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Monday, October 31, 2016

"One need not be a chamber to be haunted;
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing material place."

EMILY DICKINSON






Everyone who knows me well knows just how much I dislike Halloween.

Halloween, in my experience, is a day too many people use to excuse any and all behaviour regardless of how hurtful, selfish, or egregious, while costumes and masks create an inherent lack of accountability. Memories of All Hallows' Eve past are laced with hurt, fear and unhappiness.

However, my efforts over the years to live the day with some sense of comfort and peace have finally begun to bear fruit over the last few years; and I've discovered that there IS a true-hearted basis for the inclusion of this day in my life and in my faith... and for me, THAT makes all of the difference.

Hallowe'en or 'All Hallows' Eve' is not a liturgical feast on the Church calendar, but the celebration has deep ties to the Liturgical Year. These three consecutive days: Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day, illustrate the Communion of Saints.

We begin with the Church Militant (Halloween, October 31 - those of us saints on earth, striving to get to heaven... the macabre a symbol of our sinfulness and human weakness), as we move on to rejoice and honor the Church Triumphant (All Saints Day, November 1 - the saints, canonized and uncanonized in heaven), while in the midst of it all we pray for the Church Suffering/Penitent (All Souls Day, November 2 - those souls who have died separated from God's love by unresolved pain in their hearts and souls). The month of November remains devoted to this act of love in acknowledgement, through prayer, of our oneness in struggle and in faith.

Halloween is the preparation for the two upcoming feasts. Although the daemonic and witchcraft have no place in church tradition, the macabre can be incorporated into Halloween. It is good to occasionally dwell on our impending death (yes, everyone dies at one point... even if 50 is the new 30), on the Poor Souls who have died without a sense of resolution to their lives or an understanding of just how much God loves them, and on the sacrament of the Sick.

Tied in with this theme are the saints, canonized and non-canonized (we are all saints at various points on the journey toward perfect love). What did they do in their lives that they were able to create in their lives an on-going communion with perfect love? How can we imitate them? How can we, like these saints, prepare our souls for death at any moment?

It gives me a great sense of wonder, awe, and grace to ponder these ideas, and suddenly it all makes sense in ways it had not for so very many years.

My search to make some peace with the day began (as it usually does) with the loving act of a friend who didn't even know of my yearly struggles, yet sent me a reason to finally look upon Halloween with a new vision....





"Being a person of Faith is like being a jack-o-lantern.

God lifts your pumpkin self up, takes you in, and washes all the dirt off of you.

He opens you up, touches you deep inside and scoops out all the yucky stuff -- including the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, envy, suspicion, rage, worry, confusion -- anything that gets between you and His love.

Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside you to shine for the whole world to see."





My pumpkin self is still hanging' in there...





....though I do feel a bit overwhelmed at the moment:




(...my head feels A LOT like the one being carried by the horseman...)

...and it's not any one thing, it's the perfect storm of so many things... it's the human frailties that cause stress in all of our lives, it's everything within me that still needs the touch of God's deep and abiding peace on my heart and soul (not to mention that October has been overwhelming at every practical turn).

Moment by moment I hold on with all my might to the mercy and grace bestowed upon me... while tomorrow we live the 'Church Triumphant' and I am claiming for myself triumph over the distractions and upheaval around me with everything I have in me.

We continue our on-going balancing act... every day seems to be a tapestry of the most exquisite and impossible choices (woven together by grace)... where every moment reflects a conflict of priorities (how do you prioritize love?).

Despite everything, we LAUGH a lot... I hope you are able to claim the same!

I just wanted all of you to know that I AM HERE with you in spirit... that you are always in my prayers, and that I am rooting for YOU with every conscious act I continue to embrace toward better health and well-being.

Always, I pray God's most tender touch inside your life and heart, as he scoops out all of the yucky stuff that gets between you and the love you deserve in your life... the love of self as the most perfect creation that you are, the love of others, and Perfect Love deep and abiding through all things. I pray you feel the deep, soothing, glowing warmth of that light within you, and that your own journey continues to bring to you an ever greater awareness of just how brightly you are meant to shine.

Happy Autumn & God Bless!
Ramona








I AM DONE living a life shaped by my fears.
I WILL live a life shaped by love of myself as God's most wonderful creation, and His unfailing love for me.
I WILL live my life as though I cannot fail; a life defined by consistency of effort; a life shaped by my passions and inspirations; finding the reasons to overcome, and find healing in, all that is keeping me from living the life I was created to live.

I AM DONE apologizing for who I am, what I want, what I need, or for my capabilities.
I WILL at every opportunity, celebrate who I am, what I want, what I need, and my capabilities.

I AM DONE living to satisfy the comfort level of others, while neglecting my own authenticity.
I WILL speak with my own authentic voice, and that voice will resonate in my choices, in my actions, and in the fruits of my effort.

I AM DONE lying to myself, and as a result lying to others.
I WILL be truthful with myself, no matter how uncomfortable or painful, knowing that the truth really will set me and those I encounter in this life, free.

I AM DONE backing off, backing away, backing down and backing into.
I WILL walk on despite conflict, walk toward in faith, walk up to with acceptance and compassion, and walk directly toward with conviction.



"Behind every self defeating behavior in your life is a lie that you are believing."
RICK WARREN





...Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.
- REINHOLD NIEBUHR -





...No matter your circumstances, fly, my SPARKling friends, FLY!!!









Why I'm STILL here... my SparkJourney Saga
www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
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No more Mrs. Doubtfire... or Picture UPDATE at nearly 100 lbs. ELIMINATED!
www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
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What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Losing a Lot of Weight
www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
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How I Am Eliminating 'EXCESS Weight'
www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
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(ponder this some and you come to see this SPARKjourney in a whole new light)



I'm STILL 155.0 pounds, today. I'm choosing to focus on maintenance for the time being.

(I started my journey at 250 lbs. & over 50% BMI... Obese Class III)




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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • JUST-ELIZ
    Great post!! Thank You for sharing!! emoticon
    1177 days ago
  • BONNIEBELLE2
    I loved what you said about a person of faith being like a jack-o-lantern! Especially the part about God taking all the yucky stuff out of us and replacing it with His light to shine out for others..lwhat a great metaphor and I will forever view Halloween and jack-o-lanterns diiferently from now on
    1178 days ago
  • XNANNY
    Blessings on you!
    1180 days ago
  • 75HEALTHYME
    Thanks for sharing.
    1180 days ago
  • NJMATTICE
    Thanks for taking the time! Happy Halloween!
    1181 days ago
  • ISABELLE84
    Thank you for sharing.
    And keep sparking =)
    1181 days ago
  • DEBVNE
    We are newer buds, so I had zero idea that Halloween historically was not a good thing for you. On the flip side, I have always adored it. I grew up in a small town in Iowa. We could tromp all over town, visit friends and relatives, eat a popcorn ball, and help Mom make our costumes. Just a fun day. I carried this into my momdom, planning the church party, creating costumes for the boys, roasting pumpkin seeds, and baking cupcakes for school parties. Today it means hosting the annual carving extravaganza, such a good time. Your analogy of God working within us to carve out a pumpkin to create a jack o lantern is lovely...and oh so true. As we gathered around our kitchen table yesterday, I witnessed this many times over.

    Such a lovely blog, such a beautiful spirit.
    Happy Halloween...may your day be spooktacular!
    emoticon
    1181 days ago
  • GARDENCHRIS
    beautiful! and thank you
    1181 days ago
  • 1CRAZYDOG
    What a wonderful explanation of your vision of how Halloween fits into all this! I appreciate it.

    Wishing you that peace. Still searching for it among the chaos here, too, but that's happening day-by-day. I am trying to be open to those blessings he bestows on me daily.

    HUGS
    1181 days ago
  • LIBELULITA
    I'm glad you've been able to make your peace with this holiday. Here in Spain it's only really started to take off for the younger people in the last few years. Here it's mainly about visiting your loved ones graves, to tidy them up and get them ready for All Saints' Day on the 1st.

    Well done for still maintaining your 155 pounds...and a happy, healthy, wonderous Autumn to you too emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1181 days ago
  • RHIO3TRE
    Thank you!
    1181 days ago
  • GOMYMICHELLE
    Amen
    1181 days ago
  • POSITIVEHOPE
    Thank you. That was the best treat I've ever associated with Halloween. Never been my holiday. I don't like dress up or costumes and the concept of ghosts and zombies is totally opposite my beliefs.

    I'm always amazed that so many people invest so much time, money, energy and thought into this holiday. I can't imagine why. Now Thanksgiving makes total sense to me and my heart.

    Love, love, loved the pumpkin story. Transformed by God inside and out. Such a testimony to what God's love can do for our lives.

    The support of SP like you is another testimony of His love. It shines through you like a beacon.

    Thanks for sharing?
    1181 days ago
  • JEANKNEE
    Good to hear that your efforts to live the day with some sense of comfort have finally begun to bear fruit over the last few years.

    And, the three-fold Trinitarian aspects at work through the three consecutive days -- Church Militant / Church Triumphant / Church Suffering/Penitent.

    May your prayer for us touch inside your life and heart.

    1181 days ago
  • KESTRYLL
    Thank you
    1181 days ago
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