Saturday, September 29, 2007

Self Care in the Form of Ink

Will Smama, over at Preacher, blogger or procrastinator, is brilliant. She's getting some skin art next week and her posts about the journey toward that event are labelled "self care."

I like it.

I've been toying with the idea of a tattoo for a long time. More seriously since I've been single. I went so far as to actually consult with an artist a couple months ago. The good news? He knew exactly what I wanted--the triquetra symbol--and felt able to design one in rainbow colours. He was enthusiastic about it, in fact. The bad news? The location I had in mind (over my heart--well not literally, but on my chest; a root chakra), it turns out, would be painful, as there is not much padding there. Apparently, the bonier the location, the more pain. I never thought I would 1) hear that I don't have enough padding somewhere, and 2) have a complete stranger prodding that area of my anatomy in a public place.

We discussed some alternatives--other locations--but since it is a symbol of the Trinity, it doesn't seem right to put it where I have the most padding (ahem). But not on my shoulder, either, really, as I would like to see it myself. I'd also like it to be somewhere I can cover it if needed--hopefully a rare event, but still. So my wrist is out. The ankle doesn't feel right, either, or my calf or shoulder blade (suggestions from friends). Perhaps the shoulder blade. But I wouldn't see it. Maybe my shoulder.

So. This is my choice: perfect location/more pain or not-so-great location/less pain.

Part of me says, "Suck it up, be strong. Show you can be tough. Other people do it, you can do it too. Do you want Man About Town [my main supporter and encouragment in this endeavour] to think you're wimping out? (etc.)" Part of me shrieks and wants to hide.

Currently I'm leaning toward the perfect location.


Friday, September 14, 2007

The RGBP Friday Five from ReverendMother… We’re talking meetings!

1. What's your view of meetings? Choose one or more, or make up your own:
a) When they're good, they're good. I love the feeling of people working well together on a common goal.
I have to admit, I do like a good meeting. I like to work with others, hear other points of view, hear what other people are doing in their jobs/agencies/committees, figure out how we can work together to meet a common goal, and get ideas from other people on new ways of solving problems or doing things.

2. Do you like some amount of community building or conversation, or are you all business?
I do like a few minutes of “checking in,” if no other reason than if someone is having a crisis or even just a bad day, it’s going to impede the group. But more importantly, I really do view groups as organic, and we’re only as strong as we are together. We have to support each other, and that includes where we are in our heads.

3. How do you feel about leading meetings? Share any particular strengths or weaknesses you have in this area.
I don’t mind it. I’m good at making sure everyone is heard, and I follow an agenda religiously (hah!). But, while I’m usually goal-oriented, I can be distracted fairly easily if the distracting topic is interesting to me—whether to not it’s related to the meeting at hand… I’ve been known to take over when the putative meeting leader was being pusillanimous. But I try not to do that. It's very rude, unless of course I’m asked….

4. Have you ever participated in a virtual meeting? (conference call, IM, chat, etc.) What do you think of this format?
I’ve done conference calls and chat sessions. I think the conference call tends to work better, at least if you’re familiar with everyone’s voice. For chat meetings, you want to be sure everyone is comfortable and familiar with chat.
Both are great ways to communicate with people who are far away and have meaningful conversations; not always easy to actually get business-type stuff done, but for discussions and reporting on progress, that sort of thing, they work great.

5. Share a story of a memorable meeting you attended.
Oh dear, where do I start with the bad memories? Just one, then. There was the meeting of the company that my company was subcontracting for; the owner insisted on the subcontractors attending the “company holiday meeting” and handed out bonuses to her staff, announcing that of course we weren’t eligible for any.

There were good ones too—when all the sides of a question were explored and discussed, and a decision was made through a process of negotiation that resulted in everyone’s happiness and a successful event.

Bonus! Pet peeve about meetings: when people don’t follow the agenda. I don’t mean in a slavish, Robert’s Rules of Order fashion. I mean asking a question about an item that has already been discussed, or jumping ahead to something that is on the agenda, but later. Or bringing something up in the middle of the meeting that isn’t on the agenda at all! And then the meeting leaders that let people get away with that, when all that is needed is “That’s a good question, Bob, and I think we’ll cover it under the discussion of the picnic in a little bit. Let’s finish our discussion of the music director’s contract, and we’ll get to the picnic in a bit.”

Monday, September 10, 2007

Youth Group of a Different Kind

OK, let’s talk about youth. No, I know we weren’t—or maybe you weren’t. But they remain one of the most vulnerable populations in society—kids from 13 to 21 years old. And of those youth, the most vulnerable are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered youth. They face a higher rate of suicide than their straight peers, a greater risk of being homeless, of being forced into sex work, of substance abuse, and of being HIV/AIDS+.
Why? Simple. If they come out, they are often rejected by family, friends, church, school—the support system they so desperately need at that age, no matter their orientation. So they run away from home or are kicked out, and because most shelters aren’t set up for youth—or are not supportive of GLBT youth, especially trans youth—they end up on the street, often as sex workers.
Even if they are accepted by family and friends, it can be very difficult for them to feel at home in larger society at a time of life when all the forces of socialization are pushing them towards heterosexuality and gender conformity. Homecoming, prom, the whole dating scene, movies and popular music—it is all geared toward heterosexual teenagers. How do you learn how to flirt with another boy when all you see is how to flirt with a girl if you identify as a boy? How do you figure out how to be the gender you feel yourself to be, even if it doesn’t match what others think you are?
If they remain in the closet, they know they are living a lie, but they are also terrified of being found out and ostracized. They fake their way through a heterosexual world, never really feeling at home. Eventually they come out when they find themselves in a place where they can; or they live a double life; or they never do and live life denying who they are. Sometimes they commit suicide, unable to reconcile their knowledge of their own truth and what their family, friends, church, and school are telling them.
Yes. It’s depressing. And no, it’s not like that for all youth, everywhere. We can point to all kinds of exceptions—but they are exceptions.
One of the difficulties is that these issues cut across several areas—mental health, public health, spirituality, social services, child protection, criminal justice, substance abuse….and so on. No one agency can handle all these issues. And yet each of them is bound to deal with GLBT youth in some way—whether they know it or not, whether they want to acknowledge it or not, whether they want to deal with it or not, that’s the simple truth.
Here in Canada, any agency that receives government funds must abide by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms—which includes sexual orientation, and soon, if my prayers and the prayers of many others are answered, gender identity. They simply do not have a choice, they must be prepared to treat all clients equably and well, according to their needs.
River City has a group, an alliance, an organization—we’re not sure what to call ourselves—of representatives from several agencies who work together on just these issues. The child protection agency, the youth health centre, the public health agency, the HIV/AIDS organization, the local GLBT Pride organization, the mental health and substance abuse agencies, and of course the church, are all involved, among others. We’re trying to work together to offer the kind of training the agencies need, the support the kids and families need, the information everyone needs—the whole thing. Our dream is a drop-in centre or even a safe house for the youth, as are available in many cities.
Wild dreaming? Maybe. But the kids need it. Desperately. In fact, lives may literally depend on it. So we’ll keep working. Keep us in prayer as we work to move forward.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

What's Your World View?

I'm not sure I entirely agree with the conclusions (or all the questions) but another interesting quiz. Thanks, RDQ!

You scored as Idealist, Idealism centers around the belief that we are moving towards something greater. An odd mix of evolutionist and spiritualist, you see the divine within ourselves, waiting to emerge over time. Many religious traditions express how the divine spirit lost its identity, thus creating our world of turmoil, but in time it will find itself and all things will again become one.



Cultural Creative














What is Your World View?
created with

Saturday, September 01, 2007


Rihanna - Umbrella lyrics

I'm thinking about using this as an illustration for the sermon tomorrow. Is that too edgy?

Clarence Darrow--Beyond Scopes and Leopold & Loeb

Personalities fascinate me--people do. One way I try to understand history and places is through people--which is why I love good histor...