spiritual growth

TGIF with Ingrid July 6, 2018: Mental Wellness and Play!

TGIF with Ingrid

July 6, 2018


This week I am thinking about mental health.  If you are a living, breathing human person, I trust that this has been on your mind at some point too.  Likely you, or someone in your inner circle of family and friends, has faced a mental health crisis or a long-term diagnosis that seeps into all facets of life.

Our metal health and wellness begins at our first breath (likely before that) and carries right on through to our last breath (and perhaps beyond?).  It is a piece of our overall health and wellness for our entire lives and we are juuuuuust beginning, as a society, to recognize this and take it seriously.


What I am Trusting

This week, as we finish the last bit of preparation for Summer Day Camp at St. G’s next week, I am keenly aware of how mental health is affected from events in our childhood – even as we move and function as adults.  I know that some mental health challenges are triggered by traumatic events, and others are to do with chemicals and connections in the brain.  Regardless of how and why these challenges arise, I think that childhood experiences that root and ground us in love and belonging dramatically change our outcomes if (when) we encounter these problems.

In the United Church of Canada, I have heard story after story of Summer Camp and Day Camp programs being a life-line for children who experience bullying, incredible pressures, and flat out rejection at school and/or at home. 

I pray and trust that next week, as we welcome more than 30 (!) children into the doors of St. George’s, we can provide a place where they are assured of their place of belonging and assured that they are loved. 


What I am Grateful For

I am so incredibly grateful for the help and support that I and other members of my family have received through the years with regards to mental wellness.  And grateful to be able to pass along what has so freely been given – to act as a conduit through which God’s love and healing can infiltrate the world that so desperately needs it.  I am grateful for the countless souls who stay up late monitoring crisis lines; for the outreach and social workers, the police officers and firefighters and paramedics that are often the first points of contact; the doctors who take seriously the patients brave enough to cry in their offices.  Grateful for the everyday folks who notice when someone doesn’t show up somewhere and follows up in tender care.


What Inspires Me

Wednesday I had the privilege of spending the day with some fantastic youth and young adults who have totally inspired me.  Three of them are the co-ordinators for the Comox-Nanaimo Presbytery Summer Day Camp program that travels from church to church, starting with St. G’s, through the summer offering faith-based programming, one week at a time.  One is our new Summer Student Assistant at St. G’s, plus four other youth volunteers.  We spent the day together in prayer, reflection, play, exploration, leadership development, and storytelling. 

I got to spend a lot of time with this age group in the last church I served, and Wednesday reminded me of how much I love and appreciate the way youth think and see the world (and how much I miss that work sometimes!).  I am so thrilled that we have such enthusiasm and generosity in our midst and can feel the Holy Spirit stirring something incredible.  I cannot wait to see what comes to be!!


How I am Practicing My Faith

This week, and likely next week too, I am living into my faith through play.  I am introducing the children at St. G’s to Flat Jesus (a faith-based play on the popular book Flat Stanley).  This week they will colour their own Flat Jesus to take along with them on their Summer adventures…because even if you aren’t at church every week, Jesus is there with you!  I want kids (and grown ups too!) to remember that everywhere we go there is room to pause and remember that we are all precious children of God, that our picture is on God’s fridge, that there is nothing we can do that can separate us from the love of God.

And that God likes to play too!  Silliness with our stories and exploration of our faith in weird and quirky ways no doubt pleases the God who created puppies and otters and seven year old boys and other playful rascals.


And truth be told, I know that my own mental well-being is greatly served through play.

How can you play today?

Ingrid and Flat JEsus Reading.jpg

TGIF May 11th, 2018

TGIF Friday May 11, 2018

I am sitting in the Whole Glow Café in Cumberland this morning sipping on a steaming cup of joe and munching on a delicious breakfast cookie.  I love the sense of community here in Cumberland, the chit chats and laughs I get to have with folks who come into the café while I’m working away.  Here are my thoughts for the week…what are you trusting?  What are you grateful for?  What is inspiring you this week?  How are you practicing your faith or spirituality?

Don't forget to join me at either 10am or 7pm on Tuesday May 15th for Coffee and Conversations that Matter at Whole Glow Cafe at 2713 Dunsmuir in Cumberland when we will be chatting about prayer.

What I am Trusting

This is one of my favourite times of the year: it is warm and sunny during the day but still cool and crisp overnight.  The sunshine of the daytime lifts everyone’s spirits and it seems to help us all slow down a little.  The coolness of the evenings and mornings lends itself to a certain coziness.  I am trusting and leaning into this slowing down where neighbours linger a little longer to visit, where we catch a whiff of the sweet blossoms opening around us, when we find ourselves wrapped up in a blanket on the patio in the evening with fingers curled around a warm mug of tea. 

Slowness in our culture of speed and productivity is an act of rebellion.  I am going to rebel and trust in God’s springtime cycle that encourages slowing down and noticing. 


What I am Grateful For

On Monday evening I graduated from the Vancouver School of Theology with a Master of Divinity degree.  I am the first in my family to receive a graduate degree and I am so filled with gratitude for all the hands that helped along the way to get me here.  All the meals that were made while I was studying, all the childcare that was offered while I was in class, all the prayers for perseverance through the tough times and all who celebrated each win along the way.  I am grateful for a mother (and grandmother!) that taught me the value of educated women in society.  I am grateful for a spouse that has encouraged and challenged and supported me through these past years of study.  And I am grateful to have finished!!


What Inspires Me

This week my daughter had her bicycle stolen from the bike rack at her elementary school; Monday morning the principal found a cut lock in the schoolyard.  We are a family that does our best to cycle to school most days when the weather shifts, it is a fabulous way to start the day and clear our minds to be ready for whatever comes at us.  We also just love cycling together as a family, especially while we are camping (which we are this weekend!).  We thought this theft would bring some grief with it, but it was taken with remarkable acceptance and grace by Miss E.  At the dinner table last night, we were talking about the incident and Mr. X noted that probably whoever took the bike either needed a bike or needed some money for food so they must need it more than we do.  Indeed.


How I am Practicing My Faith

This is sort of stealing from the what I am trusting section of this blog, but I am practicing my faith today by wading into the slowness.  As a Christian, I believe that God created and loved the world so much that he just had to throw some skin on and hang around with us for a little while (Jesus!).  Which teaches us a lot about how we are to love.  When we love someone we just need to be with them sometimes.  Not doing, doing, doing but just hanging out.  I am loving my neighbours when I am just standing around chatting.  I am loving the new mom who pops into the café and I stop work to play with her baby.  I am loving the earth when I lay down barefoot in the grass, close my eyes, and feel that sunshine on my face…I am loving myself as a child of God when I do this too.

Welcome to TGIF with Ingrid!

Hello Friends!

I wanted to give you a window into my weekly faith walk and invite you to join in.  Maybe this is something you want to read a little about before diving in, maybe this is the practice you have been looking for.  Each week on Fridays (or *ahem* shortly thereafter) I will be updating this blog space with my TGIF:

What I am Trusting, what I'm Grateful for, what Inspires me, and how I'm practicing my Faith. 

I hope that you will add yours below in the comments section, and feel free to comment or email me (ingrid@stgeorgesunited.com) with anything you're wrestling with or surprise spiritual victories that you want to share.  Blessings on your journey!

(ps - this is a practice that I picked up from Brene Brown)