I've become really busy with Just Kai stuff in the last wee while. In particular, I recently spoke at two events two weeks apart, followed by speaking with my local MP a few days after the second speaking engagement. I also managed to get quite a bad cold over that busy period and am now on prednisone to try and clear my lungs and antibiotics to kill the bugs from a secondary bacterial infection. Life's feeling exciting, but also not hugely sustainable.
I've been thinking a lot about how to respond to all this. On the one hand, I firmly believe that God healed me so that I can do this work. So just ditching it doesn't feel like a good option. But it also all feels like a bit much and I don't believe God wants me to burn out, either.
What to do?
One thing I've decided, is not to pursue options too energetically. If things mostly just fall into place, I'll take that as an indication that God wants me to do them, and do my best with them. But if they don't, I won't fight too hard for them. For example, there's a conference coming up in Wellington that we were wondering about doing a Just Kai stand at. The organiser initially said that he thought Just Kai would be a good fit, but when I asked some clarifying questions (as traveling to Wellington feels like a big deal, plus it's mid-week so Martin would need to take time off work, so we wanted to be sure it would be useful) he didn't reply. Likely he's just been too busy, but I've decided not to chase him down. If God really wants us there, he'll need to prompt the organiser to get back to me, otherwise we're not expecting to go.
Another one is to be targeted in what I'm doing. For example, a charity asked me a while back if I'd be interested in writing a Unit Standard (that schools could use in their high school teaching) on Ethical Fashion. I initially leapt at the chance - that's something I thought would be really good to get into schools. But then I realised it would be heaps of work. I know nothing about writing unit standards or the curriculum and would need to learn loads to do that properly. And, whilst I know a bit about ethical fashion in terms of how I make my own buying decisions and why, it's not my main area of expertise. So I got back to them and apologised and said I wouldn't be doing it after all. Even though I think it's important work, it would have significantly taken me away from work on slave-free food, and that's the stuff I feel called to.
And another is to be prayerful. The second of my two recent speaking commitments was something I very nearly didn't do. I was already feeling overwhelmed and desperately in need of a break, when someone from church suggested I speak at a human trafficking event Baptist Women was organising. Being a wise woman, she told me to go away and pray about it. The more I did, the more possible it started to feel, so I decided to say 'yes' even though it still felt overwhelming. Very few people attended the event, but one woman who was there was delighted to meet me and told me she felt like I might be who she'd been looking for in terms of a resource for something God's called her to - maybe that was why I was there... So it's not all about being 'wise'.
I don't know if I'm getting the balance right. I have been pretty sick the last two weeks or so and I feel really deeply tired, so I figure I probably have more to learn! We're both very much looking forward to a holiday in Te Aroha in a week's time - hopefully a proper break will help.
One last observation. With these various speaking engagements and so on, I've discovered a form of 'imposter syndrome' in myself. It's not exactly that I feel like a fraud doing these things, but I've caught myself quite a few times being slightly surprised that someone's taking someone as young as me so seriously. Which is odd, given that I'm 42. But I think it's to do with all the 'missing' years of being so sick. They weren't missing years - I did a lot during them, and learned a lot, too - but they were secluded years. And part of me hasn't noticed that time passed whilst I was shut in and is surprised at my being treated like the age I am, when part of me is still assuming I'm in my mid-twenties. It's an odd feeling!
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