Church

Standard

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!

Advertisements

Memory

Standard

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!

Standard

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

Standard

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!!

Summer Busyness

Standard

Happy Sunday! It was a beautiful sunny drive to St. George’s this morning for Sunday service, but I shouldn’t have been surprised by the major, but short, downpour this afternoon, as I had been warned.  It is sunny yet again now.  Crazy weather!

I had the honor of spending some time with a palliative this afternoon, after church. This was at Golden Plough Lodge again.  Not my favorite facility.  It is quite old, but I must admit that any of the staff I have dealt with have been wonderful. I shall be back with him in the morning for a couple of hours.

I’m back on the topic of busyness today, as we are now into summer and it seems that some things go on hiatus during July and August, to allow for personal busyness.  I am not particularly busier than in other months, but I do have my trip to Nova Scotia coming up in a week and a half!

All three if my advisory committees are taking a break until September, but since they only meet monthly, it doesn’t make much of a difference to me. It looks like the weekly cyber Sunday service will also take a break for the summer.  That, I shall miss.  I really enjoy it.  Having said that, most of my fellow clergy do weddings, so of course this is their busy time.

Our fearless leader, the bishop is the busiest of all! Before we can upload the cyber Sunday service, she has all the editing to take care of and although she loves it, it is time consuming. Add that to all of her other duties during wedding season and it starts to get out of hand and is one thing that can be dropped when things get really crazy busy.

I am hoping that anyone that has summer holiday plans, can manage to find the sun.  It comes out every now and then to tease us, but never seems to stay more than a day or two.  I’m hoping for some sunny weather when I’m in Nova Scotia, but I can read and gab in pretty much any weather, so I guess it doesn’t really matter that much.

I am actually trying to not be too busy this summer.  I was too busy there for a while, attending the priest course, along with the friendly visiting and advisory committee meetings, especially when I was spending time with two different palliatives.  Since I do palliative visiting through both Community Care Northumberland and the Extendicare facility, I can be assigned a palliative from both.  That has only happened once, so perhaps it will only happen rarely.

I do want some time to catch up on reading this summer.  The same as I did last summer. And with my courses over, now that I am an ordained priest, my life should become a little more scheduled, so that I don’t feel overwhelmed. That, I’m looking forward to! What’s the point in being retired, if you can’t put your feet up and rest?

I would also like to plan a couple of little trips, too.  Viv and I got to Stratford and Niagara-on-the-Lake to see plays last year, but haven’t even gotten to one this year! Perhaps in September………

Well folks, that’s my blog for today.  May your summer be enjoyable and not too crazy! May you find the time to do the things that you like to do, rather than being pulled in a million directions. I remember the days when my kids were small and the many, many things we had to fit into the summer.  It can be exhausting!  Rest, relax and enjoy!  Life is short, you many as well enjoy it!

Blessings on your summer plans.  May they all work out as expected.  God bless!

Ancestry

Standard

Happy Sunday! I was expecting rain today, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised with sunshine so far.  It was a lovely drive up to St. George’s this morning, for a baptism.  It’s the most people I have seen in attendance yet!

I was mulling over a bunch of topics for today and had pretty much settled on ‘Rain, rain, go away!’, but not only am I tired of seeing the rain, I’m tired of talking about it.  Working with folks in Alberta and Texas before I retired, weather in general was always the topic of conversation. And, I suppose that there is almost always something to talk about where the weather is concerned, but please, no more rain! We had several roads closed here in Cobourg due to the Thursday night heavy rain.  It’s the worst I have ever seen.

So, off to another topic.  Several weeks ago, I took the plunge and got the 23andMe kits for Cavan and I to send in our spit samples to discover our DNA etc.  Interestingly enough, both of our samples arrived and were registered as received by them on the same day, but Cavan had his results about three weeks before mine!  

I must confess that I was getting a little worried. I had disclosed that I was adopted, when I filled in my data, so it occurred to me that they might have found something that was, concerning, shall we say. Well, when I did get my results, there was nothing concerning at all.  It turns out that I’m 73% British and Irish 17.1% broadly northwestern European, a little Scandinavian and German as well, but also 0.1% North African.  Hm, interesting.

Cavan took our detailed DNA results and uploaded them into MyHeritage, which gives a nice little presentation about it. They define the North African part as actually being western Asian, including Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Israel.  Now, that’ really interesting.  Perhaps I’m a distant relative of Jesus! Wow. You never know, do you?

In addition to the DNA part, 23andMe also tells you about genetic risk factors, drug response and inherited conditions, as well as a whole bunch of other stuff.  Again, there was nothing earth shattering that showed up.  I have variants that show a higher risk of Alzheimer’s and Celiac.  That shouldn’t be a surprise.  I have memory issues already that I blame on the MS and have had difficulty with wheat for years.

Nothing else of real interest showed up.  I guess that’s a good thing.

As to the DNA stuff again, based on others that have submitted their spit samples, some second, third and fourth cousins have been found that I guess I could reach out to, if I wished to. Years ago, before I was diagnosed with MS, I put in a request through the Brant Children’s Aid to find relatives.  I did find a birth brother.  He also, had been given up for adoption and is a year younger than me.  I did meet him, but felt no real connection, so I guess that means that I am quite happy with the family that I have.

Life is interesting. You never know what you might dig up, if you start digging.  Some things, you are better off not knowing, I suspect.  I did know one woman who had been tested for MS, when she was in her 20s. She didn’t find out that she had it until she was in her 50s. Her doctor felt that she would be better off not knowing.  I know that there are people who would take that diagnosis and live life to the fullest and others who would take that diagnosis and crawl into bed and stay there, or worse, crawl into a bottle and live there.

What is the answer?  I guess it depends on the person.  I was a single mother with two very young kids when diagnosed with MS, so I always said I had not choice but to move forward, but there is always a choice and my choice has always been to do the best with the cards I have been dealt. I think that is the best thing to do.

What did I expect to find out from 23andMe? I think it was really just some answers for my kids, if they were wanting them and as it turns out, it’s all good!  May your choices in life lead you down the kind of path you can deal with.  God bless.

Essential Oils

Standard

Happy Saturday! It’s lovely and sunny out there today and we were getting ready for friends to come to a big rib roast, but alas, they cannot make it, so the ribs are going in the freezer for another day. Of course that means that I get to get some chores done, including my blogging!

I usually try to blog on Sunday, but I’m spending it with my girls.  It’s Father’s Day, but they don’t see their father, so we are going to a Salt Cave.  Perhaps blog material for next week? It will be a nice day together no matter what and the salt cave is a new and different thing to try out.

Today, I am blogging about essential oils.  I will confess that I am only just learning about them, but I think I am pretty much sold so far.  I was looking for something non-medical for various things.  Cavan has trouble sleeping and one of my daughters suffers from anxiety sometimes. I think it is nice if you can go the natural route, rather than the chemical route.

For Cavan’s sleeping, there are several alternatives.  I have a diffuser and I love the lavender in it myself and I’m even trying various combinations so that I don’t wake up with my usual allergy symptoms.  The diffuser doesn’t help Cavan because he uses a CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure) machine. For those of you who don’t know, it is for people who stop breathing when they sleep.  I will probably blog on that in some detail at some point, but for the purposes of this topic, it is relevant because his nose is covered, so the effect of the diffuser cannot help him.

A friend of mine, who got me involved with the essential oils, pointed me to a site that sells an attachment for the hose of the CPAP machine, so that I can put a drop of the oil on an insert and we’ll see if that makes a difference.  I only just received the attachment, so we have yet to try it.  I’ll report on that after we have tried to find an oil that works for him.

Lavender is the most often used oil for relaxation, so we will try that first, but I am buying oils from doTERRA, so I have a few blends that might be helpful.  We’ll keep trying them until we find something that works, or find that none of them help.

What I did discover about the lavender, however, is that it is helpful with a burn.  I was helping Cavan drill holes in our brick wall to install a hose reel.  The drill bit gets VERY hot.  At one point, my arm was tired, so I lowered the drill enough for the bit to touch my leg (I was wearing shorts!) and I got quite a burn.  The lavender applied directly took the pain away.  After several days, it is still looking pretty nasty, so I applied some frankincense, so hopefully, I can avoid an infection.

For my daughters, I have purchased a starter kit for each of them (from doTERRA, with points!), and I also got them necklace diffusers, so we’ll see if they find it useful. I also got them each a different oil blend from doTERRA.  I chose Cheer for Alysse and Peace for Kaitlyn.  I couldn’t decide which to give to whom, but I let my cat smell both.  He really did not like the Cheer, so that settled it, because Kaitlyn also has a cat.  Alysse’s dog isn’t as likely to be as fussy.

So, this is the beginning really, of my essential oil journey. I will blog again, when I know some more about how they have helped (or not helped) us.  For now, I shall enjoy the new scents!  God bless!