Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Blog Apologies

This is a mini blog because (a) Virgin - in their wisdom have declined the opportunity to provide us with an Internet service this week. Leaves on the cables or something. Am doing this in spare time at work And (b) we have been in York visiting Fruit of Womb One.
Sooo will do proper "thoughts" next time. However, just a conundrum. Did decide to give up Twitter for Lent. This is causing lots of unforeseen problems. Firstly, people are tweeting me and I am ignoring them which is just plain rude and good manners are important to us Northerners. Secondly, when I informed Head of House of my less than momentous decision he gave me incredulous look and following conversation took place.
HOH: But you are a non conformist! You'll be buying plastic Marys next!
MOI: Extreme. No, I thought it would be a good spiritual discipline.
HOH: You are not supposed to need men to tell you when you need spiritual disciplines.
MOI: Well I just sometimes wonder if Spurgeon would be on Twitter
HOH: Are you joking? You get that Spurgeon quote on your phone every morning. It's the same thing.
MOI: Er sort of. But I do follow Caitlin Moran,The Queen etc. Not all of it very spiritual.
HOH: Pah! *Leaves room singing 200 year old hymns about Freedom from Tyranny etc. etc.*

So all I have decided is that I haven't decided if it is a good or a bad thing for me. Understand that it works for many people. Think God would probably have someone who is decisive either way. Onwards and upwards.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Special Subject

...the bloomin' obvious!

This is our dawg. he's called Morecambe (after Eric) He's not called Malcolm. Do you hear me mad man on the park with a carrier bag full of Stellas? Morecambe - not Malcolm! You find him here doing his favourite thing (other than baiting Lucy - our other dog). Sometimes Morecambe is extraordinarily intelligent. If the phone rings when one person is out of the house, Morcs will run to the front door in full on hysterical mode because he is sure that someone will be leaving to taxi the missing person home. (Morcs doesn't like it when people leave Hargreaves Towers. Actually, he doesn't like it when people arrive at Hargreaves Towers. He is very much in favour of the status quo) Sometimes though and it pains me to be so rude - he is incredibly stupid. He must know that getting too close to the fire, although very pleasant for a while,  can often be quite painful. As it is a real, living fire with real wood/coal on it, it does bite back occasionally and spit out a red hot ember. This is not really a problem as long as we are in the room to keep an eye on it or as long as you are not a Jack Russell with your big, black cute nose far too close to the fire. then it makes him yelp. Big time. The thing is, it doesn't seem to matter how many times we warn him, how many times it happens and even the little singe marks he gets on the end of his nose don't seem to make a difference. When he is in full fire mode, all common sense goes out of the window.
*writer moves almost seamlessly to heavy duty Christian point she wishes to make*

Philippians 4:6-7
The Message
Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life.

  • Even though I know - not suspect - know that worry makes no difference at all to anything that happens to me. I still insist on taking all my life's circumstances and chewing them all over until they have eaten away at all logical faith and thought.
  • I have seen enough in my past to know that God listens to and answers prayer - never in my timing and rarely as I expect but I am never ignored.
  • Combining these two facts means that I know that a problem given to God will not be forgotten, God has the capability and the heart to deal with anything that life throws at me and that he is therefore far better positioned to deal with everything I worry about.
  • I am meant to give these things to God leaving me with peace to get on with my life

Yet, like a little dog who refuses to take note of what is good for him, no matter how obvious past experience may make this, I continue to make life more difficult for myself than it needs to be (and Lord knows, it's difficult enough anyway)
It's a massive blessing - massive I tell you! Yet will I ever be brave or mature enough to take advantage of it? Is it just me? Seriously, I do my own head in sometimes.

Event of the week. I expect when Catherine Middleton writes that she has stuff like "met Elton John" (obligatory for Royalty it seems) or "Tried on tiara". My event was - "I fell over." Big time. I fell on my face and unusually for me, this is not an exaggeration. I would put a photo up but Nightmare on Elm Street probably has the copyright on that face.  Also, hurt shoulder, knees and ruined trousers and just for added value, managed to do it in front of row of ten teenage girls having photo taken before night out. Many were so horrified by my bloody visage that they actually ran away in horror as I staggered to my feet, trying to say comfortingly "I think it looks worse than it is." (It didn't) Head of House is threatening to only allow me out if I am carrying banner saying. "I have not been thumped. I fell over. Outside. There are witnesses." In case anyone cares. It hurt actually. Quite a lot.

This last bit this week isn't big or clever so if you want to ignore it or are more mature than me, then stop reading now. My friend and yours Prof Dawkins went on the Radio this week to announce that a survey had found that many people who profess to be Christians do not believe in many areas of the Christian faith and some couldn't even name the first book of the New Testament. (Is this supposed to be news?) Anyway, using that logic, as the country's leading atheist and evolutionist the Prof would easily be able to remember the full title of Darwin's Origin of the species wouldn't he? Rev Giles Fraser called him out on it. Enjoy first then you can be sorry later. If you want to.


Sunday, 12 February 2012

Quiet Courage

Hello all. Full details of photo above later on. I have finished great book this week. "Operation Mincemeat" by Ben Macintyre. To paraphrase the great Claudia Winkleman. Read it, then call me - you'll love it. It's all about the famous wartime operation to fool Hitler into thinking that the Allies Invasion was bigger than it was and that it was not going to be in Sicily. To do this , they took a dead body of an itinerant miner and dressed him up as an important military bod and dropped his body full of "Top Secret Information" (All of which was lies) near the Spanish coast where the Germans would find it and be fooled by it. Read it. It's much better than that synopsis.
The thing was, that a lot of the plan was quite hopeless really and if anyone in Germany had bothered to take a long hard look at the body or that papers, it was unlikely that they would have been fooled. The fact that they were fooled was down to a few reasons - hubris was one and fear of Hitler was another but one of the main reasons that this false intelligence got through was  Baron Alexis Von Roenne.
He was a hero of WW1, a holder of the Iron Cross, the Head of the German Intelligence Service. He was also a Christian. What was was not known about him was that he was appalled by the racial policies of the Nazis and although he saw himself as a loyal German, he secretly began to work against Hitler. Quietly and without fanfare he skewed the figures of the Allied Forces so that the Germans had the wrong ideas about how many troops were on the way. McIntyre says that "From 1943 onwards he deliberately and consistently inflated the Allied order of battle, overstating the strength of the British and American armies in a successful effort to mislead Hitler and his generals. It was his recommendation that saw the papers on the Allies' decoy body fool Hitler's Generals. He was eventually arrested as a conspirator in the plot against Hitler's life - which he was probably almost certainly not involved in - and hanged on a meat hook and left slowly to die.
I was struck by his day to day courage. Quietly and seen by no one he took small decisions day by day because they were right. No big showy fanfares. No tambourines, no conferences with glossy pamphlets to learn from him about how to be courageous. Just doing it. He certainly wasn't an angel. He was a snob, who as much as anything felt that Hitler was ruining the aristocracy and the inheritance that was his. This makes his courage even more admirable to me. Not waiting until he was perfect to start doing the right thing. Just starting quietly, alone, with only God to see him and trusting that it was the right thing. 
The night before his execution he wrote to his wife
"In a moment now, I shall be going home to our Lord, in complete calm and in the certainty of salvation." Amazing. Ever think you are playing at it? Only me then.
Had a bit of a knock back with the blog this week. Someone sort of made it plain that they thought that my writing wasn't quite, well Christian enough, to be a Christian blog. They weren't trying to be unpleasant at all - just their opinion. But it did rock me back a bit. I read lots of blogs and there are a lot more saintly and ...well orthodox blogs out there and I am aware that I don't always hit the Christian PC button. It bothered me enough to think about packing in. Because I know I can't change. This is not to say that I am not a work in progress but I am what I am as they say. Witness the photo at the top. Remember last Valentines Day when I compared photos of our bedside cabinets? I was so appalled at the state of mine, that I vowed to change my ways. The photo above is exhibit 1 to prove that I haven't changed a bit. Got worse if anything. 
So I'm sort of soldiering on. Hoping I don't offend anyone. Am actually hoping to encourage and amuse you. It's unlikely to get very much holier though. Sorry.
Finally, Witney Houston is dead. So very sad. Witney of the lovely voice. Saw her live once. She spent as much time changing her frocks as on stage but you forgave her everything when she sang. Heard her sing with the Winans and remember thinking this is what heaven will sound like.


Sunday, 5 February 2012

Always There

You might find this hard to believe but I usually have a plan when I sit down to write this. Something has usually occurred in my hum drum existence, which I make a note of so that it doesn't flit out of my full-up brain. Then, over the weekend I sit down and produce this masterpiece.
Thing is, this week, I open laptop. Wait 20 minutes for it to warm up. (Old laptop - I'm used to it. I usually read a magazine until it summons enough strength to connect to the Internet.) Then I open the notebook and...nothing. There is nothing to report. A big fat zero written there.
Arrrrgh. My life is empty. I have nothing to report. I am a spent force. You may as well go back to your homes - there is nothing to see here.... except.
I have been really busy this week. I spect you have been the same. Nearly all of it has been legitimate. Work has been a bit overwhelming.. I actually did a bit of it out of work time which is usually against my religion but needs must.
I have been to the pictures twice this week which may seem a bit Wallis Simpson of me but once was with Fruit of Womb and could come under banner of connecting with my child (See - I am a "Good Mother") Second time was with Head of House and can therefore be justified under category of "Keeping Romance Alive in Marriage." (that would have been more successful if he hadn't refused to buy me some Revels.)
I have also been writing outside of the blog - thinking about producing something a bit more permanent. Calling it a book might be a bit over the top I feel at this point but I have been putting some time in on it. Also one night devoted to open fire, chocolate ice-cream and "Singing in the Rain" DVD. (This comes tagged under "Family Time" or "Counting your Blessings when its so cold outside" or less edifyingly "Pigging Out.")
Then there are the things that technically don't take time but they make you go "erm" and they take your attention.

  • Picture of Fruit of Womb One in York in snow wearing Muse T shirt and no coat! Facebook is a blessing and a curse I think. 
  • Leaving mobile under seat in cinema. Having to retrieve it from young incredulous cinema person who was unimpressed with my description of it as "A Black Blackberry."
  • No Sunday Times because it's snowing in London and that obviously means all civilisation elsewhere has to stop. Its been quite sunny here actually. Sorry.

All this together with dog walking (now have to go long way home after unfortunate incident with paper boy. No idea what he had done to make Lucy take against him), cooking, long phone calls, catching up on Borgen has meant that the week has just gone. Just blinked and that was it.
The really great thing to say about this week is that despite it going past in a blur, I am still as loved and secure in God as I was when the week started. Because, I ain't earning it. It's Grace. Now I know as much as the next Christian worrier that it's not an ideal situation. I know that a good relationship has to be worked at and also that I'm the one missing out if I don't. But, when situations temporarily hinder us or life seems to be all scrunched up and happening at once, the Rock on which all my hopes are founded hasn't moved an inch. The older I get and the more mistakes I make, the more grateful I am for the Unchanging Nature. It makes one side of my mouth curl up in a little bit of a grateful smile and that has to be a good thing.

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