Tag Archives: Facebook

Thanks to my village!

A good friend gave me this plaque on Friday: IMG_3419

It speaks profoundly to my experience. We do not travel the Trail alone. We do so accompanied by family and friends who care for us, sometimes in ways we fail to realize. We do so surrounded by neighbors and people we do not know whose lives touch ours in surprising, amazing ways. And we do so supported by sisters and brothers we will never meet, sisters and brothers who work hard, and whose labor is sometimes exploited, to allow us to enjoy the lives we have. There is much to ponder.

For tonight, I use this plaque as an opportunity to thank those who support my self-care effort. Tricia, Sean, and Eric have been great! Certain friends are key to my effort. Many are always there. A number have become part of my community of accountability, receiving self-serving emails with gentle grace. Their support comes in many forms: reading what I write, responding, sending an unexpected text, providing a plaque and vitamins, answering questions, asking on Facebook, “Have you been to the gym?”, and more.

A wider community also takes care of me. People who like or comment on Facebook posts. People who take the moment to say encouraging words. People like Greg, who literally gushed about my progress before and after the service when I preached at the Church of the Covenant.

It takes a village to lose a boatload of weight and take care of oneself. At least it does for me. To each of you – to all of you – in  my village, my thanks. I hope I care for you as well as you care for me.

See you along the Trail.


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Filed under Exercise, Family, Food, Friends

Facebook moments

Facebook moments.
The photo of a friend’s new baby.
The announcement of a new job.
The good news of a test passed.
The realization of shared values.
Bring a smile.

Facebook moments.
The departed family member.
The deceased friend.
Present in the Spirit.
Present in cyberspace.
Tug heartstrings.

Facebook moments.
Echoes through the past.
Reminders of what was.
Stabs of longing lost.
Taunts of what will never be.
Challenge us to change.

With gratitude for Myra Hutchins
11 February 2014
Shire near the Hudson

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Advent photo-a-day challenge

Thanksgiving is over. Black Friday has happened.

Cyber Monday looms around the corner.

But first, on December 1, the Christian season of Advent begins again.

“Advent” means “coming” or “arrival.” It is a time of preparation for Christmas. As the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) notes, “the four weeks of Advent present an opportunity for communal discernment and personal examination, as the church prepares to celebrate the Nativity of the Lord and looks with hope for Christ’s return.”

Different individuals and communities prepare in different ways. Special events are held. Special songs sung. Gifts are planned, purchased, and shared. Some people add prayer, scripture reading, and meditation to their lives.

This year, I plan to join in the Advent photo-a-day challenge posed by Rethink Church. Here are the details:

As we did with Lent last February, we’re inviting you once again to enter this season of Advent with intention and awareness. As we prepare, watch and wait for that wonderful something God is sending our way not just at Christmas, but every single day.

Whatever your practices this season, will you join this photo-a-day practice and share with the community how you perceive each word or phrase for the day? No explanation needed, unless you want to. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. Tag us on your instagram photos with @rethinkchurch or on twitter [@umrethinkchurch] with #rethinkchurch and #rethinkchristmas. We’d also love for you to share your photos on our Pinterest board!

You don’t have to be a great photographer. This project is hopefully more about the practice of paying attention and being intentional, than it is being the best photographer [though we encourage you to get creative!]. If you don’t have instagram or twitter, we’d still love for you to share your photos. Just share them on your facebook page and tag us.

So, will you join us by opening your eyes [and your cameras] to witness the hope that is already springing up around you? Will you open your hearts for Immanuel, God with us?

Connect with this project online:

Sign up for daily text or email reminders for the word phrase of the day [with a verse if you want something to reflect on throughout the day]. Text Advent to 75309 to receive daily reminders via text.

Add our Google calender

I will post here and will tweet the posts at @wmkoenig. I may link to the posts on Instagram and Facebook. In Lent, I primarily used photographs I had taken in the past. I will probably do so again. It will prove interesting to learn how this challenge plays out.

See you along the Trail.

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Once came tears

IMG_0022 (768x1024)It was an intense hour. Tears rimmed my eyes most of the time, once they slipped out. This evening, I took part in a candlelight vigil.

We lit candles and kept them lit in the wind – together. We remembered the children and adults dead in Newton, Connecticut. We remembered our neighbors in New York and other places. And we rededicated ourselves to working to end the gun violence that haunts our country.

Social media brought the word … at least to me.

Rutgers Presbyterian Church posted the announcement on their Facebook page: a candlelight vigil would take place at 5:00 P.M. at the corner of West 86th Street and West End Avenue to honor the memory of yesterday’s victims in Newtown, Connecticut, the victims in the shooting in Portland, Oregon earlier this week and the memory of all victims of gun violence. The vigil would also provide an opportunity for participants to rededicate themselves to working for an end to such violence.

IMG_0016 (1024x606)I read the post in Strawberry Fields – and decided I had to be there.

Arriving a few minutes early, I discovered a group gathering at the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew which stands on the corner. Many people brought their own candles. Because some had brought candles to share, those of us who had not brought our own were given a candle.

The number of participants increased – people of diverse ages, races, and faiths. Shortly before the appointed hour, we lit our candles and assembled on the steps of the church.

Opening words were shared, the host pastor  welcomed the group and articulated his vision of a country and a culture where we have greatly diminished violence in general, and gun violence in particular. Individuals shared their pain for the people of Newtown, of New York City, and of all places whose lives have been seared and forever altered by gun violence. Linda Rosenthal, New York State Assembly Member for the district, spoke, noting that this event marked a beginning and that she intends to help the community engage in conversation and action to end gun violence in our city and country.

IMG_0020 (1024x768)As participants engaged in the hope expressing, hope sustaining communal activity of keeping our candles lit in the wind, we voiced further concerns and hopes. We prayed additional prayers. We identified ideas for actions:

  • signing petitions such as this one asking the President to recognize that now is the time to begin discussion on gun control
  • engaging in conversations within their community and faith communities (here are some Presbyterian resources) on what steps to take
  • working to expand mental health care and to ensure access to such care for all
  • encouraging Mayor Bloomberg to become more intentionally involved in the issue; and
  • coming together again to plan and organize.

Small steps, but steps.

Then we walked up W. 86th Street to Broadway. Passers-by joined the group. At the corner we stopped. More passers-by joined the group. They received candles as they did.

We sang – old songs for certain – but we sang. “If I Had a Hammer.” “We Shall Overcome.”

Near the end of “Down by the Riverside,” as we pledged to study war no more, I looked across our group and saw a mother tenderly kiss one of her children, then her other child. Tears slid down my cheeks.

IMG_0872 (1024x768)With the promise that we would continue what had just begun – and the announcement of the Facebook pages where next steps will be posted – the event ended. We stood together for a while. Then we went our separate ways.

The brief hour soothed my angry, aching soul. But it did not comfort me. And I will act.

See you along the Trail.

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I did not

I made my way down the jetway and entered the plane. As instructed by the flight crew of SW flight 2635 (LGA to MDW), I found my favorite seat and took it.

There I discovered that someone had worked the crossword puzzle and returned the magazine to the seat pocket. Poetic justice? I have done that many times.

Since I was in the A boarding group, the seats beside me stood empty. I quickly rummaged through them and discovered that they too had worked crossword puzzles. I also discovered a perplexing treasure. Someone had left a bag of peanuts behind.

In a totally infallible, absolutely scientifically accurate endeavor, I posted the question on Facebook:

Would you eat the peanuts in the sealed package some previous passenger left behind?

Thus far I have received 19 comments. They range widely and reveal  my friends’ creativity.

Seven friends provided a variation on yes. One said no. One said no for allergic reasons.

One wanted further information before committing:

Are they salted or honey roasted?

Context entered into a number of responses. Recognizing my travel habits, one friend wanted to know just where these peanuts had been found. Location may be everything:

On an airplane or on the subway?

Recalling the Donner Party, one friend pointed out that there would be circumstances in which eating the peanuts would make enormous sense:

Depending on the context. probably not. But if I were starving it would be better than gnawing on the arm of the person sitting next to me.

Another observed that there is a holiday of some sort coming up based on obtaining food products with an unverifiable chain of custody:

Yes, if they were sealed….in a couple of weeks, my daughter will bring home a bag of candy with very uncertain histories. As long as its wrapped, it seems safe.

Two friends waxed theological:

Wait – are these “Left Behind” peanuts? Have you considered what could happen if you eat them?

Left Behind? You mean after the rapture nuts?

There were moments of self-revelation. One friend suggested a use for the peanuts other than eating them or leaving them … and implied this may be the voice of experience speaking:

Honestly. I would probably put them in my bag and carry them around for a few days, then end up giving them to one of my sons to take on a field trip. (Not that that ever happened.)

Another friend confessed to being the one who abandons peanuts to the cruel chances of fate:

I’m the one who leaves them behind.

One friend did not know they gave out peanuts in airplanes any more … ah the joys of Southwest Airlines and one friend refused to answer, not out of concern for self-incrimination, but for my safety’s sake:

I could tell you, but then I’d have to … well, you know the drill!

Duly noted and appreciated.

What started as a lark proved to offer insights into both my friends and my friends knowledge of me. I will have to try this again with another question.

For the record, I did not eat the peanuts. And here is why: I am in a self-care mode and I did not want the calories. For 12 days, I have eaten in the range of 2,000 calories, walked at least 10,00 steps, and done a concentrated walk of 30 or more minutes – gotta love those laundry nights.

I hope the next person who discovers the peanuts has as much fun with her or his friends as I did.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Exercise, Food, Friends, Travel

The rant of privilege

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recognize my privilege in being able to travel.

I recognize my privilege in being able to travel by air.

I recognize how amazing the whole concept of flight is.

I recognize that most times, travel goes far more smoothly than I have any right to expect.

I recognize that.

And when things go wrong. I whine. I acknowledge my privilege. And I whine.

Here, in a series of Facebook posts, is what happened today:

10:05 AM more or less
The plane left the gate, taxied to the runway, where we now sit waiting for an open gate to which the plane can return to have a steering issue corrected. Do we get frequent flyer miles for taxiing back and forth? Or frequent sitting points?

10:35 AM more or less
And we’re back at the gate. What a short, strange trip it’s been.

10:45 AM more or less
And we’re getting off. In Louisville. Jordan is working on our flights. Amazing how he can do that and talk to us on the plane at the same time.

11:00 AM more or less
Rebooked. Kind of like being rebooted.

11:02 AM more or less
Why did the child laugh when he saw our plane is going thru Detroit?

11:05 AM
“Your plane will leave at 11:00 so you can make the connection,” said the gate agent at 11:05 with no plane at the jetway and the crew standing inside the airport.

11:08 AM
Always nice to have these kind of travel issues when no one cares when you arrive.

11:24 AM
Now boarding the plane that left at 11:00. It’s 11:24. Hope the plane is still there.

11:30 AM more or less
Now waiting for fuel for the plane. Those frequent sitting points keep accumulating.

11:35 AM more or less
Fuel truck arrived at plane. Could this lead to movement? In the air?

11:45 AM more or less
The door is closed. Will the next text be from DTW?

12:10 PM more or less

12:40 PM more or less
And on another plane. A much bigger plane. But still sitting. The rant of privilege goes on and on.

12:58 PM more or less
“We look forward to seeing you on your way back,” says the DTW gate agent. Not real good news to those of us who have had today’s adventure in SDF

3:02 PM more or less
LGA. The adventure draws to a close.

3:03 PM more or less
Apparently I was in an “economy comfort” seat. Not all the parts of my anatomy feel comfortable, though.

3:20 PM more or less
Have my bag.

4:12 PM more or less
The Shire on the Hudson

The day’s travel draws to a close. Other days – better days, worse days, different days – will follow.

And on those days, I’ll see you along the Trail.


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Shine A Light on Freedom of Expression

I sent my first letter in Amnesty International’s Write for Rights Global Write-a-thon today. I wrote to the President of Azerbaijan on behalf of Jabbar Savalan.

Here is how Amnesty describes Jabbar’s situation:

Hours after posting a Facebook message calling for protests against the government, Jabbar Savalan told his family that he was being followed. The next evening, police brought him to a police station, where they “discovered” marijuana in his outer coat pocket. Questioning him without a lawyer for two days, police reportedly hit and intimidated him to make him sign a confession. Jabbar Savalan maintained that he does not use drugs and that the marijuana was planted on him. Authorities in Azerbaijan have a history of using trumped-up drug charges to jail those seen as critical of the government. Amnesty International believes the charges against Jabbar were fabricated, and considers him a prisoner of conscience.

Sign up to participate in the Write-a-thon.

Find resources for the Write-a-thon, including sample letters to adapt.

Learn about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the international human rights framework.

See you along the Trail.


Filed under Human Rights

To get started again?

On the right hand side of my Facebook page, there now appear links to previous posts. I had not noticed them before – or if I did, I ignored them.

Today I noticed one about going to the gym – and for some reason, I followed.

One year ago today, I marked 11 consecutive days of going to the gym. I don’t know when that streak ended – how many more days, if any followed.

Part of me, the avoidance part, wants to wonder – are the links always exactly a year old. Another part wonders reading this post be a challenge to get started again.

See you along the Trail.

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