Open Saturday :)


Holy crazy night of dreaming!  I really hope that your dreams were more pleasant than mine last night…lol!  You know those dreams that when you’re in the thick of it you are hoping and praying that it is a dream?  I was sooooo happy to wake up ;D

What i wish I was dreaming about!
What I wish I was dreaming about!  From my AT trip in July!

Anyways, today’s post is going to very hodge podgey.  I am in a somewhat delirious happy mood this morning.  Maybe it is because of my crazy night of dreams or maybe because today belongs to me!  I don’t have to be anywhere except a hair appointment.  My day is going to be great!!!!  So I awoke this morning and put on clothes to go to the gym.  I got into my car and drove there then all of a sudden I was like, “I am having a fantastic ponytail hair day!”  So I called my little sister for some motivation to get my arse out of the parking lot and into the gym.  She told me that if she could be at the gym right now she would, in other words get my butt in there!  (Keep in mind she just had twins 2.5 months ago!)  Then I asked if  I can show up at the salon with sweaty hair?  I am getting my hair colored for only the second time in my life so I don’t know the protocol.  Sooooo to err on the side of caution, I opted for the coffee shop and an hour or so to write!  Hahahaha!  Lol….  All in the name of showing up at the salon with a great looking ponytail.  Sometimes what makes a happier human are the little quirky things that happen throughout the day.  As trivial as my morning may seem, it is bringing a calming slap happy smile to my face.  I’ll take it!

My hair is brown but this the same kind of pony I'm rocking today!
My hair is brown but this the same kind of pony I’m rocking today!

Another great thing that came out of a sleepless night was joining the meetup group called Cleveland Vegans Meetup Group.  Oh to be on the iPhone at 2:45am….oy!  There is an event going on today that I really want to check out but I don’t know how long my appointment is going to go.  Some friends and family have been asking my about my transition to going vegan.  I am going to write a whole post on that subject here in the near future.  But I will say one thing, going vegan is a process and it really helps to have people in your life who support you.  They don’t have to “agree” with it but it is nice having their support.  I was in a relationship once where my boyfriend was actually really upset with me,  he did most of the cooking and he was angry that he would have to change up the dinner menu a little.  So with that being said, going vegan is a personal choice for whatever reason.  It will slightly affect your friends and family when eating in or eating out but the solutions are so simple.  Like I said I will write about that here in the very near future!

I am sitting in the cafe right now with the sun beaming down on my face and it feels so AMAZING!  Cleveland is supposed to have a high temperature of 55 today!  Really?!  That makes me even a more happier human!!!  It is definitely a metroparks kind of day!  And since my awesome ponytail kept me from the gym this morning that means I’m already dressed for a walk/hike!  Lol..LIFE IS GOOD TODAY 🙂

Be kind today.  Take extra time with the people or animals in your life.  Smile at a stranger.  Buy yourself some flowers or for guys buy whatever small thing that makes you happy!  Do good.  Be good.  Love exceptionally well!

Peace, love and exploration,

~Lori

“Give what you have, to someone it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Backyard camping, packing and Christmas


Good morning everyone and Merry Christmas Eve to all who celebrate!  I have made a couple of changes to the blog and I hope you like them 🙂  I am still learning how to tweak my page so please bear with me if it changes several more times…lol I went to the movies with my mom yesterday and we saw Wild.

photo courtesy of www.imdb.com
photo courtesy of http://www.imdb.com

I did attempt to read the book but could never quite get into a rhythm with it.  I appreciate the authors story but it didn’t hold me in like other self-adventure books. The adaptation (I can only speak for how much of the book I read) was so-so.  But the cinematography was gorgeous!  And I do believe Reese Witherspoon did a relatively  good acting job.  I am a backpacker but I don’t know if I would want to hike the entire Pacific Crest Trail as it constitutes a whole lot of desert. Now Eat, Love, Pray by Elizabeth Gilbert?!  That book I LOVED because I could very much relate to it.  Her struggles with the spiritual person she was/is, the relationship issues…  I felt like I was reading my story.  Except for the part with lots of money and world travel.  India has been on my bucket list for a while now.  I’d love to go somewhere and take a vow of silence.  I re-read that book sometimes and I never tire of it.  I even checked out the audio book from the library and listened to it my car.   Now the movie…blah.  Didn’t like it at all. So I was inspired last night none the less and decided to pitch my tent in my backyard.  I am in the middle of packing and moving and I just needed to be at my house but not in it.  Lol…  I don’t have much to pack so it isn’t like it is a huge feat but still…I’m moving…again.  I have appreciated my time in Oberlin but I am so excited to get the heck out of there!!!  It is a liberal arts college town, has 1-2 good restaurants but lacks diversity and a great coffee shop.   Plus it is in the middle of nowhere.  Good things about Oberlin: bike trail, Gibson’s and the deer that would come and frolic in my backyard.  But I am moving way closer to Cleveland proper and can’t wait to be at the entrance of the Emerald Necklace.

Photo courtesy of www.friendsofbigcreek.org
Photo courtesy of http://www.friendsofbigcreek.org

The Emerald Necklace is a link of Metroparks that form a “necklace” around Northeast Ohio.  Where I am moving I will be with in biking/walking distance from one of my favorite parks in Ohio.  Plus I will be really close to Lake Erie and about 35 minutes closer to the Cleveland Rock Gym!  I CAN”T WAIT.!!!!  With all due respect… Civilization here I come!!!! I hope everyone has an amazing Christmas.  I will be working today 3-11 but I am off tomorrow and will be visiting my senior friend at the nursing home and then off to a few other places. Peace, love and exploration, Lori “Give what you have, to someone it may be better than you dare to think.” ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Hello God, Buddah, Allah, Brahman, Mother Earth, it’s me Lori…. part two


…the next thing I know I am sitting outside of a Catholic church.  Can you believe that they lock churches during the day?!  Seriously?!  Who would steal from or vandalize a church?  After all isn’t God watching you?  Lol…

So, there I am, sitting on a bench in the middle of a beautiful petite rose garden, staring at a statue of Jesus and listening the calming flow of water that is coming out of a beautiful rock fountain.  Since I have not been Catholic in quite sometime, I am not really sure how to proceed.  So I started with the Our Farther, a.k.a, The Lord’s prayer.  For the first time in my life I am listening to what I am reciting.  I say reciting because I just always said the words robotic-ally.  Suddenly every word had meaning to me and I understood what the prayer was about.  It was like my mind and eyes were opened for the first time to this prayer.  After sitting for about a hour I went home, showered and went back to the church to go to mass at 5 o’clock.  I sat way in the back right in front of the women’s bathroom so I could make a quick get away if needed…I didn’t want anyone to see me crying.  I actually cried during church those first several times.  I was having a lot of conflicting feelings and didn’t know how to deal with them.  That very first time going back to church solidified for me that I really do believe in Spirits.  At that moment I started believing again in The Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  I felt the homily was written just for me, for what I was going through at that moment and it helped me with the negative feelings I was having toward someone else whom was also in church that day. I decided on that day that it was not my place to judge someone and their history.  Also during that mass my TWO favorite church songs were played!  So between the homily, the songs and that person randomly being there, I thought to myself there has to be some truth to all of this right?!

I started to get involved at church.  Attended mass regularly every Saturday at 5pm.  I took up the bible for the first time ever, checked out a bible study and bought cross earrings.  I was totally devoted.  I even went to confession!!!  The priest at my church was very nice and took the time to listen to me.  I met with him on a couple of occasions just to talk.  I had SO MANY questions about me and my faith.  I read devotionals, prayed in the chapel at the hospital where I worked and spoke with others who were devoted like me.  Pope Francis really made a difference for me too.  He practices love and acceptance and says he doesn’t judge.  I know he isn’t perfect.  Hopefully he’ll discover that women should be priests too!

But…. in the back of my mind and in the deepest depths of my heart I knew something still wasn’t fitting just right.  I STILL believed that there is more than one way to pray.  That people in India pray to Krishna and Brahman, people in Japan pray to Buddha, Muslims pray to Allah, Native Americans pray to The Great Spirit.  I kept asking myself, “Why do so many Catholics believe it is their way or the highway?”  How on earth or heaven for that matter (I don’t believe in hell) could I discount someone else’s peaceful spiritual beliefs?  The bible did not make any sense to me either.  I may make a few people angry when I say this but the bible has been written and rewritten and edited for a couple thousand years.  I just can’t accept it as the final word.

Now, there were several times during that emotional year that I just wasn’t sure if I mattered to anyone or even mattered to myself.  I was in the depths of a downward spiral of self deprecation.  I knew I would make it through this and come out happier.  I always believed in the happy outcome.  I had friends and family that loved me and cared for me but I needed to love myself.  I remember sitting in bed one day crying so loudly and feeling so low.  I was in the middle of an “oh woe is me” fit.  Then suddenly out of NOWHERE I felt the most loving reassurance.  This feeling of unconditional love came from another realm.  It wrapped it’s love around me and I completely stopped crying.  I can’t explain it any better than that.  I stopped going to church on a regular basis sometime this past April.  I will fully admit that I kept running into people that I didn’t particularly want to see.  So I started church hopping.  I still haven’t found one that embodies what Sacred Heart did. I am still looking and I only have a few more weeks left in that small town.

I remember having a conversation with my dad about how I don’t believe in everything that the Catholic church says.  He said he doesn’t either but he believes in The Lord and takes the good part from Catholicism.  I always thought it was an all or nothing deal.  Believe in it all or get out.  This opened up another door for me on my road to spiritual awareness.

Also during this time of trials and tribulations I discovered Deepak Choprah and the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.  Self awareness, karma, silence…  I was feeling guilty for starting to believe yet again in another spirituality.  Oh the Catholic guilt.  Ever hear of the saying about guilt…”The Jews invented it and the Catholics perfected it.”  Hahahaha…

Call me what you will...but I believe in “love.”  I don’t hate.  I may not understand and I may not agree but I don’t hate.  I do believe in another world.  Heaven if you will.  I do believe in karma.  You get back what you put out there.  I do believe in people like Jesus and Buddha etc…  I believe that there is that kind of love out there.  Maybe I believe in it a little too much.  I also believe that “God” presents her or himself in different ways to different people.  Yes I said “her.”   I don’t discount those feelings or epiphanies I had during my early struggles over that past year.  I just accept them as a warm and welcoming starting point for believe in something bigger then the physical world again.

I will always be on a spiritual journey.  I was on a super scary flight once and I said to my sister afterward that I would have prayed to a wooden spoon had that been what got us to the ground safely.  I did however say to God and myself on that flight that I would become Catholic again if we were to land safely.  I did keep that promise but it wasn’t until years later that I rejoined the Catholic church.  Now here I am again, embattled in an inner religious dilemma.  But I don’t think that “God” would be upset with me for challenging and exploring my religion or others.  As of today I still belong to Sacred Heart Catholic Church on a technicality… I became a member a year ago.  But today, right now, I consider myself a member of world religions.  Of the peaceful, loving and giving ones.  I accept and love the good in people.  I pray for everyone.   I have found that if I let my spiritual self go, my life starts to become harder and more complicated.  So I am trying to put “Gods” first and me and my needs second.

Peace, love and exploration,

~Lori

“Give what you have, to someone it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Hello God, Buddah, Allah, Brahman, Mother Earth, it’s me Lori…. part one


This is something that I have been wanting to write about.  These are my thoughts, my feelings and my own self discoveries.  I respect all religious beliefs that are peaceful.

I am a cradle Catholic.  This means I have been Catholic since my days hangin’ in the womb.  Both of my parents are Roman Catholic.  I did attend Catholic school for the first 3 years of my formal education.  I only had a nun for a teacher once.  In second grade I had Sister Mary for a half a year when we moved from E. 72nd in Cleveland to the suburb of North Ridgeville.  I went to Sacred Heart of Jesus and then finished out my second grade year at St. Mary’s in Avon, Ohio.  I loved all my teachers at Sacred Heart.  I loved the school, the Polish festivals that my siblings and I partook in, running cross country, I even loved going to mass.  Most of all I LOVED my first communion dress!  My sister had worn it before me and I couldn’t wait to wear it and the veil that went along with it.  I remember feeling like I was marrying God!  When we moved to North Ridgeville in April of 1985 we eventually joined St. Julie Billiart Parish.  I was NOT a fan of the priest at this church.  He didn’t seem to relate to kids well and quite frankly I didn’t feel like I was in church because this new one was so….not churchy?!  There weren’t any pews and zero stained glass.  Plus it was bright and airy.  On the inside it looked more like a place you would have a wedding reception than an actual wedding.  My parents continued putting us into to PSR (Sunday school) until the day we graduated high school.  I even helped teach special needs kids in Sunday school. Well, pretty soon after I started high school, my friend Kathy and I would skip Sunday school to go by cigarettes and pop at Polly’s.  Polly’s was a tiny mom and pop store that someone ran out of the bottom of their house.

I didn’t get much out of PSR…well not when I was older anyways.  Everything that was taught was very much on a surface level.  We didn’t delve deep into anything really.  It was more of this is how it is and this it what you are suppose to believe…Now GO!  I remember telling my dad that I didn’t want to make my confirmation in the 10th grade.  That I wanted to explore other religions.  He said, “Too bad.  As long as you’re living under my roof you are getting confirmed.”  Now, even at the young age of 15 or 16 I knew there had to be more to this world then my own little area.  Different people, beliefs, cultures, etc.  I wanted to study those.  Actually, I wanted to travel and live among these foreign concepts.  But alas, I was to be confirmed.  I remember having to write letters (I forget what about…something heartfelt I am sure) and go to confession.  What do you say in confession?  Crap about your siblings, school, parents, but was I really going to get down to the nitty gritty with all of my thoughts, feelings and actions?!  Hell NO!  At least not with the priest who was at the parish at the time and certainly not without in me being in my own little stall and a sliding screen window between us!  Not gonna happen!

But something DID happen one night during my confirmation journey.  We all opened up and read our letters and I started crying as most of us did.  It was an emotional evening but in a good way.  From that point on I was a good Catholic girl.  I wanted to marry a good clean-cut Catholic boy.  We’d get married, attend church and live a happy little life.

LOL….then life happened.  I fell in love with a boy in high school and we dated for 4 years, moved down south together and moved back to Ohio 11 months later.  Oh to be young and stupid…lol!  It was around then that my faith strengthened in ways that only one who is going through a life crap storm can experience.  I would sit in an empty church and cry until I couldn’t breathe.  My world was falling apart around me and no matter how many people surrounded me with love and advice, I needed to walk this journey alone.  With The Lord.

I believe being in the wrong church can be like having a guidance counselor in high school (ah hem!) who doesn’t really truly care or support you.  Fast forward a few years.  I am now in my early 20’s now and really listening to the homilies.  They all had a reoccurring theme…MONEY.  It made me sick.  What also made me sick was the “it’s the Catholic way or the high way” rhetoric that came at me almost every Sunday.  Call me crazy but when the parish priest is driving a beautiful new car and eating from the fattened calf while members of his congregation are suffering, that is bull caca! By this time I have jumped from parish to parish trying to find one that truly embodied the way and life of Jesus.  My searches ended in fruitlessness.

At this point I decided to go explore other religions.  There had to be one out there that was gentle and didn’t look down upon other religions.  That is when I discovered a book titled, Black Elk Speaks.  It opened my eyes to Native American spirituality.  They didn’t make fun, caste aside or discount other religions.  I found my inner foundation of my beliefs!  I even made a pilgrimage if you will, to the Badlands.  I walked the entire Crow reservation in Montana.  But it’s not like you can roll up to a sacred spot and join in the fun.  I didn’t know how to get in the door.  So after a few more years of worshiping Mother Earth I was still at a loss for a belief system.

Truly I believe that God presents his or herself in different ways to different people.  I don’t think that there is a right way to pray.  Through my years of religious searching, I would still find myself entering into empty Catholic churches and just sitting there. In quiet stillness.  Feeling completely at peace.  Maybe this is because it is where everything religious in my life started.  It was my religious home base.

After moving home from California I became very quickly involved in a relationship that I knew in my gut I didn’t want to be in.  I wanted to establish myself first.  I remember telling my friend who set us up, “I don’t want to be with anyone right now.  My God I have only been home for 12 days!”  But with everyone pushing me to just give it a whirl, I digressed from my original plan and entered into the relationship.  So here I am, unexpectedly living back in Ohio, in a relationship, and wanting to scream from the top of my lungs but could not get the sound out.  Him and I went to midnight mass that first December and I remember telling him that I believe the Catholic church is political and money hungry and that is about all it is.  By this time I had been away from Catholicism for about 10 years now.

From time to time during our relationship I would find him kneeling at the bedside in the morning before he left for work, holding my hand in my half awake/half asleep state, praying.  I could not for the life of my appreciate this at the time it was happening.  I never bothered to ask who he was praying to or what he was praying about.  Communication and respecting each others beliefs and choices were not our strong point with each other.  I cannot tell you how many times during my first year and a half being back home from California, I felt incredibly alone.  Alone in my beliefs, thoughts, actions, hopes, dreams….  I would be tucked in his arms every evening feeling completely alone.  It was not one person’s fault over the other that ended that relationship.  The aftermath of that relationship was one of the biggest lessons in my life.

Shortly after moving out of his place, I awoke one afternoon from a nap and found myself on my hands and knees SOBBING and calling out to anyone “up there” who would listen…

To be continued….

~Lori

“Give what you have, to someone it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.