Tuesday, July 27, 2010

can of worms

Disclaimer: I do not mean to offend anyone-this is just something that I  have a strong opinion on and needed to express after YEARS of regression. What better place than cyber space. So if you are easily offended stop reading, click here and enjoy a very non offensive site.

I want to begin by saying that i strongly believe a persons religious beliefs are THEIR beliefs and that NO ONE can tell them they are wrong for what they believe. Faith is a personal relationship with whomever a person chooses.  Some people are are lucky (or are they?) that they may share similar beliefs with others-hence religions-churches-communities.

I was born, baptised, confirmed and married Catholic. And I will die Catholic. This is not to say that in my life - those formative teenage years- there were times i didn't take it seriously and it was shoved down my throat like dry toast. i am grateful for my parents strong faith and even stronger hand in taking us to church EVERY Sunday. I was also lucky enough to marry a man who was raised (for the most part) Catholic. And even luckier to have him join me at church on Sunday-and to FINALLY find a priest HE likes.  (I like him too).  This was important to me.

Anyway back to that can of worms.  It was during my electives in college that i found a greater interest in religions and faiths of the word-America-what have you.  My eyes were opened beyond the stereo types I had formed and beyond my upbringing in small rural Pentwater. (which by the way has 5 churches!)  The majority of my friends are from a Christian background, however I never made their religious choices and beliefs a main factor in our friendship.  Their beliefs are theirs, not mine to judge. When I began blogging I also began reading other blogs. Strangers blogs mind you and a few friends.  I have found a common string in most of these blogs-they all talk about being "Christan" and what is the "Christan" way to live your life. Great, good for you, that's a nice place to start.

But then I started thinking...I'm sure other people, strangers like me, read these blogs about decorating, cooking, life, raising families...etc. What does a Jewish person feel about reading this-or do they even read it?  How about a Buddhist or a Muslim. They are strong faiths and we all know older religions than Christianity.  Now I'm not claiming to be a theologian of any kind, but do we really want segregate our fellow friends by throwing around the "Christian way" left and right?  Are they saying that a person of Jewish faith doesn't lead a holy and morally correct life?

I think it's wonderful that other bloggers feel so open to sharing their beliefs with the world-more power to you.  Sometimes though,  I just feel like maybe they should stop and realize that they aren't the only ones who have these great beliefs. It really makes my blood boil when people talk about the "Christian" way.  It feels like segregation all over again. Putting a label on it....excluding others. That doesn't seem very Christian to me now. Have they enclosed themselves in such a large bubble that they are missing the point? Or is it me? Jesus would want us to love our neighbors, green, blue, smelly, Jewish, Dutch, atheist, all the same. God would too. And I bet Allah does too. I'm pretty sure Buddha might. Why are these bloggers not more open to acknowledge our shared morals and beliefs? Portions of the bible, in some version, is shared by Muslims, Jews and Christians. Hello! Connection! Wake up!

My cousin married a Muslim, she was raised Catholic. They have a great life, a great family and great morals. I have a good friend who is an atheist-she was raised Christian. She is funny, kind and would bend over backward for you. My best friends brother just married a Jewish girl whose family welcomed his protestant family with open arms into their own. Sharing and merging traditions of faith, love and family. 
Are they no longer "good" people for going outside of the Christian bubble? Of course not. They are wonderful, loving, ACCEPTING people. Not judging. If we all just live by the golden rule, teach by example, learn from our mistakes and follow in the footsteps laid out befor us we'd have a better place to play, raise our families and live our lives. Right?

There is a book that I've been wanting to read for sometime now...

Maybe I can get some answers...some understanding...and another point of view.  I am more than willing to unzip my Catholic bubble and learn from others. My beliefs are strong-I'm not worried-Granny isn't going to roll over.  But to see the other side of the coin...might be good for a lot of people.

P.S. I also believe in the Easter Bunny-my dad saw him. My dad doesn't lie.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Book Club

I've been meaning to write about my book club for a while now-we're in our 8th month so I thought I'd better do it before it was all consuming.
Our book club was started by about 8 of us ladies in our LARGE circle of friends.  Emails were flown back and forth, votes were cast and our 1st book selected:

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Woe

I began reading....slowly-painfully.....stumbling over the Spanish phrases tossed in.  I was not enjoying the book.  Sharing this with my friend Tara-another TBABL (Tampa Bay Area Bad Liberians) she had told me that she was enjoying it-and to just get past a certain point. "It gets better" she said.  (I've learned she says this a lot and 9 times out of 10 it does not.)

But we got together, had wonderful Dominican inspired food and a really good discussion.  I don't feel like a more enlightened person for reading the book, but I do feel good for reading a book that I would never  have chosen on my own. (Which is the whole point of book club)

I hosted the 2nd meeting in which we read:
Sarah's Key

This book was more along my taste and I read it pretty quickly and enjoyed the story.  There was some history, some drama and some mystery.  My only complaint was the contrived-almost forced last 30 pages.  It almost felt like the author was required to right xxx number of pages and finished the book short.  All in all though it did bring about a good discussions.

Our next book was a more light hearted choice-after reading a book about the Holocaust we needed it. We read Chelsae Handlers first novel:

My Horizontal Life: A collection of One Night Stands

Now, I enjoyed the book, but on a pure entertainment level.  I am not a wiser person for reading this-maybe the opposite.  But i did experience a bunch of gut wrenching laughs.  She is a very blunt women-who's had her share of "interesting" situations.  Needless to say there wasn't any deep discussion on this book-just a bunch of women getting together and enjoying some food and company.

This was our next book:

I bought the book (The library had NO copies-ever).
I did not finish this book. I could not finish this book. I would not recommend this book to my worst enemy.
If you want to borrow I have it-please don't give it back. 

Our next choice had a better outlook.....
Life List

It was short lived.
This book was like reading a biology book-written by a 10th grader-about a women who was selfish, cold, determined and down right uninteresting.  Most of the rest of the club agreed it was a dud.  The one who did enjoy it is a veterinarian.  Read it if you REALLY like birds.  (those who know me well, know I hate birds.)
However the "bird" food at this meeting was really good-lots of deviled eggs and yummy chicken :)

Our next book was - in my opinion- a GREAT book.  FINALLY!

The Help
It was a story-with a beginning, a middle, and an end. It made me happy, it made me sad, I laughed and I cried - I questioned humanity and our history.  If you have not read this book-read it.  My aunt had also read the book, and I think she put it best when she said, She didn't want it to end.  Neither did I.
And the food at this meeting wasn't bad either-Macaroni and Cheese, fried chicken, Okra and sweet tea vodka! mmmmm Those Southerns know how to fatten people up.

The next choice-chosen by a member (we'd switched from voting to the hosts' choice) was:

Bel Canto

It was an interesting read.  A slow read for me-but not for others.  I think the style it was written is was also supposed to play on the situation in which the characters were.  It was another one of those books that I would have never chosen, but read and feel slightly worldly because I did.  I would give it a 3 out of 5.  Not sure if i would recommend it, but glad I did finally finish it-even after book club told me how it ended.
The food (South American themed) was really good too!  My ceviche was a hit, but I  (the tomato hater) didn't care for it.

Our last book was chosen by my friend Tara, who had actually just finished the book, but thought we'd all enjoy it.  It was a non-fiction book about a man who grew up in the everglades and this was his life story:


I really wanted to like this book. I only got to page 45 and I'm not going to finish it.  My grandma wrote a memoir a few years back  and this read just like her memoir.  In 1930 I did this. In 1931 this happened....and so on....and so on. And as one person at book club stated "It was like going for a ride in a jalopy on a flat rode." There was now story curve, no climax, no big idea....just his life story.  Which I respect-and I'm sure a lot of fishermen and hunters might find it a bit more interesting than a girl who grew up in the woods with a hunting father and brothers...old news to me.  Luckily our Cracker style food was good, because our discussion was little to null....guess there really wasn't much to discuss.  And thank God no one brought coon.

Our next book is yet TBS-I'm hoping for a good one.....stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Oh, how I love Michigan in the summer.  The weather is perfect, the trees are green and Pentwater is hopping with activity.
We had a wonderful jam packed 3 days of fun....once we got there.
Adam and I left at different times, on different airlines, to different cities.  He to Chicago on a Southwest Award ticket and me to Grand Rapids via Delta.....with a "Lay-over" in Detroit.
It was storming when we left, my plane sat on the runway a good 20 min before being allowed to fly.  Adam found out they closed the runway 15 min after he left.  So God was on our side.....Then i got to Detroit.  And my 930 flight said 1100pm.
I was being picked up in GR by my oldest girlfriend and she had a nice night planned for us-which we haven't done in Forever....
So I called her and broke the news....then moseyed up to the airport bar.

Finally it's almost time to board 30 min...to go....and i see this girl running towards our gate.
Lisa! I yelled.  It was my good friend Christine's little sister, whom I've know since she had braces.  Poor thing thought she'd missed her flight, and if it had been on time she would have.  So God was on our side....and my waiting around 2 hours was no longer a pain in my neck as we rearranged to sit with each other on the plane and caught up on the 60 min flight.

Adam was being picked up in Chicago by my brothers friend who had also picked up Joe....last I heard they were having a good time driving the 4 hours to Pentwater. ;-)

Finally Friday after a lovely blueberry breakfast Joelle whipped up we headed north.  Adam and Mom had already played 9 holes of golf by the time we arrived.  The day involved sailing-Caroline's first time, swimming off the boat, dinner at the PYC with two of my girlfriends from K-zoo and a sunset sail.  It was a perfect day..minus the fact that i didn't put on an ounce of sunscreen and got cooked :(

Great Wind!
We tied Caroline to the boat-so mom could relax...a little.

Joelle & Caroline down below
We've been friends for....28 years.

Adam, Jonathan & I waiting for our dinner on the dock

The view from the club.
Having fun!
the girls hanging on for dear life-they're first real sail!

A perfect night a perfect sail.

Jonathan was captian all night
Dad & Adam shootin' the shit.
The crew: jonathan, felicia, me, dad, adam & kenzie

ahhhhh this is the life

Saturday we headed to the beach before the wedding.  I realized I had not been to the beach-to "beach" in four years!  Adam had never been either.  Luckily Lake Michigan was warm (78!) so i was able to dunk myself-Adam .... did not.

Adam scootered to the beach

The wedding Saturday night for Ryan & Stephanie was lovely, hot, but really nice.  It was a garden wedding with a big white tent.  Joseph and Nick (both groomsmen) grilled corn on the cob and BBQ chicken.  After dinner fresh baked pies were served and the band began to play.  They had also set up bean bag toss, latter golf, and of course Beer Pong; where my Dad, Joseph and Adam spent the rest of the evening.

Joe & Jen
Mr. & Mrs. Ryan Burdick
The Happy Couple

Grilling corn
everyone but Jonathan
Time for beer pong....
The Youngs & the Burdicks-The Newlywed Club

Sunday was a rainy day and after church we played some Texas rummy with my parents.  Later my aunt and uncle came up with Grandma and we had a yummy surf and turf dinner followed by fresh peach pie. MMMM Michigan even tastes good.

Adam and I decided to try and catch the sunset (which happens at 9:30 pm!) and headed to the pier.  Cloud coverage prevented the glorious sight we saw of Friday night, but it was still a beautiful night and to be out there with Adam was special as we talked about the changes in our lives and our goals as we move forward with our marriage.

It was sad leaving-having to come back to reality.  But we made it back safe and sound on the same plane to two dogs who missed us dearly.  Life will slowly shift back into our old routine, but it is nice once in a while, however short, to stir things up and forget life and just have fun.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Time Flies...

...When you're having fun!!

Adam and I have been busy enjoying our summer.  Our 4th of July camping trip went really good.  We had some rainy weather, but nothing that hindered our ability to play cards under the tent.
Our dining tent

mmm breakfast

Adam chopped wood like a pro.

Jordan and Bruiser enjoyed it as well.  Unfortunately, they were the only downfall-we couldn't leave them alone, so it was difficult for us to do things together where dogs weren't allowed-like the spring.  Which is a constant 72 degrees. After the initial shock to your system it's quite nice...took Adam two days to get in. :)

Manatee Springs

I Jumped right in....

Took adam unitl day two!

Adam and Jordan in Cedar Key on the 4th of July.

All in all though-we'd like to go back with a group of friends and try again! I survived.


Last weekend we spent some time with my old friend Jared who is down from Boston for cancer treatments.  I know, sad reason for a visit, but hopefully  it will kick it's butt and he'll be as good as new.  Anyway, before he began treatments we loaded up and drove 2.5 hours North to Ginney Springs to float down the river. 

Ginney Spring

It rained.


So we got out and waited.....

Got back in....and it rained again-so we floated down the river anyway.


Then the sun came out.

Then.... it rained some more.

It was definitely a day to remember and despite the fact that we were soaked, we had a blast.


Our work has been interesting. 

Adam's not getting paid.
I'm getting all sorts of tid bit jobs to work on, but nothing big or exciting to say the least.

Adam got offered a new job.
I got offered a teaching position.

So our life is going to get even more chaotic.

Adam's new job is kind of a experiment.  He'll be working towards a management position that will put him in the position to be relocated-YA! and make a lot more money-double Ya!
However, it's commission based sales....6 days a week....from noon to 7.
He gets off Wednesdays. 
He also wants to try and stay on, in the mornings, at his current location-you know the one that can't afford to pay their employees.  And he's still playing Frisbee Tue/Thur nights until 11:00 p.m.

My new position is at a dance studio in Lutz (north of Tampa) one night a week (Monday's) 3 ballet classes.
I'm excited to get back into shape and back in the studio.  More so excited to work at a new studio and with new students.  I start on August 9th!

So let's do the math....Adam works Thurs-Tues. I work M-F
Adam is gone Tues/Thurs nights. I'm gone Monday nights.  Not a lot of together time...but we need to do this now, when opportunities arise.  Hopefully after 4 months Adam will work up to Manager and it will all be worth it.  God has a plan, we're just along for the ride...guess this is the bumpy part.

This weekend we head up to Michigan for a friends wedding.  I'm looking forward to seeing my family and a bunch of friends.  We'll be back for work on Monday-Adam starting his new job.

We hope all are enjoying their summer.  Stay healthy, happy and positive!