Too many years, you had all of me. I gave everything to you. All that wasted time and energy. For what?
To fit in a smaller size?
To fit in?
To ‘feel good about myself?’
What if I had just skipped the self-hatred, the restriction, the weighing and measuring, the money spent on this or that program, the shakes, the prepared meals, the books, and just went immediately to the part where I loved myself?
Losing the weight was never magical.
It never made me
better, smarter, more successful, more compassionate, more confident, or more beautiful.
It was always this slippery slope. Sure, it felt good to slip on something smaller, to see my cheekbones, to feel lighter. It was nice for a moment.
But it was always followed by unhealth: weight regain, binging, self-loathing.
I got off that rollercoaster a few years ago – just in time to see my children facing the same damnable cycle. Surrounded by their bone-y friends, they feel bad for their healthy, round faces, their sweet, soft bellies. And no matter how many times their mom tells them they are so very handsome just as they are, I can feel their pain and worry about being different, too big, too much – because I carried that pain and worry for most of my life, too.
My dear boys –
food is good.
eating is good.
Movement and strength is good, too.
Treating one’s body well is all sorts of things
but never is it:
the stingy, self-focused, miserly way of living that is “dieting.”
I will never diet again. I chose this years ago and life finally feels like life.
I choose to eat.
I choose movement I love and to enjoy every meal God gives me.
My worth, your worth, is not defined by the number on a scale.
Diet industry – You don’t get to have my kids, too. I will protect them from you with every ounce of energy I have in this strong, perfectly-sized body of mine. I hate you for the time you stole from me and for how you fuel a culture that tells my children or anyone that they are somehow flawed because of their God-given appetite.
For the Next Fifty Years: Always: More living. Less dieting.
Barbara Brown Taylor’s latest book is available at Amazon! Click on the book to find out more!
I found this small catechism recently and I’m a big fan because it has nice, large print. In working with older parishioners, being able to see small print can be very hard. This little book is inexpensive and is easy on the eyes. If you are doing a Christian Education class or just want to have a few copies on hand at your church, you can find them at this link:
Martin Luther posted the Ninety-five Theses in Wittenberg in 1517. In the years that followed, Luther defended his position in numerous writings. Chief among these are the three treatises from Luther’s Works. Included in this volume are his treatises on Baptism, Good Works, and the New Testament. It’s a key text for Lutheran studies. Check it out!
Three Treatises by Martin Luther – learn more about it at Amazon by clicking on the picture of the book.
It wasn’t hard to give away 50 things. I seem to naturally like to purge my closets and shelves at least a couple times every year. In addition, since I started working on this list while we were in New Zealand and I wanted to have space in my suitcase for the new things I bought and not end up needing to buy another suitcase, so as we traveled I made trips to local thrift shops to drop things off.
It also didn’t hurt that as we traveled I read a couple books that added to my desire to downsize. One was My Van, My Castle, by Jackie Norman – a woman sells her home and nearly all her possessions to travel throughout New Zealand while living in her van. The other was, “Bewildered,” by Laura Waters – a woman spends five months hiking the Te Araroa trail in New Zealand and carries in her backpack everything she needs for those months. I was deeply enchanted with the idea of paring down my level of stuff.
So, I went through my suitcase each time we repacked to go to the next place on our journey and whittled out items bit by bit. Then, I asked my kids and my husband if they really were wearing all the clothes they had brought with them and we got rid of a few of their things because I wasn’t willing to pay for an overweight bag fee for anyone.
I had gotten rid of at least 25 things before we even returned to the States and then as I was unpacking, I took a discerning look at everything in my closet and got rid of 25 more things plus a few more. I brought them directly to the Goodwill the very next day. I wasn’t going to make the mistake I usually make – which is to hold them on until our church rummage sale a few months later. Every time I do that I end up going through the bags again and deciding to give this or that item a little more thought. I’ve learned by now that if I haven’t worn a piece of clothing hardly at all in the first months I have owned it, it doesn’t magically become a favorite thing to wear in the future. I like what I like and I know it after the first time I wear it.
I haven’t missed any of it – although I have thought fondly on a couple of the sweaters. I wore them all the time but I had them for eleven years and I was ready to not wear them anymore. For everything there is a time and a season – even when it comes to our stuff.
For the Next Fifty Years: I used to travel very lightly before we had kids and before we inherited the stuff that belonged to our parents and grandparents. I will travel lightly again someday. In the meantime, I’m thankful for our home and I’ll gently pass on what I no longer need as the time comes.
Have you read Marie Kondo’s book about how to get rid of clutter in your home? Check it out at Amazon by clicking on the picture.
#25 Watch an Episode of Electra Woman and Dyna Girl
#25 Watch an Episode of Electra Woman and Dyna Girl
I began working on items on the list that very same night by watching an episode of a favorite show from when I was a kid. With the wonders of Youtube it was easy to find. I curled up on the bed in our AirBnb in Cromwell, New Zealand and typed “Electra Woman and Dyna Girl” into the search engine. There were several episodes and partial episodes to choose from. I chose the pilot episode, “The Sorcerer’s Golden Trick.” Immediately I realized I recognized the actor who played the villain. It was Michael Constantine, the fellow who played the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding! The actress who played Electra Woman was Deirdre Hall, best known from her role as Dr. Marlena Evans on Days of Our Lives. Dyna Girl was played by the actress Judy Strangis.
In 1976, like many kids my age, on Saturday mornings you could find me watching cartoons. It was the only morning cartoons were on back then and so I would wake up early to creep down the stairs and turn on the black and white TV. It was about mid-morning when Electra Woman and Dyna Girl would come on.
There weren’t many shows with women in the leads yet at that time and I remember even at that age, I liked that there was a show featuring strong women. It was around this same time that the Wonder Woman TV series with Lynda Carter and the Bionic Woman starring Lyndsay Wagner were on the air. I was a fan of all of them.
Watching Electra Woman and Dyna Girl now, I’m struck by a couple things. First, the costumes and effects look very dated. The shiny gold communication devices they wear on their wrists are the size of coffee cups!
Second, there is a male character (“Frank” played by Norman Alden), a scientist who stayed at their “Electrabase,” operating a sophisticated Crimescope computer and tells Electra Woman and Dyna Girl where to go and what to do. I had forgotten about him – but come to think about it, Wonder Woman and Bionic Woman had similar male characters on their shows. The Bionic woman was saved by Oscar Goldman after a terrible accident and he gives her bionic surgical implants which allow her to work on secret missions with the Office of Scientific Intelligence. In the Wonder Woman television show of the 1970’s, Wonder Woman receives her orders from a “Charlie’s Angels”- like male voice. Then, as the show evolved, her co-worker, Steve Trevor, becomes her boss. I never questioned these things then. It seemed very natural that there be a man somewhere behind the scenes calling the shots even though the women were supposed to be the superheroes. It never occurred to me then that you would never see a woman in the background operating the puppet strings for Batman or Superman.
I watched the episode and set my phone down. I thought about how time has gone by. 1976 was a long time ago. Day to day, one never notices it – but if you watch a show from a few decades ago, that realization slaps you right in the face. And it’s always up to each person to decide if that slap in the face is good or bad. Sure, it can feel like a rude awakening – or maybe it’s just what we need to remember to pay attention! Life is on the move! Be quick to really live! Be quick to love.
And never underestimate what God is up to.
(But I guarantee God isn’t up to staying exactly the same.)
I went to the kitchen to get a cheese scone, thinking about how much everything has changed. And probably because I was on sabbatical from my work, I thought about how much the church had changed since I was ordained in 1999. So, I scribbled in my journal:
I’ll take the sparkly eyeshadow
I like how it matches my communion kit
And shimmers in the candlelight from the altar
I’ll wear the green nail polish
It’s the season after Pentecost after all!
And yes, that’s lace on my robe
And no, my husband isn’t a pastor, too.
And you can call me Dr.
Not Honey, or Sweetie
I once had a internship supervising pastor tell me I was too gentle to be a pastor
That I cried too easily
So I drove far away from him
And listening to Liz Phair all the way across North Dakota
And found a new internship supervisor
She knew how to take up space
To use her voice
She armed me with all those things
And blessed me
To go and use those superpowers
And others, too –
Of wisdom grown slow
Like in a garden
Like in a crockpot
So yes, I’m the pastor here
And no, you don’t get to comment
On whether or not you like
None of it is to please you
I’m not here to please you
I’m here to serve God
and she wove me together in my mother’s womb
and loves me
For the Next Fifty: I plan to show up just as I am. Now the world gets me “as is” and that is the only option. I spent too much of the last decades trying to please others and stuff myself into the expectations I thought others had for me. What I have come to realize is that most of the time, people are so busy thinking about their own lives that they aren’t paying attention to you anyway – so you might as well do as you please. Be you – everyone else is taken.
My latest favorite boots – check them out on Amazon by clicking the picture.
On this primary voting day, I’m thankful that we have the right to vote. I was reminded of this book that was put together by Elizabeth Cady Stanton – her own commentary on the Bible. This was a revolutionary text for the times in which she lived. She was one of the true pioneers of women’s rights. Check it out at the link below:
We were on the road between Hokitika and Cromwell, New Zealand, listening to the TED Radio Hour podcast. I forget which episode it was, but something in it made me think about the coming months and how I will be turning fifty at the end of May.
And in that moment, I decided to make a list of fifty things I wanted to do before I turned fifty. It wasn’t a bucket list – just a list that was a mixture of things I have loved in this life so far and things I had thought about doing and things I wanted to do more of in the next years. I called the list FNF: For the Next Fifty.
The list has some items that are easy to complete and others that will take a great deal of effort. I’ll share the list and the process of my completion of the items with you in coming posts.
When I entered the ministry over twenty years ago, I was pretty sure that money would never be a problem. I’m not a big spender or shopper and I enjoy simple pleasures in life. I knew I had a lot of student loan debt but I figured with time, patience, and diligence I would take care of that soon enough.
I was wrong.
I not only didn’t understand the crippling weight of student loan debt, I also didn’t foresee the ways that the church and our culture would change in such stark ways and so many of my pastor friends and I would find ourselves needing to do other work on the side in order to earn enough money to survive and raise our families.
This isn’t just true for ministers. People from all different careers and callings are looking for side hustles or other part-time work to pay their bills or get rid of debt. Whether you already have a side-hustle in the past or are looking to start one in the near future, here are some stories I collected from real-life clergy women regarding what they have done to supplement their income. Maybe these will give you some ideas if you are thinking about starting your own side hustle:
Working in a nursing home as an activities assistant, librarian, elder home care, school cafeteria worker, freelance writing for denominational publications, working in a group home for teenagers in the foster care system.
I am a certified teacher, and I sub in public schools. I have also worked at the public library a few days a week.
Writing curriculum for the denomination publishing house.
I was a non-medical home aide for the last ten years. Now my side gig is hospital chaplain.
Copy editing, writing/publishing, selling crocheted items, making & selling sugar cookies, on call list for funerals when no pastor is specified.
Writing devotions and articles, doing weddings and funerals, and teaching yoga, most recently.
Childcare, hosting international students, copy editing, pet-sitting, collating personalized calendars in a factory, teaching craft classes, substitute teaching in public and private schools, cookie decorating for a boutique shop, Girl Scout outreach to at-rusk kids, paid mentoring for kids in foster care, temp agency clerical work, and selling Pampered Chef products and craft supplies
I teach full time at a residential treatment center in one city and preach 3 hours away in another.
Teaching at a community college — world religions, and ethics. Also some freelance writing (my career before clergy).
My primary job is side hustles. I’m a program evaluator, online college professor, and occasional gigging musician. I am also managing editor of an academic journal, and have a badly neglected non-profit that I wish could replace some of the other hustle.
I’ve done non-profit work, mostly harm reduction, mostly with sex workers and some with women exiting prison. I’ve worked retail–best was at a European bra fitting salon, worked at Starbucks and a local coffee shop, written, coached, weddings and funerals, supply preached, made stoles… I’ve been thinking of getting a new side hustle lately, mostly because I miss meeting new people, learning new things.
I’m a chaplain, and I’ve side hustled as a pastor.
Thinking of opening a bed & breakfast
Raised tropical birds to sell. Bought vintage items at auction and garage sales and sold on line
Working for a non-profit that staff’s concession stands. I made around $16/hour tax free because the non-profit would pay money directly to my daughter’s figure skating club. It was so many long, hard hours on my feet that when I became a judicatory official I had to stop doing it.
I run a business leading trips to Egypt and the Holy Land
I sold Rodan + Fields skincare products. Never got rich, but did make a few hundred extra dollars a month.
I was a LuLaRoe retailer for several years.
I did adoption consulting, spiritual direction, and was a Shaklee distributor.
I work full time hours as a chaplain in a nonprofit long term care home. I supplement this income by accepting pulpit supply opportunities whenever I can, and by working a couple of evenings a week with a local heat pump and solar energy company, staffing their instore display in a local big box and educating people about ways to save energy and reduce their overall environmental impact.
I worked as an Education Director at a House Museum, I went into schools and gave presentations on many differnt people and topics related to the history of our site, I also led tours for thousands of school kids each year. It was the very best side husstle ever.
You’ll find me singing with the kids of the local elementary school, as they’ve been without a music teacher for some time. Musical moments, community connections…and a stipend, to boot.
Retail: Fabric store, department store, substitute teacher
Executive Director for a local nonprofit.
I work as a hospice chaplain full time. I do pulpit supply, funerals, and weddings for side income. I have tried a couple of direct sales/MLMs in the past but have never been successful. I made 4 Door Dash deliveries and think that might be something I may pursue again, it was easy. I also sell stuff on line, ebay, craigslist, FB Marketplace.
I teach English to children in China, Korea, and Thailand on the internet through VIPKID
For a while I was the social media manager for a non-profit.
Chaplain and marriage counseling,
I graded standardized test essays. Also was a substitute teacher. Now I am a part time pastor and full time real estate agent.
Taught philosophy and religion at local community college, and developed an Embroidery business while on family leave. It is now my main hustle while I now pastor 1/4 time. Custom clergy stoles are my specialty
I am a full time hospital chaplain; every morning I get to lead a prayer over the intercom.
Special needs foster care and adoption.
I have recently been certified as an end-of-life doula. I do Elder Care Consulting, helping people with paperwork, advance directives, forgiveness issues, planning for end of life vigil celebration of life services, and grief care for their loved ones. I limit my work to one person/family at a time.
Event planning, grant writing, graphic design, consulting for small businesses and nonprofits
I teach Youth Mental Health First Aid. The school district trained me with a grant they received. I train within the district and I can train anywhere in the US so another trainer and I have been lining up more trainings for ourselves all over the place.
I do admin work for a real estate team and shop for other people’s groceries as a Shipt shopper in the evenings.
I converted my basement into an Airbnb rental and hosted people.
I am part time pastor, part time hospice chaplain, and am working towards becoming a licensed massage therapist. I have done child care and overnight hospital on- call chaplaincy.
I am actually looking for something to supplement and help pay off school loans. Thank you for helping me brainstorm
I teach first aid and CPR realizing it may have to become THE hustle.
Craft things for craft fairs and commissions- knitting, jewelry, soap and bath products.
Professional writing and teaching and conference directing (not sure if these are ‘side hustle’ or an additional part of my main hustle)
I worked at Barnes & Noble seasonally
I do intentional interim ministries in addition to my part-time Regional job.
Social work, substitute teaching, even working as a cashier
I have spaces at antique malls. Started with 2 spots at one place. Now have 5 at three. It’s not very reliable for extra funds but usually brings in something, and I get rid of stuff. I also do antique shows, garage sales in the summer and flea markets with my husband as time allows.
In my previous call, I provided Spanish translation for the school system where we lived. Right now, I’m planning to start selling Color Street after the new year. I was part time when I translated for the school and am part time in my current call.
Teaching piano- because it brought joy as well as modest income.
I do funerals for people who don’t have home churches.
Years ago I worked part time as a rep for a software development company on the internet while at a church full time. Now I’m in a band and I write articles on line for extra.
I am a Certified Christian Life Coach for pastors and Nonprofit Executives.
I am on retainer to serve as the Title IX Investigator for the local seminary which is my former employer. Did theological review of confirmation materials for pub house.
Spiritual direction and retreat leadership.
I am in the outbound sales call center at Omaha Steaks.
Shipt – shopping for and delivering groceries. So easy! On my own schedule. Use my link when you sign up for Shipt and get free groceries!
I’ve worked Michael’s seasonally.
I accompanied patients that do not speak English to their doctor’s appointments and translated for them
I have a pottery studio and travel around doing workshops, as well as setting up and selling my pieces at various galleries and events. It’s my side-gig that keeps me balanced amidst the demands of ministry. Holy Ground Pottery GROUP
House sitting, nannying, ushering at the local arena
I have a degree in ethics as well as over 2 decades experience in that field and chaplaincy with older adults. I lead workshops in the gerontology certification program for Rutgers social work con Ed. I do ethics consulting / per diem work, and I write for Activity Connection.
Weddings and funerals for folks/families without church homes; Type/format another congregation’s bulletins; Anti-Racism facilitator; Babysit; Drive for a senior center; Lead Protestant worship at a Catholic nursing/care facility
I have worked in a Funeral home and am on call for funerals.
Writing curriculum, retreats. Also taught as adjunct lecturer.
Writing children’s books and devotionals.
When I was a parish pastor I did non-church weddings and wrote. My writing became my primary business in 2012 (Clergy Stuff) and now my side hustles include foster parenting, nannying, and driving for Lyft. I have more non-Christian friends than ever before as well as friends from other colors and cultures. My faith continues to grow and shift. So happy!
Edited Sunday School curriculum.
I did Premier Jewelry parties.
I write articles and poems for magazines, sell my paintings on the side and have a private voice studio where I teach young women to sing. I’ve also worked part time as a house/dog sitter and I sometimes travel to preach places.
I’m working part-time as an auxiliary administrative support person for a local government, mostly in the Building Permit/Inspection department.
Wrote liturgy and cross-gen confirmation curriculum.
I teach English and math in the local public school.
Worked as direct support staff for an agency that supports individuals with developmental and cognitive disabilities
I drive Lyft and work sales for a timeshare company.
Also some paid knitting jobs, or knitting in return for yarn.
I also work full time as a Special Educator/Coordinator.
I have worked as a Kelly Services temp to supplement.
Playing violin in the local symphony orchestra, working on the family ranch, and I’m thinking about substitute teaching
Leading retreats (doesn’t make a lot of money now, but when we do online retreats, I’m hoping the income will increase). Teaching an online comparative religion class for a community college.
Iconography – workshops and commissions.
When I needed extra income while at the church part-time I worked with the local court doing mediation. Decent pay.
Speaking, writing, working the local elections, and my most profitable venture – running an Airbnb!
Weddings for people who don’t have churches.
Teaching knitting, and contract test and sample knitting for designers to use for patterns and photos.
Currently ministry is more part-time than my main gig, which is working as an optician in an optometry clinic. It’s been satisfying to learn a trade, get good at it, be in a “normal” job in the community, and truly help people in terms of how they want to look and see. And, side bonus, I’ve got a ridiculous amount of cool glasses.
Selling stuff on eBay and craft shows
Tutoring, and writing “Timeless Truths for Troubled Times,” a Christian devotional book.
spiritual direction and career coaching
Before I retired I did counseling and group therapy ….am a licensed clinical social worker …billed insurance
I substitute teach
Hospital chaplain, photographer and jewelry maker
I’m a librarian and get paid well. I’ve been working part-time while studying at seminary part-time for 7 years.
I do puppet shows and teach puppetry in public schools.
I run private retreats,
Closed Captioning and Transcribing.
Just got certified as a Life Coach.
Amazon Flex driver
What about you? What creative ways have you found to supplement your income or pay off debt? What advice would you have for those looking for a side hustle in 2020?
Looking for more side hustle ideas? Chris Guillebeau has written several brilliant books on this topic. Click on the picture to find links on Amazon. Also listen to his podcast: Side Hustle School.