Author Archives: juliajustgotcreative

About juliajustgotcreative

My blog is a reflection of my life, sometimes it's busy, sometimes not. It has documented a journey through fat and thinner, ups and downs, family and self. I share photos and a glimpse of my heart

I never wanted to be a Bishop anyway ….

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Well it’s a good job, isn’t it? Although I did have a few weeks of considering being a) a Missionary and b) a Nun in my teenage religious phase. And I do think I would make quite a good vicar. I would probably be more in the mould of ‘A Vicar of Dibley’ than the Anthony Trollope variety, but in my book that is no bad thing.

Dawn French as The Vicar of Dibley

Dawn French as The Vicar of Dibley

This week the Church of England decided that it would be ok for gay male clerics to become Bishops. The proviso is that they must be celibate. In this country the law of the land allows gay and lesbian people to have civil partnerships and legislation may soon be in force allowing us to marry. However the Church is prepared to state that even gay clerics already in Civil Partnerships must be willing to state they are both celibate AND willing to repent of any ‘homosexual acts’. This week comments have been made that the church is obsessed with sex.

As a woman the door clanged firmly shut on the possibility of becoming a Bishop within said church some months ago.

I don’t know where to start but I have to start somewhere and for now what I am going to do is write about it.

My partner and I had our Civil Partnership celebration almost 4 years ago surrounded by over 100 of our closest family and friends. We had the most wonderful day of poetry, promises and music. Singing and dancing, food and friends. Yes it was a civil ceremony. But it was as deep and meaningful as it is possible to be. If you stand up in front of your friends and family and make promises and declare your love to another human being and you have an ounce of soul I defy you to experience that without a spiritual connection. Love itself is a spiritual connection. Sex is a spiritual connection, or should be.Why would anyone want to limit that and insist it be celibate?

I don’t care for myself whether we can be ‘married’ or not. I couldn’t be more married, and another ceremony or piece of paper won’t change the feelings, the committment, the ‘for better or worse-ness’ of our relationship. But I will defend your right to that and honour your wish for it whoever you are. Together we have supported each other through life and death situations, illness and recovery, we are proud of our complex extended family. On Christmas Day this year 13 of us sat down to dinner together. The missus and I, my 4 sons and 2 partners, their Dad ( Mr W) and his wife, her son, daughter ( with bump)and partner and his ( Mr W) mother. And 2 dogs. We alternate who hosts Christmas and have done for years. In previous years my mother, his mother and my mother’s gentleman friend have all also been there. I don’t tell you this to make you gasp, although many do. We have worked this out between us with a lot of love, tolerance and good will. And the success of it all is a tribute to everyone involved. Today we all sat round the table to have a birthday tea for son 3. It works. It’s love.

Most of all it sums up to me that of the two emotions Love and Fear, Love will always drive out Fear. Right now it seems to me that the Church is caught up in Fear. And they are not the only one. It is the Church I know. The one I was baptised and confirmed into. The church my parents were both buried through. I love that church in some ways. I love the language and the music and many of the people. I am not a member of that church any longer and that is for more than one reason. But from time to time I go back, or I have done. On Christmas Eve we went to a Carols by Candlelight service and it was beautiful and festive and yes, spiritual.

But I am not going again. I’m sorry. I love you, bless you and let you go. I will no longer behave as if it is ok by me that you dismiss, disrespect or just ignore the heartbreak you cause. It is not love. It may be religion but it is not even Christianity as I understand it.

One day maybe this will change. But not until you are willing to listen to love.

For me personally I have another spiritual home. I haven’t made a formal committment to it yet, although I probably will. But it is a home that is willing to listen to the voice of love. I am not there just because I am welcome as I am, but it helps. I am not there just because I can be there with my missus and be acknowledged as a couple, but it helps.

Me and My Girl

Me and My Girl

 

Birds in the sky ….

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Birds in the sky --- you know how I feel

Birds in the sky — you know how I feel

Sometimes ‘the road less travelled’ is the path that is the most interesting. Today I took that literally. One of my emotional survival mechanisms is to take a break from work and have a walk. I can’t do it every day but when I can I always feel better. I work in an industrial midlands town so I love finding parks and areas of green and water whenever I can. From canals to lakes the industrial landscape gives so many opportunities for beauty. This half hour walk took me past a lake created at the foot of reclaimed ‘slag heaps’, the bi-product of the mining industry now long gone. Since the 1980’s when the mines closed down much of the land has been revitalised and made into areas for play and recreation. The same is true of old railway lines, now cycle paths and walkers and wildlife paradise. Don’t get me started on the politics though.
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Today I changed my usual route which is to walk round the lake and followed the path that goes away from the water. It climbs to the top of the hill where a hidden secret football pitch lay green and empty. The views across the city are of high-rise flats and housing. The light was golden on the hill and the blue skies were a welcome change from days of rain. I felt grateful to be alive
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It made me sad that in leaving the bustle around the water’s edge there is a slight feeling of anxiety and wariness. Down below children are on scooters and bikes, teens crash around on skateboards and dog walkers and families watch the birds and throw bread for them to swirl high in the air. Away from the crowds I meet surreptitious couples with rangy lurchers, a man carrying a bottle and reeking of alcohol, broken glass and the unmistakable signs of drug use. I don’t mind walking alone and I know how to look confident when I walk but the thoughts still creep into my mind when the people I pass look shiftily at their feet and none of us make eye contact
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Coming back down the other side of the lake the sight of children watching a man fishing is comforting and looking up into the sky through the silver birch trees I breathe a little sigh of relief and head back to work.

Fish in the sea you know how I feel ...

Fish in the sea you know how I feel …

Only blue skies

Only blue skies

 

The sound of water

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Hope

Hope

It’s over. Christmas is gone for another year and there is that piece of me that heaves a guilty sigh of relief. Time to get back to ‘normal’. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and friends. And I love spending time with them. But I love to be alone too. I like to take a walk all by myself even on a rainy day like today. Seeing buds appearing on the brown twigs.

The sound of water

The sound of water

Not many people are out today. It is a day for getting back to work, but the schools and colleges are still on holiday so the town is quiet. A group of teens play football in the park and some lone dog walkers go by. Not many people just walk to town for the sake of it nowadays.The shops are quiet. Trying to find a birthday banner is hard, the card shops are full of half price Christmas wrapping paper and cards.
I have a coffee ( decaf and Americano as I’m trying to give up the cappuccino/latte habit!) in the cafe and hang my coat on the back of the chair opposite to dry. It is a secret pleasure to pull out my book ( The Snow Child) and read for half an hour with no-one to talk to and no need to be anywhere. As I walk back through the town I am almost tempted by the buses or the taxis in the taxi rank but I am trying to walk more so I carry on. Birthday banner and cake are in my bag for son 3 whose birthday it is today.

On the walk home the brook that runs through the Lyme Valley is high with all the rain there has been the last few days. It runs fast so you can hear the sound as you walk by. One of the joys of walking is noticing what is around you. I am not an iPod walker, not plugged in to sound. I like the sounds around me, the sensation of being present. Mindfulness in walking.
Coming back down our little street I am grateful for the sight of home. It is nice to be grateful for the sight of my own front door and the prospect of a rest and a cup of tea.

One Day …

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http://http://www.romanoriginals.co.uk/invt/20605?colour=Brown

Just before Christmas we went shopping for a coat . I’ve been having lustful thoughts about the fake fur jackets that are all the rage this year. It channels my inner slut most beautifully. Over the last year and only with the help of a 12 step programme, I have lost 117 lbs taking me from over 315 to a relatively slender 198. Although I still have some way to go to be at a healthy body weight, it appears actually within the realm of possibility. I am starting to like what I see in the mirror. Shopping for clothes is becoming a joy rather than a traumatic exercise. For a while I didn’t buy much. As the weight dropped off clothes got looser and I moved through the sizes in my wardrobe, in the loft and hidden in drawers. Now I am finally having to buy new. Sometimes I hit the charity shops where recently I have acquired some bargains along with a sense of excitement.
But today was special. The coat was going to be my Christmas present from my nearest and dearest. I tried a couple on. I landed on a gorgeous silky mink brown and was thrilled when I put it on. First I went straight for the Large. XXL was the biggest size. It was, well, roomy. I picked up the medium. I was a bit nervous. I didn’t want to try something that was too small, I’ve had too many experiences of feeling humiliated and hot and bothered in dressing rooms. It fitted. I had to try it on twice to be sure.
This feels like a miracle.
When you lose a lot of weight it’s hard to trust the process. It feels quite dangerous to believe that you will stay this slim.

Only one day at a time will see me through.

A Breath of Fresh Air

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Driving through the rain on Boxing Day with Sandy Denny and Fairport Convention playing on the CD. The world is sepia toned today, the trees have lost their leaves and water lies on the fields and roads.
The beach at Prestatyn in North Wales is alive with seagulls and white capped waves. Children on scooters from Santa go ahead of familes as we shake of the excesses of yesterday. A couple jog up the promenade and a boy is completely absorbed as he digs in the sand as we walk past.
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Weekly Photo Challenge – Hands

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This was Mum’s 87th Birthday in July last year. We had a tea party, balloons and cake and sparkling wine. This picture is Mum with her four precious grandsons, the light of her life. Their hands reaching out to her and hers holding on just say ‘Love”. Mum died peacefully two weeks later. 

If you go down to the woods today …..

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Feeling a bit down this morning but the sun was out and the dog and I needed walking so we set off for the lake. I am doing Race for Life this year which is a 5k for Cancer Research. I am doing it in honour of friends who are in treatment right now, and friends who have lost the battle. And in memory of my dad who had prostate cancer but died in 2006 pretty much from old age thanks to treatment.

The route for the run/walk is round the lake with some extra bits added to make it up to the full amount. This is the half way point round the lake. Conveniently there is a little cafe where you can sit and watch the herons swoop across looking for a fishy snack. It also has a doggy diner ( water) and a skinny cappucino. I realise these benefits won’t be part of the 5k but I am in training.

The second half of the walk takes you through the woods. On our way we saw:

dragonflies

a frog

a teacup

and something mysterious in the treetops.

The goslings followed daddy goose into the water, one, two, three, four ….

Here and now in the garden

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Time to get going with the veggie garden again. I do confess to being a woman of fits and starts with gardening ( well, with everything, if I’m honest). The ‘earlies’ I bought a couple of months ago with every intention of planting have turned wrinkly and a bit mouldy in the bag so I am thinking they would probably not be the best start for a healthy crop. But the main crop potatoes are sprouted nicely and I have planted them out today in two massive pots on the patio along with 2 lots of onions and 2 courgette plants. This year I have planted the courgettes one to a pot as I hadn’t realised just how big those things grow last time. We didn’t have much of a crop last season and even though what we had was fabulous I think with more space they will crop more. That’s the theory anyway.

I also bought 3 big new pots in the sale section at the garden centre, 2 courgette plants, 3 bags of multi-purpose compost and a bag of farmyard manure. Saves you money this growing your own vegetables don’tcha know? ‘The Help” ie Son 3 brought the haevy stuff in from the car whilst I did the artistic planting-y bit. And will obviously take all the credit.

Tomorrow I am going to plant some bulbs the kids gave me for Mother’s Day ( here in the UK that was in March). It is a ‘purple selection’ so I think they will match my handbag and shoes perfectlly. I did a bit of desultory weeding. The type that means grabbing big handfuls of last years cabbage and yanking it out of the ground by the roots. I didn’t attemt to tackle the forest of attractive dandelions that need serious digging. I had a Scarlett O’Hara  moment about them.

The really good thing about being in the garden though is it is a very mindful experience. I do struggle with being as ‘here and now’ as I would like to be. Too much of my life has always been spent in fantasising and planning which is all very well if you are writing a book or carrying out a great design plan, but for day to day peace of mind there is nothing like just being in the moment and accepting it as it is. Someone said to me ‘Grateful people stay sober”. Whatever your drug of choice, gratitude has a sure fire way of putting addiction firmly in it’s place.

Today I am glad of a reminder from the garden that I am glad to be here and now.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Unfocused

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Last summer the apple tree in our garden was laden with blossom and then with fruit so much that the branches reached to the ground with the weight. I love the pink amd white and hot summer days when sitting under the tree is cool and shady. An ideal place to read a book, gaze up at the sky through the leaves or fall asleep on a Sunday afternoon. I took so many pictures, but this one reminds me of the dazy, lazy feeling of summer.