New Life Resolutions: Kicking it into High Gear

 

Just a few short weeks ago, I laid out the plan for this year:

  1. Focus FIRST on getting more of the kind of work that I really want to keep doing.
  2. Expect hope instead of horror with this next move.
  3. GAIN health in the coming transitions.
  4. Shape my life so that one year from today my own life is more abundant and I’m more of a catalyst for others’ abundance too.

And so far?

 

Number 1, a little intimidating, but giving it a decent run.

The lack of immediate ‘security’ is nowhere even remotely near my comfort zone, but I’ve been able to stay the course. I’m learning a lot, and though I still don’t know what the outcome will be, I’m doing the work!

I’ve gotten through the career coaching. And numerous training courses. I’ve learned more about small businesses, and resources for them, than I previously even imagined there was to learn. I’ve chopped down my budget and spruced up my resume. My head spins with the skill-related knowledge I’m brushing up on.

I’ve even found some options for jobs that fit within my goal!

Number 3, I haven’t been doing too badly on either.

As mentioned, transitions are NOT my happy place, but I’ve managed to keep up on a workout routine that is at least holding me together, and I’ve (mostly) managed to stick to it even when deadlines loom.

Chronic Pain: Not as bad as it could be, and even improving some.

Mental Health: Not where I want it to be, for sure, but it could be, and trust me, it has been, far worse!

Faith: Holding up decently, and 10,000 times better than in the midst of the life wreck.

Number 4, of course, is a longer term outcome.

But even here, I feel that all the things I’m learning, and the progress I’m making ought surely to be of use to someone else down the line. And some days I even remember what it’s like to have the energy to contribute!

Which leaves us with:

Number 2.

Expect hope instead of horror with this next move.

You’d think with the improved faith, decent mental and tolerable physical health, nearly a year of warning, and even the courage to try something as radical as working for myself, this one would be much easier by now, wouldn’t you?

Not so much.

 

Apparently the power of Horrible Move PTSD transcends well-rounded progress across the rest of life.

Once again, my landlords are preparing to sell the house I live in.

This time it’s for sure.

This time, it’s time to move out, and on. Forward.

Which is nearly paralysing.

Strange how you can have so much horror about leaving a place you never wanted to be!

Because it isn’t that I like where I live now, or that it’s a good fit. It is that this is a known evil.

It’s that my BETTER, BIGGER, HEALTHIER faith still isn’t perfect faith, or anywhere near.

So it’s still hard to expect hope instead of horror.

But, as with the other three, if I’m going to accomplish this one, well, I just have to do it. I have to move forward, even if that means inching forward. Because paralysed isn’t one of the options.

So, what abundance lessons have I learned that I can apply NOW?

Not a bad start.

Will that carry me through without a qualm? Probably NOT!   🙂

But if it at least carries me through despite the qualms, it’s a good start.

 

 

Be well. 

Monday Re-Inspired.

Happy Monday!!

I hope everyone is well!

I know it is Monday, and I know that people who are cheerful on Monday should be viewed with suspicion (hostility, even, if this occurs before 10 am), but today, I just can’t help myself.

For the first time in QUITE some time, I’m feeling a teensy, tiniest resurgence of hope.

Not that brave, solemn, ‘Come on, you can get through this’ brand of hope, valuable though that is. No faint glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel hope here.

I’m taking bouncy, bubbly, can’t-seem-to-contain-it, starting to risk thinking things might one day be okay again, hope!

 

My country is in a dark time, but in the past few weeks we’ve fought hard against some awful things, and at least for the moment we’ve made a difference!!

Tough times are ahead, definitely. But I’m back to seeing them as challenges we just might meet! Maybe even conquer! It’s good to feel that again.

My faith is back to at least a nice boil, and I am reminded that it’s never too dark for the light to prevail.

 

So, in honour of banding together, fighting for what’s right, seeing beyond the now, and standing strong, I wanted to share a Monday fight song that speaks to everything I value.

I searched in vain for a ‘lyrics’ version of this (alas), or at least an animated version (you don’t want to go there; trust me) but that just wasn’t happening.

So enjoy the song itself. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Be WELL!! 

 

Random aside: The above version of this song is the way I first heard it. I always assumed that Ms. St. James’ version would be a kinder, gentler version of the original anthem. Curiously, is turns out that hers is the seriously hard core version! Only Jorn comes close, and I think Rebecca might even have the edge there. Every day is a chance to be surprised!

Fourth Sunday in Lent

Welcome to Lent!!

(If you’re coming into this brand new, you might want to check out my first post in this series, so you don’t mistake this for any sort of ‘proper’ Lenten observance.)

Can you believe we are nearing the end of Lent 2017!?

 

This has been a tougher Lent for me in some ways than last year. I feel pulled in many directions right now, so my best ‘focus’ intentions haven’t resulted in as much focus action as I’d like.

Having the intention, however, helps me to refocus periodically throughout the day, the week. It reminds me that this is an observance, a practice, not an achievement.

And I suppose it ought to be reminding me that Lent, Easter, ETERNITY, aren’t about MY achievement or effort anyway!

How about you?

Have you found any interesting lessons in this latest week of Lent?

 

I am intrigued by the verses for today. They don’t have quite the obvious application to Lent as some of the other weeks.

And some of them kind of surprised me!

In the passage from Samuel I never noticed how God pretty much tells Samuel, “No worries, give this as your excuse…” !! Now, Samuel, of course, makes the excuse truthful, by making the sacrifice, but that isn’t the plan when God gives the order!

Sometimes God doesn’t seem nearly as uptight about rules as we are.

Another thing that caught my eye in this passage is how it begins with God’s saying ‘Don’t grieve over Saul anymore, I’ve got completely different plans.’

I find it interesting that that was a problem for Samuel.

It’s a problem for me.

Frequently.

But Samuel is this famous, hot-shot Prophet! Surely he wouldn’t get lost in clinging to plans without considering that God has better ones, right?

Yet he does.

Gives me some degree of comfort. Maybe God’s okay with me needing that little nudge here and there.

If you are using the Lectionary material as part of your celebration of Lent, here are all today’s verses in one place.

 

Or, if you prefer the a la carte option:

1 Samuel 16:1-13

Psalm 23    ← This is the most famous version, and it’s very popular, so I want to make sure to include it. But since some folks find the older translations too complicated here is a more modern version too. 

Ephesians 5:8-14

John 9:1-41

And of course we have ART  and  PRAYERS as well!

We are back to a set of thematic prayers that should feel pretty familiar by now. But the intercessory prayer is definitely new, and I love this one! 

My brothers and sisters:
reconciled to God by the mercy of Christ,
we pray with confidence for the needs of the church and the world.

(Prayers of the People, concluding with:)

Through Christ you make us a new creation, O God,
for with him we pass from sin to the new life of grace.
Accept our prayers in the warm embrace of your compassion,
and welcome all people to the festive banquet of your table,
where we may rejoice in your love
and celebrate the inheritance you have given to us.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen¹.

I think that is the most personal one so far.

 

The next Lent Post will be Sunday, 2 April. 

 

 

Be well.

 

¹ Reprinted from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers, copyright © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts

 

Lent 2017 – The Annunciation of the Lord

Welcome to Lent!!

(If you’re coming into this brand new, you might want to check out my first post in this series, so you don’t mistake this for any sort of ‘proper’ Lenten observance.)

 

The Annunciation of the Lord.

 

Full disclosure: I have no idea why the Annunciation of the Lord is dropped smack into the middle of Lent.

No argument that this is a critical piece of the plan of salvation … but it happened some 33 years before the events that Lent and Easter commemorate.

……  ?

Nonetheless, it’s well worth commemorating. Perhaps that is reason enough!

I do really like the selections for today – how the Gospel selection circles back all the way to the Isaiah, while the Psalm and the selection from Hebrews explain why the announcements in Isaiah are so important.

And I LOVE the prayers for today!

 

LOVE the names used in the intercessory prayer, like

‘Ever Surprising One’

and ‘God of Impossibilities’!

 

Still not all that big on the ART, but once again the image from JESUS MAFA has captured my heart!

The Annunciation – Gabriel and Mary ¹

 Now, I realise it’s probably not all that much more accurate a depiction of Mary than the weird European depictions of Jesus as a white guy, and maybe not even an accurate depiction of Gabriel (who knows??) but it just has a much more realistic feel about it.

Mary wasn’t exactly your Cathedral dwelling kind of girl, after all. She was MUCH more likely stirring something on the cook fire, or gathering wood, when Gabriel dropped in, and it’s neat to see the reminder of that.

 
 

If you are making use of the week‘s Lectionary verses, here they are all in one place.

And if you want check them out on their own: 

Isaiah 7:10-14

Psalm 45   OR   Psalm 40:5-10

Hebrews 10:4-10

Luke 1:26-38

 

The next Lent Post will be… TOMORROW! Sunday, 26 March.

 

 

 

Be well.

 

 

 

¹ JESUS MAFA. The Annunciation – Gabriel and Mary, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.  http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48278 [retrieved March 20, 2017].

Time Out.

 

Happy Friday!! I hope everyone is well.

Not much in the way of a post today, but we’ve got a BIG Lent weekend coming up!

 

ENJOY IT.

 

 

Be well

Monday: Just Right

Happy Monday!!

I hope that everyone is well.

But you know what? If you aren’t, that’s okay here too.

That’s ALWAYS true, but the occasional reminder never hurts.

And let’s be real: even if you’re all right generally, Mondays sometimes have trials of their own. 

This week I happened to be reminded of Sanctus Real, who I hadn’t thought of in ages, and of their song I’m Not Alright.

Which reminded me that  it can be difficult, or uncomfortable, or downright scary, to say “I’m not all right“.

Why is that?

It’s as if we live backwards. If there is anything we need to be free to say, isn’t “I’m not all right” just about as important as it gets? Yet these are the words so many of us will do anything to avoid saying.

And sometimes with good reason, which is so sad – some of us have learned that words like these don’t always connect with help.

Personally, I’ve been blessed to have lots of people who were there for me when I said “I am NOT ALL RIGHT!”.

People who said “Well, let’s talk.”

or “Me either, but I’ll help if I can.”

or just “I’m sorry, and I love you.”

And that really makes me want to be the kind of person who offers that to others, you know?

 

Because we’re all not all right sometimes, and that is nothing to be ashamed of. Indeed, I suspect that part of why we are not all right sometimes is to teach us how to be community. Like, maybe we aren’t supposed to struggle along alone.

 

 

 

Be well. 

Third Sunday in Lent

Welcome to Lent!!

(If you’re coming into this brand new, you might want to check out my first post in this series, so you don’t mistake this for any sort of ‘proper’ Lenten observance.)

The THIRD Sunday in Lent. Half of Lent is gone and I’m only just catching up!!

If one is generous enough to look upon me as catching up even yet. Oy! But, it’s been a pretty good week. I’ve worked a good deal on trusting God this week, and really discussing each of my many options and next steps with him instead of (at least before!) freaking out.

How was your third week of Lent?

Is anyone else using some of the Lectionary verses or prayers? (or even ART ?!)

How’s that going?

 

This next set is interesting.

I don’t exactly get the connection between the first and the last, and I have to admit that the bit from Exodus has never been in my Top Ten Beloved Bible Passages.

For the longest time I read sections like this and wondered why on Earth God put up with the Israelites, and what possible value we could be getting out of their story –  mostly of whining, snivelling, freaking out, and turning their backs on God. Despite the AMAZING things he had JUST DONE FOR THEM!!

Then I got older, and did a lot of time whining, snivelling, and freaking out.

I got a lot more grateful for these examples of what God will do despite our merit. I still don’t understand why he puts up with us, but I’m grateful.

If there is a theme to this week’s selections, it seems to go

  • Israelites whining and snivelling, God being shockingly gracious about that.
  • Joyful Psalm of Praise to God; with admonition not to be like the Israelites when they were whining and snivelling.
  • Notes on how even when we were whiners and snivelers, our faith in what God does was all that really mattered.
  • And … I guess the section from John is perhaps an in vivo example? The woman at the well doesn’t seem overly snivelly to me, but she, too is an example of restoration being more about God’s doings than about ours. Best I’ve got on that one…

If you’re making use of some of the week’s verses, here they are all in one place.

OR, you can check out those pieces that most appeal to you:

Exodus 17: 1-7

Psalm 95

Romans 5: 1-11

John 4: 5-42

If you checked out the prayers last week, this week’s thematic PRAYERS will hold a remarkable familiarity – presumably indicating that there IS a theme, though I am refraining from looking up any further intel on Lent until it is over!

And last but not least, Lenten ART. I’m still a little Philistine in this area, though I do like the one from Jesus Mafa. It reminds me of many real-village-life scenes I’ve been part of, or seen, so it feels authentic.

 

 

The next Lent Post will be Saturday, 25 March.

 

Be well.

 

 

Resources: What Color is Your Parachute?

 

It was a little like Big Foot, or the Loch Ness Monster.

I had heard about it for years. BIG Tales: Amazing! Powerful! Transformative!!

But I had never happened to see it. (And it sounded just the tiniest bit unreal.)

 

Still, when a friend got laid off from her job, I suggested that she take a look at it. I spilled all the BIG Tales I had heard over the years, along with a “Can’t hurt, anyway”. I also figured I ought to take a look at it, if I was going to be recommending it to people.

It was the book What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles. And boy were the BIG Tales justified! I was so impressed.

 

Fast forward to the day I found out my job was definitely going to disappear:  walked out to my car, drove to the bookstore, and bought the latest version of Parachute ¹.

And if I’m going to have a Retrenchment Observed series in a blog about seeking out a more abundant and grace-filled life, I had better include some resources for those in the middle of just such a situation, no?

WHERE better to start than Parachute ?!?!?

Reasons I love this book (a highly abridged list.)

1)  It deals with your LIFE, not just your last job, or your next job, or the current crisis that is having no job.

This is HUGE!

For example, one of the key job search strategies is getting regular exercise. Parachute has all manner of real-world input that increases your chance of getting through a job loss and a job search without becoming a basket case.

And it’s not just for those of us who’ve lost our jobs; but equally valuable for people actively seeking a change. So much of this information is just about being in the best place possible in your work life, that I had taken to using it for many processes even before I lost my job.

2) It deals with your LIFE, version 2.

I have had lots of really cool jobs, that somehow did quite feel ‘right’ for me. No crazy boss, draconian policies, or evil coworkers, just … not the best fit. It wasn’t until I read Parachute that ever considered that work style and work environment were relevant to your enjoyment of your job.

Now, I’ve demonstrated that I can make a fine living, do good work, and have a good life even in jobs that I just don’t love – lots of us have.

But after starting to look at the BIG PICTURE that Parachute points to, I realized why past jobs hadn’t been ideal, and what to seek in new jobs that really WORKED.

That was better!

Parachute is also about looking at your options while you have a job, transforming the job you’re in, thinking about starting a business of your own – it’s a ‘job seekers manual’ that can influence many types of searches.

3) Based on what WORKS.

Shouldn’t be radical, right? Yet it is amazing how many of us exclusively seek a new job by strategies that have something like 3 – 15% success rates. Then ‘miraculously’ find one through a friend.

Make no mistake, the Parachute method is scarier, at least for me, than the random-shots-until-something-works method I’d used in the past, but it also runs in the area of 80% effective. That, too, is BETTER!

One benefit I got from my own lay-off was some fabulous, wildly expensive career coaching. Could never have afforded it on my own, and I am very grateful for it.

But you know what? Their method is pretty much the same things Parachute has been preaching since that very first edition I looked at, and presumably since the first edition to roll off the presses.

4) Updated each year.

Frankly, if I were Richard Bolles, you’d maybe get a new edition every 3-5 years.

I am amazed that he updates the thing ANNUALLY. At first I thought this was serious overkill. But, even though the methodology, and the advice, remain largely the same, if you buy this year’s edition you know that you’re not missing any of the latest tactics or technology info. And scary as it is to me, technology really can utterly transform in a year.

5) Just plain cool.

I have no idea if I would like Richard Bolles in person; but I LOVE Richard Bolles in print! The tone of Parachute is so calm, reassuring, enthusiastic, and practical, that I can’t think of a better guide for this dark, scary path of unemployment.

My favourite part of the book is the pink pages. Here Richard Bolles talks about life purpose, finding meaning, and his perspective on God, the Universe, and Everything. I understand that this used to run through the book as a whole, but eventually he condensed it to the pink pages to allow those intimidated by such discussions to still find value in the book. I LOVE THAT.

Truth is though, you still find a lot of the ‘pink’ material in the text. Not a discussion of God, perhaps, but a crystal clear picture of Richard Bolles’ purpose in life being lived out, and a sincere passion for everyone embracing their own lives fully.

6) Pleasantly quirky.

Sure, this is a subset of just plain cool, but it deserves a space of its own.

Richard Bolles starts the book by stating that he uses commas the way he likes to use commas and he doesn’t need any more letters complaining about his commas.

This is his approach to all of the book – funny, unique, and open. His tone is extremely positive and encouraging, but without a hint of fluff, or Pollyanna tripe. He talks about the hard stuff, gives gritty, practical advice for the worst case, and pulls no punches. But he manages to say it all in a way that implies he knows you can do it, and he’s on your side.

7) GREAT cartoons

Parachute is illustrated with (among many other things) a series of cartoons by the brilliant Sidney Harris, one of my favourite cartoonists EVER. Geek-humor heaven!

Be well. 

 

¹’Parachute’ is my pet name for it. It’s also a lot easier to write multiple times. I hope it’s not some horrific violation of copyright, but that is one I’ve never looked up. I’ll change it immediately, Mr. Bolles, or Ten-Speed Press, if it offends you!

 

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!

 

I hope it’s a splendid day!

Stay safe, stay strong, and may the luck (or at least the charm!) of the Irish be with you!! 

Happy St. Paddy’s Day!! 

 

And just in case I’m not the only one who gets a little yearning for ‘the Holy Land’ (as an Irish friend of mine calls it) this time of year:

 

 

 

 

Be well. 

HAPPY Pi Day!!!!

 

Happy Pi Day!!!!!

Yes, that is Pi

,

 

not pie      .

 

(Though as I grow older, I am more and more amendable to celebrating both together.)

 

Due to

1) an abnormal passion for the number Pi, and

2) an equally passionate belief that we need far more holidays in this world,

Pi day is one of my two favourite holidays!!

So I wish you a perfectly splendid Pi day!!

 

If you want to know more about this diligent number that makes everything possible, you can check here. Atlas may have shrugged, but Pi stands strong!

Or if you’ve longed to see the first million digits* of this faithful number, you can find those here.

On the other hand, if you are just a normal person wondering how you ended up in this geek version of the Twilight Zone, don’t worry about the math,

just

HAVE A LOVELY DAY!!!

 

 

Be well. 

 

* I’m not even going to try to approach a million, but here’s just a little taste of Pi