Tag Archives: spirituality

100 Things About Me

Although the title sounds slightly narcissistic, this little trendy blog idea has been a good exercise for the soul. Read it, if you care. Thanks Jen for the idea.

In no particular order:

100. I was born in Winnipeg on the Canadian prairies.

99. When I worked as a professional organizer I once handled over 20 mounted, taxidermied trophy heads of African animals, some of which were extinct. The experience was a mixture of repugnance and holiness.

98. I hate shopping for shoes.

97. Campfires are special to me because it gives me time to ponder.

96. The most claustrophobic moment in my life was climbing up inside the pyramid of Khufu at Giza, Egypt.

95. I performed with Len Cariou and Catherine McKinnon in My Fair Lady at Rainbow Stage. I ‘painted’ in a cleavage for a ballroom scene with a décolleté gown.

94. I worked beside Jimmy Carter on a Habitat for Humanity worksite.

93. I eat sweetbreads (organ meat, beef pancreas to be exact). (See #16).

92. I can play guitar and I can lead a really good campfire singalong.

91. I’ve read every Maeve Binchy novel but not every book of the Bible (even though that was one of our assignments at Bible College).

90. I like to knit.

89. My favourite thing to do is shore walking and beach combing.

88. I wore braces on my teeth for seven years.

87. I like entertaining.

86. I am a sonic mystic. I sing improvisationally. I like to call it sacred jazz.

85. I’m one of the few people in Canada who play church tower bells.

84. I build little natural artworks or ‘land art’ for people to find. I wish I knew Andy Goldsworthy.bowl

83. As a teenager I collected leather Lee jean patches by ripping them off the backs of my friend’s pants.

82. I suffer from Raynauds syndrome which means one or more of my fingers can loose all its circulation for up to half hour.

81. I designed and helped install two 70 foot stone walking labyrinths at two retreat centres.

80. I worked at the famous Scott Mission in Toronto for three years.

79. I took New Testament Greek in university. It’s all Greek to me now.

78. In the village of Sipesipe in the Bolivian highlands I visited the home of a very poor woman who knitted alpaca sweaters.

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77. I am an artist, or as my son says, a creative hoarder.

76. I had a detached retina. It was very traumatic.

75. I’ve given birth twice. Both times were amazing and the results were too!

74. I hate Hallowe’en.

73. I was married to a Baptist minister for over 20 years. I’m still married to him but he’s not a pastor anymore.

72. I have had the same amaryllis bulb for over 25 years. And it still blooms (and it had a baby).

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71. I have no body piercings or tattoos, not even pierced ears.

70. I absolutely loved my first car which I named “Molly”. She was a 5-speed standard Mazda Protege.

69. Two pieces of my mixed media art hang on the set of the CBS sitcom, Mike and Molly.

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68. Until 4 years ago I was deathly afraid of dogs. Then our kids got a dog and that cured me. I now have a grand-puppy named “Molly”.

67. I have, as my grandmother Winifred would have said, widdled numerous times in Lake Winnipeg. It’s a big lake.

66. I worked the counter at a donut shop.

65. I am terrified of climbing mountains but I did climb a glacier in Norway.

glacier

64. I know how to pronounce Islendingadagurinn, the name of the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba.

63. I wash out and re-use ziploc bags.

62. I’m addicted to potato chips, kettle-cooked please.

61. I have a passion and gift for facilitating creative events and creating nurturing space for people.

60. I witnessed my father’s death and it was one of the most sacred moments in my life.

59. I have trouble telling jokes and getting the punch lines correct.

58. I have lived in the same house for almost 28 years.

57. I attended Grade Two in Albany, CA while my Dad attended U of C (Berkeley).

56. My husband and I facilitate a self-help group for married couples because there is just not enough support out there for “the marrieds”.

55. I love winning Scrabble or UpWords against my husband.

54. I know now that I will never be famous. So I just try to ‘show up’ for my own life and bloom where I am planted (that was a poster in my childhood bedroom).

53. I have two older brothers who couldn’t be more different.

52. I don’t do well with practical jokes.

51. I collect books to read to my grandson.

50. When I was nine I voluntarily peed the bed at my BFF’s cottage because I too cozy in my sleeping bag to get up and go to the privy. The sleeping bag wasn’t cozy any more. Forgive me Helen.

49. I snorkelled on the Australian Great Barrier Reef, despite my paralyzing fear. I had to hire a private instructor/guide just to get me through it. That’s her hand on the lifesaving ring.

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48. I’m compelling to pick up every heart shape stone I find.

47. When I played tooth fairy for my kids I kept all their teeth. (I still have them).

46. I get S.A.D. and I sometimes loathe myself for being an H.S.P.

45. My first job was as a driver for a speedy messenger company, RoadRunner Courier in Winnipeg. I only got one speeding ticket.

44. I was on the basketball team in Junior High school.

43. Once I smuggled a goldfish over an international border. My kids named it Clifton from Cleveland.

42. I value deep conversations.

41. It was only three years ago that I learned to play tennis. My brother says I’m pretty good at it. Coming from him, that’s a real compliment.

40. I adore making soup from scratch.

39. I try to keep informed about social action and justice issues, except I feel I’m never well-read enough. I do what I can locally to help in small ways.

38. I bought fair-trade coffee years before it was trendy.

37. Finding unexpected treasures at thrift shops nearly takes my breath away.

36. I like photography, but dislike cameras (SLRs).

35. I prefer Taize chants to unsingable, theologically shallow, me-focused ‘praise and worship’ music.  I tolerate Country and Western but, I’m sorry, rap music just makes me puke.

34. I feel way too lucky to have been born in Canada, almost guilty.

33. I buy myself an inexpensive little potted hyacinth every winter because it cheers me up and the fragrance transports me. Then I let the bulb dry out and plant it in my garden.

32. When I sing to people and they say it’s like tripping out on drugs (I would’t know).

31. Ice cream at Gimli Pier. The best.

30. I here confess that I intensely disliked my High School French teacher, Miss Merlevede, but felt deep compassion for her. Everyday she wore the same white Peter Pan collar on her dress.

29. I am allergic to most perfume.

28. Sometimes I feel like a fraud.

27. Badly placed furniture makes me want to scream. I can barely hold myself back from rearranging rooms in some of my friend’s houses.

26. My spirituality infuses everything.

25. I dig out dandelions by hand.

24. My father taught me composting and recycling since way back in the 1960’s.

23. I am proud that in 1942 my father started the first public health laboratory in Winnipeg and in the 1980s was the Director of the Department of the Environment for the Province of Manitoba.

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22. Being a prairie girl, I know nothing about tides.

21. My niece’s husband is the famous selfie guy.

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20. I am extremely proud of my children, both of whom earned Iron Rings in Engineering. But especially because they developed into independent, beautiful, caring individuals who are productive members of society and live soulfully. I would love them anyhow.

19. I listen to the Queen’s Message every Christmas Day. Even though she was born into it, I think Elizabeth is an amazing woman with pluck and wisdom.

18. At our wedding reception I sang a song as a surprise to my groom, Bert, from Mary Poppins, Oh, It’s a Jolly Holliday with you Bert. Unfortunately he had never seen the movie so the significance of the song went right over his head. Who hasn’t seen Mary Poppins!?!

17. I was once kicked out of a MacDonalds for being too rowdy (a long time ago).

16. My favourite breakfast is hand-picked saskatoon berry pancakes with real maple syrup, bacon and fresh coffee on my cottage deck. My favourite special breakfast is mixed grill Butcher’s Breakfast. (See #93). Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day.

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saskatoon picking with my grandson

15. I am attracted to the spirituality of the Enneagram and I wish I could figure out what number I was but I’m sure I’ll get it wrong so I’ve never studied it (that should be a clue).

14. My favourite card game is Racko or perhaps Countdown but always at holiday time with family.

13. I like lots of choice for my carrying and organizing tasks so I have a huge collection of baskets some of which I make myself.

basket

12. I’m afraid that if I say something I’m fearful will happen it may come true just because I said it.

11. I hated taking piano exams.

10. My husband reads Bill Byrson to me in bed at night and sometimes we laugh so hard we can’t breathe.

9. When I find a typo on someone’s website I actually write and tell them.

8. I have been a guerrilla pruner.

7. My college roommates hung my shoes out the window because I had such bad foot odour.

6. My favourite movie is a tie between Sound of Music and Mary Poppins. Both affected my outlook on life and theology, both positively and negatively.

5. My oldest brother is a clergyman. Ours was the first wedding at which he ever officiated. He had to get a special dispensation from the Province of Manitoba in order to do it.

4. I suffered from benign positional vertigo for 16 months. It was one of the biggest challenges of my life.

3. Breaking through the burnt sugar topping on creme brûlée. Ah!

2. I wore my mother’s wedding dress more than once. At numerous fashion shows, as the bride in my high school Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, Trial by Jury, and at my own wedding!

wedding00081. I was taught never to let the sun go down on your anger and that is something I’ve try to practice in my marriage.

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Enough Light to Take the Next Step

candle flame“Often we want to be able to see into the future. We say, “How will next year be for me? Where will I be five or ten years from now?” There are no answers to these questions. Mostly we have just enough light to see the next step: what we have to do in the coming hour or the following day. The art of living is to enjoy what we can see and not complain about what remains in the dark.

When we are able to take the next step with the trust that we will have enough light for the step that follows, we can walk through life with joy and be surprised at how far we go. Let’s rejoice in the little light we carry and not ask for the great beam that would take all shadows away.”

Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey

Being in Community

table clothsToday was a good day to hang out a wash. The table cloths washed from use at a 4-day personal growth retreat on which I served as the cook.

Living in that community is an ‘inspiriting’ experience. Being in community fills a hole, a hole that has allowed breath to leak out. Breath is Spirit. Breath is life. When you find a community where you feel you can breathe, where you belong and that enters into the wonder, challenge and brokenness of actually being the body of Christ together, it feels like radical hope. It feels like the hole is plugged.*

So often my Church community does the exact opposite of this. It is what depletes my spirit and compromises the way God seeks to breathe in and through me. It seems like there are so many holes in the church that the life-giving breath of Spirit is leaking out through holes of discouragement, anger, envy and tradition.

Jan Richardson, one of my favourite artists and writers says:

Is there some hole in your life, or in your community, that has allowed your breath to leak out, depleting your spirit and compromising the way that God seeks to breathe in and through you?  What might it take to heal the hole and breathe again?

Breath is ruach in Hebrew, pneuma in Greek. It means Spirit.

I don’t know how to fix the Church. But I feel after being on retreat I am able to breathe fully again.

*Thank you to Jan Richardson for these thoughts.

The Good Wife … Re-visited

My best friend re-wrote the famous Old Testament passage about the perfect wife. Proverbs 31: 10-31 is an expose of the Good Wife, or The Perfect Woman. “It is the fulfillment of the roles in the home assigned to her by society that causes her to be praised in the very gates of the city where Woman Wisdom first raised her cry”. *

Jenny & Ev at Threadworks

Jenny Hurlburt says,

The review of Proverbs 31 on Mother’s Day has been almost unbearably difficult for me over the past few years.  I had been interpreting the proverb as a list of “supposed to be’s” from two perhaps self-centred perspectives: one – an impossible list of my own shortcomings as a mother and, two – in my experience, a disappointing list of lack of being acknowledged and appreciated.  

It wasn’t until last night, in a conversation with my daughter when I said, “I should write my own Proverbs 31,” and she said, “Yes… Mom… Do it!”  So, with that encouragement I wrote a modernized version and found that Proverbs 31 is not so much a list to measure against, it’s a description of a woman’s life, full of the typical, everyday activities she does that reflect what a wonderful woman she is.  

Proverbs 31…. Revisited

Some say, “A good woman is hard to find, she’s worth far more than diamonds.”

But I say, “No wonder it’s hard to find her, she’s not exactly standing still!”

If you were brave enough to matriculate to the world of a “good woman” you would, no doubt have to tango with the best.

If she has a husband, she does his books, washes the car, and cooks his frozen pizza on Friday nights.  And he’s lucky she does.  He trusts her to come home at night and do the laundry and he has never regretted this arrangement.  She shares her dreams, her fears, and her pay cheque with him.

She shops for bargains, ensuring the children have something to wear for all occasions and she has fun doing it; she happily dumps out her bags at the end of the day boasting about her prowess at the superstore.

In the mornings, she drags herself out of bed, puts the cereal box on the table for the ‘Help-Yourself’ breakfast and drives the kids to school in her pyjamas.  Upon arriving back home, she lets the cat in and the dog out, feeds the hamster and gets out the vacuum cleaner.  Before sucking up every Webkin and Polly Pocket, she kindly puts all the toys in the hamper and shoves it into the corner.

She makes a honey-do list for herself while savouring a whiff of her vanilla-flavoured coffee and then gulps it down: time is flying.

Turn on the dishwasher, throw a load in the dryer, straighten the beds, stick the chicken in the slow cooker, push down the toaster.  Hop in the shower, blow dry the hair, dress, shoes, grab the toast and run for the car.  She hurries to work where she walks in with a smile, choosing her attitude!

Over the lunch hour she delivers the tax return at the accountant, picks up allergy pills for her husband, drops the overdue books in the slot at the library.  She wolfs down an apple and 2 squares of cheddar cheese in the car.

Four more hours at her work, pouring herself into her job, she tries to be efficient, considerate, creative, supportive, and helpful and, oh yes, she remembers to smile.

Time to pick up the kids, she gives them each a healthy snack in the car and they head over to the soccer field for practice.  She volunteers to organize a fundraising event, balances her cheque book, plans menus for next week along with the grocery list.  Soccer’s over and she drives the kids home.

They disappear to the TV room while she sets out dinner for them, along with feeding the cat, the dog and washing machine.  Her children love her and bring her breakfast in bed once a year on Mother’s Day.  She is a good woman – to be admired and praised however, she rarely sits still long enough to receive it.  She IS the diamond, with many facets and sparkles.  She is priceless!

 by Jenny Hurlburt

Jenny IS a good woman and a good friend. Not only does she write, but she found time to support my art exhibit too. She is a diamond to me.

What is your experience of The Good Woman?

*The Women’s Bible Commentary,  p. 152,  Newsom & Ringe, Eds., SPCK, London, 1992