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OP-ED: Items Not on my New Year’s Resolution List

PASADENA JOURNAL — It is typical this time of year to prepare a list of resolutions for the coming year.

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It is typical this time of year to prepare a list of resolutions for the coming year. I believe this goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden when Adam said to Eve, “I think I’ll turn over a new leaf this year.” And so the tradition has come down to us today.

Normally, people will make a list of all the things they will give up during the ensuing year. All kinds of bad habits find their way on the list like smoking, drinking and other nefarious activities. Of course, nobody actually plans to keep his New Year resolutions but the act of writing them down on a piece of paper seems to give a sense of accomplishment to people.

One of the big things on the resolution list has to do with diet and losing weight during the coming year. I have often wondered why this seems to be number one on most of those New Year resolution list. Even Yours Truly has succumbed in years past to attend this resolution on his list.

This year I discovered why that is so high on people’s list. It begins with Halloween and all of the candy that is consumed. Now, there is a purpose behind all of this. And it is only recently that I have put it all together. And to my loyal reading fans (both of you) I would share with you the wisdom of my muse.

The reason it starts with Halloween candy is that candy is sweet. This sweet serves to prime the pump, so to speak, for the eating frenzy that is about to begin. Approximately 3 weeks following the Halloween candy blowout comes Thanksgiving.

When our forefathers did a Thanksgiving dinner, they had to chase the turkey down and kill it themselves. Following that, they had to pluck the feathers, clean the turkey, stuff it and get it ready for roasting. All of this activity burned up all the calories from the Halloween candy frenzy.

Now, all we do is pop it into an oven and the most activity we have is bending our elbows to see how fast we can get the turkey from the plate into our mouth. Even though this activity is quite strenuous it actually burns no calories whatsoever in the process.

If it was just the turkey it would not be so bad, but nobody can eat turkey without all the culinary accoutrements. Roast turkey without a generous slice of pumpkin pie is the closest thing to blasphemy that I know.

No sooner has the Thanksgiving dinner settled in our stomach, it is Christmas time, and all of the parties associated with Christmas. Nobody can refuse a Christmas party with all the delicacies that had been so meticulously prepared. When I go to a party, I think it rather rude not to indulge in the party snacks.

I like to join organizations right around October keeping a sharp eye out for the annual Christmas party. Soon after the New Year, I dropped out of that organization. Call me a slacker, if you wish, but in my book, the Christmas party is worth the subterfuge.

Then there is the marvelous family Christmas dinner. Need I say more?

So we come to New Year’s Eve. By this time, everybody has eaten so much that hardly anybody can take another bite. Not only that, but many people feel guilty for eating so much during the holiday season. Others, like me, are made to feel guilty for eating so much during the holiday season.

To deal with this sense of guilt many people make a New Year’s resolution to go on a diet during the coming year.

Many years ago around this time of the year, I made a drastic tactical error. It had been a particularly good holiday season with many parties and Christmas dinners. I was feeling rather expansive at the time and sighed deeply and said, “After all that eating I should go on a diet.”

Quick as a wink the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage took that as a cue and responded, “I think that’s an excellent idea. That will be your New Year’s resolution for the coming year.”

And thus it was.

I quickly learned that such resolutions come with a great deal of superfluous supervision. Every time I turned around my wife said, “How is your diet coming?” Of course, she knows exactly how it is coming because she is the one who was supervising this aspect of my life.

When going out to eat at a restaurant she was most helpful in supervising my ordering by observing, “You can’t order that because it’s not in your diet.”

There are many things that will not show up on my New Year’s resolution list and the number one item that will not be there is dieting. Gone from my vocabulary are such phrases as, “Boy, I’ve eaten too much tonight.” Or, “After eating like this I should go on a diet.”

I am not sure God is quite as concerned about my eating habits as other people are. I like what David writes in the 23rd Psalm. “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over” (Psalms 23:5).

When God sets the table, he expects me to feast, and I do not anticipate disappointing Him.

[The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail jamessnyder2@att.net. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.com.]

This article originally appeared in the Pasadena Journal.

Bay Area

Get Booster Shot, Celebrate Thanksgiving Holiday Safely, State Officials Say

Officials are encouraging people who took both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago to get their boosters now. People who took the one-shot Johnson & Johnson primary dose at least two months ago, should also schedule their booster shot.

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According to Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel, the booster shots are being administered under an “emergency use authorization.”
According to Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel, the booster shots are being administered under an “emergency use authorization.”

By Aldon Thomas Stiles, California Black Media

Golden State public health officials are recommending that Californians take COVID-19 booster shots to prevent a resurgence of the disease and to celebrate the holidays safely with their loved ones.

“It’s not too late to get it,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Department, referring to the COVID-19 booster shot. He was speaking at a vaccine clinic in Los Angeles County last week.

“Get that added protection for the Thanksgiving gatherings you may attend,” he said.

Last week, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine boosters for all adults in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) followed with an endorsement of the booster vaccine, recommending it for people over age 50, and anyone 18 and older who is at higher risk.

The CDC loosened the language for all other adults, saying anyone over age 18 “may” take the shot.

California officials say the booster shots are plenty and available throughout the state.

“If you think you will benefit from getting a booster shot, I encourage you,” said Ghaly. “Supplies are available. There are many sites across the state – thousands in fact.”

On Saturday, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup completed a separate review of the federal government’s approval process for the booster shots and also recommended that “individuals 18 or older who have completed their primary vaccination series,” take the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna boosters.

California, Oregon, Nevada and Washington state came together last year and created the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup. The group, made up of scientists, medical professionals and public health experts, is charged with reviewing COVID-19 vaccine safety.

Over the last two weeks, COVID-19 infections across the United States have increased at a rate of nearly 33%, according to the CDC.

Officials are encouraging people who took both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago to get their boosters now. People who took the one-shot Johnson & Johnson primary dose at least two months ago, should also schedule their booster shot.

“COVID-19 boosters are available to all Californians 18 [and over]! Walk-in clinics are open statewide with no appointment necessary – like this mobile clinic in Avenal. Find a clinic or pharmacy near you and get yours today,” Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office chimed in on Twitter.

Newsom has pushed hard for the vaccine booster since he received his last month.

“Great news for the rest of the country. The holidays are here — make sure to keep your immunity up and protect yourself and your loved ones. Get your booster,” Newsom tweeted on November 18.

According to Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel, the booster shots are being administered under an “emergency use authorization.”

California Black Media’s coverage of COVID-19 is supported by the California Health Care Foundation.

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Advice

Culturally Deprived or Entitled

We all are contributors to the greater being, through exercising our God-like characteristics. God doesn’t create the issues — God shows up with the solution to issues. So, as we practice His characteristics, we then will demand and experience all of what we are asking for today.

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Our solutions to our current plights can be simple actions of kindness, forgiveness and empathy.
Our solutions to our current plights can be simple actions of kindness, forgiveness and empathy.

These are questions that we must ask ourselves as a country, city, state and community. We all have become victims of one or the other’s perspective. As a people, the current social climate, has stripped away our core values and sensitivities to properly acknowledge life’s differences. Life itself would have no spice, if it was all constructed with the same images, narratives, hopes, challenges, geography or gender. God’s presence would lose it purpose, behind our definition of social-cultural equalities. Everything can not be the same, but the differences can be a significant part of the whole.

Maybe our real issues are living inside of ourselves, as we look outside of ourselves to find our social and emotional purpose. Culturally, we often credit those voices that have large constituencies or media profiles, instead of those that have a fearless passion for the truth. Let’s not look to judge these efforts, but to hold ourselves accountable to our own truth that is aligned with God’s truth. Within this effort , I think we will emotionally land in a place, that we can start to heal.

Once we can embrace our cultural truths without jealousy, embarrassment, insecurities , bias and most important without fear. We can start to transform our social-emotional challenges. The solutions to our current plights , can be simple actions of kindness, love , empathy, forgiveness without judgement and acknowledging the love for humanity. These are God like social practices.

Let’s remember our greatest competition is our attempt to reach our own potential. It’s not looking to the left and the right, or seeing black and white, but looking comfortably within. This allows for a great collective outcome, because its our unique gifts, that contributes to life’s whole. We all are contributors to the greater being.. God doesn’t create the issues, man’s fears and bruises do. So, as we practice God’s characteristics, we will see a social emotional transformation occur. A culture of spiritual inclusion.

The real intention to deploy emotional equality is beyond the “Color Code” , gender biases, social -economic redlining or the constitutional governance of humanity. It’s simplifying the re-engineering of the processes that blocks the social transparencies of truth.to be realized.

Now which side do we sit on is the question to ask ourselves, are we culturally deprived or are we entitled? The acknowledgement of truth starts with you.

 

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Art

Poet Laureates Provides Poetry That Heals the Soul

The City of Richmond’s 2021– 2023 Poet Laureate, David Flores was joined by fellow poet laureates including Eevelyn Mitchell of El Cerrito, Jeremy Snyder of Vallejo, Ayodele Nzinga of Oakland and Tongo Eisen-Martin of San Francisco to celebrate Flores’ installation. Each poet shared some of their work with the audience. A laureate is a person who has been honored for achieving distinction in a particular field.

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The poet laureates are not connected as a group but are part of a community that supports each other with our craft.
The poet laureates are not connected as a group but are part of a community that supports each other with our craft.

By Clifford L. Williams

Poetry is a universal language…it’s the song of the heart that feeds the soul.

That was the message shared by five poet laureates from the Bay Area last week at a gathering to introduce the City of Richmond’s 2021– 2023 Poet Laureate, David Flores, during an Open Mic event at CoBiz Richmond, in collaboration with Richmond’s Arts and Cultural Commission.

Flores was joined by fellow poet laureates including Eevelyn Mitchell of El Cerrito, Jeremy Snyder of Vallejo, Ayodele Nzinga of Oakland and Tongo Eisen-Martin of San Francisco to celebrate Flores’ installation. Each poet shared some of their work with the audience. A laureate is a person who has been honored for achieving distinction in a particular field.

Flores, an 11-year former schoolteacher for the Richmond Unified School District, submitted a few poems and some of his writings to a panel of commissioners last May, who reviewed his work and eventually selected him as the city’s newest poet laureate.

“To me, this is an opportunity to really highlight poetry as an art form accessible to everyone in our city,” said Flores. “I will use this appointment to actively engage young people and adults to allow them the opportunity to not only hear art but to also inspire them to share their work.”

Flores said that since COVID 19, people have been disconnected and now need community bonding to express themselves through art and poetry. “As a poet laureate, I want to grow as an artist and share my work,” said Flores. “It’s fulfilling as a shared humanity to connect and inspire people and a way to spark communication with one another. Once you have that experience, you feel confidence and there’s no going back.”

The poet laureates are not connected as a group but are part of a community that supports each other with our craft. Laureates help to bring awareness of poetry and literacy through the arts to their respective communities during their two-year appointments. Each laureate goes through a process involving several steps, outlined by a panel of commissioners, who make the final selections.

“One of the main things we do as poet laureates is to encourage unity within our community through the arts,” said Mitchell. “Our specific responsibilities are to highlight poetry as an outlet to allow people to express themselves.

“As poet laureate, we put on events to encourage our community to become more involved and aware, and to be more unified in bringing awareness, unity, respect and love within the community. Because of the pandemic, we are all trying to figure out our new norm.

“With everything that has been going on for the past two years, I firmly believe it’s important that we as a community, and I as a poet laureate, need to bring harmony back into our lives,” she said. “It is my quest and priority to promote that. We are neighbors, we are friends, we are a community, and we need each other to survive.”

The general public can learn more about their city’s poet laureate events and activities by contacting their Arts and Cultural Commission.

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