Tag Archives: god

What I did on my summer vacation

12 Jun

Or at least what I did the last six weeks that I haven’t been able to do anything like run. Or bike. Or dance. Or wash dishes. Or knit. Well, OK, it was just the last two weeks I couldn’t wash dishes or knit, but still. Annoying. But really, what else can you do when you look like this?

gimpy-me
SIGH.

So what DID I do?

I went on a boat ride on Lake Minnetonka with people from the dance studio. It was fun, but it was the day after my surgery so it was a bit exhausting. I got a bit crabby, but I think it was that I was annoyed with the surgery. I was back to feeling that my life was on hold AGAIN, like I did after I broke my foot.

I started going to church again on a regular basis. I had kinda fallen out of that practice, but I really felt the need to go back. So I did, and it was great. And I started doing some bible study with two friends of mine. Which has been really interesting.

I saw a bunch of friends. I tried to stay busy and keep an active social life, since I wasn’t at the studio much and that’s a big part of my social life. I had dinner with friends, watched Sunday night PBS with MH. I saw “The Great Gatsby” with my book club. I went to Showcase. I had coffee with friends.

I worked some overtime at my day job. It’s our busy time of year, and it was completely my choice to do it. But it helped me stay ahead at work and not get so stressed. Plus I get time-and-a-half, so why not?

I dogsat for my friend WH again. She got a new cat (that makes two cats and two dogs), and the new cat THINKS he’s a dog. But look at that face!

crosby-the-cat-who-thinks-he-is-a-dog

So stinkin’ cute. I’m not much of a cat person AT ALL, but he was hard to resist. Especially when he demanded to sit on my lap and then fell asleep.

I watched TV. I caught up on Foyle’s War, rewatched Arrested Development and watched the new season, I caught up on Psych, I watched more of the West Wing, I watched all of House of Cards, I watched some past Project Runway, and I started a new series (well, not new, it aired on BBC around 10 years ago) called Monarch of the Glen. Thank you, Netflix and Hulu. You really helped me get through the last 6 weeks.

I knew I was starting to feel better because I felt like reading this past weekend. I read “The Devil in the White City”. If you haven’t read it, and you like mysteries, read it. It was really good. A little creepy because, you know, serial killers and all. But it’s well-written and a very interesting story. That’s not a story, really, as it’s describing about stuff that really happened. Non-fiction! That’s the phrase I was looking for.

And I thought. A lot. A LOT. Me with nothing to do and no physical activity leads to thoughts. Thankfully, not the thinky place. But thoughts. I realized I like working out. And I actually like running. *Shudder* Well, I like the way I feel after working out. So I know it’s important. And I know it really helps with my mental attitude. I also realized that when I go back to dance, I want to have more fun. I don’t want to get frustrated with me or my progress or my teacher. But a lot of that starts with me and my attitude. I want to just enjoy it. I want to enjoy that I’m there, enjoy that I can do it (now that I know what not doing it feels like), enjoy that I can do it well, and enjoy just the whole process. I still want to be good; I’m still driven in that regard. But I don’t want to forget to have fun. So I need to remind myself of that each and every time I go to the studio until it doesn’t need to be a conscious thought anymore.

Oh, and I also drank. And gained a few pounds. Because, you know…not doing the normal amount of physical activity coupled with sitting and doing nothing except watch TV can lead to that.

But…starting Monday, I can ease back into running. THANK GOD. Tomorrow I’m going to try biking. And then one week from today, I get to DANCE again.

A comma makes all the difference

28 Oct

I was struck by something in church on today.

Are you familiar with the Nicene Creed? I think most Christian faiths…or at least a lot of them…use it. Or some version of it. I know the Catholic Church uses it as does the Episcopalian Church.

One line struck me. In the Episcopalian church I go to, one line reads “For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried.” But in the Catholic church, the line is “For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died and was buried.”

Do you see what a difference that one comma makes? And how having it or not can totally change the focus?

In the Catholic’s version, Christ suffered, then died, then was buried. In the Episcopalian version, he suffered death and was buried. The suffering prior to death is almost downplayed. Not really, but the suffering and guilt don’t have nearly the importance in the Episcopalian church that they do in the Catholic church. Christ’s suffering is important, but there is not the strong guilt and groveling.

I like that. I still have a lot of Catholic guilt that pops up. And I don’t like that the guilt is such a strong part of the Catholic faith.

So I’m happy with the Episcopalian church so far. I know it’s not perfect, but it’s feeling very comfortable for me. And I like the church I joined. I’m so happy to be back in a faith community!

Oh, and commas are important in other ways too…

I think I found a church

30 Sep

I tried a new church today, and I think I found the one I want to go to. What a relief.

I’ve been trying a few here and there although not too many to be honest. I wanted to go to one that was in my neighborhood and was Episcopalian. I talked before I think about why I’m not comfortable going to a Catholic church anymore, even though there are a few progressive parishes here. Episcopalian is the close relative of Catholicism, so I thought I’d try that.

I went to the 8:00 service (service? mass? I don’t even know what they call it in the Episcopalian church) today. Right away, I was greeted at the door by the pastor who was very welcoming. The church itself is very old (1881 I think?) and is beautiful. The service was very similar to a Catholic mass but slightly different. The sermon was fantastic and really gave me something to think about.

I’m anxious to try the 10:00 service which has music and is a bit more modern I guess? I’m not actually sure of the difference, and Google is letting me down and not giving me a clear answer on that.

Overall I was very pleased and happy to be there. I left feeling that my soul was fed, which is a great feeling and one I haven’t really felt in a while. I actually can’t wait to go again and take care of that side of me which I’ve been neglecting for a long time.

 

Weekly roundup

24 Sep

Last week, I…

*Had an awesome birthday…with homemade cake!

*Determined that I’m doing really well and am in pretty good mental health.

*Had lunch with a friend from college that I haven’t seen in probably 15 years. It was so much fun catching up. I’m amazed at the woman she’s become.

*Did not go to the gym. Fail.

*Made another great cocktail.

*Had round two of birthday dessert.

Because why not?

*Enjoyed dancing again this week. So glad I’m remembering to have fun with that.

*Went to try a new church. I drove up about 5 minutes before the service, and there were literally 4 cars parked there. No one was walking in. It felt a little deserted, so I didn’t go in. To be honest, it felt a bit creepy. Oh well. The search for a church continues.

*Had brunch with my parents at one of my favorite places.

Beginning to simplify my life

16 Jan

I was really confused on what simplifying life meant.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. I asked my friend Brittany at the Gentle Home to write a guest post on it, because she’s been doing this for a long time. Her posts (she actually did two for me, part I and part II) really helped me define it, at least for my life.

To start, I need to focus on my space. Decluttering it. Going through stuff, especially clothes, and purging what I don’t use and don’t need. I started this today by sorting through all the clutter in my room, throwing some stuff and finding a place for the rest. Because most of my stuff is in storage, I don’t have a lot of stuff to go through. But the stuff that I do have here needs some attention. My books are in random piles in the basement. My craft stuff is in bags and different bins in the basement. Because I’ve lost some weight recently, I need to either alter some clothes or donate them.

I need to focus on me again in terms of my physical health. I need to get my cholesterol checked. (I’ve been meaning to do that since August.) I need to – SIGH – get my first mammogram now that I’ve turned 40. I need to work out. And I need to refocus on my eating again.

I mentioned before about my money struggles and how I want to learn to stay totally within budget every month. Doing that will also simplify my life.

I’d like to focus on my spiritual life too. While I haven’t found a church to join yet, I can still pray and read the Bible and try to connect with God that way.

I also realized that part of simplifying life should be really using every moment wisely. To that end, I need to not use the TV for background noise. I do it less than I used to – a lot less – but I would like to not use it unless I had something I really wanted to watch like “Masterpiece” or “The Big Bang Theory”. (Have you been watching “Downton Abbey”? You should. This season is another great one.)

I think I’m coming to the conclusion that a simple life for me means one free of clutter – physical, mental, financial, spiritual. So I will try to work towards that. Do you think I’m on the right track?

Thinking beyond myself

24 Oct

I read a blog yesterday that got me thinking. The blog was about “think global, act local” and thinking beyond oneself.

As I try to reinvent my life and make it what I want it to be, what am I doing to help the world around me? Am I doing anything? What is my role in this?

Does helping friends count? Part of me feels like it matters to make one person’s world a bit brighter or to help out one person. But is that enough? What else should I be doing?

I try to be environmentally conscious. I recycle as much as I can. I reuse things a lot. I try to buy organic much of the time. Is that enough?

Is it about being part of a spiritual community like a church? I do miss that, but it’s hard to find a new church by yourself.

Or does it require a bigger effort like volunteering? Or is it just a balance between the reality of your life and doing what you can? Maybe the question isn’t am I doing enough but am I doing what I can?

This kinda put me in the thinky place but in a more philosophical way. I need to keep in mind the world around me as I make my life what I want it to be. It’s not just about me; I can’t just look inward and build my life all about me. I need to do my part to help improve the world around me.

And, to keep this from being too serious….

You know you've done it!

To be or not to be…Catholic?

22 Aug

I was raised Catholic. Growing up, religion and church didn’t mean that much to me. We had to go to mass every Sunday, and we had to go through all the rites like first communion and confirmation. In college, very few people went to church (welcome to a public university) and I never went either. I went a few times post-college to a church in Dinkytown that had an awesome preacher. I really liked Father Jim and his sermons, and that’s what got my interested in church and religion. TD and I were married there, but we left shortly after we got married because Father Jim was reassigned elsewhere (Memphis actually) and the new guy wasn’t a good preacher. Because going to church was very important to TD, we found a decent liberal Catholic church in south Minneapolis that we liked, so we joined there. We were really active there and made lots of friends.

When TD and I separated, we stopped going to that church. Because we were so active and knew so many people, when we separated, going to mass became going to be grilled on “how are you” and “what happened”. I couldn’t just go and worship like a stranger. So I stopped going. TD, I believe, found another Catholic church to go to. (He feels far too guilty if he misses a weekend of mass. I on the other hand think that God’s OK if I skip one Sunday.) Then the separation anxiety in my dog got worse, and I couldn’t leave him home alone. Sunday was the one day he wasn’t at doggie daycare, so I stayed home with him on Sundays.

Bottom line, I haven’t really been to church much in the last 4-5 years. I’ve been realizing lately that I’m missing that spiritual nurturing and the community. So I’d like to get back to going to church.

But I have such issues with the Catholic church now. I’m not a big fan of where Rome and the bishops have the church headed. It’s a very 1950s kind of philosophy. Women should stay home and have 6000 kids. You should do watch the church tells you to do – no questions. The only true faith is the Catholic faith. No divorce, even if it makes you happier and healthier and even if you’ve tried to make the relationship work. The Vatican issued a proclamation a few months ago about what wording in the mass responses were changing. Seriously? With all the problems in the world, that’s how you’re focusing your energy?? The church says no condoms period, not even in Africa, where AIDS is spreading so quickly. To me, that’s the church being out of touch with reality.

There are good things with Catholicism too. I love the rituals and the deep meaning behind them. I love knowing that the mass is celebrated very closely to how it was in the original church. I find comfort in the mass because it is so familiar to me.

I always thought if I left the Catholic church, it would be to Episcopalian aka Catholic Lite. It’s so similar to Catholicism but much more liberal in thought and more applicable to daily life. I just assumed I’d end up there.

My friend KC invited me to try her EFCA church. I knew it would be very different, although I wasn’t sure what it would be like. I did some investigating beforehand to see what the philosophy of that domination is. Was it something I could live with? No church will be a perfect fit, and to a certain extent I believe that all loving religions are different paths to the same place. EFCA seemed to be pretty reasonable in its philosophy, so I went yesterday. I also went because I think it’s awesome how KC incorporates God and faith into her daily life without being in-your-face and over-the-top about it.

It was a great service. The preaching was outstanding and very applicable to daily life. It also dove into bible study a bit, which doesn’t happen in the Catholic church. Lots of good music too. No communion which was weird. Apparently they do it on the first Sunday of every month, but it was strange not to have it. KC and I went to lunch afterwards to talk about it. I asked some questions, told her my concerns, she tried to answer the questions. I’m interested in learning more and maybe going to another service.

But I know I could NOT tell my parents or my sisters about this. To them, Catholicism is the only way. To my sisters, I probably wouldn’t be able to hang out with my nieces and nephews because I would not be of the true faith and would be going to hell. (Well, to them, I am going to hell anyway because I’m divorced.) They would also try to convert me back to Catholicism through guilt and shame. So if I change churches and denominations, I could only tell my brother and my dad. Another thing to consider? Or does that not really factor in to the decision?

Hopefully, I’ll be able to figure out this path and find a good church for me. But it is making me think about God and religion and spirituality a lot. I’ve been neglecting that part of myself for a while, and now the universe is telling me to pay attention to it. This could be an interesting journey…

“What we are is God’s gift to us. What we become is our gift to God.”

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