Sunday, 30 June 2013

Trying hard not to keep trapping my head in the door...

It hasn't been a bad few days. No one got stuck under anything heavy. No one got lost in the woods. There is actually only niggly things niggling I think. It hasn't been a great time though. I have let worry get the better of me. I have allowed myself to get annoyed by things I cannot change. I have been disappointed in myself for allowing this to happen again. Because I know myself and when I allow worry to over take me, I become less faithful and when I trust God less I become

  • A bit toxic. I have less patience with people who need my patience. Then, because I have less patience and am snappish, I feel guilty and then I feel more toxic and so it goes on.
  • Shattered is what I become. Easy rhythms become hard and need effort. Plus I don't sleep as well so I am genuinely pooped. 
  • Sad and fearful. Where is this Christianity stuff going? Is there a point to all this?
  • A nasty piece of work. People who are doing better than me begin to get on my nerves. People who aren't better than me get on my nerves. No-one can win. Least of all God.
So it was good this morning to hear about Leah and Rachel in Genesis 29 and 30 and the problems that they caused for each other and also that things that happened to them seemingly through no fault of their own. It was good to hear that through the mess (and believe me I have no mess at all against what looks like an episode of The Sopranos here) that God was working through everything. He was listening and answering and the original promises had not budged one inch. I think it's all good in the end.

    It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
    2 Corinthians 12:8-10  

Read this week. Pure. I found a recommendation for this on the Being Me blog which is jolly good so I hot footed it to the library and had to wait 3 weeks so that was a good sign. Anyway, it's really different. It is about the clearing of an old graveyard in the middle of Paris just before the French Revolution but in some ways, that is incidental. It's haunting and draws you in to a time and place even though you don't understand it.Sometimes, when people say a book is well written, I am not always sure what they mean. I think I understand here. It's not what you would call incident packed but I couldn't leave it alone

Saw this week. Despicable Me 2. Just really funny. what do you want from me?

Technical stuff now. If you follow this on Google reader, it is a dead duck from tomorrow so you cain't do it no more. this may be your opportunity to slip off un-noticed but if you want to stay - you can follow though Bloglovin - there is  a button on the right or via email. Or like me on Facebook. S'up to you really. would certainly appreciate it if you stayed. 

Anyway - wow, that was long this week. Am off to watch Mumfords at Glastonbury  Loved Chic the best so far. Rolling Stones never popular in this house because they apparently stole Stevie Wonder's/Otis Redding's/Bobby Womack's careers. Don't think it  helped me that someone on Twitter said that The Stones reminded them of the Wonga Advert. Ah well.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Bible Characters I Have A Sneaking Regard For (And Probably Shouldn't) - 1

The Prodigal Son's Brother

28-30 “The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn’t listen. The son said, ‘Look how many years I’ve stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!’

For those unaware of the story of the Prodigal Son find it here

There are people in the Bible who get it wrong. They misunderstand  things, they hold back people while God tries to use them. They generally miss the point and I like 'em. This probably explains why I am never going to get a nomination as Christian of the Year. 
Don't write in, I know why the brother got it wrong. I know how he missed it. That doesn't mean I don't get him. 
I think I empathise with him a bit. He was a steady Eddie. He kept at it, carried on doing the right thing. Never did anything to give his father a moment's worry and then fancy pants Prodigal Bro' comes waltzing back and it's time to partaaay! I know that all of us depend on mercy and forgiveness including the Sulky Brother but you see what I mean. I think God sees it too

If you are a trier. If you are a keeper at it, who has always tried your best, even if you know that you have messed it up lots of times. If you have watched others come and go and get a lot of fuss - look at this.

 “His father said, ‘Son, you don’t understand. You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours

The Brother's inheritance in God is totally unaffected by the actions of anyone else. There is enough of him to go round. His attention is not taken from you because you are quiet and faithful - you are in his sight all the time. There is no need to worry or sulk. God knows who you are.


Sunday, 23 June 2013


Haven't read many blogs. and certainly haven't been able to produce enough time to think about writing any. Parent's move down south has taken all my time along with other stuff.   (Henceforth she shall be known as Bez - short for her name and Old Bessie - she doesn't read this, you will be surprised to learn.) Four more weeks and she will be upon us.

This week I shall be mostly

  • Wrestling Plymouth City Council to the ground to get an answer about housing benefit for the Bez.
  • Preparing bedroom for return of FOW1 for the summer.
  • Writing strict meal plans for return of FOW1 for the summer.
  • Getting ready to explain to FOW1 that just because he is home and eating for free, that does not mean that all bets are off about limits on what can be consumed. E.g. we do not do Tuna and Pasta Bake for lunch for one person, unless it is leftovers. This is not the Middleton's you know.
  • Emailing university about travel plans for FOW2's trip to summer school. I will be accompanying her on the train whether I am welcome or not and I am decided in this. (P.S. Re FOW2's summer plans. We have received a two page letter from her history teacher outlining - in great detail -  the revision she will have to do during the holidays. Why are you addressing this to me? First of all you are the teacher are you not? Teach her what you want her to be doing in the summer. Threaten if necessary - I find it helps. Also - she's the one who wants to go to University - not me. She's seventeen not seven.)
  • Racing to finish my Library Book ("Pure" since you ask - very good) so that I don't have to pay a fine because some pushy person has put their name down on it and I can't renew it.

And none of that includes work or cooking or cleaning or personal hygiene or dog walking or TV watching (though that has been curtailed because we updated our Virgin Box to a TIVO and with the old box went all the Father Browns I had been recording from the week before. Frustrating!)

Thanks to friends for taking pity and feeding us last night. Slightly pressured because she is a really good cook. She did a roast and tried to make me feel better by telling me that she had got the Yorkshires out of a packet. Effect slightly spoilt by finishing the meal with lovely lemon cheesecake made from scratch)

Now see what I have done. I nearly written a blog and I don't have the time. Off to put chicken in for return from church this evening.
(Runs to kitchen in blind panic - checking clock as she goes)

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Bonkers Busy

Hello. Sorry for the absence. All is a hive of activity here and at my time of life it takes its toll you know. We are in the process of moving my mum down south to be nearer to us. So it has been visits to flats and phone calls to helpful ladies as well as filling in forms. All this as well as work and life and things - you know how it is.  So it is all a bit bitty if you get my drift. Not the usual level of high spiritual thinking that comes from this blog. (Do NOT say a word) So, stealing shamelessly from Woody Allen or Ian Drury depending on your generation or your comedy persuasion here's my reasons to be cheerful this week.

Best Piece of House Decoration
Head of House found room for my framed Gary Neville picture. (See above) It had crossed my mind that he had framed it and was then going to hide it until I lost interest. Fat chance! Gary Neville. Red until he dies. Love The Neville.

Best Membership News
We have been accepted as members at church. I am assuming this means that my past gun running in South America has been overlooked.

Best Thing Read

The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap. Unashamed feel-good wish fulfillment kind of book. Couple give up rat race to open second-hand bookstore in their front room in small town America. Spent evenings, closing book, lying back and dreaming about what it would be like. Just a little bit. Well quite a lot.

Best Thing Watched
On catch-up. Melvyn Bragg waxing lyrical about Tyndale, the Bible translator. A man who gave his life (and he was aware that this was a probability) so that ordinary people could read the Bible. He was a scholar and an academic. He could have done anything he wanted with his life. He did indeed do a marvelous thing with it.

Best Verse Read 
Psalm 100. The Message reads Enter with the password: “Thank you!” Make yourselves at home, talking praise. 
Love the idea of "thank-you" being a password to God. Not that we need a password I know, but it is a great picture of the best way to approach God with thankfulness rather than unabated whinging.  

Best Dad in Martha Towers
Today is Father's Day in Britain. HOH is quite dismissive about this sort of thing but he is a fantastic dad. All here in Martha Towers are unanimous in this. 



Sunday, 9 June 2013



I have had a lovely weekend for my birthday. Never take any notice of me of I say I am too old to celebrate. I have taken tea in several of Plymouth's finest eating places including the photo above and had a whale of a time. Even my son remembered to phone and say happy birthday. In fact I was the first thing he thought of when he woke up on Saturday - AT MID-DAY. Better late than never I suppose.
I watched Field of  Dreams (again) because it was my birthday shout and happily cried like a baby. Am not sure I could ever love anyone who didn't love this film just a little bit. I have heard quite a few preachers preach on it and its famous lines.

"If you build it - he will come."

"People will come Ray. If you build it people will come."

I think the idea is that if we just sort of put church there, then people will be drawn to it by osmosis or something. Now I know plenty of people who have found themselves in church because the Holy Spirit has been prodding them but not everyone I know has stayed in church after that.

I have been part of a team at my church that has looked at the way we welcome people into church. One member of the team found something online about how Disneyworld approaches its customers. It is that Disney always acts as if it is expecting visitors and makes preparation for them. Now that may be obvious for a theme park but I  wondered if church always acts as if we expected and welcomed visitors. Having visitors can be a bit of a  maul sometimes. You have to make an effort and shove newspapers under cushions. You find out what they want to eat or drink and you pay them your full attention. It would be rude to talk about things that they don't understand or have involvement in. I'm not saying that we should change the message. John The Baptist attracted massive crowds despite the fact that he was a bit odd in his life habits and wasn't afraid to tell a few home truths. But John preached for his time. People were used to listening to preaching and John was very good at it. Anyway, I don't think people are afraid of the truth, when they recognise it. As church we need to make sure we are delivering it in a way that people get.

Not that long ago I saw a Christian drama acted out on a shopping precinct. I can still feel my stomach tightening as I think about it. For reasons I can't quite remember, it involved the Devil in a boxing ring. I remember thinking how surprising it was that, as the Devil had been chucked out of heaven for pride, he hadn't bothered to iron his cape that morning. Anyway, it was a foreign language to most of the people listening and most people (me included) left them to it.

I love my God. I love my faith. I am convinced that Christians can be God's force for good - a thriving, loving influential community. I am just not sure that we are showing that enough. Jesus talked with people about sheep and fish and robbers and servants and hunger and pain. People immediately connected. I'm not sure that shepherding and fishing were Jesus's real passions. What certainly was, was finding common ground to connect with those he came to save. 

There's a lot of frankly rubbish talk about the church being on it's last legs. Still it is a challenging time. People are under pressure in lots of ways and although Christians and non Christians are still looking for a place to call home, we have to make sure we are finding the right ways to invite them in using a language the understand. Don't cha think?


Monday, 3 June 2013

Emily Wilding Davison


I am not the fount (font?) of all knowledge as you know but when I spot a glaring omission, I do have to open my ladylike bouche and say something. I have just watched a programme by Claire Balding - the new nation's sweetheart - about Emily Wilding Davison. She was the Suffragette who threw herself in front of the King's Horse in the 1913 Derby. She died of her injuries on June 8th 1913. One hundred years ago on Saturday
It was a fine programme as it goes, although it seemed to be more about how much we all love Claire than anything else really (and I do think that she seems very nice and capable and good at her sporty type job) There was a big gap though, as Claire tried to find out what motivated this highly intelligent person to act the way she did. Whether it was imprisonment or hunger strikes and force feeding. Whether it was civil disobedience or worse. Everyone is struggling to find out what drove her. Of course the cause drove her but there was something else. Emily was a committed Christian. She felt that obedience to God translated into giving everything to fight injustice. The way that translated into her life may be problematic but there it is. 
No-one else seemed to have think that it is worth mentioning so I thought that I would do it. Just so you know.
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