Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Half Term Havoc

It's half term. That's lovely isn't it? I know things are easier for us now that we only have a sixteen year old to think about so we don't have to organise childcare or anything so I don't want to complain BUT because it's half term

  •  It is apparently time to bake so I now have no icing sugar or jam. Apparently it took over an hour to clean up and the dogs keep licking the kitchen floor so who knows what went on there? The cakes are lovely though.
  • My laptop screensaver has "accidentally" been changed to a baby sloth asleep on a teddy bear. 
  • We are apparently expected to provide money for gossipy lunches. I do not have time for lunch.
  • I am missing several DVDs. It will not take Sherlock Cumberbatch to trace them to FOW 2s bedroom.
Thank you God for my astonishing daughter...


Saturday, 27 October 2012

Dog Walking and Growing as a Person

These are our dogs having a walk on the park. I'm sorry for the unsavoury angle which sort of makes them look like a canine version of the publicity shy Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow. We only had time to get a couple of photos of the two of them before they started getting a bit lairy. (The dogs that is - not the Paltrow/Martin combo) and in all the others they were sniffing each others bottoms. (Same disclaimer re dogs rather than Paltrow/Martin)
Anyway, getting off the subject here. So these are our dogs and they are practically perfect. Will not stop here to define perfect, as our neighbour who still has the nip marks on her leg, may well challenge our definition and we will get waylaid again.  Anyway, I am the first to admit that they are sometimes a bit snappish. A bit. Sometimes. When provoked. Not proper biting, you understand, just growly and a bit barky and nippy. A bit. Very rarely.
So you may not realise this but there exists a sort of dog walkers etiquette. When you are in the park, walking your dogs and listening to the birdies and wondering how important it is that you cannot find that pooh that Lucy has dropped in the middle of all those leaves, there is a code. That code says that if you have a dog on a lead, rather than running around loose, there is a reason for that. Often the dog is a bit barky or nervous  or runs like someone has fired them out of a cannon when they are let loose. There are lots of reasons. However, if you see someone with dogs on leads and they take steps to avoid meeting you with your dog, the thing to do is respect that and give them some space. There is no point following her and getting her dogs all worked up. There is very little to be gained by insisting on stalking her across the park with your spookily obedient German Shepherd. It is also not helpful to let your huge German Shepherd suddenly appear in the bushes so that someone walking two Jack Russells, suddenly finds herself desperately trying to get said Jacks on a short lead as they compete to get at mountain sized dog and give him a piece of their minds. It is also not cricket, when woman who is wrestling with mad Jacks tries to apologise to give her a pained smile, tut and walk on, successfully impersonating the "Smug Person of the Year" award winner.
This is why women who are wrestling with Jacks that you have upset, seemingly on purpose, feel the need to say, in what was probably a much too loud voice.
"What's it like to be Queen of the World and know everything?"
I don't suppose she heard anything. She didn't turn round. HOH says that's maybe because she was crying. I doubt it. 

Life Lessons from Dog Walking.
  1. Conflict has to be handled sometimes. I cannot hide behind privets all the time.
  2. Pulling your tongue out when someone isn't looking is not handling conflict.
  3. Even when you apologise, some people will still be miserable crows. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't say sorry.
  4. Sometimes you should say sorry, when you are not in the wrong. Often it calms things down. sometimes it doesn't. (See point 3) 
  5. You can't be everyone's friend.
  6. To be honest, you don't want to be everyone's friend do you?
  7. In the end you have to try to be nice to everyone while accepting that it won't always work. then your work here is done. Like it says in Romans "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."
I am calm. I am serene. I am going to walk the dogs 15 minutes earlier to try and avoid running into German Shepherd Lady. I am, as usual, not very proud of myself.


Saturday, 20 October 2012

Quite Rude

Dear Religion
This week I safely dropped a man from space while you shot a child in the head for wanting to go to school.
Yours, Science.

This is a tweet sent by Ricky Gervais this week which has been debated around a few Christian blogs. The consensus of opinion abut the tweet seems to be the following.

  • This is a bit strange because Malala (the young girl who was shot) See here if you have been living in a cave. is a devout girl who wanted to learn, rather than a secular atheist.
  • Also Felix Baumgartner, who fell from space (check here cave dwellers) brought back a sense of awe rather than a sense of "pah - it was just science".
  • Mr Gervais is a celebrity who understands the power of a sharp phrase and Twitter gives him the opportunity to use one without regress. (Apparently he ruthlessly blocks anyone who disagrees with him. His privilege - dunno have never followed him.)
  • Sometimes religion brings all these things onto itself.
These are all admirable and well reasoned thoughts and they do the Christian Community credit to have responded so thoughtfully and with such restraint. I tend to stay out of these debates because my initial reaction was "Smug G*t" and that is neither mature or considered. It may well be factually correct. Who can say? 
I also stay out because I am so far out of my depth. I do not have the mental capacity to spar with these people. Richard Dawkins is undoubtedly very brainy and I find him so intimidating I rarely watch him. He also seems to be so full of spleen that I find he leaves me a bit depressed about the state of the world and how much hate a person can carry. Maybe that's just me.

I'm not very good in debates on religion. I have never considered myself religious. In my most Utopian moments, I consider myself part of a Christian community known as followers of "The Way" I am enthusiastic about Jesus and what he has done for me and am therefore caught up in living that life with all its challenges to be self sacrificing and thoughtful and generous. This is indeed so challenging that it takes up all my time and energy, leaving me little room to be self absorbed and an all round nasty piece of work. This is how I try to live my life. Often, this is little more than a pipe dream but, in the words of the great Steve Coppell - I don't want to make it a target but it is something to aim for. 
I am not divorced from debate or from culture but I find I need God's wisdom to support my family and friends and to stop me spending my days deliberately trapping my head in the door. It's not that I don't want to be thoughtful about the higher things in life. I read and discuss and think. I just genuinely can't be bothered with all the points scoring. 

I suspect that on a Friday night in Islington, there are parties being held where people in crumpled linen jackets drink a lot of Chablis while scoffing humus and clam linguine  and have a really good laugh at people like me and my blind faith in my imaginary friend. I just wish I gave a monkey's. 

Galatians 5 V 25-26. Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we do not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives.

Before I go.......

Text from York University
"Is £33.00 a lot for an electricity bill?"

"For how long - a quarter, a month, a minute?"

York University
"Oh yes. Good point. Will check"


Saturday, 13 October 2012

Saturday Stuff

I have spent a pleasant day on my own. Some of it was spent creating a thing of beauty. Stand back and admire the peg bag people. There is plenty to see here. And it cost me nowt. Just an old hanger and some material from my stash. Well I say stash. I mean one of the two spare pieces of material that I have accumulated. Mostly, I am just pleased that we have managed to replace the old cushion cover that we used to keep pegs in. Do you think it is like this in the Beckhams'?
I just wish I could learn to be a bit more tidy when I worked so that I didn't double the time it took to do everything.

We creative types just have to go with the flow and worry about the consequences later.

Then FOW1 remembered that only last week he had parents and phoned to catch up which was nice. Pizzas  are being eaten, ciders are being drunk, the church surf is booked and there has been a "discussion" in his student house about who keeps stealing the cheese. Seems all is well.

Then my mum phoned. She has organised her part in our Christmas and now it is time for me to do my part.

Mum.   I've spoken to Liam. He is bringing me down on the 21st. Did you find out about my train back?
Me       Yep. There is one a week later.
Mum    Have you booked it?
Me       It's a bit early
Mum    It might fill up.
Me       It won't
Mum    It might.
Me       I'll keep an eye on it.
Mum    OK.

Mum    Isn't it best to book now?
Me       I don't have my card by the phone.
Mum    OK

Mum    Can't you get the card?
Me       What? now?
Mum    If you want to.
Me       Do you want me to?
Mum    No. It doesn't matter. You'll keep an eye on it.

Mum    Wouldn't hurt, would it? To book now.
Me       I'll get my card.
Mum    Well, if you think it's best.

Mum    What's that tapping noise. Are you on the Internet?
Me       Yep.
Mum    Quite rude, while we're talking.
Mum    I'm not sure it's not too early

Cue strangling noises from my end of the phone. As the kids say - there is only one Nana Bez.


Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Snakes in the camp.

It may well be just me but have you ever uttered the phrase "Why does it have to be so complicated Lord? Why can't you just deal with it and take the problem away?" We have uttered this prayer plenty of times in Hargreaves Towers but even more than usual as FOW1 has returned to University and is dealing with a hassle that is not of his making which, to my highly expert eye, God could be dealing with quite easily.
While this is going on, I am learning about the Children of Israel. I am becoming quite taken with the Children of Israel. They remind me of me. They are slow to learn, quick to whinge, lack vision, take a long time to get to where they need to be and try God's patience on an almost minute by minute basis. I like them.

I'm reading the passage in Numbers 21 about the snake of fiery copper. I am with Indiana Jones on snakes. I am very suspicious about creatures who are sometimes shaped like the last thing they ate.  Back to Numbers. Israel are travelling and on a detour. They become irritable and begin to complain to God. This behaviour fits in with their normal pattern but this time for what are probably entirely understandable reasons, God reacts.

"God sent poisonous snakes among the people; they bit them and many in Israel died."

He's not messing about here is he? Maybe something to consider next time I am thinking of  forgetting to count my blessings?

Anyway..showing commendable if tardy wisdom, the Children of Israel apologise to God and ask Moses to pray for them to take the snakes away. And Moses prays, God listens, the snakes return to the places where snakes live and everyone lives happily until the children of Israel find something else to complain about (approximately twenty minutes later usually)

But no actually. God doesn't take the snakes away. They are to continue living in the camp. Jumping out when you least expect them and generally annoying people by biting them until they die. What God does supply is an antidote. A way out.

"Make a snake and put it on a flagpole: Whoever is bitten and looks at it will live."

The snakes are not leaving the building.

And you just know don't you? Well I think I do. He doesn't always take it away. Not so that your problems never existed. Sometimes, they stay with you and again and again you have to look to God to deal with things as they are occurring. I suppose as well that, as the Israelites learned to live with the snakes, it became a habit. Every time someone got a nasty surprise behind the woodshed they would automatically look at the copper snake as a matter of course.  Hopefully, they also remembered the God who sent this miracle.

I'm thinking that this is something I need to building into me, and my life. God is not my magic fairy. He has told me what to do to live my life with any degree of contentment and achievement - I keep looking at him for help and healing. And what will be supplied will be sufficient for my needs at that time. God is willing and able to do things that I am not even able to visualise. But somehow, there is a balance. None of this means that all problems will be taken away. Because as we know life is hard. Indeed as Jesus never actually said
"I beg your pardon. I never promised you a Rose Garden."
Apologies to Lynn Anderson and Jesus. Not necessarily in that order.


Thursday, 4 October 2012

Me v the young people

So you l know I love the young people, almost without exception. I support them when they want to worship God very loudly in church and I have no time for old ladies who come to a service labelled as livelier then sit with their hands on their ears.

However, I think we may have parted company on this one. So we are singing this in church at the moment.

"I've made a place for you here so c'mon, c'mon...
All things are possible here so c'mon, c'mon"

I know that I am old but I can't tell you how disappointed I will be if I get to heaven and God speaks like an extra from Scooby Doo. Just saying.
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