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Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

I’ve been slipping quickly with my food choices and today I fell off the wagon. Hard. There will likely be bruising.

I’m limiting my intake of alcohol because I don’t want the extra calories and I really don’t seem to be able to have “just a couple”. Compound that with a great dislike of losing control AND the fact that I am always on call. I simply can’t get hammered anymore.

Usually, whenever I leave the house, I have a bottle of sparkling water with me. I drink, on average 4 – 6 litres of the stuff every day. And when I drink the full amount, I feel great. My skin looks better, my eyes shine and my hair is soft.

Lately I’ve been indulging in things that I know are bad for me. Chocolate, cookies, chips, alcohol, ice cream, french fries.

I’m a big believer in moderation, but my body doesn’t quite seem to understand what that means. When I am on my own, I can talk myself through a craving, usually. I can make myself something healthy for lunch and savour it, eating it slowly, with flowers on the table, a cloth napkin and a proper plate. And then there are the days when I fill a bowl with ice cream and eat it while standing over the sink. Or even better than that, taking the lid off the container, grabbing a spoon and eating “just a spoonful or two” then before I know it the container is empty and I feel gross.

Today it was a potato chip binge. I’ve not touched potato chips in months. But for whatever reason, when I was at the grocery store I bought a bag of my favourites, and have eaten 2/3 of the bag. I guess I should rejoice that I didn’t eat the whole bag. But I still feel disgusting and really disappointed in myself.

I’m going to a party on Saturday night and I was thinking of getting some hard cider to take and enjoy. I’ve decided, instead, to bring three bottles of sparkling water and drink that. I’ll be much less likely to nibble and snack and will be in control of myself.

I need to menu plan and have healthy options at home, instead of garbage.

I need to cook more instead of grocery-store ready foods.

I want to exercise more, but there’s always a reason why I can’t. And it has to stop. Now.

I’m taking a course in MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy) in September for 8 weeks. We will be spending time on yoga mats stretching and breathing. To celebrate and honour that, I ordered an eco-yoga mat from a company called Barefoot Yoga. I mean, how could I not? I found a fabulous deal on the internet and it should be here in a week or so.

I’m going to get my original mat, which has scuffs and scratches on it, and use it every day. Even if its only 15 minutes to sitting still and breathing. Then slowly I’ll add more time on my mat.

I’ll take up the stretches again, and focus on breathing, instead of eating.

I’ll get up and move instead of staring into the abyss of the internet.

I’ll try to stop beating myself up about falling off the wagon and instead, get back up on the bloody thing.

I’m determined to buy a bikini and wear it this summer. No matter how my body looks.

I’m determined to make myself feel better through a combination of food and exercise.

I’m going to stop reading about the latest “diet” and “guaranteed successes” because nothing in life is guaranteed, other than at some point, that life will end.

I’m determined that by the time I go on vacation (in 5 weeks) that I’ll be walking healthier and will walk every day that I’m away. And every day once I return.

By the fall I want to be running for pleasure. I haven’t done that since I ran long distance in public school and I quite enjoyed it. My body is nowhere ready for it, but if I am determined enough to do what needs to be done, then it will be.

I need to forgive myself for falling off the wagon. As Miss Sullivan said to Anne Shirley, “Tomorrow is a new day, fresh and free of mistakes”.

So, tomorrow I climb back on again, and start again.

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There is always “one more thing” to do. There is always one more phone call to make. The work is never done. These are all things I know intellectually and yet, emotionally, I feel terrible if I don’t finish my “to do” list.

Recently I’ve been very run down and got quite sick. Nothing too serious, but a terrible cold, that started in my throat, moved to my sinuses and is now settling in my chest. Bleh. I don’t like being sick. I don’t look forward to days when I can stay in bed and sleep. And yet, that’s about all I’ve been good for most of this week.

I have a parishioner who is beginning the journey to the next life. His wife is now staying at this bedside twenty-four hours a day. Another parishioner was admitted to hospital yesterday with congestive heart failure. My instinct is to drop what I’m doing and go to be with them. But the reality is that, with this cold, I will be doing more harm than good. I’m also facing a day filled with appointments to get me ready to go on retreat on Sunday evening, for five days.

I’m anxious that something may happen to one or both of these parishioners. T may die while I am away. S may need surgery while I am away. And yet, intellectually, I know that there is always “one more thing” to do. This morning I was able to get a phone number for S’s room in hospital, so I can call her at a civilised hour and chat with her. Provide her some comfort over the phone.

I will call T’s wife on her cell phone and offer comfort in that way. I may not be there in person, but I can certainly be there in spirit. And if T should die while I’m away, we will figure something out. It is not selfish to have this time away. If I don’t have this time away I will get very sick and not be able to help anyone with anything.

One of the hardest lessons for me is learning that self care is necessary. It’s not selfish, or self-serving. It is warranted, deserved, and necessary.

I’m going to make a couple of phone calls, offer words of support, and then head out on my day.

It will be enough. It will be good enough. And most importantly, it’s NOT about me.

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Lately in the media there’s been a lot of body shaming. It’s likely always been there and its only recently that I’m noticing it. There’s the magazine cover shaming where the headline teaser is about losing weight and being the best you can be. There’s the unhealthy images that exploit women, regardless of size, to be thinner.

Dove has recently launched a series of ads touted as “real beauty”. True confession time…I sent in a head shot of myself nearly a year ago. I got an email asking to send more photos of myself, which I did. Then I was called and asked to attend a photo shoot. The date that was chosen was the same date as a wedding I was presiding so I politely explained, and withdrew from the contest.

I wondered, for a long time, if I had been chosen because of my profession…as an Anglican priest. How cool would it be to give a face to “real beauty”. I was extremely flattered that I made it to the final 50 and I received a lovely gift basket with Dove products that the entire family was able to enjoy.

And now the most recent ad, featuring a forensic artist, is being touted as both excellent and exclusive. I like the message, that we are all beautiful. And I do believe that, I preach about it often enough. But the ad featured young women, the only women who were shown in the final cut of the ad were white. There are a few faces of beautiful women of colour, but they don’t get to speak in the ad. That concerns me.

This Sunday in the city next to the village where I live, there is a “Slut Walk”. While the title of the event makes me cringe, it is something in which I will participate. I have friends who are transgender, both men and women. Recently one of my female friends was walking with her partner in the city and they were jeered and heckled. Both women felt frightened, but maintained their dignity through their fear.

NO woman or man should have to feel this way. NO man or woman has the right to judge those who are different.

I am participating in the Walk on Sunday afternoon. I’m thinking about wearing my clerical collar in order to show support as a woman of faith. I have been uncomfortable walking to my car after an evening meeting. Not so much in the village where I live, but definitely when I am in the city. And it’s not right. And it’s not fair.

So I’m going to stand with my sisters and brothers in solidarity. I will wear my clerical collar and comfortable shoes. There will be pants and a jacket, just not sure which ones. I will walk for those who have been hurt. I will sing for those who feel their voices silenced. I will dance with those who have lost the joy in their lives.

I’m going to speak out against body shaming. Regardless of how much we weigh. Regardless of how we choose to dress. Regardless of what we might have said or done. Nobody deserves to be hurt.

In the wake of the Boston bombings people are more anxious then ever to join in a crowd. As a strong introvert I have a hard time being in a crowd, but I will be there with my friends. And we will look out for each other.

Because it’s time to put an end to the violence. It’s time to stand together, shoulder to shoulder and speak out for those who cannot speak. To remember those who have given their lives. We will dance, we will sing, we will laugh. We will remember. Always.

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I had been doing quite well in my detox. I’ve got two more weeks of colon detox and then I should be able to continue eating healthier from there.

My mother has been staying with me for a few days. I’m taking her back to the retirement residence where she’s currently staying; trying it out to see if she wants to move in permanently. My mother is underweight and needs to put some weight back on. Her appetite is small and she dislikes wasting food…can you see where this is going?

I took her grocery shopping with me and she wanted some treats. So she bought chocolate. And I was able to resist…for half a day. She likes to eat out and when she’s finished eating she pushes the plate towards me and says “eat that, will you?” Most of the time, nowadays, I’m able to push it back and suggest she bring it home for later, or leave it altogether.

Recently I’ve had great anxiety about eating out. Panicking about choices, wondering about fat content, and whether I’ll eat something that triggers a bout of overeating.

The good news is, I’m almost completely clean from artificial sweeteners. I’ve not had pop for nearly a month. I carbonate water and find that quenches my thirst beautifully. I’m drinking about 4 -5 litres of water a day. And I’m enjoying that. I’m finding my clothing is fitting better. I’m finding that my skin looks better. And my bladder is functioning well 🙂

I’m committed to eating healthier, that I may live healthier; but right now I feel scared. Going to the grocery store produces a great deal of anxiety. If I send my husband with a list he comes home with stuff not on the list that is more or less “garbage food”. Trying to get my daughter to eat unprocessed food, especially in her lunch, is proving a challenge.

So for now I’m going to concentrate on me. I will make up snacks that are grab and go. I will eat healthier every day. I will stop beating myself up when I make a bad food choice.

I’ve introduced vitamins into my daily routine and it’s only been a week, so it’s too early to tell. I bought myself a days of the week pill sorter so I can make sure I get everything I need. I’m hoping the healthier food with the vitamins will help me feel awesome.

The next step will be exercise. I reckon once I get the body processing better, exercise will be a natural addition to the healthy regimen.

I will always be a plus sized gal, but I want to feel and look better. I’m experimenting with different colours in my beauty routine. I’m trying to grow my hair longer to try a different hairstyle. All things to match the exterior changes to my interior changes.

I’m down about falling off the wagon, but I’m committed to getting back on again and being better in myself. I deserve to be healthy. I want to be healthy. I will be healthy.

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On Sunday I led two worship services at the Church. The early (8:00 a.m.) service was Holy Communion. The second service should have been 10:30 Holy Communion, but we changed the time to 9:30 and the service to Morning Prayer so that I was able to be at the Cenotaph to lead that service for 10:45.

We had record crowds at our small town cenotaph, with likely 400 people in attendance. The Cadet corps was out in force. We had representatives from all levels of government who came to lay wreaths as well as many community leaders. And we had children…lots and lots of children who came to see what was going on.

My reflection was intended to be something about giving thanks for the lives of those men and women who selflessly gave of themselves. Instead it morphed into a more politically toned reflection ruminating that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Our government has been sending our young into battle for generations, and although we have smarter weapons, we still sacrifice young lives in the same way.

What’s worse than those who die are those who return psychologically and spiritually damaged. They become the forgotten, moreso than our war dead.

I challenged the congregation and the community to begin with a place of love. To live their lives without conflict, to seek peaceful resolution wherever possible. And to never, ever forget those who have and continue to give their lives for service to their country.

Perhaps if we suggested the members of parliament who vote on how many troops to send, were recruited to lead those troops, the response would be different?

I come from a proud military heritage. My grandfather was gassed during the first world war. He was a British soldier stationed in Belgium. His unit was traveling in the back of a lorry (truck) and was gassed. He pulled out the men who could not get themselves out, ingesting a large amount of the gas. It damaged his nervous system and while he received the DCM (Distinguished Conduct Medal) and was recommended for the VC (Victoria Cross) he still returned to England damaged. He would never speak of his time overseas, other than to the man who would become my dad. It was a time best left forgotten as it was too difficult to remember.

And yet, here we are, almost a century later, and we are still doing things in the same way.

Remember, not only those who gave their lives, but those who came back and who continue to come back damaged. Those psychological scars are not physically apparent, but the shadow behind their eyes is unmistakable. There must be a better way. A way to begin with love. And to always, always remember.

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It has been said, if you want to make God laugh, then make plans. For the past year things have been a struggle for me, worse than usual. Usually I can find perspective in all I do, and yet lately its not really seemed worth the struggle.

One of the most powerful services is the All Soul’s service we do annually. Anyone who has suffered the death of a loved one, or who is struggling emotionally or spiritually, is invited to attend the service. It’s a service that is quite simple. There is silence, prayer, music, anointing and communion.

Every year the group who gather is different. Some people come every year, some come once and never again. Others come one year and then not for a couple of years. But wherever we are on that journey, we come together to provide support, hope and love for each other.

This year the service will take on a new layer for me as I struggle to deal with the death of my dad four months ago. I have presided many, many funerals and celebrations of life, but his was by far, the most difficult. And yet, when it was over, I felt a great pride that his wishes has been fulfilled. It was tough, but it was worth it.

Yesterday I met with a family who’s son died of cancer at the age of 55. That’s too young. For parents who are only a little older than my own, to have to bury their son is excruciating. There’s really not anything useful I can say to them, because I don’t know how they feel. And so I tell them I’m very sorry. We sit in silence, and we pray.

At times like this, my own struggles seem miniscule in comparison. I know they will wait for me to deal with them. And so I push them aside and through the brokenness that is my life, I reach through and see the hope of new life, reflected in the eyes of parents who need to hear good news. They need to hear that physical death is not the end, but the beginning of eternal life. So I tell them this, and I truly believe it.

After all, it is one of the few things that make enduring the garbage worthwhile. Breaking down is not an option for someone like me. Reaching through is an option. And so I take that option.

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Today was our Harvest Home and Back to Church Sunday. It was awesome to see so many children, each of whom brought a friend to Church today. We sang, we danced, and we donated many, many pounds of produce to the local foodbank.

The homily today was on forgiveness and I was amazed at the positive feedback that followed the service. It seems there are many people who are having difficulty forgiving a past hurt.

In my humble opinion, forgiveness is a gift we give to ourselves. There is much pain and hurt to be held and if we cannot or will not examine it, it threatens to overtake us. I have seen too many people caught up in the struggle to forgive, wearing the pain like a badge of honour.

I don’t say these things lightly. I have been hurt and abused in my life, some of which goes back to being a small child. The choice to forgive is something that frees me to live. Because in chosing to forgive a past hurt is setting yourself free. To hold on to a past hurt keeps you a prisoner and the person who wronged you continues to have power over you, that they do not deserve.

To forgive does not mean to forget. Rather, it is a choice to stand up, speak up, and let go. I know it’s not easy. But it is most definitely worth it.

Give yourself a gift this thanksgiving…forgive someone who wronged you, whether they have ever apologised or not. In chosing to forgive them, you set yourself free. You deserve that freedom.

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