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Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Sunflower Seeds

Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

This & That


(Note: I’m posting today’s blog on Sunday, May 8, hoping my subscribers will get it earlier in the week.)

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that every now and then I like to share a few short things I’ve come across recently. I sometimes call these reflections “This & That.” Here’s one for today:


Meatless Mondays


Have you heart about meatless Mondays? It’s a global movement encouraging people to reduce meat in their diet for their own health and for the health of our planet. The message is simple: skip meat one day a week. Although Monday was chosen, it can really be any day of the week. Eating less meat and more healthy plant-based foods can reduce the incidence of chronic preventable diseases (such as obesity and heart disease) and preserve precious land and water resources which can combat climate change.

If every American stopped eating meat one day a week for a year: 1.4 billion animals would be spared, which (according to the EPA) would also lower the emission of greenhouse gases by the equivalent of ten billion charged smartphones. By skipping meat one day a week, Americans could save about 100 billion gallons of water, 70 million gallons of gas, and 3 million acres of land.

(Photo by leigh patrick – Pexels)


There are many websites with recipes for meatless Mondays. I liked this one because it offers 25 plant-based recipes for things such as vegan sloppy joes, teriyaki stir fry veggies, loaded quinoa tacos, sweet potato chili:

https://www.acoupleofcooks.com

If you want to know more about Meatless Mondays go to: https://mondaycampaigns.org


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Daily Facts


For Christmas a friend gave me a calendar that features a “strange fact” for everyday. Here are a few things I’ve learned from that calendar:

The Pacific Ocean is larger than all land masses on Earth combined.

Three dogs survived the sinking of the Titanic.

The shortest war in history lasted only 38 minutes. (I looked it up. It was the Anglo-Zanzibar War of 1896.)

More people are killed by selfies than by sharks.


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A Note to Me from God

Years ago I made a one day retreat for our high school faculty. At the end, we were encouraged to write ourselves a note from God. The directions said, “Based on what we talked about, what would God say to you?” We were given the blank side of a 3″ X 5″ holy card to write our note on. By chance I came across my note last week as I was rummaging through a folder looking for something. The note somehow seems timely, so I’m sharing it with you:

(Photo by John Mark Smith – Pexels)



March 10, 1985

Dear Melannie,

Take time each day to think… to wish… to create… to dream… to play… to dance… to wonder.

You will find me not only in your ideas, but also in your feelings and fantasies.

I love you and want you and like you—for more than the things you do for me.


Trust me. All will work out for the best in the end. Hope.


Love,

God

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How Welcoming Is Your Parish?


This is a “welcome card” that is distributed to visitors and new parishioners at a parish in Florida. (I can’t verify the parish yet, but I’m working on it.)


(Photo by Mabel Amber – Pexels)



“All Are Welcome”


We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, y no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying newborns, skinny as a rail, or could afford to lose a few pounds. We welcome you if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or, like our pastor, who can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re “just browsing,” just woke up, or just got out of jail. We don’t care if you’re more Catholic than the Pope, or haven’t been in church since little Joey’s Baptism. We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or are still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems, or you’re down in the dumps, or you don’t like “organized religion.” We’ve been there too. If you blew all your offertory money at the dog track, you’re welcome here. We offer a special welcome for those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or came because Grandma is in town and wanted to go to church. We welcome those who are inked, pierced, or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down their throat as a kid, or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome the flexible, the inflexible, tolerant & intolerant, those who laughed as well as those who gasped at this welcome card. We welcome tourists, seekers, doubters, bleeding hearts, and you!


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For reflection:

1. Have you heard about Meatless Mondays? Are you trying to reduce meat in your diet?


2. Did any of those calendar facts surprise you?


3. If God wrote you a note today, what might it say?


4. What was your reaction to the “Welcome Card.” Did you smile, laugh, gasp, become uncomfortable, confused, or angry, or what?





Our song for today features a singer new to this blog: Cathy A. J. Hardy. (I thank one of our Canadian readers, Lois in Saskatchewan, for introducing her to me!) Cathy is a singer, songwriter, retreat director who lives in Mission, British Columbia. She is also the mother of two grown daughters. This song is called “I Am with You… Here” May you hear the Resurrected Jesus speak these comforting words to you today—no matter what kind of a “here” you may be experiencing right now.





I invite you to share a comment below on anything that touched you in today’s reflection—or share your answer to any of the questions for reflection. My readers are always telling me how much they enjoy reading the comments! Thank you!



25 Responses

  1. I LOVE the “welcome card!” Think it covers all the bases and it did make me smile. If only ALL churches AND people practiced this!

      1. Multiple churches use this paragraph. When I Google one of the phrases, at least a dozen churches show up!

  2. I got the post! Monday 10.25 am et!

    Love your card, Sr Melannie, & love the parish’s welcome statement. Yes, yes, to all of it especially the “daring” parts (& the funny parts!).

    Late start to my day. I pledge to listen to the song at the earliest opportune time.

    Peace and light to all.

    1. Sr Melannie,
      Regarding your “Welcome” mat, check out Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Daytona, FL. It sounds like their parish as their mission statement is, “All are Welcome.”

    1. Your blog always brightens my day and certainly makes me think! Loved the “strangest” facts, in this crazy angry world, it’s fun to learn something interesting although it may be strange. Will definitely try the meatless Monday. My husband passed a bit over 2 months ago so I’m settling up new routines and this sounds like a good one to add. Also loved you letter from God. I do something a bit different but God is always leading the way. Watching a Hallmark movie a young widow was having a difficult time moving on in life. She asked her grandfather how he got through each day after his wife had passed. His answer was that he wrote her a letter each day. I don’t do this each day, but in my journal I will write to my husband and sometimes God. Putting feeling and good memories on paper is helpful for me. Have a wonderful day and will be looking forward to reading your blog next Monday.

  3. The church has got to be “Our Lady of Lourdes” in Daytona Beach , FL. Fr. Phil Egitto is the pastor and that is basically their welcoming statement -and they mean it! We live about 1 and 1/4 hours from there but go as often as possible and are involved in one of their zoom book clubs. If you are ever in the Daytona area you will be remiss if you don’t pay them a visit. They are located out on the island about 3 blocks off the beach.You can also experience Lourdes on YouTube. Their Sat. 4pm Mass is televised. Fr. Phil literally dances down the aisle! Love is alive there!

  4. I also LOVE the welcome card. We Catholics (generally speaking) are not particulary welcoming anytime. We actually attended weekly (and many daily) Masses at a parish for five months during a winter stay in Texas. I am NOT exaggerating when I say NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON, including the priest, EVER said one word to us – no “don’t believe we’ve seen you before” or “are you new here?”
    or ” are you visiting us this week?” — NOT ONE. Do we wonder why people go to more welcoming churches. We’re in to big a hurry to GET OUT after that “endless Mass and sermon.” We need to do better people!!!

    1. I am so sorry to hear of your experience in that Texas church. I am a parishioner at St. Anne’s parish in Beaumont, TX, and I pray you are not speaking of our parish. If you are speaking of St. Anne’s in Beaumont, please let me know as we definitely have to address this issue, or as Ricky Ricardo so often told his wife, Lucy, we” have some splaining to do.”

  5. Good afternoon, Sr. Melannie…

    Love that fact about the three dogs! I thought your “not to self from God” was wonderful. You seem to live what is written on that note.

    Finally, the parish’s welcome statement is hip, cool, funny, and — I hope — sincere. I agree with Jackie; its mission statement would make God proud!

  6. All your sunflower seeds deserve planting all over. The Good Shepherd says, “You’ve heard my voice and followed me.” Thanks.

    1. Dear Sister,
      You always touch my heart!
      I LOVE your note from God! You have such a gift for finding the heart of the matter with such beautiful simplicity and humility. Your love of God shines through each word!
      Wouldn’t it be amazing if all churches could be so welcoming?
      Thank you!

  7. I love the welcome card, and already started wondering how we could modify it to work for our little northern Michigan town that gets lots of tourists! I look forward to receiving your blogs, whenever they show up. Thank you.

  8. Hi Melannie
    The Welcome card sounds strangely familiar. I think our Father John wrote it or one very similar in the parish web site. I liked it the first time I read it. I loved the card God wrote to you I would hope everyone would enjoy such comforting words on a daily basis. I love your blogs and really missed them when you were having I.T. tech problems. So glad you are black.

  9. Hi Sister, your blog arrived at 10:25 Monday. Loved the doormat and will have to watch Fr. Phil’s mass. Looking forward to seeing you on Thursday at St. Michael the Archangel.

  10. Dear Melannie,

    The priests and other ministers of that “All are welcome ” parish would have to be persons of deep faith and genuine humility. If that variety of folks, with all their troubles and points of view, accept this welcome, the pastoral leaders would need to know that THEY are not the ones to provide the answers and solutions. All they are asked to be is the voice crying out in the desert, preparing the hearts of their flock to return the welcome to God.

  11. Sister: Found a parish that is more than welcoming! After 48 years in my former parish and a change in administration, I was led to Blessed Trinity Parish and Father Doug Koesel. What a blessing! He greets every new face at every mass and encourages everyone to greet each other. He has a food bank that distributes to the needy every Wednesday, has a witness outside the parish grounds on Puritas Road from 3:00-4:00 every Wednesday to show support for Ukraine, Black Lives Matter, Peace, and has a garden and fruit trees, bee keepers, all to add fresh produce and fruit for the food bank which he calls “Bountiful Basement”. This parish does more with the 500+ parishioners than my former parish of over 5,000. It is such a faith filled, loving place to be. And the music is awesome……..

  12. I recently came across a phrase in Rachel Held Evans’ book, Searching for Sunday. She was writing about our (unfortunate? tragic?) tendency to exclude others who don’t measure up to our standards. She called it “border patrol Christianity.” Yikes! So we have that, and we have the “All Are Welcome “ card. Now which one would Jesus choose? I think we all know the answer to that.

  13. Sorry, I tune in late in the week. The welcome statement and meatless Mondays are missed opportunities for the church to practice what we are preaching.
    Really loved the music.

  14. I too liked the Welcome included from Fr Phil’s parish. And I believe it was this week that Pope Francis spoke to LGBT Catholics in a new letter when he said, “God does not disown any of his children.” Who are we to judge if God does not disown any of his children.
    In the letter Francis also said, “the style of God is closeness, mercy, and tenderness. It is along this path you will find God.” And so we shall.

  15. I have mixed feelings on the Welcome Card. The list of those welcome was very extensive but I feel by making a list you run the risk of excluding someone or some group of people. For example there was no mention of the transgender community. Maybe a “ALL” are welcome with the emphasis on the “ALL” would be most loving and inclusive.

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Hi and welcome to my blog! I’m Sister Melannie, a Sister of Notre Dame residing in Chardon, Ohio, USA. I’ve been very lucky! I was raised in a loving family on a small farm in northeast Ohio. I also entered the SNDs right after high school. Over the years, my ministries have included high school and college teaching, novice director, congregational leadership, spiritual direction, retreat facilitating, and writing. I hope you enjoy “Sunflower Seeds” and will consider subscribing below. I’d love to have you in our “sunflower community.” Thank you!

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