2015 Archives


Springboard

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News update!

I’m excited to tell you we are doing Springboard again Sept 19 in Vancouver.

We are also going to launch a completely online version of Springboard this fall! That means you can do it from anywhere and still get the benefits of this great course. I’ll be sure to share with you when it is open for enrollment.

Amy and I have a new website just for Springboard. Check it out and spread the word.

In other news, I’m still doing lots of one-on-one coaching.  I’m also madly marrying people all summer long and have started doing couples coaching through Young, Hip and Married.

Blogging, however, will not be back in action until later this fall.

Stay tuned!

 

 

 

Do you love going to the movies?

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We need your help for something fun!

It’s rare that I get to share the work of my clients due to the nature of coaching relationships.  But when you have a client as spunky and creative as Emily, this is bound to happen.  When Emily asked me if I would share her video and ask you all to vote for her I couldn’t resist.  Here’s a bit about the story and the video that needs your votes.

Emily is in the running to be the next Cineplex Pre-Show Host! You know those people ahead of the previews who interview celebrities and chat about the upcoming films? She wants to be one of those!
Emily is a writer and movie-enthusiast from the east coast who polished her presentation skills in theatre and as a poet in the Vancouver writing scene. Her video was selected from a pool of over 300 entries, and she needs to make the top 3 to progress! This round is decided by online voting – Click here to see the contenders. Voting is open daily until July 20th – so let’s take this thing national! Check out the link, vote once a day, and earn Emily’s eternal gratitude.

I voted and it is super easy!

You can also follow her progress on Twitter: @emdavidson

 

I was interviewed “At the Table” with April Fiet!

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Believe it on not, there is something on my blog today! I know it’s been a while. Have you heard me talk about the amazing people I’ve met on twitter? Probably.  I’m so excited to tell you about one of those people: April Fiet. April and her husband co-pastor a church in Iowa. She does Karate, is super crafty and has a wonderful voice (nothing like me!!). However, we hold many of the same beliefs about the church, God and even parenting.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her, first online, and then through phone calls and emails.

Through this, I discovered that April has had a coach in the past and she shared how much it helped her. Coaching is often hard to explain and I always love to meet people who have experienced working with a coach.

When April offered to interview me about coaching I jumped at the chance to be on her fabulous blog.  You might already read her blog, and if you don’t – check it out!

Here’s a snippet of my interview:

What experiences led you to pursue coach training?

JH: As it is with most career changes, I can follow the journey back many years.  Upon graduating from seminary in 2005, I began working at a non-profit in the inner city of Vancouver.  I spent most of my time there hiring, training, and working with volunteers. I helped them figure out where they would fit in our organization, what they had to offer, and what they wanted to learn.

After nearly ten years, I was feeling ready to move on. Around this time, I went to a workshop with a good friend of mine and we began to chat over lunch with a former-pastor-turned-coach. My friend Dawn asked him more about coaching and, as he explained what it was, she looked at me and said, “Jane, this is what you should do next!”  I agreed!  My seminary degree, work at the non-profit, and (ironically?) ten years as a swim coach, had me interested. I began coaching school in Sept. 2012 and finished one year later.

Who do you coach?

JH: I work primarily with Christian women who are ready and willing to make a change in their lives. That change can be in their career, attitude toward something, health, relationships, etc. What I have found is that often times Christians who have grown up in the church have learned something that really limits them, or they have unconsciously and unhelpfully twisted something they grew up hearing. For example, they have been taught that pride is sinful but have twisted it into “I can’t admit what I’m good at or really own my talents because I will be prideful.” This can become incredibly difficult when applying for jobs or even choosing a career. I help to untwist these things while still honouring what they believe about their faith.  I’m happy to work with men or people of other faiths as well, but the majority of my clients are Christian women.

What benefits of coaching do you see?

– You can read the rest here

Searching for Sunday, An Interview with Rachel Held Evans (!!)

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Rachel Held Evans, New York Times Best Selling author, speaker, popular blogger was recently named “the most polarizing woman in evangelicalism.”  She has also been widely (albeit unofficially) recognized as ‘that wonderful blogger who taught us it was ok to ask questions about our faith.’

I’ve been a reader of Rachel’s blog and books for years and recently had the privilege of being on her launch team for her latest book  Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving and Finding the Church. I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest review and the opportunity to share about it in my circles. The first thing I thought of when I joined her team was “I have to interview her!” I was so thankful she obliged. Here it is:

As you made the switch from Evangelical to Episcopal what is one thing you wish you could bring with you from your evangelical church days and what is one thing you are glad to leave behind?  

Oh that’s a great question. Honestly, I’m not sure it’s possible, or desirable, to completely slough off the faith tradition in which one was raised in favour of a new one. We get so caught up in categories and labels we forget most people don’t fit quite so neatly into them but are rather unique amalgams of many religious experiences, both past and present, good and bad. I grew up evangelical and am deeply appreciative of those evangelical roots, but lately I’ve been drawn to the more liturgical and inclusive tradition of the Episcopal Church. This doesn’t mean I have rejected evangelicalism; it just means I carry elements of both traditions with me. I hope I continue to hold on to evangelicalism’s emphasis on the value and authority of Scripture, for example, and its celebration of personal testimony, while letting go of those expressions of evangelicalism that are perhaps too closely tied to party politics, that exclude women from leadership, and that treat LGBT Christians as problems to be solved rather than fellow citizens of the Kingdom.

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How do you feel about people ‘staying to be the change’ in a church they don’t necessarily feel that comfortable in anymore vs. moving to one that fits them better? 

You can find the rest of the interview here and leave a comment to enter to win a free copy of her book!

I love the radio, but not ‘that kind’ of radio.

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Last weekend I joined my “twitter friends” at the Faith & Culture Writer’s Conference in Portland. It was my second year attending and most likely not my last.  The ironic thing is I am so far behind in work that I’m going to quickly summarize my highlights instead of stewing over my post like the tortured writer I feel like sometimes.

Highlight 1: This year I attended a ‘special guest’ and was given the privilege of meeting with people as a spiritual mentor. What I really did was coach people.  Even though the conference planners asked me to come, I don’t think my offerings were very well communicated to the conference attendees because I heard more “what? I could have done that?” than I had actual meetings.  However, the ones I had were fantastic.  Coaching can be so helpful for writers, especially when facing insecurity, writer’s block or lack of direction.  Stay tuned for more on this because I will be doing a guest post for Micah Murray soon!

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Here we are at Cha Cha Cha! (thanks for the photo Andee)

Highlight 2: Leading up to the conference I had the hilarious, fun and “I-never-thought-I-would-do-this” experience of being on Christian radio.  Yes, you read that right.  I, Jane Halton, was interviewed for an hour on Christian radio. The same people that tune into bad music and offensive sermons heard Andee Zomerman and I chat it up about coaching.  Andee, by the way, is the antithesis of Christian radio. Later that day she interviewed Rachel Held Evans (no. big. deal).

Highlight 3: I was chatting with Cara while stretching out my bad leg and instead of listening to “the guy who wrote the Shack” (yeah he was really there and it really didn’t interest me??). I asked her how her sessions were today and she said, “oh fine, but I really come for the people.”  So true.  I only went to two and a half sessions (and the key note speakers) because I was coaching the rest of the time.  But meeting for dinner at Cha Cha Cha! (thanks Stephen) and actually having conversations with my twitter friends and those I’ve met in The Clumsy Blogger Workshop was a highlight.

Highlight 4: Last but the opposite of least, one of my favourite friends, Julianne, flew in from Edmonton to join me on the road trip and conference. We had endless hours to discuss, as key note speaker Emily Freeman said, ALL THE THINGS (yes, she said it in ALL CAPS).

See you next year!

 

 

 

 

 

Being 99

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People who live to be 99 are remarkable by the sheer accomplishment of their age.  But my oldest friend, who turned 99 in February, is one of the most remarkable people I have ever known.  She is funny, smart, candid, loving and generous.  She taught me about the importance of an ecumenical faith and to never doubt ‘young people.’  When you are 99, almost everyone seems to fit into the category of “young people” but perhaps she was teaching us about trusting each other!  Though I met Pauline through my involvement with the non-profit, she founded, I like to think that our paths first intersected in 1976.

In 1976 I was born (so, that’s a start) and my friend Pauline felt called to start spending most of her days in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. This is a neighbourhood, usually described as “the poorest postal code in Canada” but I much prefer my friend Helen’s description, “a neighbourhood wrought with poverty and rich in community.” It’s a neighbourhood filled with people caught both in addiction and often untreated mental health struggles. Pauline’s story is woven into the lives of hundreds of residents on the Downtown Eastside even though it’s not the place you would expect a well coifed 60 year-old woman to be wandering around by choice.

Pauline, trying to be nothing other than herself, spent 25 years making friends in the local bars and hotels or as we love to say “doing a pub crawl.” Drinking 7-Up or tea, Pauline would sit and visit with people and pray for them on their turf. And when times got tough, she would also visit people in the hospital or prison. She became well known and loved by all the regulars. Pauline wasn’t trying to ‘get people saved’ so she could check them off her list, but she loved Jesus and would talk about him sometimes.

She sat and chatted with drug dealers, prostitutes, lonely old men and girls she knew were too young to be on their own almost daily for 25 years.  At the age of 85, she asked God what he wanted her to do with her life (bold for 85, eh?). She felt like God asked her to give away her inheritance. Pauline was confused because she was living on a pension and spending her days drinking tea in the inner city. Money was not something she had a lot of!

But God revealed to her that money was not her inheritance – instead it was all the friendships she had made in the neighbourhood.  The faces of John, Rob, Susan, Jeanette, and more flashed before her eyes. She was reminded of the bartenders who would clear a spot for her and the men who would open the door for her as she came in to sit and be with people. These friendships were what was to be given away. People, created and loved by God, were a gift to Pauline and one she  was meant to  share. She felt compelled to find others who loved God and loved the DTES – people who would receive this gift and tend to these friendships.

In June 2001, Pauline and a few friends opened the doors of the storefront at 239 Main Street and began a ministry based on loving people of the Downtown Eastside well. As my friend Joyce used to say, “she didn’t come to fix or save but to love.”  Jacob’s Well is where I, and many others, met Pauline. Her story was passed down to us and we pass it on to others.

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Jacob’s Well – Photo by Marion Luttenberger

I finished almost ten years at Jacob’s Well in May 2013 but I continued to visit Pauline.  She stopped doing the pub crawl a few years ago and now we go and visit her. I saw her two weeks ago, in a grey, small hospital room,  and she was very frail, tired and quiet. Although when we put her glasses on she recognized us, we barely recognized her. Her perfectly done old lady hair was messy and unattended to. Her spunk and wit were hidden under the layers of blankets keeping her thin body warm. My friend Dawn and I knew it was time for Pauline to die.  There is something profound about this feeling of readiness, maybe because it feels so rare. So many deaths seem like robbery – too soon! too young! too fast! But with Pauline, the opposite is true:  She is 99 and ready to die and we are ready to let her go.  Her inheritance of friendship has been given away,  and her legacy of love will continue. Go in peace my friend.

** During the weeks between my writing this piece and posting it, Pauline passed away with her family and a few close friends nearby. We rejoice together in her life and in her death. For those of you in Vancouver we will celebrate her life on April 25th from 2-4pm at St. James Anglican Church.

 

What I’m Into March 2015 – The Spring has Sprung Edition

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As per my usual, this post is really about February and March!

What I read:  This month I joined Rachel Held Evans’ street team for her forthcoming book Searching for Sunday.

11074712_10206362809728731_8907623212580891103_nThis is a large group of Rachel enthusiasts who receive an advance copy of her book in order to review, promote, blog about it etc.  I enjoyed Rachel’s other books and love what she does on the blog but because I did not really ‘grow up’ in the church (and definitely not in the south) I wasn’t sure what I would think of it.  Would I like it if I couldn’t relate to it?  Sure enough, I thought it was fabulous.  Her simple yet profound statements about church itself were so encouraging. And I worked at enough church camps to get the chubby bunny references (and then bonded with her husband Dan about how his fear of choking is amplified by this ridiculous game).

I also read a few of the Canada Reads novels including the winner Ru by Kim Thuy.  I haven’t finished all of them yet but my favourite, thus far, is And the Birds Rained Down by Jocelyn Saucier.

What I watched: The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (produced by Tina Fey) on Netflix. I loved it. If you like 30 Rock you will like this and if you don’t like 30 Rock, try it but you may not like it. And that friends, is my ‘descriptive’ review of the only show I watched this month. However, here is one of the most interested things I read about the show by cult survivor and author Elizabeth Esther.

What I celebrated: My oldest son turned 7! For 3 out of the last 4 birthdays we have hosted a big outdoor neighbourhood hockey game in the parking lot behind our house. Every year the weather has cooperated.

One of the best things about kid parties in Vancouver is they are often “toonie” parties (a toonie is a $2.00 coin). Each guest brings a toonie for the birthday kid and they collect up enough to buy one present the birthday child really wants. Some parties even have “a toonie to spend & a toonie to give away.”  It’s brilliant and eliminates all the stuff!

What I did: I officiated five beautiful, small and simple weddings as part of my new contract with Young Hip & Married.  The first one involved a 90 minute hike (which the bride did in her dress and long underwear).  It was just me, the couple, 2 friends and a spunky photographer.

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What I said in front of a mic: I  preached my first sermon of 2015. I don’t do a lot of preaching but I really enjoy the experience of both preparing and preaching.  Our church is going through the Lord’s Prayer during Lent and my week landed on “Forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors.”   The gospel hinges on forgiveness and I was thankful to spend time reflecting on that.

What dreams came true: Dane is a Rocky Balboa fanatic, and that my friends, is an understatement. He has loved the movies since he was a kid, has a tattoo of Rocky’s gloves, etc. For years he has wanted to go to Philadelpia and “run the steps” and see all the movie sites.  We put it off for years because it never felt like a good year financially (or with little kids at home). But finally we just decided it is never a good year – so he should just go!  It was so amazing to watch his dream come true (via twitter and texts).

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What I finally did: I launched the  creative project, #lostnlifted, that I’ve been working on for over ten years! You can read the story behind it  here or follow along and join the fun on instagram here. Snap pictures of items lost by people and lifted up so that the owner will see them if they walk by again. Kindness in the neighbourhood!

Once again I’m linking up with Leigh for the easiest blog post to write!

What did you get up to this February and March?

lostnlifted: my very old instagram project (that I just started)

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Back in my seminary days, many of my friends took a class called “The Christian Imagination.” I don’t even know what they learned but they all ended up doing these amazing creative projects.  And even that is an understatement. One friend, who happened to be in seminary ON A BREAK FROM MEDICAL SCHOOL, produced an entire CD of herself singing & playing guitar.  Another friend wrote a book of poetry, another did a photo exhibit of greenhouses. I never even considered taking the class because I’m not what you call ‘artistic.’

I may be called funny or sporty but artsy is not on my resume.

IMG_1359Speaking of sporty, I did a lot of walking when I first moved to Vancouver. I had moved from California, where the stereotype is true: people don’t really walk much.

I began to see the world from the sidewalk and loved the new perspective. At first I began to notice was things accidentally dropped on the ground, recovered by another person and placed up hire, closer to eye level.  I assumed this was so that the owner would have a chance at recovering their missing glove or baby shoe more easily.

Every time I saw an item, lost and lifted, I felt this sense of joy – like someone did something nice in our neighbourhood. I saw the kindness of someone, bending over to pick up a dirty glove and putting it on a fence post in hopes of finding it’s mate. I had no idea if people in other cities did this kind of thing but I had never noticed it before.  After all, Canadians are known for being friendly and polite.

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I continued to see the times and I began to take pictures of the lifted items with my camera (remember this is the early 2000’s: no iphones).  I would snap a photo and say to myself, “this is my Christian imagination project.” I even felt slightly creative. Back then I thought I might make a photo collage (how dated!) but as time went on I dreamed of making a blog or something else online.

Fast forward to 2013 when I became a certified coach. Now, I spend my days helping people figure out what they really want in life and I how they are going to make it happen.  I encourage people to do their “homework” and provide accountability so they do what they say they are going to do.  And here I was with a creative project in the works for over 10 years.  It was about time to get errr done!

My husband and I brainstormed a (he really wants me to include this fact in my post), I chose a platform to share my project, and voila. I present to you the ongoing work of #lostnlifted.

Confession: I am uploading old photos (many were sadly lost in computer/camera/phone transitions) but plan to continue sharing the ones I find.

I can’t walk past a lifted scarf without snapping a shot of kindness.

Follow along on instagram @lostnlifted or on twitter #lostnlifted. The fun is just getting started! Feel free to post your own with the #lostnlifted and I’ll try to repost them too.

Five Hot Tips on Reading the Bible (and Other Bad Blog Post Titles)

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This post goes out to all of you who live with someone who rambles on about their work day each night. Perhaps it’s your spouse chatting about the office, or a roommate complaining about a co-worker. My kitchen rambler is my husband Dane and his topic of choice: teaching teenagers how to read the Bible well. He is a not a teacher of Bible stories, or morals, but one who equips kids to fully engage with the Bible in ways that have probably never learned before. He encourages them to ask question and to seek answers from within the wider Christian community. Over the years I’ve learned how easily what he teaches teenagers applies to adults as well. Therefore, I compiled a few key points I have heard on repeat over the years and asked my husband, Dane Splinter, to elaborate while I madly typed.

The Bible is a Library
The Bible is not a single book; it is a collection of books or a library.  In it we find a wide variety of literature written by different people living in different places over a long period of time. Learning to read the Bible well involves an awareness of this diversity, as well as an appreciation of how it all fits together.  We don’t read the newspaper like we read our email, and we don’t read novels like we read a baseball box score.  Thus we should not read the Bible the way we read a regular book.

Teenagers are a lot like the rest of us.  They avoid what they do not like, and do not like what they do not understand.  Equipping students to read the Bible as a library of different books helps them understand and thus appreciate the text more.

Context Matters  
When we are reading the Bible as a library, we must learn the context for each of the genres. The Bible was written by real people in real places in real time. Exploring the context of a given book of the Bible is essential.  The words recorded in Scripture are time-sensitive.  The whole point of God revealing himself in history (as recorded in the Bible) is that God was disclosing himself in real time. Too often, we treat Scripture as if it fell off God’s desk in heaven, floating down to us from above.  When we speak of the entire Bible as “eternal truth” we devalue the world that God created and the word that he is revealing to us even now.

To read the rest come on over to Momentum

 

An Unexpected Gig

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I felt like a bit of a fraud when I signed up for the Faith and Culture Writers Conference last year. I had recently started blogging and openly confessed it was more for my coaching business than my love of writing. I knew I had to ‘get my name out there’ to grow my business so I started blogging. However, I was surprised by how quickly my love of writing grew! Blogging and tweeting connected me to a world of wonderful people. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to meet them in person.  So I signed up for the conference with fairly low expectations and mainly to learn from others.

I was thrilled with my experience! The conference drew a unique, beautiful and gifted group of people together. It was clear by the ethos, speakers, and conversations taking place, that there was more going on here than just “networking” and “skill obtaining/improving.” People were making deep connections with each other and the connections previously made on line were being lived out in the flesh. Writing is such a heart-felt enterprise that it makes sense people would be deeply moved when hearing speakers like Sarah Bessey and Deidra Riggs while sitting in the company of fellow writers.

In addition to the depth, it was downright fun. I read a tweet by @TamaraRice describing it as “One big awkward blind date” and another person was commenting on how we should write our twitter handles on our name tags because we are often more familiar with them. Although I laughed in every session, I also witnessed deep transformation.

For example, so many of the conversations I had while waiting for a session to start involved women telling me they came to hear Sarah Bessey.  Now I am a Jesus Feminist, I read Sarah’s blog and appreciate her voice but I always found her words encouraging and similar to the way I’ve thought for a while.  However, I met more women at this conference whose lives were deeply changed by Jesus Feminist (and Sarah’s blog).  Women were finding their voice for the first time because someone told them they mattered.  Strangers welled up in tears as they talked about how writing had changed their life. I knew I would be back the next year and began to wonder about it.

As I continued to blog and coach (and coach bloggers), I grew in my understanding of how important the practice of writing and sharing your words means to people. Our passions, frustrations, encouragements and challenges all come out when we write.  The more writers I coach the more this rings true.

Because writing is so vulnerable, our identity is put on the table.

What will people think of this writing? What does it say about me if I write this or that? I want to be successful. I don’t want to be one of “those” writers. The list goes on. Our identity is wrapped up in what we write, for good or bad. And when you put a bunch of writers together this only gets heightened. But this conference seemed to be taking strides to approach this differently.  Instead of competition and comparison, there was a spirit of camaraderie and encouragement. It made me want to get more involved!

I sent an email to Cornelia, the Conference Director, with some ideas about how I would love to further serve this creative crew.

Continue reading here to find out more about how I’m going to be involved (and if you’re interested, sign up yourself!)….