Wednesday, May 21, 2014

By Rev Byrd Tetzlaff
I do not mean to offend, take what you like and leave the rest

I have a question, and I would really like to hear your answer, so please do leave a message with your answer.   But first, let me set up the scene:

Imagine if you will, that you are getting a piece of mail.  It is a small package, about 2 inches by 3 inches by 4 inches.  You have no idea what it could be.  You have not bought anything recently that would shipped to you.  It is not your birthday or near any Holiday that would cause someone to send you something.  As you look at the package, it is clearly addressed to you, but there is no indication of who may have sent it to you.

Cautiously, you open it.  Inside is a beautifully wrapped tiny oil lamp – complete with a note.   The Note reads as follows:

    You have been chosen to receive this magic oil lamp, because it is believed that you will be able to use it wisely.  You will have three wishes to use as you wish – except, that one of those wishes must be entirely about and for yourself.  If none of your wishes qualify as being entirely for yourself, none of your wishes will come true.
    Also, you may not wish for more wishes or transfer any of your wishes to someone else or change the conditions of this lamp. 
    All of your wishes must be made within 24 hours of receiving this package.   When you have made your three wishes,  The lamp will disappear and go on to the next candidate.
    Good luck and Happy Wishing.

Now, as with many of you, I would wish for world peace, or an end to starvation among children.  I might wish for the planet to be saved from Global Warming or a cure be found for cancer.  All these are noble wishes and I’m sure each of you could come up with many more that are similar.

But what would you do for the wish that is only for you?  What would you wish?

Would you wish to win the lottery or to lose a certain number of pounds?  Would you wish to have naturally blond hair or to fall in love with someone worthy of you?  What would be your most cherished wish about/for yourself?  Please share.

I will leave my answer on here sometime later this week.

I promised you my answer.  Well, mine has to do with my sense of humor.  You see, for a very long time in my life, The people closest to me did not care for my sense of humor.  They would often get angry if I was cheerful when things were down.  Evidently they thought I wasn't taking life seriously enough.  And, good people-pleaser that I am, I would try not to make jokes or smile when they were in a bad mood.  Also, I didn't like getting hit.

But they are no longer in my life (I decided that I didn't need toxic folks to be with), so now I can smile and make off-center remarks.  But it is as if I have forgotten how to do that.

So, my wish would be that my sense of humor would return and that I would know how to apply it judiciously.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

This not meant to hurt or offend, so take what you like and leave the rest.


It's a Beautiful Lazy Sunday morning.  After years and years of non-stop church-going, it is pleasant to just sit and be on a Sunday morning.  To feel the breezes, to hear the birds, to watch the feral cats sunning themselves after a full meal,  ah, Heaven.

I feed feral cats.  I didn't plan it, but it is truly against my religion and ethics to let someone suffer needlessly.  It is not the cat's fault that humans could not be responsible enough to have them or their parents neutered.   So far, over one third of these ferals are neutered or spayed.  The rest will be done as they can be caught.  In all, there are feral 14 cats, not counting the 3 house cats  (and 4 dogs) that also live here.

One cat in particular has my heart.  Her name is Blaze, because of the white Blaze of fur down her nose.  She is a lovely tuxedo cat with a white bib and stockings.  She first appeared on my front yard at the ripe old age of 3 months, along with three siblings.  They all have the same markings (tuxedo), but Blaze is black while the others are solid gray.  They are all semi-friendly.  They trust me to get very close to them, but not actually touch them.

Blaze is very personable.  She often calls to me to come out and sit on the steps.  She doesn't want food, she just wants company.  She likes it when I talk to her and she talks back.  I often imagine what she would have been like had she come inside when she was little.  She surely would have been a lap cat, involved in everything that was going on.  Her sisters and brother would have been on the bed, sleeping with us, but not quite as cuddly.

So what is it that makes one animal reach our hearts when others, just as lovable, do not make the same connection?    Once in a while, a dog or a cat, (or a rat or a bird) seems to look directly into our eyes and see who we are.  When that happens, if both parties are open, a connection can be made.  

I have seen people who ride horses, but the horse is merely a means to an end.  Then I have seen other people who seems one with their animals, who connect on a very fundamental and personal level.    That connection that some animals make, well, we humans can make those connections too.  We too, can look into the eyes of others, both human and non-human animals, and make our own connections.

I often wonder why there do not seem to be any classes or teachings on this?  It seems so fundamental, to look into the eyes of others, to make that connection.  Why do we not teach this in our schools, in our temples, in our homes?

We are all connected. We all live on this planet and share its resources.  It is we who choose what sort of place we live in.  Whether it is a place of lack and loneliness, or a place of abundance and connections, we decide.  

The more we reach out to others, the more Peace we create.  Peace.  Perhaps that might be the Ultimate Goal for us all.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


"This is not meant to offend or convert anyone.
Take what you want and ignore the rest."
— Byrd 

SANDYby byrd tetzlaff

As she looked at the bright blue sky, Sandy wondered what on earth was happening to the weather. This time of year should be cold with snow on the ground. Instead, it was warm and balmy with a slight, friendly breeze.

Sandy suddenly needed to be outside for a while, so she decided now was a good time to clean out her small garden, getting it ready for Spring planting. She hurriedly changed into old clothes and shoes, then stepped out into the welcoming weather.

She felt a little frowsy, hair slightly unkempt and stretch pants, but no one would see her over the fence around her yard, so she proceeded to her tiny flower bed.

There was a time when she had turned heads, but these days it was no longer so. Age and weight had snuck up on her. Vaguely, she wondered how it happened that she had gotten so much extra bulk around her middle. She didn't remember it happening, but it must have, because her girth had become impressive.
It seemed a bit strange to feel bad about the fact that she had the good fortune to be able to afford getting larger. How many people throughout history had thought that large women were the height of beauty? Rubens, Rembrandt, and even Van Gogh had painted beautiful women that would have tipped the scales.

Sandy remembered the very first human representation of the Divine. The first time that humans had tried to depict God, they had chosen to do so with the form of a female: The Venus of Willendorf. She was not a slender playboy model. No, she was large beyond large, fecund, huge breasts and buttocks, rolls and rolls of fat around her middle. In her day, that Venus was the epitome of beauty.

As Sandy bent over to pick up various leaves and sticks from the garden bed, she noticed that her own middle was in the way. There was too much her. She couldn't bend over, instead she had to sit down and lean over.

She had to laugh at herself. It felt so silly to be sitting, legs outstretched, trying to clean out a flower bed.
Ruefully, she thought about the fact that recently, she had taken to buying sneakers that did not need to be tied, because it was difficult to bend over and reach the ties. Velcro was a real blessing.

Once, she was young and slender, moved easily and gracefully. Now she felt as if she was plopping wherever she went. It was very easy to slip into feeling bad about herself.

But Sandy had a secret weapon. Sandy had a sunny nature and a sense of humor. And, she had often played the Glad Game from Pollyanna. So maybe now was a good time to think positive things about being larger.

Sandy had a history of playing the Glad Game. When she was fourteen she had braces. She'd noticed that she was no longer expected to eat cooked spinach in public, since there was absolutely no way to clean the braces until she returned home.

When she first got her glasses, she had discovered they hid her crow's feet.

Now, it was time to look at the benefits of getting large.

Sandy noticed that she was now very huggable. Her grandchildren loved to put their arms around her and even sometimes bury their faces in her body. And she felt good to hold, no boney arms or elbows, rather, she was like a human Teddy Bear. That was nice.

She also gave very good hugs. Since her arms were well-padded, they felt comforting when cuddling a sniffling youngster.

Plus, she really liked the clothing for larger women. Slender women wore either very tight clothes, which were always uncomfortable, or else the cloth just hung on them. But larger women had mass and girth. The cloth could have patterns that you could see, rather than having the patterns and colors get lost in the folds. And many larger women choose to dress with splash.

Splash, that was a nice word. Slender women could dress with drama, not so larger women. Instead they had splash. Slender women did not have splash, so it evened out.

Jewelry was nicer, too. Now she could wear all sorts of jewelry, including nice dramatic pieces that before would have dwarfed her. Now they adorned her.

Sandy smiled at herself.

It's true, there were fewer men who looked at her. A lot fewer. But that was to the good. When she was young she had enjoyed the attention and it was great fun. But lately, it had become merely annoying. When she wanted to do her job, she didn't really want to be interrupted by someone flirting. Now, when a man talked to her, she knew he was really talking to her, not just flirting. Or, if he was flirting, he was probably much more worth taking time to flirt back to. She supposed that for many women, this aspect would not be a plus, but for her, it was all to the good.

She also noticed the women who talked with her. They were nicer and more caring people. The ones who ignored her were shallow and not folks she would want to know anyway. This was a very efficient way of weeding out the turkeys in her life.

Sandy inched herself over to another part of the flower bed and started cleaning out that area. The little garden was beginning to look good.

Sandy had noticed recently that she was now warmer. Sheer body mass had finally given her something she had never had before in her whole life: warm hands and feet! It was so nice to not be shivering all the time, wearing layers upon layers of sweaters just to keep her teeth from chattering.

In playing the Glad Game, sometimes the best things to be glad about were the silly stuff. The sillier the better.

For instance, Sandy had noticed recently that because her tummy was pushing itself out, her breasts were pushed up. That was nice, because her breasts were beginning to sag. But since the tummy was there, her breasts were held up a bit, like they had a shelf on which to rest. Comfy.

Age and weight had also given her something else she had never really had before: authority. When she spoke now at a meeting of the PTA or at church, folks listened. She wondered if it was because before she had been too small or young, therefore inexperienced. Now she had weight. She took up space. She was harder to ignore. Even when she was silent, she had presence.

Perhaps best of all, her husband (a carpenter) no longer expected her to help him carry heavy lumber.

Sandy smiled to herself as she pulled out the last of the old weeds from the flower bed. She enjoyed playing with her mind, looking at reality in a new light. She enjoyed laughing at herself and turning things upside down. She enjoyed finding good things about being fat.

When she was a little girl, she had seen young fighters doing an exhibition of Kung Fu. She had been told that the Martial Arts depended upon making your weakness into a positive and your opponent's strengths into a weakness. That is what she was doing now.

She was finding things which were considered to be less than wonderful and finding some positive aspects to them.

She didn't really want to be fat. Being plump would be nice, but all the way to fat was not so nice. She knew the health risks and some other aspects which were inconvenient at the very least.  But she knew herself, and when she felt bad about who she was, she had no energy or willpower to do anything about the situation.

So she smoothed the dirt with her hands, then smiled at her handiwork. She rolled slightly to one side to get her started on getting up. She smiled as she arose, thinking how nifty it was to have the extra padding on her bottom so that sitting on a bit of gravel no longer hurt quite so much.

She dusted off her hands and considered seriously going in the house to change into a nice, full walking skirt, one that made her feel feminine and flouncy. Then perhaps she would take a nice stroll around the block.

She felt very virtuous for even having such a thought and laughed out loud as she entered the house.

So Be It.