Wednesday, 26 April 2017

It's a Wimmin Thing

I read this a while ago. It's a great read, well researched and full of enlightenment. I liked it because I related to a lot of it and, as you know by now if you have been reading this blog for a decent amount of time, it is usually all about me. Bessey is a Canadian writer and speaker and a wife and mother. She writes well. Some of it is quite emotional sometimes but not cloying or annoying like some Christian women's blogs. Sorry, I should rephrase that. I find some Christian women's blogs a bit cloying and the fault may well lie with me. I could possibly warm up a bit, I know that but I struggle a bit with those blogs that are a bit...

" I am washing the clothes by hand, in the kitchen and I am grateful, my heart is full of gratitude, gratitude for the pleurisy, for the rickets - the gratitude of a Mama"

I know, I know - it's my fault. I'm cold and heartless. Bessey isn't like that though, she is warm and encourages grace in what is sometimes a difficult subject. Some of what she says about Christian women and their place in the church may well be challenging to some people but I think it probably needs to be said. She is an encouraging, positive writer who builds confidence in her readers and I like that.
Bessey has recently stirred a bit of interest on Twitter by starting the hashtag #thingsonlychristianwomenhear

Among the comments that women reported hearing were 

Dress modestly because men are too weak. Also men are in charge of you because they are spiritually superior 

"You're a Christian feminist? Good luck finding a husband!

"If you preach, I will get up and walk out." 

I make no comment about these but it is quite interesting to hear that things I heard when I was young - many, many aeons ago - are still being heard. My impression is that young women are less inclined to take this kind of thing lying down these days. I personally find that very cheering and may power be placed heavily upon their elbows.


Monday, 24 April 2017

I wouldn't have thought you were old enough!

So I am now officially no longer the mother of children. Not that I am no longer a mother but now it's adults all the way as the FOW2 has just celebrated her 21st birthday. 
Now there is a strong school of thought that says "Adult is as adult does." or, put another way "You are only as old as the adult you behave like." (Neither of those are right I think but you get the gist.)
Both offspring exhibit many admirable qualities but there is still a bit of a skill gap in the adult department as far as I am concerned. Both of them struggle to help their clothes make the arduous journey from their wash baskets to the washer without prompting. Both seem to think ironing is  a mug's game. Unless Yours Truly is the mug by giving in and doing their ironing to show them how much nicer their clothes are when a nice pressing has happened.
We have all had a lovely weekend celebrating. Friday night was a meal with Aged Parent which was fine when we eventually sorted it.

Aged Parent..........."Are we having a meal for the birthday?"

Me........................."Yes, FOW would like to go for an Italian"

Aged Parent..........."Well she should have what she wants - it's her birthday. But I don't like Italian, the onions double me up."

Me........................."I know so we are going out separately with you for some nice Fish and Chips."

Aged Parent..........."So I won't come out on her birthday"

Me........................."No, because she wants Italian."

Aged Parent............"Well she should have Italian. It's her birthday   but I can't eat Italian"

Me............................Through gritted teeth "I know. Therefore etc etc."

In the end - she came out for Fish and Chips, polished the whole lot off with extra bread and butter, returned home after having a great time and then rang next day to tell us the the batter had doubled her up. At the moment FOW is avoiding having her boyfriend in the same room as AP for too long in case he thinks that's how we all are secretly.
It's cliche, I know but just where does the time go? They are just wandering around on chubby legs, hiding Lego in the video recorder and then suddenly they are writing essays on Film Noir. Sometimes mothering children has been the most satisfying part of my life. At other times, nothing has made me feel more inadequate. Either way - it has been a privilege. Here's to the next set of "Interesting Parenting Challenges"


Thursday, 20 April 2017

A Cookbook - Really?

This is me, recommending a cookbook. I'm not getting paid for it or anything like that. I have to tell you that I have no love really for cooking. It's ok. I do it. I do a lot of it from scratch but I have been known to eat an Easter Egg for lunch because I couldn't be bothered to cook. (Today actually) I have never been to a cookery class to learn new skills because I'm not that fussed really. Unless you count Domestic Science at school, which chiefly consisted of winding up a Vera Lynn lookalike teacher who despised us all with a passion - but she disliked me particularly because we didn't have a set of scales at home and she thought that this was slovenly. 
I don't mind hanging about in the kitchen if the football is on the radio. (Radio 5 Live football commentary is one of the things that makes this country great.) However, I'm not too fussed about creating dinner party masterpieces and, although I can do Yorkshires from scratch if the mood takes me, it very rarely does. 
This book appeals for lots of reasons
1. Economy. The title is self explanatory. Each meal costs one of your English squids. (I have to be honest - for me it's usually a bit more than that.) The food is often from your "discount supermarkets" but that's where I shop anyway. There are lots of ways to use leftovers etc. Lots of cheaper ingredients like veg etc
2. Ease. There are very few fancy-dan methods here. This is good because I have only the most basic of skills. At no point are you asked to light a blow-torch, spin sugar or puff some pastry. You can if you want to. I don't want to.
3. Health. Everything has vegetables in it of one sort or another. This is a good thing. Portion sizes are reasonable, if a bit loosey-goosey on the measuring. (Suits me - see non-affinity for kitchen scales above - although we do have some now.)
4. Flexibility. Because all recipes serve one - you can mix things up. It helps to use single pots to cook in. Someone doesn't like mushrooms - leave them out in one pot. Someone else is going through an incomprehensible vegetarian journey - replace meat in one pot with Quorn. If someone is due in late. Put one dish in fridge etc etc. Also - all dishes scale up for bigger meals with more people. Win-win. 
5. Variety. We are quite boring eaters. Our friends call us "The Blands" but there are curries and other more exotic things here, as well as your Chicken and Mushroom Pie. 
If you are mildly interested One Pound Meals is on Instagram for free. So you can have a look first. I understand I am not the first person you would think of when you thought of a recommendation for a cookbook so feel free to research. Here endeth a blog I didn't really expect to be writing.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Reporting back

I did say, for those of you that were paying attention, that I would report back on "doing" this book through Lent. First though, a couple of things
Thank you for all your comments on the last blog about Jesus and Tesco. I didn't comment on any of them, partly because I couldn't think of anything to say and partly because every time I wrote about it, I just got a bit more worked up - so I left it alone. Your support was appreciated though. 
Also, on a less impressive note - did anyone watch Maigret? I haven't read any of the books so I have to admit that I have no background knowledge on this. I stuck with it for an hour and a bit and then decided to go off and watch some paint dry instead. I prefer Vera. You know where you are with Vera. Someone dies a terrible death in the wind and the cold. Vera comes along and calls a lot of people "pet" while eating pasty and chips. She invariably calls the wrong person into the interview room and accuses them of murder - "I think you did it pet". Then she has a flash of inspiration where she suddenly spins round and asks one of her interchangeable minions to check something and lo and behold! It is sorted. None of this is a criticism. Vera is ace. Better than watching Rowan Atkinson trying to look deep and French and, Lord help us, sexy and smitten at one point. Anyway - Mr Cheekbones is back in Granchester next week. 
Back to the job in hand. The Wilderness Within You by Pen Wilcock had a reading for each day of Lent. It imagined a visit by Jesus to the author - an ordinary person with a job, living on a housing estate, just normal really. There are conversations and questions. The author has to deal with the fact that if Jesus is talking to you, he knows exactly how you really feel about something so, sometimes, things are more transparent than she would like. What really came over to me was the person of Jesus. The way he sees things, how he feels about us and the depth of his personality. I liked it a lot. I did a read it every day and it was easy to stay with it. HOH read a few chapters a day (he's a very contrary person) and he was writing down bits from it because it described how he felt. It turns out that Jesus is a practical sort with lots of ideas about how we can help ourselves a bit. I know it's a long way off but next Lent - if you are looking for something - this is good. (Actually, coming over all Puritan, you could just do it as daily readings - you don't have to attach it to Lent - let yourself go!)

Friday, 14 April 2017

Of Fairy Stories and Mercy


You may or may not have seen the furore about this advert. The ad's a bit annoying but with the level of spiritual ignorance around now-I wasn't really all that worked up. (Although I am looking forward very much to the next advert when they will replace the words Good Friday with Eid - you don't think so? Why ever not?) I would just say that before you pour all that money into an advertising campaign, just get someone to run an eye over it and ask whether it is appropriate to have an advert like this on the day lots of people are remembering an innocent man being tortured to death. Me being picky? 
What did bother me was, when Christians complained, Twitter was full of people saying things like "Why should we be bothered about your fairy tale?" or "It's just a day off work for the vast majority of people." Actually, comments were a lot more offensive than that but I will spare you the details, gentle people that you are. I don't understand why people who are not Christians get so worked up. Why is it such a big deal for you? 
I am not demanding that anyone become a Christian, it is entirely your decision but I am so fed up with believers being treated like idiots - usually by people who haven't given anything outside social media any more than twenty seconds thought. 
I have been a follower of Jesus for more than forty years. It has not been a bed of roses, I have given him plenty of grief and, like most I have known dark nights of the soul. However to know Jesus has been to open my life to a level of consciousness that has been beyond anything else I have experienced. The sophistication of his thoughts and the depth of his understanding have challenged me on levels I could never hoped to have approached. He has challenged me on every level possible - my thoughts, my dreams, my behaviours and through it all I have experienced love and acceptance which continually changes me. To be as loved as I am helps me get past my own insecurities to love others and to do good. To experience mercy and grace has opened my eyes to impossible things. 
Knowing Jesus has inspired people to change the world - Wiberforce, John Newton, Martin Luther King, Archbishop Tutu flawed like all of us, yet driven on by the knowledge of Jesus. This is not some silly little joke that people can just have a pop at to get more followers. 
Not all things supposedly driven by faith are good of course. I would ask anyone who says they start a fight on behalf of Jesus to have a very hard look at what he taught. But, of course the assertion that without religion there would be no war is just plainly stupid. In the words of Frankie Boyle
"Some violence is caused by religion. Some violence is caused by lager."
Anyway, today is Good Friday. I am very pro Good Friday (Sigh of relief from God.) It makes me stop. It makes me think about things bigger than I am. It makes me muse on the nature of humanity. It makes me wonder about sacrifice and generosity. All the things that, if left to my own devices, I might not bother with too much. 
Jesus helps me to step out of the shallows. He is lots of things but Airy-Fairy he is not.

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