Faith from the Edges

Faith and life from the perspective of me.

Archive for the tag “beauty”

Bye, Bye 2016! Hello 2017!

A lot can happen in a year as we all know. 2016 for me has been all about the recovery. Recovery from cancer treatment and then recovery from the depression caused by having cancer. Seeing my hair grow and finally being able to get it cut and then needing another cut and getting a colour! The two pictures above were essentially taken a year apart. I am so grateful to have made it through all the cancer rigamarole and to mostly be feeling more myself.

There has been much that was good about last year and I don’t want to forget that as we say farewell to this past year.

I am grateful for all the family time the dear one and I got in this year. Time with his folks, time with my folks, time with our adult lovelies, time to take an extra special holiday to the west coast with two nieces and a nephew. How much fun did we all have on our adventures each day! We celebrated his parents 60th wedding anniversary – have to admit that is a life goal of mine. We got almost three weeks with our younger daughter before she headed off on her big adventure overseas.

I am also grateful that this year has been a good one as far as my ministry within the church. I have met many fine folk in this diocese who are committed to the work of reconciliation between Indigenous and settler in Canada and in particular our part of Canada. They want to educate themselves, they want to build up relationships, they want the church to become part of that story. This work keeps me energized in so many important ways.

The dear one and I celebrated 30 years of marriage this year and that really is a high point for both of us. We have been through so much together – both good, bad, silly, humdrum, fantastic and boring. We still look at each other and are amazed by the others love and are ever so grateful.

Here’s the tough stuff. No one warns, or at least not in my hearing, cancer survivors of the high rate of depression following treatment. I mean, really, you don’t think that someone’s emotional and mental health are as important as their physical health. I have to say that throughout this I am extremely grateful to the dear one for supporting me through that and for my family doctor and my therapist – they both got me through the worst. So a shout out to all of you dealing with cancer and its treatment, make sure that you get the help you need to deal with the mental and emotional bits as well as the physical bits.

The rest of the tough stuff is the part of the world I have no control over. The state of politics in the world, the rise of racist, right wing ideologies that just freak me out! The state of our environment – if you are a climate change denier please do some honest to goodness research and let’s all work together to leave a better planet for future generations. The state of so many women’s lives – please hear this men, feminism is not out to destroy you, it’s out to make the world a better place for all of us. I honestly think we can all do better in this regard.

Here are some of my goals for 2017:

  1. To write here more often – it does me good to write and so I am going to commit to at least two posts a month. Oh my goodness, I just put that out there.
  2. To move more – generally this means walking for me, but I also need to get in the water more. I have to get over my ‘they will be looking at me’ fear and just move more.
  3. To drink different beers – so many good beers out there.
  4. To laugh as loudly and as often as I can.
  5. To support those dealing with cancer. It is those of us who have gone through it that can be the best supporters for those going through it.
  6. To pray each day – I know right, you’d think a Christian woman living out her faith would already do this- but you know I really need to dig down into this.
  7. Find a way to deal with my chronic pain that doesn’t spoil every bit of my life – those of you who live with chronic pain will know what I am talking about.
  8. Have more people over for meals, drinks, whatever and spread the hospitality around – it is good for me when I can do this.
  9. I am going to work hard at speaking my truth, standing up for justice, reminding others that reconciliation is necessary and possible, that a healthy environment is our gift to the future.
  10. To find beauty wherever I can – because my goodness this is a beautiful world and there are so many creative people out there, it won’t be hard to find – for me a big part of that will be found in my garden. Oh yes, I am already dreaming of spring.

Thanks dear readers for hanging in there with me. You have brought out the best in me and I appreciate that. Got any goals for 2017? I’d love to hear them. Going to leave you with some final thoughts from a hero of mine Archbishop Desmond Tutu:

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Happy New Year to one and all!!

 

 

#AdventWord #Love

Today’s Advent Word is Love. What a complicated little word that is – it holds all that is good, right and just in the world, and often gets misused by those who haven’t been loved the way they should have been. I have been loved so well over my life. It is probably why I am generally described as an optimistic, outgoing person.

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#AdventWord #Love

Like others I need to find the time & places that will re-energize me, fill up my spoons, so that I can love as well I am being loved. In the spring and summer I do that by spending as much time as I can outside in our garden and on our deck. In the winter time that is a little more difficult. What I have done over the years is to grow indoor plants. The picture above shows about half of all my indoor plants. It takes a lot of watering cans to get all these wonders watered.

What happens when I water them is that I get renewed. I remember the good creation that we live in. I remember God’s loving care for everything, as the hymn says ‘All creatures big and small’ God loves them all. If God loves them all and loves me then it is my work as a Christian disciple to love right back. To love our broken, hurting world. To make beauty where I can, to grow beauty where I can, to show love to everyone that I meet.

I have a thing I do with those who are closest to me. When I finish a text or private message conversation with them I usually write – ‘Love you! Always!’. It means I will love them no matter what. It is the way that I feel God loves me and loves them. Love you! Always!

#Thrive #AdventWord

Thrive Advent Word

I have had this orchid for about 6 years now, it never fails to bloom each year & sometimes twice a year, it continues to thrive in what should be a harsh environment for it. My house is too dry, the heat fluctuates, the sun is not consistent, and yet it continues to thrive.

When I reflect on the Advent Word for today, thrive, this orchid came to mind. It thrives when you don’t think it will. It brings me beauty and joy in some of the darkest days of winter. I look at and I smile. A really big smile! The orchids I have, the other indoor plants I have and the outside gardening I do allow me to play in the dirt, use water, think about God’s good creation and I how I can help it to thrive and be creative.

I realize that I have thrived as well, by the grace of God, through some tough stuff that at the time I didn’t think I would survive. To thrive is to have hope, to see joy, to be creative, to have fun – all good things in my mind.

How do you thrive? What brings you joy and beauty and points the way to God’s grace?

Beauty, Delight, Grace

Lent prayer table

This is going to be my prayer table for Lent. The cup is the one I have chosen to use as I go through Joyce Rupp’s book The Cup of Our Life. It was given to me by my Grandpa even before I met the dear one. It has my name on it and forget me not flowers. It has some some tea stains on the inside. It reminds me of his love. The candle holder is one the dear one gave me and has a woman figure on it that is growing into a tree of life. It feels divine and holy to me. The scarf was a gift given by a dear friend when we left Gaspe almost 12 years ago. It has gannets and daisy flowers on it. Gannets make me think of the Holy Spirit for they dive into the water as the Spirit dives into our lives. The daisies are reminders that new life is always possible.

These are all gifts. I didn’t pick any of them out and they have given me more than the gifters probably thought they would. I have been blessed by their beauty. Reminded to delight in gifts. Felt the ongoing grace of their love and care for me. I want to hold these things in front of me as I go through this season of Lent.

What gifts have you been given that you can hold in front of you this Lent? What gifts have brought you grace, delight and beauty?

Words for 2013

I don’t do resolutions, at least I don’t do ones now. I have found that for the most part they don’t work for me. However last year I found something that did work for me.

A year ago I chose three words to guide me through the year. I wrote about  my choices a month after I had started this blog.  We have come to the cusp of a new year and it is time for some new words to give me direction for this year. Before I let you know what the words are for this year I want you to know that I am planning on keeping the words from last year around (courage, joy, voice) as they have fed me in ways that I didn’t expect them to and I know I will need to remember them again.

Words for 2013:

Beauty – I want to look for beauty each day. I want to have beauty feed my soul. I want to share beauty with others as I find it in odd and interesting places (so expect some interesting photos from time to time). I want to be surprised by beauty. I want to pay attention to beauty. Beauty needs, for me, to be part of regular life and not something that is saved for special occasions or extraordinary times.

Gratitude – I am aware that gratitude is becoming a daily thing for me. However this word is speaking to me so I know that I have to be much more intentional about it. I must admit the catch phrase ‘attitude of gratitude’ puts my teeth on edge. I find it too simplistic for what I am thinking about. I don’t want to just find the good parts of my life to be grateful for – that is the easy part. I want to find the way to be grateful for those parts of my life I just can’t stand. The grief I have been through, the physical pain I feel everyday. I want to find a way to be grateful for those things and for the learnings that have come about because of them.

Faith – I started this blog 10 months ago because I needed a way to talk about my faith, a faith I was living out on the edges of the church, a faith I was struggling to figure out again, a faith that seemed to have taken me into exile. This next year I want to take time to explore my faith from inside the church again and remember how to be vulnerable in it, how to be open to the Spirit again. I want my faith to be open again. I want to grow in my faith.

A small thing of beauty that I found while camping this past summer with the dear one.

A small thing of beauty that I found while camping this past summer with the dear one.

What do you do to get you motivated for the upcoming year? Where is the Spirit leading you?

Faith and Dragonflies

A Christmas gift from my son in law.

A Christmas gift from my son in law.

I love dragonflies. I love their tenacity, strength, beauty and fragility. I love how they eat mosquitoes both as larvae and as adults. I love how they dance with the wind and in the sunshine. I love how they make me feel when I see them dancing around flowers in my garden or darting through the woods when I go on walks. I love their different sizes and colours. I love how they inspire me to see good and hope in the world on days when it doesn’t seem like anything is going right. I love dragonflies.

I have a wonderful son in law, who is also a blogger.  I have so enjoyed reading his adventures of training for triathlons and running races and sometimes just about his life in general.

The painting above was part of his Christmas gift to me this year. I opened it up and it made me cry. It made me realize how much I have come to love this young man and how important he is to our whole family. I am impressed by how much he knows me and that he cares for me so much to do a painting of my favourite thing and realizes how important the dragonfly image is to my faith life.

The dragonfly for me has become a symbol of resurrection and God’s amazing grace in the world. Dragonflies reminds me that sometimes I need to let go and go with the wind of change, that I can be strong even when I don’t think I can be. They also remind me that sometimes you just need to rest and let the sun warm your wings before you move on to the next thing (something my family is very aware of). Dragonflies also point me in the direction of beauty and blessings and that I need to look for those everyday no matter what else is happening around me.

The gift of the dragonfly has fed my faith and made me a better person. The dragonfly feeds my wonder as a child of God in me daily.

I am full of gratitude for this gift   from my son in law. I am full of gratitude for the blessings of this new town to live in. I am full of gratitude that my faith has survived the bruising that the last two years has presented.

I am looking forward to finding a place for this painting in our new home, when we get a new home. In the meantime I will place it in our bedroom and remember to look at it in the morning and in the evening and give thanks for my faith, for dragonflies and mostly for the wonderful man that my eldest daughter fell in love with and married and brought into our family.

Living out my faith on the edges with dragonflies and gratitude.

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