It’s kinda embarrassing but.. I go to church sometimes

I’m a fairly new church goer, and I have very mixed feelings about it. what got me there is rather a long story so I’ll keep this post to how I’ve found the experience.

A lot of times it’s boring and daggy and out-of-touch. Often I’m fighting sleep or wringing my hands in exasperation.

In Australia, churchgoing is notably countercultural. Religion is often viewed as an old-fashioned, a mere superstition, of little use in a modern society – and even as a damaging force that encourages intolerance and conformity (which is sadly very accurate sometimes).

And while I absolutely understand why these views have emerged, I also see immense value in the faith – particularly in a world where so many seem to struggle to find a sense of peace and purpose.

For me church (and the community it fosters) is a place to gather around a shared quest to discover what is good and true in life. It’s a group of people trying their best to look out for and love one another, no matter (and because of) their fault or folly.

And the core tenets of Christianity (the simple, sensible bits) paint a picture of humanity that resonates quite profoundly.

And yet church itself is still somewhere I wouldn’t want to take my non-Christian friends. The daggyness is part of it, but I also think they often do a terrible job of explaining the faith to those who do not share it.

It seems many forget that people will experience Christianity loaded with their own experiences, fears, beliefs, values and prejudices – and our own representations of the faith will be seen through this frame.

The rigidity of church culture, bad past experiences (mean nuns, intolerant neighbours, the zealot on TV, for example) will all form part of the way they experience expressions of faith, and we must always communicate with this in mind.

So, I’m going to be brave(ish) and talk about faith and religious community on this blog sometimes. To try to both share the faith in a more accessible way – and to explore ways  the church could be better at doing this themselves.

I’d love to hear your thoughts along the way!

Do you go to church? Have a faith? Why/why not?

 

Not letting love go to waste

Some dear friends of mine are having a very difficult time in their relationship at the moment and it breaks my little heart. Especially because I know that the love and care I’ve seen them feel and demonstrate towards each other is still there; and that they could find it if only they’d pause to re-calibrate and stop spiraling away from each other.

Though the intricacies of every relationship are different and complex, looking at this and similar situations I’ve come to believe that there are a  number of things that can help protect, restore and rebuild a love that risks being lost.
Realise things will be tough sometimes (and it’s not always anyone’s fault)
No relationship (and no life) will always be smooth sailing. We falter and fall in the natural course of things. We get sick and tired and stressed and insecure. We get used to each other and the butterflies go away.
These aren’t reasons to stop caring and stop loving, they’re challenges to love more and better and smarter.
It’s often really hard. But it’s harder in the end if we don’t try.
Say sorry
As soon as you realise you’ve done something wrong.. and mean it. Also realise that your own behaviour may be hurtful or disruptive without you having intended it to be. Try to look objectively at your actions to see where this might have occurred.
Forgive
The other side of sorry, this is what you’re seeking from your partner when you’ve fallen short, and what you must extend to them when the tables are turned. It’s quite simply the only way that peace can be maintained.
It doesn’t mean you can’t get mad and it doesn’t mean that poor behaviour is excusable. But it does mean that you have to make a choice to move on from that hurt and choose to heal and love instead. The sooner this can happen the less pain that has to be endured.
As a thought experiment, it may help to think about the thing’s you’ve done poorly that your partner has forgiven you for, and the positive impact that forgiveness has had.
Shine a little light
The best way to counter seeping resentment and nastiness is to inject the situation with a big dose of thoughtful kindness. Annoyingly, it’s most difficult to be kind to someone when you’re feeling angry or hurt, but once that subsides (even just a little), a gesture to show that you want to move on (and that you’re acting on it) can be incredibly effective.
Love actively
This is about shining the light all of the time, loving with enthusuasm so that the darkness has no space to creep in.
Try not to be too sensitive
This is about keeping the crazies in check. I’m not sure why we do this, but I know there have been time when I’ve reacted ridiculously with the smallest provocation. Like the times when your sad or worried and your loved one doesn’t pick up on it.. and this becomes your head “clearly you don’t care about my feelings/don’t understand me at all/don’t actually love me”.. you get the idea.
Though it’s easier said then done, check-yourself when your getting mad and throwing stones to see if it’s (in all reasonableness) warranted.
Remember why you fell in love
It may sound trite, but often when you’re mad at someone it’s hard to see them as anything other than the subject of your current feeling towards them. Trying to remove yourself from that and remember the qualities you love and admire can be incredibly helpful.
Love,
T
xox

Starting to plan a wedding

I’m starting to plan a wedding (my own, excitingly) and it’s terribly fun. I am also trying to stick to a budget.. so I’ll be posting bits and pieces about our plans and tips on spending carefully. Plans so far include a reception at the family home, simple flowers (including baby’s breath bouquet’s), mismatched bridal party outfits and recycling old jars for candle holders.

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We’re thrilled to be celebrating our commitment with those we love and I’m so excited that our different circles of friends and family can meet and share in the occasion. I’d like them to leave knowing us just that little bit better and with confidence that we’ll do our darnedest to continue to love them and each other deliberately and actively as we grow older together.

Let me be a giver

I have much more than I need. And it makes me uncomfortable.

Because mostly those with less have worked much harder than I ever have (I’ve never worked 12 hour days just to make ends meet – or for any reason actually -  or walked for 10 miles to collect food and water).

And because, more simply, I don’t think its fair; especially in a world still so fraught with poverty and injustice.

So, for some years now I’ve been budgeting carefully for a comfortable but modest life – and giving the rest away.

Though I earn an income in the lower ranks of my fellow countrymen, this still leaves me outrageously wealthy when compared with the vast majority of the world.

And at this point in my life I can comfortably afford to give 10% of my income to various charities and at the same time have everything I need (and, truly, much more). I can still buy pretty clothes, dine out, travel, save for the future and cover my day to day expenses.

And honestly, I barely notice I’m doing it.

I know there are people (even in wealthy countries) who legitimately struggle to make ends meet.

But for many of us I wonder if the feeling of financial strain comes because we have a false sense of what normalcy and prosperity look like.

It don’t think t would hurt to think about it a little more.

So, this post starts a section of this blog that will look at efforts to give more as part of our everyday lives.

It will be about budgeting, thrift shopping and simply enjoying what I already have. Pausing to appreciate my many blessings and to dispel that sometimes creeping feeling that more would make me happier.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we should stop allowing ourselves little luxuries. Just that we should structure an equalising and more generous force in to our budgets and lives. Before long, you won’t even think about it any more.

I would love to hear your thoughts on what you do to live more simply and to give back where you can.

Love and happy reading,

T

xox

My four day work week

Some months ago I left my full-time big-firm job in the city for a four day, work from home position with a small boutique agency.

Why?

Because I was tired and cranky more often than I wanted to be, and I didn’t want to live like that if I had the option; despite the promises of a ladder to climb, and opportunities to work all around the world.

It’s been a great change! Not only am I less tired and cranky; but I also think I’m more productive, creative, motivated and engaged at work.. I’ve also had the time to think about pursuing extra projects (like blogging – something I’d never even considered before).

Bertrand Russell once wrote: “In a world where no one is compelled to work more than four hours a day, every person possessed of scientific curiosity will be able to indulge it, and every painter will be able to paint without starving, however excellent his pictures may be.” (In Praise of Idleness 1932)

I can’t help but wonder if we’re all far more worn-down, crotchety and less productive than we need to be, because of a misguided but entrenched expectation that the five day work week should be the norm?

Recently there’s been a lot of talk of ‘workplace flexibility’ – and in some instances the talk is turning to into real options for people to work in non-traditional ways. I hope this will continue.

I think it will make for happier (and healthier) mum’s, dad’s, friends and neighbours – and a more vibrant and productive work-life culture.

What do you think?

Love,

T

Hello!

And welcome to my blog. It’s just starting to take shape so apologies that there’s not much here yet. Take a look at the ‘About’ and ‘Life Plan List’ pages to give you an idea of what I’ll be writing about.. and please come back later! xox