Oh yes they DID ! #Philadelphia11

PRAYER (contemporary language)
O God, you poured your Spirit from on high to bless and summon these women, who heard the strength of your call: Equip, guide, and inspire us with wisdom, boldness, and faith to trust you in all circumstances, hear you preach new life to your church, and stretch out our hands to serve you, as you created us and redeemed us in the name of Jesus Christ, who lives with you and the Holy Spirit, one God everlasting. Amen.

{ source http://www.satucket.com/lectionary }

TODAY is the 43rd anniversary of the Ordination of the ” Philadelphia 11″ as priests in the one, holy , catholic, apostolic Church.

I am not a parent, but if I were blessed with a daughter, I would tell her every day that women can do pretty much anything they desire to do . It takes hard work, steadfastness and courage.

One of the lessons gleaned from the ” wonder women”  in my own life is perseverance.  Quitters do not advance the kingdom of God; and if God chooses you or me for a certain task it behooves us to give God our best.

Conquer self-doubt. To be honest, I am still working on my own issues with self-doubt. As a woman with some slight disabilities; many people have told me that I cannot or will not accomplish my goals. So far, I’ve proven those naysayers wrong.

They did, it!

Amen.

Thank you, Philadelphia 11

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the ordination of the “Philadelphia 11″. On this day in 1974, eleven brave women were ” irregularly ordained”  in Philadelphia.

According to Wikipedia { and verified by several other sources} :

….The Philadelphia Eleven are eleven women who were ordained as the first female priests in the Episcopal Church on July 29, 1974, two years before General Convention affirmed and explicitly authorized the ordination of women to the priesthood….

Thank you , ladies. Without your bravery, many fine priests in the Church would not be where they are today. Even here in the Deep South, we are seeing more clergywomen become active leaders in the Diocese.

Growing up in a predominantly Roman Catholic community  as a member of an Irish {Roman} Catholic family, I often wondered why the people celebrating Mass were always men.

Even as a small child, I possessed a healthy sense of ‘ girl power’ as well as a heart for justice and I never thought that God called only men to serve as priests in the Church.    From Childhood I had an appreciation for liturgy, and felt Jesus acutely at the altar of my family’s Roman Catholic church in western Pennsylvania.  Although I was not permitted to receive Communion, I felt the Holy Spirit ‘s very real presence when the priest laid his hands on me and said a blessing. After Mass one Sunday I asked my Irish-Catholic Grandmother:

“Why can’t girls be priests too?” 

“Because only men can be priests. That’s how it’s always been.”

“But what if I grow up and want to be a priest?”

“Sorry, honey. Girls don’t grow up to be priests. “

Hence beginning my love-hate relationship with the Roman Catholic church and all her outdated rules. I love my Grandmother, and the faith that sustains her also sustains me . Yet on that day, a little light in my soul was extinguished. While Catholicism has played a big part in my spiritual and moral development; my hippie soul needed a Christian tradition that saw all persons as equally beloved by God.

Girls don’t grow up to be priests.

Darn it, I wish that four-year-old Sarah Beth had known about the Philadelphia 11. I wish that I could have rebuked Grandma’s statement by saying

You are wrong, there are women in the Church who ARE priests, and they don’t listen to the Pope”

It took years, but when I attended my first Mass in the Episcopal Church and a woman was the Celebrant I felt like I’d finally found my spiritual family.

Fast forward over thirty years into the future. I am vesting  to serve as a chalice bearer for the first time at Beach Parish As we gathered in the Narthex, my priest whispers to me ” you know today is the fortieth anniversary of the Philadelphia 11’s ordination? ” Smiling , I gave her a big hug.

I believe that God calls all genders to ordained life, and I am grateful for the clergy I know who have and continue to encourage me to learn and grow in my relationship with Christ . I am grateful to be a part of the Jesus Movement that affirms gifts of all genders, both as laypeople and clergy.

Each time I robe to serve at the altar, I give thanks for the witness of the eleven brave women who paved the way for so many opportunities for “girls” to become what God intends for them to be.

 

In the Name of the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer,

Amen.

 

#StraightAllySpeaks against Trans Ban

I am not a fan of this President. Usually, for the sake of avoiding arguments, I do not challenge those who still offer unwavering support to this President. As a matter of fact, I try to refrain from discussing politics at all.

However, I must state my opinion on his Tweet regarding his plans to ban transgender people from serving our nation.

This ban is wrong on so many levels. I hope and pray fervently that the military officials and the Congress will block this initiative by the President.

First of all, this sitting President dodged the draft and has never pledged to put his life on the line in defense of this nation. He is not a veteran. Best Dude my father, both grandfathers, some friends and many others I know and love DID make that pledge.

Second, I have many veteran friends and family members . They have served this nation proudly and with dignity. I respect all veterans and active duty service people because I know I could not do their job. Many of the service people I know who served and are still serving do so because it is a vocation. These people seek to serve something much bigger than themselves. I thank them for their service.

Back in high school, I wanted to enlist> I took the ASVAB test and scored highly.  The Navy recruiter was interested in me until I took the physical. Due to a bad back { and now neck} I was disqualified for service. This saddened me; but in hindsight a medical reason is a valid one– unlike someone’s gender identity.

Third, as a Christian, I know that all humans are made in the very Image of Creator God. This God so loved we humans, that God sent  God’s Self to live as one of us.  As did so many of out service people, this Emmanuel gave up His Earthly life so that we may have access to eternity. Jesus did not die and ascend to Heaven for some of His sisters and brothers; He did so for ALL of us who believe in Him.

I want to go on record as saying that this President’s actions regarding transgender military personnel is an insult to the basic human rights that all veterans fought and still fight to preserve.

###

 

“For Such A Time As This”

One of my ” wonder women ” of Scripture is Queen Esther.

Lately I’ve been given much thought to the “she-roes” who have and continue to be shining examples of what it means to be a Christian, a faithful leader, and a woman in today’s world. Now I know that I’ve never met  Esther in person, but her story has been a central tenet of my faith ever since childhood. My Jewish mother told me the story about how the beautiful, brave young Queen risked her life to save her people.

Now my very life is not in peril when I do the social justice work God intends for me to do. From a very young age, I’ve felt the call to be a person who makes a difference for people who are marginalized.  No matter what the hateful bigots who live in and near Unincorporated, FL preach at me– I shall persist. I am descended from a long line of stubborn Irish people who stick to their convictions, love God, and love humanity.

Recently Best Dude and I were blessed to be able  of a young Afghan refugee family and I am in contact with the point person of the agency overseeing this family’s move. I spoke to my rector today about this matter and I hope that others at Beach Parish will wish to help a young family in need, too.

Perhaps, just like Queen Esther, I am destined for this type of work.  Her father says to her

“…Perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?’

Now I am not a queen, but I AM blessed with so much.

No matter what you might hear from politicians and businesspeople , we ALL are called to help our sister and fellow humans. It angers me when I hear Christians, some whom I love, utter hateful comments about people whom they do not know simply because they believe hateful rhetoric. I hope and pray that, by getting to know this young family from Afghanistan, that my life will be blessed.

Although I do not yet know what all this shall entail– I know that I AM  called ” …for such a time as this.”

In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Amen.

“I will not be wasted “

We are slowly but surely making strides towards our Pensacola move , and I could not be more happier nor more excited. For the first time since I moved to Northwest Florida, I fee like I am going ” home”. Life in Unincorporated , Florida  is nice: but I am not living up to my full potential here.  for reasons that are beyond my control}

Right now I am reading a book by one of the original ” Philadelphia 11″ ; the first women ordained to the priesthood in The Episcopal Church.  In the first chapter the author says, regarding her ordained  ministry life ” I will not be wasted”

Correct— My name is Sarah Beth, I love Jesus , I am proud to be an Episcopalian and I WILL NOT BE WASTED!

That is how I feel. Now that Best Dude and I will be living in Pensacola, I finally will have chances to live fully into the servant God intended for me to become all along.  My burning desire is to get among people and help those who need help.

Life as a suburban housewife is nice, but it is not who I am. All my life I’ve wanted to make a difference ; now that we are moving all sorts of opportunities show up. I am a servant by nature ; but circumstances have left me unable to use this gift.  In order to be fully alive; I need to be able to serve others . As lovely as Unincorporated, Florida is; right now we live in a bedroom community that is isolated.

I have a soft spot in my heart for the downtrodden, the forgotten, the maligned. Trust me, where I live currently there isn’t much of them.

I am coming HOME!

 

New Home: New Hashtags

Throughout the house-selling and house-hunting process, I have used the hashtag #OperationPensacolaBound in all my social media . As of 31 August, our new hashtag will be #NortheastPensacolaLiving .  Depending on what my life is like, once I get settled in, I also may use the hashtag #SouthernUrbanHippieChick . Hashtags are fun!

As an aside , we did purchase Cute Cottage, complete with her lonesome one bathroom.  I’ve already began to cull  some ‘stuff’ as a packed the contents of our current guest bathroom and the utility room. We also will have a gas fireplace at the new house and this thrills my Mountain Native heart.  Granted, it rarely gets cold enough in Northwest Florida to warrant a fireplace, but I will enjoy the ambiance.

It has been so freeing to cull the contents of our current house and throw always that which we don’t use. Also, we calculated that since Cute Cottage is smaller than where we live now, we will save more money { and more importantly} reduce our use of nonrenewable energy. Downsizing will be healthy for us in the physical, emotional, financial and spiritual realms.    Although I am NOT thrilled about it, we probably will have to rent a storage unit until we get situated in town.  I loathe the entire storage unit concept and business model, but I can see how sometimes they are a necessary evil.

Now that the buyers  agreed to a selling price for Cute Cottage, Best Dude and I are actively transitioning to the next chapter in our lives. While some will remain the same  for instance we shall remain at our Beach Parish,  While I probably will spend more Wednesdays at Bigger Parish, our hearts, time, talent and treasure will remain with our Assisi family.

I’ve never really felt like I belonged here in Unincorporated, Florida. I’m not a military dependent { though Best Dude DID serve three years in the Marine Corps}, am very socially-liberal , have no human children of my own, ect. Ove the last 18 years, I’ve made this place my home; but I’ve always felt like a stranger to most of the people who live here. Even at our previous parish { heck, especially at our previous parish– I’ve felt like that ‘childless liberal Yankee Freak Show’} Pensacola will be a much better fit for me and I already have several friends from Episcopal churches in town and am open to getting to know more of them.  There are also many more opportunities for both Best Dude and myself to get involved with helping people in our community.

Onward!

One bathroom :” wealth” is all relative

Best Dude and I are moving to town. Yesterday we put in a bid on the cutest little cottage in a great neighborhood.  It is approximately 1300 square feet and has three { small} bedrooms nd one full. The layout of the main living space is wonderful, it ” flows”  so that it seems like it is much bigger than the actual square footage. The property is on a corner lot on a shady street with plenty of dogs.

We placed an offer and are waiting to hear if the sellers accept.

Anyway, this whole moving process got me to thinking about what is necessary.  Our current house has two bathrooms; one of which almost never gets used  unless we have overnight guests } The only two humans who will live in the house upon which we bid will be Best Dude and myself. Our dog is not toilet trained.  Extra bathrooms are, in reality, a luxury that many Americans take for granted.

Best Dude and I also only have on television set! Yes, it is rare, but its been good for our relationship to be without ‘ his and hers TV sets’. Now we do each claim a laptop computer. After all, we are simplifying, not purging all our creature comforts.  We theoretically could live with only one computer in our home if need be; but I am grateful this is not the case.

So much of what we 21st century Americans think is ” necessary”, is really a luxury. As I have grown in my walk with Our Lord, I am more mindful of the huge gap between the working-class poor , the middle class and the upper economic tier.  Most Americans live in abundance compared to those who live in other parts of the world. For example, although the house that Best Dude and I want has only one bathroom; we can be grateful for indoor plumbing and clean water.

If we look carefully at the teachings of Jesus, we see all over the Gospels that he preached that we are to take care of each other. As the Church, we are commanded by Jesus Himself to ” feed my My sheep” . We should be concerned with  simplifying our own lives , in order to be more mindful and grateful for that which God does bless us  A heart for service starts with mindful of life’s blessings; including creature comforts.

It is possible to live in middle-class America  in a house with one bathroom.

Pax Christos.

“Woman Power” and Saint Macrina

Do you ever hear a sermon at Mass on a weekday and , after several days have elapsed, still find yourself processing what your heard?

Me too.

On Wednesday I went to a neighboring parish for Bible Study and Healing Mass { I am, after all still dealing with the surgery side effects} . This particular Wednesday was the feast day of St Macrina the Younger.  { ever heard of her? yeah, neither had I until last week}

St Macrina is honored in the Church as a teacher and a monastic. Here is what an internet search on her{ you know, because I am trained as a journalist and verify facts BEFORE I publish.   My source is: Saints and Feast Days

“She was betrothed at the age of twelve, after the custom of the day, but when her fiance died, she determined to devote her life to prayer and contemplation and to works of charity. After the death of her father, she and her mother formed a community of women who shared her goals. She often brought poor and hungry women home to be fed, clothed, nursed, or otherwise taken care of, and many eventually joined the community, as did many women of means.

After the death of their parents, Macrina was chiefly responsible for the upbringing of her ten younger brothers. When they were disposed to be conceited about their intellectual accomplishments, she deflated them with affectionate but pointed jibes. Her example encouraged some of them to pursue the monastic ideal, and to found monastic communities for men. (Dios founded one of the most celebrated monasteries in Constantinople.) Three of them (Basil, Gregory, Peter) became bishops…”

Christians have come a long way since the days of Macrina. But I cannot help but think about all the Christian women who work tirelessly to advance the Kingdom, yet remain in the shadows because of gender discrimination.  I am grateful that my tradition,  recognizes that women’s ordinations are valid. I’ve met some fabulous clergy on my walk with Christ, and many of them are women.

I am grateful for the women of ancient days , who passed on the faith in spite of even more sanctions against them doing so. Scripture is full of stories about amazing women of faith. Their stories are often overlooked in modern Christian teachings, and this makes me sad and a bit angry. Yet knowing that there are centuries of examples of faithful witness about whom I can read in Scripture helps me on my own journey.

My heart hurts for those women whose callings are squelched due to gender discrimination. It hurts me when other well-meaning Christians tell me that women should not be priests and deacons It angers me when these same people refer female clergy as ” priestesses or “deaconesses”.   and living in the Deep South, I hear a lot of this from more conservative Christians}

My gratitude goes out to all those women who are and have been strong role models in my life. From my own mother until now, my life is full of role models that have shaped me into who I am. It is my hope and prayer that I will someday BE a ‘wonder woman” in someone else’s life.

In the Name of the Creator, Redeemer, and Susatainer.

Amen.

 

Closing Date

This is getting real, y’all.  Soon Best Dude and I will be free from the chaos of this county and its politics which favor ” the way we’ve always done things here”.

We have a closing date on our home in Unincorporated, Florida: 31 August. The safety inspection was done this week, and naturally there are a few minor repair jobs that we must do.

Now we must search for our next house. While I am delighted to soon be moving into Real Town, Florida, I find the home-searching and packing part of this process daunting. Thankfully Best Dude and I did quite a bit of our pacing when we prepared the house for showing.  Yet seeing all the piles of boxes in our garage  reminds me that we still need to haul everything to our new home { once we find it}  and unpack.

Our budget makes our window of possibilities narrow, so we might take a short lease on an apartment until we find the house that we need and can afford. Thinking about finances makes me short-of-breath.

I hate storage units. In my humble opinion: this whole industry is built upon literally Americans’ love for our stuff.  Until now, I’ve never exchanged money with a business for the privilege of storing stuff in a metal box.  Yet with the possibility of us needing to rent an apartment until we find our perfect house; we will probably need one of these units. Ugh. At least renting storage space is not as wasteful to me as buying lottery tickets: we will get something for our dollars if we must rent one.

Patience is NOT one of my virtues. Even though I am excited about the move, the process daunts me.  Since I am still on restriction from surgery I feel badly that I shall not really able to help lift and load our stuff when the time comes for the actual move.  It looks like we’ll do the actual move ourselves, since moving companies are expensive and we are not relocating too far from where we live  now.

That is all for now.

Peace !

Three Week Check Up and Autism

 

Yesterday I had my three-week check up at the neurosurgeon’s office.

The first task I had to complete was get some x-rays taken of the neck. Well, Best Dude and I FINALLY found ourselves in the Imaging Department of the hospital complex. Per usual, I took a number and waited to be called upon.

The imaging was uneventful.  Best Dude and I meandered to the part of Hospital Maze where the neurosurgery practice is located. After asking several people for directions, we FINALLY found the office. I checked in, and realized that we had arrived a good 45 minutes EARLY.  Anyhow, I told Best Dude that I would buy him a cup of Starbucks, so we rode the elevator back to the first floor. Following our noses, w located the Starbuck and got our coffee.

When we returned to the neurosurgery suite , it had become crowded. I felt my anxiety rise as the voices of so many people crowed into one smallish space  and bad acoustic assaulted my ears.  In order to cope with the sensory overstimulation and avoid a complete ” meltdown” I took out my trusted figit spinner.

Figit spinners work miracles; I kid you not!

People with neurotypical brains often do not realize how those of us on the autism spectrum perceive sensory stimuli. And our sensory issues are not a “one sie fits all” issue: different people struggle with different sensory issues. For instance: most of my sensitivity is aural. If  my brain receives too much input from my ears, the messages become scrambled.

It is hard for me to put into words what aural overstimulation feels like: but I can tell you that it is a real phenomena and not something we create in order to seek attention. I never quite know when the noise will affect me, nor can I control my physical reaction to such overstimulation.

Finally they called me back and a nice nurse took my vitals and asked me for my version of post-op so far. I replied that all has been well thus far.

Best Dude and I waited in that small room for what seemed like hours, the surgeon finally came in. He told me that my scar looked great and that the x-rays he ordered for me to have done showed that the bone graft was fusing and my hardware stayed intact. H also informed me that, due to my past issues with scoliosis, there is a slight possibility that I may need future ACDF fusions. { my spinal column is so messed up!}

He wants to see me in two months, and refilled my Percocet script. I plan to taper off of the heavy drug: rather than taking it three times daily I’ll  take it twice. My pain is worst when I wake up and before bed, so I can skip my mid-day pill.  Dealing with mid-day withdrawal effects shall not be good, but it is a task that I must complete.

We procured the prescription and scheduled my next check-up  and finally got out of there.

Due to the withdrawal, my head was pounding and my body was chilled.  But I felt gratful that the report was positive. No loose screws and the bone fusion is healing on-schedule.

As for me and my autism– that’s just another day in the life of Sarah Beth.

In the famous words of Philosopher Popeye ” I  yam  what I yam. Thanks be to God that I have people who love me in spite of myself .

God is good. All the time!