The Best Place To Hide During the Solar Eclipse of 2017

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/the-best-place-to-hide-during-the-solar-eclipse-of-2017

I admit it –  I get a bit nervous about any cosmic event.  Read the post in the link above.

From The Lowcountry to the Upstate

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/from-lowcounty-upstate

Moving is difficult even when you are excited about moving.  This is going to be an adventure.  Read the post in the link above. 

Why You Need to Stop Being NIce

What did being nice ever get you? Try being honest.  Try being brave. 

Read this post here.

Fear and Trepidation: Transferring Colleges in My Senior Year

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/fear-and-trepidation-transferring-schools-senior-year

Click on the link to read.  Transferring colleges in as I start my senior year is going to be filled with mixed emotions.  I love College of Charleston and hope that I will love Clemson as much!

Life Sentences for Folly Beach Victims’ Families

This is my article for OdysseyOnLine.  I was reminded of this story during a class exercise. In searching for more information, I discovered the challenges faced by the victims’ families.

You can read the article Life Sentences for Folly Beach Victims’ Families here. 

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Sanctuary for Apes in Summerville

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I discovered the International Primate Protection League in Summerville several years ago and love the work they do.  They had some damaged in Hurricane Matthew, so I decided to write about them this week in my OddysseyOnLine.

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/home-fo-apes-summerville-damaged-hurricane-matthew

Finding Center

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There are things I could never imagine happening to me. That is saying a lot considering I have a highly overactive imagination. I can imagine an asteroid crashing into earth close my home. My friends will tell you that they are not allowed to mention comets, or meteor showers, or a protentional eclipse. I can imagine a tsunami wiping out a beach as I sit in the sand.  I can envision an earthquake while I am in a three story building. I am afraid that someone might break into the house when I am all alone and taking a shower (that might just be a throwback to Psycho). I can even imagine how our country might look like after the current elections. Yet, I could never have believed what would happen this week.

I arrived at my class at school, and we began a group team building exercise. The instructions were simple. Everyone was to stand in a large circle. The professor would read a statement, and everyone would quickly, without much thought or hesitation, step into the circle to the extent that they agreed with the statement. If you strongly agreed with the statement, you would walk into the center of the circle. If you slightly agreed, you would only take a small step or two in the circle. If you strongly disagreed, you would stand in place and so on.

The first statements were innocuous.

“I like chocolate.” Almost everyone was in the center of the circle.

“I like pizza.” People were a bit more spread out on this one.

“I am a dog person.” “I am a cat person.” There were some strong feelings on this one.

The statements then focused more on issues.

“I am a feminist.”

“I believe everyone has the same access to prosperity.”

“I believe everyone should have equal access to education.”

With each of these statements, everyone in the group shared the same opinion. We all appeared to be on the same page when it came to social issues and ideals.

After each statement, the professor would ask us to return to the circle if we had moved. After a few more statements, I heard this one.

“I believe in God.”

Without hesitation, I began my first step into the circle. As I moved, I suddenly became aware that no one else was moving. I hesitated for a split second. Do I keep going? Surely everyone is thinking about the question and will be stepping in. Maybe they are just waiting for the others. I took another step. The room was silent and still.

I kept taking steps towards the center of the circle. I could only see those in front of me or just to my side. Everyone was looking at me in the circle, but no one looked me in the eyes. I felt alone and exposed. I thought of the woman in the Bible who was caught in adultery. Everyone circled around her, pointed fingers, and said she should be stoned. Could this really be happening? I just wanted the professor to direct me back to my spot in the circle.

We quickly moved on to our next activity. I don’t remember much about what we did the rest of the class. I still felt as if I was standing alone in the middle of the circle. That feeling would stay with me for a while; in fact, I am still carrying a bit of it with me as I write.

I would not have been surprised if no moved into the circle had the statement been, “I am a Christian” or “I am religious” or “I go to church.” I know many people who want nothing to do with organized religion. I understand those who have questions about faith. I certainly have many questions about God, the church, the Bible, and theology. I am still shaken by the fact that no one moved into the circle. Even if someone had moved just a step or two into the circle, it would have been easier to understand. How could these people who share the same values about social issues and social justice not believe in God?

I have been thinking about this all week. As I began to process this, I looked at the world and the events of the past years. I remember bombings and killings in the name of God. I saw religious people who hated those who are different, people who say that God hates those who are aren’t like them, people who claim to follow God but turn their back on the poor, sick, and lonely. Politicians have been throwing around claims about God for months. Churches are splitting because they can’t agree to love one another any longer because of issues surrounding race, gender, who you can love or which bathroom people can use.

I must wonder if these bright, talented, young people I know, who want to change the world, look at all of this and decide that God can’t exist. In his book, “Blue Like Jazz”, Donald Miller writes about his experience at Reed College, a secular liberal arts college in Oregon. He and a few Christian friends discuss a way to talk to people on campus about their faith since students seemed hostile to their views. They come up with an idea to offer a confession to the other students. The confession below expresses what I have been thinking:

“So this group of us on campus wanted to confess to you,” Donald said.

“You are confessing to me!” Jake said with a laugh.

“Yeah. We are confessing to you. I mean, I am confessing to you.”

“You’re serious.” His laugh turned to something of a straight face.

“There’s a lot. I will keep it short,” Donald started.  “The thing is, we are followers of Jesus. We believe that Jesus is God and all, and he represented certain ideas that we have sort of not done a good job at representing. He has asked us to represent him well, but it can be very hard.  Jesus said to feed the poor and to heal the sick. I have never done very much about that. Jesus said to love those who persecute. I tend to lash out, especially if I feel threatened, you know, if my ego gets threatened. Jesus didn’t mix spirituality with theology.  I grew up doing that. It got in the way of the central message of Christ. I know that was wrong, and I know that a lot of people will not listen to the words of Christ because people like me, who know him, carry our own agendas into the conversation rather than just relaying the message Christ wanted to get across. There’s a lot more, too.”

There is a lot more!  I want to confess and apologize for not always carrying the message of Christ in my life, but I am going to keep trying.

New Blog and Website

I recac4117_cd1b5fba5823426fa0ef1749784d190dently moved my blog site to a self-hosted WordPress account.  You can now find me at http://www.cathysvoice.com

I have also started a new adventure writing for an online site called OdysseyOnLine.

Click here to see my author page and posts from the site!  Let me know what you think in the comments!

Cathy

Summer Camp for Nerds

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It is the July 2 and yesterday I started camp. This camp doesn’t have swimming pools or harmonious songs around a blazing campfire; This camp has pens, paper, keyboards, thesauruses, and spell check programs. We do have cabins, but they are virtual, so that means no pillow fights or mosquito bites.

This camp does require writing 50,000 words in one month.  Yes, 50 thousand words in  30 days or less. For you math wiz people, that is 1,667 a day.  Since I don’t have summer school, I thought I could use this summer to focus on writing.  So far, that hasn’t happened, so I signed up for Camp NanoWriMo and for a writing workshop that starts soon.

 

I tend to procrastinate when it comes to starting a writing project.  I think about it, dream about it, plan it, but when it comes time to do the writing, something happens.  Self-doubt and the dreaded internal critic lurk in the shadows plotting my writing demise.  Of course, life’s necessary activities get in the way as well.  For example, yesterday I was ready to sit down and write when I remembered that I needed to get laundry done so I could pack since I am returning to the upstate on Sunday.  This was after going to the gym and the drug store.  After I finished the necessary tasks, I was ready once again to  begin my writing creation, when I remembered it was Friday.  Friday is the day I have to complete the reporting for my part time job.  When that was done, I had to shower and get ready to go downtown to the theater. All in all my total word count for the day was 248.  That is only 1,418 words short.

Today is a new day at camp.  I have already written more words that I did yesterday, but it is going to take some effort to catch up.  Wish me luck!  I will let you know how it goes.

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You Will Know Them By Thier … “Labels”

I thought it was an appropriate time to share this blog post again. I wrote it just after the shooting in Orlando and almost a year after the shooting at Mother Emanauel Church in Charleston.

It is time for me to live up the title of my blog/website…Cathy’s Voice Now…and use my voice regardless of how you choose to view me.  I often hold back expressing my views; You see, I want you to like me.  I have written blog posts only to hide them in drafts because I was concerned about how I might be perceived.

Today, I share what I believe in this post.  The anniversary of Mother Emmanuel AME shooting, the ongoing story of a man who raped a young woman while a judge thinks it was “boys being boys”, and now the Orlando shooting has hurt my heart.  I can’t hide behind my fear of what you might think of me, I must speak.

A Sacramento pastor responded to the Orlando shooting that killed 49 people and injured 50 more with praise, stating “they deserve what they got.”  In another statement “Claiming homosexuals are a bunch of disgusting perverts” Pastor Steven Anderson celebrated the Orlando nightclub shooting.

I believe that hate is fueled when we see others as different from ourselves.  We might believe they have it better than we do or that we are better than they are.  We think our religious views are the only ones with merit. We believe the color of our skin, our gender,  or sexual orientation makes us superior to others.  When we see people as a race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, it is easier to hate because we no longer see the essence or soul of that human being.

I have many people in my circle of friends and acquaintances.  What I don’t have are gay friends, straight friends, black friends, Buddhist friends, Jewish friends, handicapped friends, liberal friends, conservative friends….you get the idea.  I simply have friends.

While many of my friends may identify with those labels, that isn’t what is the essense of their being.  It doesn’t define the relationship we share.  It doesn’t change who they are in their heart and soul.   If I start identifying them by a label, I lose the person I know.

Here are my labels…white, straight, Christian, old, liberal, intelligent, a writer, an actor, a student, mother, grandmother, a feminist, recovering alcoholic, and more.  In my lifetime, I have also been labeled a drunk, a heretic, fat, irresponsible, just a woman, stupid and a few others.    If you know me, then you know ME, not my labels.

If we continue to label people, we are contributing to an environment of hate.  This time the “homosexuals” were attacked and murdered.  The shooter didn’t see the mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, friends, co-workers, aunts, uncles, cousins, sports enthusiasts, teachers, lawyers, doctors, law enforcement, military, or anything else beyond the LABEL.   Some hate blacks, Mexicans, Muslims, poor, rich, white, women, and a multitude of other “labels”.  They do not look beyond the LABEL.  All they see is “other.”

Maybe next year it will be older white women with blue eyes.  Sound preposterous?  Couldn’t happen?  Are you sure? No one ever imaged hated so deep it could kill almost 6 million Jewish men, women, and children.  No one believed a person could hate enough to walk into a church and kill nine people in prayers.  No one wants to believe a single shooter hated enough to kill and injury close to 100 people in Orlando.

Hate knows no boundaries.

John 13:34-35  (NIV)
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

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