Friday, February 20, 2009

A Service of the Blessing of the Sea

The Cathedral of All Saints - St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.

A Service of the Blessing of the Sea
February 1, 2009 at 5:00 p.m.

Today we celebrate this traditional service of the Blessing of the Sea. It begins with Evening Prayer, then there is a procession to the Water Front, where the prayers are offered for the ships that ply our waters and all who sail in them; for our Navy, for those whose livelihood depends upon the sea, and for all who have perished at sea. The Blessing of the Seat follows and the floral wreath [the shape of the Cross] is placed in the water. We then return to the Cathedral for a closing service

Assembling at the Cathedral for the procession to the waterfront.

The Very Rev. Ashton J. Brooks, Dean of the Cathedral (with biretta)

The University of the Virgin Islands band leads us singing "Onward Christian Soldiers" down the streets of Charlotte Amalie

Reaching the harbor

Prayers for "The blessing of the ships which ply our waters and all who voyage therein," "For those who have gone down at sea," "For the Navy," and finally "The Blessing of the Sea," which ends:

Almighty God who rulest the raging of the sea, stretch forth thine almighty arm to bless our waters and all whose livelihood comes therefrom. Give us a grateful sense of all thy mercies and bring us to everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Preparing to place the wreath in the sea

The wreath is placed in the water

Processing back to the Cathedral with candles and flashlights, singing "The Church's One Foundation."

The Morality of Hunger

I've recently learned, not to my surprise, that I am insulin resistant, a.k.a. pre-diabetes. I have a family history of diabetes but have pretty much ignored it until now because my fasting glucose tests generally have been within normal ranges. However, more recent and thorough testing has revealed insulin resistance as well a fasting glucose level that has increased toward the high end of so-called "normal" according to even ADA diagnostic criteria.

When reviewing these test results with a new doctor, I was told that raging hunger can be a symptom of insulin resistance, with the strange effect that one can eat and remain hungry or become more hungry after awhile. When I got home, I started doing some online research and found an amazing website called Blood Sugar 101 and its companion, What They Don't Tell You About Low-Carb Diets.

While it is not true that all diabetics are overweight or that all overweight people are diabetic or pre-diabetic, for those of us who are both or suspect that there is something strange about our hunger patterns, the information all over these websites is invaluable. Of particular interest to me were the following pages:

Misdiagnosis by Design: The Story Behind the ADA Diagnostic Criteria

You Did Not Eat Your Way to Diabetes

A Diabetes Diet is Different from a Weight Loss Diet

Another good article is the following from the Blood Sugar 101 update blog:
Hunger is a Symptom

Our fat-hating society has transferred all the loathing we used to feel for blatant displays of greed, lust, and pride to a single sin, gluttony. The rest of those erstwhile sins now have transformed into the characteristics of the celebrities we admire.

This has had the unfortunate side effect of making people who find themselves feeling extremely hungry believe that they are suffering a moral lapse--gluttony--rather than recognizing that they are experiencing a medical symptom.

But the raging muchies--the kind of hunger that leaves you at the open fridge shoveling in everything in sight--is a symptom. You can induce it in an otherwise normal person with a couple of tokes of pot. You also see it in millions of otherwise normal women a few days before they get their period.

And sadly, it is a symptom that often emerges along with insulin resistance in people who have the genetic make up that leads to Type 2 diabetes because insulin resistance is a prime factor that leads to raging hunger.
Read the rest here.

There are also links to other helpful webpages and sites, including this:

The Truth About Bariatic Surgery

and... I love this one,

Low Carb Friends Forum - "Food Porn"

Back Home

Well, I've been back home with the snows for a week now and once again am buried with work and what life is left when I put it aside. We had a wonderful time in St. Thomas. Our hosts were wonderful to be with and generous not only with sharing their time and their home with us but also allowing us to do what we wanted most -- spend our days at the beach in Magens Bay soaking up the sun, swimming in the ocean, reading books and otherwise relaxing. We ate dinners in and out, attended church and Bible Study at the Cathedral Church of All Saints, went to see Milk at the local movie theater, and attended a Arts Society concert featuring the young British pianist, Richard Ormrod. We also had long talks about life, love, politics, church, etc.

When I go on vacation I take a big bag of books and select volumes more or less on a whim. Often, however, some connecting themes emerge even though my selections are pretty random. What I ended up reading this time were the following: To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (our book club's selection for this month), Brushed by the Butterfly's Wings by E. Scott Tapscott ("Scottie," a friend of our hosts). Taft by Ann Patchett, The Mission Song by John le Carre, and a good chunk of Leap by Terry Tempest Williams.

Someday I might write about some of the thoughts that percolated up during vacation, but alas there is much to catch up on here. Also, my husband and I have begun a strict diet in hopes of not only losing a lot of excess weight but also mitigating some of our health problems that may be caused by or aggravated by the weight and poor nutrition.

I also hope that it will give me more energy, help me get back to exercising (I love to swim laps but the thought of getting dressed, driving to the pool, and appearing in a bathing suit has kept me away for most of the past year), and taking longer walks with our dog, Gracie. Despite what had to be the dream vacation of all time, I am still quite depressed -- not the jump off a building kind (I've learned over the years not to let my mind take me to that place, though sometimes I come close) but rather just feeling tired, flat, dull, irritable, with repressed anger and much cynicism, all aggravated by sleeping too much (been sleeping 12 hours or more at night, even on vacation), going to work in the morning without getting up and getting dressed until late in the day, rarely going out and feeling anxious and uncomfortable around people when I do, taking way too much time to get ready to do anything, etc. If I stop to think about how I feel and have been living, I go to darker places of frustration, hopelessness, and self-loathing, so I try not to think too much -- which causes me to sleep more and more or run to bed and try to. I've been back on anti-depressants now for several months, but that hasn't seemed to have helped much (though I suspect I might be much worse off without them).

So... here's hoping that things will get better with the new diet regime and what I've been learning about blood sugar levels. I've been plotting in my mind a new daily routine that would include getting up early to go walk at the local shopping mall (they open early in the winter for people to walk) followed by mass at St. Margaret's and spending some more time with the nuns, who will be leaving next summer, and then maybe trying to get away to swim at lunch time. But... it's been a week so far and it hasn't happened yet and there is a lot of work to catch up on and to start preparing for attending and presenting at my employer's annual conference in Seattle next month, and there are books piling up to read, and soccer games and practices and tournaments to attend and.... not to mention getting caught up someday with the goings on in the blogosphere (though not sure how much of the As the Anglican World Turns I need to read up on -- like most soap operas, one can pretty much jump in the middle after being gone for weeks and still not miss much). So..... that's the update. La plus ca change and all that.