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Posts Tagged ‘fabulousness’

It’s the last day of 2016.  Today was a whirlwind of activity including a funeral for a 91 year old lady.  The cemetery was freezing cold, the wind was bitter and yet it was only -2C.

What I said struck a chord with many who were present and I received many positive comments about the comfort my words brought.  I was asked what my plans were for tonight and I replied I was going to clean my house, fill my car with gas, have a hot bath and go to bed early.

I don’t make a big deal about New Year’s Eve.  It’s never been a big part of my life.  As a child my parents would wish me Happy Near Year at 7:00 pm, which was midnight in England.  Then they would go out and enjoy either a house party or a dance somewhere.  As my brother and I grew up, it was us who would call our parents at 7:00 pm to wish them Happy New Year as we headed out to whatever activity was offered.

I’m not a great fan of house parties.  Mostly because I’m not a great fan of small talk.  I don’t make resolutions.  I don’t expect the drop of a big silvery ball or a special kiss at midnight to change my life.  I’m too much of a skeptic for that.

And yet I find myself drawn into the frenetic activity of Top Ten lists and favourite memories.  I keep reading how 2016 has been a terrible year.  Many famous people died.  And so did many ordinary people…like the 91 year old I buried today.  There were atrocities in the world, and also great hope.  There was a Presidential election that was arguably one of the shadiest ever in history, and yet the Earth keeps spinning.

Tonight I filled my car with gas.  Yesterday I got groceries.  My house is clean.  My homily is almost finished for tomorrow.  My sugar bowl is full as is my milk jug.  There is money in my wallet, soon there will be food in my belly.  I live in a warm house with a freshly made bed.  I had a luxurious hot bath and soaked until my fingers turned to prunes.

When I moved West I made myself a promise that I would be the best Andrea I can be.  I fell deeply in love with someone I’ve been wanting to know for a long time.  Me.

I am kinder to myself.  I take better care of myself.  I medicate and feed and water and exercise and laugh and cry and love.  I can honestly say that I love myself.  There will never be this moment again in my life.  In 2017 I will turn 50.  And just as Canada is going to be celebrating it’s sesquicentennial for months, I will be celebrating my special year as well.

I will be kinder to myself.  I will laugh more.  I will go exploring.  I will not be afraid.  I will try new things.  I will write and sing and dance.  I will take risks and be successful.  I will take risks and be unsuccessful.  I will continue to fall deeper in love with myself.

I am spending New Year’s Eve alone this year.  I had a few invitations.  I turned them all down.  Yes, there is someone I would like to kiss at midnight, but we cannot be together tonight.  And frankly, I’ll be fast asleep by then. 🙂

2016 was a good year for me.  2017 will also be a good year for me.  I anticipate many adventures and many more shenanigans.  I will be happy with who I am right now.  As opposed to who I’d be 50 lbs lighter, or longer hair, or healthier, or happier.  I’m pretty damn good as I am now.

My promise for 2017 is to love myself more.  And in turn, to love those around me.  Who will, in turn, love those around them.  We can start a revolution of love.  We can choose to love first.  Without condition.  As we are meant to be loved.  With abundance.  Carefree.  Bountifully.  Beautifully.  Eternally.

As the poet and prophet Lin-Manuel Miranda said “Love is love is love”.  Amen.

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I must say that surgery is an interesting thing.  I don’t like being the centre of attention, which I know is weird, given what I do for a living.  Having the doctors, nurses, techs and whatnot ensuring I was cared for was strange.  I’m used to doing the caring, not being cared for.  My friend drove me to the city where I was having surgery, 45 minutes away.  He was allowed to wait with me before I went in and he prayed with and for me, and the doctors, nurses, techs, and everyone involved at the hospital.  I felt remarkable when he had finished.

The nurse who was preparing me for surgery heard the prayer and cried.  We told the doctor he had been prayed for and he was delighted.  The entire team did an amazing job, even the anaesthetist with no sense of humour.  I commented that the table in the operating room looked like it could be used for crucifixion and he stared blankly.  Which was okay.

I remember the lights in the operating theatre, I remember the IV in my arm.  I remember a mask going over my mouth and being told to breathe deeply.  And then I remember being asked if I was thirsty…and was I ever.  I had a sip of ginger ale and it tasted like the greatest thing ever.  I was parched for 3 days.  Gatorade and water with some tea fixed that.  I felt numb for a couple of days, other than when I stood up or sat down.  Then I cursed.

I am now 8 days since surgery and I’m feeling okay.  I still use pain meds in the day time.  I am standing for longer periods of time.  I am making progress and feeling better.  And tomorrow I go back to work.  Which I am very excited about.  I know it will knock me sideways, but at least I will have done it.  Moving back into the work world and Church land slowly is what I need to do, and am doing.

I am thankful for the surgeon and the doctors.  I am thankful for the nurses and staff who cared for me as a person, not only as a patient.  And I am especially thankful for my friends who rallied around with food, prayers, gentle hugs and care. I never realised how much I am cared for.  Now I have a better idea.  And it warms the cockles of my heart.

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This past couple of weeks has been nothing short of chaos.  Trying to get bulletins together, work on homilies, home communions, home visits, catching up with friends, scheduling medical appointments and surgical consultations.  And then there’s time needed for sleep.

This morning I drove to a community nearly an hour away.  I met a friend I had not seen in 10 years.  I wasn’t sure she would recognise me or that I would recognise her.  I was 15 minutes early and as I walked into the restaurant I saw her beautiful smile.  We hugged, she cried (she’s a crier) and were a flurry of hands and excited words…”been so long”…”how I’ve missed you”…”you look so good”…the poor server couldn’t get a word in edgewise.

We ordered our lunch, and continued talking. Yes, we did manage to eat while the food was hot, but more importantly, we reconnected, in a place where it seems we just pressed pause.  There was no awkwardness, there was no hesitation, we were simply two friends reconnecting after a decade.  Before we parted we set a date to meet again, in two months.  And on air I drove home. Through construction, ignorant drivers, road-blocks…none of it mattered.  Not even the migraine that had been plaguing me most of the day.

I got home and looked at the still unfinished pile of stuff on my dining room table.  And I turned my back on it.  I’m not afraid if the pile stays untouched.  I met my daughter-by-marriage as she got off the school bus and she chatted in 3 word sentences about her day.  “Didn’t do much”…”no homework, yeah!”…”where is Christmas?”  Every year my in-laws get together for a family Christmas.

Usually it’s held the first Saturday or Sunday in December, to coincide with Dutch Christmas and the coming of St. Nicholas and Black Peter.  I was in Florida so it has been rescheduled to this Sunday afternoon.  This Sunday is Advent IV.  There’s still so much to get ready for Christmas Eve.  But it will wait – I will not be afraid.

I went for a nap that ended up being 2 1/2 hours long.  My headache is not gone, but is much better. I decided to fold the bulletins for 4, 7, 11 pm Christmas Eve, for Christmas Day, our Boxing Day baptism and Christmas I.  They are folded and at the Church.  For the first time ever, I came to Church in my pajamas.  Now granted, I wear PJ’s for the Pajama Mass every Christmas Eve at 4:00, but tonight I am here with bedhead, in a ratty old sweatshirt and flannel PJ bottoms.  And I’m not afraid.

I changed the sign outside and used the short-form Xmas.  I know I’ll get at least one message on the Church phone that I have done wrong.  But I am not afraid.

Sensing a pattern here?

I wrote my article for the local paper today that will be published on Tuesday as Wednesday, the usual publication day, is Christmas Eve.  In the article I talked about the appearance of angels and how they always say “be not afraid” to whomever they encounter.  If you think about it, it makes sense.  The angels that appeared in scripture were grown men, with wings, suspended.  THAT would be terrifying!

Angels delivered messages, not all of them good.  The angels in the Christmas story appeared first to Mary to tell her she would conceive a bear a son who would be the Messiah.  They appeared to Joseph to tell him the Mary’s baby was God’s and he would raise the child as his own. They appeared then to the Shepherds, announcing the amazing arrival of the newborn baby who would save the world!  And so they ran to see this remarkable thing that had happened.

Angels appear in both the old and new testaments.  Arguably, the angels heralding the arrival of the Messiah are the most memorable.  And as they trumpeted glad tidings, and called on their choir, they said simply “Be not afraid”.

So with all the busy-ness of this season, my desk is a mess and so is my office.  I will not be afraid.  The living room and dining room at home look like a fur covered bomb went off…and I will not be afraid.

There will be time for cleaning, but there will also be time for friends and family.  And together, unafraid, we will heed the words of the angels who gathered to announce the arrival.  The angels never said “clean your house first”, they said “be not afraid, I’ve got something awesome for you to see!”

So be it.

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As a rule I generally don’t feel compelled to respond to articles I read, but this one made me cringe with every paragraph.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathleen-brooks/being-fat_b_6097544.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

What upset me most was the undertone of self-loathing and helplessness.  It devastates me that people walk by this delightful human being and don’t recognize her humanity.  It’s a basic feeling that everyone needs and deserves…to be recognized for our inherent human dignity.  I am not skinny.  I haven’t been since high school.  I look in the mirror and most days I am comfortable with what I see.  Yes, I’d like to lose weight, but I don’t think weight defines my personhood.

I have called myself fat.  At times I still call myself fat.  And I am fat, by society’s standards.  My mother is underweight, significantly so, and is the first person to notice any weight gain.  It bothers me, but I don’t see her every day so I can usually shake off what she says.

There are times when I get looks from people, but I don’t care.  I know skinny people who have body dysmorphia, the same as me.  I am a food addict and I work at making healthy choices every single day.  Some days are better than others.

But I am more than what the scale tells me.  I am a gifted preacher and pastoral presence.  I connect with people on a spiritual and individual level.  I am an attentive and mindful listener.  I work hard at what I do.  God has blessed me in many ways.

I have curves, I have cellulite, I don’t like having my picture taken because I have not learned (yet) how to smile without looking artificial.  I am not as active as I should be.  I know I should get off my ass and move more than I do.

Yet I refuse to be judged because I cannot shop the petite section of a store and my dress size is in the double-digits.  I like my curves (for the most part).  I like how a dress hugs my hips and shows off my breasts.  I like feeling sexy.  And sometimes I actually do feel sexy.  I don’t think I would if I was as skinny as I was in high school.  Back then, I was built like an ironing board…and ironing boards are not sexy.

Don’t get me wrong, I applaud women of all sizes.  I know women who have struggled with  and are currently struggling with eating disorders.

Being fat is not a sin.  While it may be seen as socially unacceptable, so is smoking in public places.  So is child abuse.  So is ignoring the homeless and refusing to see them as anything other than a nuisance and burden on society.

To Kathleen Brooks, know that you are a beautiful and remarkable woman.  Stop projecting what society is saying and making it baggage to carry around.  it is not your burden or cross to bear.  You are a talented, remarkable warrior woman. You have curves and hopes and dreams.  You have lived a remarkable life.  You have an incredible story to share.

Live your life out loud.  Don’t wait for someone else to make it okay.  Please stop putting yourself down.  You have a great life NOW.  You are successful and have survived kidney disease and transplantation!  That is no small feat.  You are woman, learn to roar…and share that roar.  Live your life larger than life.  And live it out loud.

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I am not sure that fabulousness is a word, but from now on, I say it is.

I have struggled with my weight for many years. I would like to be thinner than I am. Recently I have questioned my motives for wanting to be thinner. It all comes down to numbers. Why? I don’t honestly know. I weigh over 200 lbs. Most people who see me would never guess that I weigh that much. But for some reason, I believe that weighing over 200 lbs makes me “fat” and unattractive.

The fact is, I’m healthier now than I’ve been in a decade. I tried juicing and it is something I will continue doing, but not every day. I like to make fruit smoothies, but again, not every day. I am realising (FINALLY) that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

Life is lived in the shades of grey, in the in-between times. If I want to wear a mini-skirt, I will wear a mini-skirt. If I want to wear a figure-hugging dress, I will do so. If I want to rock a pair of heels, I will do so. Etc.

This summer I have been paring things down; simplifying them. I have already thinned down my books, knick-knacks, paper, and am still working on photographs. I have roughly a dozen boxes/containers to go through to sort things out. What do I have to keep. What can I let go of.

I bought an elliptical trainer four years ago and used it about 25 times. It’s too hard on my knees. So I gave it away to a friend who loves elliptical trainers. And I feel great about that.

I have a yoga mat that I use most days. Sometimes I do yoga stretches and movements, and other times I simply lay on it and meditate, or sit up and meditate or some combination of the two.

I live my life better with routine. I used to measure everything by a set of rules, which were quite complicated. I’ve let some of that go.

My cell phone is now just a cell phone. I cannot check email on it, plan a trip or surf the web. And I’m absolutely okay with that. I have a laptop that is second-hand, but works perfectly for my needs.

I have a desk that is not used. Not ever. So I’m debating about whether to get rid of, repurpose or simply leave it. And as I think of it, the last option is not a feasible option. Should I sell the things I no longer need? I likely could, but for what gain? Yes, the money would come in handy, but if there is someone who needs something that I have, why not give it to them?

Recently I went through my jewellery and cleared out a whole bunch that I no longer wear. In going through some boxes I found an old jewellery box that contained, among other things, my wedding ring from my last marriage. Why did I keep it? Do I still need to keep it? How will I dispose of it?

Yesterday I cleared out a bunch of purses and bags that I have had for years. I kept about a dozen…which go with shoes and outfits I currently own. Next week I am going to cruise my wardrobe and look at blazers, jackets, dresses, etc., that I no longer wear. And I will get rid.

I don’t need more stuff in my life. I need to embrace what I have that brings me joy and makes me feel good about myself. I am not a model, I have no desire to be a model. I am a human being that tends to hold on to too much stuff.

So I’m thinning out and simplifying.

I am embracing myself in all my fabulousness.

Look out world, hear me roar!

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