Friday, July 05, 2013

Thalia Definsky Cady, 1950 - 2013

It is with sadness that we enter this blog entry. Thalia, the author of this blog, died on May 7, 2013. The project described below is still in progress, and we will announce news of it here.

Thalia Definski Cady, age 63, of Westfield, MA and the world passed 
away May 7, 2013.

She was born in Springfield, MA, January 20, 1950, to Frances 
(Przekop) and Peter T. Definski. Thalia attended the University of 
Nebraska receiving her undergraduate degree from the University of 
Mass-Amherst in 1971. She went on to earn a Master of Divinity 
Degree from Hamma School of Theology at Wittenburg University in 
Springfield, Ohio.

Her parents and older bother, Peter, predeceased Thalia.

For many years Thalia worked as a digital marketing consultant. She 
was an exceptional writer having published a book of poetry, Insults to 
the Darkness. In recent years, she was a Religion and Spirituality 
columnist for BlogHer, one of the leading women's social media blogs. 

Thalia’s current project was co-authoring a book of prayer for 

Thalia traveled extensively and enjoyed an abundant spiritual and 
intellectual life. Her greatest joy was to spend time with her dear 
friends, godson, Matthew Stein and of course her beloved Zoe.

A memorial service was held Saturday, June 29 at St. 
Mary’s Cemetery, Westfield, MA. Firtion-Adams Funeral Home, 76 
Broad St, Westfield, MA is in charge of burial 

Memorial contributions may be made to the 
Westfield Regional Animal Shelter, 178 
Apremont Way, Westfield, MA 01085 or 
Westfield Homeless Cat Project, 1124 East 
Mountain Road, Westfield, MA 01085.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mini rant on : spirituali/religious

I've heard it so often..."I'm not religious but I am spiritual."

What the heck does that MEAN?

I don't believe in God, but I like trees?

I believe in God, but don't go to church?

I'm not like "those other people"?

I'm cooler than religious people?

I'm lazy?

What do people think religious people ARE?

Can they be "religious but not spiritual?"

This makes me nuts. Chime in.

Monday, October 03, 2011

today's poem

I was re-reading some Robert Frost today, and came upon this poem. It rings true.


Some say the world will end in fire;
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

I Confess

OK I am a liberal -- a progressive, even. But I am not thrilled with the Obama administration. I want to be. I voted for him. I know he inherited a mess. I know it will take time. But too much time is being wasted.

I want more press conferences. I want him to have better advisors. I want to stop blaming Republicans for Obama's shortcomings. The Republicans have MANY things that they need to change. But there better be a shakeout of the Cabinet, and a re-emergence of leadership by Obama, soon.

I hate even SAYING that I am disappointed. I hate even THINKING it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Carter speaks the plain truth again!

And this quote from the Huffington Post is part of why I LOVE JIMMY CARTER!

At the 30th annual Carter Town Hall on Wednesday, former President Jimmy Carter told his audience he thought the Supreme Court decision to roll back restrictions on corporate spending in federal campaigns was "one of the stupidest rulings ever consummated or perpetrated on the American people."

The Citizens United ruling was decided 5-4 in 2010 and received criticism for allowing a flood of special interest money in politics. President Barack Obama was a major critic, saying the decision was "a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans."

Yep. I love that man!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Great Gay Marriage Posters!

I LOVE these! Click here and enjoy signs like these :

Friday, September 02, 2011

A Fine Litany

A Litany for 9/11/11:

In Memory of All Victims of War and Terrorism

This litany was taken from a mailing I receive from
The Shalom Center

[Please feel free to use this Litany in memory of 9/11, so long as you cite the sources. The litany requires either actually standing at a running river, lake, or ocean, or if that is not feasible bringing a large basin of water into the center of a church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or public space. If the basin, change "river" to "water" in the litany. At best, it includes having a list of names of people of various countries who died on 9/11/01 as victims of the terrorist attacks.]

Ashes, Stones, and Flowers

For vibrant lives suddenly and shamelessly sacrificed, we lift up the ashes of our loss,

O Source of Life.

For the lives that continue, haunted forever by the pain of absence,

we lift up the ashes of our remorse, O Wellspring of Compassion.

For the conflagration of flames and nightmare images

forever seared into our memories,

we lift up the ashes of our pain, O Breathing Spirit of the World.

For the charred visions of peace and the dry taste of fear,

we lift up the ashes of our grief, O Infinite.

For all the deaths that have been justified

by turning the love of God or country into fanatical arrogance,

we lift up the ashes of our shame, O God.

As we cast these ashes into the troubled water of our times, Transforming One,

hear our plea that by your power they will make fertile the soil of our future

and by your mercy nourish the seeds of peace.

[The people recite the names of the dead.]

In silence, the people cast the ashes into the river

[or a bowl of water].


For the ways humanity pursues violence rather than understanding,

we lift up the stones of our anger, O Breathing Spirit of the World.

For the ways we allow national, religious and ethnic boundaries

to circumscribe our compassion, we lift up the stones of our hardness, O Wellspring of Compassion.

For our addiction to weapons and the ways of militarism we lift up the stones of our fear, O Source of Life.

For the ways we cast blame and create enemies we lift up the stones of our self-righteousness, O God

As we cast these stones into this ancient river, Transforming One, hear our plea:

Just as water wears away the hardest of stones,

so too may the power of your compassion soften the hardness of our hearts

and draw us into a future of justice and peace.

[The people recite the names of the dead.]

In silence, the people cast the stones into the river

[or a bowl of water].


For sowing seeds of justice to blossom into harmony,

we cast these flowers into the river, O Source of Peace.

For seeing clearly the many rainbow colors of humanity and earth,

we cast these flowers into the river, O Infinite.

For calling us to life beyond our grieving,

we cast these flowers into the river, O Breathing Spirit of the World.

As we cast these flowers into this ancient river,

Transforming One, hear our plea:

Just as water births life in a desert and gives hope to the wounded,

so too may the power of your nurturing renew our commitment to peace.

[The people recite the names of the dead.]

In silence, the people cast the flowers into the river

[or a bowl of water].

Litany by Rev. Patricia Pearce, former pastor

of Tabernacle United Church, Philadelphia,

and Rabbi Arthur Waskow, director of The Shalom Center.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sept 11 commemorations are coming and I do not want to watch them

I know. Sept 11th. A day of tragedy. I witnessed it. I saw the towers burn 10 blocks from my office, and I saw the people covered with ashes run by. I was trapped in Manhattan with all exits closed. I worked near Ground Zero for months afterwards.

I inhaled the dust of dead bodies.

I saw the posters, the shrines, the memorials. I went to a funeral that had an empty casket.

I know. I lived in the heart of it.

I cried every day for a month at least.

I am tired of how we slash open the wound every year. These 5,000+ people died horrible, tragic deaths. So have many more --- our soldiers in wars, other police, firemen and EMT workers who died in "ordinary disasters", and on and on -- yet we do not read their names every year - or send their children to college, or give their families annual honors.

If one uses the argument that people on 9/11 died at the hands of foreign nationals, so it is different - well, people died the 1st time the Towers were bombed in 1993, years before. But what is done to memorialize them?

How do we chose whose deaths are special enough to recall? I understand the magnitude of 9/11, but how can we move on if we keep fanning the flames of deep grief? When is enough enough?

I am NOT saying that the people who died should be forgotten. Not at all.

But I am wondering how the wife of a cop feels who lost her husband to a mugger.Or how a fireman's family feels when their father died putting out a chemical fire in a warehouse. Or the soldier's widow whose husband was killed in Iraq. How do they feel when they see how other families are treated in comparison?

It is time to find another expression for this event.

We are about to go through the 10th anniversary. Police are beefing up, bracing for hate crimes. We have kept this wound alive each year. It is time we worked for healing it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hate Groups on the Rise in America

Hate groups are on the rise. It is getting even more alarming with each passing year. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) tracks hate groups, and has been doing so since the 1980's. The report of hate groups in 2010 issued last month by the SPLC, indicates that there are over 1,000 active hate groups in the US. These are not teenagers on a spur of the moment rampage, or a couple of drunks blaming another race or religion for their problems. These are organized hate groups. They have members, meetings, strategies, websites. They take ugly actions.

This 1,000 does not include the 824 Patriot Groups, organized groups defined as those that "engage in groundless conspiracy theorizing, or advocate or adhere to extreme antigovernment doctrines." Nor does it include the 319 Nativist Extremist Groups such as "the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, the Minuteman Project and the Federation Immigration Reform and Enforcement Coalition."

The SPLC site goes on to say "Taken together, these three strands of the radical right -- the hatemongers, the nativists and the antigovernment zealots -- increased from 1,753 groups in 2009 to 2,145 in 2010, a 22% rise. That followed a 2008-2009 increase of 40%."

So let's take a closer look at the increase in a chart we use with the permission of Mark Potok, the director of the Intelligence Project of the SPLC. And this is just hate groups.

Who are these groups? And where are they? Well, look at the SPLC site and check out the groups in YOUR state. In my state of Massachusetts -- liberal Massachusetts -- there are ten active groups - including the KKK, Aryan Terror Brigade, and other Neo-Nazi, White Nationalist, anti-immigrant and anti-GLBT groups. One of them is less than 20 minutes from my house. I will not link to any of these hate sites in this article. If you wish to look them up, do. I did so with many of them. It sickened me. I wanted to see if they really were saying hateful things. I wanted to see if the sites looked like they were assembled in a garage, or were professionally done, an indication of organization and funding.

I found a frightening amount of organization, sites that linked together as brethren in hatred, and a level of hatred that alarmed and disgusted me. And that is in liberal Massachusetts. Check Your State!

I decided to check Google news for "hate crimes" to get a larger picture of what was happening. I looked only at last week's results. Within moments I found:

1. The St. Louis Beacon reporting an increase in national incidents of anti-Muslim hate crimes. "We continue to see a steady stream of violence and discrimination targeting Muslim, Arab, Sikh and South Asian communities," said Thomas E. Perez the U.S. Justice Department's assistant attorney general for civil rights...He said complaints of school and workplace harassment have risen, and the department has opened 14 investigations in the last year into organized opposition to the building of new mosques."

2. A man walking down the street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn was beaten savagely by a gang of "hoodie wearing teens" taunting him with anti-gay slurs. He has a broken nose, broken eye sockets, and needed plates in his skull.

3. A report from District Attorney George Gascón, who says that hate crimes are also on the rise in San Francisco.

4. A cross was burned "outside the home of a black family in the prosperous, mainly white California coastal community of Arroyo Grande near San Luis Obispo."

5. In Connecticut, a Jewish cemetery was vandalized by anti-Semitic vandals - for the second time in six months. "Six months ago, swastikas were painted on the backs of six gravestones. The graffiti has now expanded to anti-Semitic messages, defacing a place where many are remembered."

There were screens and screens of examples. I found these literally in a few minutes. I had searched on "hate crimes", and asked only for news articles in the past week. There was an avalanche of articles. Are these groups or individuals? Does it matter? Look at the pattern of dramatic rise here in "Patriot" and Militia Groups:

This entire process woke me up. We all need to wake up to what is happening around us, and to begin doing what we can to end it.

Mark Potok, of the SPLC does not hold out much hope for positive change in the near future. "What seems certain is that President Obama will continue to serve as a lightning rod for many on the political right, a man who represents both the federal government and the fact that the racial make-up of the United States is changing, something that upsets a significant number of white Americans. And that suggests that the polarized politics of this country could get worse before they get better."

Is Potok right? What do you think? What can we all do to stop this trend? What do you think will work?

(This article was recently published on

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

11 year old blamed for her own gang rape.

An 11 year old was raped by OVER EIGHTEEN men and boys in an abandoned trailer in Cleaveland, Texas -- population 9,000. Lurid cell phone pictures were taken by several of the assailants and passed around, which is how a classmate of the girl's saw what happened and reported it.
The NY Times says:
"Five suspects are students at Cleveland High School, including two members of the basketball team. Another is the 21-year-old son of a school board member. A few of the others have criminal records, from selling drugs to robbery and, in one case, manslaughter. The suspects range in age from middle schoolers to a 27-year-old."

One would imagine that a town would respond to such an event with outrage. Well, they have. They are outraged that the girl may have been dressed seductively. One said that she wore make-up. Another that she dressed old for her age. Another that she hung around with teen aged boys.

They are worried, according to the NYTimes because "It’s just destroyed our community,” said Sheila Harrison, 48, a hospital worker who says she knows several of the defendants. “These boys have to live with this the rest of their lives.”


She was 11. They knew her. They threatened to beat her if she did not comply. There were 18 of them gang raping her.

You bet they have to live with it. And I hope they have to live with it behind bars.

This is 2011, and we are blaming an 11 year old for her own gang rape. The town has also critisized the girl's mother. Although the girl was taken by car to two locations where she was raped repeatedly, one townsperson asks "Where was the mother?"

It doesn't matter if the girl dressed in a short skirt, or if the mother was inattentive or if the boys are in trouble now. None of that changes what it was -- rape. Penetration without consent under threat of violence. And, the boys were proud of what they had done. They showed pictures around.

What has happened to our world that we can not see an act of violent degradation for what it is? Or are female children just chattel to be used and discarded as some proof of manhood?

May God have pity on our souls.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

a cuppa cuppa cuppa cuppa cup

I love coffee. I recall even singing along to my parents' dated 78rpm record of the Ink Spots singing about the joys of java. It was so much fun. As I grew older I started drinking this delightful beverage. Imagine my shock when traveling in the South and ordering a glass of "Iced Coffee". I was looked at as though I was an octopus at a show store. No one even thought to drink it down south back then. Anyway, as I was humming this tune this afternoon, it seemed right to me to share it with you in its original and later versions:

and then -- years later -- The Manhattan Transfer:

Friday, February 04, 2011

PLEDGE Feb 2nd, 3rd and 4th -

This is harder than I thought. I am learning to remind myself to keep this pledge.

2/2 - Thanks to my sturdy feet. You are not glamorous, not subjects of ads for toenail polish, and hard work at pedicure time. You run around bare most of the time. But you get me from here to there. And you are dependable, strong and a constant reminder of my peasant heritage. I love your length and width. You may not be delicate, but you sure are wonderful!

2/3 - Thanks to my parents who took a chance in having me, and who made many sacrifices to give me the best life that they could.

2/4 Thank you to the first person who ever thought eating a tomato was a good idea.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Jan 31 and Feb 1 --Pledge

31st - Thank you for Bubble Wrap on this, Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day. They now make green, biodegradable bubble wrap, and bubble wrap made of recycled plastic. And, I reuse my BW ...besides, I LOVE to hear it POP!

1st - Thanks for a roof over my head. I am lucky.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

30 Day Thanks Pledge

1/28/2011 Thank you to my dog, who understands the virtue of a good snuggle on a wintery night.

1/29/2011 Thank you to friends who have made my life possible, more fun, deeper, stronger and better through the years. At every really big point in my life, I have had friends stand by me. I cannot imagine my life without them.

1/30 Thanks, computer. You expand my reach and help me expand my mind. Plus there is that wonderful way you have of helping me find out the answer to some nagging trivia question before it becomes a brain irritant!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Enough said

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Thank you, coffee -

It is snowing out. This morning, sitting at my kitchen table having a hot cup of coffee, I was reminded to feel lucky. I was warm. My dog was at my side being amusing. I have friends. Life is good. It was a simple, quiet moment of happiness. Thanks, cup of coffee, for that inspiration!


30 Day Pledge

I pledge for the next 30 days to post one thank you note a day. I want to introduce the happy discipline of daily gratitude in my life.

I am thankful that my friend Maggie who just had surgery for breast cancer has apparently pulled through the surgery with flying colors. This is my thank-you note to God for watching over all of us--Maggie, her friends, her family and her beloved husband Keith -- as she went through this process. I am spending this moment overtaken with thankfulness for the health of my treasured friend, Maggie.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Etta James, age 72 has been diagnosed with dementia and leukemia. It breaks my heart to see so many vocalists and musicians and artists go who have influenced so many people.

Letter to Etta :
Etta, I love you. If you need to go, go with God in peace and without pain. I remember when I first saw you in concert at Carnegie Hall in a show called "Divas of the Blues". It featured you, KoKo Taylor and Ruth Brown. You stole the show. There you were, on stage, hair slicked back, big hoop earrings, with a big blond ponytail, weighing over 300 pounds and by the time you were done, there wasn't a man in the hall who wouldn't have given his left testicle to make love to you. You had a way with phrasing that made us all just want to cheer you on through every word. Here is one song you sang that night.

Then you had us all in thepalm of your hand with "Sugar On The Floor".

And when you in later years turned out a ballad, it was like being rocked in your sweet arms. "How Deep is the Ocean?"

But you always had such a talent for innuendo. You really rocked this one: "You Can Leave Your Hat On"

Etta, while you yet live, I hope you feel the love so many of us have for you, and that when we pray, you feel caught up in our comforting arms.

Love to you.
Only love.
At Last.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The holidays are almost upon us

I am stunned that this year I have actually been organized. With any luck at all I will have a hassle free holiday. Can it be true? Can I really have shopped early, gotten my cards out, made a zillion lists? I may have one last push of details tomorrow night before the cooking extravaganza starts Wednesday, but by and large I am doing OK.

I have had my family on my mind for a few weeks -- moreso at holidays now that they are gone. I find trinkets that Mom liked, or hear carols that Dad used to sing, and I am transported back to those days of wonder. Everything was made special in Mom's house. At Christmastime it was HER house, not ours. She decorated with whatever we could buy or make. Money was very tight, so we improvised with what we had. It never felt that we were poor, although we surely were. It just felt like an adventure.That was my Mother's particular magic.

So I am organized and sentimental this year, waiting for the glorious birth of the wondrous Child that improvises with who we are to make us more than we thought we could be.

Love to you all on this holiday.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The best quote of the month

I was having a long chat with a dear friend who has just turned 68. I'm 60. We started to review a few past relationships that did not work out, and we were laughing at how foolish we may have been, but what adventures we had in our lives. (And what joy we continue to discover!)

Anyway, my friend paused and said words that sum up my life to date. She said :

"Well, my choices may not have all been good, but they certainly were interesting!"

I laughed until my sides hurt. That was such a fine way to see things, even relationships that did not work out.

I know the Chinese are said to have a multi-sided blessing, that can be taken in many ways..."May you have an interesting life!".

But, all things considered, no matter what life has sent me, at least I have not been bored. And that is a dandy thing to be able to say!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Signs of the Times

There I was, making a positive faith statement, and I had an uneasy sensation in the pit of my stomach. What is up with that? This kind of spiritually-inclusive proclamation had me worried a bit. Now that has at least as much to say about the times we live in as it does my anxiety level. I told an ordained UCC minister friend in Wisconsin about my feelings. She reminded me that I live in "liberal Massachusetts." I reminded her that my home is about 20 minutes from the African-American church that was burned down the day after Obama was elected ... yep, right here in liberal Massachusetts.

In April, I wrote a post about how liberals and progressives were letting the Tea Party folks have all the visibility, while we spoke mainly to each other, preaching to the choir, as it were. I spoke about how "we" need to be more public. And that meant "I" needed to do something. I decided it was time for me to step forward and broadcast how I felt about America; what I wished for in American public life. So I worked with a printer to design five big signs for my lawn.

The signs stand about 3 feet high, are four feet wide and have text that is about a foot and a half high. Here are pictures of all of them, most of which were taken today in the rain on my back patio. (The one in front of my house does not feature the sentimental little statues from my mother's gardens that I keep on the patio.)

I rotate the signs out for two weeks at a time. The first one I put out was this one:

This one expresses one of the foundational beliefs on my faith. I am downright passionate about it. But when I set it up on my front lawn, I started to have some strange feelings. Will there be a negative reaction to this? Will there be vandalism?

There I was, making a positive faith statement, and I had an uneasy sensation in the pit of my stomach. What is up with that? This kind of spiritually-inclusive proclamation had me worried a bit. Now that has at least as much to say about the times we live in as it does my anxiety level.

I told an ordained UCC minister friend in Wisconsin about my feelings. She reminded me that I live in "liberal Massachusetts." I reminded her that my home is about 20 minutes from the African-American church that was burned down the day after Obama was elected ... yep, right here in liberal Massachusetts.

Well, so be it. As it also happens, I am promoting inclusive faith in a town with a big mega-church that espouses the opposite. I am usually private about my faith in my neighborhood, and here I am with a honking big sign about God's love on my lawn.

I did get a few of positive comments. One was from the young Russian lad who delivers my newspaper, one from my lawn guy, another from the postman.

Lots of people go on evening walks down my block. There is a park at the foot of the street and playing fields across from my house. I watched people walking their dogs. They'd scope the sign and keep on walking. I couldn't get a read on their opinion.

OK. Two weeks ago, this is the sign that went up the day of local primary elections. I have had no response about it in the two weeks that it has been up. I do not know how to take that. My guess is that people do not know if I am liberal or conservative with that statement. But I'm unsure how it is really perceived.

Here are the next three that will go up. This one goes up tomorrow.

I'll follow with this one:

And then this will round out the five that I had made:

I gave a lot of thought to what I would have on the five signs. I tried to synthesize what I hoped for; believed in. I didn't want to promote specific policy, specific laws. I wanted to talk about how we ought to be as a nation, about a God that includes rather than excludes, about speaking with respect, treasuring diversity, and about moving this country forward into a better future.

I wanted to promote values -- values about working together, promoting community, acknowledging our connectedness. I wanted to say that not all people of faith are right wing.

And I wanted to go public. I wanted to stand by what I believe -- openly and visibly. It isn't as easy as I thought it would be. But I am glad I am doing it, and learning from it. I "came out" as a faith-based progressive.

After I started "signing," I saw news about Jon Stewart's upcoming Rally to Restore Sanity on the Daily Show. It's coming up on October 30th. Maybe he'd like some bumper stickers from my signs? In any case, I'm glad someone else is making a quiet and positive fuss about the state of things.

Everything we do to promote civility, respect, inclusion -- it all helps. One thing I know for sure. My silence wasn't helping anybody.
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