Here we are, middle of August already. Wow!
What a wonderful first half of the month in the nearest rearview.
Some highlights include catching a few glimpses of gorgeous shooting stars soaring up, down and across the sky in my favorite annual meteor shower, Perseids, despite the everbright glow of a very Full Moon.
Another major milestone marks one full year without alcohol on Sunday, August 14. For this, I am so proud of myself. It's been a beautiful year. For the first time (ever since I started drinking), I can look back on a whole entire year and say I remember everything.
No more fuzzy, fog-filled mornings spent wondering what the heck I did or said the night before. This is the miracle. One whole year without a drop of booze. I am enthusiastically grateful for the growing selection of alcohol-free alternatives to some of my final favorites like gin and wine and Irish coffee. Whew. Cheers AF!
I recently discovered the ability to add global holidays to my Google calendar, and I've been learning so much about how, what, who, when, where and why the world celebrates. For example, did you know 43 different countries celebrate Assumption of Mary?
I'll be honest - I had to Google it.
Turns out, Assumption of Mary is pretty popular. "The feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is also known as Assumption Day and the Dormition of the Virgin Mary. It marks the day that God assumed the Virgin Mary into heaven following her death, according to popular Christian belief. It is observed annually on or around August 15."
Assumption Day is a public holiday in Austria, Belgium, Chile, Croatia, France, parts of Germany, Guatemala, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland.
This got me thinking about religion and my own personal history with church in general. The way I was labeled "Catholic" as a kiddo never felt good, and I always avoided the label. "Christian" felt a bit closer, but still a little weird and boxy. Though flexible as a pretzel, I've never been a fan of fitting myself into tiny boxes, and I certainly don't like sitting in them. Much more a sprawler-outter, I like to stretch and expand and break boxes down that dare try to hold me or anyone hostage within walls that block the full view of a wide open world.
I started to think about churches, too. I thought back to the non-denominational church I regularly attended as a young adult living in Los Angeles in Koreatown called Oasis. I remember feeling called to be baptized for the first time as an adult. What a spiritual experience this was at that time in my life to truly feel born again. Heavenly.
I thought back to all those Sundays spent with Senior Pastor Callie at Rayne Memorial United Methodist Church on St. Charles Ave in New Orleans. She had a spectacular way with words. Her sermons helped me breathe easier. Always divinely timed and full of grace.
I thought back to the many beautiful churches I've stopped to marvel at along the way and decided to string some of them together into a little montage to share here for you to see just how special these houses of prayer can be in the way they still stand to share open doors for hearts to pray in pure and holy peace-filled churches of the world. Inspiring.
Namaste & Mahaloha!