Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Prayer for Social Justice

Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart [and especially the hearts of the people of this land], that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
~from the Book of. Common Prayer
Dragonfly at Brooklyn Gardens, 2013, C. Carson

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Prayer for Peace in Our World

A Prayer for Peace in our world:

Make your ways known upon earth, Lord God,
your saving power among all peoples.
Renew your Church in holiness 
and help us to serve you with joy. 
Guide the leaders of all nations, 
that justice may prevail throughout the world. 
Let not the needy be forgotten, 
nor the hope of the poor be taken away. 
Make us instruments of your peace 
and let your glory be over all the earth. Amen 

~from the Church of England
#COE #Episcopal #Anglican #prayer #Peace #Earth
Golden Hibiscus, 2010 by Caroline Carson

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

O Gentle Light

O Gentle Light of the holy glory of the immortal, heavenly, holy, blessed Father, O Jesus Christ: Having come to the setting of the sun, having beheld the evening light, we praise the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: God. Meet it is for Thee at all times to be hymned with reverent voices, O Son of God, Giver of life. Wherefore, the world doth glorify Thee. (Russian Orthodox trans of the Phos hilaron).
NASA-app image info at this link:

Monday, April 27, 2015

Help Nepal Earthquake Victims - Some World Aid Organizations Info and Links

I wanted to put this here in case people will see the info this way, but below the picture are two posts which are particularly helpful with regards to helping send aid to Nepal in the aftermath of the recent 7.8 magnitude earthquake. Seeing the devastation makes me so sad and I feel quite helpless. I also have several Nepalese students at UNO and I imagine they feel helpless as well, many having family back home and not knowing how to help them. I hope to return to Nepal this July/August and help out if it's possible or needed. I was there for a while last summer. 

Sometimes, loving our neighbor means digging in our pocket if we can. I made a donation to Episcopal Relief and Development a few moments ago. It's very easy and every little bit helps. Please consider also donating if you are able and please, if you pray, keep the people of Nepal, their families and friends, and all the aid workers in your prayers and thoughts. 
Kathmandu funeral ceremony, August 2014 by C. Carson
1. Episcopal Relief and Development states on their Facebook page
"Here is an update on our response to the earthquake in ‪#‎Nepal‬.
"Episcopal Relief & Development is working with the ecumenical ACT Alliance in Nepal and local partners in northern India and southwest China regarding urgent needs and assessment efforts following the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck near Kathmandu on the morning of April 25."
To donate to this fund:

At Bouddhanath Stupa in Kathmandu Photo by C. Carson, 2014
2. This article from USA Today (link below) has extremely helpful information about global aid organizations such as UNICEF, Médecins Sans Frontières, World Food Program, Red Cross, OXFAM, Save the Children and more. 

At Bouddhanath Stupa in Kathmandu Photo by C. Carson, 2014
Last summer, I visited Nepal with a fellow missionary and was overwhelmed by its beauty, friendliness, and hospitality. Below are my photo albums from my trip. I will be writing about my Chitwan experience at some point.

Kathmandu -

Along the Bagmati river in Kathmandu, Nepal. Funeral pyres and mourning families, photo by C. Carson, 2014
Chitwan -
Crossing the river Rapti in Chitwan, Nepal, photo by C. Carson, 2014
Sankhu to Nagarkot -
Hiking from Sankhu to Nagarkot, Nepal. Another few peaks and we had a cloudy view of Mt. Everest!
Photo by C. Carson, 2014

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Bakery Goodness in Patel Nagar, West Delhi, India

Bakery Goodness (# 2 of previously unpublished drafts from 2014!)
In my second day of exploring Delhi, I visited the same Chocolate & Cake Studio for another cappuccino as I had enjoyed my first visit and after some friendly conversations with the owner and shopkeeper. This time, I decided to return and sample something baked. 
I ordered a slice of red velvet cake because it looked tasty and was the last lonely slice of it, just asking to be eaten. A first bite told me it was terrific! I had barely put the fork down before the baker comes out and hands me two hot cookies and asks me to try them. One was chocolate and the other a white chocolate/cranberry cookie. HOW could I refuse? I mean, it would be rude, wouldn't it? I took a bite and POW, they tasted great!!! As soon as I put them down and took another sip of my cappuccino,I began trying to figure this out, having a tiny VSG stomach now, I had to have a plan. I had to agree to eat so much sugar and also find out how to take it back to my hotel without it completely melting. Before I could finish the thought, guess what?! The baker....he came back out with a warm piece of apple cinnamon cake! 

At this point, I mentioned that I had VSG surgery and that meant that my stomach was very small so I could not eat everything. He said it was no problem and that he was taking some cake across the street to a friend in a neighboring shop and for me to just try it. Now, I strongly dislike baked apples, I always have, but this was THE BEST apple cinnamon concoction I'd ever had! The apples were not offensively huge and they weren't even trying to overtake the cake. In fact, they were small, well-behaved and well-blended, and the cake was SO soft and fluffy that it created a new airy taste. Wow. Cakevana. 
Today, my last day in Delhi, I am back at the same place, this time simply to cool off and drink some lime n lemoni soda! It's called Limca and IS THE BEST. 

I'll probably order lunch here as well :-) If you're in this area, make a point to come here. The management and staff are very friendly and all the different bakery and food items are too!
did end up ordering lunch here and guess what I ate, just for kicks? 
A DELHI sandwich, ha! :-)


The Corn Man

In moving my blog to its new domain, I noticed several drafts that needed publishing. Since I'm planning on heading back to India again this summer (and hopefully years beyond that as well), I decided to write a post which will contain links to all previous posts and to also publish the two drafts that hadn't been finished. :-)

This is a scene from one of my walks around the West Patel Nagar neighborhood in Delhi, India. The serenity of the scene so transfixed me that I only snapped one photo. I had been walking for a few hours in the unforgiving Indian sun and rather desperately wished to sit down and to drink something cold. After looking a while, I came upon The Chocolate & Cake Studio. It had a great open window-front in a café style and had people-watching potential. I also assumed that they offered cold drinks so I came on in. After discovering they had no bottled water and that their drinks were not actually that cold, I decided to get a cappuccino and sat down to try and cool off. Maybe something hot would help me pretend it was cooler outside... There was no air conditioning except for a fan, BUT THAT WAS GLORIOUS! Soon, I fell into peaceful laziness as I watched the steady stream of cars, tatas, carts, motorcycles, and bicycle-taxis speed by. The Delhi streets are more like arteries with blood flowing through them than our US streets. The flow continues from several directions in spite of lights and whilst it may slow at times, the pulse keeps up without as many stops as we have. When it ceases, it has all the uneasiness of walking into a forest alone and the birds stop singing and all is mute. It makes you careful and slightly nervous. We often have to see US street footage sped up to see this kind of pulse though. The loudness also gets a bit annoying at times with all of the incessant honking. I sat and enjoyed watching people walk by and folks occasionally appearing from surrounding apartment balconies to look over the world below, hang laundry, or sit and drink tea. It's a special treat to observe the world and its energy from time to time.

From my personal observatory, I noticed an elderly man pushing a cart full of something yellow under a grey-brown blanket. This was unremarkable for the area until he stopped outside a sports clothing bodega and pulled the blanket off of a huge pile of corn. He then took two pieces of corn, pulled back the husks gently so as not to pull them completely off. Next, he removed the top from a small plastic container and dipped a rag into it. I surmised that he was washing the corn at first, but no....he was actually buttering it. He took great care with each ear and took his time so as to get every bit slathered just right! It was a moment of buttered zen. When he held up the corn, it glistened apart from the dusty Delhi afternoon light. He took the two shiny, buttery ears into the sports shop and came out with money! He then stood for a moment. Meanwhile, there was a woman (pictured below) three stories up in the neighboring apartment complex who had been doing laundry earlier. She caught my eye now because she came to the balcony edge and was starting to lower a blue basket. She hesitated and then pulled it back up a bit. 

I had a flashback to the great movie Rear Window where the women in the upper apartment lowers her dog down to the garden. I also keenly felt kinship with the spectator, Jimmy Stewart, as I was now watching someone on their balcony from across the street! Suddenly, The Corn Man turned and looked up and saw her. He walked over and she lowered the basket. He was definitely expected because the timing was such that the woman was here with her basket in time to catch him! 

The Corn Man didn't call his wares like The Black Olives Vendor down the street or The Rice Cooker on the corner. The Blue Basket Woman enjoyed the heck out of that corn. It was her most favorite food in the world. The Corn Man put back his blanket over the corn, covered the butter and began to slowly roll away.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Keep Watch, Dear Lord

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or
weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who
sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.
#Episcopal #Anglican #EveningPrayer #prayer# #night

The #MilkyWay fills the night sky over the Durdle Door rock archway. Picture: Andrew Whyte / Carters News

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Dear Hubble Space Telescope, THANK YOU for 25 years of space goodness!

Dear Hubble Space Telescope,
I just wanted to say a GIGANTIC THANK YOU to
Edwin Hubble, to NASA, to all of your teams (design, engineering, science, vision, launch, maintenance etc.) for 25 years of SPACE GOODNESS!
Seriously, our lives have changed for the better because of your eye into the universe!
@The_SolarSystem and friends

Follow The Hubble Space Telescope on Twitter

25 Articles and Links to check out about Hubble's 25th anniversary! #Hubble25
- The Hubble Site - Hubbly goodness
- The Hubble Space Telescope GALLERY - indescribable awesomeness
- NASA's Mission page for Hubble
- Unforgettable Hubble Space Telescope Photos  ~ via NY Times
- The Hubble Space Telescope, a Terrific Comeback Story  ~ via The Guardian
- Mind-boggling Images from 25 Years of the Hubble Telescope ~ via Mashable
- Some wiki Hubble info
Hubble Telescope Celebrates 25 Years in Space With Spectacular New Image 
         ~ via Universe Today
Hubble at 25: Space Telescope's Top Science Discoveries ~ via Discovery News
- NASA unveils 25th anniversary image for the Hubble: Celestial fireworks in a bed of 
         new stars  ~ via The Washington Post
- Still sharp, Hubble Space Telescope turns 25 with a cloudy future ~ via Washington Post
25 Years of Cosmic Treasures: Hubble’s 12½ Greatest Hits  ~ via Phil Plait at Slate
Hubble Space Telescope marking 25th anniversary in orbit   ~ via Boston Herald
Hubble Investigates Ghosts of Quasars Past  ~ via Sky & Telescope
- Hubble Space Telescope Turns 25 [Video]  ~ via Wall Street Journal
- Hubble Space Telescope Turns 25  ~ via CNN
- NASA's GOOGLE post about Hubble's 25th and ACTIVITIES running through April 26th
- NASA's Kennedy Space Center Celebrates Hubble Space Telescope's 25th Anniversary
        ~ via
Hubble Space Telescope: Pictures, Facts & History  ~via
Edwin Powell Hubble - The man who discovered the cosmos  ~ via HST
- PBS: People and Discoveries, Edwin Hubble  ~ via PBS
The Hubble Effect's 25th Anniversary --"A Radical Transformation of Our Perception of 
         the Universe"  ~ via The Daily Galaxy
Behind the Scenes of the Last Mission to Repair the Hubble ~via The Smithsonian
Fascinating Photos Take You Behind the Scenes of Hubble  ~via WIRED
10 Fascinating Facts About the Hubble Space Telescope  ~ via History 
Star Cluster in Nebula NGC 3603

I Arise Today

I arise today in the company of the Trinity, 
Father, Spirit and Son.
I arise today

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Good evening internets,
Welcome to The Adventures of a Whiskeypalian!
Welcome to the new name of my blog.
But wait, what is a whiskeypalian, you ask? (It's also spelled whiskypalian and whiskapalian....heck, even whiskopalian! For those who like spelling debates, check it out here - Whisky or Whiskey or even see it here in a Grammarist post!)

"Where you find four Episcopalians, you're sure to find a fifth..."

Fine, fine.....a whiskeypalian?
It's a term, said among some Episcopalians themselves, used rather humorously to refer to the fact that many Episcopalians don't shy away from having a drink (or two or three) every now and then. It holds that our denomination doesn't prohibit the consumption of alcohol among its members or clergy, within reasonable limits and consequences. Here's a "Christianease" definition. In fact, similar to groups of choir directors at conventions, groups of X, Y, or Z, I'd venture to say that terms like it apply to a fair amount of folks. I've heard it all my life and while it might upset some, it doesn't upset me. In fact, I love it! 
I am a whiskeypalian! I chose the version of spelling that contains the "e" so I can say it is for Episcopalian :-)
Oooooooh.....consider this: whiskey in your coffee! 
(YESSSSSS! Irish coffee)

It makes me love Episcopalianism even more. We can laugh at ourselves when being teased! Here's a great post "Ten Reasons to be a Whiskeypalian" by The Observer in Texas at the blog "Observations from the Side Aisle"
While I'm actually more of a coffeepalian, I definitely enjoy a good whiskey sour or Jamison on the rocks every now and then. I've been thinking quite a bit the past two years about the benefits of my "coffee with God" times and realized that I also genuinely like to write, however unrefined my skills. My blog posts are full of ponderings as well as puns. I crave a kaleidoscope of posts, tossing about in a sea of photos. Somehow, this translated into wanting to change my blog name. 

It may or may not have popped out of my mouth over an actual glass of whiskey...

I originally used Carsonia as "Caroline of Carsonia", but have always had some issues with Carson, Iowa and results. I've never been there, but I should, seeing as how we have that connection. I did figure out how out to preserve my old blog so Carsonia is still alive. It gets tons of hits on old posts. Who am I to stop that from happening? ;-)
So anyway, I'm giving this new name a try: 
"The Adventures of a Whiskeypalian"
I rather like it. Here I shall place the typical Caroline-ramblings, some serious thoughts, VSG life, puns, space jokes, Episcopal prayers, discernment thoughts, and ever so much more. Beware, YOU might want a whiskey after reading! As for me, CHEERS y'all :-)

Some Earth Day 2015 Thoughts, Prayers, and Links

Earth Day, 2015
This gorgeous photo is entitled Earthrise. Taken by astronaut William Anders in 1968, on the Apollo 8 mission, the first manned mission to orbit the Moon. It is considered "the most influential environmental photograph ever taken" (according to Garen Rowell, photographer). I dearly love this image and for me, it serves as a frequent reminder to check my perspective and to look up at the sky, remembering we are all on a little roundish rock whirling in orbit around an average white star in a vast universe. 
Today is Earth Day. 
First is the appreciation and then there's the "what are you going to do about it?" question.
At the recent Episcomm (Episcopal Communicators) conference held at The Bishop Claggett Center in Adamstown, Maryland, we were extremely fortunate to be blessed with both the Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori and her husband, Richard Schori. In the presiding bishop's keynote address to us, she mentioned how important it is that we care for our Earth in addition to caring for humanity on it. 

She said: "Being able to discern the hand of God in ALL creation is important, essential work!" 

"We must be stewards of creation. If not, we won't have a place to continue other good work"

The message: We are stewards of God's creation.

Ok, so what am I personally doing to help care for our Earth? I decided a couple of weeks ago to try and cut my electricity useage. This stemmed from the "Dark Hour" or Earth Hour experiment and I realized when I did it, that I leave lights on all over the apartment. I also went out that weekend and replaced all my old bulbs with the "correct" longer-lasting (really?) ones. I also decided that when my office lights go off during the day, I'll leave them off and use my windows. Less headaches too!

The resources: I began looking at what our church has out there in the way of resources for Earth Day prayers and liturgies as well as resources and while I'm a bit late, here is a little bit of what I found.

- Resources for Environmental Liturgy: found in the Book of Common Prayer, Enriching Our Worship, and The Hymnal 1982, compiled by the Episcopal Diocese of New York
- Episcopal Relief and Development
- The Climate Change Crisis Forum now available for viewing. Presiding Bishop’s keynote address; 30 Days of Action leads up to Earth Day  * Here (via ENS)
- I love this: The PB's message on Climate Change. It's in the form of a bulletin insert

Some prayers that can be used for Earth Day 

Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth, you made us fellow workers in your creation: Give us wisdom and reverence so to use the resources of nature, that no one may suffer from our abuse of them, and that generations yet to come may continue to praise you for your bounty; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
- Book of Common Prayer

God is the foundation for everything
This God undertakes, God gives.
Such that nothing that is necessary for life is lacking.
Now humankind needs a body that at all times honors and praises God.
This body is supported in every way through the earth.
Thus the earth glorifies the power of God.

-Hildegard of Bingen

Lord, help us to maintain a reverent attitude towards nature, threatened from all sides today, in such a way that we may restore it completely to the condition of brother/sister and to its role of usefulness to all humankind for the glory of God the Creator.
- Franciscan prayer

Kingfisher bird. Photo taken by Caroline Carson in Chitwan National Park, Nepal, 2014


This post is a small collection (republished from my original Carsonia blog) of some favorite silly one-liner space puns and jokes found over time from all around the internetz! There are SO MANY - If you have a favorite not included here, let me know and I'll add it!
:-) ENJOY!
* Einstein developed a theory about space, and it was about time too.
* What is a light year? The same as a regular year, but with less calories
* How does the Solar System hold up its pants? With an asteroid belt
* What do you can an alien with three eyes? An aliiien :-)
* How does the man-in-the-Moon cut his hair? Eclipse it

* Why didn't the Sun go to college? Because he already had a million degrees!
* What kind of music do planets like? Neptunes!
* What does a space turkey say? "Hubble, Hubble"

* You hear about the chef on the space station? He's not much of an astronaut but his food is out of this world!
* A
 rise in mercury sometimes mars life on earth, how else would nature planet?
* He knew everything about constellations, some might say his knowledge of the night sky was astronomical.
* I thought about studying astronomy for university but I knew I would just be taking up space.

* NASA accepted the wildebeest’s application, and around our planet a brave gnu whirled.
* Those who study the moon are optimists. They look at the bright side.
* Two ladies were discussing the planetarium show they had just seen. One said the show was fantastic. The other agreed but added ‘Most of it was over my head.
*  When NASA puts 20 head of cattle into outer space, it will be the first herd shot around the world.

* How do you organize a space party? You PLANET.* Some people can tell what time it is by looking at the sun. But I have never been able to make out the numbers.
*Did you hear about the blonde that stayed up all night to see wherethe sun went?It finally dawned on her.

* What holds the moon up? Moonbeams. 
* Why is an astronaut like a football player? A: They both want touchdowns!
* How do you get a baby astronaut to sleep? You rocket
* What kinds of fish live in space? Starfish
* Scientists have found the center of Jupiter.......contains the letter i
* How many astronomers does it take to change a lightbulb? None, they like the dark
* How far can you see on a clear day? 92,955,807 miles (to the sun)
* Living on Earth may be expensive, but we do get a free trip around the sun every year!
* Where do astronauts keep their sandwiches? In a launch-box
* What did Mars say to Saturn? Give me a ring sometime!
* What kind of stars wear sunglasses? Movie stars
* What did the alien cook for lunch? Unidentified frying objects
* If a meteorite hits a planet, what do we call the ones that miss? Meteowrongs
* How do you organize a space party? You planet
* Why is the Moon bald? He has no 'air
* Why does the Moon go to the bank? To change his quarters
* Why wouldn't you want to give Saturn a bath? It would leave a ring around the tub
* What do you call a crazy spaceman? An astronaut
* Why didn't people like the restaurant on the Moon? Because there was no atmosphere
* Why did the cow go up in the spaceship? To see the Mooooooooooon
* How do you have communion in space if you don't have mass?
* Where does an astronaut park his car? At a parking meteor.
* What channel do asteroids like to watch? The comet-y channel
* How do we know Saturn's been married more than once? Just look at those rings!
* OMG They have discovered WATER ON MARS
* When do astronauts have lunch? At launch time.
* I heard there's a new restaurant on the Moon, but it lacks atmosphere
* Why did the sun go to school? To get brighter
* What is a spaceman's favorite candy bar? A Mars bar
* What do planets like to read? Comet books
* How does a meteor shower? With Comet.
* What do they use when they run out of drinking cups in space? The Big Dipper
* What is the center of gravity? The letter v
* Are the Moon and the Earth good friends? Yep, they've been going around together for yrs
* What do astronauts put on their toast? Space jam
If athletes get athletes foot, then what do astronauts get? Missile toe.
* What hot drink do aliens enjoy? gravi-tea
* I'm reading a book about's impossible to put down!
* How do astronauts add more protein to their diets? They make it meteor.
* I would go to space, but the cost is astronomical!
* One morning I got up around 5:00 a.m. and wondered  "Where did the sun go?"  and then it dawned on me.
* How can you tell when the Moon has had enough to eat? When it's full
* How do you ride a horse in space? Use a saddle-lite
* What kinds of plates do they use in outer space? Flying saucers
* What kinds of music do planets sing? Neptunes
* An astronaut wrote about flying to the moon twice. It was double-spaced.
* Cassini spacecraft took pictures of Saturn and Earth. It was the best of both worlds.
* When astronauts die, the local paper runs an orbituary.
* Two dating astronauts met up for a launch date.

* An astronaut broke the law of gravity and got a suspended sentence
An astronaut who fails on a weightlessness experiment must be aware of the gravity of the situation.
* Becoming a space pilot requires a good altitude
* Is that the Dog star? You can be Sirius!
* The satellite went into orbit on January 1st, causing a New Year's revolution
* Why is the Moon up so late these days? Don't worry, he's just going through a phase.
* Scientists allow us to see the sun in a different light
* Sitting in the sun can make you well-red

I'm sure I'll be adding to this list! :-)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

VSG Update - Almost Two Years Out from Surgery and Links

I thought that it was high time I write about my VSG surgery again! I am including links to all of my previous blog posts at the end of this post in case anyone would like to read them. I've been contacted several times over the past two years to talk about my story or to chat with friends who are considering having weight loss surgery so I feel like my previous blog posts were actually helpful to some people! Yay! That was my goal and if I can help even ONE person with any aspect of examining the pros and cons of weight loss journey and/or surgery, I'm happy I can do that! 
Here's a picture of me today! Happy, more healthy, and while I feel like I could lose some more weight......and I might do that.....I am waaaaaaaay more satisfied than I have EVER been in my whole life with how I'm maintaining. I do have some frustrations and here are a few of them:

- I still have to watch my weight. I knew that I would and the surgery is a tool to help you and a LIFE CHANGE. I knew that too. Sometimes though, I get mad that I still have to watch the scale, but overall, I watch it fewer times and I eat healthier so I did change my lifestyle. 
- Somehow, my eyes are STILL bigger (now much bigger) than my stomach. I still catch myself eating rapidly and sometimes eating too much. I've not thrown up, not even once, from eating, since my surgery. Most people throw up often, at least I think they might, if they overeat. When I know I've eaten too much, I hiccup a bit, feel tight in my esophagus, and feel kind of bad. Bad enough to not eat any more, but I do not feel nauseous. Well, I take that back. Twice in two years, I did feel nauseous from eating one bite too many, but I didn't push it and within minutes that went away.
- I have rediscovered "slider foods" such as chips, cake, and crackers. This is not awful, but isn't too good either because they go down TOO EASY and I can eat a lot more than I originally intended if I'm not careful.
- Drinking while eating: I still can't do this well and technically, most folks are told that you are not supposed to. If I go out after rehearsal and want to have a drink, I drink most of it BEFORE eating some of my meal and I just have to resolve to take home most of my meal.

- I'm a size 14 which is what I was at the end of high school. I have  feeling I could be a 10 or 12, and maybe I'll want to be a 12 at some point, BUT I'M HAPPY so whatever.
- clothes are cooler and more fun to wear
- This is both good and bad......I've noticed that some of my acquaintances / friends, speak to me more, and listen more attentively to me. New people I meet, as long as they don't have the southern "Good ole' boy" syndrome, tend to look me in the eye and actually treat me like I'm present. In the past, I had many MANY incidents of (mostly men) being introduced to me and then immediately carrying on conversation with the person next to me as if I was not there. Damn shame, idiots.
- I CAN have any foods I want and so I do :-) Many folks are not able to eat certain foods.
- My hair has been able to hold curl since the surgery. It began to grow back from the hair loss I experienced so I still have many lengths overall, but it's a lot curlier!
- I don't think about my surgery or weight loss very much. I'm me and have settled into my new way of eating and I like it!

Here are PAST BLOG POSTS on my VSG SURGERY. I hope that some of these will help people. If anyone has any questions, feel free to contact me. It can be a pretty lonely place when you're researching WLS and aren't sure of many things!

1. Background,

2. VSG Journey Part II - Insurance and Going for it!

3. VSG Journey Part III - Types of Bariatric Surgery -

4. Part IV, Surgery Scheduled

5. My Choice for VSG Surgery: Endobariatric -

6. A Day and a Half -

7. My Journey to Endobariatric -

8. Discharge Day! -

9. Three weeks out from surgery -

10. Experimental Eating -

11. 10-12 weeks out -

12. 5-month update -

13. One year later -

14. Hair Loss -

15. VSG - What A, I Eating - 


Episcopal Tenebrae Service

Last night, for the second year in a row, St. Paul's Episcopal had a very moving and lovely Tenebrae liturgy. The service is found in the Book of Occasional Services on p. 75. While a stunningly beautiful service, it's not done in every church. I believe that in 2014, we were the only ones in EDOLA to do one and this year, St. George's Episcopal had a Tenebrae service as well. If you haven't tried it at your church, do it if you can! 
The hearse on the epistle side of the altar             
We used the book In the Shadows of Holy Week: The Office of Tenebrae by Frederick C. Elwood and John L. Hooker, eds. for help with the liturgical format and plainsong. It's actually about 40 pages of plainchant on very similar tones! Since it's rather taxing, I decided to involve several cantors and I also invited any of our choir members to come and join in singing the canticles. I also asked both priests last year to chant and this year, our rector and director of formation chanted. The chants are simple, but they are lengthy. One thing I will say about worship with the potential for length: don't shy away from it. Worship "takes as long as it takes" in my opinion.
Our service was candlelit and absolutely beautiful! I cried at the end. It was just so intense and the times when we sat together in prayer in the darkness of the night - well, it can be overwhelming! We NEED to be overwhelmed, especially during Holy Week. Again, my opinion, but having worship that doesn't stretch us or move us or challenge us to remember, imagine, feel, be moved, to feel God's love or to share God's love.....what is that truly worth?

The origins of Tenebrae are below, shared as an excerpt from In the Shadows of Holy Week: The Office of Tenebrae

The Origins of Tenebrae
The liturgy offered this night is the full, ancient form of Tenebrae. Tenebrae is a Latin word signifying “darkness,” “shadows,” and “obscurity.” It is a word that pointedly calls our attention to the scriptural accounts of our Lord’s crucifixion: The name of this service is taken from the opening words of the fifth responsory: “Tenebrae factae sunt”—“darkness came over the whole land” (Mark 15:33; also, Matthew 27:45; Luke 23:44).
It is a moving descent into the darkest days of the church year as we descend into darkness and await the ascension into light at The Great Vigil of Easter. The Medieval offices of Matins and Lauds which were combined to create Tenebrae were the usual morning offices recited by the monastic communities ministering in the Roman basilicas and collegiate churches of Europe. At Matins the morning is greeted with prayer even before the sun rises and they developed out of the nocturnal times of prayer and watchfulness (vigiliae) that were common in the early church. Matins traditionally included three distinct sections called Nocturns (meaning “divisions of the night”)The office of Lauds, which in Tenebrae follows the Third Nocturn of Matins, is the traditional morning prayer of the church in the western world. The word “laud” means “to sing or speak the praises of” and originally implied a formal act of worship.
The union of the two liturgies produced a ritual greater than the sum of its parts. Through their correlation with the systematic extinguishing of candles unique to Tenebrae, those who originated the ceremony gave a new and greater interpretive task to the psalms and canticles. As noted, in their new liturgical context these poignant scriptural laments serve as commentary upon the darkness that gradually enshrouds the church and ominously envelops Jesus’ life during Holy Week.

An Afternoon in NOLA City Park

Sometimes in the winter and often in the spring, I LOVE to take some time out and go to City Park (New Orleans) to chill amongst the beauty! 

I semi-regularly go to the walking track near the NOLA Museum of Art and actually exercise, but avoid it like the plague in summertime because it's approximately one billion degrees and a million percent humidity here. If that sounds like it's an exaggeration, it's's completely true.
Anyway, before I moved to NOLA, apparently most of City Park was comprised of golf courses and while there has only been one in the almost ten years I've lived here, post-Katrina, they are now being re-developed. So, a giant swath of the park will no longer be the lovely, natural, and free area I've known it to be. 
It always makes me so happy to drive through the Harrison Avenue cut-through and see people out playing with their dogs or kids. On some Tuesdays after my St. Paul's staff mtg and in my way to UNO, I stop and sit for a little while with my morning coffee. I haven't been able to in a while since I have lessons now on Tuesdays, but I do still steal some Friday afternoon time or weekend time to go and read in some of my favorite spots! 
I've been soooooooooo happy over the years to see the lovely Spanish moss returning to the trees! Though I was a new resident after hurricane Katrina, I noticed its absence and it struck me as rather odd for this Savannah / sub-tropical climate area. 

City Park helps me relax. It gives me (and countless others) a place to be out "in the wild" without driving outside city limits and while being relatively (and arguably) safe because roads are nearby, it's reasonably populated, and one still probably has cell phone service. 

I love the place. While it's exciting (and brings the city tons of revenue and glitz, I'm sad to have seen the start of rebuilding the golf courses. I have no idea how many of them they're planning to rebuild, but I surely hope there will be some of my favorite places left when it's all said and done!
PS. Two weeks ago, a whole field was covered in giant, beautiful thistle!