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  • The Story of the Menopausal Minister Continues...

    (So that's the 'look away now' hint for anyone who doesn't want to know!)

    Yesterday I had my one month drug review with a locum GP who was very nice, and very young and very kind.  As I began to reel off my side effects, she called up the information on the drug I was on and conceded yes, they were linked to it (I am that boring patient who reads the leaflet, so I already knew that, but hey ho, she was only doing her job).  In a slightly odd conversation, I was offered three choices... increase the dose of the drug I was on (really not keen to do that), try another drug for the next six weeks (which I chose) or come off the drugs altogether (highly tempting but I don't want to revert to menopausal monster minister).

    Although in the same class of drugs, the way this one is absorbed by the body seems to be different and there appear to be less interactions with my other drugs than the other one, which I hope is a good thing.  A little bit of research suggests that it's not a safe drug for me to be on long term as it can undermine the effects of Tamoxifen, but short term to get back onto an even keel hormonally, it sounds like a small enough risk to accept.

    I continue to reflect on what I am learning about myself through all of this, and what purpose (other then telling the world!) it might serve in naming and normalising the experiences of some woman.  I've always been of the 'nothing is wasted' viewpoint, just sometimes it takes a while to work out what is the good learning!

  • 'Maps' by Holly Ordway

    Yesterday, the poem for the day was 'Maps' by Holly Ordway, and I think it's just wonderful.  See what you think



    Antique maps, with curlicues of ink

    As borders, framing what we know, like pages

    From a book of travelers’ tales: look,

    Here in the margin, tiny ships at sail.

    No-nonsense maps from family trips: each state

    Traced out in color-coded numbered highways,

    A web of roads with labeled city-dots

    Punctuating the route and its slow stories.

    Now GPS puts me right at the center,

    A Ptolemaic shift in my perspective.

    Pinned where I am, right now, somewhere, I turn

    And turn to orient myself. I have

    Directions calculated, maps at hand:

    Hopelessly lost till I look up at last.


    The writer is an academic who journeyed from atheism to Christainity, finding a home in Roman Catholicism, and I am intrigued and excited at the prospect of reading her memoire of this in 'Not God's Type, An Atheist Academic Lays Down her Arms'

  • The Frailty & Fragility of Creation

    I took this photo of the Azure Window on Gozo in October 2015.  Now it is gone - severe storms destroyed it.

    Whilst visiting I bought some painted pebbles for gifts from woman who sold them to raise funds to feed the island's ferral cats.  The one I kept - which now seems all the more precious - depicts the Azure Window with a beautiful clear sky and a mill pond sea.

    Nature is beautiful and fragile, and wild and destructive.

    I think of those who made their living on that beach, selling nick-nacks and the like, and wonder what the future holds for them (and the cats) now.

  • International Women's Day - Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

    I'm not sure when International Women's Day became a 'thing' but clearly it now is, with hashtags and everything!

    This morning, as other people have been identify women they consider inspiring, I've thought very briefly about some of the women who pioneered in the two areas of my adult life... nuclear physics/engineering and ordained ministry.

    Marie Curie, discoverer or co-discoverer of assorted radioactive elements, physicist, wife, mother seems to have maintained a benevolent and philanthropic approach through her life.  It is fitting that she, and her husband, are honoured with having a unit (the Curie, Ci)  and an element (Curium) named after them, and also that her name is linked with work on oncology and, in the UK, care of terminally ill people.  Whatever your views on all things radioactive and nuclear, Marie Curie was certainly a pioneering woman whose aims were, so far as I can ascertain, peaceable.

    Violet Hedger is not a well known name unless you are a Baptist.  She was the first woman who trained for Baptist ministry at Regent's Park College.  She must have been one determined person because her story is full of obstacles overcome at a time when women had virtually no rights and no voice.  Her name, along with that of Edith Gates, another pioneering woman Baptist minister, form a mantra that I recite to myself on days when the going is tough and attitudes towards women in ministry are ungracious.

    There are plenty of other women upon whose shoulders I am privileged to stand, most of whose names I will never know, but today I choose to honour Marie, Violet and Edith, three women whose courage and tenacity I really admire.

  • Recognise this verse?

    Choosing hymns for Sunday, I usually look at various versions to see what the editors have done to them.  For one of them I discovered this verse, which I cannot recall every having seen, let alone sung.  Do you recognise it?

    Preserve me from my calling's snare,
    And hide my simple heart above,
    Above the thorns of choking care,
    The gilded baits of worldy love.

    I'm not going to use this verse but, actually, it fits quite well with where I'm going with the sermon!!