Jim Varagona

Tag: Thanksgiving

Make Today a #DayOfHealing

Today I turn 34. This post originally was going to be me saying:

“Look I know many of you were wondering what to get for me or wanted to buy me a drink, but in lieu of that, please make a small donation to children’s cancer research through my St. Baldrick’s campaign here: https://www.stbaldricks.org/participants/jvaragona. I aim to raise $8k by March, so get me a nice head start.”

While, that still applies, my emotions run high today for my city. Images of a grieving family and community and separately, destruction of businesses and general mayhem are difficult to swallow. At the same time, I am moved by demonstrations across the country in the name of Michael Brown, aimed at drawing attention to a system that still needs much work. Let’s not get into an argument about this. I’ve seen enough on social media to see the varying opinions. It is dizzying and frustrating to see folks at both extremes not having any understanding for the other side.

My friend, Danni Eichenhorst, has proposed a #DayOfHealing for today (please see her post on ways to help move forward here: http://artofwellfare.com/2014/11/25/dayofhealing-ways-to-help-move-forward/). Yes, some are still grieving and going through intense emotions over this. It is never too early to begin healing though. No one is acting like any of this will turn around overnight. We can all be a part of making a change though.

I challenge everyone to do something, of whatever magnitude, to begin that process today. Post it on social media, not to brag, but to challenge others. Use the #DayOfHealing hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

As we go into Thanksgiving, I also challenge you this: go outside of your comfort zone.

  • Watch and read news sources other than your standbys.
  • Have a conversation with someone you know you will disagree with, but really listen to each other and ask many questions like: Why do you feel this way? What life experiences have led to this thinking (and consider that for others as well)?
  • That homeless person you see at that same spot, everyday — bring them some food and talk to them like a human being.
  • Instead of avoiding a neighborhood that you think may be violent because of images you saw at night on your TV, like Ferguson or South Grand in the City of St. Louis, make a point to drive through it rather than avoid it entirely. Patronize a small business or ten. People own those businesses and depend on your business and word of mouth to survive.

Why are we so apt to paint with a broad brush? Instead of blaming entire races or groups, make an attempt to narrow down those thoughts.

It’s a widely used quote, but “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Kindness and understanding can lead to greater things. Instead of criticizing, consider what leads someone to a behavior. I mean really consider it. Are you that much of a superior individual?

At Thanksgiving with your family and/or friends, challenge them. In my family, it never fails that there is some drama going into a holiday. 99% of the time, it is petty BS. We should enjoy those around us and be thankful of those moments. Challenging those around us to think differently may cause drama, but hopefully perspective is gained by someone.

Some may wonder why I’m not pushing for reforms to the system being protested against. While I do find it incredibly necessary, I realize that not all will agree with that. We should however be able to find common ground and healing through a greater focus on being mindful of others. Start there. And if your response is “so and so isn’t mindful of others,” start by reading this again.





The so-so Space Needle

The so-so Space Needle

I managed to find employment. Okay, so it’s only for a couple of weeks. I did manage to get a few days in Seattle out of it for training, and on top of that of course is that any job is good because money is involved. We’re getting to that point of being stretched too thin, so money is a very very good thing that we need right now and I am thankful for every bit I can get.

Quick notes on Seattle: yes, it rains a lot. The Space Needle isn’t as impressive as I expected. I did enjoy the architecture especially near the water. There wasn’t much of a nightlife during the week, but I did manage to get fries with gravy after midnight at The Hurricane Cafe.

Fries and Sausage Gravy, which I read about in a review of The Hurricane Cafe but sadly they had no idea what I was talking about. They did scrape these together for me though.

Fries and Sausage Gravy, which I read about in a review of The Hurricane Cafe but sadly they had no idea what I was talking about. They did scrape these together for me though.

My last post did discuss my eating habits and that last sentence did mention me eating fries with gravy, however, I have made some good small steps to improve my lifestyle. Since that post, I have not consumed any carbonated beverages except for some beers (mainly very tasty Coffee Stout from St. Louis’s own Schlafly). My wife and I watched Food, Inc. which is an interesting look at the dark side of how our food is made with some semi-graphic imagery of animals in the slaughtering process. Since then my wife has gone vegetarian. She even has committed to Tofurky for Thanksgiving. I just need to switch her from 2% to Skim Milk now or just buy a 3rd milk variety for the home, since we already have Whole for our son.

We are trying to walk more regularly, getting in at least 3 walks of 1.5-3.5 miles in each week. I need more activity if I want to see some weight loss out of this. In the two and a half weeks since my last post, I have lost a measly 3 pounds. With my wife’s new diet and the purging of most unhealthy foods from our home, I should see more progress on this front.

My birthday is tomorrow, on Thanksgiving, so after I devour my cajun injected turkey stuffed with cake, this plan will be back on track. I was kidding about some of that.


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