Tuesday, April 29, 2014

There, That's Long Enough!

My husband is enjoying his second day in a row of sleeping in.  I haven't seen him this tired since....since.....um....since this time last year.  The post Lenten/Easter season is such an adrenalin let down.  That on top of being unable to access injectable vitamin B in this country has worn him right down.  I am so glad he can sleep in.  I am fielding any phone calls or emails that have to be answered immediately but other than that, I am in relax mode as well.

Since I wake up to eat every day between 7am and 8am without fail, I can't sleep in, but I can take it easy in between walks outside.  My current novel is actually getting read at times other than just before bedtime at night. (The Post-Office Girl by Stefan Zweig, translated by Joel Rottenberg) 

On the weekend we had a delightful time celebrating a double ordination service at the Cathedral.  I love ordinations:  the red and white albs and copes and stoles, the pomp and ceremony.  It is a beautiful rite of passage from deacon to priest with all the Anglican signs and symbols.  You can't miss the fact that something of great spiritual importance is happening.  Bishops and archdeacons adorn the chancel, the Eucharist table is set up perfectly, a plethora of robed priests fill the front pews of the church.  Ancient songs are sung.  The morning afterward I woke up chanting Come Holy Spirit our Hearts Inspire and my husband was singing St. Patrick's Breastplate.  After the service a delicious ham dinner was served with a multitude of salads and fresh home made buns.  My husband and I visited on and on with many old friends who had also driven from one place and another to be present for support of the new priests.  So many people were there that we rarely get to see any more since our move away from Moose Jaw. It was grand.

There was one hilarious moment for me.  When our very tall bishop stood to present the Eucharist, flanked on each side by two very short and tiny deacons, the deacon nearest to where I was sitting was completely invisible to me because she was hidden behind the large Bible on the table.  When it came time in the midst of the Eucharistic Prayer for her to lift the cup, all I could see was a tiny hand and forearm appear from behind the Bible to lift and replace the cup,  before disappearing again behind the Bible.  It was rather jarring seeing this hand appear from nowhere and disappear again. haha

At our hotel room that night, a couple of MJ buddies dropped in for a nice long visit.  We all had lots of news to catch up on so we stayed up rather late.  When we said a prayer together before they left they told us how much they  miss coming to our place for prayer and Bible study.  It has been over 4 years since we were there together and it is heartening to know that those times made a positive difference in their lives.  They were edifying times for us as well.

The next morning we discussed and rehashed all the fun we had the previous day.  For us, being somewhat geographically isolated in our present ministry from old friends and family, it was the social event of this year to date.  Seeing one of our own regional deacons fully priested was very encouraging as well.  He is all ready dearly loved throughout our region and is such an asset to the church as a whole.  

It was a positive and exciting start to our week off.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Electronic Break

Light Posting Ahead:  we are taking a break from all things electronic for a few days.  My husband has some time off and our son will be visiting with us.  Every so often it is nice to have a bit of time to do something completely different for a change.  
So, talk to everyone again soon.  In the meantime I hope to find some more interesting things to talk about when I return.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Descriptive Tee Shirts

I had a friend going last night. hahaha  

She sent me a photo of a tee shirt with the slogan: "4 out of every 3 people struggle with math."

I sent her back an email with the response, "I don't get it...".  haha  Really got her going for awhile, to the point where she called me long distance this morning to see if I was just kidding or if I truly didn't get the joke. haha
Gotcha!  She and I sent gag cards back and forth to each other in the mail on a regular basis, each one cheekier than the last and it is great fun. It is our way of playing tag over the thousands of kilometers that separate us.

Another friend is retiring after 30 years of working at a community college.  Today was his last day in the office.  He wore his favourite tee shirt with the slogan:  "I did the math. I 'm outta here!!"  More math...am I sensing a theme here?

My son was very lazy with his math skills in school, particularly in high school where it really mattered to his educational future.  However, I knew he was in trouble in Grade 12 when he walked into math class the first day in September, met his new teacher and instantly asked her to marry him.  Sigh....  She is a bright woman and despite it being her first year in the classroom she knew from his opening line that he was going to be one lazy fellow when it came to her pet subject.  He survived his year based on his classroom work, but did very poorly on his final provincial government exam...fortunately he didn't need a higher math grade to be accepted into art college.

I think I blogged earlier on about how I did well in Math, particularly in high school until my final year when I ended up in a class with a teacher I didn't understand and who seemed to have only one way of explaining any concept.  It was so disappointing.

One thing I am grateful for is the old equivalency formula.  I use it almost daily when figuring out sodium, cholesterol and carbohydrate contents in various amounts of the foods I eat.

Mathematics....just thinking about that subject makes me think of school, which makes my tummy turn over.  40 years later, the mere thought of a return to school nearly gives me a nervous breakdown.  I am so grateful that about the time my husband and I decided it WAS my turn to return to university, he was accepted into seminary and we took on his financial debt instead of mine.  As long as I can read books I can continue my education on my own and enjoy it without the stress of deadlines and papers and classroom discussion.  As far as that sort of thing, giving in to old age and realizing any more formal education would be pretty much wasted on me, is a stress free and freeing joy!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Looking Forward to a Break in the Action

This is a busy week, although with the end of the Lent and Holy Week services we have had a few hours to just rest.  It feels good.

Today has turned into a work day in part for my husband, as usual on his second "day off" each week, but yesterday, Easter Monday, he only worked a very little bit.  We watched tv shows and movies together and lallygagged about the house.  It was lovely.

I went to the doctor yesterday to get some meds that I have needed for awhile for my skin.  Now that my liver is settling down and the diabetes is under control I am able to treat the non-liver related skin problems and wow, things are clearing up after only 24 hours of treatment.  In a few weeks I hope to be A-OK to wear some new summer dresses and get out of these skin covering, hot, long pants I have had on every day since last summer's health issues began. I expressed my hope and joy this afternoon by purchasing another dress: at the pharmacy!  Only in a town this small could a person purchase clothing at a pharmacy...one of the idiosyncrasies of shopping in somewhat remote smaller centres.  It was fun getting a great deal on a cute little dress that I will probably wear a lot this summer.  The pharmacy also has a rack of lovely scarves, but I behaved myself and stayed away from it so I wouldn't be tempted.  I need another scarf like a moose needs a hat rack...to quote a favourite local expression.

The next 2 days will be a blur of pastoral visits in outlying areas of the parish, hospital visits and what have you.  So many seniors are ill and some of our parishioners are desperately ill who are not so senior in age.  

Then we head for the city for some ordination services.  We are really looking forward to that as one of the ordinations will be for a fellow in our region. He is going to be a wonderful priest.  We Anglicans are blessed to have him with us.

The following week will be spent visiting with our son.  We are pretty jazzed about that.  It is so kind of him to take time out of his incredibly busy pre-school term prep to visit us before he leaves for the south once again.  With all the time spent doing extra church services and now a week of pastoral visiting there has been no time to prepare, so guess he will take us as he finds us. 

Lots of good things this week and in the week ahead.  A break in the usual action is a happy thing right now. As someone told me yesterday: "Jesus is risen but his pastors are taking a nap!"

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Teensy Weensy Easter Weekend "Cheat"! AKA OOOOH, That Tasted GOOD!!

Recently some parishioners went house sitting in southern California.  They  had a great time and I am very happy for them to have spent some of our own coldest days of early spring in a much warmer climate with prettier scenery.

They returned bearing a lovely gift for ME!  They found a chocolatier there, one of my favourites actually, selling a lovely collection of "no sugar added" chocolates, thought of me and brought me a box for a treat.  Technically I really should't eat anything with alcohol sugars any too often, but occasionally they could be part of a yummy snack.  I was terrified to even try them.  What if one bite initiated a return of my sugar cravings....the ones I had all my life, well before the onset of diabetes??

When I got home I took the lid off the box and stared at the glorious array of candies in the box.  I checked the ingredients listings and the nutritional value label.  2 candies would give me 1 carbohydrate serving and not all the carbs were comprised of sugar alcohols.  I could actually have one snack of these chocolates.  I hemmed and hawed and put the box away for awhile, but I felt very guilty for being afraid to even try them after our parishioners were so thoughful and generous.

So, when the next snack time possibility rolled around I selected 2 chocolates and spent the next 5 minutes savouring those delicious flavours of double chocolate mint and peanut butter and cream.  O my goodness, they were delightful.  This was the first time to truly feast on any sort of sweet sugary tasting food in the past 5 months. As soon as I was done eating I started to panic. What if I couldn't wait a few more days until I could snack on these again? What if I went crazy and just popped the rest of them into my body like I would have a few months ago? What if I lost all control and pushed my blood sugar up into the danger zone?

After about a minute of the sheer terror that accompanies the "O dear Lord in heaven, what have I just done??" events of life, I had a sudden revelation:  as much as I had enjoyed my 2 chocolates, I had no desire, no craving, no sudden irresistible impulse to ingest any more of them.  I looked at the remainder of the chocolates in the box and felt no problem of temptation.

I felt FREE!  I knew I didn't want any more of them. What a marvellous shock! For the first time in my life I have self-control when it comes to chocolates!!

So, with great gratitude, I picked out 4 more chocolates for other times and gave my husband the rest of the box of goodies. One day soon I will have another 2 chocolates at snack time, but for now they are wrapped up in my office desk drawer.  In the past 48 hours or so, this is the first time I even thought of them again.  I look forward to having more of them at some point later this week, but thoughts of sweet chocolates are not taking over my mind and creating any yearnings for treats.

Wow......who knew self-control was possible for me?  Thank you Lord!  To be honest I can't even recall the sweetness in my mouth the way I always could before. What a relief! There is hope!

Now if I could just stop having occasional thoughts of cheeseburgers with bacon......

Good News At Last From Our "Fire Damaged" Friends

We are very happy for our friends in Moose Jaw whose property and retail store were badly smoke damaged in the big fire there in the winter.  They are back in their suite above the store. They have their grand reopening of the store tomorrow. We are so grateful they are okay and that the only book store in Moose Jaw is going to remain viable.  

If you live in the Moose Jaw area or will be travelling that way in the future, here is their announcement.  Perhaps you would enjoy dropping in to peruse their wares:

Over a month has gone by since the Jubilee Block fire of March 12 closed Post Horizon Booksellers with collateral damage from the inferno.  The store has been scrubbed from top to bottom - even the books have been cleaned - and structural repairs to the building are underway.

The doors of PHB will open again on Tuesday, April 22.  New store hours will be 9:30am - 5:30pm, Monday through Saturday, and Thursday evening till 9:00pm.

To mark the occasion, we are hosting a "Book Ceilidh" on Tuesday evening, April 22,  from 6:30 - 8:00pm.  The event will feature music from Don Mitchell and Doug Shepherd of Desperate for Haggis, readings from local authors including Bob Currie, Jim McLean, and Greg Simison.  There will be book baskets to give away and, for that evening only, a 20% discount on books*.  The remainder of the week, April 22 - 26, we are offering a 15% discount*.

Post Horizon Booksellers is Moose Jaw's only bookstore, and we still have it!  As well as our collections of over 22,000 select second-hand books, remember we also offer new books through McNally-Robinson in Saskatoon.   So whatever you would like to read - new and used -  we can keep you turning pages.

With kind regards,

Nelson EH Reid

*discount pricing does not apply to new books, antiquarian books, or special orders.
 
Post Horizon Booksellers
57 High Street West
Moose Jaw, SK    S6H 1S4
CANADA
posthorizonbooks@gmail.com

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy For My Parents

My parents had a nice weekend for a change.  Dad's back has improved just a little bit in the last couple of weeks, so for only the second time in the last  6 months he was able to get out of the apt. for something other than a medical appointment....twice!!

Friday evening he was well enough to go to dinner at the home of a friend.  Mom was pretty excited as well. Although she is out on the city buses most days going to appointments and getting groceries and running errands, her social life has been nearly as dismal as my father's in the past 18 months.  I got the detailed description of the wonderful assortment of foods their friend fed them.  Getting out to visit was so good for them both, I think they could have been served soup and crackers and enjoyed it just as much as the feast they actually ate.

My dad was able to accompany Mom and her friend to church this morning for only the second time in that 18 months.  This time he didn't need to come home early or leave the service to go and lie down in the back room.  He survived a long Easter service AND the coffee hour afterward, where he was delighted to see so many friends.  It was nice for Mom to have him with her this week.  Dad's back was protesting by the time he returned home and tomorrow he will likely be in agonizing pain again, but it will have been worth it.

I am happy my parents had such a truly happy Easter weekend.

A Scattered Sort of Resurrection Sunday

This has been an Easter weekend of experiencing opposite ends of the spectrum of life.  Abounding joy of the resurrection of Jesus has been tempered by the reality of this earthly life.

Yesterday we went over to one of the seniors' manors and celebrated the 90th birthday of one of our parishioners.  It was a joyous occasion and our 90 year old friend outlasted every one of us at the party.  She was up on into the night, after everyone else had left, reading her cards and having a great time remembering all the folk who travelled to share in her special day.

From her party we went up to the next floor of the manor to see another parishioner.  It was a big bump back to planet reality when we visited with her.  She is much younger than our partying friend, but less than a month ago was flattened with congestive heart failure.  She has basically come home from hospital to die, surrounded by her family and it could happen any day.  Some of her family members were there to help her and stay with her.  Her final question to my husband before we left her was "Why do these things have to happen?"  It speaks of the state of her depression over this health issue, her desperation to hang on, to stay with us all and not have to face more suffering on the road to death.  I hope we were able to comfort her before we left.  I hope she will be able to grasp onto the Jesus she knows well between now and the time of her passing and get the comfort from him that he is so eager to give.

Today we woke up to wind and sunshine.  Now, mid afternoon, the wind has died down but the rain clouds are building to deliver another deluge over the next few hours.  

As we left the house, rejoicing in the upcoming service of the resurrection, we discovered a crow with a badly broken wing flapping in confusion across our front yard.  It broke our hearts to just leave that bird to whatever fate, but there was no time to put it out of its misery and we don't know the laws here regarding the putting down of injured wildlife.  I can only pray it was discovered and dealt with by one of the other neighbours before any cats found it.  Seeing its distress and knowing the final outcome made for a rather upsetting start to our drive out of town.

As we drove along, committing the fate of the bird to the Lord, our car started to shake and we realized we had a low tire on the car.  It did get us to the other town and back, but it didn't make for the relaxing drive we remember from other years of doing Easter morning services here.

Along the way, we rounded a corner at top speed and discovered a small herd of antelope prancing along beside us in the ditch.  Just as we noticed them and started to slow down, one of them leapt up onto the road in front of us. My husband "stood on" the brakes and swerved to avoid the antelope at about the same time it realized it was in danger.  As it spun around to get out of the way it lost its footing on the slippery tarred surface of the road and took a nasty tumble, landing heavily on one hip. My husband pulled over to the other side of the road and we watched to make sure the antelope hadn't been badly injured, but fortunately it went leaping away with the rest of the herd, bruised but not slowed down.  Fortunately there were no broken bones in its leg, our biggest worry after the way it slipped and fell.

Both church services went very well.  The joy of our congregants in both churches helped dissipate that nagging sense of worry about the birds and and animals and our dying friend.  My husband talked about how the resurrection itself can seem like such a fairy tale, too unreal, not applicable in any way to life in the real world where suffering and death continue all around us.  He talked about how we can make better use of the life of Christ in the resurrection than we often do as Christians.  He talked about how for Christians, resurrection life for our spirit is like the air that we breathe for our bodies.  It isn't enough to know about the workings of oxygen and respiratory systems, we have to breathe it in to receive the benefits of it....take it into ourselves.  So also with the resurrection life of Christ.  Many of us know much about Jesus and the resurrection, but we have neglected to receive that Person and power into our own lives, so are not benefitting from them the way we could and should be.

So this weekend we have seen life at its best and worst moments through the lives of our parishioners and through the wildlife that surrounds us here.

For me, the good news is that He Lives!!  He lives with us in the comfort he can bring when there is suffering and the excess of joy he can bring when we have times of celebration.

The Lord is risen!

He is risen indeed!
Alleluia!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

In the past week I have received several emails from friends in other places.  They were writing to say that in their particular church services last Sunday, the acknowledgement of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem was barely mentioned, if at all.  Many of them are not having Good Friday services either because "talking about crucifixion and death is too negative."  Wha......??  

I hate to remind people, but in order to provide salvation for humankind, Jesus' death on the cross was God's choice, for whatever reason. I don't have to completely understand it. I don't have to like it. Was it negative?  You bet it was a negative experience......for God/Christ in his human form.

He not only provided the sacrificial lamb to suffer in our place, He actually experienced the suffering himself! Talk about ultimate forgiveness extended to a creation run amok.

I don't always enjoy the Good Friday service.  I don't always feel in the mood to acknowledge that my own lack of obedience to my creator is added to the disobedience of other humans that put Jesus on that cross.  I don't always enjoy experiencing what I call "necessary guilt": the simple acknowledgement that I have not been perfect as God is perfect and that I too need Christ's sacrifice to provide my pathway to restoration of harmony with my heavenly father.  However, I do need that reminder every so often and it is good to have it in the midst of my Christian community; corporate acknowledgement of our own imperfection and deep love and gratitude for our creator God who delivers us from the ultimate consequences of that state.

From the pain and humiliation of public crucifixion to the risen, conquering Christ.  Redemption for the world coming from the suffering of Christ our God on the cross.   GOOD Friday indeed!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Cannibal Hawk

A bit of sadness late this afternoon when a Sharp-Shinned Hawk appeared in our trees and selected a beautiful little junko for his dinner.  I am glad I didn't see the kill as I get a bit weepy when nature takes its course in these instances, but I have to admit that the hawk was quite magnificent to look at as it balanced itself and its dinner on a narrow tree branch while it ate.

When it was done it flew up into a higher tree and took off on a flight northward.  It was like watching a guided missile take flight.  The aerodynamic structure of that bird and the way it was able to pull in its feathers to gain height and speed was breathtaking.  We occasionally get a bird of prey in our yard due to the variety of tall trees and of smaller birds for prey. Hopefully it won't happen again for a long time, but those hawks are amazing to watch.  I am sorry it ate one of our favourite little birds, but I am not sorry I got to see it in flight.

A Nice Middle of the Day Time Out

We are enjoying our Maundy Thursday.  

This morning we got to sleep in a whole hour before getting up to prepare home communions.  Oh, it is so difficult to see our incredibly active seniors actually turning into seniors and losing health and abilities.  We have lost so many from church attendance in one of our churches in the past year. They simply can't get there any more due to health and mobility issues.  However, it is lovely to be invited into their homes for spiritual fellowship and continuing friendship.

We decided to take a break on lunch preparation today and go out for lunch.  Between my health issues and the general dreadfulness of local restaurants, it is a rare occasion any more, but we really enjoyed it today.  We have a little chain restaurant with a cook that can fry up a perfect medium rare steak for my husband and they have several meals I am able to eat as well, although my sodium intake will not be nearly as low as it has been each day for the past couple of weeks! hohoho!  O my it was wonderful to be out together to talk and enjoy a meal that neither of us had to prepare or clean up after.

I have just completed a big round of exercise after having a few too many carbs today.  Well, less for supper and a bit more protein so I still feel full.  Whatever, it was a great break today....a rare cheat day, even though I gave some of my carbs to my husband to ingest to keep myself from going completely overboard and making myself ill.

Now I am going to relax with a tv show for a half hour while my husband has a nap.  He needs to rest so he can be at his best while doing the Maundy Thursday service here in town tonight.  Apparently it went very well last night at the other church despite a low attendance...with this terribly cold and snowy weather he is grateful anyone at all arrived for the service and he said the foot washing was particularly meaningful in such a small group.

I have supper planned....it is as close to sodium free as it is possible to be around here.  Despite the high sodium lunch, my blood pressure was fantastically low this afternoon.  Exercise....what an amazing boost to my system.

So, let the cold and snow continue.  It is not ruining our day.  It will not ruin tomorrow morning's Walk of the Cross even if the event has to be moved indoors.  Perhaps the weather report for the weekend will remain in play: much warmer and no more precipitation.

The heaviness of the lead into Good Friday and the recognition of what God required to bring us into harmony with himself, his willingness to take what should be our punishment upon himself...("It is finished.")...it boggles my mind.  From the sadness of realizing Christ's suffering in that supreme act of sacrifice we move quickly into the joy of Resurrection Sunday and the relief that comes from knowing that "He is Risen. He is Risen Indeed!"

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

End of the Line

This afternoon was the last diabetic clinic at our local hospital.  It was an excellent clinic on using exercise and other techniques to assist our bodies to deal with our blood sugars, cholesterol, blood pressure and to combat depression and other stresses.  I particularly enjoyed learning some new resistance exercises and receiving a brand new strip of Thera-band for my trouble.  The upper body exercises are the ones I have been missing over the past few years so am really looking forward to adding them to my daily work out.  I am all ready looking forward to seeing my classmates once again in the autumn when we hold a reunion class and check how we are all progressing in dealing with this disease.

Today it seems that spring has also come to the end of the line.  I woke up to find 5cm of snow on the ground, that fortunately mostly melted off from the warmth of the pavement before I could get out there to shovel.  I walked to my clinic in high winds, freezing cold, with the snow flakes dancing around me all the way there and back. More snow is predicted for this evening and overnight.  Hey, we had a great spring this year though. Too bad it only lasted for 5 days! haha

I want all this cold and snow to get themselves out of the system before we have to drive to some ordinations many hours away in about 12 days time!!  Let's get as much late spring cold and bluster out of the way before then as we can!!

Well, my husband has to head out to our other town soon and I want to pack up a decent dinner for him to take along.  He is so tired of eating at both of the restaurants there...the usual combination of grease, sodium and filthy decor that seem to characterize too many eating establishments out here in the wilderness.  At least we are saving lots of money by not eating out more than once or twice a month at most.  

It has been a good day despite the cold weather.  Tonight after dinner I will work on some of the new exercises I learned today.  One joy for this old gal is that most of them are done from a seated position!  I can be a couch potato while still remaining active.  What's not to love about that????

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My Point Exactly

 I have been questioned a few times about my not being able to keep quiet about my faith when I am talking to people who do not believe in God.  The link to the cartoon below sums up  my basic thinking:


http://adam4d.com/keep-it-to-yourself/

Monday, April 14, 2014

Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

A prayer of St Anselm – Archbishop of Canterbury (1093 – 1109)

Lord Jesus Christ; Let me seek you by desiring you,
and let me desire you by seeking you;
let me find you by loving you,
and love you in finding you.

I confess, Lord, with thanksgiving,
that you have made me in your image,
so that I can remember you, think of you, and love you.

But that image is so worn and blotted out by faults,
and darkened by the smoke of sin,
that it cannot do that for which it was made,
unless you renew and refashion it.

Lord, I am not trying to make my way to your height,
for my understanding is in no way equal to that,
but I do desire to understand a little of your truth
which my heart already believes and loves.

I do not seek to understand so that I can believe,
but I believe so that I may understand;
and what is more,
I believe that unless I do believe, I shall not understand.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Brimming With Compliments

My husband makes me laugh more than any person on the earth.  I have another friend in another town that I used to see about 5 days a week who also is hysterically funny, but my husband reduces me to tears of laughter, often inadvertently.

He has been watching my weight loss over the past few months and making encouraging comments about how it is assisting me in regaining my health, but has never ventured a word about my actual appearance....until this morning.

Those of you who know my husband's past history with his long list of girlfriends, rather serious relationships etc. prior to getting together with me, might think that he is quite socially adept with a compliment for the ladies, but you would be dead wrong.  hahaha Those of you who REALLY know him realize that deep down inside, despite his aquired pastoral social skills, he is still a prairie farm boy who is easily embarrassed by compliments,  whether given or received.

This morning he walked up to me and told me quite seriously, "O Sue, you are looking far less bulgy these days."

There you have it: the supreme compliment from my very embarrassed husband who struggles to express compliments of any kind to anyone.

I am looking less bulgy.

It doesn't get any better than that.

Not around here.

After I picked my less bulgy self off the floor and wiped the tears of laughter from my eyes, I thanked him profusely for noticing and off we went to go about our day.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

O Happy Day!

What a happy day we are having today.  It is chilly and windy outside, but inside our home it has been warm and cozy with wonderful visitors.

My husband's "second family" was with us for several hours.  We enjoyed a delicious lunch of northern pike, sandwiched between several hours of visiting.  

Is there anything more fun that meeting up with favourite family that haven't been seen for a few years?  The amount of sharing we were able to do in our few hours together was meaningful and deep.  Hopefully, at some point during our summer holidays we will get out to where they live and visit some more.

At dinnertime tonight we are having a potluck at our local church, followed by our Palm Liturgy and a Eucharist service.  Tomorrow we will celebrate Palm Sunday in our other church.  There are times when doing the services twice in one weekend is particularly sweet.  Palm and Easter Sunday services are like that.

Friday, April 11, 2014

My Husband the Gift Giver.....NOT!

I am proud of my husband.  He is not a gift giver, finds it incredibly difficult to choose items, hates shopping, etc. etc. etc. and yet, he got himself together a couple of weeks ago and put together a big pail full of things for our son's birthday.

He spent several days deciding what he would like to send, drove around town to find the appropriate mailing contraption, spent several hours hemming and hawing, picking and choosing, an entire morning fitting and refitting the items he chose into a large industrial product pail and getting it sealed and over to the bus depot.

Our son is having a great time unpacking it and is touched that his father thought so much about him and took the time and effort to send him something.

Into the pail my husband packed: an assortment of green and red teas, a new duffel bag, a Dutch oven for my son to make his favourite soups and stews in, some special snacks, a wonderful book about art and spirituality and imagination, new tea towels, dish cloths and oven mitts, post-it notes etc. Everything needed, everything practical, of course a book had to be included and even the pail has its uses in our son's studio...he can mix paint, store brushes, turn it over to use as a small table or sit on it.  haha

I was delighted that my husband was able to come up with ideas for any sort of gifts. It is so far out of his comfort zone.  Our son is chuckling over the particular assortment....he knows his father well! haha

My husband was absent for many of our son's special childhood  days: birthdays, school events, even some Christmases were spent working overseas.  When he was at home the effects of his CFS made him somewhat absent in mind and spirit so much of the time.  Seeing my 2 favourite men bonding in more recent years the way fathers and sons should gives my own spirit a lift.  The gifts and packaging made me giggle, but I am thrilled that my husband would put himself into a "state of shopping" for his son.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

PS

Confirmation on the spring thing: this morning's reappearance of the robins and blue jays just after I wrote the last post. YAY!!  Now, if the grey clouds would disperse and allow the sun to shine on me again, it would be a perfect day! I will go for a walk this afternoon and enjoy the warmer temperatures.

Yesterday was my next to last local diabetic clinic.  My husband had to go to the city so I walked to the hospital in the brilliant sunshine.  Unfortunately that lovely sunshine was accompanied by 50 to 70km wind gusts so I ate dirt from the surrounding fields all the way there and back, but the sense of freedom I experienced by being able to safely walk outside again was amazing!

The clinic was particularly good yesterday as it answered so many of my remaining questions about blood pressure and cholesterol, sodium and fats that all relate to diabetes in very direct ways.  After the first tense and awkward session, people are loosening up and talking to each other, not afraid to answer the questions posed to us by the RN and dietician, laughing and chatting just a bit before class.  Typical of me, after only 4 weeks with these people I am going to really miss them when class is over.  It isn't because I am particularly lonely these days, I just always miss people when I meet them for short periods of time and then am unlikely to see any of them again.  Most of this group don't live in town, so we will likely only run into each other at the grocery store on occasion and none of us know each other well enough to be exchanging phone numbers or anything considered to be so socially scary  here. The fellow I wrote about before who was so impressed by his diabetic friend taking his blood sugar count before imbibing, shared openly about his own struggles to quit smoking as his diabetic wife is, like all diabetics, not supposed to be exposed to second hand smoke.  I felt for him.  He was so sincere in his expression of wanting to help his wife while still being overtaken with the nicotine bug when he has stresses of his own. Been there and done that.....

I had a great chat with my parents this morning as well. They are both doing pretty well with their health issues, but mom is fretting over doing income tax.  She is getting worse about this worrying thing as she gets older (a family trait) and I truly believe she thinks if she doesn't send in the right forms for her charitable receipts etc. that she is going to go to jail.  Poor mom....poor dad having to put up with that level of her fretting all their married lives.  In my extended family it is my mom who has inherited her family worry genes, the pressure of having to always do one's very best and hopefully all the way to perfection in all things.  My husband and son also struggle with that, while Dad and I have the attitude that if either of us makes a mistake, despite our best attempts to do things properly, well it is too late now so let's deal with it as best we can and move on.  I am so glad I turned out to be more like him in this area of life.  I didn't used to be, but so happy things changed in my middle age.

So, off to do another load of laundry.  I picked up all the groceries yesterday that I will need to make a nice lunch for our company on Saturday.  A little housecleaning tomorrow and all will be well.

Time to go and prepare lunch.  Then my second walk of the spring season...OUTSIDE....! NO ICE!! (only mud)  YIPPEE!!

 

Spiders Tell the Tale

Farmers, First Nations peoples and others who have traditionally lived close to the land have a wonderful ability to predict the upcoming changing of seasons by looking at cloud formations, checking the thickness of the coats of various animals, wind direction and what have you. Weather forecasters have their instruments, graphs and charts.

I have my own personal predictor of the onset of true spring weather:  spiders begin to abound inside the rectory.

In the past 2 days I have mashed, bashed, zapped, crushed, swatted, aerosol sprayed and otherwise slaughtered at least two dozen of the little beasties and have begun checking the white living room ceiling every time I enter the room, as that is one place they love to hang out with daily frequency.  There must be some wonderfully warm weather on the way, since out of that two dozen or so eight legged wonders there have been no two alike.  Wonder how many other breeds of spider I will discover inside the house this spring.  Wonder how many dozen more I will have the "joy" of finding crawling in my bed, over my shoulders, in my hair and dropping down on long strands of webbing right in front of my face as I sit and watch the living room television?  

The other places the spiders seem to love as much as or more than the living room ceiling and carpets are the bathroom off my bedroom, behind the headboard of my bed and along the baseboards under the big window in the kitchen.  In other words, they adore popping up in 2/3 of the rooms in the house!

In another month, as the big outdoors continues to warm up, there will fewer spiders in the house and the next onslaught will not be until they return to the house seeking warm nooks and crannies to hibernate or give birth or lay eggs in or whatever spiders do to preserve their species over the next winter.  They will likely return sometime in October.  

For now I am getting darned good at using a fly swatter to wing them off the ceiling and my eyes are becoming quite adept at following their trajectory so I can track them down immediately they land on the carpet or the window or the curtains and finish them off.

My husband is far less bloodthirsty than I when it comes to spiders, although he has no compunction about killing mosquitoes when they have the audacity to land on him. (which they rarely do if I happen to be around to munch on instead)  When it comes to spiders of any breed he is all compassion, scooping them up on a sheet of paper and making a beeline for the front door, depositing them gently on the grass or into the planters.  We have learned to ignore, without comment, the differences in the way we each treat the two spider infestations each year. As long as they are not inside the house I don't really care, although mass slaughter is my preference.....

So, apparently spring has arrived in our town.  The spiders tell me so.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Another Friend

I have another friend who is two time cancer survivor.  I know when she is feeling well because she sends me at least a dozen email forwards every night....no personal notes or messages because she isn't good at keyboarding....or spelling....or sentence structure.... and I can't convince her that I don't care about those things.  
She is not a telephone conversationalist either, too practical to "waste" time on chitchat, so our friendship hasn't had much of a chance to grow since I moved from her town, but we are still friends nonetheless.

I suppose I could be quite annoyed at the many many forwards she sends me nearly every evening. They clog up my inbox and I end up deleting most of them, BUT there is one good thing about them:  as long as I am getting them I know my friend is well and at home, not down in the city in the cancer ward of a sprawling hospital. She has had a rough time the past few years as cancer continues to attack her after long periods of remission.  When those email forwards stop coming I know she is in trouble once again and it is time to suss out her location and try to get in touch with her.

My friend is a typical senior prairie farm woman who worked like a dog all her life until ill health forced her off the farm and into town, where she continues to work like a maniac every chance she gets, cleaning and cooking in her little apartment, babysitting her grandchildren and taking care of the people around her as much as she can.  She is not much for conversation as a rule but has a grandly expressive face that lets me know exactly what she is thinking without actually saying a word.  I miss her.  While she can come off as somewhat taciturn and not particularly friendly, (it comes from living such a hard working, poverty stricken life with little relief or joy), once you get to know her she is quite delightful and finds humour in the smallest things.

I hope I continue to find my inbox full of her forwards night after night.  They are her way of letting me know she is okay.

At Least We Provide Our Neighbours With a Few Laughs

We are nothing if not amusing to our neighbours.

This morning we did it again, giving the neighbours some new chuckles.  I was up bright and early this morning to take the garbage bin to the curb, my timing coinciding with neighbours beside us and directly across the street.  One of the things in my bin was a somewhat dilapidated teflon coated frying pan.  Although it only had a couple of dings and scratches in the coating, I decided that I am not going to keep coated frying pans any more once the teflon has any cracks or holes in it.  I only use them for frying eggs and melting cheese as it is.

I was so proud of getting the thing out of the house and into the garbage before my husband could find it and reassign it to the ever growing pile of "BUT I MIGHT  NEED IT FOR CAMPING!!" items slowly filtering their way out of our house and into our garage. (Note: my husband goes camping/canoeing no more than twice a year, total 10 days maximum....how much rotting old gear do you need for that bit of time, right??)

Well, my joy only lasted for the 13 hours that pan was in the garbage bin. Sigh.....  This very morning my dear husband, who only ever eats a slice of toast in the mornings after he has been up and moving for a couple of hours, wandered out into the kitchen immediately upon rising and requested a cheese omelette and toast.  Then he just stood there in the kitchen as I pulled the necessary food items out of the refrigerator.  I was hoping he would wander off before I absolutely HAD to pull out the new pan I purchased yesterday, but no.  He stood and sleepily watched my every move.  When I could delay no longer and had to pull out the new pan, enough different from the old one to catch even his dull witted early morning attention, his first question was, of course, what had happened to the old one.  

Sigh.....so I told him what I had done with it. (My own dull wittedness in the mornings left me without any ideas of how to fudge on the truth without actually lying to him.)  He stood around quietly for a few minutes longer and then, SURPRISE (NOT) said he could certainly use that old pan for his next camping trip.  There is one thing the man is and that is predictable! hahaha  I told him the story and how I felt about keeping our one teflon coated pan in the house once it started to deteriorate.  Well, I could see him waffling about it, but then he put on his clothes, wandered out to the garbage and brought the pan back into the house.  The pan is going to go to the kitchen in our other church which has no pots and pans on site, so that for the once or twice a year he needs to fry himself an egg during an overnight stay he will have something to cook with.

Okay, I will grant him that much.  The fact that it is NOT going into the garage with all the other junk mollified me somewhat.  For me what is important is that it is leaving the property.  It can go in the garbage or to the other church kitchen for his use. I don't care.  As long as it isn't HERE!  haha

So I can imagine the thoughts of our neighbours who did see him out there rooting through the bin I had just put out an hour previously and reclaiming his "treasure".  Isn't it just the stuff of a stand up comic routine?  Aiiiii yiiiii.....

Well, we are nothing in this neighbourhood if not entertaining, I'll give us that much.

A Little Diabetic Humour

A friend sent me the following and I thought it was kind of funny:


I take Metformin for the diabetes caused by hydrochlorothiazine
I take for high blood pressure which I got from the Ambien
I take for insomnia caused by the Xanax
I take for anxiety that I got from the Wellbutin
I take for chronic fatigue which I got from the Lipitor
I take because I have high cholesterol because a healthy diet and exercise
with regular chiropractic care and superior nutritional supplements
is just too much trouble!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Losing a Dear Friend

Today was not a happy news day around here.  Today a dear friend died. I haven't seen her in a couple of years but we have maintained faithful correspondence during that time.  Her husband passed away only a very few years ago and the best thing I can say about her death is that she will be with him again, him and Jesus.

It was only 3 weeks ago that she received a cancer diagnosis and immediate surgery was ordered.  Unfortunately the cancer was far more widespread than what showed up in the pre-op tests and the surgery accomplished nothing except the beginning of a descent into feeding tubes, immobility, bladder infection, pneumonia and a heart attack overnight last night that signalled the beginning of a rather quick end to her earthly life, but fortunately to her earthly suffering as well. 

Her family has been with her throughout this time.  She has a wonderful family of boys and their wives, grandchildren that have brought her every grandmotherly joy over the past decade. I can't imagine how badly those boys of hers are going to miss her.

When we lived in the same town, we were part of a very close, small group of married couples. She and husband are the first losses from our group. It is very difficult to imagine the group without either of them being present.  

Trudie, it was a privilege and a great honour to have known you and your husband.  I look forward to the day when we will meet again, free from the boundaries of earthly life.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Our Small Town is Getting Smaller All the Time!

The past few winters have seen me somewhat housebound due to ice and not having access to a vehicle all that often, so spring is to be greeted with nearly boundless joy.

However, the spring fever that hit me during yesterday's warm and lovely day was pretty well dissipated by mid afternoon today.  Spring fever for me means an overwhelming craving to get out of the house and be outside, or window shopping, or driving around the streets looking for interesting things to see....essentially any reason, large or small, that I can use to get myself out of this house.

My excuse to get out for an extra trip yesterday was the need of finding a particular brand of replacement sponge for a cleaning wand I purchased a couple of years ago at a hardware chain whose local franchise closed down some time ago.  At the time it closed it wasn't the only store selling this particular brand of heavy duty cleaning sponge.  I was unpleasantly surprised however when my shopping yesterday, in every store in this town that sells any sort of cleaning product, gave up no hint of the sort of sponge I need.  Every store....EVERY STORE....in town is now selling the same two brands and none of those brands has anything remotely similar to what I need to attach to the long handled device that I use to clean the bathtubs.  Neither of the companies represented in our stores has a device at all useful to me for this task.  If I was capable of kneeling beside the tubs and stretching across their girth with a hand held sponge like I used to be able to do there would be no problem, but as of yesterday afternoon I have a very big problem indeed.  For a town this small there is a remarkable number of stores selling home cleaning products, but they all stock exactly the same brands.  This personal shopping fiasco happened just prior to discovering the lack of low sodium potato chips in town that I blogged about yesterday.

This afternoon seemed to stretch out long before me, so I decided my excuse for an extra trip out today would be to go to any of our stores that carry baking products like cookie sheets, rolling pins and what have you.  I am in need of a new metric/imperial set of measuring cups and spoons.  One of the stores was closed today so I will check there tomorrow, but after my experience at the other stores today I am not holding out much hope.  Every store....EVERY STORE.... in town is selling exactly the same products made by exactly the same manufacturer and these products are not what I want at all!!  As in the sponge debacle, there is no variety in product, no variety in brands.  Every store featured one style of spoons and cups made of hard breakable plastic. These did have metric and imperial measure, but the quantities were cheaply stamped on and would wash off or scratch off in short order.  I guess I am stuck with my 1970's imperial measuring cups and spoons, but now that I need to be very exact and careful in measuring  sodium, sugar and carbohydrates for my diabetes and heart hassles, they are not entirely adequate.  I am tired of having comparison charts taped inside my cupboard doors to be looked at when my memory fails me...as it often does these days. It isn't the end of the world to not find decent instruments for baking but it was again very disappointing.

The icing on the cake was trying to bring home a nice treat for my husband to compensate for the 7 bags of somewhat mashed bags of chips I purchased for him yesterday.  I noticed the liquor store was open and since he hasn't had any beer for a long time, I decided to go in and pick out one of his favourites.  What a shock I got!  All the "good" beer is gone from the shelves.  Those spaces are now filled with watered down "popular" brands that he can't stand to drink, or are made with corn products he is very allergic to.  I couldn't believe it. After rooting around through the shelves and the stacks of cases piled all over the floor, I found one case of a brand he does enjoy...the last one apparently.  I grabbed it and headed to the cashier.  I asked her what happened to all the decent beer, but the young gal had no idea and couldn't ask the manager who wasn't at work today.

After my shopping experiences of the past 2 days I am starting to realize why long time residents of this town have been going into the city to shop over the past few months. Like me, they prefer to shop locally and support their friends and neighbours in the retail business, but have been doing a lot of travelling away of late to get what they need.  I haven't been paying much attention to their complaints about local shopping over the past few months, but I am paying attention now! The last 2 days have been quite an eye opener for me.

I suppose I am going to have to follow their lead, as much as I despise going to the city to shop.  For the past 4 years my husband and I have forced ourselves to eat the fatty meats, wilting produce, stale dairy products and nearly expired canned goods available in our local stores, but no more.  If I am being forced out of town to shop for other things, I am adding groceries to the list and making a day of it in the city.  I guess it is time to set some of my ideals aside and start eating what I actually need to eat.

I apologize in advance to the local proprietors and franchise managers, but I am being forced to go elsewhere to get what I need.  I have watched things going downhill here for shopping since not long after we moved to town and it makes me sad to have to do my buying out of town, but the reality is that I can't get what we need any more in our local stores.  




Saturday, April 5, 2014

Prelude to Holy Week

We are entering the last week of Lent, the week before Holy week.  My husband is up to his ears in work, joyous and fulfilling work and he is pretty happy with life most days.

A good friend had a big interview today about her candidacy for a certificate of ordination in her denomination after completing many courses of study. She is amazing and deserves to have her long time calling to her ministry officially recognized.

Tomorrow we have our usual services in both our churches, with a healthy afternoon of pastoral visiting if all goes according to plan.

Our son turns 34 this week.  I can't believe it.

This is income tax week...somewhere in the midst of all the busyness it must be done!!

My second to last diabetic clinic at the hospital is this week.  This week's topic is related to taking good care of our feet and other extremities.  This past week was about Eating Well and it Went Well.  Our group was more relaxed with each other this time....of course, after keeping to myself so very well at the first session, I couldn't stand to do that again at our last session and just had to meet and greet everyone all over again.  It seemed to help break the ice, so maybe I didn't make a complete fool of myself...?  Then again....whatever....we had to get our waists measured and our blood pressure taken.  My BP was so much better than usual and the times I have been taking it myself have seen a great plunge in the numbers.  It is very encouraging to me to continue on the expunging of sodium from my diet. If I can lose 4 more inches off my waist I will be in the safe zone for heart issues...that is VERY encouraging and possibly even doable over the coming months.

My husband is heading back to the city once again for a couple of days of Diocesan meetings, purchasing some new clergy shirts and sussing out some lower sodium potato chips at the larger grocery stores there.  Suddenly there are zero bags of lower sodium chips on our local shelves, although I was able to get the last 7 bags in town today at the last store left for me to look in.  My husband doesn't eat that many potato chips, but when he wants a crunchy snack that is his favourite.  He can't stand the fully salted chips and even takes a fine haired pastry brush to the lower sodium chips to remove as much more as he can. 

I don't mind at all that he will be gone again for a couple of days, especially now that the ice has melted in sufficient quantities from the sidewalks that I can safely walk downtown and back.  The temperatures are warming up a bit during the day, so it will be wonderful to finally get the walking shoes back on and head out on foot.  

A dear friend has a birthday this week and while we can't travel to be with him at his special celebration, we did have fun finding a great card to mail to him.

Next weekend some of the dearest friends we have ever had, my husband's second family actually, are coming to spend a few hours of precious time with us on their way through to another destination.  My husband is so excited that he cancelled going to a meeting he had planned to be at.  WOW!  That tells me how excited he is to see these people.  They will be just as excited to see him.

My sister-in-law is having a birthday too so it will be fun to phone her and have a good "chinwag" as my mother used to call it.

All these fun times are happening amidst the regular church meetings and ministry responsibilities so it will be a very busy week, leading up to the even busier Holy Week.  

Then, after Holy Week, I am praying my husband will be able to sneak in the extra day off he is supposed to have after Easter Monday.  From my mouth to God's ears, as the poor man usually is on the verge of collapse by the time everything is done.  Our Holy Week schedule of services is daunting with having to do everything twice with 2 churches, as well as attend and participate in the ecumenical events in both towns as well. It is a wonderful and encouraging time of year though as we celebrate what Jesus went through for our sakes; the dark time of crucifixion followed by the light of the resurrection.  It is also a tiring time of year for most ministers.  Don't be afraid to let yours know you are praying for them during this incredibly busy time.

As I am sitting here writing this I am realizing I am tired just from writing this down and thinking about all that is happening over the next 2 weeks....I think I will crawl into bed super early and just read a book for awhile.

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Joy of SKYPE

My husband was able to do a 2 hour meeting with the diocesan Doctrine and Worship Committee this evening using SKYPE.  Our diocese is finally getting with the technological programme by making more and better use of such things.  For my husband it meant one less 10 hour round trip to the city and back.  It saved quite a few people very long drives.

I am a big fan of SKYPE.  Last winter when we were storm stayed and had to miss out on an important meeting in the process of electing our new bishop, we were able to SKYPE with all the candidates and nomination committee and thus participate without leaving home to risk being stranded in the storm.

This summer when our son is in the USA for his final term of university we will be able to SKYPE on occasion to give him a lifeline to the world outside his incredibly intense programme and we will be able to see if he is staying healthy and getting some sleep.

People around the world have been using this and similar technologies for quite some time now.  We are grateful for it and the way we too can now be connected. We will save a lot of time, energy and money that we would otherwise have to spend in order for my husband to do his job well and to keep in touch with our travelling son.

A Tongue Twister of a Day Around Here!

I have been distracted by a few things today and it has been affecting my ability to speak properly.  I have goofed up my words twice in the last hour and my husband is hysterical with laughter. (This reaction from a man who woke himself up this morning when he kicked the file cabinet with his foot in the midst of a dream where he was trying to slam on the brakes of a Greyhound bus he was driving...??)

I was trying to tell him that some of our frozen, bagged vegetables have added sodium but it came out as "sodded addium".  He had barely gotten over that one when I added that for lunch I was making him "cheese with melted buns".   Sigh.....

Some days are like that.

Why?


The Rest of the Quote

"Whenever God Closes One Door He Always Opens Another, Even Though
I have read the first part of this little quote many times and heard it said even more times, but yesterday I heard the rest of the quote for the first time.  It goes like this:
When God closes one door he always opens another....though sometimes it's hell in the hallway!
Ain't it the truth?? 
Sometimes It's Hell in the Hallway"
"Whenever God Closes One Door He Always Opens Another, Even Though
Sometimes It's Hell in the Hallway"
"Whenever God Closes One Door He Always Opens Another, Even Though
Sometimes It's Hell in the Hallway"

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Returning To the Blind Man Who Was Healed....But What If YOU Haven't Been??

 A couple of postings ago I talked about my husband's sermon on Jesus' healing of the blind man.  One response to that passage of scripture came from a dear friend of mine named Yin.  Yin has a progressive eye disease that took her sight gradually over a period of years to the point where, for the past few years, she has been blind. I like Yin's theological take on that biblical story.  I like it because she herself is experiencing blindness that is not going to go away apart from a miraculous healing from God, so she knows the "other side" of life, so different from those people who are healed in this way.  Yin has undergone many sessions of healing prayer, she has a strong faith in God that is based in the reality of life on earth.  She gave me permission to print her response here, a response from someone who, despite many years of prayer for her, has never experienced the type of surprise restoration of sight the blind man experienced in the story.  Yin is authentic.  Yin is an amazing woman of faith.  I haven't changed anything in her email below, just copied it as it came to me.  
Yin speaks:

I do like the story of the blind ‘son’ being an instrument of God’s glorification in John 9 .
While the preoccupation of the Pharisees and the general public was on sin and blame, Jesus wanted to focus on God’s glorification and knowing him.
But I feel the missing piece is, what if the blind man wasn’t healed? If he weren’t healed, would God still have been glorified?  What good news is there for the majority of us who are not changed for the better? What positive image is there for those who continue in their impaired state?

If you care to hear my thoughts, read on.  Apologies for the ramblings.

The tendency today is still seeing unpleasant conditions as flaws, problems, undesirable and unfortunate. And though we might be more polite today and not ask about the cause of the flaw, or assign blame too quickly, we still want to ‘heal’, restore, rectify, correct and make better.  We can say compassionately that it’s OK to come as you are, but we’d better see you off in a better condition than the one with which you came. 
Stories of healing reinforces this idea that one needs to get better, if not completely healed.  Our faith in medical advances also convinces us that there is a cure, a solution to every problem.  Spiritually speaking, we say God can and will heal our hearts, restore our souls and transform our lives inside out. After all, Jesus is the answer to every problem.  What good is forgiveness and salvation if we can’t then move on to a better spiritual or physical life?
This theology of infirmity to wholeness leaves us who do not experience that wonderful healing, freedom and victory, feeling like bigger losers in God’s kingdom.  The promise or examples of transformations to health and wealth, healing and happiness, even spiritual fulfillment and giftings, create a bigger hole, a deeper grievance among us ‘have-nots’.
The Gospel stories with their ‘good endings’ naturally lead us to  end our teaching on ‘God will heal, transform, make good or even better’. But what does that do to us who may not see any change for the better?
Who doesn’t love good endings, solutions to persisting problems, answers to prayers.  But I’ve been let down too many times and those good endings don’t do much for me anymore. 
I find more comfort in David’s anguish, encouragement in   Jeremiah’s weepings,  strength in Job’s ‘I know my redeemer lives’ in the midst of loss, and good theology in Paul’s treasure in jars of clay.
Yes, we should teach spiritual renewal, transformation.  Sanctification, working out of one’s salvation.  But there are many parts of our lives we simply cannot change, and God in His wisdom and power does not change.  What is there then in the Gospel for those times?  What does Jesus say to the many other paralytics by the pool?  What has Jesus in store for many other demoniacs who were not freed?  And what about the poor that will be with us always?  Jesus has not healed all.  Jesus has not calmed all storms.  He has not dramatically transformed all lives. So how am I to value myself when not being one of the lucky few healed or restored ones?

There are those in the disability movement who say disability is not a flaw, but a diversity.  It is not something that needs to be corrected, cured or changed for the better, but a mark of our unique identity, even a mark of pride in who we are.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we Christians could  go beyond saying the disabled or impaired a sign of God’s judgement, to go beyond even saying being socially, physically or spiritually inadequate is a means for God to show His mercy and power, to recognize and affirm they too are the wonderful image of God, a mark of His greatness in frailty, His deity in humanity. Jesus has balanced His dramatic miracles with His identifying with the lowly, His teachings on who is truly blessed, on who He has come to call, on the on-going opposition He faces, and on His death, which is His glorification–according to John. 
The ultimate hope is in the resurrection, not restoration.  Restoration means a return to a former condition, a going back to something I was.  And healing too is a mere bringing one’s condition to a state we humans in our temporal condition consider good.  Seeing 20/20 would be wonderful, but may not be the greatest thing after all.  If I can have the splendor of the sun, the splendor of the moon is nothing to pine for. Even if I can never  be whole like the Joneses, I can still look forward to the imperishable swallowing  up the perishable, the spiritual body replacing my earthly, mortal one.
This is the theology I have come to embrace.  This is the theology that helps me to be whole. I am in Christ, the frail Jesus, the disabled God.  And I take hold of the ‘not yet’, rather than constantly grasping for the elusive ‘now’.

Preach it sister Yin.  While there are a number of excellent books written about the theology of infirmity, there is nothing like hearing what a person who is living with blindness, or other condition considered to be an infirmity, to really bring it home where we all live.  Thank you Yin for sharing your life and your thoughts with us.
 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Clinic Fun Times

This afternoon is my second local diabetic clinic.  If it is as hilarious as the last one I will enjoy it immensely.  The other people in the class are providing me no end of giggles, not on purpose, they are just so appealing to my own sense of humour.

One of the fellows there is not diabetic himself, but is there to learn how to best support his diabetic wife.  He seems to be a very nice man, kind of a "local yokel" sort with a good heart and a good sense of fun.  He is fixated on a diabetic friend who apparently tests his blood sugar before having any sort of alcoholic drink.

Every time a question was asked of us by our presenters, this fellow would leap into the conversation, no matter the topic of the question, to let us know that his friend would test his blood sugar before having any alcohol and depending on the reading would decide if he could have one or two drinks, or none at all.

What was hilarious about it was this dear man bringing it up so consistently throughout the two hours we were in clinic.  I stopped counting after the 8th repetition.  haha

Presenter: "Please state your name and what course of treatment you are presently taking to control your diabetes."
Various answers and then:
Man: "Well, I have this friend who..." (followed by head shaking and guffawing)

Presenter:  "What sort of instruction have you received for taking care of your test monitors and strips?"
Various answers and then:
Man: "Well, I have this friend who..." (followed by more vigorous head shaking and guffawing)

Presenter:  "Can anyone explain to me exactly what diabetes is?"
Various answers and then:
Man: "Well, I have this friend who..." (followed by intense and ongoing head shaking and guffawing)

Presenter: "Would anyone be able to explain their understanding of what an A1C is and what it tells the doctor?"
Various answers and then:
Man: "Well, I have this friend who..." (followed by head shaking and guffawing and a bright red face)

Presenter: "In what way do insulin injections assist our bodies?"
Various answers and then:
Man: "Well, I have this friend who..." (followed by red faced head shaking and guffawing, with the addition of knee slapping)

You get the idea.

The man's awe and delight over his friend's behaviour seems typical apparently of the local sense of humour I have often run across here.  The simplest things of smallest humorous value are worth repeating over and over again in a short time frame with the laughter growing bigger with each repetition.  More subtle or sophisticated humour is largely ignored even when understood.  Sarcasm goes right over peoples' heads or is construed as deep and hurtful criticism.  

I have had to rein in my own sense of humour over the years I have lived here and learn a new way of appreciating tiny bits of humour that have been a struggle for me to catch onto.  It has been a good stretching exercise for me, a way to grow in appreciation for a type of humour I have never been exposed to before.

Whatever is going on in the minds of my fellow diabetics at our afternoon clinics, I find it delightful. One lady sat through the 2 hours unabashedly eating an entire giant bag of potato chips and another over a litre of sugar sweetened soda as she talked about how high her sugars have been and how lousy she is feeling. I couldn't believe neither of them could see any incongruity in their own behaviours, (and aren't we all guilty of that faux pas in some area of our lives).  By the time we were done session one I came near to rolling on the floor with laughter, despite being made conscious once again that I am from "away" and therefore not worthy of being looked at, certainly not worthy of being spoken to...not yet....maybe by the end of the last session.  

It will take some time to wiggle my way into the group, even just a wee bit. But I am tenacious.  By the time we are done it will happen.  Just a wee bit......