Attending Church

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Happy Sunday! I feel so blessed to look out my window and see a beautiful blue sky and know that there is no hurricane headed this far north. I pray for those recovering from hurricane Harvey and those in the path of Irma, followed by hurricane Jose right behind her, then Katia. There have been so many natural disasters in the last few days and weeks.

Wow, there was also the earthquake off the coast of Mexico  Flooding in Mumbai, Nepal and Koshi this year. Here in Ontario, we also had unusual flooding, but not to the extent that other parts of the world have seen. Wildfires in BC and some other parts of the world, too.  I pray that everyone can manage whatever has been thrown their way.  

The first responders have been amazing.  I have a friend who lives just outside of Houston, who rallied folks and money to prepare food for first responders all last week.  I know that one day, there were nine huge pans of lasagne! There are some wonderful, amazing people out there!

But, I did not intend to blog about natural disasters.  I wanted to blog about church.  

I have attended church since I was very young.  When I was in my teens, I took my younger siblings to church–well, Dad dropped us off, I just managed them once we got there. I was confirmed at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church in Ottawa, and attended Holy Trinity Anglican Church, when I lived in Pembroke.

I got away from church, for a while as I got a bit older.  My first husband and I were wanting to get married in a church and raise our kids with the church, so I started attending Church of the Epiphany Anglican church in Scarborough and we were married there. We moved further east in Scarborough, so I stopped attending for a few years, but then started attending St. Dunstan of Canterbury Anglican Church with my girls, where I taught Sunday School for seven years and my oldest daughter was an altar girl for a while.

Fast forward quite a few years of raising my girls as a single parent, and a move to Cobourg.  I have attended St. Peter’s Anglican Church a few times, but have pretty much settled on attending St. George’s Anglican Church in Gores Landing when it is open.  It’s about a twenty minute drive and it is such a lovely church with such lovely and welcoming people. It is only open from Easter until the last Sunday in October and I think we enjoy the coffee time as much or more than the service itself. I have learned so much about the area, and it has been such a blessing. We are working right now on getting a plaque prepared for a mass grave area in the corner of the cemetery on the church grounds. There were several groups of people wiped out by disease quite some years ago–typhoid and something else. So there will be a plaque put there to honor the German railway workers and the Irish immigrants buried there. There is such a history in this area.  Heartbreak, disaster and yet much love and fellowship.

Next weekend, I shall be in Ottawa to visit family and I think I shall attend St. Stephen’s one more time.  It is near the cemetery where we laid my mother to rest, so I shall visit there before I return home, as well. It’s funny how I now seek out churches to attend. I do so love the fellowship that it allows.

I guess this is a bit of a short blog this week.  I have a bit more tidying to take care of before my guests arrive tomorrow, so I had best get to it! May your week be gentle.  God bless!

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As We Age

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Happy Sunday!  It’s a rather dull day out there today, although the sun has been peeking through the clouds from time to time, to remind us that it is still there! It’s cooler too, but I welcome that.  I much prefer spring or fall weather.

Well, folks, today’s blog is about aging.  We all age.  Some of us get bent out of shape that our body (and minds!) show that age, but aging is inevitable, showing it perhaps not so much…..

I was saying to Cavan the other day that another sign of aging is increasing and varying doctor’s appointments. We all have a GP (general practitioner, a.k.a. family doctor).  At least we should.  I have a neurologist, as most people living with multiple sclerosis should.  Now, I have to see a new doctor and have my first colonoscopy. Wahoo! Catch the sarcasm there?

Yup, I’m scheduled for my first ever colonoscopy on Tuesday.  Cavan had one a few years ago, but then he has irritable bowel syndrome, so it is a good thing to scope for that that too.

I don’t know what the age range is, but here in Ontario after the age of 50, I believe, you get to send little poop samples in the mail that get examined for blood and if they find any, you get to be scoped, as my doctor says.  I don’t know the upper limit on that, but I do know that my dear friend Viv, who is 91 has never had to do such a thing and had never heard of it. I also don’t know for sure how often we do this, as I get reminders in the mail from the province, but I believe that it is every two years.

Us ladies over 50 also get to go for mammograms, which I also believe are every two years, but then I also get reminders in the mail for that too, so I don’t need to keep track of that either. Us ladies also used to get a pap test every two years, but I believe that it is every three years now.  My doctor keeps track of that one.

All of this is preventative, or perhaps really more accurately, since it doesn’t actually prevent anything, tests for early detection. It would be nice to get to the point of actually preventing things.  I suspect that healthy eating and exercise is about as preventative as you can get, but we also know that even that is no guarantee.

I have recently gotten into essential oils.  Have I blogged about that? I have this feeling that we really need to get back to basics, to avoid having to resort to chemical medicines.  It may not always work, but the more I read about these essential oils, the more I think there is something to it.  Right now I’m working on a good formula to help Cavan to sleep better.  I have tried a few blends, but haven’t arrived at the perfect one yet.  He has a CPAP, so a diffuser isn’t of much help and I did get an insert for the CPAP, but it is a small piece on which you cannot put many combinations.  I’m working on a better solution.

So, what else do we need to take care of in our old age?  Cavan and I got the pneumonia shot that us elderly can have.  They don’t know how long it is good for, so I think we get another one every 10 years.  We also get the flu shot, but everyone can have that one.

I was just reading that coconut oil is good for alzheimer’s. Cavan and I are both highly likely to end up with alzheimer’s, so this is good to know.  Interestingly enough, I have been having Cavan and I take two coconut oil capsules with breakfast and dinner.  I’ll have to perhaps increase that, as I don’t think it is the dosage they recommend, I have to read up on it again to confirm, as I have forgotten what it said.  Hm, forgotten?  I had better get right on it!!

So, folks, make sure you are sending your poop through the mail, when requested and get whatever tests recommended.  Let’s have a gentle journey into our old age.  God bless!

The Blame Game

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Happy Sunday!  It’s a beautiful sunny day here in the resort town of Cobourg. I enjoyed the church service up at St. George’s this morning and we had some visitors, who don’t make it to Gores Landing very often and one of the lovely ladies actually bought a set of my books.  That’s four sets that I have sold at the church! And, I’m happy to say that the reviews are great.  I’m thrilled that they like the books.

I have a rather testy subject today, and if you follow my blogs, you will know that I don’t often tackle controversial topics, but this is likely one.  I have been bothered by the whole neo-nazi thing raising it’s ugly head.  I thought we won that war it is was all over and everyone was going to play nice and get along.  I am always the eternal optimist.

It seems that we still have groups out there that think they are better than anyone else.  This is where the blame game comes in.  If I’m not mistaken, some of what they are saying, now and back in the Hitler days, is that these ‘nasty Jews’ (please excuse these thoughts as they are not mine) are taking our jobs. These ‘nasty Jews’ are infiltrating our communities. And it goes on and on.

My goodness, can we not just all get along?  Every person has their merits, their strengths and weaknesses. We all have those things that we are good at and things we are not so good at.  That is even what our commerce systems are based on.  Move the call centres to areas in the world that are good at it and let us do what we are good at.

We have no right to blame others for our situation.  That’s too easy.  I can easily try to get sympathy because someone else got the job I wanted, but if they were the better choice, that was the right thing to do.  Now, I do take issue with the tokenism thing.  The idea that for stats, we need a certain number of minorities. I may have even been someone who, unknowingly, benefited from it. I was a single, disabled, mother.  Great for stats, but I don’t believe that I was ever treated differently because of it.  I was working for the same company when I was healthy and married, as I was when I became a single mother, and then disabled with MS.

What makes me really laugh at this though, is that these neo-nazis are sending their spit in the mail and finding out that they are not totally white.  Isn’t that a hoot!  My husband who’s sister-in-law teased about being a pasty, white Irish guy, has Ashkenazi Jew in his heritage, we discovered.  I have eastern asian in me–Iran, Iraq, Israel.

Remember, Jesus was a Jew, he wasn’t Christian, how could he be? Christianity didn’t exist before him and he certainly wasn’t white.  Mohammed wasn’t a Muslim, Buddha wasn’t a Buddhist. Think about it people.  It all had to start somewhere.

Instead of hating, look at all of the major religions, what do they all preach?  Love!  Love thy neighbor. Put your hand out there to hold another’s. We can be nothing but stronger together.

Forget the blame game. We can only blame ourselves if we hate, but we can be much stronger if we love each other and support each other.  We can make this happen.  Do not divide, unite!

All right, off the soap box. As you can probably tell, this stuff frustrates the heck out of me.  I like to see the good in people.  It is in everyone, I’m sure.

So, go out there and look for that good in people and it will surely make you feel better.  God bless all!

Church

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Happy Sunday! I figured that a good time to get working on the blog was when Cavan was working on the ribs in the smoker.  I just need to toss together the coleslaw and voila, dinner!  I love it!

So, church. I make no secret of the fact that I am a believer in God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, etc.  After all, I’m a priest, who was raised in the Anglican church and despite lack of attendance at various periods of my life, I never stopped believing.  It just seemed that other things got in the way and I’m afraid that truthfully, laziness was the primary reason.

These days, if I’m in town, I head up to St. George’s Anglican Church in Gores Landing for Sunday service.  It’s only about 20 minutes away and it’s a lovely old church, with a wonderful group of parishioners who have been very welcoming.  I was hoping to preach a bit, but since I was not ordained in the Anglican church, I may only do readings.  I’m okay with that, although I am hoping to win them over, one day.

Just this week, I came across two quotes about church that I would like to share, because they made me think:

“The church is a hospital and not a courtroom, for souls.  She does not condemn on behalf of sins, but grants remission of sins.”  St. John Chrysostom

“The mark of a great church is not how many come but how many people live differently as a result of being there.” Unknown

Both of these quotes speak to me. The first because I have always believed that we are not here to judge, that is the job of someone much greater than us.  The second because I have also always believed that we attend church to get something out of it–some ideas of how to be better people.  Those ideas need to be actioned.

So, essentially, I attend church expecting to be given two main things:  forgiveness for my sins and some ideas on how to live a better life, not only for myself, but how to help others live a better life. These two thoughts are also influencing my thoughts on sermons.  I have discovered that I really like to write and deliver homilies. When I was in training, I learned that there are usually four parts to a sermon: 1. Trouble then, 2. Grace then, 3. Trouble now, 4. Grace now. These parts can be woven together nicely and not necessarily presented in that order, and I think that a really good preacher can do that fairly seamlessly.

I am thinking, however, that you need to go one step further and actually give your congregation something actionable. My sermons often end with something like ‘How will you serve Christ this week?’. But perhaps I need to be more specific and give them some ideas on how to do that. I need to make them understand that they are forgiven for their sins and that they can do better, with some guidance.  They need some guidance on how to avoid the trouble entirely and to take it one step further, not only avoid the trouble, but help someone else avoid the trouble, or at least somehow let someone else know they are not alone.

I’m still pretty new at this and truly, I think you never stop learning how to reach people. I will continue to learn and grow, and hopefully over time, continue to improve the messages that I share and how I share them.

I’ll keep looking for better and better messages and better ways to present them.  May you find better and better ways to do what you do too!  God bless!

Memory

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Happy Monday!  It’s what we call a civic holiday up here in Canada.  In the province of Ontario, it is called Simcoe Day, in honor of John Graves Simcoe, the first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada, and the man who initiated the abolishment of slavery in Canada. Truthfully, most folks don’t care what the day is as long as it is a day off.  Those of us who are retired, don’t often remember what day of the week it is, much less what the holiday name is, unless, of course it is Christmas and I love Christmas!

Today’s blog is about memory, or perhaps more fittingly, the lack of it. This was prompted by the fact that I couldn’t remember what I was going to blog about. I know that I had an idea for something very profound (I’m sure it was!), but it got lost somewhere in the grey matter, called my brain.  I could, and often do, blame the MS–it’s nice to  have a convenient excuse for such things.

I may have another excuse, which I hope doesn’t show up too soon, or if I am truly blessed, will not show up at all.  Cavan and I sent our spit in the mail to 23andme and got all kinds of information back.  For both of us, it mentioned a high probability of Alzheimer’s. Not too terribly surprising for Cavan, as his mother suffers from it and his paternal grandmother also suffered from it.  So, he has it on both sides of his family.  For me, I am adopted, so it was not a surprise, but besides a high probability of celiac, it was the only red flag.

Well, I guess the flags are really only yellow, as with probability you never really know if you will get it or if you will dodge that bullet. Celiac is probably a certainty for me.  I have known for years that I feel much better if I avoid wheat. I told my doctor that because I am not in agony, it is hard to convince myself to avoid it for the rest of my life.  I was actually surprised by the range and severity of symptoms when I read up on it, and I have a few of the symptoms, but fortunately, none are really severe.  I will go back to avoiding wheat for a while, though, as I would like to feel better.

Going back to the memory thing.  I know that if something is not on my calendar, I will definitely not remember it, but as I discovered last week, if it is on my calendar and I don’t check my calendar, I will also not remember it! Cavan is the same, so we actually share calendars (Google is amazing for that!), so that we know where each other needs to be and we can properly schedule appointments to make sure that nothing overlaps and we don’t get double booked.  This is especially important when you need to drive, as we are down to one car.  This works most of the time, although there have been a few times when one of us has had to walk, take a taxi, or hop on the Cobourg bus.  I have taken to coloring events on my calendar yellow if I need the car (which is really just when I need to drive into the city).

As with my MS symptoms, you just need to adapt.  You learn a different way of doing things. I have lots of sticky notes and keep whatever I can online so that I can find it. My phone is my life, because of that.  All phone numbers are stored on my phone, although it is linked to my Google account so that they are shared back and forth between the phone and my Google account, and that gives me backup. I think I need to start writing down ideas for blogs, though!

Anyway, things are good and manageable for now, for both of us.  Eventually, we joke that we may get to needing only one book and one DVD movie to watch, as we won’t remember how either ends! We have a little trouble with that now, but we still try to keep up with various TV series and go to the movies occasionally and I like to read a lot. I don’t think I will really get concerned until we start getting lost in our neighborhood. With prayers, perhaps we will never get to that point.

Prayers for all of your challenges!  God bless!

Dexterity Triumph!

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Happy Monday! It’s a beautiful, but hot day here in the resort town of Cobourg.  No problem, I have tidying on my list to do today.  I’m afraid that I have gotten sloppy over the week, but I’m on it today!

Here we are at the end of July!  I can hardly believe it.  The years do fly by now. It’s actually August tomorrow–a new page on the calendar and a time for new opportunities. Don’t you always feel good, when there is a new month full of possibilities?

Well, I’m actually blogging about this past weekend’s opportunities. I had the switching up of the pets on Friday. I had my youngest daughter’s cat for a week and a half.  Poor Kanye was sick and Kaitlyn’s condo had no air conditioning. So, I picked him up the day I arrived back from Nova Scotia, but had to return him on Friday as my oldest daughter was coming out with her dog and it was a bit much to have the Dallas the dog, Kanye and my own cat, Jett in the same house at the same time.

Anyway, a friend of Alysse’s was hosting a painting party.  I don’t know how many folks have attended these, but they are fun! To me, a painting party was when you invite a bunch of friends over to help you paint a room in your house, but this actually walks you through creating a painting on canvas! I was excited to attend, but a little nervous, as the MS has left my hands somewhat numb and with some dexterity challenges.

I am happy to say that I actually produced a painting, and you can actually tell what it is a painting of! On top of that, we had a glass of wine, while doing it.  What could be more fun than wine, paint and brushes and a blank canvas?  Our instructor is a friend of my daughter’s and she walked us through producing the painting, step by step.  Everyone creates the same painting, but you can take artistic license and make some changes as you go. I would recommend it to anyone!

My second dexterity triumph was the next day, when I hemmed a couple of dresses. I used to be really good at this, hemming so that you couldn’t actually see the stitches on the outside. I now have to use a larger needle because of numbness, and to be able to see it well enough to thread it! But, it is still fine enough to produce a decent stitch.  The stitches aren’t as uniform as I used to be able to do, but you can barely see the stitches on the outside and I’m rather proud of that. There was just the one little incident when using the scissors, that my right index finger froze in a bent position–very painfully, I might add–and I had to get it to straighten out.  The pain was in my wrist, where I guess the muscle contracted and didn’t want to let go.  Oh well, what’s the fun in tackling something without a challenge or two.

So, I can proudly say that I managed two fairly challenging projects and triumphed! I’m rather proud of myself, I must say.  It has given me the ambition to tackle some crocheting with finer yarn and hooks!  We shall see if I can manage that.

I think it is always nice to stretch your boundaries every now and then. Enough with the same old, same old!

Well, folks, may you rise to meet all of your challenges and may you look to the new month like a blank canvas of many possibilities.  God bless!

Book Sales

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Happy Sunday! A lovely day out today and I have only blogging and washing sheets on my agenda.  What shall I do with my spare time?  Ah yes, I have a book on the go!! I shall definitely get to that today.

For those of you who waited with your breath held for a blog last week, my apologies.  I was in Nova Scotia enjoying some time with one of my cousins.  It was a great relaxing time–reading, sunning on the beach (love the salt water!) and catching a video on the TV at night.  We also did a bit of wandering the country roads, including visiting some places that I visited as a child.  A great time was had by both of us.  Linda Ann is a better cook than I, so she was the cook and I, the bottle washer.  A great combination.  And oh, the seafood!

Today, I am going to share my book sales story with you.  As anyone who follows me knows, I have written four Christian children’s books.  Each with six stories, based on Bible passages, but told from an animal’s point of view.  Sales were really slow, and I knew they were meant for a rather small readership.  But then came the call from my publisher!

I self published my books through AuthorHouse (you can also buy through Amazon and various other online stores–and even find them here:  www.janetkwarren.com).  One of the AuthorHouse agents called me at the end of June to ask if I was doing a sales campaign in Africa.  I am not doing anything specific, however, I do have nearly 10,000 followers on Twitter and many are in Africa.  It seems that someone from Nigeria was buying a bunch of my books!

The fellow tells me that they were purchased on a credit card and they were concerned that it was not legitimate. I know that Nigeria has a bad rap from various scams, but if I were to steal a credit card, buying Christian children’s books wouldn’t be the first thing I would think of to buy.  Mind you, as a priest, if I did have access to a credit card that had a really high limit on it, I would love to buy, or build, a church building for our Community Catholic Church of Canada, and a new hospice for Northumberland County.  Prayers…

I suppose that I probably spend far too much time watching crime shows, so the cynical side of me says that it could be a way to launder money.  It’s a stretch, but stick with me here.  What if dirty money was used to pay a credit card and said credit card was used to purchase anything in large quantities. Then say those items were returned to put the money back on the card.  It might seem like legitimate cash.  Mind you, it is only cash on a credit card, which is difficult to use, as if it is taken off the card as cash, I think you get charged interest, even if the amount is more than the limit on the card. You see where I’m going here.  It’s likely a real stretch, but you never know and there are, unfortunately, lots of people out there to make an illegitimate buck.

The bottom line for me is optimistic.  I want to believe that the sales are real and true, but I won’t know until I have the cool cash (well the check, actually), in my hot little hands and that won’t happen until some time in the middle of September, at least that is for the books purchased in May and June.

I have been going out to the AuthorHouse website and running the sales report from time to time, to see if the sales are still showing.  So far so good.  As a matter of fact, since I hadn’t looked in over a week because I had no internet in Nova Scotia, when I ran the report when I got home, there were 60 more books purchased, listed as ‘AuthorHouse Web Bonus’ and that was dated May 31, although the entry didn’t appear until July!  Wahoo!

So, prayers for a check to arrive. And prayers that sales continue!

May your prayers be answered, as you are hoping!  God bless!!