Thursday, May 25, 2017

Off we go...

I am so excited!  Little Man suddenly developed this intense desire to join Beavers last winter and so we made it happen.  There is something about having my kids involved in activities that they enjoy that makes me so happy.  I am a joiner - I love being a part of anything and I think since I somehow grew up feeling as if I didn't belong anywhere.  My kids getting to really belong to something makes me so happy!  With Pk, it's been skating and horseback riding (and I am now the club secretary for the skating club and we have gone to competitions and even to watch a few high level competitions) and with Little Man, it's now Beavers and softball.  I've helped to sell apples, I've planted trees, I spent a day at winter camp and he and I have worked together all year on projects for his "Personal Achievement badges".  It's been so much fun.  I know, it's not everyone's cup of tea but being involved in projects with my kids feels like building memories and connections that are more precious than I can say.

Tomorrow, we are off on a new adventure, even for me.  We will be doing a weekend Beaver camp IN A TENT.  I have not bee in in a tent for 25 years and then, it was only three or four times during one summer.  That's it.  Dh will NEVER EVER EVER EVER camp (the closest he would ever agree to come to camping would be to find a hotel room close to our site and arrive with tea and coffee each morning).  I, the one who is technically useless, will be putting up a tent, dealing with the equipment and being an outdoors-woman for 48 hours.  I am so excited and SO terrified!  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Misfit's Dilemma...

I am assuming that if you hang around here at all, you know that I am not your traditional Christian and you are at least somewhat o.k. with that.  Warning, though, this post might rattle some cages so feel free to stop reading now.

At a recent women's coffee evening at church, I was highly alarmed when I was told that they wanted us to watch a video on "post-abortive women."  Abortion and gay marriage are two issues in church that make me want to run for the hills.  Both are issues, to me, that cannot be reduced to black and white and to do so totally ignores the human beings involved and that, to me, immediately means that we are not taking a Jesus-following approach.  I sat at my table with mostly "evangelical" Christian women, getting more and more alarmed at what was coming and how I was going to cope.  My only possible compatriot in the squirming was a friend J.  She, however, grew up Catholic and, not to offend anyone, I find that I have a number of Catholic friends who have this amazing skill at just not hearing offensive stuff said at church (which is totally perplexing to me, who grew up in a denomination who had a statue of Margaret, a dissenter, who is known, for among other things, hurling her stool at a minster who offended her at a church meeting, in their seminary lobby).  But, back to the evening.

As the video rolled out, I stopped feeling quite as nervous.  It was clear that the focus was going to be on supporting post abortive women in the church, not from a standpoint of condemning them but to share with them that they are welcome and that healing is available.  After a diplomatic email conversation with our pastor, I can say that I now feel sufficiently comfortable that 1. they really do just want to support a group of women who most likely would be terrified to speak in church and 2. that the intention is to come alongside these women AS THEY WORK WITH TRAINED COUNSELLING PROFESSIONALS and not just to counsel ourselves.  That's critical for me.  My dad is a practicing pastoral psychotherapist which means that he is an ordained minister who also happens to be a fully trained member of the College of Psychotherapy for our province and not just someone with good intentions who hung out a sign.  Much of his practice involves supporting people who have very legitimate challenges (either related to mental health issues or life trauma) who were further traumatized by church people (ministers, mostly) who felt empowered to offer counselling despite having no idea what they were doing.

It's all worked out well and thankfully, I am a member of a church that is directed by someone who is thoughtful, responsible and has an understanding of his own limitations.  That isn't always the case.

I don't fit, I know that.  I don't have a definite belief about abortion or homosexuality.  I would say that I am definitely pro-life but what that means for me is most definitely not protesting with signs of dead fetal tissue that traumatizes people around me.  My being pro-life is being pro-birth but also pro-enough self esteem to not be bullied into sex you don't want, pro-education for women so that they have choices, pro-understanding that rape victims face their own challenges, pro-adoption and a system that supports different ways of creating families, pro-making parenting affordable and possible, pro-supporting the elderly and pro-making life liveable for everyone in our society.  Yes, there are questions and for me, they don't have easy answers.  Most of all, though, Jesus told me to love and that's what I am going to do.  Judgement is someone else's job and especially given the suicide rate among gay youth, do you really think that it's the Jesus response to tell them that they are broken and flawed when they are already struggling?  I personally think that the church needs to shut up on the condemnation and to spew compassion whenever possible.

Then, comes the dilemma.  When I get a message about an event to highlight this ministry, do I speak up and risk finding out that my church doesn't have room for me in my mis-fittedness or do I stay quiet and avoid trouble?  When I write it down, it seems easy but it isn't always.  The church is home and family to my kids and this is a small town.  If we leave the church under a cloud, we are going to encounter these people daily and regardless of whether I have a deep understanding that I am doing the right thing, it has ramifications for me on a daily basis.  I'm lucky, I have found a church whose sympathies are largely mine and whose leadership DOES have room for different beliefs but that isn't always the case.  It's a hard place to be sometimes, especially when my INFJ-ness makes it really hard to compromise on the issues of compassion.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

O.k., So I'm Weird...

Not like that is a surprise for anyone hanging around here.  But I am learning to wear it proudly.  Maybe someone else will share this eccentricity with me!

I love listening to podcasts and one of the ones I have been listening to lately is Sorta Awesome with Megan Tietz and guests.  One of the episodes I listened to featured Becky Rapinchuk of the blog Clean Mama.  I have to tell you here that I grew up in a home that was always in chaos.  There was lots of love and affection but keeping things neat and tidy was NOT one of the strengths of my parents.  I used to think it had to do with just not caring but since having Pk tested and realizing that she has a learning disability in executive function (organizing, managing day-to-day stuff), I have decided that my mom suffers from that, too.  But I digress.  I grew up a bit ashamed of having people over into the chaos and really not sure how to deal with that side of homemaking.  It's become a bit of a passion of mine since it feels to me like an important part of making our home a place of welcome and comfort.

During the podcast, the subject of her book came up and, given my abebooks addiction (I LOVE ordering second hand books almost more than anything!), I had to buy it.  I am not a fan of commercial cleaners and in earlier days, when I had only one child and not so many lessons and sports to run people to I was pretty crunchy about things.  This seemed right up my alley.

People, I LOVE this book!  My house smells so nice when I have cleaned using her recipes and there hasn't been anything especially hard to find - the most challenging so far was liquid castille soap but I found a lovely lavender one at my local grocery store in my small town, hooray!  I have to wait until the kids are in bed and then, I do 30 - 45 minutes of cleaning while I listen to a podcast or a book and I go to sleep with the house tidy and potentially going to stay that way, at least for 8 hours or so until the kids get up again.  It's silly how much pleasure I am getting from this but in my out-of-control life, having a little corner of my house that feels controlled is pretty awesome.

I'd love to hear about books that are making a difference for you, too!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Yarn Along

Ack!  I just looked at Ginny's blog to link up and the Yarn Along is no more.  I can completely understand why she has made that decision but it makes me sad, too.  I'll have to find some other blogs to read and start trying to make some new connections around the blog-sphere!

I haven't been around much lately for the Yarn Along but I really wanted to get back in the habit.  Life has been crazy and things like knitting and reading haven't been getting the priority they should in terms of finding a little bit of time for myself at the end of the day.  Thank you to Ginny who hosts the Yarn Along over at her beautiful blog and thanks to everyone who shares.  My to-read list gets longer and longer and I have so many patterns waiting to be made!

On my needles, I have made several more of the ponytail hats.  If you don't already know, Pk's skating coach asked me back in March if I could make some kind of ponytail hat in a "worksock" pattern.  I found one on Ravelry and after a few modifications (I don't know why, following the pattern the first one ended up being the right size for an infant), I came up with a hat that I love.  I got a LOT of requests for them and when I worked on them at school (I am one of the leaders of our school knitting club and when our knitters don't need help, I do some of my own), the girls would rave about my "Roots Hats."  We had talked about trying to get some gear for the synchro skating team Pk is on so I thought I would make a set of hats for them for next fall.  I think there will be 12 skaters so I am aiming for 14 hats, just to be on the safe side.  I've got five done so far.


I've been trying to do a fair bit of reading lately and as always, I have more than one on the go at the moment.  As my non-fiction read, I am reading Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed by Philip Hallie.  I read this book years ago and LOVED it.  It is the true story of a small village in France of 3000 people that saved over 5000 Jews during WW2.  They were French Hugenots and pacifists and they showed such incredible courage, all because they believed in the sanctity of human life.  I had ordered this book a few months ago because I loved it so much the first time I read it.  I had been holding off reading it again because I was a bit afraid that it wouldn't be as wonderful to me the second time round.  The first evening, I read the introduction and the first two chapters and had several weepy moments in the best way.  It gives me such faith in the power of goodness to win.  The other book, The Shadow of the Wind, on a very different note, is a book that I discovered from the Modern Mrs. Darcy booklist of books in translation that are worth reading.  It's hard to do the book justice but, as a brief plot synopsis, it is the story of a teenage boy whose father takes him to this place that is a kind of a repository of lost books and allows him to choose one book.  He does, loves it and develops a fascination with the author that leads to somewhat gothic adventures in Barcelona after the Spanish Civil War.  It's good but honestly, I am finding it a bit too long.  I'm also having a problem that I am listening to The Historian on Audible and there are enough similarities in type of book that I keep getting the two confused.

I can't wait to see what other people are reading and knitting these days!