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Sunday Sundries … Project

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Courtesy: Jack’s Empty Mind (from the special archives)

It has been a cold and rainy day today.

I’ve been having serious pain issues with my back, after that fall the other day. I have OTC medication that I am taking to sleep because the pain is so bad, I can’t lay down because it is like having someone stab me in the back with a poker and the pain radiates all the way around my body.

Pain actually got me out of bed earlier than I wanted this afternoon, so I got up and showered and got ready to go. I left a little early, but like I said it has been a miserable day today.

We only had a handful of folks, but we had a great celebration of 27 years by one of our founder women of Sunday Niter’s.

We finished up the story … Jim’s Story …

And tonight’s line that caught my attention was this:

“The November following, I took a few days off after payday to celebrate my birthday on the twenty fifth of the month. As usual I got drunk and lost the money. Someone had taken it from me. That was the usual pattern…”

So the story goes with me that I was a true alcoholic and did my birthday proud. My birthday celebrations would start seven days prior, Not that I was drinking any less, by any stretch, I actually drank more.

I would gather with my drinking friends at the bar, as usual, and the party would start. And each night the party would continue, with drinking to excess. And would culminate on my birthday with a grand drinking event complete with drag queens, dancing and frivolity.

It was fun for a while. Because drinking was just something we did.

It came naturally. But it ended in a near death experience and almost death. So was it really all that fun, to drink until you can’t stand up???

No …

That is all I have for this night’s reading.

*** *** *** ***

The mall is coming along. They have worked tirelessly on the tunnel access to the Metro. The blockages are cleared, the columns are all painted and tiled. And the staircases have been finished.

Target is not far off for their grand opening, but there are no signs up advising of any opening. We think it may be tomorrow.

The mezzanine floor at the Atwater entrance is finished. They have tiled the entire floor and painted and worked on the ceiling. Work on the staircase and elevator bank is still ongoing.

The new shops on that floor are open and I am told IGA is still in process and folks are finding it hard to find things because of the shift in the store footprint.

*** *** *** ***

I have mentioned over the past few days the stories of some folks at our meeting that are stuck in the revolving door. One of those in particular is a woman I have known, for as long as I have been sober.

Recovery is Pastoral in scope, because we minister to each other on a daily or weekly basis, depending on when we see each other. But the effort is there nonetheless.

After the meeting tonight I approached her and I shared with her some observations and memories with her. Many she did not remember herself, because she was drunk half the time.

She’d been by the women’s T.B. meeting several times and is always overwhelmed with the folks there. And I asked her if any of the women reached out to her and welcomed her into their flock? And she said no.

Sadly, I have heard the same complaint from other women who tried to connect there. It seems there is a disconnect between the girls and who they choose to welcome and bring into the fold.

Anyways, in the end I hugged her and encouraged her to return to our meeting, (Sunday Niter’s) that we would work with her if nobody else did. I am hoping the encouragement and support will carry her through the holidays.

That’s how it works, one alcoholic working with another.

*** *** *** ***

I saw a video online You Tube the other day. A group in the states that work with homeless folks

Information about Degage Ministries: Serving 400-500 individuals daily, Dégagé Ministries offers help and hope to homeless and disadvantaged individuals in our community. Responsive programming is designed to address immediate and long-term needs such as overnight respite for women in crisis, food, referral services and hygiene facilities. While many of our services may seem “simple,” those who receive our services take nothing for granted. Often, it is the simplest of gestures that brings the most powerful results.

Degage Ministry Here.

You can find the video HERE.

I thought to myself that this Christmas I would like to offer this to some of the homeless folks that frequent our meetings on a weekly basis.

For many years, we see the same men come and go, before and after the meeting. Most folks ignore them, and they become invisible. I thought that, after seeing that video above, that we could do that here in our own way. So I emailed the director of the video.

I thought we could get donated salon time at the salon I use in the mall, and Target is opening soon, I was thinking of asking the managers and staff to donate clothing from their store, so forth and so on.

You never know what you can do for someone who has nothing, and lives on the street and in shelters. And these men that I am thinking about are fixtures in our community, and deserve love and attention.

That’s what’s on my mind tonight. Not much but important.

More to come, stay tuned …


Tuesday – Solutions …

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It is Tuesday and the weather has been iffy all day long. We’ve been having rain and totally muggy miserable weather. Feels like Florida weather. There is massive flooding in the Western Provinces, and in the Central and Atlantic regions, it feels more like summer in July.

We usually don’t get these deeply warm trends until later in the summer and they last for a little while. But July is coming and August usually brings cooler temps. Thank God for air conditioners. We were wise to invest in one last season.

I left early this evening because of the possibility of torrential rain, because it was thundering for a few hours prior to me leaving, but no substantial rain fell. By the time I left it was just spitting rain.

The church was open when I got there. The girls were gathering to read their Big Books. And so I set out tables and chairs and made coffee. It was my last week on set up duty for the month of June.

I wanted to be free of any proper commitment to service so that if I decided to go to Vendome instead I could. Sometimes I need to be with the guys over there, instead of with the girls at T.B’s.

We sat fair numbers tonight, after a successful business meeting.

Montreal is in the running to host the 2025 International A.A. Convention and New York is sending representatives to our city in the coming weeks to scout and see just how Montreal can accommodate over 60,000 alcoholics in our city.

Meetings are being asked to send contributions directly to New York, to make sure our individual groups get documented internationally. However Montreal, as a whole sends money to New York, after our needs are met on a monthly basis.

But the individual groups who donate directly to New York prove that there are groups who are financially solvent and can make donations to New York. And with these donations from groups in Montreal, we are saying that we can accommodate thousands of people in our groups while they are here, and the donations also curry favor in our favor as a host city.

The decision should be made by end of summer.

Tonight we read from Chapter 2 in the Big Book. There IS a Solution.

This chapter has been important at many meetings I go to. We keep covering the first few chapters of the book, continuously. We can’t stress enough to newcomers that they too can get sober and become happy, joyous and free too … It may take some time, but in the end life will get better.

As we were reading I went over the graffiti that I have written in my book over the years we’ve read. My book is a jumble of highlights and underlines and side bar notes.

Several items come to mind when reading this chapter …

We are defenseless about the first drink.

That eventually in sobriety you will reach a point when all that stands between you and a drink will be your Higher Power.

ISM is not a Wasm in my head …

It was good that the shares did not get round to me by the end of the share portion of the meeting. But I was thinking about getting sober.

The first time I got sober, I got sober because I needed to because of my health. So there was another motive, other than self that was directly responsible for my sobriety.

I stayed sober for a while, but I wasn’t communicating at the end, and I surely was not rooted in the Big Book. Because had I been on both accounts, I probably would not have drank like I did.

I just walked right into a drink as my slip took place. I really did not think about it when it happened. IT just happened. First it was a drink and then a joint, and insanity ensued.

The second time I got sober, there were no other motivations or concerns. I was getting sober for me and only me and the first thing we did was read the book, and begin with the steps. There were meetings in the same location every night. And every night the format was different. So in those first 5 months, I heard the steps spoken about in a 12 step series. I had enough Big Book under my belt and Living Sober as well.

I think it is imperative that with any amount of time you have right now, that you attend at least one meeting that reads the Big Book and/or the Twelve and Twelve. That you have a sponsor that you currently work steps with. And a home group where you are participating in your sobriety.

Because without those tools. that are laid at our feet, we are just spinning our wheels and warming a chair, until at some point we engage or we go back out and drink.

Eventually we will be rocketed into the fourth dimension …

The rain stayed away and I got home without incident.

A good night was had by all …

More to come, stay tuned …


The Reformation Project …

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Courtesy: Reformation Project.Org
Donations can be made at: http://www.igg.me/at/reformationproject

What Are We?

The Reformation Project is a Bible-based, Christian non-profit organization that seeks to reform church teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity. Read more below and visit our Statement of Faith to learn more about our beliefs.

We are a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in the United States of America.

Our Plans and Our Vision

This fall, we will host our first leadership conference for 50 straight, gay, bisexual, and transgender Christians who are committed to reform. From September 18th-21st at Asbury United Methodist Church in Kansas City, KS, we will put them through a Bible boot camp. There, we will equip them with the tools and training they need to go back to their communities and make lasting changes to beliefs and interpretations that marginalize LGBT people. Once they go back, we will continue to offer them personal, financial, and infrastructural support for months and years to come. We will ensure that even those with the biggest and most daunting of goals will have the means to accomplish them.

Crucially, the aspiring reformers that we train will not be seeking to change their churches by asking them to ignore or look past the Bible. The Bible is not anti-gay. It never addresses the issues of same-sex orientation or loving same-sex relationships, and the few verses that some cite to support homophobia have nothing to do with LGBT people. Careful, persistent arguments about those passages have the power to change every Christian church worldwide, no matter how conservative their theology. The mission of The Reformation Project is to train a new generation of Christians to streamline that process and accelerate the demise of homophobia in the church.

After we build our leadership training model with 50 reformers this year, we will start to expand aggressively. As soon as we raise the money to do so, we will open a headquarters here in Wichita, Kansas. We will host more conferences, both in the U.S. and abroad.

Here in America, we will partner with churches and pastors to develop vocal and visible allies in every church around the country. We will launch regional offices in places where LGBT people have the least support, and we will work to reform the churches there from within. Soon, gay kids in Jackson, Mississippi and Kingston, Jamaica won’t just have to hear on YouTube that it gets better—they will have the personal support of outspoken, influential Christian allies in their communities who can ensure that it does.

How You Can Help

In order to make our vision a reality, we need your support. This spring, we are running our initial fundraising campaign on Indiegogo, we need thousands of donors to pitch in to reach our goal of $100,000. This will fund our first leadership conference in Kansas City this fall, covering all of the basic expenses of those who attend, and it will allow us to start laying the groundwork for the future.

 

A Message From the Founder

A little less than a year ago, I gave a speech at a church in Kansas about the Bible and homosexuality and posted the video of it online. Two years earlier, I had left school at Harvard and set out on an improbable quest to confront homophobia in my conservative Wichita church and find acceptance there as a gay Christian….

Mission Statement

We are dedicated to training LGBT Christians and their allies to reform church teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity through the teaching of the Bible.

Statement of Faith

The Reformation Project is a Bible-based, Christian organization. We are ecumenical in nature and mission, inclusive of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox Christians alike.

We believe in:

  • The inspiration of the Bible, the Word of God.
  • The Triune God, eternally existent as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • The supremacy of God the Father, who created all things seen and unseen through Christ our Lord.
  • The deity of Jesus Christ, only begotten Son of the invisible God, firstborn over all creation, fully God and fully man, head of the church, author and finisher of our faith; His death for our sins; and His resurrection and eventual return.
  • The regenerative power of the Holy Spirit, whose fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Giving … 7th Tradition …

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When we speak it is experience, strength and hope. Not what we give from our pockets.

I’ve never heard someone share from the podium reference to putting anything in the basket. Never. If someone chooses to put money in the kitty it is their prerogative. And not ours to demand, or require, whatever the amount of time someone has. There are people who come to meetings (here) that never contribute to the kitty. And some folks don’t necessarily hear the words, “now it is time for the 7th tradition which states …” you know the rest,

I’ve never heard someone make an issue about giving to the kitty. It’s not our place to do so. If people give they give, and if they don’t they don’t.

I’ve got 11 years. And I contribute to the kitty at every meeting I go to. I also give back in service and speaking on occasion. But I would never drop a word about giving to the kitty, in ANY audience. You have to let people take things in their own time. In time they might begin to give, and maybe they won’t. Nobody is a freeloader if they don’t contribute. People come because they want to get well, and maybe that might mean that they don’t contribute. But it is not our place to place guilt or judgment that they don’t give and they ought to, as you say. What we ought to do is carry the message to the newcomer. What it was like, what happened and what it is like now. In that formula, there is no mention about the kitty in my book !

The 7th tradition is optional, not a requirement.

And if you came to a meeting and said that you believe as members who have gotten the message and come to meetings, and thereby obligating us to give because we have been freely given, I might say aside that it is not our place to say anything about contributions financial or otherwise. Every group ought to be fully self supporting declining outside contributions.

The traditions are there to guide the (groups). The steps are there to guide the (human).

If you feel strongly that long standing members always give to the kitty, i challenge you to pray about what you share from the podium. Why are you focusing on the kitty? And what are you not seeing in your own actions that you should? And does this have to do with other members of the group not giving to the kitty? What are your resentments and your character defects?

Humility – Honesty …

We don’t talk about money from the podium. Bill would never have done that. Go back to the books and read it. The 7th tradition was begun to make sure that meetings become autonomous and that we have enough money to buy books, material, pay rent, 3 months prudent reserve, coffee and (in our case: Cookies). The excess money goes to inter-group or the area or NYC.

The 7th tradition is spoken at some point in the meeting guide, and leave it at that. Be grateful for what the group makes. And not put it on the shoulders of ANY member to be obligated to give at any time. That’s an outside issue. Like I said the 7th is optional not a requirement.

Time to consult your Twelve and Twelve …


10 Years …

NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 11:  Hijacked United Airlines Flight 175 from Boston crashes into the south tower of the World Trade Center and explodes at 9:03 a.m. on September 11, 2001 in New York City.  The crash of two airliners hijacked by terrorists loyal to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and subsequent collapse of the twin towers killed some 2,800 people. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

*** *** *** ***

It has been a week of quiet reflection and introspection about those events that took place on September 11, 2001. Many people are writing on this memory over the last few days and I was going to write on Sunday, but I think I can write on it now.

It was a quiet morning in South Beach that morning. I was asleep in my bed when the phone rang. It was my friend Ricky. He said to turn on the tv, that something was going down in New York City.

I sat rapt and cold watching the events transpire as they did. At that time my memory started running because my brother was employed as was his wife by the government. And when the plane hit the Pentagon, I panicked. I called my mother for some shard of news that neither of them were there.

My mother would neither confirm nor deny where they were at that moment. The punishment of silence was being played out on me because of my parent’s belief that I was less than human and unacceptable as a member of the family. Even then relations were strained between us and she wasn’t going to give up her information without me groveling for it.

But after 12 hours of relentless questions she finally let go the info that they were not at the Pentagon.

I did not report to work that day or the next. I wandered up and down the island watching tv and talking with friends about what we had seen. We were all in shock. And life on the island stopped. The party hardy city was struck stone cold sober. I sat in an internet cafe on Lincoln Road trying to find things to do, people to help and news to watch. The young man who ran the cafe would eventually give me free time every day for the 2 week period of time that the benefit period lasted on the island.

We had a week of mourning. There were no parties. It seemed the club atmosphere was sobered up. Nobody was in the mood to party or drink to excess because of what happened in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

They told us that we should go to the beach and lay candles lit in the sand at nightfall, because the satellites above were taking pictures of the coastline from space. So we did that every night for two weeks.

After a week of not knowing what to do, and seven days of forced sobriety, the island began to open up again. And the fund raising began. At the major clubs on the beach would have matching donations drives and if you donate so much money – you could have the equal back in alcohol.

So we went from stone cold sober to hot stock drunk over night. We drank every drop of alcohol that was stocked on the island for more than a week. And whatever money we raised was sent to the disaster zones up North. It was a very emotional time for us.

I spent a lot of time in front of the television. I had a computer at home during this time, even writing to Peter Jennings while he talked on tv news for days and nights after it happened. I had a direct email address for him and I would write him during the night while he was alone on tv.

One night – and I have it recorded on vhs, Peter was having a hard night, trying to remain stoic and strong, and it was wearing on him badly. So I dropped him a note and I said “Peter, take a breath, loosen your tie and just relax for a few minutes. You aren’t alone. Just do it …”

That email reached him and there on live tv, he took a breath, he loosened his tie and he stopped talking for a few minutes and he got through the rest of that shift that night. Peter Jennings was the voice of reason I had grown up with from a young boy into the man I was at that time. I have 20 VHS tapes that I have in my video collection from the morning of 9-11 through the following weeks time of news, interviews and finally the first night David Letterman came back to do his first live show after 9-11 with Dan Rather in chairs – we all cried that night.

Peter Jennings, in a moment of weakness, started smoking again after 9-11 a choice that ended very badly for him as he contracted cancer and later died from it – it was a sad time for everyone. But for those crucial few days after 9-11 Peter Jennings was the man of the hour of ABC news. I will always be proud of him and what he did for the city, the world and his viewers.

This is what happened to my community in South Beach at the time of 9-11.

What is your story?


Illness, H1N1 and Nightly Musings…

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Today the government of Canada has approved the use of the adjuvant enhanced H1N1 Swine Flu vaccine for use across Canada and the territories. We are told at this time that in Quebec, the roll out of this vaccine will begin on Monday.

The sites for vaccination will be online as of Friday. We checked the CLSC website as of tonight and no updates were available. I was encouraged very highly by my doctor to get the vaccine. We went over contingency plans in case I get sick and I was told that if I did get sick that he would get me medication (Tamiflu) as soon as I needed it.

I usually get through the Holidays without incident – that is my yearly cycle. I don’t usually get back lashed until February or March. That has been my cycle for the last few years. I am good at staying away from people, although I still have one more doctors appointment on the 27th which means I will have to sit in a queue in the diabetes clinic on that morning. I have to go drop labs for Dr. George this week to get my diabetes panels complete.

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I spoke to Karl earlier tonight when I got home from class, and he took his brother to the clinic to get checked out – and they were turned away for treatment because of lack of insurance and money. It is very difficult for him because Karl plays the role of Father to his siblings, adviser and love coach to his mother and health care worker for his father who is still in hospital because of his out of control diabetes and other medical problems.

Now Karl is sitting in the space of being powerless over people and places because they don’t have the money to pay for treatment that may be required to help his brother and they don’t have health insurance. Jacob is 19 and may fall out of the loop of the pediatric system. I have given him a number of choices to pursue in the next few days.

DONATIONS

If I have to raise money for him I will do that. If you want to donate you can do so through this blog here – just click the piggy link and all finds received will be sent to Karl in Texas. It may come down to this if we cannot find a route to get his brother the health care that he needs. That is the state of health care in the U.S. and namely Texas. Change is coming hopefully from the government but that may be a day late and a dollar short.

If you are in Canada and you want to get more information on the H1N1 information you can click this link:

HEALTH CANADA.

Or visit your local CLSC website or health care point of contact.


Brad Pitt donates money to support gay marriage

LOS ANGELES – Brad Pitt has donated $100,000 to fight California’s November ballot initiative that would overturn the state Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

It’s the first time voters will be asked to ban same-sex marriage in a state where gay couples already have won the right to wed. Same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts and California.

It’s the first time voters will be asked to decide the issue in either California or Massachusetts — the states where gays have won the right to wed.

“Because no one has the right to deny another their life, even though they disagree with it, because everyone has the right to live the life they so desire if it doesn’t harm another and because discrimination has no place in America, my vote will be for equality and against Proposition 8,” Pitt said Wednesday.

Trevor Neilson, Pitt’s political and philanthropic adviser, told The Associated Press that Pitt was surprised that his colleagues in the entertainment industry had not donated more money to support the battle against Proposition 8.

Earlier in the week, Pitt and Angelina Jolie announced they donated $2 million to help fight HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in Ethiopia.


Give Big or Go Home…

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I thought that this show was amazing. What would you do with a lump of cash? I am hoping to get my Theology class to GIVE BIG or go home when we host Fr. Pops on the 19th of March for his kids. Fr. Pops runs a mission to street kids here in Montreal and we are having a fund raiser in class that night. Dans la Rue website here.

It thought the show tonight was great,I had my tissues and I wiped a few tears, I am a big softie because I like shows like this including Extreme Makeover Home Edition which proceeded tonights show.

How would you change a strangers life in your community? Who would that stranger be and why? Let’s open this up for discussion. Comments are open…