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Posts Tagged ‘sleep’

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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begins a sonnet by William Wordsworth.

There has been so much hatred in the world…so much violence…so much intolerance and I’m struggling under the weight of it all.

Speaking of weight…today I was out and about running errands in the community where I live.  I was at the check-out in a store and two ladies were complaining about the weather.  I said I was glad for the cooler temperatures and one looked at me and said “I can see why”.  Curious, I asked what she meant.  She replied “you have your own built in coverage for warmth, you likely don’t like the heat”.

I opened and closed my mouth trying to find something humorous to say in return, but instead found myself on the verge of tears.  What she said was hurtful and dare I say, cruel.  Yes, I am overweight.  Yes, I don’t like extreme heat.  But I don’t think what I said warranted that kind of response.  I took my purchases and left.  I continued on my errands and came home feeling deflated and defeated.

The Church I love so much, that I have loved all my life, is voting on something incredibly close to my heart.  As a member of the rainbow community, the issue of same-gender marriage is important to me.  As a priest with many friends in the rainbow community, as it stands right now, I am not allowed to marry them in the Church.  The same Church that I love is pushing me, and people like me, aside.

My parish is holding a prayer vigil for the duration of General Synod.  Each day an email goes out and is posted on our Facebook page with prayers for the daily activities.  We are offering prayers for the marriage canon, but also for Indigenous rights, for visiting dignitaries and for audited financial statements.  We are praying for ears to hear, hearts to be open, for mouths to speak the truth in love and in faith.

Tomorrow’s gospel is one of my favourites, the Good Samaritan.  The epistle speaks of praying without ceasing, and that is what I have been doing.

For me, the gospel is about love.  The promises of our Creator, Saviour and Redeemer are all about love.  God never told us who to love.  God gave us the gift of love.  We are commanded to love our neighbour as ourselves and to love God above all else.  There’s no division of who gets more love, we all get the same because, in the eyes of God, we are all the same.

Tomorrow’s homily will be about praying without ceasing and loving your neighbour.  Tomorrow afternoon I am meeting with a couple who are to be married in August.  The day after they are married I have the honour of baptising their infant son, the mother and the Godfather.  It will be my first baptism in BC and, as always, a very emotional moment in the life of the Church.

My fondest hope and prayer for the family is that their child is raised knowing only what love is about.  That he never experience hatred and if he is exposed to it, he will know how to rise above it to show what love is all about.

If only we could focus on that which unites us; as children of God.  If we could focus on that which aligns us, rather than that which divides us, what a wonderful world this would be.  We would know the kingdom of God as we would be living it.

So now I will rest my weary body.  I will tend to my fractured heart.  I will rest in the knowledge that there are those who love me, as I am.  And for the rest, all I can do is love them as Christ loves me.

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I’m exhausted. I’m not really sure why…but I suspect it has more to do with emotional than physical exhaustion. Usually I’m up to date with emails and phone calls. I’m terrific at keeping up to date with filing, correspondence and all that kind of stuff. And yet lately, I’m finding myself getting behind, and while aggravated, I’m not worried about getting it done…as I guess I know it will get done.

I decided a week or so ago that it was time to put the paperwork together to file for divorce. As an educated woman I thought the process would be relatively simple…and after spending far too much time on the provincial website, only to discover that the jpg reader was out of date on my laptop, I debated about spending the $1,000 to get someone else to file the paperwork.

I had a cup of tea, a frustrated cry and started again the next day. And much to my amazement, I was able to navigate the forms with relative ease. This afternoon I took the carefully prepared forms to the court hours in the next largest city to the one where I live. The Registrar was very helpful and found a couple of mistakes. She also told me I needed to present her with 4 copies of all the documents. So I went to a friend’s home and made the corrections, then made copies of the forms and took them back to the Court House.

I now have a court file number that needs to go on all the other forms. As soon as I can arrange it, my soon-to-be ex-husband will be served with the primary document. The challenge of that is he lives in a different province…but it is doable.

Tonight when I got home I realised just how weary I was. I had an hours sleep and was supposed to meet with a couple for pre-marriage planning but I was simply too tired, so we’ve rescheduled for next week. Easy enough.

I’ve been looking at short hairstyles on Pinterest. I’ve decided I need a change in my appearance…and hair is the ultimate fashion accessory. I’m going to see my hairdresser tomorrow and hopefully either get it cut or make an appointment to get it cut. It’s time for a change.

My summer wardrobe is flowy dresses, capri’s and sandals. When its necessary to wear a clergy shirt, I wear one with one of the dresses. Definitely built for comfort this time of year.

As I reflect back on who I was before I came West I can see a significant shift in me. I’m more confident that I was before. I am far less afraid. I am as good a preacher as I ever was and as skilled a liturgist as I’ve ever been, but I feel, in some ways, as though I’m seeing the world differently.

I’m excited to be who I am. I’m excited at who I’ve become. I’m claiming back my identity and I will not surrender it again. Nobody will prevent me from being me. Not even myself.

With a shiny new haircut and a “go get ’em” attitude, I will have a new lease on life.

But right now it’s time for a cup of sleepytime tea and an early night. The only thing I’m after right now is my pillow…

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Happy Easter!  What an incredible rush to celebrate the risen Lord.  This Holy Week was as busy as other years, but I think having two parishioners die within hours of each other on the Saturday before Palm Sunday added a bit to the tension of the week.  Having remembered to breathe deeply, put one foot in front of the other, and remember just who is in charge (not me) made things seem a little bit easier…having perspective really makes things manageable.

Palm Sunday was the usual outdoor start, in the cold temperatures of late March.  But we braved the chill and the wind and waved our palms and chanted “Hosanna!  Hosanna in the highest!” waking the neighbours and startling the drivers that passed the Church.  Some waved back, which was a lovely added bonus.

Holy Monday we gathered to walk the fourteen Stations of the Cross, as we travelled the journey which Jesus took, pausing to give thanks for the choices he made.  Discussion afterwards with the small, yet dedicated crowd made me feel how incredibly powerful this service is for many.

Holy Tuesday we gathered for a special service originally written for the Youth Group.  It was tweaked somewhat but included the main question, “What if Jesus had said no?”  It focussed on the readings from the gospel which tell the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, where He asks God to take away this cup.  The response is silence.  Why doesn’t God speak?  What if Jesus had refused to go any further?  These questions elicited some incredible discussion.  We joined together in prayer, sang a couple of songs and departed.  Tuesday afternoon was spent at a visitation for one parishioner and a prayer service/private family viewing for another.

Holy Wednesday’s service was cancelled in order to accommodate the Celebration of Life for one of the parishioners, and it was an opportunity to see how a small town supports those who are struggling.  The congregation was not huge, but the man we gathered to celebrate would have been very proud at who came out.  The weather was perfect for the day, sunny and warm, a perfect spring day.

Holy Thursday saw us at the Cathedral Church to celebrate the Blessing of the Oils and then back home to celebrate Maundy Thursday, the first of the Three Sacred Days or Paschal Triduum.  We sang, we washed feet, we cried, we hugged.  We celebrated communion for the last time before the crucifixion and then stripped the altar and left the worship space in silence and darkness.  The tomb was readied.

Friday morning we gathered for the middle service of the Triduum, Good Friday.  We sang, was prayed, we cried.  The cross was decorated with towel, sign, stalk, nails, crown and royal purple.  I preached on what is “good” about Good Friday; that a symbol of hatred and control was changed to a symbol of love and new life.  A reminder that we worship the empty cross, and the empty tomb.  Again we left in stunned silence…and in hopeful anticipation.

Saturday morning a small but dedicated crew gathered at the Church to clean up the palms from Palm Sunday, to polish the brass and silver, and ready the worship space for Easter Day.  I dragged the font into the Gathering Space and set up chairs in the Parish Hall for the last of the Triduum, The Easter Vigil.  That night we lit the new fire, illumined the darkness, sang the Exultet, shared the stories, psalms and prayers, sang, laughed, cried, shared the peace and renewed our baptism vows.  We got to the entrance of the tomb, but were not allowed in…it was not yet time.

This morning the font was returned to it’s rightful place.  The papier mache stone was rolled away and adorned with lilies to show new life.  The tomb has burst open and we see signs of new life.  A larger than usual crowd came to the early service and we celebrated the resurrection and our first Alleluia’s of the season.  At 10:30 we were comfortably full, welcoming 6 strangers to our midst as well as a half dozen baby bunnies…two weeks old.  We sang, we laughed, we learned of the vessels we are and how we receive strength through the fires of trial and temptation.  We shared communion for the first time since Christ was risen and sang Hallelujah until our voices were hoarse.

Tomorrow will be tidying up a few things at the office, putting robes away, sorting service books…working on bulletins.  Then my own three sacred days…of rest.

Alleluia!  Christ is Risen!  The Lord is risen indeed.  ALLELUIA!

I’ll be over here napping, if you need me…

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It is true that I am my own worst critic.  I don’t hold anyone to the same standards I hold myself.  The last few days have been unbelievably difficult, and I’m not really sure why.  I am scheduled to undergo laparoscopic cholecystectomy surgery (gallbladder) on the 23rd of January.  We have our annual Vestry meeting on the 25th.  I have no idea what kind of reaction I will have to the surgery, so I am attempting to get as many things done, ahead of time, as I can.

This includes putting together the Vestry book.  Organizing baptism meetings, pre-marriage counselling, pre-surgical appointments, pastoral visits and bulletins.  Oh, and there’s writing homilies.  Right now the pile of things I need to do feels overwhelming.  Between that list and the housework, child-care, spousal support, I am having difficulty seeing daylight.  And my  motivation has dissipated…in other words, my get-up-and-go has got-up-and-gone.

I am beginning to think that my work/life balance is off-balance again.  I haven’t even sat on my yoga mat in weeks.  I am not drinking water like I was doing.  I’m not eating properly.  In short, I’m not caring for myself.  And that’s wrong.

Tomorrow I am meeting a friend for coffee.  I haven’t seen him in years.  This week was his birthday so we are meeting for a birthday-week hot drink.  I’m excited to see him as he always fills my day with light.  I have a list of errands I’ve been putting off all week, mostly due to weather.  So after I see him, I will get my list of things done.  And in the afternoon I will set a list of priorities, and put them in proper order.

Lists and organization soothes me.  I cannot work in chaos.  So I plan, prepare, clean, file, dust, organise, and while I do this I breathe.  I’ve not been breathing properly for awhile.  All shallow breathing.  It’s affecting my sleep patterns and my mental health.

And I have decided that instead of wishing my life away, starting tomorrow, a fresh new day, I am going to put myself higher on my priority list.  Do what is right for me, instead of giving myself what is left.

And while that will mean a trip to the grocery store, which is always an emotional land-mine, I have a list and a plan.  So I’m ahead of the curve already.

Starting tomorrow, I will get it right.

And, exhale.

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It seems that since Easter, things are not slowing down, and yet I am.

I am in a state of perpetual exhaustion. I’ve been to the doctor and she has sent me for blood tests. Something is wrong with the blood tests and I have to and get more done. On Monday afternoon I am scheduled to have another mammogram with “bonus” screens, and an ultrasound to follow.

My beloved and I are overdue to see our Marriage Counsellor and I think it will be a good thing for us to do. I am worried about my health and my body is beginning to tell me that I cannot continue at my usual pace.

Tomorrow there is a special vestry meeting at the Church and I was supposed to get some stats together. I have not. And I will deal with the fallout tomorrow. To be honest, I don’t really care what is expected of me tomorrow at the meeting. My Wardens are in charge, I need to be there. And if I get asked about stats, I will tell the truth. They aren’t done…and won’t be for tomorrow.

The month of May is going to be full of engagements. Some will be good, some will be difficult and most I am approaching with dread. What I am is tired. So very tired.

I don’t know how much time I will find to write. I think I hear my bed calling me now…

Until soon…

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There is a phrase in the Church “Christ is risen, the clergy are dead” and this sums up most clergy I know, myself included. We labour (with love) to make sure the bulletins are done, homilies are written, congregation is cared for. We fuss and fret over the liturgies, trusting that those who attend will be fed.

By the time Easter Sunday rolls around, we are usually pretty tired. The Alleluia may not have as much verve and pep as it should have, but it’s the best we’ve got.

I spent three hours, the Saturday before Easter, in the stylist’s chair, getting my hair done. This is highly unusual for me. My usual time in the chair, including chatting is 30 minutes. Five to ten minutes more if I get my hair washed first. I was experiencing something I’ve never done before; a hair tattoo. It’s a labour intensive process, but incredibly amazing.

My stylist and I had talked about a resurrection hair tattoo for Easter Sunday. The tattoo itself didn’t take very long, but the colouring and shading took plenty of time. By the time he was done, he was very pleased, and so was I. And so were the customers in the salon. It’s certainly something that stands out, but as I can’t see it, I don’t worry too much about it.

The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and I was especially pleased at the children’s reaction on Easter Sunday. I have been stopped while out, so people can ask about it. And I explain that there are three crosses, a tomb and a pair of wings. And they “oooh” and “ahhh” and tell me how awesome it is.

The three hours I spent in the chair I should have been relaxing, but I was thinking about all the things I had yet to do to get ready for Saturday night’s service. Everything did get done, but I did not take good care of my sprained ankle. And come Sunday morning it was swollen and paining. By the time the two services were finished, I couldn’t feel my left foot. I took off the brace, iced my foot, rested it and tried to nap.

We went to visit my in-laws for supper, which was awesome, and I elevated my ankle as much as I could. Since then I have slept as much as I can, while returning to the pre-Easter craziness. I took Monday off, but on Tuesday I had three home communions. I was supposed to go to a meeting in the city, but I was too tired and ankle was too sore. So I sent my regrets and stayed home.

Friday is traditionally my day off, but the church is having a bake sale tomorrow, so I spent most of the morning baking cupcakes, scones and cookies. The cookies are staying at home as I scorched the bottoms. The cupcakes and scones are at the Church. My Beloved brought supper in and tonight I am catching up on laundry that should have been done two weeks ago.

What I need to do is take three weeks off and rest. But there’s too much to do for me to make that happen. I am anxious about some upcoming doctor’s appointments and medical tests. Something inside me tells me that I will be taking time off to deal with my medical issues, whether I want to or not, and that will be what it will be.

So for now I struggle through, doing the best I can, taking it as easy as I can and trying not to beat myself up about not getting everything done.

The lesson I really need to learn is to let go and let God. If the bulletins don’t get done, it’s not a big deal. Right?

One step at a time. One day at a time.

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I’ve not been blogging much because I’ve felt mired down in crap. I was feeling good, but tired, when I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. Since learning what it is I’m feeling overwhelmed. I had to have a mammogram last week, which is an annual event for me as I have an extensive family history. The doctor’s office called to say that the screen is irregular and I need to have more investigative tests. That’s got me somewhat concerned.

It doesn’t help that I’ve not been mindful of my self-care. I’ve not eaten properly. I’ve not exercised. I’ve slept. Ate. Slept. Worked. Slept. Not good for me at all.

I was having lunch with a friend the other day who could see I was struggling and he said to me that I looked “blah”. I realised that I’ve been waiting for the bounce. I know I’m on a downward trajectory, waiting for more test results, and knowing that it’s going to get darker before it gets light again. At some point I will hit my low point and bounce back up again.

The hardest part of a depressive episode, for me, is waiting for the bounce. I recognise that now is not a good time. I recognise that there will be light again, but before that, there will be a great darkness. And that, simply, sucks.

Today I self-medicated with food. And man did it feel good. There was no guilt…only enjoyment. I think maybe I need to loosen the “rules” I have in place for my eating habits. Listen to my body and if it wants something unhealthy, then have it. At the end of the day, does it make that much of a difference, if I fall off the wagon for a little while? Who knows?

I am going to take a walk with a friend of mine. We were going to go to the mall and walk around, but decided instead to walk the local indoor track. Healthier and less expensive than going to the mall.

One small step at a time. One small decision at a time. Waiting for the phone to ring. Waiting for the test to be scheduled. And knowing that no matter what else happens, I am, and will always be, a servant of the Lord. Patience may not be my strong suit, but I can try it for a while.

Saturday will be a very interesting day. I have a memorial service at 9:30 a.m. Another one at 11:30, a marriage counselling session at 3:00 and a 50th birthday party at 7:00. I should sleep very well Saturday night.

So between now and then, I wait. For the phone to ring…for the next food craving to hit…for the bounce to indicate that things will get better. Because they always do.

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I’ve had a rough couple of weeks…sleeping poorly, eating badly, not getting enough exercise. This past week I’ve been weepy, and that’s not me. I don’t like losing control of my emotions, especially in front of people. This morning my beloved and I had an appointment with our marriage counsellor. She asked how things were going and I burst into tears. Never a good sign.

We chatted for a while about stress levels, fatigue levels, etc. She asked my beloved a lot of questions, and he expressed concern. My plate is always full, lately its been overflowing and I know I need to take some things off it, especially things that are not life-giving.

After quite a bit of conversation she expressed to me that I most likely I have adrenal fatigue. I came home and looked up the symptoms. Every. Single. One. Of. Them. Talk about a Holy Sh!t moment.

I looked at what can be done for adrenal fatigue I was not surprised that there’s no easy fix. Its going to take about a year to heal myself. It means cleaning out my cupboard, clean up the foods I eat. Add a couple of supplements to my storehouse. And set down some things that are not healthy.

I decided to resign from a Diocesan committee that I have been a part of for six years. The past couple of years I have not felt like I am contributing much. So I decided to step down. Once I am well I may decide to return to the committee, but I may not.

Right now I need to care for myself. Rest more. Stress less. Laugh more. Eat better. Keep juicing.
Move more. Work smarter.

I can do it. And I will.

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There’s always just one more thing…to buy, to bake, to eat, to send, to make, to write, to mail.

I remember being a student minister in a very challenging multi-point parish and my supervisor piling more and more on my plate. About a month into the summer I pushed back, saying I couldn’t do any more than I was doing. And for the first time all summer he smiled. He said he had been pushing me because he wanted to teach me a lesson…you will never get it all done.

I struggle with the separation of Advent and Christmas. With Christmas and Epiphany. It seems every year, no matter how well organised I am, the Seasonal letter doesn’t get out until Advent III. It should be out Advent II. I’m working on the letter this week, getting them printed, folded, envelopes addressed, etc. Sunday is Advent III “Joy”.

I’m looking at magazines and websites for healthier Christmas baking alternatives. And I have to say, my heart isn’t in it. That may also be because I’ve been struggling with a chest cold for nearly a week. I don’t handle being sick very well. I’m incredibly impatient with what I want to do, and what I need to do. Then there’s what I feel I have time to do, etc.

My Beloved and I made a decision a few months ago to give up our lines of credit and credit cards. We both know the tendency we share to overspend this time of year. We simply cannot afford it. Recently I was invited to partake in a Mission Trip in April 2014 to Haiti to visit our Parish Prayer Partner. I would love to go, the experience would be life changing, but the reality of it, is that we cannot afford it.

We are on a repayment plan through a consolidation loan so that we are actively paying down debt without incurring any new debt. Bottom line. If we don’t have the money, we can’t buy it. Simple solution, eh?

We have a Visa Debit card, so if we need to make a purchase on-line for something i.e train tickets, we can do that with our Visa Debit card. Yay! A good friend of mine got rid of her credit card years ago and it was the best thing she ever did. All purchases are made from what is available in her bank account. If there isn’t enough money, she simply cannot buy it. IMAGINE!

I’ve done some decorating and I’m pleased with what has been done. I still need to finish up outside, but it’s been too cold to do much of anything. Hopefully Thursday the weather will be a bit milder so I can finish hanging the green. I don’t put up lights because I don’t think it’s environmentally responsible for us to do so. And with the age of the house its a fire hazard as well.

We burn lots of candles this time of year, celebrating Advent and the shorter days. By the end of this week I plan to have our Christmas cards made and mailed. It’s a very short list this year. Most people will be receiving Christmas cards via email. Some folks get a physical card. It’s not fair, but that’s simply the way it is.

I plan to have the dining room table, once again used as a dining room table, by the end of this week.

Slowly but surely, I’m seeing the changes in myself as we move through the season of Advent, a season of anticipation, of waiting, of wonder and of awe.

There will always be pressures of the season, with every season. But I don’t have to succumb to them.

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