Time for another 15 minutes (minimum) of writing, so I start getting back into the habit of doing so…

The 2015 Parliament of the World's Religions is meeting in Salt Lake City, UT this upcoming October 15th through 19th. One of my sister scholars suggested several of us get together to present a panel there, tentatively titled "What is Women's Spirituality?" After all, we may be small, but we're just as valid as any other spirituality. Just for fun the four of us who were interested in going shared our definitions of women's spirituality, and we were delighted and amused to realize we all had a slightly different angle on it. We thought about it, then decided a better title will be "Diverse Voices of Women's Spirituality," and we sent in our proposal. We're crossing our fingers that they like it, especially since it naturally hits a lot of the target subjects they purport to have for this year's Parliament, such as support for youth and women, global environmental change, and indigenous peoples.

Also, the conference occurs only about two weeks after my birthday, which will hopefully make it a lovely present to myself! Admittedly, this is going to be a financial squeeze for me, but I figure if I start saving now, and ask the school and my friends if they'd like to help sponsor my trip there, I should be able to swing it all right. Also, please let me know if you'd like me to light a candle or say a prayer for you or something you believe in — I'm happy to share well-wishes and blessings with everyone! If you'd like to sponsor me, I'm also delighted to bring you any memorabilia from the conference that you might be interested in as well. Email me and let me know, okay?

So, back to our panel planning. As I registered for the event — while also thinking positive about our panel acceptance! ;-) — it occurred to me: a lot of these attendees are likely to have never heard of women's spirituality, and may have questions. Indeed, we are probably unwittingly going to be the "face" of women's spirituality for most of them. That being the case, two things occurred to me: first, that it would be smart of us to make up a list of questions we are likely to be asked so we can prepare answers ahead of time. After all, if we want to have empirical or statistical data at our fingertips to use in our replies, we have to either bring it with us or memorize it, right? It doesn't just magically appear — much though I would love that to be the case. ;-)

Secondly… if I'm going to potentially be the "face" of women's spirituality at this conference, I think I want to lose some weight so I feel like I'm physically in better shape and emotionally more confident. I know I look good as I am now, but I also know my "ideal" healthy weight is supposed to be 166 lbs. Right now I'm at 198, but I should be able to lose at least 10 lbs by October, right? Losing 30 lbs would really be viable too, I know, but I've got enough on my metaphorical plate currently that I'd like to set a low, easy-to-reach goal so I feel good about it… and so anything more is just icing on the cake, so to speak.

Also, two of my three sister panelists are tiny, delicate, almost elfin-looking women! I don't want to feel like a cheerful lumbering zeppelin coming in for a landing next to them. ;-) So I'm going to weigh myself and post each Monday (which is when I originally weighed myself and discovered my current weight), and hopefully that will help me stay encouraged and motivated.

This means I have a few favors to ask of you all. First, have you ever had any questions about women's spirituality? Please feel free to email them to me, or to post them in comments, if so. I'm interested not only in polite "softball" sorts of questions like: "What is a women's spirituality degree good for?" I also want to hear the harder and more aggressive questions which may get thrown at us (like, umm… oh, perhaps like: "Who are you to say women should lead, and thereby fly so flagrantly against God's revealed will?!" Joking there — mostly…) — considering that we're basically pointing a politely accusing finger at the patriarchal organized religions for causing, supporting, and/or maintaining quite a few of the modern world's more difficult and worrisome issues.

Second, feel free to cheer me on in my weight loss efforts, if you'd like! Even if our proposal is denied I think I'm going to go ahead and keep doing this. Namaste!

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