Trump is no reason to take up smoking.

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I started smoking again early in 2017 because I was so stressed out over all the chaos Trump and his White House was causing.  In particular, his attempts to repeal Obamacare were turning me into a mental case.

Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?  My fears about losing healthcare were cured by taking up something that could give me cancer!    Of course it’s stupid.   I knew it was stupid, but I did it anyway.

Since it is Lent, I finally decided it was time to quit again.   Giving up ciggies is my gift to myself and to God.   I feel like this time it will stick.  I am using the Nicoderm system (skin patches) and I’ve been smoke-free for a week!  Very few cravings, and I already feel like I’m breathing better.   I actually feel like my circulation is better too, and is improving the appearance of my complexion.   When I look in the mirror, I feel like I actually look younger than I did as a smoker.   And that’s after only a week.  So what if I gain a few pounds?   That can always be taken off, and besides, chewing lots of gum and drinking a lot of water can curb food cravings.   There’s no reason one has to gain weight!

I think I want to live to be 90 like my dad.   There are so many good reasons to quit and so many bad reasons to not quit.

Why smoking sucks. 

It’s expensive.  Spending even $100/month on cigarettes is like literally burning dollar bills.

It will kill you one way or the other — or at least shorten your life.

It’s messy.

It turns everything in your house an ugly yellowish color (which means more cleaning).

It makes everything dusty.

It’s socially unacceptable in most places.

It ages you prematurely.

It stinks.

And finally (forgive me for this) it makes you appear low class.   I’m no elitist, but I don’t want people to think of me as low class.

It makes you feel like shit.

It does not relieve anxiety — the feeling you get when you first light up when you’re stressed is an illusion.  Cigarettes are actually a stimulant, like coffee.

 

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Good reasons to quit:

If my body is a temple, I want to treat it like one, instead of like an ashtray.

You will feel the health benefits almost immediately.

Food tastes better (I’m not sure that, for me, this is a good thing!)

You are much less likely to die of a smoking-related illness like cancer.

Your circulation will improve, and as a result so will your skin tone.

You will feel proud of yourself as you count the days.

Coffee tastes even better without a cigarette.

You no longer have to deal with the cravings or embarrassment of being in situations where other people are not smoking or where smoking is not allowed.

You will have more money.   You can either keep it and buy something nice for yourself (or save it), or do what I am doing, and donate it to charity (as I am doing for Lent).

Your house/car will be much cleaner.

Eventually the cravings (if you have any) will cease.

You’ll just feel healthier all around, even if at first you’re extra sleepy.

*****

Donald Trump may be doing a lot of things, but I’m not going to let him ruin my health.

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Happy Pentecost!

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Pentecost is a Christian holy day and is always celebrated exactly seven weeks after Easter Sunday. It commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ before He ascended back into Heaven (Acts of the Apostles 2:1-31). The descent of the Holy Spirit ensured that his followers would continue to spread his Word and convert others to Christianity. In the Catholic Church, Pentecost marks the end of the Lent (Easter) season. The Holy Spirit’s descent is often symbolized by a dove and a flame.

The Holy Spirit isn’t limited to Christians. Anyone can feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. You simply have to be in the right frame of mind and be open to its presence. You can ask God (or a Higher Power if you prefer) to fill you with the Holy Spirit. For me, music, nature and writing are three things that open me to its presence. Today’s a gorgeous, sunny day, not too hot, so after church (Mass is going to be held outside this year), I think I am going to take a drive and just enjoy the beauty of nature during this beautiful time of year.

Spend some time with nature, or if the weather is inclement, listen to some music that inspires you while engaging in a creative activity. It could be anything that inspires you–writing, painting, singing, cooking, even doing a spring cleaning. Spend some time in prayer. Don’t dwell on the negative. Give your worries a break. If you can’t take your mind off your cares, ask God to help you focus on the positive and on his presence.

Here is a website that lists some prayers you can say today:

http://www.faithandworship.com/prayers_Pentecost.htm

Winter into Spring

I love very late winter, because it’s when suddenly nature returns from the dead and gloom of that season. Even though the trees are still pretty bare and it’s still pretty cold, the lengthening and slightly warmer days have cause the buds to begin to open, showing their true (fall) colors before the chlorophyll starts kicking in.

I snapped these photos this morning in my neighborhood, after church. If you look closely, some of the trees have a yellowish tint and others, a reddish one. It really doesn’t look much like winter anymore. Birds were chirping everywhere and I heard children playing outdoors in the distance.

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Experiencing this simple moment was the perfect gift just after having attended mass during the third week of Lent. Late winter/spring and the Easter season is all about resurrection and rebirth.

I decided to post the Youtube link to George Winston’s piano music, “Winter into Spring” here. It’s the whole album. Listen to it while sitting outside or appreciating the rapid changes nature is undergoing even if only from your window. No matter how poor, sick or beaten down by life we are, we are all blessed to have these gifts that cost nothing.