
  • Notifications of events

I am just as ambivalent about what Facebook has done to us as a society. It’s been a effective tool for getting to know each other and for staying in touch. But, it’s also caused us to communicate less face-to-face, to lose our ability or desire to empathize, and to cling to our tribes and become more divided.

In the upcoming political season, (actually, the previous political season never ended) the chasm between us will become even greater, much with the help of Facebook.

Which brings me to the purpose of this blog post. I’m giving up Facebook for Lent. As I considered what to give up, I looked up the meaning of Lent:

Lent is a penitential period, involving the dual disciplines of abstinence and fasting. During Lent many Christians commit to fasting or giving up certain foods, habits or luxuries – for example meat, cakes and sweets, alcohol, smoking – for its duration (the money saved is often then donated to charity). This is done both as a form of penitence and as a spiritual tool to tame the body and ‘sharpen the spirit’ for prayer, reflection and contemplation in preparation for the celebration of Easter.

“A spiritual tool to tame the body and ‘sharpen the spirit’ for prayer, reflection and contemplation in preparation for the celebration of Easter.”

Giving up Facebook sounds just about perfect.

I hope to write more during this time of reflection. Though I’ll be logged out of Facebook, I’d love to stay in touch and just happen to have a  “Contact” button on this blog. 🙂

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A Long Way to Go

I had a conversation with a dear friend recently, and learned (with surprise) that she believes “whites should marry whites and blacks should marry blacks.”

Being the child of a mixed race couple, I asked, “Does that also mean you don’t think a white man should have married an Asian woman either?”

I could tell this question made her uncomfortable, and she couldn’t (or wouldn’t) answer it. Perhaps, because of our friendship, she couldn’t be that truthful with me. “Well, that’s a good question,” she said. “I don’t really know.”

I asked my next question. “And, if you think there is a difference–that it’s okay for a white man to marry an Asian woman, but that a white man shouldn’t marry a black woman–then what I understand you to be saying is, it all boils down to the color of one’s skin.”

This conversation was a blow to me, because I see no difference, regardless of the color of one’s skin. I’d hoped that my question about my Japanese mother’s and white father’s marriage would make her think about what she was saying. But it did nothing of the sort. In fact, even with time to think about our conversation more, she posted the following on Facebook this evening:

“…we don’t need mixed-raced couples either. Whites still marry whites and black still marry blacks!”

I am the child of a mixed-race couple. I’m proud of my mother’s heritage. I’m proud of my father’s heritage. I’m hurt that such a dear friend doesn’t seem to understand this—certainly doesn’t care about it.

I’ve always believed we’ve come so far, and I’ll admit I haven’t always understood those who complain that we haven’t.

Now, I understand how far we have to go.

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Olfactory Time Machine

Have you ever had the unexpected arrival of a scent trigger a memory? Take you back to another time?

It’s 40 degrees and drizzly outside–not very conducive to grilling steaks. So, we decided to broil them inside instead.

As the steaks began to sizzle and the aroma of spices began to fill the kitchen, my memories took me to my mother’s house. When I was a young mother, working and raising my two children, I lived around the corner from my mom.

So many nights, she’d call and say, “Come over after work. I made dinner.”

I’d walk in, smell steaks on the broiler, and in the scent of those steaks, motherly love wrapped around me, especially at those times when I might have felt overwhelmed with motherhood or working, or both.

Of course, back then, I took it for granted.

But tonight, it made me miss my mom.


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Advent Day 5

Welcome to my virtual Advent Calendar. Click on the box below to find the day’s “gift.” It may be an old Christmas photo or memory, a haiku or flash fiction, a favorite Christmas carol–who knows! That’s part of the fun. 🙂

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Click on the box for today’s “surprise.”

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4

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Trees Through the Years

How fun to browse through years and years of photos for this history of family Christmas trees. Each picture brought back heartwarming memories. They’re happy memories, but they made me a little sad, too, for the loved ones who are no longer with us, for the realization of how quickly time passes.

Favorite “Tree” Memories:

  • Icicles – My mom loved icicles, and she always insisted we place them one strand at a time. We’d often toss a bunch onto the tree when she wasn’t looking, but of course, she always knew and made us do it over again.
  • Flocked vs. Natural – My mom always preferred flocked trees, and looking at these photos is a blast from the past, as we don’t often see flocked trees anymore.
  • Missing “Too Much” – I’ll admit, when my kids were young, the holidays were often stressful. There were seasons when I wished I didn’t have to help decorate my mom’s tree. Perhaps I hadn’t yet had time to decorate my own. What I wouldn’t give now to have another opportunity to decorate a tree with my mom. (However, I’m sure you’ll note a big difference between my mom’s big, glorious trees and my skinny, minimalist-by-comparison trees.) 🙂

I’ve got even older pictures in scrapbooks that I hope to scan during Advent, but that’ll have to wait for a weekend. 🙂

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