Wednesday, 27 April 2016

God's Measuring

I have been very moved by a post by Ang over at Tracing Rainbows about her friend who has died. You can and should read it here for it is beautiful. It has also clicked into one of my passions and my strongest beliefs - that God measures lives in a totally different way to us. Everyone seems to be obsessed with the deaths of famous people at the moment. I was very emotional about the death of Victoria Wood, a woman I related to on lots of levels and whose wit and warmth I loved. However, she was a popular and successful woman and, if initially I was a bit put out by how many people had said that she was like their own personal best friend (when she was, quite obviously, mine) I did understand that she was well known and very good at what she did so I could forgive them.

But I believe that God measures success differently. He sees success in a quiet life of service devoted to him. By our measurement, a lady who didn't attain much academically or didn't marry or have children may even be seen as a failure - she didn't manage to have it all. But we are wrong. God looks at someone who gives their all, who is cheerful and courageous and who loves him and he says "well done". God sees people who live through appalling circumstances and find peace and contentment in solitude as overcomers. God sees those who always try to be kind even if it means sometimes allowing themselves to be ridden roughshod over as heroes of the faith. God sees a life devoted to justice and truth as a life well spent. In the wake of the Hillsborough verdicts, I have read newspapers saying that people have wasted their lives chasing justice but I think that the families will not see their lives as wasted. Of course they would rather have never had to do it but it was not a waste of a life to spend it chasing down the truth for their loved ones or, as you could put it, hungering and thirsting after righteousness. 

We need to learn to adjust our values to God's values. To see others and ourselves as God sees. This life tells us we need to be this or have that and it is often a distortion. God promotes real values not plastic ones and the amazing thing is that these are values with a promise attached to them. Do these things and be this person and you will find who you are supposed to be. I'm just going to put here the Message version of Matthew 5 because I love it - although I love lots of versions. It is a challenge to start to use God's measurer in life with the promise of what will come if we do. 

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

Monday, 25 April 2016

They've Gone

Both FOWs have returned to their places of learning. We had a lovely week. Flippin' heck I ate a lot. FOW2 and my good self visited London. As it was her birthday treat she had stipulated no culture; as she was up to her eyeballs with all that at university. I was a bit worried about how seven hours in London would pan out if we could only go to Oxford Street. As it was, we made the train back with only fifteen minutes to spare. I must be more of a secret shopper than I thought.
We sat on the Tube on the way back - packed to the drawstrings with shopping bags. I only felt a smidgen of guilt when two anti-cuts protesters - placards and all - got on and sat in front of us. Should I have been doing something more substantial with my time? FOW2 reassured me that she had felt the same until said protester's terrible rainbow dreadlocks had meant that she had lost all her brownie points. Oh to be able to dismiss guilt so easily.
We also played host to Aged Parent for tea. I instantly became invisible as she spotted grandchildren, as is the way with most grandparents I suppose. FOW1 got a bit tetchy when she informed him that his face had filled out nicely and there was also a bit of a moment when Aged Parent pointed out that FOW2 was getting much better at expressing her opinion more forcefully. This was probably something to do with a conversation which, try as I might, I could not prevent, which was sort of about whether a boyfriend's career was more important than yours. Needless to say, they both had differing opinions about this. I cannot crush potatoes and stop World War Three at the same time. Male members of the family were conspicuous by their absence. 
Anyway, all things getting back to normal now. HOH and I ate our tea at the table tonight to celebrate the return to a quieter life. Not that we don't miss them like crazy. Haven't been to church for a couple of weeks, what with being away and everything. Am hoping that the Second Coming hasn't happened in my absence. Who would there be left to tell me? Anyway, if you were expecting to be taken and you are still here - give us wave will you.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Absence etc

I am sorry I have not been around. Sprogs are back around for a while. Church minutes to type up. HOH and Aged Parent struggling with colds. Birthday celebrations for FOW2 needing to be organised and then partaken of. Day job exceedingly busy. Have made resolution to try not to strive. So sorry. Not there. Be back. Deffo.
Am leaving you with nce photo of my new vac which I have sort of inherited. Long story. It works ok. It's no Dyson but most worrying is the way I am talking to it when it gets stuck. "Don't go under there" "Ooh there's no good is it - you'll never get out" Old age is a terrible thing

Sunday, 10 April 2016

The thing is we never were...


...were we Mr Cameron?
There's a bit of a rant on the way but it is more in sadness than anger. So this week, we found out that people use offshore tax havens to hide money from their governments, or their wives or the lady that cleans for them. This, I think came as a surprise to precisely no-one.
There were a few choice names that came up and the people of Iceland were especially vexed as they had been told that there was no money anywhere in the whole country and it was fairly disappointing to find out that one of the reasons for that was that their leader had been spiriting it away to Panama in his wife's name. Other than that, we were all unhappy but not especially concerned. What could we do? Then the name "Cameron" came up and it all kicked off.
I take no pleasure in watching a man squirm the way our Prime Minister did this week. It would, of course, been better to be honest right at the beginning and say exactly what went on but which of us hasn't been guilty of being a bit economical with the truth and mumbling a bit in the hope that all this unpleasantness will fade away?
Now I didn't vote for him but I don't think Mr Cameron is anywhere near the most unpleasant person in his party. There is a lot of competition for that spot and I don't even think he is Premier League. I also feel that there is a possibility that some of these more unsavoury elements may be lining up someone as a successor to their Dear Leader and may be stirring things up a bit behind the scenes. (Too House of Cards?  OK.)
What was the most upsetting was to see laid out before your eyes, something that I always thought was true anyway. All that stuff about us all being in this together. We were never all in this together. Not really. In a week when I know of  a young woman who has had her toes removed and her lungs wrecked after a flesh eating disease took its toll, it's not really true to say that you are in it with her is it? Because this week she has had all her benefits and her mobility car taken off her - so college will be a nightmare and  work impossible. Then there is the couple I know. She is a permanent wheelchair user. he is her carer and has several disabilities himself. Still he was managing to hold down a job. It was in a hotel on Dartmoor as a reception manager. He was very highly thought of but he will have to give it up now. Guess why? because you can't get to a hotel on Dartmoor without a car. Well you can catch two buses and walk three quarters of a mile. If you don't need a stick to walk.
I'm not sure that someone who knows that, whatever happens, he doesn't have to worry too much because he can always play out some jiggery pokery with a few hundred thousand can't seriously think that we believe him when he says that we are all in this together can he? I think we all knew that in reality we never were but now we get to see it in black and white.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Its all gone Quite Dark Again.

Thank the Lord for the flippin' Durrells - that's what I say. My Family and Other Animals is one of my favourite books so adaptations make me nervous but this was great. It is a ray of sunshine in a sea of programmes where people are having horrible things happen to them. HOH follows them all - he especially likes a Scandi drama. But even he came into the kitchen after watching Marcella - the new drama with Anna Friel - and remarked "Good grief - that was nasty." Of course he said she was very good, which she obviously is and it's written really well but I'm just not bothering with it. Same with Line of Duty - you know, when the Film "Seven" had a severed head in it, it was so shocking every one I knew talked about it for days. Now we'll be getting them in Blue Peter soon, along with the obligatory tortured/imprisoned female. I really miss Morse sometimes.
Anyway - while I am ranting. Be careful what you wish for drama wise. I stopped watching The Night Manager because halfway through the second episode I realised that I had read it. (Pin sharp as usual, I am) I had read it and not enjoyed it. I thought the ending was downbeat and unsatisfying and SPOILERS - the baddie did not get what was coming to him. So when I heard that they had changed the end, I sat down and had a watch and, indeed they tied a lot of loose ends up and everything was all rosy and.. and.. I didn't like it! Maybe the end was meant to be less than satisfying. Maybe when someone writes a story they have that unhappy ending running silently through it so anything else jars a bit. I don't know. Anyway - for the record I am probably the only person in the universe to say this but I didn't think Hugh Laurie was all that as the villain. I thought he did "deranged genius" really well in House but I just couldn't see him as the kingpin of an international arms group. Quite frankly, he never looks as if he can be bothered to put in the amount of effort that being an international criminal would take. Just my opinion. Nothing to get worked up about. 

Sunday, 3 April 2016


Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! Heb 12

Is it Christian to flag - a bit - sometimes? I think it must be. Do you know how I know? Because the Bible tells us not to flag and therefore, people must have been flagging if God had to tell them not to flag. Oh do keep up at the back!
I don't know about you but it has seemed like a long winter here. Not that it has been extra cold or anything because it hasn't. It just seems to have dragged on. We have seen a few changes here at Martha Towers what with the FOWs leaving home. (Although one is back at the moment - pretending to revise) HOH and I get on pretty well all things considered but the sprogs moving on has caused me to be a bit weird in the odd small dose. A friend warned me this would happen a few years ago. She went into a full on depression when hers left. I'm not sure I have gone that far, for which I am grateful, rather than giving myself any credit, but there is certainly a sense of "What now?"
I'm not talking about HOH and I not enjoying what our parents used to call "A Nice Drive Out" - without any eye rolling or tutting -  we intend to do lots of that but when you have spent a good proportion of your energy looking after the FOWs and then they are gone it is a bit - well sad. And I have flagged. Yes I have. I am normally a cheerful sort, my attitude IS gratitude but I have found myself asking about the way forward. Of course, asking God is the last thing I think to do - I usually like to leave praying about something until I have reached desperation levels. It's a little quirk of mine that probably drives God quite bonkers. But I am sort of asking now - whither am I to go? (Sorry - gone a bit Friendly Persuasion there) I don't suppose that this is anything that millions of parents before me haven't experienced but there you are. I am nothing if not unoriginal!
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