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Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

Happy Easter

19 Apr

Happy Easter - He Is RisenI know that not all of my friends are particularly fond of religious holidays and I understand the bias. After all, those of us who have grown up as gay men and women, transgendered or pretty much anything that qualifies as “outside of the norm” have felt the judgment and scorn that is so often served at the hands of someone who identifies as a Christian.

That said, I would ask those same friends who feel less than amicable toward those who celebrate a religious holiday to remember, “Not every Christian (or person following any other faith for that matter) is out to judge and condemn that which [they] see as different.”

We have supporters in the Christian community, just as we have in pretty much every faith that still exists today. Do they outnumber the haters or are their voices as loud? Perhaps not (I don’t know) but it certainly isn’t fair to those who ARE on our side to criticize or diss a holiday that is important to them just because of the more boastful, prideful, self-interested hypocrites who “identify” with their same brand of faith.

I identify as a Christian though I profess there are many things I’ve been taught as a young child that I really don’t believe any longer. To some, that makes me more of a heretic but honestly, I’m not out to impress or seek the approval and favor of my family or my peers who might believe differently than I. My spiritual walk with a higher power is very personal and to put it bluntly, my purpose in this lifetime is for myself to figure out (with the help of my own personal brand of faith and the God that I serve).

Many of my more conservative friends or family probably believe that is a very dangerous bet to hedge. After all, most of those I’ve grown up with have attended the same kinds of churches as me, where the Sunday sermon was all about fire and brimstone. So, to them it may well seem like a huge risk to take, to set aside some of the lessens I was taught as a young child. It may seem to some that my “walk in Faith” is something akin to a fool’s journey, compared to their own beliefs — but it’s my journey alone.

Enough about that though..

Today’s blog entry is my way of reaching out to those who feel hurt, betrayed, scorned and judged by all persons of faith. It is specifically directed at those who identify as gay or lesbian, who have been the focus of MUCH judgment by those professing to be Christians, who now feel angry enough that they’re willing to push back at that same group by dissing that group’s religious holidays (such as Easter).

I get it; I’m gay. I’ve been pissed off in the past and I’m certain I’ll [often] give in to that same anger again and again as those hiding behind religion seemingly attack me or the community of which I’m a part.

But I want to acknowledge the disservice we do ourselves to let THEIR ignorance and hypocrisy turn us into something we are not. We don’t have to give in to the anger and hurt, choosing to respond similarly and attacking “all” persons of faith. That isn’t a very good approach if you stop and think about it because not ALL those who believe are in fact judging us. If you look around you will likely find that many of your own long, trusted friends have ties to one religion or another. We would do well to remember in this day and age that it is more often than not simply an outspoken, ignorant small-percentage who temporarily gain the spotlight, who give others of the faith a black eye in the process. The outspoken among them judge all of us, stereotyping our community and attaching behaviors and values which might seem befitting for some gays and lesbians. We become angry because “we don’t believe those stereotypes apply to us personally” (and odds are many do not).

We would do well to remember this and apply that same analogy as we approach those of faith, such as Christians. “Not every ‘Christian’ is the same.”

And besides, the truth is that we only hurt ourselves if we give the “hypocrites” the power to influence our own attitudes toward an entire group of people. You’re better than that; I’m better than that. There is a better way (and please DO feel free to remind my own sorry self of this when I go totally bonkers and lose my sh#t in the future – because I will – you can trust in that). LOL

In closing and in the spirit of my own faith, I want to wish every person reading, be he or she gay, straight, bisexual, white, black, Mexican or Spanish, Muslim or what-have-you… a very Happy Easter. This holiday is of special significance to many religious faiths; it is significant to my own beliefs as well and in that spirit I simply want to wish each of you peace and harmony.

Namaste,
Michael

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Happy Valentine’s Day

14 Feb

Happy Valentine's DayThe origins of Valentine’s Day trace back to the ancient Roman celebration of Lupercalia. Held on February 15, Lupercalia honored the gods Lupercus and Faunus, as well as the legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus.

In addition to a bountiful feast, Lupercalia festivities are purported to have included the pairing of young women and men. Men would draw women’s names from a box, and each couple would be paired until next year’s celebration.

While this pairing of couples set the tone for today’s holiday, it wasn’t called “Valentine’s Day” until a priest named Valentine came along. Valentine, a romantic at heart, disobeyed Emperor Claudius II’s decree that soldiers remain bachelors. Claudius handed down this decree believing that soldiers would be distracted and unable to concentrate on fighting if they were married or engaged. Valentine defied the emperor and secretly performed marriage ceremonies. As a result of his defiance, Valentine was put to death on February 14.

After Valentine’s death, he was named a saint. As Christianity spread through Rome, the priests moved Lupercalia from February 15 to February 14 and renamed it St. Valentine’s Day to honor Saint Valentine.

What’s Cupid Got to Do with It?

According to Roman mythology, Cupid was the son of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. Cupid was known to cause people to fall in love by shooting them with his magical arrows. But Cupid didn’t just cause others to fall in love – he himself fell deeply in love.

As legend has it, Cupid fell in love with a mortal maiden named Psyche. Cupid married Psyche, but Venus, jealous of Psyche’s beauty, forbade her daughter-in-law to look at Cupid. Psyche, of course, couldn’t resist temptation and sneaked a peek at her handsome husband. As punishment, Venus demanded that she perform three hard tasks, the last of which caused Psyche’s death.

Cupid brought Psyche back to life and the gods, moved by their love, granted Pysche immortality. Cupid thus represents the heart and Psyche the (struggles of the) human soul.

I know this day can seem depressing if you’re not in a relationship… but it shouldn’t (because the MOST important relationship you can be in is the one you have with yourself – so show yourself some love, even if only for the day).

Namaste,
Michael

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Posted in Holidays

 

Fireworks on the eve of a New Year

01 Jan

The little kid in me still loves a good fireworks show. Granted, I brought the New Year in snoozing this year (just as I did last year) but I always like to cruise around the Internet after the fact to see what went on. Sydney, Australia (beautiful city — I visited there in 1996) seems to have one of the best shows going this year. Watch (below) and see if you agree.

Happy New Years

My official “New Years” entry may be read here but I didn’t want the opportunity to pass me by without giving you a little bit of entertainment in the form of fireworks. Have a great year, all.

Much love,
Michael

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Posted in Holidays

 

Looking back…

31 Dec

Happy New Year (2012)Was it a bad year or simply another year full of opportunities to grow, evolve, change and “Live”?

I’ll admit it, I haven’t had the easiest of times these past few years. Each has been filled with a large number of growing experiences and I am often reminded of the adage, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” {spoken with mild amusement}

But I remain thankful for each day that I open my eyes, see, walk, touch and feel. I’m grateful for the friends who’ve stayed true to me through the good times and those experiences that have proven to be more trying.

(I sometimes fail to appreciate the devotion some [friends] demonstrate as they listen to me bitch and moan about what’s “going wrong” in my life, seemingly unawares of the troubles they themselves might be experiencing. I’m not beating myself up for this; I know we have each been guilty of the same thing on occasion but I feel I must put the sentiment out there in an effort to acknowledge and thank them for allowing me my childish tantrums from time to time.)


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Posted in Holidays

 

I’m Still waiting…

22 Nov

I did what you told me…

I sent the email to 10 people just like you said.

I’m still waiting for that miracle to happen.

INSERT CAPTION HERE

To all my friends who in the last year sent me best ‘wishes’, chain letters, ‘angel’ letters or other promises of good luck if I forwarded something,

NONE OF THAT CRAP WORKED!

From now on, could you please just send money, WINE or gasoline vouchersThank you!

Humor! Just kidding… Here’s hoping that each person reading this has laughter in his/her heart, joy in their step and is filled with good health, peace and an abundance of hope for the coming year. Happy Thanksgiving! *Gobble-Gobble*

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New Year’s Absolutions

03 Jan

Photo of little boy on beach, flying a kite. Image courtesy of Pam Ulmann (see The “new” year has arrived and here’s hoping this will be a better year for all of us.

My mood was so bad this past month that I didn’t even take the time to write my annual Christmas newsletter. After all, what transpired during the past twelve months that wasn’t any different than the twelve before? I spent the year looking for work (thus far, unsuccessfully but there is ‘some’ hope on the horizon) and my health is pretty much the same.

(I’m HIV-positive and I’m a cancer survivor; any day that I awake with two breaths in my lungs is a good day. LOL) Okay, to tell the truth it’s not that simple and I am very happy and content with my health these days, with the exception of the weight-gain. My immune system is doing well whereas the HIV is concerned; my CD4 counts are at an all-time high of 828 last I checked (a couple of months ago). My viral load is still undetectable at less than forty. Those are all very good things!

And as well, I’m still in remission inasmuch as my cancer is concerned (four years come next March). I’m told that “five years” is the magic number; if I can only manage to stay in remission for another year, then the cancer will be considered as well as “cured.” Here’s hoping…


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Twas The Night Before Christmas

24 Dec

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
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Posted in Misc

 

Freakish, hellish drivers in Dallas

11 Dec

I created this graphic with the idiots whose paths I cross on the road every day, in mind. Please be certain to click on the image so that you have the opportunity to read the titles of the books included in this make-believe course.

It’s that time of year again; the time of year when the simplest of tasks (running to the store or just driving down the block) becomes something you dread with every fiber of your being.

The stores are packed and are generally either NOT staffed (which was my experience today) or the staff that IS on hand simply aren’t familiar with their own products … or don’t give a damn. (I suspect the latter is probably MORE the case.) However, the nightmare begins long before you ever set foot in the store; it begins the moment you put those keys in the ignition and pull out onto the road.

Dallas drivers haven’t always been so bad; they’ve gotten worse over the years, however. Almost as bad as the drivers in Houston. *shudders*

But as the years have passed and more and more drivers from other parts of the country have moved into the area, the experience (of driving) has turned into a freakish nightmare. You have the idiots who can’t seem to make a right-hand turn without pulling four to five feet over into the left-hand lane. The imbeciles who are trying to put on their makeup while driving in the morning, or reading a book or newspaper at any given time of the day. The nut jobs who are simply clueless and probably don’t even have the intelligence necessary to ride a bus and (of course) the rubber-neckers who stop to gawk at every little thing that’s going on everywhere but directly in front of them.


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A Time for Thanks, A Time for Giving

24 Nov

A Peanuts ThanksgivingMy prior post was negative and more akin to a rant. Considering that Thanksgiving is upon us, I’ll make a special effort to keep this post a little more upbeat.

Even so, I will remain honest to my convictions (You’ll understand as you read further).

Many, many years ago, our forefathers came to this continent from abroad (England). Initially perhaps, their voyage was simply intended as the “settling” of a new world but in the end, it was much more than that. Those settlers fought for [our] independence from England, and thus began the start of an entirely new (and much more profound) saga. But this is not the story of the Fourth of July (also known as “Independence Day”).

No, this is about a celebration that took place one hundred and fifty-five years earlier.


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Posted in Opinions

 

He Is Risen

04 Apr

Photo of Jesus Christ and lambThe long-awaited Easter morning has finally arrived…

For some, this day is their “finish line” — marking an end to whatever it was they had given up for Lent but for all this is representative of the day Jesus Christ did arise from the dead. Easter Sunday is a special day — a Holy day — for all Christians. For me, perhaps more so even than the day celebrated as Christ’s birth (Christmas).

Don’t ask why but the celebration of Easter, for me, just has more of a sacred feel to it (as compared to Christmas). Or, perhaps sacred is not the appropriate word to use but rather somber because of the sacrifice that was made all those many years ago.

I really do not have a lot to say in my blog today other than to wish all of my friends and family a Blessed Easter holiday. May you celebrate this day in good health, giving thanks for all that you have and acknowledging the gift that was given for you over 2000 years ago.

You might familiarize yourself with the Easter story by clicking here and I also invite you to listen to a beautiful song entitled “The Ballad of the Cross” (just click on the pink Play button on the Audio player shown below).

God Bless,
Michael

The Ballad of the Cross
 By Elton Smith and Larry Holder
Recording by Steve Israel and Rhesa Siregar

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