Wednesday, 23 September 2015

An armload of kittens

I am late rising today.  I had one of those nights where I awakened at 4 and ended up tossing and turning and no matter how hard I tried it took a long time to drift back to sleep. But there is a complicating factor over the last month: three kittens who love to gallop down the hall and bump into the bedroom door as though they were knights with a battering ram.

Bessie, Billie and Louie were rescued after their mom was hit by a car in a nearby town when they were just 2 weeks old.  A neighbour had noticed them under a porch and an area rescue group came and literally saved their lives,  A torrential storm hit that very night and they would have perished.

We had just said goodbye to our 16-year old Cadycat.  When I went to the rescue lady's house to see about getting a kitten, I never anticipated coming home with three.  But they are a unit. To take two and leave one would have been unconscionable.  With costs covered we knew we could give them a good home.  They are absolute sweeties.

They have been sleeping in the bathroom at night where access to food and litter is immediate and the three of them could curl up on the crate and sleep the night away.  But over the last week they have become noticeably larger and when I found that one was sleeping in the sink and the bathroom was feeling cramped, it became evident that new arrangements must be considered.

So, a few nights back I closed the door to the kitchen and gave them the run of the living room and washroom.  They were delighted!  I also left my door open.  They had joined me for a few naps and I was hopeful that they would figure out that the bed and the lights out meant sleep time.

It was a vain hope.

No sooner had I gotten under the covers when stealthy kittens came into the room. Suddenly I was the object of attack.  My covered feet were apparently an invitation to sink needle-like teeth through the comforter into soft flesh.  Then they galloped down the hall only to return and launch full steam at my prone body. They were having a blast.  Me, not so much. The capper was when one of them bounded off my face digging claws into my temple and forehead.  Clearly, this was not a good idea.

There is a limit.  Back into the bathroom they went to sleep it off and have a kittycat time-out.

The next night I closed my door so they could have the run of the living room and washroom.  They were overjoyed to see me when I came out of the bedroom in the morning.

Last night I left the door open again. As an experiment.  After an initial energy spike they left for the living room and I fell asleep.  Which brings me to 4 a.m.  I was tossing and turning trying to get back to sleep and one of the kittens jumped up on the bed.  This time I was the object of cuddles. The others jumped up too.  Little kitten bodies pressed close to my neck, shoulder and kisses on my face. Everyone settled and we all finally got to sleep.

There is something so touching and beautiful when a little creature offers such trust.  When you realize that they see you as pseudo mom and caregiver. And when you realize that the kitty cuddles, the affection offered with such delight, is a kind of universal gratitude that transcends human and kitty boundaries.  I am grateful for them too.

This morning with the chill of autumn in the air, it was toasty under the blankets. Once again I was awakened by a little kitten trying to get comfortable in the space between my chin and neck.  Then another came and flopped on my chest.  Then they flopped on each other with the third deciding the curve of my knee was nice and warm.  And it struck me as they purred away that in this moment, everything was perfect.  We were safe and warm, we were relaxed and content.  The day could start without us for a little while.

And now I am in the office looking at the "to do list" and having coffee.  I can hear the three of them galloping around doing what kittens do.

It comes to me that while we have rescued them  in many ways they have rescued me.  They are helping me be mindful of the importance of playing and focusing on the moment and taking time to be grateful and appreciating love that comes in all its fullness.  It was a really nice way to start the day.

Have a great day everyone.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Finding purpose

Yesterday's blog about all the hats I wear got me to thinking about a question that I am asked often by people who come to me for spiritual direction or in conversation.  It is a question you have likely asked yourself in some form or another.

Why am I here?  What am I meant to do?  What is my purpose?

Some people know what they are born to do.  They become great doctors or teachers or rise up the ranks in a profession for which they have a natural aptitude.  Others of us know that being a parent fills our life with meaning but once the kids have left the nest the question returns - now what?

We once took the question to the angels who basically told us - Do what brings you joy.  Do what brings love to the world.

I know that many of us want more specifics.  We think in terms of what should I be?  What should I do? We have been told by well-meaning people that we can't get ahead by drawing doodles or knitting scarves or whatever it is that we love to do outside of the 9-5 work day.  Many of us want the security of a paycheque and benefits.  We have more people to think of than just ourselves.  

We can work in a job that we don't like.  We can spend our day with people who really are not that nice.  We can do anything for a few hours at a time and stay happy IF we balance it with something that feeds our spirit.

Whatever feeds your Spirit holds the key to your purpose.  It holds the answer to your question.  Are you a musician?  Are you a gardener?  Are you an artist?  Are you a world traveller?  Do you clip coupons and feel a sense of joy?

As we consider the big question of life purpose, I see more and more that it isn't perhaps one thing we are meant to do.  It is more about finding things that help us stay in that place of joy and happiness.  It about be-ing rather than the do-ing.  It is about being in that place of love and openness, letting our Spirit guide us to the answers we seek.

It also means taking time every day to let yourself be nourished  in spirit.  Connecting with nature, getting out your paints, laughing with loved ones, doing something that brings you joy.

It is true, as John Lennon wrote, all you need is Love.  Love is all about being and is the opposite of fear.  It is about things of the Spirit that touch us in the physical.

Seek first the things of the Spirit (the Kingdom of God) and everything will come to you.  Focus there and everything shifts.  It really is in the "be-ing"  that we discover the answers to our deepest questions.  At least, that is what I have learned. 

When we look at the fear and the harsh climate of the world, it becomes more and more important that we stay in that bubble of joy, of happy anticipation, of knowing that we are here to be loving and to be love, that we are blessings to one another...  

Today, take time to find your bliss.  Take time to let yourself be filled with the affirming and uplifting power, the soul connection that comes when you are in harmony with your spirit.  It is good for you and energetically it is a blessing for the world.  

(While you are at it, send a wave of love to our Mother Earth, to all the people, animals, structures, plants... just cover it with love and gratitude. This is part of our collective purpose and has effects that are profound.)

Have a great day, everyone.

Monday, 21 September 2015

A Full and Happy Life...

I can never complain that my life is boring.

As I come to the desk every morning, I sift through the "to do" list.  With all the hats I wear, there is always something to do, sometimes several things at once!

It may be time to prepare the Angel Ladies' newsletter or make sure wedding ceremonies are organized for the day. It may be that websites need to be updated or a blog needs to be written. Perhaps I need to send out a note to the clergy or finish an order of crosses or angels that has come to deadline.  Maybe I can broadcast a podcast. Yes, it is busy but I love it all.

Always on the top of the list is looking for ways to promote my wonderful little church. Over the past year, I have been writing and teaching a course to train candidates to be ordained as Deacons in November.  We have four great candidates and I am so excited at how everything is coming along.

I can't believe that it has been more than 10 years since I left the Anglicans and joined the CCCC.  It has certainly been a journey in faith with some twists and turns along the way, but I have never been happier.

For many many years I tried to stay inside the lines, follow rules that others seemed to break with ease (with no repercussions), live up to other people's expectations... you know the drill.  I put my head down and did the nose to the grindstone thing, but that wasn't good enough either.  I have since learned that I am absolutely A-ok with God and that is all that matters.  You are too, you know.

The course with the deacons-in-training has been exhilarating and challenging.  We do not profess to be Trinity College  but we can offer people who have felt a call to serve in holy orders a way to honour that soul purpose.

I have spoken with so many people who felt a tug to go to seminary or school to become deacons or priests but were unable to go forward because of sexual orientation, gender, family commitments or finances.  Some people had a strong desire to be a worship leader but found that the doctrines or beliefs of their church no longer expressed what they had come to know in their hearts.

Deacons can officiate at weddings and other life celebrations and play a very special role in the church community.  Deacons are the worker bees, going out into the community and working with the poor, the sick, the infirm bringing the love of Christ wherever they are.  They are the healers, the voices calling for justice and equality, the do-ers who are moved by Love, the ones holding the lantern to shine a light on the path.  Candidates can stay as Permanent Deacons or move on to train as Priests.

The six-month (mostly) online course covers general Church background, history and the window through which we minister in the world.  Folks are trained as a wedding and funeral officiant as well as prepared for the role of being clergy in our progressive faith community.
I didn't mean to go all promotional but it is a big part of my life right now and very exciting for all involved.  Ordination is coming up in November on All Saints and there is much buzz around invitations and getting clergy clothes and vestments.

Sound interesting? I have just added a new session beginning on Nov 15 with an introductory day here at our home in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Because it will take place over the winter the front part will be online and then when the weather gets nicer we'll gather to  get practical work done.  I am working on the schedule and will have it up on the website soon.  It will follow the order that is there already - just a change of dates.

 For details, please visit the website or contact me if you have any questions.  

Whew!  I had better get to it.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Simplifying Life...

I have reached that point in my life where things are like the pasta bowl -- I keep plugging away and the volume of stuff in the bowl seems to stay the same.  You probably know what I mean.

Of necessity, I wear many hats and each one comes with its own bowl.  As wife and mom, I have the family bowl.  As presiding bishop of a growing Church, I have that bowl.  As a seminary director with diaconal candidates in training, I have the happy task of writing and coordinating the curriculum. As an artisan with orders for crosses and angels, I have a whole studio.  As an Angel Lady, I have many projects on the go.  As a wedding officiant, there are ongoing calls on my time. There are other bowlfuls of things, but you get the picture.

My bowl runneth over.

I am not complaining.  Today I am aware that the management of this huge mixing bowl of good things I have created is getting challenging.  I am untangling the many websites I run, the various blogs that I have started, the podcast sites that I use and the number of facebook pages I've started and I feel like going back to bed.

So, I have decided to consolidate where I can.  

My problem is that I enjoy each and every thing I do.  Each has its own identity and purpose.  Each one seems important.  And, each helps with household income since the Church is not a stipendary gig.

So, this will become my only blog and will reflect the diverse things I do.  I have an exciting life, filled with great people, projects and experiences.  

As for the rest, today is the day to look at each and prioritize.  Not everything is front burner.  Not everything needs to be on the hot topic list.  Some of the pasta can be portioned out and put in the freezer for a while.

How about you?  Here we are in September and summer is shifting into autumn.  Schedules are filling up, life is picking up speed.  Your pasta bowl may be feeling a little full too.

Here are questions to consider as you look at the list and the calendar:

1. Do I need to work at this today?  Where is it in terms of deadline, planning, execution?
2. Can someone else work at this?  Is this mine alone or should someone else take the lead.
3, What can I put in the freezer and not worry about for a while?
4. When can I build in a block of time for me?
5. When can I build in a block of time for family and friends?
6. What can I say "no" to?

Have a great day, everyone.  When in doubt, take a break, go outside and enjoy the day!

Cheers and blessings,


Saturday, 28 March 2015

Praying through Challenges

Sometimes challenges can jump us when we least expect it, leaving us spinning and shaky.  This has been a difficult winter for so many people who've encountered scary times in their lives -  health challenges, relationship break-ups, financial difficulties, loss of employment, a gamut of miserable things to overcome.

You may be in one of those winter times too - where it never seems to get better. You may know someone who is experiencing uncomfortable conditions. You may feel quite helpless to know how best to help or move through the situation.

At times like this it is easy to shake a fist at the heavens and say "why me?!"  It can certainly feel unfair and undeserved. We can be angry.  We can experience so many negative thoughts that we are like a magnet to more bad news.  And, as people look on, offering what support they can, it can just make you feel more angry and resentful. It is also easy to feel alone and shut out in many ways.

Think of a closed hand.  If someone offered you something, could you receive it?  Short of jamming it under your clenched fingers, no.  When we are angry, we are like a closed hand.  When we are afraid we are shielding ourselves from hurt.  When we are worried, our minds often focus on that worry and concern, and answers can pass by unnoticed.  It is time to open up.  It is time to recall that we are spiritual beings as well as physical bodies.  Answers will come if we allow ourselves to connect to that Source, that Force, that Creative Stream which we call God.

If you are struggling with things and can't seem to get on solid ground, it is important that you stop.  Take a deep breath. If you keep struggling, you are going to go deeper into the pit. It is important to step back and look at the big picture.  It may not be pretty, but sometimes we need a time out and a fresh perspective.

For us as Christians, we have the power of heaven at hand.  We tend to forget whose children we are.  We think that God has bigger issues to deal with or we just want to take care of things ourselves.  But, if we are people of faith, we have to know that God is waiting for us to turn on the light bulb over our head.  We have been given free will and God is certainly sending angels to assist, but until we remember that we can ask and receive, then we are really choosing to stew in our own juices.  We make things a lot harder than they need to be.

The power of prayer is a force unlike anything else.  The intentions we send out into the ethers, our words, our pleas, our hopes, our expressions of thanksgiving and praise, our expression of fear and worry -- all are sent forth with the power of our emotion and they do not return to us empty.

We are not alone.  We are not without resources.  Remember that you are a child of the Most High God and with God all things are possible. God has your back.  The outcome may be a little different than your prayer but with faith and trust we understand that it is always better.

Start with a little prayer today.  Ask for what you need.  Give thanks for what you have.  See what comes your way.

Prayer for Help in Challenging Times:
God of the Universe, you are the very force of Life, the source of Love. You call the rise the sun to rise and the moon to set.  You call the flowers to grow and the birds to make their nests.  You call me too, and in you I find Home.

I ask your help as I cope with the ups and downs in my life. I offer these concerns that weigh heavily upon my heart: ............................
I give them over to you knowing that you are working for good in my life and that resolution and answers will come.  I trust in your Divine Intervention and the power of your grace.
I give thanks that you have heard my prayers and are sending angels to assist in this situation. 
Thank you, God.  May I be guided by your Holy Spirit and know that I am yours in Christ forever. Amen.