SARcasm











{December 1, 2013}   Church Reflections

One of the true blessings I’ve had through my work at my church over the last few years has been the opportunity to lead worship from time to time when our minister is away. I thought I’d share my reflections here for those who might be interested in what a progressive Christian worldview might represent. I encourage anyone with a bit of time on their hands to listen – not so much because I’m an especially good preacher, but more because I’d love to share as widely as possible the reality that there is another way to ‘be Christian’ … to be a progressive, affirming, loving person who takes Jesus’ message of radical inclusivity (the Samaritans, lepers and tax collectors of our day) in a 21st century Emerging Christianity. I’d be extremely flattered by anyone willing to listen, and familiarize themselves both with my own faith journey, and how faith can, in fact, inform a progressive world view.

CLICK HERE to listen to my reflection on Christ, Gandhi, and peaceful conflict resolution.

CLICK HERE to listen to my reflection on radical forgiveness.

CLICK HERE to listen to my reflection on discipleship in a progressive Christian context.

CLICK HERE to listen to my reflection on the power of prayer.



{December 1, 2013}   What I’ve been up to!

So while I have been the invisible blogger for the last 20 days and well I know it, I wanted to share why, as you know, being the narcissistic type who wants to share the entirety of my existence because the people out there care so damn much. 🙂 So let’s see …

First of all, my birthday boys – I was so busy the last two weeks celebrating their birthdays with them in, you know, the real world, I didn’t have time to report back on the festivities here online … which you know, means it didn’t really happen lol. Ari and Little Tyke’s birthdays are 9 days apart. We actually ‘met’ LT on Ari’s birthday, when he (LT) was 9 days old. This year, we celebrated both in grand fashion. We had a massive friends-and-family birthday party for Little Tyke, and Ari and I spent the weekend away in Lake Placid for his b-day (with thanks to my folks for the babysitting services). It was a lot of work, but oh so much fun. 🙂 Happy birthday to two of the bestest men on the planet. Big hugs.

Ari and Little Tyke.

Ari and Little Tyke.

The boys and the Menorah.

It’s also been “Christmukah”, as you can see by the tree above, and the Menorah below. Being a mixed faith house, we celebrate both holidays, and this year Chanukah was early, so we’ve been hustling to get the house decorated and get some shopping started before/as Chanukah began (we’re on the 4th night of 8 as I type this). We exchange small gifts over the week and a day, each person gets two nights on which they get a gift. These tend to be smaller gifts, since we also exchange gifts at Pseudo-Chanukah with my in-laws, and Christmas of course, but they’re nice treats, often those little things you don’t think to buy for yourself, and the boys love the lights and the singing and dancing. So far, a reading light, a book, socks and a card game have been purchased. The last gifts of Chanukah for the boys tend to be their Christmas jammies.

So we’re having fun with all those celebrations … off to the Santa Clause parade tomorrow, although the boys have already met the man.

Boys and Santa Claus.

 

And last but not least this of course means a busy time at church. Not only did I lead church service earlier this month (of which I am probably unseemly proud and will be sharing my reflection in a later post), but it’s obviously one of the busiest times of the church year. Today I volunteered at our fantastic Bazaar, and tomorrow kicks off the Advent season; my family will be lighting the first Advent candle, I help organize a potluck after service, and I am in the process of preparing for our annual Christmas pageant. It’s a wonderful and exciting time of year … and it’s one of those ironies that often at the times you most want to share what’s going on in your world, is when you have the least time available to do so. But the above is my month in a nutshell. And I do hope as we gear up for the Holidays that you are enjoying your Chanukah, that you do enjoy your Christmas, and that all of my American friends are enjoying their Thanksgiving weekend and Black Friday sales.

God bless.



{October 15, 2013}   Thanks-Giving

The bad news over the last 3 weeks is that I have been far too busy to blog. The good news is, a lot of what has kept me busy the last few weeks has been good stuff – family and friends, busy-ness professionally etc. But I have struggled to see that. The work I try to do on mindfulness and gratitude has been a bit of a failure. Instead of seeing ‘look, I worked every day last week, which means professional contacts, professional fulfillment and yes, money,’ for example, I saw ‘OMG when am I ever going to get my marking done and clean my house?’. And then, along comes Thanksgiving weekend. And there is nothing like fun and uninterrupted time with one’s family on beautiful fall days to remind you that even – and perhaps especially – in the midst of the crazy, there are so many blessings to be found.

So – at the risk of sounding like one of those obnoxious folks bragging about how wonderful their life is in the midst of others who might be struggling – I would like to take the time to practice some thankfulness and awareness that there are two sides to everything … and that perhaps Thanksgiving (even a bit belatedly) is a good time to look at the brighter one. So – despite my grumbling at times the last few weeks – I am thankful for …

  • Babysitters! And family who enjoy sharing in the freedom of sitters!
  • My family and friends – never before in my life have I felt so surrounded by loving and supportive people, and been so aware of it. It brings me great joy.
  • Especially my little foursome here – we’ve all of us had some cranky, tired, and some ‘just get us through the day’ moments over the last three busy, sick, tired weeks, (illness, new teachers, changing schedules with me working etc.) but I also realize a lot of it is a sign of new growth, new learning, new phases, and we have all been growing TOGETHER as a team … and that’s a cool feeling. And I am thankful that we are a family of strong people with minds of our own, even our littlest ones.
  • Fulfilling work! I am so happy being reminded each and every week why I do what I do at my church, how helpful eLearning is to my students, and even the supply teaching river has been flowing a bit more fully this year (a HUGE part of the busy-ness). It’s been busy, but it has been fun, challenging, aggravating, wonderful, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
  • Health. Between all of us, we have spent two of the last three weeks ill, and it is absolutely amazing to have finally shaken off the bug and to have a home full of healthy people again.
  • The lessons of patience. There is a particular, and very important, phonecall I have been expecting for a week now, and am still waiting. And while I perhaps dislike the suspense, I realize time passing might be a good thing, to teach me patience and to ensure the best possible outcome for everyone.
  • Special occasions. Thanksgiving is such a wonderful and inspiring holiday, and with Halloween and two of my three boys’ birthdays coming up, and the Holidays not far behind, here begins a few of the happiest months of my year … cheer in the cold of fall and winter.

Whether you are in a time of peace and comfort, or struggling at this moment – or perhaps, as so often in life, a blessed and difficult mix of both – what are YOU thankful for?



So I am sorry that over the last two weeks we have literally one or the other of our little family has been sick, or we’ve been travelling almost every single day. However, the good thing is that my time sick the last few days has given me a little chance to catch up on some of my blog reading, including my friend T over at The Dubious Hausfrau – you can find her link over in my blogroll, and I’ve linked to the specific blog entry here. And she had a great idea (that she in turn had gotten from a friend, and proper credit is given over there) about a reverse bucket list – instead of listing all the things we have yet to do, perhaps a list of the things we’ve done that we can celebrate and be thankful for are in order … as much as it’s my policy to not dwell on the past and live instead in the present and future, that can sometimes lead to feeling you haven’t lived life yet, and minimizing the experiences that have made you who you are. So for giggles … here’s my reverse bucket list.

  1. My family. This is the one thing I know without a doubt I’ve done right. I’ve married a good guy and had two kids I was never certain I’d have. That’s pretty awesome in my books. There are lots of other things on this list that excite me and give me great joy, but through the good times and the bad, this is my anchor and my rock. When you add in the parents, step-parents, sibling, grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws … the people around me and I have built a tremendous network of love and support and I couldn’t be more grateful for that.
  2. Teaching. Yes – I haven’t done as much in this field as I’d like but if I’m honest, I’ve had two years of working in a classroom of my own, three years teaching online courses, and some solid supply teaching … this is not bad in this day and age starting out in the profession in Ontario, and I am blessed for that.
  3. Two degrees – on a similar note, I’m proud of having earned two pieces of paper that have allowed me to pursue that career, in however an ad hoc, haphazard fashion. I have, in frustration, felt at times like those pieces of paper were worthless, but I also know there are people out there who would love nothing more than to have them, and if I’m honest, would have worked harder for them and appreciated them more than I – I am grateful for the opportunity to have gone to the school of my choice, to have graduated, and to recognize it took a village to make that happen.
  4. Travels – I have been incredibly blessed with the travelling I’ve been able to do … from almost every major city in the US (New York, LA, Las Vegas, Miami), to Edinburgh, to various parts of Canada, to Mexico and the Carribbean, I treasure all of my vacation moments, and look forward to more as we can manage them. Especially when events are tied to them … Wrestlemania …. Disney … honeymoon … my brother’s World Championship drumming win … a cruise … all very, very cool, and something I need to remember when I sometimes feel like life’s ‘too boring’.
  5. Having seen a play I wrote get produced. I know this was controversial back in the day – it was very autobiographical and artsy emo chick nonsense, and I think I might have hurt or upset some people in the process … I don’t know if I would do this again now as a more mature adult. But both the pride of seeing my work onstage, and the lessons learned about writing ‘what you know’ while being careful about it, I think was worth the growing experience of it all.
  6. Directing theatre. I’m grateful to have learned fairly early that I can’t act, but I do have a vision for putting things together aesthetically. It’s been a steep learning curve and I’ve had lots of help, advice and support, but I’m proud to have directed two plays … that’s kind of a cool experience, and something to remember as I find myself missing theatre of late. Perhaps something to get back into.
  7. Having acted. Even if I will never win Anne Hathaway’s Oscar, I’ve had the chance to be a part of some pretty nifty productions with some pretty cool people. I like it. I like it a lot.
  8. Preaching a sermon; I have always found the idea of leading worship inspiring and with both my faith and my inclination to public speaking, something I have always been interested in doing. I had that opportunity in my teens when I helped lead youth worship, and I have had the blessing to grow into that role a few times now over the last couple of years at my current church home, and I am so thankful for the lessons and support I’ve received for that endeavour.
  9. Defeating the Legend of Zelda. Both quests. Yeah baby! 😀 Yeah OK maybe not as cool as the others but dammit, it took me years!
  10. Seeing my name in print – in newspapers and blogs, writing has always been like breathing to me and so it’s really super cool when something I write does get picked up. Hasn’t happened in awhile, but it’s pleasing.
  11. Breaking the soother habit. Yeah – again – but this one took me four years.
  12. Getting my driver’s license. Fifteen years from bell to bell people, with some real issues in terms of spatial and depth perception, I am damn proud!
  13. Being a wrestling writer. OK – it’s not exactly Pro Wrestling Illustrated or WWE Magazine, or even the Pro Wrestling Torch or Pro Wrestling dot Net, but I have my own little wrestling corner on the web, with its own little audience, I get to chat with the fine folks from Kayfabe Wrestling Radio from time to time and enjoy their support, and it feeds my little need for attention. 🙂

I’m sure I could think of more … but I want to turn it over to you. What items are included on YOUR ‘reverse bucket list’?



{February 17, 2013}   Bad Blogger, and Update

Hi everyone,

So even the best intentions can run into madly busy weeks and months! It’s been nearly three weeks since I last posted – bad blogger! But it has been absolutely insane. Work has been quite the thing on a number of fronts – several interviews, tests, putting feelers out there with some response but no tangible success yet on one front, but things going so very well with my online teaching and church. It’s the Lenten season which means book study time and I’m excited about that, and we began this most solemn of times on the Christian calendar today with Communion, and a message that all are invited at Christ’s open communion table, and by extension to share his journey to the cross, and the period of rebirth and new understandings that followed.

It’s been a fun few weeks/weekends as well, as we have been able to babysit for friends, skate on the canal (Little Tyke’s first time on ‘big boy’ skates was ‘not so easy, but I do it’ – a good attitude we’re encouraging very strongly from our sensitive perfectionist), we’ve gotten LT’s first report card, and he’s become a “Zipper Expert” at school learning how to do up his own zipper all by himself. Little J, who has been known from time to time to have something of a temper, has also been playing really nicely with his friends and his brother. And both got to spend some time on the first Valentine’s cards they’ve really gotten to participate in. Nice. We could have done without some plumbing and flooding issues we’ve had, but those are now resolved and all’s well that ends well … right?

This weekend, however, takes the cake for fun. After a very busy week with much to do work- and ‘around the house’-wise (reorganizing our basement after the above-mentioned flood), my in-laws came up for a visit. They are awesome, by the way. They facilitated us being able to take Little Tyke to his first birthday party invite, where he had a great time. We also got to head out to Winterlude, the big February carnival here in Ottawa-Gatineau area, play on the winter playground and ice slides, have hot chocolate and beaver tails, and … oh so much fun. Before – get this – Ari and I got to go out to a lovely steak dinner for a belated Valentine’s date, and to the movies to see Zero Dark Thirty. I recommend it strongly by the way – although perhaps not at 10:30pm when really tired. It does take some mental energy to follow, and we managed and enjoyed it – but barely, in terms of a few moments of ‘What just happened?’ that I think wouldn’t have occured if we’d seen a matinee, or even an early show. Good stuff though.

And today, after a fabulous morning at church as described above, we had an ‘in’ day, making cupcakes with “Grandma V” and a game of Chutes & Ladders with LT. And now we’re heading into the dinner hour with boys who are just the right kind of tired lol, playing with all their newly-laid-out toys in the basement that’s been off limits to them for a week, and with a wrestling PPV just hours away. YAHOO!

I promise there won’t be a break between blogs that long again, and I will get back to posting about news/important world stuff and not just personal updates – it has been an EXTREMELY busy end of January/beginning of February, however, and I appreciate a really lot your bearing with me. You’ll hear from me again in the next day or two, and until then, be well. XOXO



{January 7, 2013}   Where does God Live?

In church yesterday we were talking about darkness vs. light, and God/Jesus as a guiding light. In Sunday School, we read the story of Samuel and Eli, where God was calling Samuel in the darkness of the middle of the night. Given this is a tale set in the Temple of Solomon, where the Ark of the Covenant (believed to contain God’s most holy name/God ‘himself’) resided, the Ark was often referred to, using the term (in a tongue and cheek fashion) “The box where God lived.”

The second or third time this came up, one of my ‘students’, who had been carefully listening to this point, could no longer contain herself.

“But God doesn’t live in a box!”

So true, and I have never been so proud of a student ‘calling out in class’. As the children’s minister at a progressive church, if there is anything I want my kiddos to take away with them on their spiritual journey, it is just that in a nutshell: that God does not live in a box. That that message has hit home made me so happy yesterday … just one of those moments of being so glad and blessed for just what it is I do.



{October 28, 2012}   Personal Update

So my last few entries have been either blog-housekeeping or at least somewhat political in nature; I haven’t done an update on how life is going for us in actually a very long time, and while a big part of that is that in some ways it feels like pretty routine (although of course in a spectacular, I love my family and wouldn’t trade a moment of it kind of way), another part is we’ve just been so busy living it. But the reality is, ‘routine’ has changed for us over the last couple of months, life is exciting for us, although of course at times tiring and frustrating, and it’s worth sharing.

Probably the single biggest change is Little Tyke’s in school – junior kindergarten/pre-kindergarten, every morning. He is absolutely loving it and while we of course are having moments of adjusting to new learnings and routines, we’re doing it and thriving, I think. Even the struggles are teachable moments for both LT and us, his parents, and we are making the most of all of it. Having another adult who also happens to be a really trained professional (teacher) in LT’s life is great too, in terms of giving us feedback on how he’s doing and helping us focus on his strengths, and on the things we need to support him in. AND – he has yet to go in his class’s calm down chair two months into school, when we were told most parents could expect to hear their little one spent some time their in September. So yay LT!

Little J is growing up too with the full sentences, the potty training beginning, and the loss of his soother/pacifier/seuss/whatever you call it. He can definitely have a mind of his own, but hey – anyone who knows me knows I consider this a positive in the big picture! 🙂 He thinks he’s his brother’s age, wants to do everything LT does, and gosh darn it is pretty close to be honest with you lol. He still eats like a horse, and his new favourite words of late are ‘What’s that?’ – which I think is phenomenal. Love the curiosity. Keep on growin’, little dude (although maybe be kind and don’t outgrow your brother for at least a few more years?).

A and I are good too. He’s enjoying work, which is keeping him busy, and the last few nice days of running before the torrential rain we’re expecting this week. We’ll see how Halloween goes! Supply teaching for me has been particularly slow this fall, but that’s more than made up for by the feeling I’ve really been helping out my online students, and just how rewarding the church year has felt so far to me. A great group of kids and a great team, both of staff and volunteers, make it a real pleasure to be working there. We had a huge project that came to fruition last night in the form of a benefit concert, which I think both the minister and I, along with everyone else involved, were more than a bit anxious about and invested in the turnout, and if I do say so myself it ended up being a really amazing experience of music and desserts, good work and socializing. It was a really fulfilling and important moment both to me, but more importantly my worship community, which meant a lot.

Otherwise we’re livin’ la vida family. We met a friend of ours and her two daughters today to basically do some shopping, lunching and playing (it was supposed to be Pumpkin Patching, but the rain began today), and we’re making plans for tomorrow to get pumpkins, Halloween costumes and all that arranged. Next week will be busy with online teaching (oh … and my own online course that I’ve been taking for professional development as a teacher this semester), church, Halloween, and hopefully some more supply work, but hey – it keeps me out of trouble and thinking on my toes. Can’t complain about that … much. 😉

Hope all is well where you and yours are, and that everyone has a safe and happy Halloween weekend (as I’m sure this weekend is when everyone is having their parties etc.). Talk atcha in the new week. Peace and love! – Sar XO.



et cetera