Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Presbyterian Disaster Assitance Visits the RGV

I spent most of today thinking of a relevant and new happening in my life that I could talk about. Torn between two very important causes, I finally decided to flip a coin. Just kidding. I want to talk about the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance refugee ministry team and their visit to the Rio Grande Valley. And in particular their visit to the refugee center and what they brought down.

Front page news Wednesday morning!
Not only did the team of nine provide pillows covered with hand crafted, human crafted, pillow cases of various colors and patterns. But, this team brought an opportunity to my church (yep, all mine). The team gave me an idea. The team sparked questions on how to serve on a future team trip. And the team brought upon demands from some of my church sisters.

The opportunity entails for a future partnership with the First Presbyterian Church of Winchester, Virginia. The partnership is really beautiful, the PDA team will leave behind some odd number of pillowcases and we will help with pillows. Oh and distribute the pillows to refugees.

The idea, now prepare yourself for this, is that if we [as Christians?] are going to give [anything] to a group of individuals. Then, shouldn’t we give the opportunity to find Christ? So then, wouldn’t it be lucrative that when passing out these pillows we could connect refugees to local [Presbyterian] church near the city they’re going to. My idea met a bit of resistance, but only because it was a half baked idea. I’m still thinking about the possibility to make this idea a reality. (But maybe I don’t have to, what do I know?)

The team sparked questions on how to serve on a future trip. There is a lot of information on the PDA website by clicking on “ACT” on the homepage. But, before you go off I want to paraphrase two things I learned today. The first concerns younger adults like myself, there’s a special volunteer team for us called the “Young Adult Volunteers,” or YAVS. I’m looking forward to read more information on that as I had began looking into the Peace Corps recently. Second, is that there is no real age limit. As long as you fit the age requirement to active teams, you’re old enough. Or young enough.

And lastly, demands. This is a combination of all that my intuition gathered today: we are in need of more information on what our denomination is doing. If I hadn’t been in a meeting on Tuesday, and if the meeting hadn’t run super late, if I hadn’t stayed afterward to discuss future meeting items, IF I was anywhere else in that moment.... I would have never met Carolyn Thalman, leader of the refugee ministry team. I wouldn’t have known Carolyn and her team were in town. And thusly, there is a need for more information. Because if I didn't know, chances are that a lot of people in my church (yep, still all mine) didn’t know either.

Hey but that right place at the right time thing worked for me. And now you know about the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. And now I have a blog post. And now you might want to help with the refugee crisis, or other causes. I don’t know, what do you think?

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Greed is an injustice

It has to be something I’ve always believed. But, I definitely feel that doing things that aren’t for the good of people is absolutely pointless. For example, if I’m going to work and budget every last dollar, I’m going to budget a percentage to give to the homeless. I’m going to budget a couple to pay for someone’s bus ride.

Thing is that it’s not a fixed budget item. Helping people is an every moment mission. But sometimes I forget that. I become greedy, in my own sense. Behaviors that bother me, like going to a different store to buy cheaper garlic. Garlic bulbs at the store I always go to, run 2 for $1...while in the store is out of the way garlic is 3 for $1. That’s just so annoying, but a lot of people can say that’s economical.

But it’s just so petty. This past Friday I was supposed to sell my handmade items at an outdoor event. A stray tail of Hurricane Matthew rained us out. Which is totally normal. It’s just that I had this feeling that I wasn’t supposed to buy a booth to that event. It was like an understanding with the folds of time. But, I tried to be daring and not listen to my gut feeling. Because I didn’t want to disappoint my sisters. I had given my word that I would sell their knitted items. I was being greedy, even if no one agrees with me.

Aren’t we all greedy? Maybe not in the way I am. But, aren’t we all looking through the fine print for that credit card that gives us cash back or airline miles on purchases. Is it a terribly bad thing? Yeah it is, because sometimes it’s the symptom of the nasty thing called being unfulfilled. And that’s where it’s so wrong, so unjust. It tears us apart. Not only are we unfulfilled but we’re being torn apart, that's outrageous..

I wish I knew a solution.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Unanswered Questions

I’m so glad Youtube reminded me about the Vice Presidential Debate while I searched for videos on the magic loop in knitting. Did you know that the magic loop is a great party trick? Well, try it. It’s “fun.”

I’m definitely glad that I managed to count to four as I worked on a knitted. My ribbing looks pretty good. I’ll be posting pictures on Instagram as soon as it’s presentable for the Internet. I stopped working on my hat to intently watch the debate toward the end. The part where personal faith became involved. I felt very satisfied with the answers. But, then I quickly remembered two questions that did not receive a proper answer.

The first had to do with Candidate Trump’s theoretical policy to deport all undocumented immigrants AND their children. As, Candidate Trump would do-away with birthright citizenship. Hey, that concerns me. I’m a first generation American simply because both of my parents are Mexican immigrants. Note, immigrants, not aliens. I hate talking about immigration because I think it’s so dehumanizing to tell a group of individuals that they broke laws to enter a country and they are not welcomed.

I’ve heard the position in the past that some undocumented immigrants balk at the idea of returning to their hometowns because the United States is now their home. And now Candidate Trump’s running mate Pence exclaims that birthright citizens should also return to their parents country of origin. I’m concerned, because Mexico was never my country of origin. But, I have hope. If for whatever reason I immigrate to Mexico, I’m going to know how to speak Spanish. I’m going to get in communication with my aunts and cousins. And hopefully I’ll be able to work.

The second question dealt with homebound terrorist attacks. In particular the latest incident in Orlando, Florida was mentioned, but this really concerns to any act of terror executed by a US Citizen (If it were a birthright citizen, would they be considered a citizen?). It’s heartbreaking how neither running mate, neither Kaine or Pence, could stop their bickering about irrelevant topics to address a valid concern that is so important. But, then again that’s also a red flag, so to say, about either party. They don’t have answers. Politicians don’t have answers, because Government is not the answer.

We’re the answer. How can we prevent homebound terrorist attacks? By being more loving, more understanding, more open to the people around us. It’s a widespread belief that in order to have global change, we must concentrate on changing ourselves. Then focus on our family, our neighbors, and our communities. It can work, you know. Building relationships with our communities can build our nation to be “great again.” We just have to continue being the answers.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Everyday Christian Living

I didn’t choose the Christian life, the Christian life chose me. In fact, I chose to spend the first quarter century of my life as an Atheist. Yes, a red letter capital A type atheist. All in all, it means that I have a very colorful past. I lived, live a colorful life. And most importantly, I’m not going to be shocked as much about anything anyone does when they deviate from … let’s use the word sainthood. In fact, I shrugged off a friend because I blatantly told him that no matter what vernacular he used, or what his masturbatory patterns were, it wasn’t going to irk me. Yeah that was brutal.

Let me clue you in on what is more brutal: Sunday School. There are just too many questions and not enough time to ask. Burning questions like, why does God get to be a boy? Why does Job always have to be arguing with God? Who told us we were naked in reference to Adam and Eve? Why did Hillary Clinton call Christians deplorable because they proclaim homosexuality and even transgender people a sin? Like really, who is more deplorable Christians, Hillary Clinton who changed her opinion for votes, or homosexual or transgender Christians?

As Christians, we don’t always talk about the great things about being Christians. Such things like, we are saved by the Grace of God. Things like, we can’t really accept Christ until we have been awoken by the Holy Spirit. Hello, says the person who chose to be an Atheist for 25 years. We hardly, if ever, talk about how great people who are are caring are. How great people who are generous are. How great people who become our community are. How great people who volunteer to bring cookies to funerals are. How great people who willingly serve on committees to run an institution are.
How great it is for people who love you to think warm and positive thoughts on your behalf. Yes that’s it. Being a person who is warm and caring has always been a priority for myself. I chose to believe that I didn’t need God because I was warm and caring and always thought warm and positive thoughts for people. I always volunteered and helped people. I always cared for the wellbeing of people. And I most definitely did not care if people lived colorful pasts, led exotic sex lives, or even were transgender. Because, we’re all people.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Salon de Madame Odalys Undiscovered Anthology

Original Logo of Salon de Madame Odalys
After six years, Salon de Madame Odalys opens it’s doors again to our writers, lovers, and friends. We’re looking for your erotic, lustful, or romantic stories featuring a variety of sexual preferences, genders, and behaviors. We invite you to paint wondrous words to the essence of sexeros even for possible publication in the first ever Salon de Madame Odalys Undiscovered Anthology.

All writers across the globe regardless of gender or gender identification are welcome to submit. To make the best anthology possible, we have a couple of guidelines:

  • We only accept submissions via e-mail at
  • Submit original works only! Collaborations are encouraged. Previously published stories are welcome, too.
  • Submit three stories maximum.
  • Each submission must be at least 2,000 words and no longer than 5,000 words long! If your piece is shorter than 2,000 words and you really want to submit it, send it along with a persuasive paragraph promoting yourself and your piece. No works longer than 5,000 will be read or considered.
  • Submit all works as attachments.
  • Please include in your e-mail your name or pen name, a short bio no longer than 95 words, and a quick summary of your stories.
  • All characters in the stories must be 18 and over.
  • All sexual acts must be consensual.
  • “Deviant sexual” themes are encouraged. However, we do not allow themes or stories that depict or encourage incest, bestiality, pedophilia, necrophilia, and/or rape.

Deadline for Salon de Madame Odalys Undiscovered Anthology is October 31st.
Salon de Madame Odalys is a publishing project of Sarai Oviedo writing as Sopphey Vance. All writers published in the anthology will retain all rights and receive a one (1) print copy of the anthology.

If you have any questions, e-mail me at

Monday, August 22, 2016

Reaching an Understanding

I think I finally understand what it means for some persons to reach the conclusion of suicide. I think it becomes a way to stop the cycle of being so focused on other people and disregarding the advice:

Think of all the people you will affect with your decision.

I believe the decision is reached because the individual is finally thinking of themselves. The conclusion is reached because it really feels like it's the end of the line. That the individual feels like there's no more improvement in their situation and that they'd just rather not stick around for more of the same.

In coming to that understanding, I'm also understanding that it's a permanent solution to whatever seems to be ailing the individual. Whatever it is, for whatever the reason, the problem is too big for one person.

And that's where having a community can help. It takes a village, it really does. I'm concerned that we are focusing very little attention with each other as living people. Yes, we seem to be doing an outstanding job at looking at ourselves as persons. With all our innovations we have developed ways to cater to people's dietary, emotional, spiritual, and existential needs.

But, it will never be enough. If we look at our population as individuals instead of as a people, then we will never be able to raise an understanding of how individuals work in our world setting. If we don't bridge the stance of "being considerate for the well being of others" and "being considered for the well being of one individual" then we will continue to build a dividing world.

A world that supports certain individuals conclusion to suicide. At least that's how it makes sense right now.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Borrowed Time

It’s been 12 days since I have been able to use my hands to their fullest capacity to crochet, type, knit, and do daily things like cooking and cleaning. The origin of this hand pain is either a mixture of poor work practices or poor self care practices, both being drastic actions against the health and well being of my hands. Since I achieve the majority of my income with the use of my hands, I am undoubtedly dying right now.

I have done everything possible to relieve the pain, ranging from dull and achy to sharp and shooting, except going to the doctor. As, modern healthcare is a for-profit institution and I’m in no condition to take another pill. I’ve come full circle with my vitamin and minerals regimen where I profusely pray that I take them at the right time or suffer the consequence of vomiting them back up. Along with whatever breakfast seemed delicious that morning.

But all these symptoms have an explanation. I’m stressed out. Everything stressed me out, worrying stresses me out. I have this predisposition to always feel like I have to run at warp speed, as opposed to mortal speed, to keep living. It’s hard to explain the urgency to get life going. It feels like I’ve sped so fast through some things that now I’m chasing time bomb to the finish line.

There are things that still need to be done. There are poems I still need to finish. There are books I need to read, to write. People I need to meet and here I am worrying that I can’t be productive enough if I can’t work with my hands.