Faith from the Edges

Faith and life from the perspective of me.

Archive for the tag “faith”

A River of Women

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River of Women

River of Women

I stand still and watch the colours wave around me

I remember my mother and my grandmothers

I think about my daughters and my nieces

I hold hands with my sister and sisters of my heart

I am in the river of women

This river which holds our blood, our tears

This river of our hopes, our dreams

I move with the colours that swirl around me

I look back and give thanks to the women who walked before me

I am in the river of women

I am surrounded by the colours of grief, the colours of love

I am filled with the songs of women and the cries of women

I am in  a river of persistence and resistance

This river flows over me, around me, beneath me and through me

I am in the river of women

I hear the voices of all the different women who I have crossed paths with

I hear the women who have been abused, catcalled, murdered just because they are women

I drop to my knees on Mother Earth and let my tears fall

My tears join others in the river of women

I am in the river of women

I am lifted up by the river of women

I remember that being a woman is to be strong, to carry pain, to give birth to new things

I look to the future and see women from there beckoning to me

I see the strong women, the Indigenous women, the women of colour hold me up

I am in the river of women

I hear the prayers of women that feed the river

I am upheld by those prayers of hope, love, persistence and resistance

I add my prayer for justice to feed the river of women

I let the river flow through me and set me on my path

I am the river of women

P.S. These are my reflections for this International Women’s Day and some art work I did while reflecting. Grateful for this day that allowed those creative parts of me to merge.

#AdventWord #Embrace

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#AdventWord #Embrace

Yesterday was a hard day. I live with a chronic illness – rheumatoid arthritis – mostly it is invisible – yesterday it wasn’t. My hands got swollen and red and it was hard to do much. So I didn’t. It was what my body needed to rest. So I did.

The Advent word for yesterday was embrace. I realized that I needed to embrace where I was at the point. When I am in pain it is hard for me to feel hopeful, it is hard for me to find the faith that life will get better. What I said on my Instagram post was ‘this hand will embrace hope even when it is hard’. It is hard work embracing hope, when all around you see darkness, despair and you have no idea how to keep going.

I am going to work on embracing hope even when it doesn’t seem worthwhile to do so. For tomorrow often brings a new perspective and sheds a new light on a difficult situation. It doesn’t mean that I will stop caring for myself, because I have to otherwise I just stop functioning. It does mean that when I get to those moments of darkness I will remember that embracing hope may be the only thing I can do. Embrace what you need to, to get you through the hard moments, days, nights. With you I will remember that God came to us in the midst of great darkness, to give us hope to embrace and to make faith that much richer.

 

#AdventWord #Trust

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#AdventWord #Trust

Over the years the dear one and I have prayed together. From time to time we have done that separately but recently we are working at getting back into the habit of saying morning prayer together. It is an act of trust for us to share our prayer time together. We trust each other, we trust that God will hear our prayers, we trust that we will hear God speaking to us in our time together.

This is going to be a short post – my rheumatoid arthritis is flaring and that means pain is getting in the way of my being able to think clearly. So dear readers if you could say a prayer that the pain would ease, I would much appreciate it. I am trusting that the meds I am taking and the rest that I am going to have will help to calm things down.

#AdventWord #Act

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#AdventWord #Act

There’s no doubt about it, yesterday was a rough day. I couldn’t even come up with an image for the day’s word, act, until almost the end of the day. I certainly didn’t have the energy to do any reflection about it. Here we go, a day late, but I’m keeping my promise to do this for every image.

The picture above is last night’s supper. My homemade mac & cheese which is just one of those basic comfort foods in our house. It took an actual act of faith for me to get that done. I just wanted someone else to come and take care of us. It was I must admit not one of my better moments. I was just cranky and done with everything. In fact the dear one and I got into a miserable squabble about apparently nothing.  So to make our supper was the only real nice act I could do to get something decent back from the day.

Do you ever have days like that? Days where it seems like every little thing is conspiring against you? For me there is only one thing I can do. Call a halt and do something kind for someone else. To act in such a way that God’s light gets a chance to shine. That’s what making supper for the dear one and I was all about – letting some light shine on what was a not so great day.

Thankfully today has been better. Hopefully tomorrow will be as well.

#AdventWord #Commit

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#AdventWord #Commit

This is my dear one working on the plumbing for our laundry room. Oh the joys of living in a character home where you think a change to the washing machine won’t be that difficult and then your beloved opens the walls and goes…..well I will leave what he said to your imagination. But you know what he doesn’t give up, he has committed to getting this done and he will get it done. It is one of the many reasons that I love him, his perseverance and his commitment to get done what he has said he would do.

I just knew when I read that today’s Advent Word is commit that it had to be a picture of my dear one doing something that he cares about and loves to do on his day off. I am so grateful to be married to this man – someone who has come through so much and still has a deep faith and commitment to the church he loves. He is one of the main reasons that I came through my year of cancer in such good shape.

I share in his commitment to make the world a better place, to show the love of Jesus wherever we go, to have our marriage be something others look to and get inspired by.

 

#AdventWord #Be

#AdventWord #Be

There are few places in my home where I can just sit and be. On the couch near this fireplace is one of them, in the summer it is on our deck sitting in the shade on a warm day. Both are places that I can just sit, sip a drink, have a quiet moment with the dear one, just be present and not think about what needs to happen next. There are not many places in my life that can happen at the moment. I am grateful for them, for they calm me down, and remind me that being present helps to settle my heart and open me to God’s presence in my life.

During Advent it can be hard to find those moments and just be. There is always something that needs doing, something that needs attending to, something that needs to be planned. Taking those moments, slowing the heart down, being present to those around me, are for me what is really important about Advent. It is about making space in my life for the Spirit to speak to me and help me see the coming of God’s kingdom. Now it’s time for a cup of tea and a moment to just be.

#AdventWord #Repent

#AdventWord #Repent

If you ask the dear one, members of my family or my closest friends they will tell you that I worry, a lot. I worry about little things and I worry about big things. So when I was thinking about the Advent Word, repent I realized that I needed to talk about my own repentance.

I am an impatient woman and that is one of the reasons that I worry. I worry because I can’t wait for things to come around in their own time, or for the news I have been waiting for to happen. I really need to repent of this. Right now my little/big worry is about my hair growing back, post-chemo. The picture above shows my head at 5 weeks post-chemo and you can see it is still just wispy. I am worrying about how long it will take for me to have hair on my head. Good gracious, I really need to let that go! My hair will grow back, when it grows back.

Repentance is about turning around and doing things differently because God loves you. I know this. Sometimes I live this. When it comes to worry however I still have work to do. I am going to have to keep giving my worry to God and repenting regularly. I know God loves me, I know I need to let things happen as they happen, now I just need to not worry about it!

55 Times around the Sun

55 Times around the Sun That’s right, I  have been around the amazing sun of ours, on this wonderful earth of ours, 55 times. It seemed to me, that given everything that has happened this year, I needed to find a way to mark this event. Here goes, 55 gratitudes. learnings, events in my life I want to share with you. This may take a while to read so go grab a beverage and when you are done reading, raise your glass and send me a virtual toast!

  1. For being born to a strong mother, a not always there biological father, and, he didn’t know it at the time, also to a man who became my dad.
  2. Learning how to welcome – new Dad, new sister, new extended family – at such a young age that it now has become part of who I am.
  3. That we moved to Canada and didn’t stay in England – sorry England family, but it really was one of the best decisions my mother ever made.
  4. Steaming vegetables really is better than boiling them!
  5. Grateful for so many good books that I have read for all the ones I haven’t discovered yet.
  6. For all the beautiful places in Canada that I have been and for those yet to be discovered.
  7. Being a woman and recognizing that means I need to be a feminist and call out for the equality of all.
  8. Having lived in so many different places in this great big country and that has meant I have friends in so many different places. Grateful for all those communities.
  9. That my faith has been part of my life, challenged me, strengthened me, pushed me, hopefully made me a better person.
  10. Dark chocolate is so much better than milk chocolate – just sayin’.
  11. Canadian health care for all its faults is still one of the best systems in the world.
  12. Moving to Saskatchewan with my family is one of the best things that ever happened to me – for there I met both my bestie and my dear one.
  13. Drink water when you’re thirsty and even when you aren’t – hydration is essential!
  14. Good friends and family will get you and yours through almost anything.
  15. A good cry or a good laugh are essential to living well.
  16. Look for beauty everywhere – it is everywhere – enjoy it, let it feed your soul.
  17. Be thankful everyday for something, even if it has been a horrible day, find something to be thankful for.
  18. Community whether a church, a book club, a team, friends, is life giving and should always be nurtured.
  19. Good food is such a blessing and making good food for others is a treasure.
  20. My mother’s death at such a young age shaped me in ways I am still discovering.
  21. I love mornings – get my best work done then – afternoons, not so much.
  22. Sleeping next to someone you love is the best!
  23. Cake, there is always cake.
  24. Camping is always a good thing and best done with people you love.
  25. Being a Girl Guide prepared me to be a good woman and a good neighbour.
  26. Baby giggles, there is not much in the world that is better than baby giggles.
  27. Marriage is about love, yes, but also about communication and honouring the other in your life. I am so grateful for my good marriage to the dear one.
  28. Good, strong, fair trade coffee is so worthy of praise!
  29. Singing, music of any kind, is good for the soul.
  30. Being a mother has been amazing, frustrating, gratifying, sometimes disastrous, always full of love. Wouldn’t change this at all.
  31. Travel of any kind to almost anywhere is a good thing. I need to do more of it.
  32. When the dear one and I got married we had no idea of the adventures life would throw at us both good and not so good. We are still doing it together which is wonderful!
  33. Cheese! How good is cheese and so many different kinds to enjoy!
  34. Learn as much as you can about as many things as you can. Keep on learning new things and new skills. It is important!
  35. Enjoying your adult children as friends is a blessing in so many ways.
  36. Drink good wine, don’t drink bad wine – there is so much good wine in the world to enjoy.
  37. Try as hard you can to be respectful to others and work at understanding their points of view – hard, but necessary work for all of us.
  38. See beauty wherever you go. There is so much of it to enjoy, but you need to see it.
  39. Be kind to those you know and those you don’t know. Random acts of kindness should come as naturally as breathing. Be kind.
  40. Board games with family and friends are such excellent fun!
  41. I am so grateful that i have found a passion to guide my life, find yours, do it if you can.
  42. A good cup of tea is something to be cherished every day, especially during my downtime in the afternoon.
  43. Creativity feeds me regularly, through writing, sketching, photography.
  44. Living with cancer has been hard, but the way friends and family have reached out and supported me is amazing. I don’t even have words.
  45. Hanging out with people of different ages has stretched me in ways that I couldn’t have imagined. This has made me a better person.
  46. Volunteer if you can. Being able to serve different organizations in different ways has made my life richer.
  47. Naps, I love naps. Don’t take near enough of them.
  48. Hot chocolate after being outside on a really cold day – so much goodness in that cup.
  49. Sharing little joys as well as big joys with others is so important.
  50. Justice seeking, peace building, reconciling are all hard work, but so necessary in this broken world of ours.
  51. A kitty purring on my lap is just so happy making I don’t have enough words to describe it.
  52. Gardening continues to be a love of mine. Getting my hands in the dirt, watching things grow, bloom both inside plants and outside ones makes me feel so connected to God’s creation.
  53. Good conversation around the dinner table with good friends, life doesn’t get much better than that. So grateful that I have been part of so many and looking forward to many more.
  54. A good belly laugh or laughing with others does me so much good. It is so restorative.
  55. Hugs with ones you care about are the best comfort we can give each other sometimes.

Thanks for reading this far. I am looking forward to many more times around the sun before I leave this earth. I am so grateful to be coming out the other side of chemo. Bless you and here’s to birthdays!

Small Victories

It has come to me in the last while after I posted One Woman’s Story that I need to have a phrase, a catch line if you will, to hang on to during this time of uncertainty about my health. It turns out that small victories is the phrase.

It means getting up, getting dressed, getting a few important things done in the day and then reminding myself that I have to take care of myself. That self-care can be different each day and probably will be everyday. The small victories of getting some stuff done each day is enough for now. I don’t have the energy or emotional strength to do more than that at the moment. I have learned in the last couple of weeks that has to be my small victory.

There have been moments, I mean moments, of sheer terror in the last week. Just overwhelming, oh my God, what is happening to me, why is this happening to me. There have also been moments of such anger, rage, that this is happening to me, that haven’t I had enough, hasn’t the dear one had enough. There have also been moments of joy, of belly gutting laughter with the dear one, of delight and so much love where for a moment we forget what is happening and can just be us.

Small Victories

I took this picture from our front door – the sun peaking through the fog. It said so much to me about what is going on. That my life is foggy right now, but the small victory is that the sun is peaking through, that light is getting through, that I am being upheld in prayer and good thoughts, that so much support is coming my/our way. A small victory for the morning.

Each day is bringing its small victories and it is those that I am going to remember and give thanks for those moments of grace, hope, love and faith. Each small victory is a tangible reminder that I am not alone in this, even when it most terribly feels like I am. That my family, my community of faith, my friends, my God are all with me through this and this is the biggest of my small victories.

What are the small victories you hang onto to make it through the crap that life throws at you?

#Become #AdventWord

Yesterday was a tough day. My RA was flaring and I didn’t get anything done. In fact I called in sick as the pain meant that I couldn’t even think straight. Funny thing to call in sick when you work from home, but needed to be done to maintain relationships with my colleagues. It means that I am now a day behind on these posts – so you are likely to get two in one day today.

This picture is from a few months ago, but it typifies how I was doing yesterday. Curled up under a blanket, a cat on my lap, watching mindless TV and napping just to get through the day.

#Become #AdventWord

I really want to become healthy, I really want pain to become part of my past and not my future. This continues to be my daily prayer. I am doing the best I can to make that happen and I am waiting to see a new rheumatologist in the new year.

We all want to become better. Better people, better at our relationships with each other, better people of faith. We are all looking for ways to make that happen. What I realized yesterday is that this is not a short process. That it takes time and hard work and darn it all, patience. I will continue to pray to God to become healthier and for the pain to diminish. I need that and I think God wants that as well.

What do you want to become? What do you think God is calling you to do better?

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