Posts Tagged ‘tea’

Since the start of the pandemic, most mornings I drive to a local chain-store coffee shop for their steeped tea. Sometimes I order a breakfast sandwich or a donut, most days it’s just the tea. Over the past 16 months or so I’ve developed a friendship with the staff who work the early shift, in particular a young man called “G”. His nametag is one letter…”G”.

He is tall, slim, dark haired, olive skinned, wearing a turban and sporting a beard. He is Sikh and is originally from the Punjab in India. He came to the town where I am after finishing school in the next city over. He loves it here, with the four seasons and wide open spaces. The first time he saw in me uniform, wearing a clerical collar he was surprised, but didn’t say anything.

As we were approaching Holy Week he noticed I was in uniform every day. One day he asked me what it was I did for work. I told him I’m a priest and a minister. He stopped, smiled and slowly asked how it was possible for me to be those things, as I’m female. And so we began sharing little pieces of our stories with each other.

He wished me Happy Easter on Good Friday because he knew a holy day was coming up soon.

I asked him where he attends Temple as our town is too small for a sikh temple. He goes to Calgary, which is 3+ hours away, but only gets there a couple of times a year.

We have talked about God. We have talked about faith. We have talked about prayer.

Most mornings now, when I hear him on the loudspeaker I greet him by name, to which he responds with my name and asks if I’m having “my usual”. He is someone I look forward to seeing as his bright smile and peaceful disposition brighten my day. We almost always discuss the weather.

He has started asking about my congregation and when we can open the Churches again. I told him we were having an outdoor service and he asked if I could let him know how it went…so the day of the Outdoor service, I stopped before Worship for my tea, then after worship I stopped by again for another celebratory tea and he was thrilled when I told him it went well.

I thanked him for organising the good weather and he smiled broadly, bowed and said “you are most welcome…any time at all”, and we laughed.

The other morning I was feeling rather haggard. I’m sure I looked rather haggard and “G” asked me, with concern on his face, if everything was okay. I told him I was feeling overwhelmed but with a good cup of tea and an afternoon nap I should be okay.

As I was about to drive away he said “May God bless you this day” and I thanked him profusely.

This morning he said I was looking better, more rested, and I thanked him for his concern. I told him how much I appreciate seeing his smiling face and seeing him brightens my day. He said he looks forward to hearing my voice in the speaker and on the days I don’t get there he gets somewhat concerned. But he knows my job is ever-changing and perhaps I am taking a day off to be away.

I thanked him for his concern and told him that his blessing meant a lot to me. He told me he prays for me most every day. I told him I do the same. We both smiled then he said “I may not call my God the same as you call your God, but at the end of the day, there is only one God to whom we both pray.

In different circumstances we would have a distrust of the other because we are so obviously different. And yet, because we have taken a couple of minutes a day to say hello and to share some of our story, we now have a better understanding of who the other person is, and that God is central in both of their lives.

To that I can say only one thing: Thanks be to God. Amen.

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All my life I’ve been a person who needed to be in control. I like lists and plans. I like maps and organization. At times I hold so tightly to control that I begin to lose control – and not in a good way.

A friend told me before I went into hospital that I needed to surrender. I would be on their time, not mine. Things would happen as the nurses, doctors, surgeons, etc., decided they would. As they had time for these things. It bothered me at first, yet once I began to wake from anaesthetic and realised I was not in control of anything, the word surrender loomed large.

It was my first experience staying overnight in hospital. I was not prepared for the noise – one room-mate complained about everything, loudly, all night. Another room-mate decided she was going home and there was nothing anyone could do or say to dissuade her. The compression stockings I wore made noise all night, setting off the complaining room-mate.

I tried to stay as quiet as I could, as small as I could and as comfortable as I could. It seemed it was every two hours my night nurse would come and check on me. Did I need pain meds, water, apple juice or reassurance. She was incredible in putting my overwrought mind at ease.

I had been texting with a friend, sharing my concerns and they replied “remember, you are just as important as anyone else in there. You deserve help as much as anyone in there. You’re not bothering the nurses, you are helping them look after you.” This was shared by my night nurse when I confided I was frightened and had never been overnight in hospital.

I was connected to a catheter and an IV. I wasn’t going anywhere without assistance. And so, about 2:00 am, I imagined the word SURRENDER and did just that.

I’d love to say there was a magic transformation that overcame me. Wouldn’t that be grand? And yet…no.

Surrender looked a lot like acceptance. There’s nothing I can do about being immobilised. I can’t fight it. There’s no point in whinging about it. When I found myself getting anxious about timelines, I realised that I needed to see the surgeon and he would decide when I would be discharged.

He came to see me at 8:00 am and we discussed how I was feeling and if I felt I was ready to go home. I told him I was very tired and wanted to sleep in a familiar bed. We decided I would be discharged at some point Friday afternoon and he left.

Catheter and packing were removed and I was able to get up and walk a bit. Trying to navigate with the IV pole was less than graceful, and thankfully I didn’t roll over anyone’s toes. Once the IV was stopped, walking was easier to do yet still painful.

I am now 6 days post-surgery. I still have pain yet it is completely manageable. I have stopped taking the narcotic medication and am using over the counter meds. I’m not moving much, yet try to move every couple of hours. I have a water bottle or tea cup at all times to stay hydrated and while that’s good, it is waking me in the night. In some ways that’s good because it means I am moving.

This afternoon I am going to the grocery store with my “responsible adult” and “service human” (one in the same), who will make sure I don’t lift, and I can have access to my favourite things to eat.

I’m cleaning up my diet. Removing processed foods. Reintroducing meat. I’m craving vegetables. I’m reading a lot about “clean eating” and eating closer to nature. I’m listening to my body more and surrendering to this slow and frightening process.

This afternoon I’m meeting by phone with my counselor. I’ve been looking forward to speaking to her for a couple of days.

I’ve surrendered to the fact that I need to take things slowly. I need to listen to my body. I need to nurture myself. And I need to go only one day at a time. I am nowhere near establishing a routine. I get up and have tea, take my meds, drink orange juice, water and then make a travel mug of tea to sip on for the morning. I eat a bit of breakfast. I relax and decide if I want to “do” something, or if I need to rest. And then I do that.

Surrendering that I am where I need to be and I need to love myself more. I keep telling myself that I’m worth the time and attention that I’m taking. And I hope, eventually, that I’ll believe that.

And until then, surrender. And breath.

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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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The past few days have been a struggle for me, with respect to food. I am having conversations with The Narrator again when I’m making food choices, especially in restaurants. For example, my Mam weighs 114 lbs. I weigh more than twice that. She orders french fries, I order salad. She doesn’t finish her plate, but encourages me to do so. And so I do.

The Narrator chimes in like this “Hey, look at those fries. They look fresh-cut. Remember the smell of blanching fresh-cut fries…just have a couple. It won’t do you any harm.” So I have a couple. “Don’t those taste awesome? C’mon, eat them all.” And before I know it, the plate is empty. Then it starts, “you stupid, fat, pig. No willpower at all, do you? How do you expect to lose weight when you shove stuff in your mouth without even thinking about it? What kind of loser are you? How do you expect anyone to listen to what you have to say, when you can’t even control yourself? Just stop eating.”

Then I spend the next couple of hours feeling badly about myself. I’m afraid to go to the grocery store. I’m afraid to go into any store because I fear I’ll make a bad choice. So I don’t eat. And then I get scared that I won’t eat again. Craziness! Oh, and I did just take my meds for the day.

Yesterday I woke after a fairly rotten night’s sleep and took my Mam out for breakfast. My Mam LOVES to eat out. I fear eating out. More often than not I make healthier choices, but some days my balance is off and I fall off the wagon. We went out for breakfast, which is a veritable minefield at the best of times. My brother joined us for breakfast. I ordered eggs, over-easy, fresh tomatoes instead of home fries, and rye toast. I finished it. It was three eggs. But I did make healthier choices.

I had a peanut butter and dark chocolate protein bar with a bottle of water for lunch. The rest area was crammed full of people and I didn’t want to stand in line, so I grabbed something moderately healthy and kept driving. For dinner last night I had nothing. I did drink four litres of water from when I got home to when I went to bed. I need to go grocery shopping. I have a list. I have my market bucket. I just need the resolve to go.

I have an appointment in the village at 2:00. I think I may go after that. The store should be quieter then.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about genetically modified foods and realise, with great horror, that we cannot get nutrients we need from the food we eat. It would take 12 cups of broccoli to give us the same vitamins that one cup would have given us 50 years ago. The reason why so many of us have medical issues is related to malnutrition. Unbelievable.

I’m doing some reading on the need for vitamin and mineral supplements for the chronic conditions from which I suffer. It may all be b.s. but I’m willing to try almost anything if it will improve my quality of life.

So, today is a day of getting things finished. I look forward to seeing a neatly made bed in my bedroom and in the spare bedroom, with a set of bedding neatly folded and put away. It may be a small thing, but it is a ray of sunshine in an otherwise challenging time.

Restoring order from chaos. Something from which I take great satisfaction.

I wonder if it is coincidence that this year we are doing a four-week series on Creation? Hmmm, coincidence with God? I think not.

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I have a confession to make…I don’t juggle. I used to be able to juggle two tennis balls if I concentrated really hard. But I don’t think I can do that anymore.

The new school year is upon us and the juggling game continues. My Mam has been visiting for the past week and while I enjoy having her here, she doesn’t seem to have the ability to spend more than an hour alone. It’s a litany of aches and pains, constantly checking her arms and legs, “does this look different to you?” and on and on.

My “job” is a vocation, which means on call 24/7, 365. I have to fit in other parts of my life around my job. It should be the other way around, but it’s not. Most of the time I handle all that stuff pretty well, but lately, it seems like it’s been more work and harder than it needs to be.

For example. My daughter by marriage and I had a conversation before the start of school about what she wanted for breakfasts and lunches. She’s a fussy eater and it takes some cajoling to get her to try new things. So we have a list of foods that she will eat for breakfast and/or lunch. She makes her own lunches and I usually take care of breakfast. The first day of school she left her lunch bag at school. So we had to scramble to find another one when she overslept this morning. By the time I got her lunch packed and her out the door she made it with only a couple of minutes to spare before the school bus came.

Then there was laundry. I wanted to do my laundry, and there was my husband’s work laundry in the dryer. He’s great at starting things, but seldom finishes them. I could leave it for him to finish, but I don’t because I need to get my laundry, or bedding for the house, or towels, etc., done. So I finish his before I start mine.

Then there’s my Mam who wants to go visit her friend. I told her I had to go to the office first and would take her afterwards. She gave me an hour at the office then she walked over to see when we were going to see her friend, and should we go out for breakfast first. So I stopped what I was doing and we went out for breakfast.

So now I’m hours behind in my housework, hours behind in my office work and not enough time to prepare for a meeting tonight because I still have to get dinner ready. Where’s the rest of my family? Husband is at work, daughter is doing homework and mother is sleeping.

So, I will go to a meeting tonight only partially prepared and it will bug me far more than it does anyone else. But that’s how I roll. I like things to be finished. I like things to be prepared and ready.

Juggling? I don’t think so.

BUT tomorrow is another day. I am hoping that the kitchen will be cleaned up while I am at the meeting. I am hoping I can come in from the meeting, have a long soak in a hot bath and then go to bed.

The reality may be very different. But there is always hope. I live in a little place called Hope. I like it there and they know me.

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Yesterday I picked up my new glasses. They are bifocals and progressive lenses. It’s going to take some getting used to, but I quite like how they look and I love how crisp and clear things look. One drawback is I can’t see properly with them when I’m at my laptop, but I don’t spend an inordinate amount of time on the laptop so it shouldn’t be an issue.

Today I was to do some bookwork, update phone messages, and have lunch with a friend. Instead I’ve done the bookwork, had two cups of coffee and two beakers of sparkling water and feeling very, very nauseous. I’ve asked my friend for a raincheque and will head back to bed soon.

The past three days I’ve made it a priority to have a shower early in the day, get dressed and put on makeup. I’m experimenting with different colour combinations and some are lovely; others, not so much. I’m beginning to, once again, take pride in my appearance. For many years I’ve not worn makeup during Lent, but I begin to settle into what is simply laziness, that my appearance is not important.

And yet it is. I have clothing I wear for casual days around the house. I have clothing I wear for meetings in which I represent my church or the Church as a whole, the power suit, if you will. I have clothing I wear for going out with friends, not formal wear, but a dressier casual wear. And lest you think I have a massive walk in closet, I mix and match most everything. I can dress up or dress down a suit. Same with scarves and jewellery.

Spring is a great time for purging the closet of pieces that don’t work, don’t fit or haven’t been worn in a while. I try not to spend too much on any one piece, unless it’s something I love that I will wear for years. For the most part, everything I buy is on sale, and I don’t buy it unless it fits and looks good. A bonus is if I can wear it more than one way i.e. a blazer with jeans, dress pants or a skirt.

And now that the weather is attempting to warm up, it’s time to wear lighter fabrics, indoor shoes can be worn outdoors, and the heavy accessories can be put away in favour of lighter choices.

If only the temperature would cooperate and this nausea would abate, then I could actually enjoy the outdoors. For today I will likely stay in my nightwear, drink fluids, and head back to bed to see if I can sleep off whatever is unbalancing me just now.

Everyday is a gift, and every year is a mystery. I have worked for each and every wrinkle I have, and its time to celebrate coming of age, as woman in her mid-forties who is adjusting to bifocals. Thus far, I enjoy being a woman “of a certain age”.

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I am a person who struggles with headaches on a regular basis. They started roughly the same time as I hit puberty and have bothered me on and off since then. I’m now approaching menopause and am actually excited about that as I’ve been told that the headaches will likely disappear. Yay!

I’ve seen three neurologists, 2 dentists, a nurse practitioner, 2 family doctors, a periodontist and a psychologist to discuss possible reasons. No two headaches are the same. I’ve been told I have three different types of headaches; from migraines (although there is no consensus on that one), to cluster headaches (of which there is no treatment).

Most of the time I can catch the headache as it’s starting and with some behaviour modification it only lasts a day or two. Sometimes they start with a thunderclap and then there’s nothing I can do. I try medication, I try relaxation, I try lying down in a dark room. And after about 4 days it goes away. For those four days I walk around in a fog, and it’s often scary.

I am going to get my eyes checked (again) and see if that helps. I know I’m now in the market for bifocals, which does bother me somewhat, but I know it’s time. And that’s okay. I’m a woman “of a certain age” and that’s okay. Age is a gift.

I send this out as a record of acknowledging the pain in which I sometimes feel trapped. The diagnosis and treatments are often contradictory, especially about things like caffeine. If it’s a migraine, caffeine is good. If it’s a tension headache, headache is a trigger. Frustrating.

So today is day 6 of a headache cluster that contains elements of tension headaches, barometric pressure related headaches and migraine. Yay me. I hope that tomorrow will be better. I will stand up straight, drink lots of water, think positive thoughts and medicate as much as I can. Oh, and I’ll breathe.

I didn’t realise until recently that I clench my jaw when I feel stress and I hold my breath. Both are not good things. But I’m working on them. I’m a work in progress. Just like you.

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I find it very interesting how weather can affect the mood of a group. This past Sunday was our annual meeting where the budget is presented as well as ongoing and upcoming projects.

We have experienced a changing of the guard as both Wardens and Deputy have changed, and yet, the council members are the same, simply with some in different roles than last year.

The weather was overcast and dreary and the mood of the room was subdued. We had a lot of good news to celebrate, but the energy didn’t seem to be there. The Holy Spirit was very present, but I think she was tired too.

Since then I’ve had two long days of driving to pick up my mother who hurt her hand and is need of someone to care for. So now my days are busy. They’re always busy, but this is a different busy because of elder care.

It’s interesting to be part of the ‘sandwich generation’ as I have a 12 year old daughter by marriage and a 76 year old mother. sometimes their care is the same, and at other times each is responsible for the other. Thanks be to God they like each other and enjoy each other’s company.

The past couple of days have been wet and rainy, very unusual weather for January in Southwestern Ontario. The church basement took on some water, as did the rectory basement, but no damage (at least it appears so).

Today is the kind of day where I have a lot to do, but don’t really feel like doing any of it. The elevator inspector is at the church and I have some administrative things to finish, paperwork to get together from our annual meeting.

I think, once this is done, that I’ll go home, make something for lunch and make out a grocery list. Then it may be bath time and an afternoon nap. These 12 hour days have been taking a toll, and I think the weather is Mother Nature telling me that it’s okay to rest my weary body.

Yoga tonight should help get the kinks out. But mostly a warm blanket, a cup of tea, and a chat with my mother. All good things.

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The past week has been a crazy, busy week with appointments, meetings and pastoral calls. Add to that the usual busy-ness of a household, laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc., and there’s just not enough time to get it all done.

I struggle with a condition called CFS or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It’s a rather mysterious and mis-understood illness that affects the immune system. I’m fortunate that my type of CFS is considered mild. To give you an example of what it feels like to have CFS, think of how you feel when you have the ‘flu…the aching, tight chest, dragging feeling. That’s how I feel on most “good” days.

But being the type of person I am, I push though it, I “ignore” the pain and get on with doing what needs to be done.

And on occasion, when I’ve overdone it for too long, and under-appreciated my body I get a stern warning, usually in the form of overwhelming exhaustion that makes my body shut down until it gets itself rested. On Wednesday night, this happened. I had “just one more” thing to do and I went upstairs to put some laundry away. Suddenly the horizon vanished and I had no idea if I was right side up or upside down. I don’t LIKE that feeling.

I called for my husband and he helped me find the way to right myself, and get me into bed. Yesterday, after a particularly grueling morning I left the unfinished things at the office and came home to lie down. I slept most of the afternoon away.

Today I feel like I’ve been put in a bag and beaten, but at least with epsom salt baths and early bedtimes, I’m beginning to return to some semblance of better. I wish I didn’t have this disorder and yet it helps me (as strange as this sounds) to better care for myself. Because when I ignore the longings of my body for rest for too long, my body fights back.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to make a cup of sleepytime tea, and retire early tonight.

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Sundays are generally busy days in Church Land. For some reason or other, I don’t ever seem to sleep well Saturday night, no matter how well, or poorly I’m prepared for Sunday. Today was no exception. I woke with the alarm, but didn’t get out of bed for half an hour.

Showered, dressed, walked to church and began walking through my homily. You see, when I write my homilies, they take the better part of a week and very little actually gets written down. Starting on Monday morning I review the readings for the week and go back to them at least once a day. I look at commentaries, meditate on the word and see if there’s a common thread or where the Holy Spirit is guiding me.

By the time I get to Sunday morning I’ve said my homily, aloud, at least three times. Sunday morning I try to polish what I have and make sure the phrasing is coherent.

This mornings homily went over really well. Worship as a whole was awesome and I left the church happily exhausted. I got home, and looked at my chores list…it was huge. I got changed, had a cold drink and tackled some of the list. After about an hour and a half I decided I’d done enough and headed out to do some shopping. I know, I know, it’s Sunday.

Came home with my purchases and put them away, pleased with what I’d been able to buy. I sat down to read and hit the wall. My body hurt, my head was ringing, I’d been clenching my jaw and realised that I was one large stress ball.

The phone rang and it involved a meeting that I’d been trying to arrange for months. The only day that all parties involved can attend, is Monday. This is something that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. So Monday it is. The challenge is that I was supposed to be at a Day of Retreat out of town. But in all fairness, this meeting is important. And I’m not too far away from 10 days of holidays. You win some, you lose some.

So, I went upstairs and had a warm bath, put on clean pajamas and spent the rest of the afternoon doing nothing. I’m not normally good at doing nothing. But today I had to do nothing…my body was telling me so.

The dining room table needs to be cleaned off, and it will get done…but not today. There’s a stack of paperwork that needs to be sorted through, and it will get sorted through…but not today.

Listening to my body is something new for me. And while it seems I wait a little too long to listen, at least I am listening…eventually.

For those of you who are reading and nodding…be gentle with yourself. You know what I mean.

A new adventure awaits me Wednesday night…yoga. I bought a yoga mat today and am excited to learn more about yoga. I plan on bringing my yoga mat with me on vacation so I can practice what I’ve learned.

That adventure will wait for another day. Right now I’ve got a cup of tea to make and dishes to wash…on second thought, the dishes will wait.

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