Faith from the Edges

Faith and life from the perspective of me.

Archive for the tag “joy”

#AdventWord #Simplify

#AdventWord #Simplify

Every afternoon about 2 pm I stop and make a pot of tea. If the dear one is home I bring him a cup of tea (and today two ginger cookies). This tea break in the afternoon is one of the ways that I stop and breathe and remember that simple things are often the things that give me the most joy.

An afternoon cup of tea is the pause that allows me to think more clearly, to find creative space, to simplify my thought processes. It also tastes really good and that is a simple joy that can last a long time.

I often think that my faith can get cluttered with all kinds of unnecessary things. Am I saying the right prayer? Am I praying enough? Am I being thoughtful and caring? Am I  being an evangelist  to those I meet? Then I pause, often with a cup of tea, and remember that Jesus asked one thing, that I follow him and live out the values of the reign of God – love, justice, peacemaking, truth, reconciliation.

When my life gets too cluttered and too busy then I know it’s time for that cup of tea and time to simplify.

 

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#AdventWord #Awaken

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#AdventWord #Awaken

First off, I know I am bit behind here. This was the word for two days ago, so I still have yesterday’s and today’s to get done. I am in my happy place when writing so that works for me.

I took the above picture just as the morning sun came in our dining room and we had our star lights lit up for the open house later that day. I loved how bright the sun got and how it seemed to say are you awake? Awaken your hearts and see God’s light and love coming for you. Awaken your hearts and be God’s light and love for those around you.

I have kept thinking about that. How do I awaken to God’s light and love? How do I become  God’s light and love? I have no clear answers at the moment – so I am just going to sit and be with the questions for awhile.  For me in Advent the questions that arise are usually where God is leading me to a new insight. I’m not there yet but something is glimmering on the southern horizon and I need to pay attention to it. That I think is part of awakening – paying attention to the questions that are the stirrings of my spirit for the Spirit.

30 Years!

 

Be warned this is a bit of mushy post. Not to put you off, but I am happy that the dear one and I have made it this far and I want share that with you all.

Hands of love and commitment

30 years ago on February 8th the dear one and I had our first date. We didn’t even realize at the time it was our first date but by the end of the evening when he leaned over and kissed me and I kissed back we sure knew. We look back at that date and realize that was when love started to grow between us. Our friends from that time will tell you that we had a whirlwind romance because after 6 weeks of dating we were engaged.

We have spent the next 30 years together.Moving to different communities, raising children, sharing our hopes, dreams, sorrows, frustrations, fears, love, joy, faith, doubts – in other words our lives with each other. I can’t imagine my life without him and I know that I am a better person because of him. I am fairly sure that he feels the same.

We have fallen in love over and over again. We have fought like you wouldn’t believe. We have been quiet with each other when we probably shouldn’t have been. We have shouted when we should have done more listening. We have laughed and laughed and laughed. We have developed friendships with so many good people over the years. We have dealt with physical health issues and mental health issues and have stood by each other through those things.

We have let our lives become a sacrament and hope that we show God’s love to others as we have made our way in the world. We are a couple the dear one and I and it makes me smile just to say that.

Here’s to another 30 years of living, loving and laughing with my dear one. I am so grateful to have become his friend, his wife, his partner and that God has given us the grace to make life better together.

#Expand #AdventWord

The dear one is the rector of lovely, small Anglican parish, Immanuel, Wetaskiwin. The people of this parish are working hard to expand their presence in our community and beyond. They are working hard at being a generous, sharing people. They are working hard at being a place of reconciliation. Today we saw some fruits of that work. It was such a joyful morning there today!

#Expand #AdventWord

Today was Food Bank Sunday, something we do once a month, and we had also decided that as part of our outreach in the community we would be part of the Secret Santa program our small city is doing. People brought in food, lots and lots of food and people brought in toys, lots and lots of toys. There was so much joy, so much love, people had expanded their hearts and became generous. They became agents of God’s reconciling love for the world.

My heart is full. The dear one’s heart is full. I think the whole community of Immanuel should be grateful that God has moved us in this way.

In what way is God asking you to expand and be open to love and generosity?

#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?

Ready or Not Lent is nearly here!

A couple of years ago I wrote this post about not giving anything up for Lent or taking anything on for Lent. It was in response to a really difficult point in my life, a point where I felt abandoned by my church. Last year I had a more typical Lent in that we are once again part of an active church community but I didn’t do much extra because we were also busy settling into our new home and that felt like enough. This year is different. This year I am feeling ready for Lent. I prepared to take some extra things on and I am prepared to let some things go. I am prepared to embrace this season and move through the coming forty days with joy and expectation.

I am takJoyceRuppCuping on two disciplines this Lent. One is personal. I am going to pray my way through Joyce Rupp’s book The Cup of Our Life: a guide to spiritual growth. I am going to choose a cup and set up a prayer spot and take the time for God and me, to open up some space and see what happens. As it feels appropriate I will share with you what I am learning, struggling with and how the discipline is going. I haven’t done any regular prayer time for quite a while and it seems this is the moment to do it.

animate

The other discipline I will be taking on has a community aspect to it. The church community that I worship with has decided to deepen its spiritual life by gathering together for study using the Animate Faith program. This is a video based program that takes 7 weeks to go through so it will get us into Easter as well, but that will be fine. I am looking forward to delving into the issues put forward in this program with this community. I am looking forward to learning together and digging deeper together.

At the beginning of this year I wrote a post on the words that I have chosen to be my guideposts for this year. This is probably the most important part of my Lenten disciplines this year is to look for those moments of creativity, delight and grace as I journey through this season. To make note of them and to give thanks to God for them as they happen.

I told the dear one the other day that for the first time in years I am looking forward to Lent. I suspect that some of that has to do with how long an Epiphany season we have had this year and also that I am feeling more comfortable and at home with the folks that we worship and work with week after week. I am looking forward to a full Lent where my personal spiritual life and my community spiritual life become more connected and where the hope of resurrection is being glimpsed each day.

Lent, ready or not, here I come!

Time for the Greening of my Soul

I think I can finally say that the grief is over, done, kaput, gone. I will always have a sad place in my heart about what happened to the dear one and I in our last couple of years of Kenora, but I am done with grieving about it. It is over and finished. We have moved on both literally and figuratively.

It is now time for the greening, the growing, the nurturing of my soul. Isn’t it great that this happened just as the Pentecost season, the green season of the church, has started?

damsel-fly

During this greening time I am promising myself the following:

  • To listen more to the Spirit
  • To engage in theological discussions with the dear one
  • To read, read and read – Scripture, other blogs about faith, theological books, fiction of all kinds – almost anything I can get my hand or eyes on
  • To spend as much time as I can outside this summer
  • To garden, preserve food for the winter, to cook good meals to share with the dear one and with friends new and old
  • To sing as much as I can
  • To go to yoga regularly, stretch, walk, move as much as I am able
  • To let gratitude for everything seep into my soul

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.

Meister Eckhart

Forgiveness

I have been thinking about forgiveness a lot recently. I am aware that there are a number of people and situations that I need to forgive. I heard something recently that has really resonated with me. It was a conversation on the CBC a few weeks ago. The host was interviewing a woman whose daughter had been kidnapped and then murdered. She spoke about how she lives a life of forgiveness. She said that anger can be addictive because it makes us feel powerful and in control and that forgiveness is something she has to work at each day. That she decides to forgive her daughter’s killer each day and that forgiveness is an active state for her and her family.

As I was listening to her speak I heard the Gospel being proclaimed. The Gospel of a  radical lived out forgiveness and reconciliation.

I have carried a lot of anger around for more time than I want to remember. I am not going to make a list here as I am sure that many of my readers could come up with their own hurts and angers. I have, however,  decided that I need to find a way to move forward and to forgive, not to forget as I have learned many good lessons, but forgive so that I am not consumed by the anger in my soul.

Here’s the thing. We are moving. The dear one has accepted the offer to be the rector of a parish in Alberta. Yep, praise God, we are out of this morass and get a chance to be part of a worship community again! This is the main reason that I need to work on forgiveness. I need to learn again how to trust and love those who work with and for the church. I need to forgive so that I can find joy in ministry and the gifts that it will bring. I need to forgive so that the past hurts don’t eat me up and drain all the good out of me. I need to forgive so that I can love with my whole heart, soul, mind and strength. I need to forgive so that I can make steps to being the whole person that I know God is calling me to be. I need to forgive so that I can live as joyfully and as hopefully as I can.

This I know is going to be hard work. I know that it is going to be a decision that I have to make everyday, to forgive and let go. With God’s help I will work on this. I will keep on working on it probably for the rest of my days. Forgiveness is hard and necessary work. It is why Jesus put it in the middle of the Lord’s prayer – ‘Forgive us our sins as we forgive those of others’. I can’t be forgiven until I become someone who forgives.

Here is my promise to myself (and I am making it public so you all can keep me to it), I will forgive those who have hurt me and the dear one. I will let the anger go. I will do this everyday until it becomes a part of me and I don’t feel the anger anymore. This is what I will do to live out my faith, a faith born in radical forgiveness and grace.

Inspiration

Dragonfly Watering Can

I find inspiration is a funny thing. One day you have loads of it and the next it seems to have just vanished. I have also found that I need to feed my inspiration. This watering can is an example of that feeding. I love dragonflies – I mean, I really, really love them. They give me joy when I see one in my garden or when out camping. They look so fragile but they are really quite strong. I love the different shapes, colours, sizes of dragonflies. It is this that gives me inspiration to keep on with what is put in front of me and fly towards my goals.

I also find inspiration in the parts of my life that I struggle with; lack of  worship community, expressing my faith, finding new work. It is dealing with these struggles that I find words that help to express my feelings of loss and grief. These inspire me to write and sometimes amazing things happen.

Inspiration also comes about when I read or hear something that just about makes my blood boil. I begin to think about what I need to do to make a situation right or to support the person involved in an unjust situation. I begin to speak, write and tell others what I am thinking and feeling.

Last night I had a great conversation with the dear one. We were talking theology and scriptures and how to live them out in our lives. I love those conversations they get me thinking and wondering and fill me with inspiration to keep on living a life of faith.

Where do you get your inspiration? What has inspired you recently? Love to hear from you about what gets your creativity going. Never know what might inspire me on to something new, fun and lovely.

Celebrations

I have been thinking a lot about celebrations lately. How much I am looking forward to celebrating with the dear one when he gets offered another parish! How fun it was to celebrate the marriage of our oldest and her beloved. How we celebrated the end of my position with laughter and good friends. How we are going to celebrate my dear one’s mother’s 80th birthday soon.

I don’t know about you dear reader but I love a good party! I always feel closer to God in the midst of a party. I feel the joy and wonder and just know that God is there.

I am aware that there are some out there who find this difficult to believe that God would be in the midst of a good party but I know it to be true. I am looking forward to partying this weekend with my family as we celebrate. I know that God will be there with us, in our laughter, our joy at being together, in the quiet moments that individuals spend together and if they happen in our tears.

God and I have had a bit of a rocky relationship lately so the thought of celebration time is good for my soul and good for my well being. Celebrations are times to reflect on the joys past and to look to the joys of the future.

So my faith and and I are going to celebrate for a while.

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