‘Bathing’ a New Home in Music

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Scandi wallpaperI moved into my new flat around 4 months ago.  it is quite hard to meet somewhere as big as this feel like one’s own but I have put up my pictures and move my own things in here, obviously.

However, I don’t feel it will be quite mine until I have a bathed the space in my music – in my case mainly rock/hip hop/soul music. Maybe that sounds strangely spiritual.  I know people do perform rituals when they moving to a new place.  I was encouraged by someone at church to pray for the flat to clear it of negative energy,  or dark stuff.  I did.

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Getting to Know ‘Joy’ Again

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I am still pacing well as I continue to plough through the longest muscle relapse I’ve never had in my chronic illness.  It is quite hard but it is a relief to get off the hamster wheel that I seem to have been on for the last few years.  Surprisingly, I have had quite a lot of visitors one way or the other.  This has been a huge help.

I went for a massage at a luxurious hotel yesterday and that was amazing. When we are bereaved or divorced it is quite important, I think, to receive caring and supportive touch.  I think it is something I’m going to do again.

I am also using a meditation and mindfulness CDs of Jon Kabat-Zinn, developed for the University of Massachusetts.  They are wonderful.  Each session lasts around 40 minutes and his voice is incredibly soothing and unpretentious.

Recommended.

Not Celebrating Recovery

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DSCF2594As the relapse in my health – long-term condition –  from hell continues I have dropped all regular commitments, including Celebrate Recovery at church in nearby city.

Not even sure I am going to go back to it. Not making any plans at all like that. Researching how to recover from this relapse a lot and thinking I may just stick to following my church’s sermons online while I recover.

CR is great but there are a lot of platitudes uttered from the manual. It is also a very tiring evening, especially if there are only two of you in the small sharing group. I will carry on doing my moral and spiritual inventory though. That’s useful.

Spiritual and Practical Approaches to Adrenal Fatigue

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Shannon TaggartFrom an article by Dr Christine Northrup

Spiritual and Holistic Options

A far better option for healing adrenal fatigue over the long run is to restore adrenal health and function so your adrenals can eventually produce the hormones you need on their own. That will require making changes in the lifestyle that caused the adrenal insufficiency. Here are some suggestions:

  • Focus more on loving thoughts. Thoughts that bring you pleasure (like thinking about people you love, favorite pets, a delicious meal, or even a sweet memory) short-circuit the harm done by the body’s physiological reaction to stress. This learning to “think with your heart” may be challenging at first, but it’s definitely worth it. If you faithfully learn this and regularly pay attention to areas of your life that bring you joy and fulfillment, you will evoke biochemical changes in your body over time that will recharge your adrenal batteries. (For assistance, I recommend the training programs and books from The Institute of HeartMath.)
  • In addition, do more things that bring you pleasure and make you laugh and fewer activities that feel like obligations. Spend more time with people who make you feel good and less time with people who are draining.
  • Dwell more on what you like about yourself and less on what you see as your limitations. In short, have more fun! Make pleasure a priority instead of a luxury.
  • Allow yourself to accept nurturing and affection. If you didn’t learn how to do this as a child, you may need to practice it. Every morning before you get up, spend a minute or two reveling in a memory of a time you felt loved. Do the same at night. Imagine your heart being filled with this love. Use affirmations that help you feel deserving of this nurturing and love.
  • Follow a healthy, whole foods diet with minimal sugar and adequate protein. (Every meal or snack should contain some protein.) Avoid caffeine because it whips your adrenals into a frenzy. Also avoid fasting or cleansing regimens because they can weaken you further.
  • Take a comprehensive multivitamin/mineral supplement.
  • Try herbal support, including:
    – Licorice root: This herb contains plant hormones that mimic the effects of cortisol. Start with a small amount and gradually work up to one-quarter teaspoon solid licorice root extract three times per day. Baschetti2 Make sure to monitor blood pressure, as licorice may increase blood pressure in susceptible individuals.
    – Siberian ginseng: One of the components of Siberian ginseng is related to a precursor for DHEA and cortisol. Try one 100 mg capsule two times a day. It can have a stimulating effect, though, so if it interferes with your sleep, take it before three p.m.
  • Get plenty of sleep: Sleep is the most effective approach to high adrenaline levels. Many women require eight to ten hours of sleep to function optimally. Try to go to bed by ten P.M. Getting to sleep on the earlier side of midnight is much more restorative to your adrenals than sleep that begins later in the night, even if you sleep late the next morning to get in your full amount of sleep.
  • Exercise regularly. Regular light-to-moderate exercise is helpful, but not so much that you feel depleted afterward. Pushing yourself beyond your limits weakens your adrenals even further, so start slowly—even if it’s only walking down your street and back. Then build up slowly.
  • Get more exposure to natural sunlight. This is not only good for your adrenal glands, but it boosts vitamin D, as well. Sunbathe only in the early morning or later afternoon, however, never in midday; and never get enough exposure to burn or even redden your skin. Work up to ten to fifteen minutes of exposure three to four times per week.
  • Prioritize. Make a list of your most important activities and commitments, and then let everything else go. Don’t agree to a new task or commitment unless it’s something that will recharge your batteries.

– See more at: http://www.drnorthrup.com/adrenal-exhaustion/#sthash.xNcKaxvS.dpuf

Elderly Brexiters Have Sold Us Down the River

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Utterly fed up with the crowing Brexiters. What a mess. Hate crime up, the pound down, businesses in turmoil, and virtually no government going on here in the UK.

What’s worse is that my mum is here looking after me ‘cos I am having the relapse from h**l and she is making a huge difference and I am really, really grateful – BUT she voted for Britain to leave the European Union. I think she feels guilty though. She admitted that she and her generation are hankering after the Britain of the 1950s, but she knows deep down that this will never happen and that the world has changed too much for that.

Old people, Daily Express readers like my mum, have totally sold younger generations down the river -and they won’t even be around to see the mess they have landed us in! I feel sorry for the young, educated, passionate people. They are understandably bitter.

And even worse, nearly all the people I know at church, barr Pastor 3 and another leading light in the church town, were I gather, on the Brexit side. .

This, along with the fact that most of them are Tories plus some of their beliefs is making me seriously consider leaving this church. As it happens I am confined to quarters and will be for some long time. I will sped the time thinking about what to do and where to go if I ever get out of this relapse. old-people-funny-t-shirts-18__605

Eucharist at ‘Rival’ Church

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Have hideous cough and thus I felt it was not fair to breathe over my brethren at my usual church and that the long service and the drive was not a good idea.

Instead I went to a local church (Church of England) for 30 minute evensong. There were only six of us (not much chance to pass on germs) as opposed to the 50 that usually go on a Sunday eve at my church but it was nice. But I DO miss my usual church when I can’t go.

Having said that, I feel it’s better to go somewhere than not go at all. It focuses the mind.

My Big Posh Church, Lent, Day 18.

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As I was very tired from my night out I decided to go to our town’s poshest church rather than make the trip to my own church this evening.

Very beautiful surroundings and wonderful choir, good sermon, but strange to be there.

This posh church’s ethos is extremely liberal – which is my 1970’s upbringing background. It’s all gay vicars and seminars on transgender issues. But the hierarchical nature of the service, the Us and Them aspect (congregation v clergy), the formality, is now alien to me, yet this is what I grew up with.

At my usual church services anyone can pray out loud, singing is done by all of us and we sing a LOT! Sermons, a.k.a. the message, are chatty, funny, moving. But gay vicars are a big no-no. It’s a fundamental church, in effect, though with kindly pastoral care rather than punishing.

Sometimes trying new things can be a disappointment. But it does stretch you and also makes you appreciate what you have already.

The War Room, Lent, Day 15

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War-Room-Table

We had a film night at church tonight. We watched the Christian film, The War Room, which I had never seen. (Hence, it was NEW to me).

I did enjoy it but found its lack of subtlety difficult, and as my friend, JH, said, the ends were all very neatly tied up, rather unrealistically.

I found this review from The New Yorker interesting: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/richard-brody/the-sanitized-christianity-of-war-room

Coincidences or Divine Intervention?

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Feeling awed! Mum and I were standing on her front doorstep in the town of my birth, waving off my very old friends, Bristol-based P and J, who I see just 1-2 times a year, when who should drive down our fairly out-of-the-way street but my friends/former neighbours, E and S, from the town where I now live (about 50 miles away.) E and S had NO IDEA my mum lives on this street and that this is the family homestead. Sheer coincidence.

Then… At the very same time my old hairdresser drove passed them in the same make and model and silver coloured car as E and S own, waving, AND at the same time mum’s neighbour, Brian, came out to tell me that I had a flat tyre – I had not noticed. There was a nail in it. He pumped the tyre up for me and I rushed off to Kwik Fit and got it replaced. Brian probably saved my life ‘cos I’ll be driving on the motorway tomorrow.
Coincidences or not?!

I had been feeling tearful and forsaken earlier in the day but these coincidences made me feel like there was some sort of pattern work going on!

 

 

 

The Single Option

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Ann Widdecombe Gives One Year On Lecture in Bath

Ann Widdecombe Gives One Year On Lecture in Bath (Photo credit: Catholic Church (England and Wales))

I only caught the tail end of a  conversation about singleness last night at Life Group but I have been thinking about this issue a lot today.

Being single makes one much more ‘a citizen of the world’. I mean by that that we are more engaged with the world, we look outward as well as inward, we seek to make connections. We are fluid!  When someone becomes part of a couple they begin to turn inwards, somehow, forming their own little world. I am not saying that is wrong, it is just an observation.

I was impressed by something Ann Widdecombe said. (I am not prone to supporting her in other way!) In her 30s she wanted to be part of a couple again, in her 40s she was okay being single but now she actively relishes her singleness and would defend it to the death! If I never meet A.N. Other I would like to be like that!

 

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One Year Anniversary of This Blog

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It’s my one year anniversary of blogging Just a Closer Walk With Thee. I started out tentatively but now feel much more confident about my journey within the church. My faith is ‘getting there’ and I am more at ease in describing myself as a Christian, though I don’t go on about it, much as my evangelical church would love that!

Mean Girls

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Mean girls might go far in High School... but ...

(Photo credit: deeplifequotes)

A situation going on at My Church that is making me feel uncomfortable. Feeling bullied and ostracised. Yeah,  even church folk can be pretty nasty sometimes. Wondering who I should talk to about it, if anyone. Probably my non-Christian friends, A and R. Will think on. Disappointing but not entirely unexpected. Where people gather in large numbers you will always get this kind of thing.

 

Friends List Produces Stark Conclusions

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Discernment

Discernment (Photo credit: Thomas Hawk)

I made two lists last night: one of people I used to see 2011/12 and those I have seen and see now in 2013. Happily there was a crossover regarding friends I hold most dear – P, A, R, G, S and others – but there was a startling revelation. Many of the friends on the early list had disappeared. Mostly this was due to me not going out on the music scene. Some of those friends don’t really meet the criteria I have developed as “quality” – i.e., those who are stable or nurturing or just… decent.  That sounds harsh. It isn’t supposed to be. I guess as we grow in discernment who we spend our time with changes.
A lot of the people on List 2 are from the church or are connected to the church in some way, maybe through the Divorce Group.  I like the people on this list even if I don’t always share some of their views. However, I do worry that my life has become TOO church-based.
I am keen to keep a balance between non-Christian friends and Christian ones. I think that’s healthy and also authentic.

We Are Family. Or Are We?

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My church has just run a series of sermons called Church Matters. Pastor 3 asked for some feedback. I have sent mine to him privately.

I wrote (more or less):

“I am intrigued by the idea of church as family that has come up. Families can be great; I doubt there are many on this earth who don’t need family. Yet when Pastor 1 says, “We are family,” my barriers go up. I think, ‘Mmm. Are we? Really?’

I think church can be LIKE a family – in good ways and bad. The good ways are obvious: mutual support; shared sense of doing things for the good of the cause; unity; somewhere to turn to in good times and bad. But let’s not forget that families can be very dysfunctional places.

Also in families people are assigned roles. Sometimes those roles can box us in. People can get labelled… and that happens in church too. She’s the naughty one; he’s the dull one; she’s the arty one… etc. This type of ‘shorthand’ thinking can reduce people. In truth, we are all more complex than the roles assigned to us. Families have rules, often unspoken rules at that. These rules help the family to function but it also means that family members have to toe the line. Those who don’t do this feel the weight of displeasure from the others or may be ostracised.
Then there are the power games (vile). The gossip! And silliness! Even bullying. It can all get very messy.

Also one can feel alone in a family. This is why belonging to a Life Group is vital, IMHO. It is there that you do get to something approaching family.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of My Church and my church life. I have forsaken some former activities to devote my [limited] energies to being part of the church and I don’t regret my decision. I have noticed that you [Pastor 3] personally do not push this idea of our church as family. Maybe because I don’t live in the town where our church is makes me somewhat removed from church-as-family. Part of me would love to live there but another part wonders if it would be claustrophobic.
To sum up. Church is like a family. Whether it can be family… of that I am not certain.”

Not One, But Many

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Coffee shop Kemptown 2013

Coffee shop, Kemptown, 2013 (Photo: IrishAggers)

Thinking about a question from last night’s Life Group: Who who has had a major impact on your Christian life?

I named more than one person and while I stand by my choices there are countless others that I didn’t mention.
The person who comes over to talk to you in the church cafe when you are standing alone; the unknown hand on the shoulder during a service; the unheard prayers for your wellbeing; the ongoing guidance from those who are mature Christians; the prayer someone utters that touches you; the sermon that galvanises you to action; the person who lends you that CD that totally inspires you; the person who is not afraid to wear their heart on their sleeve; the one you go to when you have questions or doubts; the timely texter…
All of these people. I don’t think you can whittle it down to one!

Love Me, Love My Cardigan – The Facts

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English: Makeup before attendance. Српски / Sr...

English: Makeup before attendance. Српски / Srpski: Шминкање пред наступ. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many Christian women believe that because God loves them and accepts them that this means that they should not need to bother with fashion, makeup and general girly stuff. In their minds the right Christian man will see their inner beauty and step forward to claim them. This attitude is what my friend, A, and reader of this blog, calls the “love me, love my cardigan syndrome”.

There’s one thing that undermines this thinking . Christian. Man.

MAN!

It may be controversial but virtually all men, Christian or otherwise, respond to certain aspects of beauty in a woman.

Firstly, men – and women – are drawn to that which is beautiful, whether it is a sunset, fabulous architecture – or a pleasing face. Sadly, even among God-loving brethren a jolly smile is not always enough to make them want to get nearer to a woman in a romantic way.

Secondly, like it or not, most women do look better with some attention to their appearance. (As do men but our society’s convention in the west is for the woman to be the user of artificial aids to aid beauty.)

Thirdly, to attract a man’s attention you need to give off certain signals. Make-up – even light make-up – says that you are in the game (I said in it not on it!). It signals that you are engaged in the world. Yep, I know it’s not fair but that is the reality for most people. Of course, there are always going to be natural beauties. We have them in our church: glamorous Christians who wear little or no make-up. But they do have fabulous hair, great clothes, and they are young. The young can get away with much more than us midlifers.

Fourthly, looking good does a lot for one’s self-esteem.

You don’t need to trowel the gloop on like a dodgy X-rated starlet. Read on for my hints and tips.

Could It Be a Christian Connection?

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Heart

Heart (Photo credit: mozzercork)

 

I read the Christian Connection blogs (dating website for Christian dudes and dudettes). I find them excellent – very well-written, funny, sensible and thought-provoking.

 

I have not signed up to CC yet but I think about it from time to time. I found out that you are allowed to go on there if you are separated as long as you make it clear you are looking for friendship (until you are legally free, as it were). That seems like a fairly good approach to take while you get your bearings.

 

I’d rather meet a person in real life (IRL), to be honest, but one has to keep one’s options open. I do meet the occasional nice single man of appropriate age and character-  but not many – and the ones I do like aren’t interested in me, I feel. Not that there isn’t attraction going on there but they have to be truly interested and do something about it in my book! One can be friendly and give subtle encouraging signals but, for a long-term prospect, I am not going to chase! What do you think?

 

Next March it will be four years since STBX gave me the ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you’ speech. And we are getting nearer to divorcing.