Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Lessons Learned’ Category

It seems, these days, that you cannot listen to the radio, or look at a news app without hearing about the plastic crisis in our oceans, lakes and streams.  A viral video of a turtle with a plastic straw up its nose caused an outcry about the dangers of plastic waste, and especially single-use plastics.

It is near impossible to shop for groceries without plastic.  I know I can’t change the world single-handedly, but I can do my part to be a responsible steward of creation in my small corner of creation.

I have reusable mesh bags I use when I buy produce and I try to buy produce that is not already packaged.  I bought reusable glass straws that are super sturdy and a dream to clean.  I don’t use straws often but for when I need one, I have a great one to use.  I’m going to purchase a bamboo cutlery set for traveling so I don’t need to use plastic cutlery in restaurants…usually fast-food restaurants.

I have started using cotton handkerchiefs rather than tissues.  The transition will take a little time, but I’ll get there.

My most recent purchase is washable, reusable panty liners.  They are bright and colourful, snap over my underwear and are very comfortable.  No more bunched liners, no more adhesive struggles, and they wash beautifully.

I’ve switched to bamboo toothbrushes.  The handle is compostable once the nylon bristles are removed and they are easily removed with a pair of pliers.  They are shipped to my home every two months in recyclable paper packaging.  This company “Bam Brushes” is very conscientious of their product and the environment.  AND they are a Canadian company.   You can find them here…https://www.bambrushes.com/

I recently purchased a product that was overpackaged.  I emailed the company to express my concern.  I received a lovely email back that didn’t really say much other than “thank you for writing”.  It did close that this company is looking to make an improvement to the environment.  I’m thinking they should start with their plastic packaging.

I try, wherever possible, to buy locally, or in person.  Living in a small town means this is not always doable.  I resist the urge to order from Amazon for instant gratification…as well as excess packaging.  I’m buying books from the local bookseller or checking them out of the library whenever possible.  Small steps, yet even small steps add up.

I generate 3x as much recycling as I do garbage.  And while I’m pleased with the reduction in garbage, I’d also like to reduce recycling to metal, glass and paper.  There will likely be plastic in my recycling bin for awhile.  And with every purchase I make, I try to make smarter choices.  Taking into consideration environmental impact, cost, carbon footprint and convenience.  Sometimes the solutions are simple to find.  Other times they are more difficult.

I suspect, as with most things, it’s all about balance.

Read Full Post »

I have a love/hate relationship with technology.   It can keep us in touch with the entire world, and it can also become our entire world.

We live in a world where we can shop for most anything 24 hours a day.  In some instances we need never leave our homes.  We can work from home, shop from home, order food, clothing, books, etc. etc. etc. online.  If you have a credit card or a Paypal account you can live with no human interaction.

I live in a small town.  I bank at our local credit union.  I go into the bank about half the time and use the ATM the other half the time.  I love that I can walk into the Credit Union and the tellers know my name.  You don’t get that from an ATM.

At one of our grocery stores in town (we have two) there are self-checkout terminals.  I’m of two minds with them.  If I need just a few things I’ll usually use the self-checkout as it’s quick and easy.  If I have a lot of groceries I’ll go to the cashier.

I used to order many things online.  I’ve stopped doing that if what I want or need is something I can source locally.  I like supporting local businesses and the local economy.

There are times when I find myself staring at a screen for far too long.  I can easily spent too much time looking at social media instead of getting something productive done, like reading or napping.  🙂

I made the decision in December to stop using the calendar feature on my phone.  I’ve been using a paper calendar and it’s been working out beautifully.  I can keep tabs on each day with a month at a glance and then jot down specifics of each day’s activities in the week at a glance feature.  There I record my mood, pain, headaches (if any), as well as large purchases, budget items, etc.  Makes it easy to look back at the month and plan ahead much more easily.

I’m beginning to break my cell phone obsession.  I use it primarily for texting, phone calls, scanning news apps, playing a few games and, yes, Facebook.  I’ve decided, in the future, when I purchase a new cell phone to go with a more basic model of smart phone and then purchase a basic tablet to use for apps, Facebook, games, reading and whatnot.  Keep technology separate.

The other day I “lost” my cell phone.  I didn’t realise it was missing for a couple of hours and when I remembered where it was (at the Church) I didn’t rush over to get it.  I had to be back at the Church in two more hours so I waited until then.  It felt kind of good to know that it was safe and I didn’t need it in my hand.

So I’m going to continue toning down my technology impulses until my mobile phone is for communication and not entertainment.  And a tablet is for entertainment and communication.  Where I can leave one or both at home and not be stressed or concerned.  Where I can attend a meeting and not have to continually check on messages.  I may even buy myself a watch so I don’t have to fret about the time…

For now I will continue in a digital detox, and spend my free time looking up, instead of staring into a screen.  I will be outside in Creation, rather than inside and fretting.

To some, it may seem a step back, but to me, it is a step in the best direction for me.  I admire folks who can do everything on their smart phone and have no need of paper.  I really like paper, and I like having a visual calendar at the ready.  Looking at an electronic calendar for me, is not the same.

I yearn for a simpler time when I didn’t have to be so connected.  And I’m working, in smaller and in larger ways towards that goal.

So if you call, email or text me, please don’t panic if I don’t answer right away.  Chances are I’m in the middle of something that needs my attention, I’m in a meeting which I don’t want to interrupt, or my phone is somewhere I am not.  I will return your email, text or phone call.  I promise.  Not immediately, but I will.

Read Full Post »

This year, 2019 has brought loads of emotions and energies that need addressing.  Each year for the past few years I’ve chosen a word that has been my focus for the year.  Last year it was balance…and that didn’t work out so well.  🙂  This year the word is change.

There are many things that I need to work on in myself.  Many things that need to change and I’m the only one that can change them.  I need to put myself as a much higher priority in my life.

Over the past few months I’ve realised that I don’t care for myself as well as I care for others.  I’ve come to the realisation that I’ve not properly cared for myself, I’ve not properly prioritised myself.  And this year, 2019, that will change.

I need to be gentler with myself.  I want to be healthier in myself.  I must guard my free time and time off better than I have been doing.  And these are things that only I can do.

I am eating healthier.  I am keeping a journal.  I am working with my doctor and a small team of support folks to hold me accountable.  To make sure I rest, I eat, I mediate, I exercise, and most importantly, that I laugh.

I will learn to say no and not feel guilt.  I will be more discerning to that which I say yes. I will learn to fall in love with myself…because really, I’m a pretty neat person.

This year will be the year I dig deep, turn myself inside out, and remind myself of who I truly am.  I will be a priority in my life.  I will learn to love myself…to truly love everything about me, including my many flaws.  My goal will be to see me as God sees me.  And that’s going to take a LONG time.  But hey, time I have.

Read Full Post »

Sorry I’ve not been writing much lately.  I’ve been mulling over blog posts for months, I simply haven’t taken time to put thought to paper.  So here I am.  Didja miss me?

Three weeks ago I was called by a local reporter who wanted to write an interest story on me.  What on earth for, I was thinking.  Yet, I was intrigued, so I said yes.

We met at the Blessing of the Animals service and afterwards we went over to the Church to have a conversation.  Watching him walk into the beautiful space that is the Church was wonderful.  His eyes opened wide, like a child at Christmas as he took in the beautiful wooden beams and stained glass windows.

We sat in a pew, he in the Presider Chair, and I beside him.  He turned on his recording device and asked a few questions.  Most we about the Church, my call to ministry, my theology and my background.  How I came to choose this small corner of creation.  He then took some photos of me in the space, commented about how beautiful the natural light is through the windows and was on his way.

A week later I was coming back from Clergy Conference and received a text that the article was in the paper.  It was published online and had a sensational headline.  Now to be clear, I don’t mean sensational as in FANTASTIC, rather sensational as in WTF?

The article is here if you’d like to read it… https://www.thefreepress.ca/life/gay-minister-challenges-preconceptions/

The article itself is great.  A few incorrect details.  One large incorrect label…GAY.

I’m not Gay, I’m Queer and while that may not be a big deal, to me it is.  I wrote a letter to the editor and made the corrections and exhaled.

The feedback about the article has been extremely positive.  The community has been overwhelmingly encouraging.  Yet I know there are detractors who will not be happy with what was written.

Why am I so worked up about a label?  Most of my life I’ve pushed against labels and shrugged against being placed in a box.  I like being on the outside of most everything.  I like tossing assumptions against the wall.  One of my favourite compliments is when I hear “you’re not like any minister/priest I’ve ever met”.

Labels have assumptions and those assumptions should be challenged, whenever possible.

There are many labels I’ve owned in my time, Female, Follower of Jesus, Pescatarian, Celibate, Daughter, Sister, Nana, Wife, Ex-Wife, Partner, Ex-Partner, Friend, Lover, Queer, Comic, Pastor, Priest, Prophet, Keeper of Secrets, Child of God.

Guess which one is my favourite?

Child of God

 

Read Full Post »

I like to travel and experience new things.  I like to check things out and when I go to a new place I like to use public transportation and walk wherever possible.

One of the challenges of hearing impairment is I often cannot hear airport and transit announcements.  They all sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher, if you know what I mean.

Last summer I heard about a wonderful conference called Spirit Pride and it looked like an awesome opportunity to connect with folks in the LGBTQ+ community who are people of faith.  Sometimes we hear that being a Queer Christian is an oxymoron.  Well, it’s not.

On Friday, what would have been my Dad’s 86th birthday I drove to the next community over to fly from their airport to Vancouver.  I don’t like to fly.  I’m not sure what it is, but I’m not a huge fan of airplanes, which is ironic as my brother is a pilot.  It is what it is.

While I’m at the airport very early I hear that the flight is delayed an hour.  Instant panic.  My carefully scheduled plan of how to get from the South Terminal to the Main Terminal to the Canada Line to the hotel and to the Church for the Conference is now scuppered.  Heart starts racing, breathing is shallow and I find myself getting lightheaded.

I walked to the closest window and looked outside at the mountains.  And concentrated on my breathing…and then I started to relax.  I sat down and read my book.  I negotiated with myself…”okay, if we arrive on time, I can get to the Shuttle to the Main Terminal and then find the station to get on the SkyTrain.  I can check in, freshen up and take in the opening and the film screening tonight”.

As we flew I kept checking schedules and making notes.  Maybe I’d have to skip checking into the hotel, could do that after the film screening.  Ugh.

We landed, I got off the plane, found the exit to the terminal and there was a shuttle bus waiting.  I climbed on and we drove to the main terminal.  Traffic was heavy and slow.  I watched the time ticking along feeling more and more anxious.  Concentrated on my breathing.  “you got this, you got this”.

Arrived at the main terminal.  The shuttle driver pointed to where I needed to go to catch the SkyTrain and I started to relax a little.  Waked to the SkyTrain terminal, bought a ticket and waited 2 minutes for the train to arrive.  By my calculations I had 20 minutes to get to the Church before the opening ceremonies and the film screening.

Then I remembered it was my dad’s birthday.  He’d have been 86.  He was never in a hurry and seldom on time.  He didn’t fight time, he flowed with it.  So I made a decision, not to worry about the time, to look around and breathe.  So I did.

I got off the train and started walking, realising after about 5 minutes, it was the wrong way.  I laughed and asked to pet a dog.  Asked directions to the hotel, and was told politely, how to get there.  I looked around, smiled and asked to pet many more dogs.

Got to the hotel and the check in time was excruciating.  And it was now 10 minutes after the opening had started.  I gave myself permission to not attend the opening and screening.  I began to focus on my breathing.  And then it was my turn to check in.  I found my room, turned on the air conditioner, freshened up and went for a walk to check out the neighbourhood.

I found a dog park and petted many, many dogs and chatted with many people.

Eventually I found the Church and by this time it was 8:30.  I didn’t go in.  I walked around that neighbourhood, found another dog part and petted many more dogs.  Felt my blood pressure lessen and my heart rate drop.  Felt myself relax and enjoy my surroundings.

Went for a walk back to the hotel and saw several people with needles preparing to shoot up.  Said silent prayers for them, and found another way back to the hotel.  Stopped at the hotel restaurant, a sports bar, and realised I was the only woman in the place.  Took a seat at the bar, ordered a beer for my dad and asked for a menu.  Had supper, a second beer and took another walk in a different direction.  Saw the Yaletown Roundhouse platform.

Went back to my hotel room and settled in for the night.

The conference was wonderful and I enjoyed all of it.  I walked whenever there was a break, to check out the neighbourhood and gave thanks that I don’t live in a big city.  I don’t have to worry about heavy traffic, street lights, and too many people.

After the last session on Saturday I walked to Gastown and checked it out.  Then I walked back to my hotel, taking a long way around.  Enjoying the sights and sounds of the city, knowing that the next day I’d be heading home.

Sunday I got up early and checked out.  Walked a different way to the Church and visited with the folks who were setting up for worship.  Checked out the hymns and order of service and waited, in prayer and silence for worship to begin.  It was wonderful and lasted nearly two hours.

Then I said goodbye to the organizers and Church Minister.  I walked down to the sea wall, backpack on my back and made the long trip home.  I arrived very early to the SkyTrain, and very early to catch the shuttle between terminals.  I didn’t stress or fret because I had lots of time and a good book to read.

I walked around the outside of the terminal and petted some dogs.  I walked around inside the terminal and looked at the artwork, and read some of the history of the airport.

Then I cleared security and waited to board the aircraft.  I explained to the customer service rep that I don’t hear the announcements very well and he promised he’d let me know when it was coming time to board.  And he did.

My car was where I left it, and I drove home as the day began to fade to night.  It was a wonderful conference.  I learned a lot and made some contacts.  I also learned to trust myself and to let some stuff go.  I’m still a nervous traveller and always will be.

I learned that I can be afraid and still do something.  After all, isn’t that the definition of courage?

Read Full Post »

On Monday night I attended a Veteran’s and First Responders Dinner as Chaplain to the local Legion.  The dinner was a catered event and well attended.  I was surprised to see so many men and women in uniform and also saddened that each year there are fewer and fewer veterans that attend.

It’s quite sad to see our Veteran’s dying.  They are ageing; some of them are ageing well and others, well, life has not been as kind.  I remember my Dad, who was not a Veteran of WWII, he was too young.  But he was a Veteran of the Royal Air Force.  He served in Cyprus and Egypt, and was part of the last group to leave the Suez Canal when it was returned to their government in the late 1950’s.  He didn’t speak much of his time in the forces, other than to comment on how lousy the food rations were.

For me, I like to hear stories of where different servicemen and servicewomen served, whether at home or overseas.  Whether they served through combat or not.  And I’m always curious about medals, faraway places travelled and what memories they are willing to share with me.

It’s important to us to encourage these stories, as they are the foundation of who we are.  One day we will leave this physical place and what will be left is our legacy.

I’d like to investigate through the local museum, a way to record stories of our Veterans and First Responders, not to glorify war, but to remember the soldiers are service people who put their country and their first.

At every Legion gathering there is the act of remembrance, “Lord God of Host, be with us yet, Lest we Forget, Lest we Forget.

Amen.

Read Full Post »

Balance is a strange word…it has multiple meanings.  My sense of balance isn’t great, ask anyone whose walked beside me and I careen into them.   The balance I’m talking about is life balance.  I am my own worst critic and my own worst enemy.  I am harder on myself then anyone else has eve been, and I’ve had some critics and enemies.

The still small voice gets loud at times and tells me I’m worthless, useless, lazy, stupid, etc.  The well part of my brain tells me to ignore the voice, or fight back against that voice.  The sick part of my brain says “See?  Told ya!”

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.  I find winter difficult for many reasons.  So knowing I’m already emotionally “down” in the darker months, why set myself up for failure with promises I mean when I make them, but don’t really think them through…so for this year, as I was sitting at home with a glass of wine and a purring cat a word came to me — BALANCE.

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  It can be both/and.  I can be conscious of my health and still enjoy a lazy day at home or an ice cream when I’m out.  I can walk 10,000 steps some days and 3,000 another.  I can sleep a full night and have a nap, or work through the night and sleep part of the day.  Balance.

I am many things to many people and I believe I treat everyone the same.  Or that is my intention.  I am drawn to the underdog…to the one who feels invisible.  That is the story I seek.  And in most cases as trust is earned and stories are shared, there is a great deal of similarity.

There was a funeral for a gentleman from the congregation in early January.  He was a much-loved member of the congregation and the community.  The Church was filled to capacity (and then some) and we laughed, cried and remembered him.  I have another funeral on Monday for a gentleman I knew through visiting and services at a local retirement home.  He has a similar story to R.  But a very different story as well.  Isn’t that the same for all of us?

Our stories overlap with others, our experiences are similar until they are not.  We make choices that don’t seem to matter hundreds of times a day.  And on occasion we make choices are that more difficult.  There is always choice.

I eat as well as I can but on occasion I like to treat myself.  I like to eat something that I don’t usually have at home…or enjoy dessert.  I’m beginning to learn that food is not punishment or reward…it’s simply something with which to fuel our bodies.  I just re-read the first sentence in this paragraph…and I’ve got some work to do with my relationship to food.  BALANCE.

I love the way my body feels when I move it.  I joined a gym and go when I can…which is not often enough.  I walk as much as I can and sometimes that’s just around the block or across town and back.  I do yoga and I meditate, focusing on breathing.  I will not be an extreme athlete or run triathlons because I don’t want to.

My big purchase this Spring will be a bicycle.  One with a few gears that I can use to get around town.  Not off-road or in the bush, but on the trails and streets of town.

For the first time, likely ever in my life, I’m feeling good about who I am and how I look.  I’m working on lowering the numbers on the scale, and I’ve realised that those numbers do not define who I am as a woman of God, as priest, as a friend.  I may be fat, but I’m also kind, generous, loving.  I am respected in my vocation and in my community.  In my own small way I make a difference in the lives of others, in this community and in the world.

I am me, because that’s the only person I can be.  Everyone else is taken.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »