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Posts Tagged ‘time’

I have never had general anaesthetic before.  Pretty amazing given my age (47).  But it’s true.  I am scheduled for surgery on Friday and I’m nervous about it.  Not nervous about the procedure, the surgeon has my complete faith and he knows what he’s doing.  I’m not nervous about dying, because I’ve made my peace with God and am ready for whatever comes my way.  I am nervous about the anaesthetic and my reaction to it.

I’ve been preparing this week by eating a bland diet.  Drinking lots of water and herbal tea.  Detoxing the processed crap from my diet.  Breathing better.  Getting things in order at the Church for Vestry.  Asking a friend and Deacon to take the services for me so I don’t have to worry about presiding service less than 48 hours after surgery.  I’m even staying overnight at a friend’s house for a couple of nights to make sure I have someone with me.  Another friend is moving in to look after the dogs so they are cared for.

The massive anxiety I have been carrying was lessened significantly when I decided not to work on Sunday.  I know it’s our annual meeting and that’s a really big deal, but so is my health.  The work has been done to get everything ready; well, as ready as things can be for this meeting.  We must remember to leave room for the Holy Spirit.

I will be spending some time at the Church this afternoon putting things away as the office is a pigsty right now, sorting things out, finding files, filing them, etc.  And once that is done I will breathe a great sigh of relief.  I have full trust in our Wardens that they will do a fantastic job of Vestry.  I’d like to be there, but I don’t have to be there.  Vestry happened before I came to my current parish and it will happen again when I’m no longer there.

I have done what makes me comfortable.  I have organised as best I can.  The rest I leave in capable hands.  And it will be what it will be.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to refill my water bottle.  🙂

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It seems you cannot turn on social media these days without hearing about the ALS Ice Bucket challenge.  The idea, initially, was two-fold, to raise 1. money and 2. awareness about living with ALS.  It is a degenerative neurological disease in which the body slowly stops working.  It is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, the famous baseball player who was one of the first people to be diagnosed.

Sufferers of the disease lose control of their body, but never lose control of their mind.  It’s been likened to being buried alive or slowly suffocating in sand.  Not very welcoming images.

The controversy on social media is the perceived water waste for people who are taking part in the challenge.  I have seen lots of videos posted to Facebook and You Tube.  Some are dignified, some are humorous and some are disgusting.  Recently I was challenged to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  This hits very close to home for me.  One of my parishioners died from the disease last fall.  He was in his 70’s when he was diagnosed, which is “late” for diagnosis.  Another of my parishioners is currently battling the disease and she is only in her 50’s.  She has an 13 month old grandson.  Slowly, she is losing control of her body, is now full-time in a wheelchair.  

Her and her husband built a barrier-free house in the same community as her daughter and they are living with the disease. I decided, last Sunday, to take part in the Ice Bucket Challenge, on the front lawn at the Church by the Church sign.  In collecting from the folks attending church we generated $50 which I will mail to the ALS Society of London.

Folks are getting upset because water is being wasted.  And while that may be a true statement, Canadians and Americans waste an inordinate amount of water every day.  One person participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge will not make a child in Africa die of thirst.  It’s the same concept as not eating our dinner as a child would make a child in Africa go hungry.

I chose the front lawn of the church so the water could be return to the ground, sacred ground at that.  The ice was collected and used a second time for my husband and daughter to participate.  There was very little waste, in my humble opinion.

The other controversy surrounds the funds being pledged and generated.  Every non-profit charity is held to great scrutiny at times like this.  And they should be.  Administration can often make up 40% or more of funds received.  Back in the day when I had a “real job” I worked for three health-charities.  All of them worked on shoestring budgets and were not supported by United Way.  Our Administration stayed at approximately 8% which was considered high.

There will always be people who try to pull a fast one.  They will make a video and not donate.  Or collect money and not send it in.  However, the vast majority of people will send in money, will pledge to send money and follow through.  Standing on a fence built of moral high ground is not a fence that will be strong.  It will blow as the wind does and eventually you’ll be sitting flat on your butt.  A humbling experience indeed.

Do I support the ALS ice bucket challenge?  I do!  I did, and I challenged my brother and sister-in-law.  

Do I understand the cries about wasted water?  To a certain extent, I do.  And that is why we chose to be economical in the amount of water we used and in the location where the water was poured.  I do think there were some videos that were excessive, but I expect it was more about people trying to promote a greater video than to intentionally waste water.

The bottom line for me is that the challenge raises awareness about a disease that has no cure.  If 1,000 people now know about the disease, it was worth the media hype.

So everybody, please calm down.  If you don’t want to participate, then don’t.  But please stop shouting platitudes at those who choose to participate.

Every party has a pooper.

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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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You may wonder why this Christmas post is actually the 26th of December? Well, after three services on Tuesday, one yesterday followed by Home Communion I was physically, emotionally and spiritually spent. I was empty. And so I slept, and slept, and slept. I likely could have slept longer, but at some point you are expected to return to the world.

Christmas is about gathering. Gathering with congregation, with family and friends. It’s not about gifts, and if the day came that there was absolutely nothing material given to me, I wouldn’t mope. I am fortunate, to be in a place where I can buy myself, most of the things I need and want. If there’s something I can’t afford, I wait until I can afford it, or I don’t buy it. I didn’t always feel this way. Most Christmases past were financed by my credit card. And it would feel good to buy with relative abandon. Then I’d add up the receipts and be gobsmacked and furious that I had spent so much.

My credit card always carried a balance. And after Christmas was usually at its maximum limit. So when the bill arrived in January I would open it with a sense of dread. Then I would pull out a piece of paper, a calculator and figure out what money was coming in, what bills needed to be paid and how much I could put on the credit card to try to pay it down as quickly as possible. But I didn’t learn.

In September my beloved and I decided we wanted to make debt reduction a priority, and so we applied for a loan and paid off the credit card and both of our lines of credit. We still have an overdraft because sometimes we the loan payment comes out before he has a chance to deposit his paycheque. At first I thought I’d miss being able to plunk down the credit card when I saw something that I had to have. But I don’t.

Instead of wandering around a store when I want to pass time, I meditate or go for a walk. I spend time on my yoga mat or in my sanctuary, reading, being still or simply breathing. And it’s awesome. I am going to take a garbage bag into the home office, as the dog got in there recently and tore apart of whole lot of stuff. I am going to fill the garbage bag with things that are broken or simply not needed and get rid of them. Either to the garbage or to the back of my car and off to an agency that will use them, such as Neighbourhood Closet, Goodwill or Value Village. And it will be awesome.

Since I have been lightening my financial load, I notice that my waistline is thinning somewhat as well. I think I have finally learned to stop self-medicating with food or shopping. Could it be that I am finally learning, after all these years? Imagine that!

So this Christmas has been very Merry. I didn’t get a chance to see my Mam or my brother and sister-in-law and nephews, but soon I will. I don’t have to eat all the things put in front of me. I don’t have to spend my way into a coma to feel good about myself and how much I can give away. All I need to do is give of myself and that will be a good thing.

Because I am enough.

And so are you.

My wish for you is that your Christmas be content. That you feel joy, hope, peace and especially love. And that you realise that you have everything you need within you.

God Bless xo

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It could be the edge of insanity, or it could be the edge of awesome. I don’t believe I have ever felt this weary and yet this wired at any time before in my life. It’s a strange manic/hyper place, where I am not the slightest bit familiar. I don’t like it here.

The past two weeks have been really rough in many ways and I am so very happy to be getting away from this place. I love what I do, and I love where I live, but right now I’m so empty that I’m worried I’m starting to corrode.

My yoga mat is packed and ready to go. I have a list of things to put in my handbag so I have what I need for the train ride at my fingertips. I have packed some healthy snacks to take with me so all I have to buy is sparkling water or perhaps a cup of tea. a friend is taking me to the train station so my husband and daughter can have an afternoon of awesome together going swimming.

Today we went to an off leash beach in a big city a couple of hours away. The dogs were good, the younger one has never been in the lake before and he loves it. He’s a natural swimmer and even gave our dock diving older dog a run for her money. They slept soundly, snoring most of the way home.

The towels from today’s adventure are in the dryer. I’m going to flip them around and put them on again as the load was really full, and I’m quite sure they’re not dry. And then I think I’ll go to bed.

I have no homily for tomorrow. And I will own it. I’m overtired, I’m beyond exhausted and I’m very pleased that I have two weeks away beginning tomorrow. By this time tomorrow I will be with my friend, driving from the train station to the small town where she lives and I will really and truly be on vacation. I was have two weeks of Sabbath. And I can’t wait.

The lists have been prepared of what I need to bring and many of the smaller things have been packed. I have a book I’m bringing for a course I’m taking in September, that I may or may not get around to reading. I am bringing my yoga mat and my journal. Two dresses for theatre events we are going to, and a small collection of tops and bottoms. A yoga jacket, a heavier cardigan and that’s all I need.

Makeup is packed, jewellery is packed, clothes have been set out but not yet packed. Still have to pack toiletries, which will happen tomorrow after Church and then, I am done.

I need to pick up a pair of sandals I was looking at the other night. My right heel is an absolute mess, and the sandals I currently have aggravate it. My thoughts of extended walking are on hold for a week, I may pick them up on week two of my vacation, if my heel is in better shape. The weather is supposed to be cooler and wet for the first week, then bright and sunny the second week. Awesome.

I will not set an agenda. I will take each day as it comes. I will take better care of myself. Drink lots of water. Eat healthier foods. Laugh uncontrollably. Pour out my heart and soul in words. Pray without ceasing. Stretch my mind and body into better health. Eliminate sugar, refined flour, processed foods and alcohol from my diet, perhaps forever.

Mindfulness is the touch-word for this vacation.

I don’t know when I will blog again. This vacation will also be electronics free. My cell phone is coming with me for emergencies, and for checking on my family. But nothing else. It will not travel with me if we are away for the day. I will not come with me or be near me when I am practicing yoga. And I’m looking forward to that.

Today, I feel like I’m standing on the edge of insanity. I pray that in two weeks I will be standing on the edge of awesomeness. Only time, determination, faith, and openness will tell.

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My dad

This past couple of years have been challenging. I’ve struggled with depression, with CFS, with an active and aging congregation. I’ve presided the funeral of too many friends, of my dad and of his best friend. And while we are called to remember that death is not the end, but the beginning of new life, it still sucks when someone we love dies.

My dad was my editor. Every university paper and newspaper article I wrote, he read. He never changed content, but read to ensure grammatical accuracy, spelling accuracy and would usually comment, concisely on whether or not the point I was making was understood. Eventually my writing improved to the point where he would read the document and send it back with “I find absolutely nothing to criticise”. High praise from my dad.

His death on the 12th of June was expected but also too soon. We knew he was failing, his health had been failing for a while, and yet although we knew he was dying, we had not fully reconciled that he would actually stop breathing. So when he did, it was a shock. At the moment of his death my mother and I were at the funeral home, planning for the inevitable, never imagining it would be so soon.

I have lived in a different city from my parents for more than 20 years. I don’t get to see them as often as I’d like. And yet when I did see them my dad and I didn’t spend too much time together. I would stop in his room and we’d chat about the weather, or the drive, or the mechanical fitness of my car. And yet, I knew, when I had a really big problem, or when I needed advice, that he would be there for me.

I would send him long, rambling emails and a couple of hours later I’d get back a paragraph, at the most, with a suggestion. And it was never something I’d considered, or wanted to consider, and yet he was always right.

My dad was a storyteller, some of my earliest childhood memories are of snuggling up with him, and hearing stories of his childhood. He was a natural storyteller, and taught me well. I tend to be more flamboyant than he was, and yet I love a good story told well. Dad never waved his arms around or used voices or accents other than his own. And his stories were the greatest.

I find myself thinking of him a lot lately, as we just marked 3 months since he died. There will never be another opportunity for him to edit one of my articles. I won’t be able to get his concise answers when I ask for advice. It’s difficult understanding the “never agains” that have happened and will continue to happen as we mark the events, large and small in our lives.

I know he will be with us always. I hope he can hear what we are saying and feel how much he is missed. What I miss most is the awkward hug I’d get at the end of a visit, when I go and say goodbye to him, preparing that it may be the last time I’d see him alive. And he’d always say the same thing; “take it easy” as I was getting ready to leave.

So dad, if you’re reading this as I type it, or will pull it out of cyberspace to give it a once over, thanks. Thank you for everything. For being my dad. For teaching me to tell the story. For supporting me even when I broke your heart. And for loving me, although the words were never spoken, the emotion was understood.

I love you dad, I miss you. Take it easy.

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Some weeks I have very few meetings and then they all tend to bunch up…which can make for emotional whiplash and occasional frustration.

The last couple of days have been filled with appointments, both at the church and elsewhere and while they were not all of the same nature, they all touched on being in the presence of the sacred.

Yesterday afternoon I had tea with a parishioner whose husband died a couple of months ago. She feels no need to remain the community (they moved here for his medical treatments) and so she’s decided to move “home” to the community where she lived before moving here.

It’s a big step, and she’s afraid and yet she believes this is what is best for her. So as we had tea and reflected on the five years we’ve known each other there were tears, laughter and hugs. We shared prayers together and communion. And in the silence, there was the blessing of the Holy One, helping us both feel that all would be well, and all would be revealed at the right time…not necessarily in our time.

I also met with a couple who are struggling with a difficult family situation. At some point there will be a meeting at which I will mediate and as they were expressing upset, frustration and fear, something incredible happened. We joined hands, prayed aloud and a great sense of peace enveloped us. We don’t know the outcome, but we do trust that all will be revealed at the right time.

Last night I visited with a couple who are both struggling with health related issues. One has developed mobility issues and the other is awaiting a procedure for cancer. They shared openly their concerns and hopes. We prayed together and shared communion and in that silence, in that stillness there was hope. Whatever the outcome, there will be peace in the waiting. Sitting in their living room on a rainy Tuesday night I was reminded of why I do what I do.

This afternoon I will visit a lady who is in hospital with some serious medical issues. She’s been in for a couple of weeks while the medical team decides whether or not she can return home. She’s in her 80’s and not happy at the prospect of reduced mobility or a nursing home. And yet, when we sit after prayer, in the comfortable silence of each other, we feel the presence of the sacred. We know that God is with us and in time all will be revealed.

There is also a parishioner who was rushed into surgery Monday night. I was able to see him briefly before he was transferred to a room and he’s in very good spirits. His family and I prayed for the skill of the surgeons hands, as well as healing, patience and peace. And those prayers were heard. The next journey is still unknown for him and his family, but whatever the outcome there is a sense of peace.

Standing in the presence of the sacred is awe-inspiring and such an incredible honour. When little things get under my skin I remember those small, seemingly insignificant moments and breathe deeply. Knowing that this too will pass, and all things are in God’s time…not necessarily in our time.

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