Sunday, June 30, 2013

30 Things To Try This Summer Meets-->Justice and Spirituality Boost

Summer is a time of relaxation--lazy days and long nights.  But all of that room for rest has never been without competition...and my hunger for it.  From the first place blue, second place red and third place white ribbons at every swim meet, to prizes for hitting targets at tennis camp, growing up,  I welcomed each and every contest--athletic and academic.  I remember with great fondness the summer reading challenge at my local library.  Readers were awarded prizes based on the number of books they completed.  As if they satisfaction of completing a book wasn't enough, I could earn tickets to Oakland A's game or the movies.  I have a feeling we love the summer Olympic Games just a little more than those in the winter....

In the June 2013 issue of "The Olympian" the official publication of the Olympic Club, I came to see that the proverbial carrot and summer competition is still in style.  The "Wellness"section has "30 Things to Try This Summer."  It reads "Calling all kids, parents, families, couples and friends!  You may have seen the Amazing Race on CBS, well, this summer let's have an amazing race of our own with the 30 Things to Try This Summer contest.  The contest provides a list of 30 activities you an do by yourself, with family or friends that aim to get you moving, make an impact and love your food."
Each of the three categories had creative yet challenging activities.  Perhaps you will consider one of the three I am posting from each section, on this blog (and hope to complete myself).  Also, I noticed that one need not stretch to integrate a social justice or spiritual component to the quest.  Therefore, beneath the items created by Olympic Club fitness trainer Carmen Solla are some that may build the common good or benefit the poor.  Think of them as the flax seed that you throw into your Green Monster power shake.  

Love Your Food

  • Watch It: Pick a food documentary i.e. Fast Food Nation, Food, Inc. Supersize Me
  • Breakfast Around the World: Research and explore what others eat around the world; try to make it yourself.
  • Grow: something this summer
Justice Boost
  • The documentary "Food at the Table" uses personal stories to illuminate the plight of the 49 million Americans struggling with food insecurity.  Netflix states "A single mother, a small-town policeman and a farmer are among those for whom putting food on the table is a daily battle."  Pope Benedict XVI wrote that Hunger is the most cruel and concrete sign of poverty. Opulence and waste are no longer acceptable when the tragedy of hunger is assuming ever greater proportions.
 We could all benefit from learning more about our neighbors who go hungry.
  • Although the primary aim of Operation Rice Bowl is to collect money for the poor, a creative component of this Lenten tradition is the education materials that accompany it.  ORB not only challenges Catholics to live in solidarity with those that they will give to, but gives them the tools to do that.  Those online resources feature information about the countries that receive alms and recipes for simple, meatless meals from them.  With the help of Catholic Relief Services' ORB, Breakfast Around the World could be an exercise in solidarity with the poor.
Good Impact Days
  • Volunteer: Officially or unofficially
  • Family Game Night: Three days out of the summer
  • Be Nice: Carry out a random act of kindness
Justice Boost
  • In the same way that running is core to being a runner, helping those in need is core to being a Christian.  Serving the poor, giving your time as a volunteer is exercise for the soul.  Barry and Amber Zito, devout Christians might agree.  From the St. Anthony's Foundation newsletter, I read about #75's ongoing commitment to "Striking Out Hunger"
St. Anthony's Dining Room guests were thrilled to have San Francisco Giants pitcher Barry Zito & wife Amber step up to the plate during meal service a few weeks ago. 

Barry & Amber served trays, bussed tables, chatted with guests, and signed autographs for diners and volunteers. 

Thank you to Barry & Amber for their continued support, and for reminding us that together, we're Giant!

I would have loved volunteering on that special day, but clients at St. Anthony's will tell you there are many special days at the beloved San Francisco soup kitchen.   
To make it even more fun, wear clothing that represents your favorite sports team.  This is an easy way to engage those you serve and serve with in conversation.  It may however, challenge the step to "Be Nice."
Let's Get Moving
  • Try Something New: A game of squash, tennis, handball, soccer, bowling, rock-climbing, dance class, yoga, etc...
  • Take a Hike: Tennessee Valley is a good beginner trail.
  • Workout: 1-3 sets, once a week for three weeks (adjust for level of fitness, age and swap exercises if needed): 5-10 push-ups, 10-20 Body Weight Squats, 5-20 Sit-ups, 5-15  Sky Divers
Spirituality Boost
  • A wonderful component of my Sports and Spirituality class has been exposing my seniors to different spiritual disciplines.  I had four faculty members speak for 5-10 minutes about a spiritual discipline that they practice.  From the rosary and using religious music as prayer to praying the examen via an iPad, each spiritual exercise was as unique as the person speaking.  I was most inspired by Owen, who teaches in the social science department and is the head freshman boys football coach; he uses Tony Dungy's book "The Uncommon Life" for daily prayer.  I encouraged my students to try a new spiritual discipline; I challenged them to employ one on a regular basis. This summer might be the ideal time to take a new one up!
  • I have often said that the many trails in Marin County are unofficially the "Church of Marin."  Well, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?  Ignatian spirituality challenges Christians to use your imagination and engage it in prayer.  It sounds crazy, but why not take Jesus on a hike with you?  Or bring a friend and talk about your faith life.  The surroundings are the perfect backdrop for addressing His transcendence!

So far, my summer has been packed with the Substantially Catholic conference at Marin Catholic High School, Play Like a Champion and Notre Dame and the JSEA Colloquiam in St. Louis, MO.  I'm ready for those so-called lazy days and long summer nights and seeing what on this list I can accomplish. Let the games begin....

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