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Showing posts from June, 2018

Midweek Musing: telling my story again

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A few weeks ago, I was invited to give a talk on my life, my work, my passions, with the Men's Shed at my church, Wesley, Canberra. I've been invited to give a similar talk with our Thursday Friendship group this week, so I've come back to this telling of my story again in preparation. A midweek musing for you that is not one of my sermons - that will be a change for you. Hope you enjoy.




I wanted to be a lot of things when I was growing up: drama teacher, Australian cricketer, child psychologist. But the thing I came back to again and again was that I wanted to write.

I learnt to read by learning stories. I composed my own stories as soon as I could talk. My year 7 teacher gave me a Writer’s Folder with all sorts of tips and exercises and encouragement, such an affirmation of a gift I hadn’t really consciously acknowledged for myself.

By Year 12, I had dropped English, fed up with the subjective nature of marking, and instead concentrated on French language and literature…

Diary of a chronically exhausted vicar. Episode 6

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In which I receive some answers.


The results of the blood tests are in, and it turns out I've had glandular fever this past month. Which explains the feeling ill, the glands all achy from working so hard, the tiredness, the tiredness. I'm amazed I've been utterly laid low with it so comparatively little.

So that's what's behind the most recent episode of extreme exhaustion.

Further results from the blood tests revealed very low iron levels. This will account for the constant crash of energy levels, and inability to return to a feeling of plenty in my energy stores. Iron was deemed low by doctors in Edinburgh 18 months ago, and there were some tablets to increase pheratin levels, I think to help carry the iron, or oxygen, or something, around the blood.

My doctor here is taking a stronger approach. Tomorrow I will receive an iron infusion: needle in, and five minutes' worth of iron pumping straight into the blood. No nasty side effects from iron tablets that mes…

Midweek Musing: on balance, the kingdom is like the earth

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Preaching from St Aidan's and Wesley Uniting Churches 17 June 
I used to use language of making time, making space, for God, for rest, for prayer: for the things that would turn me into fertile soil for the word of God to take root, be watered, and grow. then someone said to me, that sounds like more hard work, having to make time, make space. Is that not just one more thing on your to do list? And it was. And it was the first thing to drop off the to do list when it got quite full. Making time or space didn’t have the sort of deadline or keeper of a deadline to appease that everything else on the list had. So I would end up not doing the things that nurture my soul, and all was not well. Not well at all. Then I changed my thinking – not to an opposite point of view or approach, but a different approach all together. when I recognized that incorporating stillness into my daily rhythms and entering the space that was there waiting for my attention, I was healthier, and more product…

Diary of a chronically exhausted vicar. Episode 5.

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I've felt well this week. I thought it worth documenting a good week, after all the recent weeks of nearly better but not.



I rested well after Sunday morning, when I led one of our worship gatherings, but did the whole thing. Often when we do two on a Sunday, my colleague and I share the liturgy and preaching between us. However, there's also the Sundays when one of us will do liturgy and preaching at two services. But you don't need to know the complicated ins and outs of our worship rosters.

Sure, I was tired afterwards, but it was the good tired that comes when you've given your all in order to be present for the people and the Spirit.

I rested well on Monday, too. Did some sewing to re-hem a pair of trousers that was too long; some mending of a top whose seams were not holding together well.

Did some cross stitch, and some laundry.

And I went for a walk. It was a 20 minute walk, and I took it slow, but I did it, and I actually felt good afterwards. The sun was shin…

Midweek Musing. On the kin-dom of God.

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Reflection on Mark 3:20–35 and 2 Cor 4:13–5:1  Wesley Uniting Church 10 June 2018 


He turns his back on her. His mother. In a culture in which life revolves around family. But in any culture, turning your back against your mother – that is profound. Who is my family?, he asks. And for all those rejected, marginalized, folk with withered hands and darkened sight, begging to be seen on the edges of society, his sweeping embrace of all who follow God’s way as his kin must have felt like a warm shower after playing netball in the rain. But he turns away from his mother and his siblings. For some commentators, that they are outside the house in which Jesus is teaching his disciples suggests they are not considered by the narrator or his audience to be disciples, are outside Jesus’ redefinition of family. But I don’t see them as outside the invitation. They are not excluded from the possibility of being family. In the story, though, Jesus’ family are letting fear determine their actions. They…

Diary of a chronically exhausted vicar. Episode 4.

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Yesterday, I pushed through the morning, in pain, but in good spirits.



Parking is tricky in the suburb where the GP is, and I walked quickly, having parked a little further away than I would have liked, with less time than was ideal. My muscles hurt quite a bit by the time I arrived. Thankful for the elevator.
I sat in the doctor's waiting room for 20 minutes, almost falling asleep.
The doctor listened, heard me, acknowledged that this time, unlike in Scotland as I had told her before, there was no obvious trigger for the exhaustion and pain. She ordered tests, broad ranging, and among others, used the word 'polymyalgia', which I'd not heard before: I'd been thinking fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue.

Looking up symptoms on government health information sheets, I see that fibromyalgia is probably not what this is: my muscles do seem to be inflamed, not a symptom of fibromyalgia.
Polymyalgia has the inflammation in muscles I experience, the fatigue, my experiences of…