Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Out of the house

"Avengers Age of Ultron" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia -
So it is the girl's birthday and apparently a walk by the harbour followed by jam butties at home in front of the telly isn't good enough so it is off to the flicks followed by an Italian meal. (The young have such sophisticated tastes these days) The price my family pay for an Italian meal out always includes me taking along any vouchers I have and there was one for a second main course for £2.50 which saved us nearly seven quid. Don't look at me like that - I am very subtle about it. No, I am!

Then on to see Avengers - Age of Ultron. I am not what you would call a Marvel aficionado. In fact I take up a seat someone else could use but although I have very little idea what is going on, I did enjoy this.There is a lot of noise - good grief it's noisy. People run on, shout a lot, hit each other with things and then run off. People get to dress in colourful capes and bounce around which was probably not as much fun as it looks. I spent a happy hour trying to decide if Captain America was wearing a wig (On balance I think probably not) FOW1 sent me a text from York complaining that they had got the Red Witch's superpower all wrong. Apparently in the comics she has the power to change probabilities or something. To be fair to the film-makers that doesn't sound as snappy as being able to wave your hands around a lot and make people throw themselves into ponds which was what she was doing a lot of when I saw her.

I think I am alone in the world in finding Robert Downey Jnr a bit annoying in these films but the whole thing overall is good fun and it didn't seem as long as it was (which was nearly three hours)

The best bit though was the trailer for Star Wars - YES STAR WARS EVERYBODY - I love Star Wars . I am too embarrassed to share with you how often I have seen them. (The original three, not George Lucas' attempt to kill off the whole franchise with the next three - although unfortunately, I have seen them quite a few times too) Anyway - a trailer for Star Wars and it looked good as well. It's out at Christmas. Am excited here!

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Chasing Francis


This is a book about a pastor of a mega church who has a crisis of faith. When I first bought it, I thought "Oooh - how honest, there's not many pastors of mega churches who would be brave enough to do that." However, I think I must have misunderstood. It's not a biography - it's a novel i.e.fiction.
I had a bit of a problem with this at first. My own fault I think, having not read the blurb properly. I was a bit shall I /sharn't I? about reading it at all but it had cost me nearly a tenner so away we go.
I am really glad I made the effort. It is a novel and it is excellent. The pastor in question has a crisis of faith, much of which takes place in the pulpit. The elders ask him to leave (asap) and try and get himself together. He goes to Italy, where has an uncle who is a monk. The uncle leads him through the teaching of St Francis. This challenges everything he has every understood about how he lives out his faith in God, about how all his mind based certainties about how a Christ like life should be lived may not be quite what he thinks they are and how people who he would have judged as deficient in some way may be connecting with God's will in a way that may be better than his.
Some parts are very moving as he sort of sees Jesus for the first time. HOH found some of the parts based in his home church quite disturbing, presenting, as they do, people jockeying for position in his absence. 
Of course, this is a novel and some bits can seems a bit too good to be true. Who has a wise monk-uncle living in the most beautiful parts of Italy? (Well I suppose, someone must have - just no-one I have ever heard of) The good people are very good and the bad people are - well - disappointing. However, it is writing with spiritual impact I think. It becomes clear fairly early on that some of the things the pastor has learnt have also affected the writer. In fact, the last part of the book contains instruction on how to take these thoughts further, which is very useful. I enjoyed it a lot and learnt a lot. It has also managed to ask me some important questions about my Christianity. Highly recommended by

Friday, 24 April 2015

Do you ever just get a song in your head?


 Only because it was in my head all day yesterday - can't remember any of the verses - just this chorus. So, just remembering when you sang a verse and then tucked your hymn book under your arm to clap in the chorus or if you were really, really spiritual you didn't pick up the book at all!   (Freaks)

Just a lovely. lovely song---2,3,4

I can never tell how much I love Him,
I can never tell His love for me,
For it passeth human measure,
Like a deep, unfathomed sea;
’Tis redeeming love in Christ my Savior,
In my soul the heav’nly joys begin;
And I live for Jesus only,
Since the fullness of His love came in.

Eliza E Hewitt 1916

Thursday, 23 April 2015

How Old?

Happy Birthday FOW2!!! 19? Really? Shurley some mistake?

Monday, 20 April 2015

Just me and my mum...

driving each other crazy...

(Me)Thought you might like a trip to Dunelm Mill

(Aged Parent) What for?

Dunno, just thought you might fancy a walk round.

Well, I don't really need anything but..

(Later - entering Dunelm Mill.)

We are just passing the bedding - Did you need anything? 

 No. I need some storage. 

It's just that, if you do need bedding, it's best to get it now because we would have to walk all the way back round the warehouse to get back here.

No, just storage.

What sort of storage?

I'll know when I see it. Just storage.

What are you storing - Christmas Decs, Eiderdowns, Cup cakes, assault rifles?

I am ignoring you. It says storage over there

It says Children's storage. There's more round the corner.

(Walk round the corner - no storage there)

I saw storage back there, and I said so but you said no.

Wasn't that Children's storage? 


(Walk back in direction of parent's pointy finger. Stand under large sign saying "Children's Storage"). 

There's only children's storage here

Yes, I think I did say so. Did you want children's storage - some of it is quite cute?

Don't be ridiculous.

(We carry on walking round the store, in slow yet sure pursuit of an underbed box for winter sweater storage)

Did that laptop come?


Is it lost in the post?

Nope. It's being signed for. It will arrive.

What if someone else signs for it?

They won't.

Will you ring me when it arrives?


To put my mind at rest. Anyone could sign for it.

Only someone in our house. If someone breaks in at the precise moment the postman is knocking at my letterbox and stands at my front door and signs for it, I will be worried.

You're not funny.

Look, here are some storage boxes. (Stop at huge wall of various boxes)

This is good. I like these.

Brilliant. So you have everything now yes?

Yes - just as soon as I find where the bedding is.


Sunday, 19 April 2015

Back from Cardiff

So, we are back from 2 days in Cardiff. A little bit of shopping and a nice hotel breakfast. I am a big fan of hotel buffet breakfasts even though I would never dream of eating cereal, full english and a danish for breakfast under normal circumstances; it means you don't need lunch so, is therefore a very frugal move on my part. 
The main reason we decamped to Cardiff was to see Caitlin Moran at St David's Hall. You may or may not have heard of her. She is a columnist for The Times, a writer and also has just written the script for Channel 4's Raised By Wolves. 
Caitlin Moran is very funny and smart with some important things to say. However, it would probably not be wise to go and see her with your maiden aunt (or with Roy Chubby Brown and Howard Stern actually) She has a colourful way with the English language and is also a passionate feminist. As part of this passion, she feels that certain female "things" need to be addressed in an open, out there sort of way. It is not for the faint hearted. 
Among subjects covered on the night were - body image, menstruation, shaving legs, not being a size 8, the thigh gap and a few things I probably shouldn't bother you with. If it's sounds a bit heavy, it really wasn't - she is very funny and sweet and kind. My daughter loved her and so did I. There were lots of things I didn't agree with but, it was great to hear a woman tell other women that they are beautiful, that they shouldn't take any notice of magazines and movies that tell them otherwise. I might be a bit old to be standing up with 1500 other people shouting "I am a feminist" but it was a great night. 


Tuesday, 14 April 2015


This is not the time or the place for politics even though everywhere seems to be full of it. However, this week, a promising breakthrough. I heard this weekend that there is enough money in the national kitty so that people with houses worth up to £1000,000 don't have to pay inheritance tax, which is nice. I am so pleased that that there is an unexpected windfall. You see, where I work we have a volunteer who was recently told that he is fit for work, despite his ongoing depressive illness - established by the fact that he can hold a pen and walk ten paces successfully. His doctor  is adamant that he shouldn't be working and should continue his therapeutic work for us but times are tough for everybody and there just wasn't the money in the public purse. But now - hurrah! It seems that there is some money about and I am sure that the powers that be will happily put it my friend's way so that he doesn't need to leave us. What?

Sunday, 12 April 2015


Living intentionally. That's the way forward. Not wasting a second. A plan for everything and everything in a plan. I like a list I do. Mainly because I forget so much these days - old age rather than a hectic lifestyle. Life is apparently like a cheque book or something and every day is a cheque waiting to be written which you can never return (unlike most cheques which can be returned if you don't have enough money in your account. I am not sure that I have understood this analogy.) Apparently we are all going to be lying on our deathbeds wishing that we had been able to tick more off our to-do lists.
It's just, do I always have to be balling socks when I am watching the telly? (I have never balled socks while watching the telly but am assured that some people do) Do I have to excuse listening to the Reverend Richard Coles on the radio by dusting while I am doing so? Does all my activity have to be useful or instructive or deep? Is there no room for sitting and staring out of the window and thinking about nothing? Is it still ok to put your head back and doze for twenty minutes when you get in from work - even though you know full well that there are shoes to be cobbled and roofs to be thatched? Am I still ok to kind of leave the room mentally every now and then? 
Jim Elliot said
" Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God."
This is, I think, a call to living every moment for God, which no one could argue with. It's just that I think we should be careful how the word "live" is defined here. Just sitting contemplating with your chin on your knee, shouldn't be a bad thing. It shouldn't make you feel guilty. There will always be stuff to be done but sometimes you have to let it go - like the annoying Disney song. (Can I just say Frozen - no where near as good as Mulan. End of discussion) 
This is not a call to just sitting there and letting it all get past you. It's just about it being ok to stop every now and then. Sometimes to think things through, sometimes to give God time to speak and sometimes to suddenly wake up after unexpectedly losing consciousness while just closing your eyes while waiting for the kettle to boil. 


Wednesday, 8 April 2015


Originally for me, this book fell into one of two buckets

This is a book deliberately written to provide a simple guide to return to simple prayer.


Someone famous who has just thrown together some well worn prayer certainties which has taken him about twenty minutes.

I have to confess that the first time I read this, it fell into the second bucket - leaving almost no impression at all. It was like eating one of those flying saucer sweets that melted on your tongue and then disappeared to nothing. (Although sometimes, if you were unlucky,  they got stuck on your teeth and you couldn't get them off and your mouth went all claggy.)

However, I wouldn't claim to be the queen of the world when it comes to attention spans, so I had another look, especially as I noticed that it was nominated for Christian Book of the Year. Having read it again,  I think that, if it is read a different way to the way that I did; slowly, prayerfully and possibly with a pencil and notebook, there is more to be had here than I gave it credit for. There are simple but strong truths here and it does no harm to read them again. There is also a study  area at the back where you can go over what you have read and apply it. It opens up even further then. I think it probably does people good to read that prayer can be simple and straightforward. We do not need to put on airs and graces to come to our Father to speak and it is important to know that. (However as a person who has few problems getting stuff off her chest to God and whines to him on an almost minute by minute basis, I sometimes wonder if God thinks he could do with a bit more reverence and all that hows your father from me - but that's my shortcoming not yours I expect.)

For me, other books on prayer - "Too Busy Not To Pray" by Bill Hybels and "The Road Of Blessing" by Pen Wilcock hit the mark a bit more. That is very much a personal preference of course - don't write to the Daily Mail. I would recommend the Lucado, as a basis to overhaul your prayer life and shake it up a bit. If you do it properly I think it is very useful.

I, on the other hand, am now going back to reading the next one in CF Dunn's "Secret of the Journal" series. It's very tense and a real knicker gripper as my old nana used to say.  


Saturday, 4 April 2015


I do hope you don't mind this. This is a re-post from last year's Easter Saturday. It's not that I think  it's the bees knees or anything. It's just that today is important I think. Almost as challenging as Good Friday was for the followers of Christ. And it's important for those waiting for a miracle from God. When God seems distant, when we feel we have lost, when the waiting seems hopeless. That experience is rooted in Easter Saturday

This is Easter Saturday. A Holy Day for many Christians. A day of complicated theology. For me Easter Saturday means something else. It is the day before the miracle. The day when the tomb was still well and truly shut to those outside. A day when Jesus' followers were saying - Well what was all that about then? A day when the promised end seemed impossible. A day when God's power may not have seemed as powerful as they had hoped. The day that followed the darkest day and it showed no improvement - no sign of what was to come. Only cold, dark quiet. No signs from God, no encouragement, no answers.

Easter Saturday resonates with anyone on the journey of faith. A silence from God. A pause in the plan. No clues as to the coming miracle. Just a quiet, waiting game. We know now that Sunday came and with it, the extraordinary. But the Easter Saturday experience is just as important. The faith. The waiting. The unbelief. The expectancy. The confusion. This is where the pattern for faith is set. This is where we learn who God is, as we wait.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Reserving the right to be sad

Today is Good Friday. All over the Interweb Christian friends are putting stuff up saying "It's Friday but Sunday's coming!" or "A lot can happen in three days!!!" or "Don't Worry - Victory is around the corner."

This is all well and good and there is nothing to disagree with, it's just, can I say "Whoa! Slow down there Missy" Sunday will be Sunday and that's amazing but today is Friday - all day. It is a day in its own right. A profound and amazing thing happened today. Jesus decided to lose today. For me. For you. And it was sad and slow and horrible. I'm a bit uncomfortable with moving on too soon. Listen, I'm not going to spend the day in sackcloth and ashes. Life being what it is, this is the only day my family can get together for its Easter Meal and it will be great.

But just for today, just for some of it. Lets' not rush. Let's weep with those who weep. (It's easy to find plenty of those at the moment.)  Take time to think about Friday. Tomorrow will be Saturday with challenges of its own - God was dead and in the grave and Sunday will surely follow but today is Friday, Good Friday; a day of profound gratitude first and foremost.


Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Mancs Ahoy

So did you like "The Ark"? It was at least good to see a bit of Christianity in the lead up to Easter even if "bit" is the most relevant word in that sentence, Anyway, I really liked it. I thought it was full of warmth and love and at least there was a few references to God which is always helpful in a Biblical story, don't cha think? A few thoughts

  • What is it with these fictitious sons that these new films keep giving to Noah? I always thought that he had enough to deal with, with the first three. Apparently the fourth son was from Hollyoaks. I do not know if this is significant. Probably not.
  • As with the Russell Crowe version, the world that had to be wiped out seems be underplayed somewhat. In this case, it looks as if God decided to wipe out all humanity because of a particularly drunken student party.
  • It could have done with a bit more money thrown at it really. I don't suppose that anyone could afford any CGI for the animals so consequently the march of the animals seems to have been put together by cutting them out of black paper, sticking them onto the back of a lolly stick and playing shadow puppet theatre. Also, I think I coughed and missed the actual flood. One minute everyone was strapping themselves down and the next Noah was doing big stretches on Mount Ararat.
  • There has been a lot of moaning about the fact that Noah's family all had Mancunian accents - like this was a bad thing. It worked for me. Northern was good. Northern is always good. That is all.
Blogger Template Created by pipdig