Lent took my Gilmore Girls

This week marks my one year anniversary as a practicing Anglican.

I remember nervously walking into the small chapel early Sunday morning in 2016, not entirely sure what on earth I was doing there.

All I can say is that I followed my curiosity.

And what I have found is a truly beautiful, life giving, healing community and a spiritual practice that nourishes me.

Not to mention it’s a mere three minute drive from my house!

But enough of that.

We’re here to talk about…

Lent (Latin: Quadragesima: Fortieth)

Being in the charismatic stream of christianity for so long, the liturgical calendar was foreign to me and seemed a bit unnecessary.

These days I find deep, spiritual food in a traditional practice. It’s funny how things change. It’s funny how I have changed.

Lent is a 40 day observation in preparation for Easter beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Palm Sunday. People can give up rich foods, luxuries, television, alcohol and whatever distracts from seeking God’s face. Its a time to become quiet and to seek a deeper connection with the divine.

Pope Francis aptly articulates the heart of Lent when he says:

“Lent comes providentially to reawaken us, to shake us from our lethargy.”

This past year for me has been a year of loss, of starting again, of letting go of dreams, of grieving what was and things I am waiting for.

It’s been really hard. And I have found myself staring at a screen a lot medicate my own pain and to feel as if I’m connected in some way.

Praying, meditating or any serious spiritual practice has fallen by the wayside. I’ve had a deconstruction experience with faith so I’ve deliberately kept myself from being zealous in any spiritual discipline.

Come to think of it I’ve actually stopped being zealous about most things.

My bible has been sitting on the shelf in true “backslider” fashion for six months *shock horror gasp

In saying that, I now have a deeper faith than ever before.

But my heart longs to become quiet again. To learn how to sit with myself without constant options to distract, to numb myself from my own reality. Maybe I could try to trust God to hold me again.

This year I’m giving up social media and television. This is going to be an exercise in being brave.

I feel scared to just sit with God and myself again, I’m scared I might come away empty handed. I don’t want to force things anymore.

I don’t want to twist God’s arm into giving me my wildest dreams. I’d like to learn how to humbly accept and be thankful for the blessings in everyday.

This morning at 7am, arriving bleary eyed with my husband, we received ashes upon our forehead with the priests refrain over us “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

We then sung these words

We offer you our failures, we offer you attempts, the gift not fully given, the dreams not fully dreamt. Give our stumblings direction, give our visions wider view. An offering of ashes, an offering to you.” -Tom Conry

Are you doing Lent this year? I’d love to hear what your intentions are for this very special season.

Be free my friend

x Gem x

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Be a Good Ass

“When you assume you make an Ass of of U and Me!” said the teacher at my management course. (Did you get it?)

That has always stuck with me in my work relationships, when I lead people and in my romantic world.

How has it felt when someone has assumed something about you?

When someone has assumed the worst in you, it feels mighty crappy doesn’t it?

That pit in your stomach, your eyes well up, your mind stewing over how someone could think you would be so terrible!! It really hurts to be painted the wrong way.

But I wonder how many times people around us have assumed the best about us and we haven’t really noticed?

This thought occurred to me the other day when I was hanging out with my husband.

When he does something to annoy me or forgets to pay a bill or says something to me that has potential to hurt my feelings.

I bet he assumes when I snap at him it’s because I’m really tired or I am having a grey day, I bet he assumes the best when I forget to load the dishwasher, I bet he assumes the best when I don’t listen to him properly.

Could I make a positive assumption each time?

Could I make a commitment to assume that he is a good guy and loves me more than anything in the world? Could I assume that he never sets out to hurt me?

I wonder how that would change my attitude towards him.

And what about assumptions in friendships?

Could I commit to assume that when a friend doesn’t text back for a week it’s because they are very busy and have alot going on? Could I assume that I am very much loved by my friends and that they want the best for me? Could I make the assumption that if someone wants to hang out, they will call?

I wonder how that would heal my insecurities, I wonder how my anxiety levels would decrease.

Assumptions my friend are good, when we assume the very best.

Being an Ass is inevetbale in this world, so why not be a good Ass with me and assume the best in the ones we love and maybe even in the ones we do not love so much.

Be free my friend

x Gem x

Nuh! Nights

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Have you ever just had one of those days where your so pooped from your day that you just want to flop on the couch and watch Netflix all evening?

Yeah me too!

Oh but wait…#responsibilities.

*eyeroll

But every now and then I reckon a ‘Nuh Night’ is just want the doctor ordered when it comes to self care and protecting our mental health.

The barrier to giving ourselves this gift is often what we tell ourselves when the desire to “Vege” crops up.

“I should do the dishes.”

“I should clean the floors.”

“I should get to that pile of laundry.”

Sounds familiar right?

Watch out for the “Shoulds” in your thoughts. They’re very good friends with your inner critic and they conspire with each other to make you do things that don’t really make you happy and keep you on the hampster wheel of existence, running around living a life you don’t actually like living.

So try a ‘Nuh! Night’ next time your exhausted.

Look those dishes right in the face and say

“NUH! Not tonight dishes!”

Kick that bug pile O’ laundry over in defiance!

And plonk yourself on that couch with your favourite snack and watch whatever the hell you want.

Good on you girl, you got this.

Remember.

There’s no should in NUH!

Be free my friend,

x Gem x

Wednesday Wisdom #2

“I came

I saw

I loved.”

There’s a lot of talk about leaving a great legacy behind.

If mines a legacy of loving greatly wherever I went on this earth then I’d be very happy.

What about you? What legacy do you want to leave on this earth?

Be free my friend

x Gem X

Wednesday Wisdom #1

Introducing a new edition to my space here! Wednesday Wisdom! A little dose for the middle of you week.

Enjoy!

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“The things you take for granted, someone else is praying for.”

Yesterday after just complaining to my girlfriend about how broke I am this week. A boy no older than 19 approached me as I got into my car asking for some cash to buy himself some dinner. I started chatting to him and heard what was going on his life. He told me how hard yesterday was with all the rain. We shook hands and exchanged names,I gave him a tenner and a number to an emergency relief service. I drove home so sobered by how much I had and how easy it was for me to see the lack in my life when really my new friend *Jo would’ve killed to have a car with petrol in it to drive to a house to go to that night especially in the rain. Jo* helped shift my perspective last night and I’m changed once again.
Have you had a moment like this? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Something Tay Tay Left Out

I don’t think most people jump out of bed each morning and say “By golly what a marvellous morning to be a big Ol’ hater!

Im thinking lately that perhaps most “haters” in this world are really not haters at all.

Think about the last time you felt really beat down and criticised by someone

Could it be that this “hater person” just suffers from a severe lack of curiosity?

Example:

I left home in my late teens and with this new found independence came a joy for the grocery shopping. I just marvelled at perusing each aisle, coming up with different meals to try cooking and impressing my new housemates.

An older generation of “haters” swiftly met me with comments such as:

“Oh Gemma the novelty will wear off soon! Hahah, how cute for you not to be filled with cycnacism and apathy like the rest of us!”

Ok I may have embellished that last bit..

And yet almost a decade on and grocery shopping is still such a thrill to me. It’s literally my idea of a fun weekend activity!

And I read cook books for leisure.

I’ll tell you what, I’m a pretty darn good cook now thank you very much.

I’ve even been fortunate enough to make money from my artisan baked goods and I recently interned at one of Australia’s most prestigious artisan bakeries.

What would it have been like for those well meaning older people to have approached my teen comments with curiosity?

Maybe I would’ve realised my passions earlier

It takes a lot of emotional energy to concentrate deeply in a conversation

Do we ask good questions? Or do we just mindlessly reply?

Do we listen to understand, rather then just to respond?

Are we truly absorbing what someone is saying to us or are we worrying about what to cook for dinner?

I reckon both you and I are guilty of being an accidental “hater” just by our lack of curiosity towards those we love

But there’s another way forward friend

Let’s cultivate safe, meaningful relationships

Let’s consider our opinion as optional not essential

Let’s be curious when people are mean to us, what battle must they be fighting?

Let’s try to ask more questions

Let’s help one another get to the heart of ourselves and our deepest dreams and desires

Let’s believe in one another’s dreams

Let’s be curious together

Now I must be off to bake some hater slice with extra caramel!

Be free my friend

X Gem X

Year 3

7:45pm: Our Anniversary

We’re 25 minutes late to the restaurant

A perfect storm of bills and the mortgage sent us broke

We were seated in the middle of the restaurant. I hate being seated in the middle of the restaurant

The menu has no vegan options

Now that didn’t end up of the Instagram feed!

My anniversary seems like a screaming metaphor for what marriage has been for me

So many reasons to be discontent

So many things seem to be going wrong

Not how I pictured

Not how I expected

Leaves me with heartache and eyes wide open late in the night

“Is this what I signed up for?”

Now don’t get me wrong

I’m not in any way blaming this on my darling husband

He’s amazing

But he hardly ever lives up to my militant expectations

And therein lies my problem

At the core of me lies this belief that my husband is supposed to fulfill my every desire for love, intimacy and security

And don’t we do it with everyone near to us?

My boss is supposed to make me feel good enough

My friends are supposed to make me feel included

My government is supposed to give me safety, prosperity and peace (all for free and not affecting my hip pockets at all)

My parents are supposed to make feel accepted and nurtured

And yet, many of us are left wanting time and time again

Could it be we just expect way too much of the people we love?

After yet another fight about the laundry with A; I observed something about myself

My husband is my mirror

And I saw so clearly that day

Everything I see in him is something I see in myself

Could it be that I expect so much from Adam, I beat down on him for the most fickle things because deep down there’s a little girl inside of me who never felt good enough?

Screaming at someone else for a while dulls down the noise of my internal voices

Could it be more about me than anything?

Am I contributing to a self defeating cycle?

The thought made me nauseous and thankful I didn’t have children yet

On my three year anniversary as I sat with my darling in the middle of a noisy restaurant

I couldn’t help but smile to myself

Marriage is never going to be what I wanted it to be

My relationships won’t be either

They are in fact, way better

Because I’m blessed enough to walk home with people who change me and decide to love that little girl inside of me into wholeness

It’s not always pretty

But I’m hoping I can change

So my children will grow up in a home where they feel love, treasured and completely secure. I hope they’ll know that they are loved no matter what

Just like their Mum and their Dad

Be Free today my friend

x Gem x