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June 24, 2010

The long-promised, though not-very-good ordination photo.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Anne Hines @ 7:03 pm

Technology is not our friend. Or: Gin and tonic… the new breakfast food.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Anne Hines @ 11:01 am

First up, Liz and I leave tomorrow morning at 6 AM to start our drive to Lucky Lake. I am not sure why we have to leave at 6 AM. I mean, if we want to keep from getting stuck in traffic on Hwy 401, we have to leave… well, never.

There’s something about a road trip though, that requires one to leave early. The first coffee of the day cradled in the car cup holder, the sun still low enough in the sky that the day seems new and fresh and full of possibility. The houses you pass quiet, most still dark. The rest of the world asleep. But you, you are beginning an adventure.

I am wildly excited. I turned a corner in the past week, suddenly finding that I’m done with whining about what I am leaving behind and, instead, am eager to explore and embrace what lies ahead.

But that’s tomorrow.

Today, I am musing about that old adage, “If you want something done right, find someone a whole lot more competent than you are to do it” … it’s something like that.

In my last few posts I have promised that soon, very soon, really, really soon, almost immediately in fact, this time I really mean it, no, I do… I would put up shots from my ordination ceremony. Posting photos seems like a perfect way to reach out to my friends who want to share in this special event, be able to see the culmination of my many years of study and training or who are refusing to believe it happened without visible proof.

My problem is… well, where do I start, really? My problem is that I’m worried that, in my new parish in rural SK, if I pass out because my lungs are unused to fresh air, will my congregants be prepared to rush me to a medical centre so someone can administer smog? My problem is that we’re leaving in less than 24 hours and I still haven’t put together my emergency kit, nor do I know if I have time to get to Starbucks to get what I need for it. My problem is that I already suspect I might love Saskatchewan so much I may not want to come back. But, I know my friends and family will come to me. Several people have already made plans. So far, no one has booked a visit between January and the end of April, but I’m sure those dates will go fast. So, if you’re a relative and reading this, reserve soon or you might find it’s mid-February and you’re not getting to vacation in middle of Saskatchewan. Do you really want to have to deal with that kind of disappointment?

However, my photo-posting-and-why-that-hasn’t-happened-yet problem is that I still haven’t learned how to download from my camera. I am sorry for this. After all, a promise is a promise. If we don’t have trust we have nothing. Which means that at the moment, gentle blog readers, you and I have nothing. I am hoping to change that. For sure. This time I mean it.

I do know that the first step is to get my camera and my computer talking to each other but frankly, I’ve left them alone on several occasions and they seem to have made no progress together whatsoever. This feels very much like all the times I’ve thought of an idea for an article that will write itself, then turned on the computer and been disappointed to find that it hasn’t.

The fact that we can now view our photos on a computer is a wondrous thing. And to do this, all I have to do is figure out what software program is compatible with my digital camera, find the right place on the manufacturer web site, download a program, find it’s the wrong program, download another program, find it’s also the wrong program (but that I now have access to Tetras is eighty seven different foreign languages), call technical support, find that the wait time is 127 gazillion minutes due to an unexpected number of calls requiring them to need more than one operator who is currently off getting a latte, try downloading another program, find I can no longer locate my e-mail account but now have a lovely “Sony Cyberspace” icon on my screen, click on that and the whole thing shuts down. Finally call my daughter to come over and fix it all and wonder if 9:52 in the morning is just too early to start drinking. In the olden days, I would have had to take a film to the drugstore and hand it to someone.

What’s important though, in any frustrating situation like this, is to consider what we’ve learned. So far, trying to set up my photo program myself has taught me a) never to try to set up my photo program myself, b) If you mistake the camera battery for the memory card and try to jam it into the little slot on the side of the computer things are almost guaranteed not to go well, c) 9:52 AM is not necessarily too early to start drinking… but it makes it difficult to achieve anything useful after about 10:52 AM, and finally, d) technology is not our friend.

The upshot of this (no pun intended) is that I still have no photos posted. But, my daughter has promised she will sort it out for me this afternoon. And I plan to hold her to that.
Because, of course, a promise is a promise.

June 15, 2010

Mosquito busting, why you should never, ever say “Toron…” I mean, the “T” word and The Meaning of Life. Where else can you get all this in one place?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Anne Hines @ 9:46 am

In today’s blog I will explain the meaning of life. So really, by rights it should be a lot longer. And I should be able to find a corporate sponsor.

But first an update on my move to Lucky Lake.

Thanks to Rev. Jordon up in Saskatoon who informs me that the best way to discourage mosquitoes is by changing what you eat. Apparently, the little critters love the scent of sweet fruits such as apples and grapes, but not the smell of citrus fruits or garlic. This is either excellent advice or she’s just trying to see if she can get the new girl (that would be me) to wear a string garlic cloves and orange peels around her neck. Frankly, if the insects are as bad as I’ve heard, I may give it a try.

Thanks also to former Regina-ite, Lorne, who has cautioned me, once I’m west of my provincial border, not to use the “T” word to tell people where I’m from. “Just say you’re from Ontario,” he says. “People don’t mind Ontario… well, not much.”

Next, I’m preparing for my move by making a list of thing I’ll be able to do in Saskatchewan that I can’t do here in… um, the “T” place. So far I have:

Drive my car for twenty minutes and manage to get further than two blocks from my house.

Take a deep breath.

Stay tuned for more.

Finally, the moving truck comes tomorrow to haul away the furniture I’ve collected for my new home. I’ve renamed Liz and my house Noah’s Ark. We now have two of everything.

And now, for lesser issues. The Meaning of Life.

A lot of people have asked me why I’m leaving those I love most in the world and a place where I fit in, where I understand how people live and what they need, to go 2,700 km away to a place where I know no one at all and don’t have a clue about how to serve or support. I continue to tell people that I’m going to do God’s work. But I know, as I’ve said in a previous blog, that God has more than enough work right here in my city that I could be doing.

The reason I am going far away from the place I know and the people I love is this.

I continue to believe that we’re put on this earth for one thing and one thing only. And it’s not to achieve financial security or buy a Hummer or finally match the colour values in my living room. At least I hope it’s not. There’s nothing wrong with doing those things at all. They’re just beside the point.

The main and most important thing we are put on the face of the earth to do is this. We are here to grow our soul. The Buddhists put it slightly differently. They say, “This life on earth is tenuous and easily lost. The time for spiritual learning is now.”

Fortunately God, or however we choose to call the Helpfulness that exists in the universe, is ready and able to help us with this important task. It places relationships and other challenges in our lives to help us. Usually, we do not like this. Because often the ways we’re shown to grow our souls are hard for us. Sometimes even hurt a little. Which just goes to prove that whoever says that religion is a crutch is wrong. A spiritually aware life is not for sissies.

Growing a soul involves meeting small, difficult, challenges every day. Choosing compassion over anger. Forgiveness over resentment. Understanding over judgment. Frankly I, for one, don’t always manage it. Then there are the bigger and even more difficult challenges. Losing a job. Or a loved one. Struggling to heal a relationship. Or to see God’s loving hand in dark days and troubling times. For me, growing my soul has involved accepting myself as gay, supporting my child as she transgendered, committing my time and talents to serving my church and its people. And that’s just in the last fourteen years. But the result of trusting that God knows what my soul needs to grow has been the same each time. Greater peace. Wider love. More joy.

I know enough about the ways in which God nurtures and tends our lives to know that it rarely happens without some growing pains. My task is simply to stay curious about what God knows I need now.

So, today I’m packing my final boxes of stuff for my move. Knowing that wherever I go, the people I love may not go with me, but God does. Lending me strength. Promising me wonder. Ready at every moment, to help me grow my soul.

Coming tonight: Ordination pictures. Almost for sure this time.

June 3, 2010

Have nothing. Will travel.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Anne Hines @ 8:50 am

A few things to remember from an old Saskatchewanite:

Deet is perfume
A mesh hat counts as high fashion
The other driver is not waving you on, she is swatting at a mosquito
When you hit –50 Celsius and have to factor in the wind chill, there is no natural number that accurately conveys the temperature
It is acceptable to wear Sorrels and snow pants to a wedding, funeral, housewarming party or grocery shopping
Saskatoon sounds like a swear word in Greek

Say hi to the wheat for me!

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